Friday Five

Friday Four (3/20/15)

1. It's been a long time since I've done one of these. There have been changes in my life which have kept me busy and away from the blog. The most notable of which is that I'm graduating college! May 8th is just around the corner and I've been scrambling to make sure I have everything I need to get that piece of paper.

2. After that... I'm heading to grad school. Yes, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around it, too. I'd briefly entertained the notion that I was done with classrooms and assignments, at least for a long time. But then I was accepted in Hamline University and offered a scholarship, which was too amazing of an opportunity to turn down. So in June I'm heading to the big city! It's exciting and terrifying.

3. Despite all the insanity, there has been some writing, as well. My middle-grade debut THE LONELY ONES is nearly complete and about to go into copy edits. I was actually given a release date this week, which is April 26th, 2016! While this may seem like an insanely long wait, I know it's going to be on me before I can blink. That's how life seems to work these days. I also have a young adult suspense coming out. Don't have much information to share just yet, but feel free to add it on Goodreads.

4. This may not seem like a big deal to some, but I feel it's substantial enough to note here. Which is that my hair is gone. I was always the girl with the long brown hair, but this week I went into a salon and had my stylist chop off ten inches and donate it. While I do keep reaching for it and find myself clutching at air, it was worth it. This video reminded me of that when I started to feel wistful. And the thing to remember is that hair grows back.

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Five (8/8/14)

1. WHERE SILENCE GATHERS has been out for a month now. It's strange to think about. So much of being an author is waiting, circling a certain date and watching the days crawl toward it. When you actually reach that day and everything you've been waiting for happens, it's hard to let go and move on to other things. But that's what I'm doing. I hope you enjoy Alex's story, guys, and I want to thank those of you who've offered support and encouragement. I couldn't do this without you.

2. Speaking of doing other things, I've been getting one question a lot lately. What are you working on? Just in case you missed the announcement, I do have another book coming out. Granted, it's not for another year and a half, but we all know that time always moves faster than we expect it to. This book will be my middle-grade debut, and it's coming from Philomel (an imprint of Penguin). I'm so excited to explore this genre. Don't worry, though! I'm always working on a young adult manuscript, whatever else is on my plate.

3. I had a birthday this summer. And I'd like to thank Taylor Swift for releasing a song that people automatically sing every time they hear how old I am, ensuring that it's the only thing I'm able to sing for the rest of the day. I probably mumble it in my sleep. How sad is it that I had a panic attack when I realized another year had gone by? There's just so much left on my list. I still need to go skydiving, travel to Europe, learn another language, audition for a movie, participate in a poetry reading... Here's to hoping twenty-three is slower in coming. What's on your list, guys?

4. If you're a writer looking for inspiration, I'd suggest moving into a house with roommates. It's extremely entertaining and there's always something happening. At least there is where I live. In the brief time we've been in this little green house, I've witnessed fights and proposals and so much else. I accept that this is where I'm at in life right now, but I do look forward to the time when everything is quiet again, and it's just me and the dogs. I think they're pretty exhausted, too:

5. School starts in two weeks. It's hard to believe. At this point last year I was convinced I'd be somewhere else in the world, doing something besides homework and studying. But then I discovered that I was just a few credits away from a second degree. And since the school I'm at is one of the few that offers this particular program, I thought, Why not? So I'll be in Minnesota for one more year, and hopefully at the end of it I'll walk away with my degrees in hand.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday Five (5/16/14)

1. This blog has been pretty inactive the past few months, to say the least. But now that I'm officially graduated, I'm hoping that will change. Oh, do you like how I just casually slid that in there? Because I'm still so excited that I managed to pull it off. All the work, all the sweat, all the tears! It was worth it, because now I have an English degree to show for it. Of course, there's still a lot of school ahead - I'm a masochist like that - but this is a huge victory for both myself and my family. The fact that I messed up twice during the ceremony barely fazed me.

2. Moving sucks. Right now my tiny apartment is full of big boxes. It's amazing how much crap I managed to accumulate in two years. Most of it I'm selling or donating. Where am I moving, you ask? Just to another place in town, only this one will be full of roommates. I thought about vowing to buy less books so I wouldn't have to buy Ramen Noodles or share a place with anyone else, but who am I kidding? Hopefully that shiny new degree will help soon.

3. Over the summer, I'm working at a restaurant as a server. I have no prior experience in this setting, so it's been interesting, to say the least. I've only messed up about three hundred and twenty-nine times. Anyone who thinks serving is oh-so-easy, I welcome you to try it for a day. At least I haven't dropped a giant tray of food... yet.

4. TV shows have been wrapping up. This year I watched The Originals, Nashville, and The Big Bang Theory. Either I'm way too easy to please, or there are just some excellent writers working in television. I will admit to getting teary-eyed at least once. Also, who's keeping up with Game of Thrones? No spoilers, but Peter Dinklage deserves an Emmy for his performance this week. 

5. This past month I learned just how much I love my dogs. Dawson got... a couple of things removed. He was sent home with a cone and some painkillers. And my puppy proved that he was able to contort his body in such a way that he could still lick the stitches, because a couple days later there was an infection. After another trip to the vet, he was sent home again, this time with antibiotics and a bigger cone. I was cautioned to make him rest, and Dawson is determined to run and jump and play and make me have an ulcer. Seriously, if he wasn't so cute...

Friday Four (2/7/14)

1. Well, Where Silence Gathers is up on Netgalley, which means that it is officially exists outside of my laptop. This is nerve-wracking on so many levels. For the past year I've seen two words a lot around the blogosphere: sophomore slump. Or maybe I noticed it more because it's become a fear for me. I just keep telling myself that I'm proud of this book, and I did the best job I could. Which is all any writer can do, right? So, though it's very different from Some Quiet Place, I hope Alex's story will resonate with many readers.
2. I learned a very important lesson this month: I am addicted to my cell phone. See, the one I had broke beyond all repair, and I was forced to order a new one. It took a week to arrive, and in that time I had nothing else to use for my texting or obsessively-tweeting needs. And in that time I can't count how many times I reached to check my phone... only to discover my fingers were closing around empty air. I realized that I am on it constantly. Frankly, I was a little annoyed with myself. So I've made a vow to be on the phone less, and in the moment more.
3. In between work and school, I've been working on a new YA novel. Right now it's at 33,000 words - yes, the dreaded middle - and I'm still in love with it. Which means that it will probably end up in the "Finished" folder on my computer. Since I've been getting some curious tweets about it, I thought I would share that the tentative title is Under and my agent has called it "bizarre" and "intriguing". And for someone who didn't bat an eyelash when I sent her a book about personified emotions, you know it must be true. There are no guarantees that it will ever see the light of day, but right now, the fun I'm having with it is all that matters. What are you working on?
4. I've always adored E.E. Cummings, and recently I bought a volume containing some of his most well-known work. Sadly, it didn't have my favorite poem, which is I Carry Your Heart With Me. Which isn't supposed to be capitalized, but the English major in me just can't bear to spell it out the way it should be. Anyway, if you haven't heard of Cummings or read his work, I really hope you find it as special as I do.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday Five (12/27/13)

1. So the fall semester is  officially over. Remember all that whining I did, both on the blog and Twitter? Well, it actually paid off. The work, I mean, not the whining of it. Although that probably helped me stay sane. The proof (which is quite historic, I must say):

2. How was your Christmas? Mine was interesting, to say the least. I was nearly to my grandparents' house when my car broke down. Since all the shops were closed, I had to wait to find out what had gone wrong. The prognosis? She may or may not be permanently dead. Thankfully I have an amazing family who helped me out, which is probably why I keep dedicating my books to them. Anyway, here's to hoping that my old Buick still has some miles in her!
3. So I've had the new puppy for a month and a half now, and I don't know why I thought it would be as easy as raising Lewis. Every dog is different, and somehow I forgot that. Dawson is... a challenge, to say the least. He fights any kind of training, no matter how I reinforce it. One of my regulars at the coffee shop claims it's because of his terrier side. And he certainly is a terror. It helps that he's cute, though. Send positive thoughts our way!

4. Now that I've actually had some time for myself, I've been a writing machine. I've finished one manuscript and made great progress on another, and I really hope that you'll be able to read them someday. Only time will tell! How is your work coming along?

5. Now that graduation is drawing nearer and nearer, I keep thinking about how terrifying the future is. Where will I end up? What will I be doing? What if something goes wrong? It's something everyone experiences at one time or another, whether it's at the end of high school, college, or later in life. The fear and the struggle is what so many write about. So I've found it helps, when I'm in the middle of a panic attack, to think about all the fodder I now have for stories. What are your methods?
Have a great week, and Happy New Year!

Friday Five (12/6/13)

1. Finals are approaching, and all I can think about these days are essays and multiple-choice questions. It's hard to believe that in just five months, I'll be finished with my undergrad. How are things going for you guys? Are you wondering what on earth you were thinking when you decided to embark on this insane adventure called education? This Thanksgiving I told myself to be grateful for it. Maybe I should tattoo it on my arm or something so it's harder to forget.
2. Speaking of Thanksgiving, mine was more interesting than last year's. Not because of the food (which was delicious) or because of the people (who were fabulous), but because of a tiny surprise that wound up in my life. Everyone, meet the newest member of my little family, Dawson Sutton:

3. This month I woke up to some amazing news. SOME QUIET PLACE was named a Best Teen Book of 2013 by Kirkus Reviews. I'm still stunned and humbled and ecstatic, especially considering the company I'm keeping on the rest of the list. Two titles I would highly recommend are THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN by Holly Black and ALL THE TRUTH THAT'S IN ME by Julie Berry.

4. It's a time for firsts. I recently went to my first roller derby bout. Wow, what an entertaining sport! Those girls are colorful and tough, and I don't know if I would have their mettle on the track. And they do all that shoving and skating in stylish outfits. Plus, the names. How fun are the names? I would want to do a play on one of my favorite author's names, like Charlotte Gruntë or Pain Austen. Yeah, those are horrible. I'm sorry I made you read that.

5. I feel like I should mention something writerly here but the truth is, there isn't much to say in that department right now. Promotion for SOME QUIET PLACE has come to a close, and I've been so consumed by work and school and puppies that I haven't had a chance to attempt NaNoWriMo or even write something at my own pace. Hopefully over Christmas break. Then you can watch me whine about it on Twitter.

Friday Five (10/4/2013)

1. It's the beginning of October somehow and I'm writing this blog post from a brand-new laptop. I woke up one morning, intending to print off an essay that was due and maybe write a bit before class... and my trusty old Betsy (yes, I named my Dell Betsy) wouldn't turn on. I rushed it to the computer doctor, and he told me that there would be no reviving the old girl. So here I am, with a fancy touch-screen contraption that I'm scared of and slightly excited about and more than a little resentful towards. This computer feels like a... Philip. I don't know why. Here's to a long and fruitful relationship, Philip.
2. NaNoWriMo. Come on, you know I had to bring it up. November is right around the corner and the time is coming when we all disregard inconsequential things like hygiene and food for the sake of pounding out 50,000 words in thirty days. I'm definitely going to try again, "try" being the key word as I've never actually succeeded at this. Anyone else planning on being crazy with me this year?
3. I've actually been reading lately, and I've stumbled across some great ones. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. So sweet and funny and painful. I loved it so much that I went out and bought Rainbow's next book, Fangirl. I also just consumed Poison Princess by Kresley Cole. This one made me nervous, because I couldn't get into it right away. But about halfway though, guys, the story picks up and it's just addicting. Last but not least, I finished Wild Awake by Hilary Smith. This book was, in a word, crazy. It truly felt like I was unraveling with the main character. It's so beautifully written and I loved it. What have you been reading?
4. There are so many good things on TV this fall. Someone should come and take my cable away so I actually get things done. Hello, New Girl and Scandal and Vampire Diaries and Nashville. I love-hate you all. Anyone else watching with me?
5. My great-grandfather passed away yesterday morning. He was 104 years old. It's strange to think of a world without him in it, and I know that this Thanksgiving I'll keep looking at his empty chair in the living room and feel that pang. I'll never forget Elmer Sutton and he will be so, so missed.
Hope you have a great week, guys.

Friday Five (9/6/2013)

1. School is in full swing, which for me, means less time writing fun things like books and blog posts and more time writing essays. And strangely enough, I'm loving it. Which is probably why I'm going to keep putting myself through this madness for another two years and get a Master's degree. Although I don't know where I'll end up, part of me is thinking about staying right where I am, with this beautiful campus and quirky professors and fellow odd English majors. Even though I complain about the load a lot, I'm so grateful for all of it. How is school going for you guys?

2. I recently flew to Virginia to visit one of my best friends. It was an eye-opening experience for me, because I thought the people from my state were the nice ones. After all, there is the phrase "Minnesota nice", right? But during this visit, I came to realize that us Northerners are much more reserved than I thought. Strangers hugged me, and started up real conversations with me, and genuinely cared about who I was. Though I thought it was cool, I was unsettled. I wasn't used to so much touching and talking! Maybe this is just me, and my town, but I don't think so. We should take a page from the South's book. 

3. Something strange has been happening. There was a point - not too long ago - that all I wanted to read was young adult. I know the authors and titles and shelves better than I know the menu at Caribou Coffee, and if a customer asked me a question about another section in the bookstore, I had to research the answer rather than knowing it immediately. But now... I've been reading adult books. I know! Shocking. Of course, I had to read classics and non-fiction for school. It was just never something I read for fun. Lately I've drifted over to those books, though, and I have some new recommendations for you. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Both are extremely romantic and exciting and just addicting. After I'm done with this blog post I'm going to dive back into the latest, The Snow Child by  Eowyn Ivey. What are you reading?

4. The Some Quiet Place blog tour ended last month, and the dust has begun to settle from all the debut craziness. I'd like to once again thank all the blogs involved, posting and tweeting and reviewing the book. I'd also like to heap gratitude on the readers who picked it up in a bookstore and proceeded to express their enthusiasm for the world to see. It's been an incredible experience, and it wouldn't be without all of you.

5. If you're in the mood to laugh, and you're bored one night, you should probably go see We're the Millers. We laughed so hard we almost choked on the ice cream we'd snuck in. I mean... the popcorn we bought. 

Have a good week, you guys!

Friday Five (8/2/2013)

1. In case you missed all the Twitter excitement, my next book has a title! WHERE SILENCE GATHERS. It took a very, very long time to come up with this one. I probably tried and tossed dozens of ideas. There were countless e-mails exchanged between me, my agent, my editor, and my critique partners in the relentless pursuit. The second-to-last suggestion had the words where and gathers in it, and Brian came up with silence. It just fit, and I'm so happy and relieved we finally found the dang thing. What do you think?

2. I turned twenty-one a few days ago. I didn't do anything too crazy - had a few drinks and laughs with some friends - but I did get this. It's for my cousin Jamie, who died of leukemia when she was twelve years old. As far as tattoos go, I think this is something I will never regret doing. 

3. In other news, SOME QUIET PLACE was nominated for a 2014 BFYA award. Like how I said that so casually? Because, uh, I'm kind of still freaking out about it. This is surreal and incredible and it's completely an honor to be nominated for something like this. And the company I'm keeping on the list has me in awe. I keep thinking, Did someone make a mistake? There's no way my name can be on the same list as Gayle Foreman, is there? But they haven't e-mailed me yet with a "Just kidding" so it must be legit! So, so amazing.

4. School starts in twenty-four days. How on earth did that happen? Where did the summer go? I know I say this every year, but somehow it keeps surprising me, how fast the months go by. It's kind of terrifying, actually. It was an incredible summer, all things considered. BEA and New York, my first book was officially released, I got a job at a book store, I turned twenty-one, got a tattoo, and I finished my next book. How was your summer? 

5. Out of all the exciting news and developments, this is probably one that is towards the top of the list. Ridiculous and frivolous, perhaps, but I haven't had a writing desk for over a year. But two days ago, a friend and me were walking past an antique shop, and this was sitting on the sidewalk. It's old, it's scuffed and tiny, and I loved it. They asked for $35.00, which I gladly paid. And I'm not the only one happy with this purchase, I think. 

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Five (7/12/2013)

1. I have a signing tonight! If there are any fellow Minnesotans, come find me in St. Paul at 6:30 in the Red Balloon Bookshop. There will be goodies, and I'll be doing a reading. Which I'm not nervous for at all. Why, do I seem nervous? Because I'm not.

2. The official release date for SOME QUIET PLACE was this week. It has been an amazing experience so far. The responses to the book have been so overwhelming and touching. Tweets, e-mails, reviews, pictures, discussions. The blog tour is also going strong, and there is a giveaway on each post. If you haven't read the book yet, enter for a chance to win! And thank you, guys. For making all the work and the stress completely worth it. The dream wasn't publication... it was you.

3. I took a second job. This may seem insane, considering I already have one and I'm going to be taking eighteen credits in the fall, but I couldn't resist. It's at a bookstore. A bookstore. Enough said, right? And I'm learning so much about genres besides young adult. I'm also learning which books are selling the most. Inferno by Dan Brown, for example, is flying off the shelves. So is One Summer by David Baldacci. It's definitely been interesting to see what people want to read.

4. Today I was struck by how awesome critique partners are. One of mine is Stefanie Gaither, author of upcoming FALLS THE SHADOW from Simon & Schuster. Not only do they help you make your work better, but they also talk you off ledges when the time calls for it. If you have yet to find that special someone that makes your heart go pitter-patter and your manuscript quiver in anticipation, here's where Stef and I met a couple years ago. We've never looked back.

5. I have a secret goal I've never told anyone about. Someday, when I'm so independent I can take care of myself in every way, I'd like to move to the mountains and become one of those writers who doesn't venture into civilization or do anything but, well, write. But that's a long ways away yet, because for me, that independence requires being able to fix my own car, to kick an intruder's butt, to grow food, and do my own plumbing. The reason I bring this up is because I am one step closer, considering I fixed my own shower drain this week. Whoo-hoo!

Have a great week, everyone!

Friday Five (6/7/2013)

1. SOME QUIET PLACE is out in the world, despite the July release date. Kindle version, too. Because we printed copies so early in order to have them at BEA, they were sent to retailers early, as well. So if you're been itching to read it, you should be able to find it at your closest Barnes & Noble. And if you order online, it will be shipped right away. What is the significance of July 8th, then? Well, the launch party is scheduled for July 12th at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul. 6:30 p.m. There will be cake. I really hope to see you there!

2. There are going to be some changes on this blog. I think from here on out, the posts are going to mainly be announcements and Friday ramblings. The nature of my posts has never really been organized or defined, but I have so many commitments now that I won't be able to do the writing-related topics anymore. But I don't feel too bad about it, since there are so many resources - better resources, let's be honest - out there about querying, publishing, and the like. I'll still be posting on The Secret Life of Writers, though.

3. I did go to BEA this year, and it was an amazing experience. (Sorry about my signature, by the way.) Besides meeting so many sweet and enthusiastic bloggers and readers, I also got to do some squealing of my own. My agent and I were in the back room, and I spotted Sarah Dessen. Those of you who follow me know that I kind of adore her books. So I urgently tapped Beth on the shoulder and hissed, "That's Sarah Dessen! Can you introduce me?" We went over there, and I shook hands with her, and then heard myself blurt, "I'm your biggest fan!" Yeah. That happened. But I am not even that embarrassed or ashamed. Because, dude, I met Sarah Dessen.

4. New York City. It is a crazy place. I spent so much money and ate so much food that when I get home I'll be overweight and broke. I've always contemplated living here, finding a job among the glistening buildings and stained streets and sidewalks, but after this trip? I think I'll find a place outside the city. Don't get me wrong, I had so much fun and I'm still listening to the Wicked soundtrack. I just don't think I have the energy for it.

5. My deadline for my second book is rapidly approaching, so I may disappear again. So sorry for the spotty blogging. But the blog tour for SOME QUIET PLACE begins on July 1st! You'll be seeing so much of me you'll wish I would go back into hiding. Also, look for a giveaway on the blog soon. I may or may not be giving away two copies of the book...

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday Five (4/26/2013)

1. I have been on an internet hiatus for the past week - and not doing a very good job of it, I might add - but I thought I would come back on this lovely Friday to give my brain a break from all the studying. If you are somehow not aware (although I don't know how you could miss it, considering all the college kids posting about their brains turning to goo) finals are coming up. I am not at all prepared. It's going to be a rough week this semester. Wish me luck, and I can't wait to return to Twitter and Facebook. Albeit distracting, you guys keep me sane. 

2. There has been official confirmation that I will be at BEA! Come find me at the Flux booth on June 1st. I don't know the exact time yet, but I do know what I will be wearing. (Green dress. How fun is that?) Can't wait to meet some of you!

3. The transition from winter to spring is always difficult. For one, the weather messes with your head. It makes you think that winter is definitely behind you, but then... "Haha! Fooled you! Let it snow." Like, one day it was forty and beautiful, and later that night I opened the door to my apartment and blinked. My car had been buried in a blizzard without my realizing. Spring? Yeah, right. We're never going to see that season again. Also, this is the time when everyone gets sick. And I mean everyone. I was down and out for an entire week. In class, the lecture is drowned out by all the coughing and sneezing and sniffling. Spring, please. Just come.

4. If you've followed this blog for a while, you know that I've preached about making time for writing, if it is so important to you. Well, I've taken my own advice. In the midst of a time when I'm drowning in textbooks and to-do lists, I have found a not-so-ideal time to get that writing done. (And I really, really hope my professors don't read this.) Yes, sometimes I write during class. Kids, do as I say, not as I do. Maybe this is why I am having so much trouble retaining information. Hmmm, you think, Kelsey? Sigh. The perils of trying to do this college and writing thing at the same time.

5. Books and TV. I always read a few pages or watch a few minutes between the cramming and essay-composing. Can we talk about how creepy and awesome Hannibal is?  Or how much reading I'm going to do this summer, when all these 2013 debuts are released? (Oh, right, one of those will be mine...)

Friday Five (4/5/2013)

1. I've been getting a lot of questions about foreign rights lately. French rights, in particular. Unfortunately, there haven't been any sales outside the U.S., but we're working on it! Thank you so much for asking. It's amazing to me that so many people want to get their hands on SOME QUIET PLACE.

2. There have also been e-mails asking about ARCs and free swag, neither of which I have in my possession. ARCs are a possibility, though. Check out my Contact page for more information on this. In regards to swag, there might be some in the future. How awesome would it be to see Fear's face on a bookmark? In fact, a reviewer made this awesome banner. It almost made me cry:

3. Someone asked me what the meaning/reasoning is behind the title. Well, you'll see one of the characters actually say 'some quiet place' towards the end of the book. I don't want to give anything away, though, so you'll have to read it!

4. Colds suck. That is all.

5. Saw The Host recently. Those of you who follow me on various social media sites know that it's one of my absolute favorite books. So imagine my excitement to see the movie. (Be warned, there are spoilers ahead.) I went in with such high expectations... which is maybe why it was such a disappointment. Scenes that weren't cheesy in the book were suddenly cringe-worthy on the screen. Saroise Ronan was fabulous, but there were so many inconsistencies in the plot and making that I couldn't really enjoy it. (Like Wanderer walking through the desert in heels? Really?) And we didn't see enough character development, so when everyone was so upset about Wanda leaving it didn't really ring true. Anyway, I don't want to ruin everything for you, so I'll end this rant. Maybe it'll grow on me next time I watch it.

Have a great week!

Friday Five (3/29/13)

1. I think my public speaking skills are improving, slowly but surely. Today I had to give two presentations, and somehow I managed to make people laugh. Granted, I don't think it was on purpose, but at least they weren't yawning. How does this affect you? Well, if you ever come to one of my signings in the future, I won't be stuttering or trembling. Hopefully. I might even have a cohesive conversation with you. Maybe.

2. Cats. They're arrogant, they're volatile, and yet we still love them.

(This is Clark. If you can't tell, he's ashamed of himself. That will last about six more seconds.)

3. I'm just going to say it. Credit cards are dangerous. This week I decided to take a trip to the bookstore. "One book," I said to myself. "I'll just let myself buy one book." There are so many new releases I've been missing out on because I was on this whole saving money kick. Well, that phase of my life is officially over. How many books did I leave that store with? Not one. Not two. Not three. No, I left with eight shiny books. Some people buy alcohol, some buy crack. My weakness is books. Yes, I have a problem. Yes, I am aware of it. My intervention is on Sunday. It's Easter, so my family thought it was fitting. If anyone can save me, it's Jesus. 

4. Game of Secrets is still going on, guys! We want entries, we want participation, we want to give these dang prizes to someone! So come on. Go on over to the post, see what the fuss is all about, and get involved. Am I being pushy? I am. Sorry about that. Just do it.

5. Oh, and on the subject of entries, and don't forget to check out my 700 Followers Giveaway. There are some pretty drool-worthy titles to win. Ends on April 20th, open to U.S. and Canada.

Friday Five (3/15/13)

1. First off, if you somehow missed my obnoxious announcements on Twitter (sorry about that), Some Quiet Place is now available on NetGalley. I don't decide whose requests are granted, because I'm so excited that I would probably give it to everyone. Which probably wouldn't be good. But if you're a blogger, it doesn't hurt to ask, right? And have I mentioned how exciting I find this? I have? Sorry about that. Again. 

2. A Game of Secrets is still going on! We would love for everyone to get involved, so check it out if you haven't already. There is writing and there are prizes. What more could anyone ask for? Chocolate, you say? Well, you might lose your appetite after you read this murder mystery, so maybe it's for the best that it isn't one of the prizes. But there are mustache-themed things. Enough said.

3. It was spring break this past week, which means that I've neglected to do anything school-related and instead threw myself into reading and writing books. Amazing things I read include titles like Boundless by Cynthia Hand, the last in this trilogy. All I will say is that I did cry, I did laugh, and I did feel satisfaction with how it ended. If you haven't inhaled Unearthly yet, what are you waiting for? I also finished Crewel by Gennifer Albin. Basically I started it in the afternoon when it was bright outside, and when I turned the last page it had somehow become night. That is all. 

4. Spiders. Random, yes, but now that it's getting warm again, they've come back. To haunt me, to frighten me, to scare years off my life when I get into the shower and there it is, just hanging out in the corner. And they're getting bigger. I find it mildly concerning that every time I let out a bloodcurdling scream, none of my neighbors come running. Maybe they've gotten used to it? Or maybe us Minnesotans aren't as nice as I once believed. Great. Let's just hope the zombie apocalypse doesn't really happen, because if it does I'm screwed.

5. I have fallen completely in love with Jennifer Lawrence. If her performances in The Hunger Games or Silver Linings Playbook didn't do it, this interview did:

Have a great week, you guys!

Friday Five (2/15/13)

1. As you can probably tell from the sparse posts this month, I'm hard at work on the new book. Unfortunately, this means that I will probably continue to be a horrid blogger. But on the plus side, it also means I'll have another book out one day! So maybe you'll forgive me for the radio silence? 

2. Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you had a romantic time with your special someone. I didn't exactly do much, because it might be weird if I took my dog out to a fancy restaurant and was all, "Can we see the wine list?" But I still had a good time staying in, eating chocolate, and watching The Vampire Diaries.

3. Which leads me to, well, The Vampire Diaries. Can we please talk about how "eh" this season is? Up until now, I thought the show would never disappoint... but it's actually getting there. Some of the story lines are just too out there - even for a show about the undead - and I just can't get behind the direction they're taking some of the characters. You know how there's a writing rule about needing a main character the reader will want to follow, to support? Someone they're willing to invest themselves in? That applies here, too. And Elena is just plain annoying right now. I'm still holding out hope, though. One word: Damon.

4. Has anyone read Shakespeare's Henry IV or Henry V? Or The Sun Also Rises? Or dozens of other short stories and poems I'm struggling to read in order to keep up with my classes? Okay, good. Then you come to Minnesota, go to class, and be me. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

5. Warm Bodies. Saw it this week, and though the movie wasn't perfect (there were tons of inconsistencies in the plot) it was adorable and entertaining. You should probably go see it. "Don't be creepy, don't be creepy..."

Friday Five (1/11/13)

1. School starts again in two days. My senior year of college. One question: how? How did my break just disappear? Then again, how did all these years disappear? Not that I'm not excited to get that much closer to obtaining my degree, but it's always tough to balance everything. Wish me luck, and if you're a student, good luck in your own intellectual endeavors!

2. Titles. My new writerly enemy. I think I just got lucky with Some Quiet Place, because everything else I've been coming up with for other projects is just yuck. I think it's harder than writing the actual book! Sigh. How do you pick your titles? 

3. In past years, my New Year's resolution has been pretty typical: to lose weight. Me and the rest of the world, right? But 2013 is going to be different. I did make some writing-related resolutions, but another one I made was to... wait for it... actually be happy with my body image. To look in the  mirror and be like, "Hey, I'm okay with this. I have nothing to be ashamed of." Having established a habit of saying everything besides this to my reflection, it's going to be a challenge. Who wants to work on it with me?

4. Parenthood. I am addicted. I was bored one night, and there are three seasons on Netflix, so I decided to give it a try. Usually with shows I watch one episode and judge it from that. After all, the pilot sets the standard, right? So I sat back and watched it. And then I clicked on the next episode. And the next. And the next. Long story short, I started season one just before Christmas, and I'm nearly done with season three. It's a contemporary-type story, very character-driven, and the dialogue and these people are just so intriguing. I can't get enough, and this is coming from someone who is obsessed with The Vampire Diaries. Enough said.

5. I recently told you guys about my poor kitty, who injured his tail and wasn't doing so good handling it. I'm happy to report that Clark is back to normal, begging me for food and attention and getting fat in general. Now that he's off the pain medication he once again feels the need to knead my face and lay right on my hands when I'm trying to write. Sigh. Cats.

Friday Five (12/28/12)

1. This will be my last post of 2012. It was, all in all, a pretty good year. Of course there were ups and downs, but this was the one that the big dream came true. So I can't complain, right? 2013 is going to be even better. I'll be graduating with my four-year degree, SOME QUIET PLACE will hit shelves, and many other fabulous debuts that I can't wait to read! What are you looking forward to? How was your year?

2. My poor kitty bruised his tail muscle recently. I guess it's something that can be just as painful as a sprain or break, because Clark isn't doing much eating or moving. He does come alive during our daily battles to get him to take his pain meds, though.

3. It's Christmas break, thus no school. I've been doing a ton of reading. Good books I finished lately are Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara, What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen, The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd, and Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers. And there are a ton of others I can't wait to get to. What have you read recently?

4. Of course we have to discuss Christmas gifts. I'm so blessed, I feel guilty for even talking about it sometimes. But I have to brag about my coolest present this year. Ready? Drum roll... a tool set. Yes, you read that right. It's pink. A pink tool set. I can now die happy. What was your favorite?

5. Samplers of SOME QUIET PLACE just arrived for the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle! Aren't they just so pretty? I don't think I'll be there, but those of you who will, pet these for me, will you?

Friday Five (12/7/2012)

1. Finals week. Those two disgusting little words are the reason why I haven't posted anything new lately. 

2. My first-ever review appeared on Goodreads. It was an amazing experience, seeing and reading it. Nonetheless, I have made the vow to - when the book is actually out - avoid this website. Authors are always saying it's a bad idea to keep track of your reviews, good or bad. If you keep getting positive reviews you'll feel the pressure to write another book just as amazing (which we feel anyway) and if the reviews are consistently bad... well, we're a bunch with low self-esteem as it is. You get the idea. We'll see how my self-control does when July rolls around. After all, I made the vow last week to stop eating cheese, and I just went through an entire block of it. So... yeah.

3. Christmas is coming! Anyone got any big plans? Any cool gift ideas? I really, really wish I could cheat and just give my entire family an ARC of Some Quiet Place. Alas, they have not been printed yet. So I'll probably actually go out and get their presents. Something meaningful, like... shaving cream. I don't know. Leave me alone. I'm creative on paper, and that's about it.

4. Since the cover reveal, there have been a lot of new people stopping by the blog. I just want to say "hi" and warn you guys that this blog can be a bucket of crazy. I mean, there are occasional sort-of-helpful posts, but I mostly babble about cheese (as evidenced in this post). You have now been officially warned.

5. Isn't my dog just so silly?

Friday Five (11/23/12)

1. It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I am still reluctant to put on non-stretchy pants. Needless to say, it was a fantastic day. Lewis even got some turkey out of it, lucky dog. Clarke just gave it a disdainful sniff. He is a cat, after all. Anyway, I hope the rest of you had a fantastic 22nd. It's always a good reminder to remember the good things in our lives. Like family, and food. Those are the big ones, I think!

2. I'm sad to report that NaNoWriMo did not happen for me this year. Too much was going on with work and school. Not to mention that I had just finished a new manuscript at the end of October, so I was deep in revisions for that. Maybe next year. But I hope those of you who stayed strong are kicking writerly butt!

3. I went and saw Breaking Dawn this past weekend. Now, please don't hate me, but up until this point I really just found the movies cringe-worthy. There were good moments, of course. Don't get me wrong. I just had to giggle during some of the scenes that were supposed to be serious. So when I settled back in the chair for Part Two, I was expecting more of the same. Except... it didn't happen. People, this is a good movie. The best out of all of them, in my opinion. I laughed, I cried, I stared, and during one scene that I won't spoil for you, I think my mouth actually fell open. So go see it. That's my advice.

4. A few days ago I came home to find some surprise packages on my doorstep. All from different people and publishers, all containing beautiful ARCs that I've been lusting after. It was like they all conspired to send everything at once, so that horrible day would have no choice but to improve. Basically, I've been reading nonstop since then. If you guys are looking for books to add to your 2013 to-read list, I insist you check out Megan Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter. It was so amazing I finished it in one day. My review is on that page, so if you really want to hear me fan-girl some more, you can have your fill.

5. Finally, I wanted to thank everyone who took part in the Some Quiet Place cover reveal. It was an incredible day full of supportive blog posts, tweets, and e-mails. Gabrielle (Mod Podge Bookshelf) and me were hoping for 500 entries in the giveaway, and now there are well over 1,800. Um, yeah. You guys are just amazing. As thanks, we're adding one more pre-order to the giveaway, so now there will be two winners! You can put your name in the form every day, so don't forget to stop by.