Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Love - The Day Before

Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.


The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him. And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.

I'm realizing more and more how much I enjoy books written in verse. It's just such a different use of words than prose, and I love seeing how authors use it to tell a story. 


I hadn't read any of Lisa Schroeder's books before this one, but I'm so glad I picked this up. It makes me want to read her other books now!


I don't want to say too much about this book because as you read you don't really know why Amber and Cade are each out at the beach. The details of the circumstances for each one are slowly revealed through the story (and through letters to and from Amber), and the slow reveal is just too much fun to spoil for anyone. There are serious elements to the story, but mostly this book was a FUN read for me. I just enjoyed tearing through it (I finished it in about an hour) and it just made me feel happy and light. I closed the book when I was done and just had a big smile on my face. 


If you haven't had a chance to check out a verse novel, I think that this would be a great one to start with. The story is cute and entertaining, the details are introduced slowly, so there's some fun suspense, and Amber and Cade are adorable characters with a fun story. (See? I keep describing this book as fun.) I know that might sound different from the description of the book, and I do think that the description above is an accurate one...it had a lot going on in its short length. I just really enjoyed reading this one. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Recovering

This weekend was my bff's wedding...and I am EXHAUSTED. I was running around from Friday morning until yesterday evening and now I can hardly move. I'm tired and I'm sore, but I had an awesome time.

Because I can't really think straight, I'll just leave you with the result of me + a photo booth + mimosas since noon.



Could I be any more of an attention whore? I swear.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Bridesmaids

My best friend is getting married tomorrow.

I love my best friend like a sister, and she has been an integral part of my life for the past 10 years. I also couldn't be happier with her choice in a husband. I think he's awesome.

But.

As much as I am looking forward to this wedding (I'm excited for her to get married, and the actual wedding is going to be a blast), I'm sorta looking forward to it being over.

Because, my life? It's felt like the movie Bridesmaids for the past few months.


I'm serious. I actually cried, like real, actual tears, several times during this movie that was supposed to be funny because I related with Kristen Wiig's character SO MUCH.


*sigh*

And, sadly, there is no Wilson Phillips or hot Irish Cop in my life...I only wish those were the ways I could relate to her.

Anyway, I'm off to get pretty for the rehearsal. I'll be having an awesome time this weekend...and hopefully I won't get this drunk...


(Although I wouldn't mind her hair...)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Love - Forbidden

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives--and the way they understand each other so completely--has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.


Okay, so I don't know if I "loved" this book, and I certainly didn't "enjoy" it, but it's been a couple of weeks since I read it and I'm still thinking about it, so that has to count for something. 


Obviously, the subject matter is an uncomfortable one. This book made me feel WEIRD when I was reading it. I had to put it down a lot and think about other things just to clear it from my mind. But I read it all in one sitting because I had to see what happened. I knew there couldn't possibly be a happy ending for these two characters, but I really had to know what was going to happen. 


I liked that Tabitha Suzama gave a somewhat understandable reason for these siblings to develop feelings for one another - they have taken over the parent roles for their younger siblings and are functioning as mother and father. I also liked that the book was written in alternating 1st person POV, so we see the feelings develop on both sides and never get the impression that one sibling is manipulating the other one.

The story here is a gut-wrenching one, and the writing is really great. I really liked both Lochan and Maya, and I really did want them to find happiness somehow. I feel like when you read a "forbidden love" story you are always pulling for the characters to be together despite the thing that is keeping them apart. In this book, you like the characters, but you just can't root for them to be together, even thought it's the one thing that would make them so happy. My issue with stories like that is that the authors tend to take the easy way out and make it too easy for the characters to be together, so I loved that this book just went there and really made me as a reader question this relationship and find myself torn between rooting for the couple and rooting against them.

Forbidden takes a really uncomfortable and taboo subject and presents it with a believable story and wonderful writing, really making you think in a way you wouldn't expect. I didn't think I was going to read this book, but in the end I was just too curious to see how the author pulled it off. It ended up being a really great lesson in "going there" with story and characters. It's not for everyone. I have a pretty high tolerance for weird, but this book really eeeked me out in a way I wasn't expecting. (It has some of the steamiest scenes I have ever read in YA, so I was like, YAY hot scenes! AAAH hot scenes between brother and sister are NOT hot. Eeeee.) So be prepared to feel uncomfortable, but I promise you that you will FEEL. And think about this book long after you are done with it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday - Fire!

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



Your house is on fire & you can only grab 5 things. What are they?


1. Gunner


No doubt...the very first thing I grab is my precious dog. How could I leave this sweet face behind?




2. My Mac


AKA my right arm. I would probably die a slow death without it, so of course it's on the list.




3. My external hard drive


I know this isn't a particularly sexy or interesting choice, but I have everything since 2004 (minus the great HD Fail of 2008) on there, so it's important for me to grab.




4. Some books




Obviously I couldn't grab both of my big shelves, but I'd probably get a bag and toss some of my favorites and signed copies in there.




5. Jewelry from my grandparents


Not my grandpa's stuff, but it looks similar


I don't have a ton of nice jewelry, but I have some special pieces that my grandfather made me (he used to make beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry and I have some of the most beautiful handmade pieces you will find) and some pretty things from both of my grandmothers. That stuff can't be replaced, so I'd have to grab it.




Making this list made me realize that I'm not very attached to my stuff. Or that I don't have very nice stuff. One or the other. 


So, what would you grab?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (17)

Today is a good day for me, music-wise. The new Bon Iver album is out today and so is the new Matt Nathanson! Yay new music!

I've already talked about a Bon Iver song on here, so I figured I could share a Matt Nathanson song that I love.

This video starts with Angel and then moves into I Saw. I love both of these songs, but I Saw is one of my Very Special Songs...the ones that really make me Feel Feelings.

These lyrics! Oh, these lyrics! They kill me!

I'll forget about you long enough to forget why I need to. 

Gah! Doesn't that just say...everything? Or is that just me?

I love these words. I love this song. Oh, the Feelings. I need to stop now before I go nuts.



I Saw - Matt Nathanson

And it's amazing
The look in your eyes
Like you could save me
But you won't even try
And then you tell me again
How everything will be alright

And if I told you
That I'm sorry
Would you tell me that you were wrong
Or would you hold me down forever
If I came to your for answers

And I saw
Pictures in my head
And I swear I saw you opening up, again

And I'm surrounded
You spill
All alive and brand new
And I'll forget about you long enough
To forget why I need to

And I saw
Pictures in my head
And I swear I saw you opening up again
Cause I would be heavenly if
Baby you'd just rescue me now

The days are
Drifting away from me
I still wake up
Burning through everything now

And I saw
Pictures in my head
And I swear I saw you opening up again
I would be heavenly if
Baby you'd just rescue me now
Pictures in my head
I saw you opening up again
Cause I would be heavenly if
Baby you'd just rescue me now 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hobnobbing

Saturday night, after a long, hot, and tiring shift at the restaurant, I found myself battling traffic on the way to LA for the first LA Kidlit Drinks night. I was a little late, but luckily I saw my friend Liz as soon as I walked in. As socially awkward as I am, a couple of margaritas helped me actually introduce myself to people I recognized from Twitter and blogs, and everyone was unbelievably nice.

Big thanks to Lee Wind for working with the other awesome LA kidlit people to put on such a fun event...and for being so nice and fun to talk to! I'm really glad we are getting a little LA group going!

Tonight my local SCBWI chapter is having a little round-table critique session, so my CP and I are going to go check it out. Thats where I met her...I chased her down in the parking lot after loving what she read during one of our meetings. I love these little meetings we have. It's so much fun to meet other local kidlit writers and I'm always so curious to hear about what other people are working on. (Aka, I'm nosy. Haha.)

I have to say, I really love being part of the local kidlit community. These are really some of the nicest people around, and they are so much fun! I don't know why I'm always so surprised when the people I meet at industry events end up being so approachable and friendly...but it always blows me away how at ease I feel at one of these things.

Do you have any local and IRL groups or meetings in your area? Are you a member of any local organizations? How did you find them?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Five! (5)

1. It's my first day of summer! And I'm spending it...in my classroom! And...working at the restaurant! Bah. Summer is exactly like the school year so far. That's no fun. But really, I'm so excited to have the next two months off from work, I can't even tell you.

2. Tomorrow I'm going to try my best to make it to LA Kidlit Drinks. Is anyone else going? I have to work at the restaurant, but I'm hoping I'll get out in enough time to drive out to LA and get myself a margarita. If you see me there, say hi. I'll be the one who smells like food and might possibly still be dressed in my restaurant uniform.

3. I have to give some love to Julia Darcey! She had a giveaway on her blog recently, and I was the lucky winner! So the other day I came home to find a box on my doorstep that contained Shine by Lauren Myracle, Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, and three different types of homemade cookies! She even made cookies that were shaped and frosted like little books! Of course I gobbled them up before I thought of taking a picture to share, but trust me, they were adorable. Thanks, Julia! You rock!

4. So, I've taken a few weeks off from my WIP to finish my grading and wrap up the school year while it is with readers. Well, I am so excited to dive back into it and get it all squared away, I can't even tell you. I've missed you, story! I've been thinking about you a ton, and I can't wait to have you back in my life in a real way.

5. Have you ever thought and thought and thought and thought and thought about it and just NOT been able to think of a fifth thing? No? Just me? Is my brain just dead after a challenging year of teaching? Do I have summer brain already? Is my mind already on my WIP? I don't know...all I know is that I am at a freaking LOSS right now. So I think I will just say HAPPY FRIDAY and send you all on your merry way.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Last Day Of School!

It's the last day of school!


That's actually me, not a student

I'm not going to lie, this year has been a real challenge for me. More than any other year, I've had some students give me a real run for my money, and I've struggled with fewer days in the school year to still fit in the same amount of instruction. 

But in the middle of all of those struggles, I also had some really bright moments and some really amazing students. It's been nice to cling to those when things weren't exactly going my way. 

In the yearbook...my YA is totally showing. My work bff gave answers based on the things we read in class, and when I saw her answers compared to mine, I had sort of a *facepalm* moment. I should have given answers based on our classroom reading, too! Well, it turns out she had a similar moment when she saw my answers and wished she would have given answers from popular books! I guess we are a good balance to each other there on the English page. 

The Great Gatsby was the last book I read with my 10th grade class, and I was completely giddy when I saw that one of my students had written quotation from the end of the book in my yearbook. It is totally something I would do, so this really made my day. 

Speaking of making my day, one of my very awesome freshmen made me this gorgeous picture. She asked me what my favorite color was (pink) and what my favorite song was (Skinny Love by Bon Iver) and she came in the next day with this for me...and it has a very touching and sweet note on the back of it. I am in love with this very special piece of artwork and I think I'm going to get a frame for it. I love it that much. 

I'll admit I'm a bit relieved that I don't have to keep some of my more challenging kids in line anymore this year, but I am always sad to see them go, challenging kids and awesome kids alike. And I will let you know right now that I will probably be getting emotional at graduation tonight! Seeing those kids in their caps and gowns when I clearly remember their very first day of high school...oh man, it makes me all misty. 

And now...it's time for SUMMER! Two whole student-free months! To write! And sleep! And take the dog to the park! And query! (meep!)

HAPPY SUMMER!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: The Elevator Pitch

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

You're re-reading one of your favs when someone asks the dreaded question: "What's that book about?" Give us your best off-the-cuff blurb of any book, any genre, and have your readers try to guess the title in the comments!


Well, this sort of reminded me of how I tell my students what the books we are going to read are about. I have my own "teen-friendly" way of describing the books so they sound like something they might be interested in.

My favorite is The Great Gatsby, which is basically: Rich white people getting drunk and making bad choices.

Then there's Romeo and Juliet: Two sex-crazed teenagers who show you what happens when you think with your pants instead of your head.

And Taming of the Shrew: A girl everyone hates because she has the audacity to have an opinion and the money-grubbing d-bag who uses her.

They all sound pretty exciting, don't they?

So, here are a few one-liners for a few of my favorite recent YA reads. (I'm not as good at the whole multi-sentence pitch, but I do think these authors should adopt my awesome taglines.)

1. Hot sex musician gets all emo over his ex.

2. You can love your brother, but it's probably not a good idea to LOVE your brother.

3. By joining up with the badassess, girl finds both herself and the hottest guy ever.

Hee...this is fun. I could do this all day, but I have grades to finish.

Do you have any fun one-liners or pitches for books? Do you know the ones I was talking about? (They are pretty easy.) Be sure to check out YAHighway for the rest of the posts.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (16)

The other day my friend MrsC7 posted about Mumford and Sons on our online book club. I had been enjoying their album Sigh No More for awhile now, but until she pointed it out, I had no idea they were so influenced by literature. It turns out their album title, and the song of the same name, is influenced by Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, The Cave has references to The Odyssey, Macbeth influenced Roll Away Your Stone, and Dust Bowl Dance was inspired by John Steinbeck. I had been loving their folky rock anyway, but finding out it is inspired by books, well, that makes me love it even more. They even run a book club for fans on their website.

You can see our little Twitter convo about it here:



The song on the album I find myself listening to over and over, though, is this one:


I can't stop listening to it!

I think it sounds so much happier and so much more upbeat than the subject of the song actually is. It's a somewhat melancholy song, looking at being with a person just because you don't want to be alone. Sometimes, even if the person is awesome, you know you aren't in it for the right reasons or you know it's just not a good idea.

This time no.

It's funny because I'm writing my WIP from the POV of the female main character. But it was originally written from alternating POVs - the girl and the guy. So even though it's now just in her POV, I think of his POV often, and many of the songs I pick out for my story soundtrack actually reflect his POV and not hers. This is SUCH a Brandon POV song! I think that it's because I relate more to him than I do to her...he's the "me" in this book, not her, so when I hear this song, or other songs, I think of how he is feeling, not her.


Winter Winds - Mumford & Sons

As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts
Oh the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms
Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night?
For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

We'll be washed and buried one day my girl
And the time we were given will be left for the world
The flesh that lived and loved will be eaten by plague
So let the memories be good for those who stay

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"
Yes, my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no"

Oh the shame that sent me off from the God that I once loved
Was the same that sent me into your arms
Oh and pestilence is won when you are lost and I am gone
And no hope, no hope will overcome

And if your strife strikes at your sleep
Remember spring swaps snow for leaves
You'll be happy and wholesome again
When the city clears and sun ascends

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no"

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no" 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yay For Being Employed!

It's the last week of the school year, and I'm happy to report that I finally got my contract for next year. YAY!

It's actually a double yay...I was able to get my contract because my awesome department chair got promoted. So yay for both of us!

I have to admit, I feel like such a jerk when I post this on Twitter and get tons of "Yay! Congratulations!" from my sweet friends. It's not like it's a new job...it's the same job I've had for the past five years. I don't say to my lawyer friends, "Congratulations on staying employed!" I know it's different because I'm on the chopping block year after year, but this situation makes me feel like a big ol' attention whore.*

Now I'm just trying to get through this last week of classes. I already said goodbye to my sweet seniors on Friday. I had these kids when they were freshmen and sophomores and I have loved seeing them grow up...and now they are heading out into the real world!** This group really drove me crazy, but I also developed some pretty special relationships with some of them in the past few years, so I have a feeling that graduation on Thursday is going to be a bit emotional for me. *sniffle*

So, it's a little annoying that I had to go into my district office and sign my SIXTH temporary contract.*** But I'm so thankful that I have another year at my school with my awesome students, and, honestly, that I even have a job at all, since I know so many teachers aren't able to do what they love right now.

Knowing I have students to come back to will make this summer THAT much better.



*Let's be real, though. I AM a big ol' attention whore.


**Well, as real as college can be.


***You get tenure after two years in CA, but that's two years on a probationary contract. So none of my years so far count toward tenure.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Five! (4)

1. Today is my last Friday of the school year! Graduation is next Thursday, and then I'm off for the summer. YAY! I'll be spending this weekend doing my usual frantic last minute grading...it's always a fun time of year. But then next week it will be SUMMER! I'm so excited. I foresee lots of time with the fuzzy boy at the dog park and lots of cozy working lunches at Panera.

2. I had a meeting last night with one of my CPs. She is totally amazing and super talented, and I always feel like she helps me way more than I help her. Does anyone else feel like their CP got the short end of the stick with you? Or is that just me and my raging insecurities? I swear, I leave her house every week with so much more insight into my pages, but I can't help but feel that my feedback for her sucks in comparison.

3. Can we talk about my boyfriend Jason Segel for a minute? Why why WHY do none of the gym teachers at my school look like him? WHY? (I'm referring to the upcoming movie Bad Teacher, where he prances his hotness around in track pants and makes references to his balls.)

And have you guys seen the trailer for the new Muppet movie? That he wrote? And stars in? I mean, my god.



You GUYS. I am so in love. It's really a little ridiculous. I'm sort of convinced that if Jason Segel and I randomly run into each other at a bar in LA that we will have an instant connection and sort of halfway be in love after like 15 minutes of conversation. Does that make me completely delusional? (Don't answer that.) (But it would totally happen, right?)

(I seriously love him...it's a problem.)

4. I don't really watch a ton of TV (or movies for that matter, unless they star Jason Segel), but I'm hoping to do a rewatch of two of my favorite TV shows this summer - Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars. Of course, I mentioned this on Twitter last night and Shana Silver insisted that if I am doing any watching of any TV series that I need to make it Buffy.

Yeah, it's true, I've never seen Buffy. Well, I have seen one episode, the musical episode. But besides that? Nada. I don't know where I was hiding in the 90s, but I managed to avoid it all this time. I think part of it is because I saw the original Buffy movie in the theater and always associated the two, and part of it is because back when I had darker hair people told me ALL THE TIME that I looked like Sarah Michelle Gellar. (I NEVER thought I did...maybe just because we both have slightly wonky noses?) So maybe I found that annoying and avoided the show? I don't know.

So, I will TRY to watch all of these over the summer. But, really, I'm not sure who I am kidding. I still have all of the second season of Pretty Little Liars on my DVR...and the third season is about to start next week. I'm just not a TV person.

5. I just finished reading one of my all-time favorite books with my students - The Great Gatsby. Since we're done, I now get to show them all of the fun Gatsby stuff floating around the internet.

There's this video game.

There are these comics:
(Click to make big)

And then there is my favorite, this EPIC song. Even if you don't know and love Gatsby, you won't be able to get this song out of your head, I promise.



Have a fantastic weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Love - What Happened To Goodbye

Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move - four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself - whoever that is. Perhaps her neighbor Dave, an academic superstar trying to be just a regular guy, can help her find out. 


So, it's the new Sarah Dessen. Do I need to say anything else? I mean, really? Sarah Dessen is the author who made me fall in love with YA. I love everything about her and her writing. With every word I write I think WWSDD?

While this book didn't come close to dethroning This Lullaby from my coveted Favorite Sarah Dessen Book spot, I really, really enjoyed it. It has all of the typical SD elements - family drama, an interesting setting or situation, a girl trying to find her way, a cute boy who can help her figure it all out,  and an amusing cast of characters.

I loved that so much of this book took place in a restaurant. As many of you know, I currently work PT in a restaurant in addition to being a FT teacher, and I've worked in restaurants for awhile now. It was so fun to get a behind the scenes view of the restaurant setting. I know Sarah Dessen worked in a restaurant for a long time, and I have to say she is right on with restaurant life. So crazy, but so much fun.

This book didn't have as much swoon as some past Dessen books, but there is such a great family story here. There are lots of complaints about missing parents in YA books, but this book has a touching story between Mclean and both of her parents. There is also Deb, a girl Mclean meets at school, who pretty much steals the show. (She reminds me of Tracy Flick, and if that doesn't make you love her right away, I don't know what will.) And even though there aren't a ton of swoony moments, Dave, Maclean's boy next door, is totally adorable.

This latest from Sarah Dessen doesn't disappoint. It's another great story of family and self-discovery from the master of contemporary YA.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday: Plot or Pants?

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

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I'm a plotter for sure.

When I first sat down to write back in NaNo '08, I had a general idea of a story and some characters, but little else. I just opened my Word doc and let the words flow, because that's what writers do, right?

Well, in the end I was left with 54,000 words of the world's longest and most boring conversation. Nothing happened! At all!

Since then I have realized that I need to have a clear outline, otherwise I will be left with a lot of nothing on my hands. Some writers say they just start writing and see where their characters take them. Well, I have realized my characters will just pull up a chair and take a rest for awhile if I don't go in armed with plans for them.

I've outlined and outlined and outlined since then, realizing that while I had characters and a basic story, I have no PLOT. And I can see the fun and spontineity in just opening up a Word doc and letting everything run wild, but I also see the NOT fun in having to go back 100 times and trying to fix the resulting mess. I've learned I can still have fun in the outlining process.

I still don't have my method figured out...it's a total work in progress. But I've found the Snowflake Outline method very helpful, along with the beat sheet from Save the Cat. I'm still figuring this writing thing out, and I think I'll eventually get to a happy medium when I get more confident in my skills. But for now, I'm a plotter all the way.

What's your method? Plot? Or pants?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tuesday Tunes (15)

Usually I post songs on Tuesdays that inspire me or that I listen to while writing. Well, today I'm going to feature a song from an awesome band I heard while I was in Austin this past weekend!

We paid the brother of the friend of one of the girls on the trip to be our DD, and his friend's band was playing on 6th street, so he suggested that we go. The band was called IAmDynamite and our adorable DD  mentioned that we might be able to get up on stage with them at some point in their show, so, being the live music hoor AND the attention hoor that I am, you know I was all about it. 

IAmDynamite turned out to be AWESOME. From the first second of their set I was SO ridiculously into it. I mean...how could you NOT be into this? (You better not just scroll past this video! You better click play!)


And we did get to hop up on stage! Whee!


We got to shake our maracas on stage during their cover of Walk Like An Egyptian. I think I was taking more photos of myself than actually shaking anything, but, well, that's just what I do.

Anyway, this band definitely gained a new fan on Friday night!



And I was excited to see that they will be coming to my neck of the woods opening for Blue October in a few months, so I'm going to have to go check them out again. And this time I will be able to sing along!

Monday, June 6, 2011

On Austin and Changes

I spent the weekend in Austin, Texas for my best friend's bachelorette party and YOU GUYS, I had the best time ever.

I had heard that Austin was a rad city, and I had a feeling I would love it, but I had no idea I would fall in love with it from minute one and not want to leave. Man, do I love that place. I am already planning my return trip. For serious. It's like it was made for me. Well, it's like it was made for 24 year old Jess, but 30*something* year old Jess can still totally appreciate its awesome.

And man do I miss my bff. She moved to the east coast about 5 years ago and I miss her like crazy. So it was the best to have a girls' weekend with her, our friends from sorority, and even her friends from now and her future SIL.

Yeah, I wore cowboy boots. And I rocked them like a hurricane. When in Texas, right?

I have to admit that since bff moved away that my life has changed a bit. Without her as my right arm here in CA, I needed a new core group of friends, and I met and bonded with my nestie besties*. My new friends will never in a zillion years touch my friendship with bff, and I wish she didn't have to move away for me to bond with them. but I love them dearly and love that they are now a part of my life. And since the time she left I got more into my internet life, more into reading, and way, way more into writing.

I don't feel like a different person. I just feel like me. But when I hang out with bff, who I just don't see as often as I would like, I'm reminded that I AM different than I used to be. I do things that confuse her (like obsessively checking my twitter for the latest #YAsaves tweets and blogs that popped up over the weekend) and trying to explain why I am glued to my phone during her bachlorette party is a little difficult. "Well, this WSJ article called YA books dark." Yeah, I wouldn't really get it either.

I will say that it was nice to have the weekend free of book and writing talk. I was thinking about my WIP and writing and books and everything constantly, because that's what I do. But I didn't even read on the plane! I got screwdrivers with my friends and laughed and had fun, and from Friday to Sunday I didn't even talk about books or writing at all. It was a little weird, but it was also a lot nice.

So while it's awesome that I have these friends I hang out with now who know me as the YA queen and ask me for book recs and talk to me about my writing, it's also sort of cool to know that I have these other people in my life, people I adore hanging out with, people who are a big part of me, who know that I read and know that I write, but also have this entire shared history with me and know that I am so much more than that**.

Anyway, I had a killer time in Austin. We ate BBQ, we went out on a sailboat on Lake Travis, we danced the night away to live music. I didn't read, I didn't write, I didn't blog, I only tweeted about the party and my Austin love. It was a really, really awesome weekend.

And now I'm back to real life. Two weeks of school left. Waiting on pins and needles to hear back from my readers. Mulling over my ms. A weekend away from real life was fun, but reality has to kick in at some point.

I'm glad to be back. I hope you had an awesome weekend, too.


*If you don't know, don't worry about it ;-)


**Not that my current group of friends thinks that that's what I'm all about. You guys know what I mean. "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold" and all that crap.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Divergent Giveaway Winner

It's time to announce the winner of my Divergent giveaway! Random.org picked comment #10 which was


YAY Jennie! If you see this, shoot me an email. Otherwise I'll get in touch with you about it when I get back in town.

Yeah, I'm out of town for the weekend. I'm headed to Austin, TX to celebrate my bff's bachelorette party! I've never been to Texas before, and I know I'm in for an awesome time.

Have a great weekend everyone!