Crossed Out

Crossed Out

Friday, February 05, 2016

Friday Five

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1.  This is start of Spring semester.  My last semester homeschooling.

It'll be nice to have a break.  Son is almost 15 years old and wants to be with his friends.  The charter school's student center has hardly any teens attending.  I think this will be nice for both of us.  I just worry about how he'll do but he does need to experience the whole high school thing.

2. I'm really liking THE SHADOWHUNTERS but rumor has it the stats aren't there.


The chemistry between the characters is so much better than the movie version.  Hope more people give it a chance!

3. Working on this revision.  Cutting LOTS and adding more details that need to be in it.  Hopefully with son going back to public school this will free me up to write more and get this baby done by the end of this year!

Also enjoying SHANNARA which is on MTV.  It's based on the fantasy series by Terry Brooks:

3. Always nice to get emails from librarians that actually mention one of your novels.  In this case it was an email from a librarian in Virginia.

4. Right now reading the latest from YA author Marissa Meyer:

How I'm feeling right after reading the first two shorts in this anthology:

5. Finished reading I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman:

This is a powerful, gut-wrenching glimpse into the lives of the loved ones of a suicide victim.  In this case, the protagonist blames herself for not knowing how depressed her friend was.  After she stumbles on some final emails of her friend, she finds a clue that maybe something else might have been behind her friends death.  I love how the author shows the others who are a part of the pain of a suicide and exposes how there are groups that actually advocate someone killing themselves.

**Guilty pleasure:  Hope to finally get my MyBody probiotic peel.  Also will try to squeeze in a mediation session.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Friday Five

1. Starting to get back into the flow of this revision.

This project has involved LOTS of this:

Need to remember this:

I've been at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf  three times this week.  Need to polish this story off, so I can start querying again!

2.  I'll say this again:  parenting a teen isn't for the weak of heart.  Seems when son hit fourteen?  The whole teen thing came out in full force.

This scene between Kira and her father totally summed up my week so far.

Mostly this has been me with son this week though:

It's been hard as I took him out of public school when he was in the third grade due to issues I had with the administration.  It was really bad.  Now though?  Son's been telling people that I'm restricting him by homeschooling.  Next year he'll be going back to public school.  I feel it'll be good for him.  So does his doctor and his Educational Specialist.

I now am really noticing how parents are portrayed in YA novels.  I try to not show the cliches/stereotypes with the missing, dead, or clueless parent.  Being a parent of a teen is hard work.

I also think karma has come to bite me in the butt BIG TIME.

3. Excited to see that Barbie has revealed that they will include three new body figures to their line--curvy, petite, and tall.

All I can say, it's about time!

4.  Finished reading SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys.

This is an amazing historical tale of a forgotten event in 1945 told through the point of view of four teens.

YA Books Central review coming soon!

5.  HEIR AND THE SPARE by Emily Albright is a really fun read!

 YA Books Central review coming soon!

** Guilty Pleasure:

Well, this afternoon son has to help his drama teacher with the school's production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND.  Son is the TA and helps the kids with their lines and gives their feedback.  

While he's doing that?  I'll be at the coffee house, hitting this revision.  I'll have a tea latte close by-

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Friday Five

1. So this week I've sat down and attacked this revision.  I swear it feels like it's never ending.  Whoever said that writing is easy?  Well, I bet they never actually wrote a complete story and do all the necessary edits to polish it.

This is how the process feels:

Me at coffee house with my iced tea latte:

Tea of the day?  1/4th cherry and 3/4ths rooibos chai blend with NSA chocolate power=Cherries on the Rocks.

2. Though I've come back to project, I still find like this:

Need to hit through this wall.  I know some authors say they don't 'believe' in walls but I've encountered them.  I mused on why they happen and came up with the idea that it's part fear that my work isn't good enough to doubts that I'm even that great of a writer.

Just need to slam through those doubts:

3. In meantime, got a box of more books to read from YA Books Central:

LOVE being a staff reviewer for YA Books Central!!!

4. A couple books I've reviewed so far this week:

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser:  Fast-paced ride through a world where everything hinges on an important choice where indecision could be a deadly mistake.


This book really hit me hard.  It's about a school shooting and is shown through the eyes of those who were somehow connected with the shooter.

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Intense, gripping portrayal of not only a shooter but others around him. Kuddos for the author for peeling back what might otherwise be an one-dimensional killer. What leads up to the massacre is shown in haunting details. I thought I'd have a hard time reading this considering I lost my own sister to gun violence. THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS shows not only the hatred but the misunderstandings, hurt, pain, and sadness of a shooting. 

**Guilty pleasure:  My birthday is this Sunday!  So plan on spreading out my celebrations by going to Sephora today to get some help on new makeup.  Then tomorrow will go see FIFTH WAVE.  Loved the first book in this series!

Going to see it at the luxury theater.  Then will go out to dinner on Monday as we don't go out on the Sabbath.  I'll have a facial peel the following week.  Why not celebrate your birthday month?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Five

1. This week I started off sick.  Ugh, HATE having stomach flu.

Photo courtesy of

So I've been sleeping a lot-slept most of Sunday and stayed in pjs ALL DAY.

2.  So I haven't been writing much.  Been stuck and haven't moved forward.

Hate being in this place.  Know I need to move forward with one of my current projects so I can query it out to agents.  I know I need to get out of my comfort zone.  But man it's hard.  Memories of all the rejections I got from my other three books resurfaces.  I've racked up over 300 between all three books.

I've learned one HUGE thing so far in this biz: it's better to not be pubbed that to be pubbed poorly.  Another thing I've learned is to learn from my mistakes and move on.

Deep breath.

This needs to be my mantra:

3.  And of course I've been reading.  I've been reading A LOT!


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Startling look into the lives of a survivalist family where the daughters are left behind to fend for themselves. Nicole's struggle to make sense out of what her father taught and the feelings she has when left alone are compelling at how real isolation can be. Mostly though this is a story of two teens that have to find the courage to stand up for themselves when others in their lives have failed them.

4.  THE DISTANCE FROM A TO Z by Natalie Blitt


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Sweet tale filled with engaging characters that whisks readers off to a romance where opposites do in fact attract. A charming debut.

5.  DARK ENERGY by Robison Wells

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Fast-paced engaging Sci-Fi tale where a crashed alien ship reveals a startling secret that involves everyone on Earth.

*  DIVAH by Susannah Appelbaum

TeaserQuirky tale where a girl finds herself in a haunted ritzy hotel with secrets that involve a demon hunting Marilyn Monroe, demon Marie Antoinette, and a forbidden love. Oh, and a lot of French which involves the 'real' reason behind Bastille Day.

**Guilty pleasure:

FINALLY I'll be able to have a much needed pedi!

Friday, January 08, 2016

Friday Five

1. Well, el Nino is here.   It's been a very wet week!

I had to share this video as Southern Californians are not used to heavy rain.  On Wednesday the rain came down hard for a prolonged period of time.  We were at son's art class.  I swear those other homeschool kiddos were totally freaking out!

We need the rain but our water company keeps saying that even if we have a huge el Nino?  We'll still be in a drought.  Crazy.

On Tuesday, the streets in Santa Ana were all flooded.  Thank goodness I was driving my Rav4 as the water literally flew over my car!

Here's a link on how bad the rain was:

2. Just got back some amazing feedback on my current project!  Need to flesh out some more of the world building and tightened some more things.

I totally can do this!!!!

2. Been doing lots of reading lately.

I'm such a huge fan of this series!

My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: This twist on fairy tales cumulates into one satisfying conclusion. The only issue I have is I want to know what happens next!


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Love the insight into a teen's depression and what led her to try to commit suicide. Very realistic portrayal of how some family/friends are in denial to why a love one might try to commit suicide.


My YA Books Central:

Teaser: Raw, intense, and thought provoking, each of these stories explores gun culture and it's impact on the lives of teens. Perfect for class discussion regarding guns, especially with recent headlines.


Talk about a hooky title that has really nothing to do with the premise!  Almost done reading. This story has two teens who end up in the middle of nowhere after their father fears the end is coming and has them leave behind everything.  Their mother freaks and takes off, with the father going after her.  He leaves the teens behind, alone in a dilapidated house next to a New Age commune.  I couldn't help but feel this is parenting at it's worse.  Readers do get a glimpse into the struggles both sister has and what happens when their world collides with the edgier residences next door.

**Guilty pleasure:

Pedi time!  Thinking of having navy with white polka dots.  Can't wait!

Sunday, January 03, 2016

My Top YA Speculative Books of 2015 that Didn't Make the Final List

I loved being a part of the Cybils this past year.  We had an especially great group of nominated books to read.  It was really hard though to whittle this list of 181 nominated books to the top 7 finalists.

I feel we did come up with a great list of finalists.  The only bummer was we had to limit our list to only 7!

So for today's post I thought I'd share some of my own favorites that didn't make the final list.


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Haunting ghost tale of loss and love set in a centuries old Gothic mansion off the coast of Maine. Also a story of being true to not only yourself but coming to terms with a painful past.


Totally loved this tale of the Silvers--those with silver blood that rule the Reds-those with red blood.  Readers are introduced to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts who one fateful day finds she's not who she thought she was.  Lots of tension, conflict, and action make this a must-read!



Beautifully written tale of Death & Love & their 'game' between 2 possible lovers set in 1937. Totally devoured this book!


Chilling, fast-paced ride where The Matrix meets Tron and where hackers end up in a computer generated prison with duplicates taking over their real lives.


Think Veronica Mars meets Superman only this case we're introduced to a teen Lois Lane who sets out to break her first case.  Lots of action, suspense, and great characters!


My YA Books Central review:

The love in this novel is more between two brothers and the lengths one would go to in order to right a wrong. The biggest question is whether bringing Oliver back to life was morally right. But another important question is should Mary be responsible for the lives lost due to her retelling of what she saw that fateful day when Alasdair brought his brother to life? Who in fact is the real Frankenstein? Oliver who ends up shut up in a deserted castle and shunned as being a monster? Or those who torment those that are 'different'?

Haunting retelling of Frankenstein with a dark, addictive twist.


Love the unique twist on this futuristic story of a world when children of royalty are taken captive in order to avoid war. If a country starts a war? That child of that leader is killed. AIs rule this world. Also hints of diverse love story.


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Bittersweet forbidden love meets Children of the Corn with a ohmigod reveal that will have readers gasping. Bloody, powerful, and stunning, this novel had me wanting more!


My YA Books Central review:

Teaser: Mean Girls meets IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, this is a snarky, hilarious ride through the Afterlife and Earth with a memorable heroine who needs to face her selfish past in order to finally move on.

Friday, January 01, 2016

2016 Goals

I decided against posting a whole 2015 reflections post as it didn't start off too well with the death of my beloved cockatiel Jenny.

Plus, it's been REALLY HARD homeschooling this school year.  Son wants to attend public high school next year and I'm burnt out.  It's been hard juggling writing and teaching ninth grade.  Plus, I know I've been 'comfortable' with where my writing is and want to get out there again.

I'm looking forward to 2016.

When son's in school I plan to concentrate more on writing and querying again.  My goal is to query for an agent as I want to bump my writing career up a level and get my books out to a bigger audience.  My big dream has been to have my books at ALA/BEA and being able to do book signings.  Where I'm at now?  That won't happen.  I need to work a little harder to get to my goals.  I know if I do?  I'll achieve them!

So here's my goals:

1. Polishing off my ongoing diverse thriller/romance and start querying for an agent.
**Don't settle for just any offer.  Learn from the rejections guaranteed to come and query again.
2. Finish the next round of edits on GODDESSES CAN WAIT
3. Start edits on the sequel to CROSSED OUT
4. Say 'no' more and concentrate on my career which has taken a backseat for these past seven years I've been homeschooling
5. I'd really like to volunteer at least once a week in the community.
6. Visit Mom and family more in Sacramento area.
7. Be kind to myself and don't buy into any of the passive aggressive crap that has been thrown my way.

What are some of your own goals?