Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday Five! (7)

1. I am so excited because a week from now I will be at the national SCBWI summer conference in LA! Not only will my two very favorite writing friends, Heather Trese* and Shana Silver, be hanging out with me, I'll be meeting up with all sorts of awesome kidlit peeps. Are any of you going to be there? If you see me trolling around the lobby, come say hi to me! I'm super easy to recognize...I am six feet tall and I have platinum blonde hair, so I usually stick out in a crowd.

I'm really looking forward to kidlit drinks at Pink Taco, the conference gala, and, of course, some face time with all of my online writer pals. SCBWI LA is like my Christmas.

(BTW, conference goers, have you gotten the conference app yet? It's awesome. I'm already putting together my schedule.)

2. Oh, speaking of SCBWI LA...remember I set myself a deadline to finish my revision before the conference? Well, the husband is out of town for the weekend at a bachelor party, so I'm hoping to get down to business since he's not around to distract me with his trash TV watching.

The deadline is STILL ON and I am still plugging away. I'm in the "I'm not really sure what to do with this" portion of revision, but I have faith that it will all work out. We'll see how it goes.

3. And with SCBWI LA so close, that means I have less than a month left of my summer break. I AM SO SAD ABOUT THIS. I've been enjoying the heck out of being off, and the thought of going back to work is more than a little bit painful. I miss my students like crazy, and I'm so excited to get to know a new bunch this year, but YOU GUYS. I'll be teaching ZERO PERIOD. I have to begin teaching at 7:30 am, and I have a 20 minute commute, so I have to be up EARLY. I'm less than stoked about this. Morning person I am NOT.

I much prefer sleeping in until 9am and snuggling with the doggy.

But I guess I prefer getting a paycheck even more than that.

4. Speaking of the doggy, it's been awhile since I've shared a cute Gunner pic. I know what you guys want. You want more Gunner! Well, here's a particularly cute one from my phone.

Doesn't he have the sweetest face? I love him so much.

5. And, apropos of nothing, on Monday when I was watching The Bachelorette** I was reminded again of the episode of The Bachelorette I was on way back in the first season. It was in 2003, which was pre-YouTube, so I haven't been able to find a video of it anywhere. I got a wild hair on Monday and searched and searched and searched, but nothing.

Then I remembered that someone on a message board I posted on at the time saved a clip of the show as a video file and sent it to me. I went back to the message board, logged on, and LO there was the clip, still in my private message inbox.

I was able to upload it to YouTube, but the quality is TERRIBLE. (Almost as terrible as my 2003 flippy haircut...) It's all pixelated and awful, but, well, the sound is perfect, and that's all you need.

So here's my latest attention network TV debut. (And, yes, I've already posted this on Twitter and facebook. You know how I do.)

I found out later that Trista is actually an alumna of my sorority and I felt pretty bad for embarrassing her on national TV, but, whatever, it's still pretty fun.

Happy Friday, friends! (And good luck with that!)

*I have a problem with the fact that Heather hasn't blogged since January. Hem hem.

**Okay, the husband isn't the only one who watches trash TV...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Supernaturally Launch Party (and Giveaway!)

Tuesday night I found myself leaving the Orange Bubble and heading down to Oceanside for Kiersten White's Supernaturally launch party! This was an extra awesome event because, not only was Kiersten there, but she was joined by her bff Stephanie Perkins, author of one of my favorite books ever in the world, Anna and the French Kiss, and Andrea Cremer, whose new book Wolfsbane also launched that day.

(I have to say, I wasn't familiar AT ALL with Andrea's books, but she was AWESOME in person. Not only is she totally gorgeous, but she's freaking hilarious. Nothing makes me want to read someone's book as much as when I meet them and they are rad.)

Kiersten, Andrea, and Stephanie
I love how Andrea is mid-laugh in this picture!

I went to Kiersten's launch for Paranormalcy last year and I thought she had a pretty impressive crowd. But I was blown away by the attendance at this event! I guess that's what happens when you get triple the awesome there signing! The line of people wrapped around several stacks and lasted for hours! There were tons of people there, and they just kept showing up. It was awesome to see such an amazing turnout.

Me with the lovely authors. I swear, I hope to one day be as awesome as these three.

I met up with some locals in the southern California writing community and we waited for the long, long, long line to die down. And then I schlepped up to the ladies with the 10 (!) books I needed them to sign.

I love going to local events and seeing these awesome faces!

And lucky YOU! Three of those books I got signed were for you guys!

I snagged a signed copy of Supernaturally by Kiersten White, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and Nightshade by Andrea Cremer! And I'm going to give them away! To you!


Just fill out the form below and let me know which book or books you want to win. (It's totally okay to check all three boxes!) I'll toss an extra entry your way if you tweet about the contest, too. Just make sure you include @_JessicaLove somewhere in the tweet and leave the link in the form. The giveaway will close on Monday, August 8th at midnight PDT.

(I have to pay for shipping myself, so I need to limit to US / Canada addresses only. Sorry, international friends!)

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday - Best Book of July

It's time for another Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival hosted by the lovely ladies of YA Highway.
This week's question: 

What's the best book you read this month?

I'm going to wait and do a more in-depth Book Love post on this book when it gets closer to its release date, but I can tell you right now that my favorite book of July was definitely Ditched by Robin Mellom.

This book doesn't come out until January 2012, but I was able to snag an egalley through NetGalley. (I got denied on NetGalley the first, oh, four times I requested it. But that didn't stop me! And finally someone at Hyperion must have felt bad for me and finally approved it.)

It tells the story of Justina's prom night, from her thrift store dress to getting ditched by her best friend, as she pieces it together for some random ladies in the 7-11 the next morning. Each stain on her dress tells a story from the night, so she takes the ladies stain by stain through her crazy evening and tries to figure out why her date left her behind.

I'd heard about this book being called The Hangover for teens or the YA book version of a John Hughes movie, and those descriptions are both right on. It's just fun and funny and sweet and adorable, and I stayed up all night reading it. I even woke up my husband once because I was laughing out loud so hard.

I didn't realize until I read this book how much I had been wanting to read something that was just FUNNY and CUTE. I've been reading a lot of heavier and darker stuff, and that's good and all, but I love to laugh, and, boy, did this book make me laugh.

Put it on your 2012 radar! Get an egalley from NetGalley! (If they approve you...) Watch this space for more Ditched book love!

What was the best book you read in July?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (20)

Today's post features the amazing artist I got to see live over the weekend, Matt Costa!

Matt Costa is a local singer/songwriter, and I'm a HUGE fan of his music.

My friend Claire and I caught him at a place right near my house a while back, and it was a really awesome show. I was blown away by how good he was live. This guy is majorly talented.

I love this picture because he looks pretty freaked out by the two of us. Claire and I tend to have that effect on people.

Luckily he was a good sport and still posed for a picture with us

And, of course, I got to see him yesterday at a really awesome little music festival on the back bay.

If you aren't familiar with Matt Costa's music, I can't recommend him enough. If you're looking for something with a chill, mellow vibe that's still emotional and complex, he's your guy.

I don't know if this is my favorite Matt Costa song, because, honestly, I love SO MANY of his songs in different ways. I think my favorite would really depend on my day and the mood. But this is the one that is the most meaningful to me, I think.

It's two lines that make this song special to me. "I'll be in your life again" and "all the stars point me to you." I love how certain he is that he is meant to be in this girl's life. He's already dancing around the sun, even when it hasn't happened yet. I love that.

Behind The Moon - Matt Costa

I would shine just like a million suns if you'd just love me baby
I'll be in your life again so baby, baby just say maybe

Now here I come
To dance around the sun
I've been oh so blue
Stuck behind the moon
Now let me in
Back where we begin
And let me hold you like the way
I used to do

All the stars point me to you and lately they just drive me crazy
The universe can be so cruel so baby, baby be my lady

Now here I come
To dance around the sun
I've been oh so blue
Stuck behind the moon
Now let me in
Back where we begin
And let me hold you like the way
I used to do

I would shine just like a million suns if you'd just love me baby
I'll be in your life again so baby, baby just say maybe

Now here I come
To dance around the sun
I've been oh so blue
Stuck behind the moon
Now let me in
Back where we begin
And let me hold you like the way

Now let me hold you like the way...
I used to do 

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Social Introvert

I think there is an assumption by a lot of people that I am an extrovert. I know that most writers are introverts, and according to Myers Briggs, I'm a very strong INFP.

But I think about all the stuff I DO and I wonder if I really am an introvert. As a lot of you know just from reading this blog, I am always on the go. I'm out all the time with the husband and with friends, I'm constantly overbooking myself, and the biggest thing keeping me from making the progress I want to make with my writing is packed social calendar. I have chosen a job where I am surrounded by people all the time, and I am constantly "on." And then I have this second job where I am surrounded by people and constantly "on." And I look at my life and I am constantly go go go and do do do and run run run.

But I also look at my life and see that I am burned out a LOT. Any time I am NOT out and on the go, I'm curled up in a ball on the couch, totally spent.

So I've finally come to the conclusion that I must be a really social introvert. Is that a thing?

With my girlfriends at Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan

I just got back from three days in Vegas on Saturday where my friends and I did the pool thing and the delicious dinner thing and the bar thing* and we collapsed on to the plane having sucked every ounce of fun from the weekend that we could. And then I pretty much went straight from the airport to an outdoor concert with Matt Costa right on the bay in Newport. Even though the husband wasn't really all that into the idea (which was funny, because it was all of his friends who were there) and I was the one who should have been pushing to stay home, I pushed him out the door. I didn't want to sit at home, I wanted to sit in front of the back bay and watch Matt Costa! So we did. And it was awesome.

Matt Costa playing all of my favorite songs of his + sunset + beers = amazing

But then yesterday, even though I said I would hang out with the husband and some friends, I opted to stay home. The thought of spending time out, even if it was floating on a raft in the bay in Newport on a gorgeous day, was entirely too much for me. I actually started to get mild anxiety at the thought of having to do the social thing for another day.

I said I was going to be productive with my day alone, but I just napped on the couch, cuddled with the dog, and recharged. I needed it. I desperately needed the alone time to get back to myself again.

So just when I was thinking that maybe I am a bit of an extrovert after all, I realized how DRAINED I was from all the social time this weekend. This is why I'm thinking I must be some kind of highly social introvert. Because I love being social. I love Vegas and I love going places and doing things with my friends. But it takes every ounce of my energy. It doesn't invigorate me. When I'm out, there are times I just need to walk away from the crowd and have some time alone, or times when everyone else is talking and laughing when I need to just hang back and not participate. Even in my "on" all the time jobs, I create quiet time for myself, otherwise I can't handle it.

I may have a ton of fun being social, but it's being alone that makes me feel like me again.

Have you taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? What type are you? Is there anyone else out there who feels like a social introvert like me? Or am I totally making this up?

 *You know that awkward moment when you run into a former student in the bar in Vegas? Yeah, my work bff and I had that. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (19)

I went to a gorgeous wedding a few weeks ago and this was the couple's first dance song:

Isn't it a beautiful song? It sounds like what love is all about.

(I love when couples have non-traditional first dance songs! My bff's first dance song with her awesome new hubs was Banana Pancakes by Jack Johnson. It was just SO THEM!)

Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds and a Sound

They're playing our song
They're playing our song
Can you see the lights?
Can you hear the hum?

Of our song
I hope they get it right
I hope we dance tonight
Before we get it wrong

And the seasons
Will change us new
Be the best I've known
and you know me
I could not be stuck on you
If it were true

I was sleeping
My eyes were dark
Til you woke me
And told me that opening 
is just the start
it was

Now I see you, til kingdom come
You're the one I want
To see me for all the stupid shit I've done

Soil and six feet under
Killed just like we were
Before you knew you'd know me
And you know me

Blooming up from the ground
3 Rounds and a sound
Like whispering you know me
And you know me

So this was our song
This was our song
I still see the lights
I can see them

And the criss cross
Of what is true, won't get to us
Cause you know me
I could not give up on you

And the fog of what is right
Won't cover us cause you know me
I could not give up a fight

Soil and six feet under
Killed just like we were
Before you knew you'd know me
And you know me

Blooming up from the ground
3 Rounds and a sound
Like whispering you know me
And you know me

Monday, July 18, 2011

Deadline? Deadline.

It's been awhile since I did a goal-related post on Monday. Mainly because I struggle making reasonable goals. I give myself a timeline to get something done and I think it's TOTALLY REASONABLE...until it takes me 3x as long to complete the task as I expected.

I'm dealing with revision right now and I really want to give myself a deadline. I've done the super easy changes and the medium changes, and now I'm dealing with the BIG changes. Changes to characters, major changes to sub-plots. writing new chapters, deleting and combining useless chapters, etc. It's a lot of work, and I want to stay on task. I have a few good reasons to get this done as quickly as possible, but I don't want to rush for the sake of rushing and do a crap job.

How do you set your own deadlines? How do you know what a reasonable amount of time to finish things is?

I would love to have this all wrapped up before SCBWI LA. On one hand, I feel like that is more than reasonable. On the other hand, I can see that deadline coming and going with me only fixing like two of my major issues.

I guess I'll just go ahead and set that as my deadline. If I finish early, YAY. But I never finish things early, so hopefully it will force me to work my butt off to get it done.

SO, will you guys help me stick to this deadline? Revised ms by SCBWI LA? That's a little over two weeks. I know it may seem like a lot of time for some of you Super Writers, but I am dealing with MASSIVE ADD, a trip to Vegas, some uncertainty on exactly how to implement some of these changes, a needy dog, 150 hours of curriculum work I need to fit in, and trying to work as much as possible at the restaurant to make money. So it's not like I'm a total Lady of Leisure over here. (Ugh, even as I typed this I thought of 100 other things that will take time between now and then, such as shopping for a tastefully slutty dress or two for Vegas.)



Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Five! (6)

1. My TBR pile is officially out of control.
This doesn't include the 5-ish egalleys I have on my iPad. I have been good about sticking to my ban on buying new books, but that didn't stop me from stopping by the library to get 3 books and HP5 on audio. And then after I took this picture I found 2 books that were hiding on the wrong shelf and I got another ARC in the mail. Zoinks.

The thing is...this is just my YA-ish TBR. I also have a Big Kid TBR pile, but, let's be real...I probably won't read any of those books any time soon. Well, I am in the middle of Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner,  so I guess I do read Big Kid books every now and then. (But I only started reading that one because I forgot to bring a book when I went to the beach, and Good In Bed happened to be in my trunk.)

2. I'm feeling unbelievably frumpy and gross this summer. I've gained about 12 lbs since January thanks to lazy eating and an even lazier lifestyle. I keep NOT going to yoga in favor of sitting on my couch. I'm spending all of my time in jeans and Target t-shirts...not that there is anything wrong with that. I just don't feel cute. And I haven't bought anything new forever since I am on a teacher's summer break fixed income. I just feel BLAH x 100.

I have SCBWI LA coming up and I am sort of dreading it because I pride myself on looking put together at these things, but I don't feel put together right now. I feel like a flabby disaster. I'm already a disaster anyway (you can ask my friend Heather about how I spilled coffee, knocked things over, had 1,000 things falling out of my bag, etc at any given minute last year), but at least I felt like an attractive bull in a china shop. This year? Not so much. Hopefully I can pull myself together in the next few weeks. (Spoiler: It's not looking good.)

If you see me at SCBWI LA and I look a fright, please don't judge me.

3. Oh crap. I just realized I'll have to buy books to get signed at SCBWI LA. So much for that book buying ban.

4. So, I love Harry Potter, obvs, but the release of the final movie is not causing me the same existential crisis as it is causing a lot of my friends. I read the series for the first time in 2008, after it was already complete, so I didn't "grow up" with Harry the way a lot of you did. I'm sad that this is the last movie, but it's not the end of an era or anything for me.

I'm feeling a bit like a poser in the HP fan pissing contest.

5. I'll end with some awesome news. Yesterday on Twitter, my amazingly talented friend Macy Beckett posted this:

This is really awesome news. If you have a chance, go give her some love on Twitter. And you know what happens around here when there is good news to share! This guy comes out to play!


Want to know the truth? I have never read a romance novel. Can you believe it? I was going to pick one up one of these days, but I think I'm going to wait until Macy's first book comes out...I'll let her de-virginize me. I figure my first time should be a good friend, right? ;-)

Happy weekend, everyone! Tonight I'm crashing a wedding (heh), and tomorrow I'll be dragging my poser ass to the movie theater for Harry Potter. Hope you all have some fun plans! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Love - Love Story

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.

I love Jennifer Echols! I really do. I love her realistic romances and flawed but likable characters. She writes the kind of comtemp YA that I love to read and that I would love to write. 

I love that she always just goes there with her writing. I swear, the word nipple showed up more times than I can count in this book, and I loved that. Jennifer Echols never shies away from getting sexy, and I have to say that I really appreciate it. Go Jennifer! Keep it up with those steamy scenes!

As a writer, there was a lot in this book I related to, in a cringe-worthy way. I'll admit to bringing thinly veiled stories about my own life to critique group before, so I could totally feel Erin's pain when it came to getting her stories about Hunter torn apart by strangers. And as a YA writer, I could totally feel Erin's pain when the rest of her class looked down on her romance writing as somehow less than what they were doing. 

Forget You is still my very favorite Jennifer Echols book, but this one was still a lot of fun. And all of you writers out there, I think you'll get a kick out of the writing aspect of this story like I did.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Mistakes

It's time for another Road Trip Wednesday, a blog carnival hosted by the lovely ladies of YA Highway.
This week's question: 

What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made?

Now I know that the biggest mistake I made in writing was starting without an outline. Pantser, I am not. I have had to rewrite this thing so many times, and add stuff, and take stuff out, and redo, and fix, and it has taken so long. 

Now I know this. But I didn't know when I started. 

Luckily, I really do learn from my mistakes. And I know that when I start my next project it will be heavily outlined, hopefully saving me this rewriting woe.

Learning from your mistakes is a good thing, And I feel like hanging around the blogoshpere has helped me see the mistakes of other people when it comes to querying, But I think a mistake I am making is spending too much time reading about other people's querying stories and not enough time working on getting my ms ready to query. It's easy to freak yourself out, and I find myself spending more time than I should getting prepared for querying when the #1 way to be ready for querying is to, you know, have a polished ms. 

How about you, what mistakes have you made? (Hopefully nothing too embarrassing!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (18)

Over the weekend I went to one of the most entertaining concerts I have ever been to. Weird Al Yankovich!
I've seriously never had so much fun at a concert. I was laughing to the point of crying from the first second to the very last encore. Al puts on an awesome show...he's hilarious, he's a wonderful performer, and he's just so much fun. There were tons of songs, tons of costume changes, and tons of crazy videos.

A special highlight was when they showed this clip from Al's 1989 movie UHF. My brother and I have seen this movie so many times...and as I found out when this clip came on, I haven't lost my ability to quote from it word-for-word. Does anyone else love this stupid movie as much as I do?

There were so many awesome songs...from old favorites to parodies of new hits. I think the show was perfect for people my age, since I was familiar with both the old and the new.

This song was one of my favorites, though. During this song, Al went out into the crowd and started serenading the ladies. It was awesome. Check out this song if you want a good laugh.

I never thought I would end up at a Weird Al show, but I'm so glad I did. It was an awesome way to spend a Saturday night. If you ever have a chance to see Al in concert, go for it. He puts on a killer show.

I didn't get this shirt at the show, and now I'm totally regretting it. I think I'm going to need to order it.
I need that in my life, right? It's so me.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday is Writing Day

Monday is my writing day. It's the day I set aside for making goals and working on my writing. I have chat with my writing group, I meet with my CP. I really focus on Mondays.

I'm really pumped about today...I'm going to get some WORK done today.

Maybe I'll go to Panera, my favorite writing cave, and camp out there for a few hours. But I feel bad leaving my Gunner Boy at home all alone when I don't have to, so maybe I'll get all set up in my bed and spread out with the dog.

I hate that I have so many things competing for my attention. I have the doggy, of course. I also have a great book or 25 (I'm currently reading The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer), I have this curriculum class I'm taking that I have NOT done sufficient work on yet. I have Season 1 of Buffy, which Shana Silver has challenged me to watch because I've never seen it. And I have my bed, which urges me to nap within its comfy folds.

But not today. Not this Monday. I WILL KICK MY WIP'S BUTT TODAY.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Is Slipping Away

I've been a really lazy blogger these past few weeks. I'm just feeling like I have nothing to say, and I've been out trying to enjoy my summer as much as I can. It's weird because I've only been off for a few weeks, but I already feel like my summer is over. I can't explain why, but I mentioned this to one of my fellow teachers and she said she feels the same way. I guess I'm just thinking ahead to the things I have going on (Vegas, SCBWI LA, Costa Rica) and realizing that when those things are over, work starts up again. Yikes!

In writing news, I got some awesome feedback on my WIP and I am hard at work on revisions. I'm a little overwhelmed by the scope of the changes I need to make, so I'm going through and doing the easy stuff first, then making a big list of all of the harder things.

My biggest note? My MC whines too much. Ooops. I guess she got that from her mama. I am a First Class Whiner, and I guess that snuck in a bit too much without me realizing it.

In other random stories, I had a bit of a WTF moment yesterday. I've been going to parties on the peninsula in Newport Beach for 4th of July since I was about 23. I decided a while ago that I was too old for that scene, but then the husband's friend moved into this killer house right on the bay, so we keep finding ourselves down there on the 4th. Well, yesterday there was this underage party raging next door to our friend's house...and it turns out one of my former students was actually AT the party. Luckily this was just a former summer school student...I only knew him for six weeks and it was about four years ago, so he didn't recognize me like I did him. But I think having a former student show up at the party next door is pretty much all the evidence I needed that I am indeed way too old to be partying on the peninsula.

Gunner had a good time, though.