Ready. Set. Write! Update #6

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing challenge hosted by Jamie MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, and Alison Miller. For more info, click here! Each week, we give short updates on our goal progress.


How I did on last week’s goals

I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped but I did make some progress on revising my first 50 pages. Honestly, I hit a motivation slump that I need to get out of ASAP.

My goal(s) for this week

Keep working on those first 50! It’s my birthday on Thursday and I know this weekend will be busy with festivities and what-not, so I’m not sure how much I’ll get done. I’ll be happy with whatever progress I make.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Feeling meh about revising. I’m not sure what it was, since I usually love revising, but I just wasn’t feeling it last week. I think a love list is in order! *Adds to list of goals*

Something I love about my WiP

I really do love this story, and feel good about the query I worked on last week. I just need to get excited again about revising! Hopefully this will be the week…

Have a good week!

Ready. Set. Write! Update #5

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing challenge hosted by Jamie MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, and Alison Miller. For more info, click here! Each week, we give short updates on our goal progress.


How I did on last week’s goals

I made good progress on my WIP but shifted my weekly goals a little. As I incorporated changes to my first 3 chapters based on CP feedback, I realized it might be helpful to write a query for this book now, so I can refer back to it when I get stuck. I struggled with it at first, but ended up with something I’m happy with. Then I decided to focus on the first 50 pages of this MS, so I put those chapters in their own folder within my Scrivener file and got to work.

My goal(s) for this week

Keep on keeping on. My overall Ready. Set. Write! goal is to have a draft ready to send to beta readers by the end of the summer, so I want to keep making progress on that front.

One word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

This week was all about my query and beginning.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Query writing is hard! At one point, I started doubting my book altogether because I couldn’t come up with a pitch that sounded remotely good. But I pushed through and now I’m happy with what I have, though I’m sure I’ll keep tweaking it as I get more feedback.

Something I love about my WiP

It’s different. I’ve yet to see a YA book with this premise so I hope it will stand out when it comes time to actually query!

Have a good week!

Thirty Before 30: The Final Stretch!

It’s July! With less than a month until my birthday deadline, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not going to finish everything on my Thirty Before 30 list in time. But that’s okay – the journey so far has been fun. Here’s what I was able to cross off in the last few months:

18. Do something I’ve never done before

In March, I did something totally new – I ran a workshop for the New York Metro SCBWI chapter! The hour-long workshop was called Scrivener for Beginners, and about 20 people attended. It was great! I was really nervous ahead of time but it went very well. I ran through everything you need to know to get started on Scrivener, and all of the attendees seemed to enjoy it. I’m so glad I took a chance and said yes to the opportunity.

scbwi  photo 1

19. Complete Couch to 5K
20. Run a 5K

I started Couch to 5K several times over the last couple of years, but never completed it. I finally made it through the whole program this spring and then ran my first 5K in June. My only goal was to run/jog the whole time (no walking!), and to beat the time from my practice run the week before. I accomplished both! The 5K was actually a lot of fun, so I’m hoping to do more in the future.


24. Do 5 touristy NYC activities (2 more down)

On Mother’s Day this year, since the weather was so gorgeous, my husband and I decided to take my mom to a New York Public Garden near her apartment called Wave Hill. We walked around, had lunch in their cafe, and then just sat in the grass and enjoyed the scenery. It was wonderful! I definitely plan to go back this summer.

My mom and I at Wave Hill

My husband and I also saw If/Then on Broadway with Idina Menzel – she is incredible live!


29. See Book of Mormon on Broadway

I was starting to think we’d never get to see Book of Mormon because tickets are so expensive–way more than most other shows on Broadway right now. But then I heard that the Broadway tour was coming to The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut. My husband and I splurged on front orchestra seats (which still ended up being a fraction of the cost of the same seats for the NYC production). The show was amazing – we laughed the whole time, and loved the music. The actors on the tour were spectacular, so I don’t regret a single thing.


Alt 4. Go on a road trip

Over Memorial Day Weekend, my husband and I took a road trip up to North Adams, MA (in the Berkshires) for a wedding. It was a nice little getaway–besides attending the wedding, we got to do some sight seeing. We drove to the top of Mount Greylock, which has incredible views of the surrounding area. We also ate homemade ice cream in a cute college town, and walked around MASS MoCa (which is also where the wedding took place). The wedding was for a friend I met in my MFA program, so it was also a perfect opportunity to hang out with my other MFA buds.

photo (1)
The view from Mount Greylock

To see what’s left on my list, click here. Several of these things are still in process so I’ll share a final recap after my birthday on the 24th!

Do you have any fun goals for this summer?

Ready. Set. Write! Update #4

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing challenge hosted by Jamie MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, and Alison Miller. For more info, click here! Each week, we give short updates on our goal progress.


How I did on last week’s goals

So…I didn’t complete last week’s goals. Between the long holiday weekend and a busy week leading up to it, I only revised one chapter, and I didn’t finish the memoir I’m reading as research. I’m not fretting over it – I enjoyed spending the long 4th of July weekend with my husband and friends, and now I’m recharged and ready to tackle my goals this week. The good news is I received really helpful notes from a few of my CPs on my first 3 chapters, and they’re enjoying the story so far. Yay!

My goal(s) for this week

  • Incorporate CP changes to first 3 chapters.
  • Revise 3 more chapters.
  • Finish that memoir!

Something I love about my WiP

I’m excited that my CPs like what they’ve read so far. They are the first ones to read this story, so I’m relieved and excited. Their notes are motivating me to keep going!

Have a good week!

Ready. Set. Write! Update #3

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing challenge hosted by Jamie MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, and Alison Miller. For more info, click here! Each week, we give short updates on our goal progress.


How I did on last week’s goals

  • Finish revising chapter 2 and revise chapter 3.
  • Send chapters 1-3 to my CPs for some initial feedback.
  • Keep revising chapters!

I completed everything! I sent off my first 3 chapters to my CPs because I’m itching for feedback, and I’m in the middle of revising chapter 4. This will be the first time anyone’s read from this manuscript, so I hope my CPs like it!

My goal(s) for this week

Revise at least 3 more chapters and finish the memoir I started reading as research for this manuscript.

One word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I’m making progress, bird by bird! I printed out my manuscript before starting this revision, so I’ve been revising each chapter by hand first. Then I transfer the changes to my Scrivener document, where I read it through and make more changes before moving onto the next chapter. This system has been working well for me so far.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Figuring out how to authentically portray a brain injury survivor (my main character’s mother). I’ve done a lot of research and talked to a psychologist friend, so I hope I can pull this off!

Something I love about my WiP

I’m enjoying exploring the relationship between my main character and her mother. Lots of feels, guys. Lots of feels.

Have a good week!

Happy Book Birthday to One, Two, Three… by Elodie Nowodazkij!

What’s that? Two posts in one day from me? I know, it’s rare these days, but it’s been a good week for YA Lit!

I’m back to spread the word about another YA debut – One, Two, Three… by Elodie Nowodazkij. Elodie and I have been writing friends for a while now and I’m so excited her book is finally out in the world. I had the chance to read an advanced copy and it’s such an emotional, powerful story! If you’re a fan of dance or romance, this one’s for you.


One, Two, Three… by Elodie Nowodazkij 
Publication date: June 26th 2014 
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult


When seventeen-year-old Natalya’s dreams of being a ballerina are killed in a car accident along with her father, she must choose: shut down—like her mother—or open up to love.

Last year, Natalya was attending the School of Performing Arts in New York City. Last year, she was well on her way to becoming a professional ballerina. Last year, her father was still alive.

But a car crash changed all that—and Natalya can’t stop blaming herself. Now, she goes to a regular high school in New Jersey; lives with her onetime prima ballerina, now alcoholic mother; and has no hope of a dance career.

At her new school, however, sexy soccer player Antonio sees a brighter future for Natalya, or at least a more pleasant present, and his patient charms eventually draw her out of her shell.

But when upsetting secrets come to light and Tonio’s own problems draw her in, Natalya shuts down again, this time turning to alcohol herself.

Can Natalya learn to trust Antonio before she loses him—and destroys herself?

Goodreads   |   Amazon    |   B&N


Teaser 3



Elodie Nowodazkij was raised in a tiny village in France, where she could always be found a book in hand. At nineteen, she moved to the US, where she learned she’d never lose her French accent. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Modern Language & Linguistics, and later earned master’s degrees in German Cultural Studies and European Studies. Unbeknownst to her professors, she sometimes drafted stories in class. Now she lives in Germany with her husband and their cat (who doesn’t seem to realize he’s not human), and uses her commuting time to write the stories swirling in her head. She’s also a serial smiley user.

Website   |   Twitter   |   Facebook   |    Newsletter Sign up


To celebrate her book launch, Elodie is giving away the following (open to US/CAN):

1 signed copy + $50 to either Amazon or B&N + $25 donation to the literacy project of their choice in

To enter, click here!

Congratulations, Elodie!!!

Thanks Giselle from Xpresso Book Tours for organizing this!

Celebrating BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler

This past Monday night, I went to Books of Wonder in NYC to celebrate Dahlia Adler‘s YA debut, BEHIND THE SCENES, which is out now from Spencer Hill Contemporary! I was  excited to be there, because Dahlia has been so supportive of my writing (ever since she was my Pitch Wars mentor a while back) so I was thrilled to be able to support her this time.


Before I gush about the book, let me talk about this fabulous launch party at Books of Wonder. Dahlia, looking as GORGEOUS as ever, read an excerpt from the book and answered audience questions, like who she’d cast in a movie version of BtS, and what her favorite scenes are. Then, Dahlia signed books and we ate the BEST book launch snacks I’ve ever seen. Guys, there were macarons! And not one, but TWO delicious cakes that her husband baked, one of which had the cover of her book, and the other had her first page. It was amazing. The best part is now I have my very own signed copy of BEHIND THE SCENES. I’ve started reading it and LOVE it so far!

BtS   BtS party


High school senior Ally Duncan’s best friend may be the Vanessa Park – star of TV’s hottest new teen drama – but Ally’s not interested in following in her BFF’s Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father’s mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van’s on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she’s capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can’t play by Hollywood’s rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

Goodreads   |   Amazon   |   B&N   |   The Book Depository   |   Indiebound


DahliaAdler (533x640)

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA writer and blogger at every spare moment in between.  She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves, and she’s represented by Lana Popovicat Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. You can find her on Twitter at @MissDahlELama and blogging at The Daily Dahlia, YA Misfits, and Barnes & Noble. She’s also a member of OneFourKidLit



Dahlia is hosting a “behind the scenes” blog hop! All week long, the YA Buccaneers have been sharing behind-the-scenes photos of our writing spaces–click here to view them all. Curious what my writing office looks like? It’s up today so check it out

Congratulations, Dahlia!!!


Ready. Set. Write! Update #2

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing challenge hosted by Jamie MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, and Alison Miller. For more info, click here! Each week, we give short updates on our goal progress.


How I did on last week’s goals

Earlier last week, I started feeling a bit overwhelmed by starting a revision from scratch. Even with the Revision Pyramid as my guide, I wasn’t sure where to begin! So I decided to take it “bird by bird” and start with chapter one. I reworked the first chapter and also started revising the second. I’m feeling much better about this revision!

My goal(s) for this week

  • Finish revising chapter 2 and revise chapter 3.
  • Send chapters 1-3 to my CPs for some initial feedback.
  • Keep revising chapters!

One word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised

I know first chapters are super-important so I spent a lot of time on mine, incorporating details and emotions that will hopefully grab my readers’ attention and make them want to read more.

The biggest challenge I faced this week

Initially, it was getting past feeling overwhelmed. But I quickly overcame it and ended the week on a good note.

Something I love about my WiP

I love my main character and her voice. It’s been really fun writing her!

Have a good week!

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge

This summer. the YA Buccaneers are hosting a Summer Reading Challenge! I want to read as much as possible this summer so I’m so excited to jump on board. The categories are below, and we’ll have until August 31 to complete as many of them as we can. If you’re interested, check out this post and let us know what’s on your TBR list.

reading challenge

I’ve already started reading a memoir, which is actually research for my current work-in-progress: He Never Liked Cake by Janna Leyde. It’s really good so far. I’m looking forward to stretching my reading muscles and reading outside my typical go-to genre this summer.

Also, check out the post I wrote over at The YA Buccaneers all about attending writing conferences. If you’re thinking of attending a conference, this post’s for you!

Learn the Ropes

Click the image to link to the post!

Happy Reading!

Happy Book Birthday to More Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs!

Today, I’m thrilled to help Elizabeth Briggs celebrate the book birthday for her debut Contemporary New Adult novel, MORE THAN MUSIC. Liz and I are friends through Twitter, and I’ve gotten the chance to hang out with her at a couple of SCBWI conferences. She’s such a sweet person and a talented writer. I’m so excited to read her book!

MtMMore Than Music by Elizabeth Briggs
(Chasing The Dream #1)
Publication date: June 17th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult


Music major Maddie Taylor seems to have her life all figured out. She’s just finished her junior year of college, has a summer internship lined up with the LA Philharmonic, and plans to go to grad school to write movie scores. Only her roommates know she practices guitar every night and secretly dreams of a louder life. But geeky girls like her don’t get to be rock stars.

Tattooed singer Jared Cross has a new girl every week, but when he catches Maddie playing one of his songs, she attracts his attention in an unexpected way. His band needs a fourth member for The Sound, a reality TV show competition—and he wants her. Though Maddie refuses to be another notch on Jared’s bedpost, she agrees to risk everything for the chance to be a rock star.

Once on the show, Maddie discovers there’s more to Jared behind his flirty smile, and with each performance their attraction becomes impossible to ignore. When the show pressures Jared to flaunt his player image, they’re forced to keep their relationship secret, but Maddie can’t help but want something real.

As the competition heats up, Jared will do whatever it takes for his band to win, and Maddie must decide if following her dream is worth losing her heart.

Add to Goodreads   |   Purchase on Amazon    |   Purchase on B&N


Teaser2.1  Teaser1.1


Elizabeth Briggs is a full-time geek who writes books for teens and adults. She plays the guitar, mentors at-risk teens, and volunteers with a dog rescue group. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and a pack of small, fluffy dogs.
Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Goodreads


To celebrate her book launch, Elizabeth is giving away the following (open internationally):

1) signed paperback of MORE THAN MUSIC + bookmarks
1) paperback copy of FIFTY FIRST TIMES: A New Adult Anthology

To enter, click here!

Congratulations, Liz!!!

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.



Follow me on Twitter


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 885 other followers

%d bloggers like this: