Fright Before Christmas

FrightBeforeChristmasCoverLeap Books (who published the BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT anthology) (shameless plug), has just released a brand new anthology of middle grade holiday horror stories! It’s so much fun, you guys.

Scroll down for a $10 Amazon gift card giveaway and to find out how you can win a copy of the anthology–but first, check out the blurb:

It’s the most wonderful time of year…or is it? 

Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they’re not the least bit jolly or merry. Let’s just say some presents are better left unopened.

‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters.Demons. And more! 

This Christmas, be careful what you wish for… 

Goodreads ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ iBooks ~ Leap Books

I’m lucky enough to feature an author whose story was one of my favorites in the collection: Dax Varley! Her story is called “Die, Nutcracker, Die!” and I buzzed through it so fast. High tension all the way through. Varley sets up the conflict right away and delivers a fantastically creepy tale of an antique Nutcracker out for blood.

Dax Varley Teaser

Dax Varley writes the kinds of stories and books she wishes were around when she was a kid. She’s author of Sleepy Hollow, Return to Sleepy Hollow, Bleed, and Nightmare House. Dax enjoys reading and writing horror and loves all the eerie bumps in the night.

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

And if creepy-eyed, violent nutcrackers are not your jam (though I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t be), there are twelve more stories in the anthology that will scare the socks off your inner twelve-year-old.

OK, on to the giveaways! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Fright Before Christmas  by Shannon Delany

Fright Before Christmas

by Shannon Delany

Giveaway ends December 05, 2015.

See the giveaway details

at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Rafflecopter giveaway!

Three Rules for Writing a Novel

Everything anyone can say about writing has already been said, it feels like, and all we have to do is Google.

Writing motivation! Quotes about writing! Writers’ favorite pie flavors! (Just me on that last one?) (Google search just talks about pies in general, not specific to famous writers.) (America’s favorite pie is apple, shocking twist, I know.)

Anyway, I just wrote 639 words, and it felt like a thousand. Five thousand, really. So I Googled and am now… inspired? I think?

enhanced-buzz-30593-1383089027-13

But I also found this motivational blog post, by Chuck Wendig, and re-read it for the third (fourth?) time. So not a total loss.

Book Challenge Update #3

Another brief update on where I’m at with my reading challenge for the year! (Because I know you were all holding your breath, waiting to know what I’ve been reading lately…)

1. A book with more than 500 pages

2. A classic romance

3. A book that became a movie

4. A book published this year – ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

5. A book with a number in the title – STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel

6. A book written by someone under 30 – HYPERBOLE AND A HALF by Allie Brosh 

7. A book with nonhuman characters – HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

8. A funny book – THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

9. A book by a female author – BRIGHT COIN MOON by Kirsten Lopresti

10. A mystery or thriller – TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton – sort of a ballet-inspired thriller, I think? I can’t tell. Seemed pretty thrilling to me! 

11. A book with a one-word title – US by David Nicholls

12. A book of short stories – BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT by Charlotte Bennardo, C. Lee McKenzie, David Turnbull, Christine Norris, Jacqueline Horsfall, Medeia Sharif, Laura Lascarso, Tom Luke, Jessica Bayliss, Crystal Schubert, Holly Odell, Jennifer Moore, and Liam Hogan (YES, this is the anthology that I was published in, BUT I read all the other stories so this totally counts–they’re all great, btw. Although I might be a little bit biased.)

13. A book set in a different country – WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

14. A nonfiction book – YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST) by Felicia Day. <3 <3 <3 <3

15. A popular author’s first book – I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder (at least, as far as I can tell this is her first novel)

16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell

17. A book a friend recommended – LIFE IN OUTER SPACE by Melissa Keil

18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

19. A book based on a true story – THE ROYAL WE by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list – RE-GIFTERS by Mike Carey, Marc Hempel, & Sonny Liew

21. A book your mom loves

22. A book that scares you

23. A book more than 100 years old

24. A book based entirely on its cover – USES FOR BOYS by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (though the cover did NOT seem to match the story…)

25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

26. A memoir – YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler

27. A book you can finish in a day – POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU, MY PRETTY by Christine Heppermann

28. A book with antonyms in the title

29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

30. A book that came out the year you were born

31. A book with bad reviews

32. A trilogy

33. A book from your childhood

34. A book with a love triangle – THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby (OK, stretching this one since one of the triangle members isn’t living, but I think it counts…)

35. A book set in the future – MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera (I think so? Right?)

36. A book set in high school – SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen

37. A book with a color in the title – THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds

38. A book that made you cry – I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

39. A book with magic – EVERY DAY by David Levithan (kind of? right?)

40. A graphic novel – PAGE BY PAIGE by Laura Lee Gulledge

41. A book by an author you’ve never read before – RACING HEARTS by Laura Lascarso

42. A book you own but have never read – CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers

43. A book that takes place in your hometown – P.S. I LOVE YOU by Jenny Han (technically not my original hometown, but this is set in Richmond, VA which is where I currently live and also where I spent my college years, so… it totally counts)

44. A book that was originally written in a different language

45. A book set during Christmas

46. A book written by an author with your same initials – WILD by Cheryl Strayed

47. A play

48. A banned book – SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers

49. A book based on or turned into a TV show – WHY NOT ME? by Mindy Kaling (This doesn’t really count, because it’s about her and not just The Mindy Project, but this is my list and I’m counting it.)

50. A book you started but never finished – FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund (WHYYYY did I stop reading this one?? It was fantastic!)

Books that I couldn’t even manage to force-fit into these categories, but I read anyway, because hey, reading is for fun and this list doesn’t own me:

DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier

KISSING TED CALLAHAN (AND OTHER BOYS) by Amy Spalding

AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes (& Joe Layden)

EMMY & OLIVER by Robin Benway

EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING by Nicola Yoon

RSW – Update #12

RSW2It’s the last day of Ready. Set. Write! (a summer writing intensive–more info here).

How I did on last week’s goals? I finished THE ROYAL WE (and then spent the requisite obnoxious amount of time looking at the evolution of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s relationship). And I got myself back into going to yoga class, which was sorely needed. Writing-wise, I didn’t get 5K written, but I got pretty close!

Overall Summer Goals? Back in June, I was battling ocular migraines several times a week, and basically freaking out about it all, so my goal was SUPER low: finish some of the draft for my current WIP, THE VAGABONDS. Obviously I met that extremely low bar, haha. Once I got my migraines a little more under control, I was able to get a lot more written than I thought I would! And I read some fantastic books and squeezed in a lot of yoga, too, so I consider this summer a win.

Since it’s the last day, I’m not going to go through all the headers, but I would like to say THANK YOU to everyone who stopped by with encouragement and kind words throughout the summer! 🙂 I enjoyed writing and goal-setting with you all!

I’m slightly sad that summer is ending… but SUPER EXCITED FOR FALL!!!!

How did your summer writing go?

RSW – Update #11

RSW2Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing intensive–more info here. For the next few months, I’ll be posting updates every Monday on my progress and weekly goals. Feel free to join the fun! 🙂

1.  How I did on last week’s goals. I finished reading TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (which was so good! Reminded me a lot of the scandals on Gossip Girl, and so obviously I loooved it), and I got to 5K on my WIP, but then I had to chop off several hundred words since they sort of veered off in the wrong direction. So, two steps forward, one step back kind of week. Did no yoga, so I’m a huge failure there, haha.

2.  My goal(s) for this week. This is the last week of RSW! Nooooooo! I’m going out with a goal of 5K words and finish reading THE ROYAL WE. Get myself to a yoga class, because clearly motivating myself to do the at home videos is NOT working! I suck at self-motivation for anything fitness related.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised. 

“One thing Flint has that I will never have is an accurate internal compass.” I like this because he means it directionally, but Flint has all kinds of working internal compasses that my MC does not.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write). I’ve been overzealously following the Pitch Wars feed, which is still super distracting, but really, I had a very busy week. There was a pool BBQ, two play dates, a friend’s kid’s birthday party, a doctor’s appointment, and a benefit event for a friend’s baby. Good think I found this list of the best smartwatches for my friend. He loved it! However my introvert side wants to spend this entire week hiding under my bed.

5.  Something I love about my WiP. I love that I finally feel like I know where the story is going. Sometimes going down the wrong path is the only way to discover the right one!

How’d your week go? 

RSW – Update #10

RSW2Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing intensive–more info here. For the next few months, I’ll be posting updates every Monday on my progress and weekly goals. Feel free to join the fun! 🙂

1.  How I did on last week’s goals. This last week was pretty productive! I made it to 4,000 words (though some of that was in my outline, which got some sorely needed improvement). I did barely any yoga, but since my goal was just to do ANY, I can say I met that goal, haha. I read a verse novel that wasn’t even in my goals list (I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder), and I started TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, but haven’t finished it yet.

2.  My goal(s) for this week. Since we’re entering the final weeks of RSW, I’m going to go big (for me) and set a goal of 5K words. ANY yoga. Finish TINY PRETTY THINGS.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised. 

I wrote some good new stuff, but the best word to sum up most of my writing this week is OUTLINING.

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write). More Pitch Wars stuff–stalking out mentors and making final revisions and submitting my work. Plus I kept accidentally staying up too late and making myself crazy tired the next day. I need to stop that.

5.  Something I love about my WiP. I love that, as I write, the main character is slowly becoming all these things I didn’t know he’d be. It’s fun when characters start to create themselves!

How’d your week go? 

‘Ello Pitch Wars 2015

200

A lot of people are doing mentee bios, and so I feel like I should do it, too, if only for an excuse to play around with GIFs. Um, so here’s me. Basically, I’m a socially awkward penguin. I have no idea how to behave in polite society, and you can usually find me with elbows propped on the dinner table, dropping food on my shirt, and not knowing what to say to anyone.

Socially-Awkward-Penguin-03I live in Richmond, VA, but my heart is split between here and Seattle, WA.

I have a son, and he is the most adorable tiny human on the planet.* If you decide to mentor me, you can have him.**

In my About tab, you can see my publishing credits. Also, for a while before my son came along, I worked as a freelance business writer and, as a result, I’m great at taking criticism about my writing, whether or not it’s in a compliment sandwich. Revision is HARD, but I love how I feel once it’s all done.

Some boring things about me: I am diligent, hardworking, and (mostly) optimistic.

Potentially less boring things, depending on your level of interest:

1. I’ve been to 47/50 states, and once drove with my husband and our cat from Seattle, WA to northern VA in two days. At one point we got snowed in at Vail Pass in CO, and we had to be towed over the mountain while we were still in the car. At another point, I cried because I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t decide on a sandwich at Subway.

2. Once I went snorkeling in Mexico with some tropical fish. I WILL NEVER DO THAT AGAIN.

3. I hiked 9/10ths of the way up Cader Idris in Wales.

4. Did I mention I’m diligent and hardworking?

tumblr_m9j8nrpRsf1qcwic6

My favorite pastimes include things that your grandmother probably enjoys–like crocheting, sewing, grammar jokes, and baking. Most cartoon movies make me cry. Anything from the UK makes me draw pink Puffy Paint hearts everywhere. I’m largely Finnish, which means I have thin blonde leg hair and can get away with not shaving for longer than you can. The trade-off is that I melt in the summer.

I love all stories that involve kissing, especially stories where everyone is as awkward as I am and still manages to get kissed. In fact, that is exactly the kind of story I enjoy writing!

giphy

 

giphy (1)

giphy (3)

OK, I think that’s plenty.

Good luck to everyone else who submitted to Pitch Wars!

200 (1)

 

*Proof:

2015-03-02 11.54.21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**You can not have him. I love him.

Book Challenge Update #2

Brief update on where I’m at with my reading challenge for the year! 28 books left to read–can she do it?!? Um. Probably, yes.

1. A book with more than 500 pages

2. A classic romance

3. A book that became a movie

4. A book published this year – ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven

5. A book with a number in the title – STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel

6. A book written by someone under 30

7. A book with nonhuman characters – HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

8. A funny book – THE ROSIE PROJECT by Graeme Simsion

9. A book by a female author – BRIGHT COIN MOON by Kirsten Lopresti

10. A mystery or thriller

11. A book with a one-word title – US by David Nicholls

12. A book of short stories – BEWARE THE LITTLE WHITE RABBIT by Charlotte Bennardo, C. Lee McKenzie, David Turnbull, Christine Norris, Jacqueline Horsfall, Medeia Sharif, Laura Lascarso, Tom Luke, Jessica Bayliss, Crystal Schubert, Holly Odell, Jennifer Moore, and Liam Hogan (YES, this is the anthology that I was published in, BUT I read all the other stories so this totally counts–they’re all great, btw. Although I might be a little bit biased.)

13. A book set in a different country – WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae

14. A nonfiction book

15. A popular author’s first book – I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder (at least, as far as I can tell this is her first novel)

16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet – ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell

17. A book a friend recommended – LIFE IN OUTER SPACE by Melissa Keil

18. A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

19. A book based on a true story

20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list – RE-GIFTERS by Mike Carey, Marc Hempel, & Sonny Liew

21. A book your mom loves

22. A book that scares you

23. A book more than 100 years old

24. A book based entirely on its cover – USES FOR BOYS by Erica Lorraine Scheidt (though the cover did NOT seem to match the story…)

25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

26. A memoir – YES PLEASE by Amy Poehler

27. A book you can finish in a day – POISONED APPLES: POEMS FOR YOU, MY PRETTY by Christine Heppermann

28. A book with antonyms in the title

29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

30. A book that came out the year you were born

31. A book with bad reviews

32. A trilogy

33. A book from your childhood

34. A book with a love triangle – THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby (OK, stretching this one since one of the triangle members isn’t living, but I think it counts…)

35. A book set in the future

36. A book set in high school – SAINT ANYTHING by Sarah Dessen

37. A book with a color in the title

38. A book that made you cry – I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

39. A book with magic – EVERY DAY by David Levithan (kind of? right?)

40. A graphic novel – PAGE BY PAIGE by Laura Lee Gulledge

41. A book by an author you’ve never read before – RACING HEARTS by Laura Lascarso

42. A book you own but have never read

43. A book that takes place in your hometown – P.S. I LOVE YOU by Jenny Han (technically not my original hometown, but this is set in Richmond, VA which is where I currently live and also where I spent my college years, so… it totally counts)

44. A book that was originally written in a different language

45. A book set during Christmas

46. A book written by an author with your same initials – WILD by Cheryl Strayed

47. A play

48. A banned book – SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers

49. A book based on or turned into a TV show

50. A book you started but never finished

RSW – Update #9

RSW2Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing intensive–more info here. For the next few months, I’ll be posting updates every Monday on my progress and weekly goals. Feel free to join the fun! 🙂

1.  How I did on last week’s goals. Another not great week–I think my goals were a bit too ambitious since I had my two nieces for the whole week. I barely wrote at all (only a couple hundred words on a new story idea that I needed to exorcise so I could focus on my current WIP). I did yoga only once, because I normally use nap time and seven year olds don’t take naps. I did finish reading WILD by Cheryl Strayed (and watched the movie, too)! And I also read THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby, which was a sad, sweet romance I really enjoyed!

2.  My goal(s) for this week. I’m going to step up the word count goal for this week, since I failed so bad last week: 4,000 words. Fingers crossed! Also, let’s just say I want to do ANY amount of yoga, lol, because I keep failing myself when I overstate my yoga goals. Also, I’d like to read TINY PRETTY THINGS by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton.

3.  A favorite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised. 

Zilch… 🙁

4.  The biggest challenge I faced this week (ex. finding time to write). Caring for my twin nieces was exhausting and ate up the bulk of my time. Plus I got sucked into researching mentors for Pitch Wars and watching the interview videos, which took longer than I intended.

5.  Something I love about my WiP. I love that there are so many relationships–lots of romantic tension to keep me all warm and fuzzy.

How’d your week go?