State of the Blogger: Whaaaaaaaaaaat?

September 1, 2015. Here in half an hour.

I wrote a book. Whoa.

I’m really proud of how it turned out– with so much help from God and Jill.

Cindy and I are sitting in my living room with a couple lamps on for ambiance. We’re each on our laptops in companionable silence that is sometimes interrupted when I sing, “I wrote a book. I wrote a book. I wrote a book, hey-hey-hey-hey.” I’m either charming or else really, really annoying.

But I’m not going to worry about it tonight. Tonight I’m going to be grateful and tired and wildly happy. Like that? I got an email from myself from this day last year that told me not to do anything this week that didn’t make me wildly happy. So today I got ice cream at Nelson’s in Stillwater. For those of you not from the Twin Cities, that means I got a raucous amount of ice cream.

After tomorrow, I’ll need to find something else to look forward to. I was tweeting about that with Dan, another member of my Fearless Fifteeners group, and this was his response:

I like that.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow (and the next day and the next day and the next …) brings.

If you’re a praying sort of person, toss a few up for me, would you? That I would read well and be charming and make people laugh at my launch party; that I would graciously receive (or graciously avoid) feedback in the coming days; that I would remember that I’m not alone in this– it was never a solo project. Never.

Thanks, everyone!!


So Much Truest Around the Web Today!

Guysguysguysguysguys– my book comes out TOMORROW.

(In case you hadn’t heard.) 😉

I hope you’ll check out this Epic Reads Tumblr post, where I share my favorite romantic quotes in YA … and Epic Reads shares two from Truest.

Over on the Debut Dish, I describe my book in just five words and tell you the strangest thing on my desk. There’s also a giveaway of a hardcover copy of Truest!

There’s another giveaway at Adventures in YA Publishing; I also tell you my favorite thing about my novel, which has been true from the very beginning till now, nearly four years later.

And finally, my lovely writer-friend Kathy Ellen Davis blogs about Truest and how she’s helping me celebrate (hint: it’s the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever been given!).


State of the Blogger: Grateful (and a teeny bit nervous)

One. More. Day. (And twenty minutes, give or take.)

I don’t feel ready. I don’t have everything figured out yet for the launch party– but I will finalize all the details tomorrow. I still have all day tomorrow to test my new signing pens (is this real life?), organize my door prizes, and practice reading my selections from the novel. It’ll be fine. It will. Right?


Right now, I’m mostly feeling tremendously grateful. I’m grateful that Cindy is here with me, to calm me down and talk me off the proverbial ledge. I’m grateful that she is also an introvert and let me disappear for two hours this afternoon to be alone and take a nap. I’m grateful that she doesn’t need me to cart her around to the flashy parts of the Twin Cities but is instead willing to order in pasta and watch Flea Market Flip while we both poke around on our individual laptops. I’m grateful that when I have mini-meltdowns, I can mute everything and talk it through with her and she can speak sense into my life.

I’m grateful for my parents, who called tonight and made me laugh.

I’m grateful for my friends who are planning to come to my launch party. I’m so blessed. A gigantic party for ME! And people are excited to come celebrate with me! That’s amazing.

I’m grateful for the prayers that I know so many people are lifting up for me.

I’m grateful for the UNW English department and for Addendum Bookstore for hosting my party.

I’m grateful for my editor Jill. For everything.

I’m grateful for this review, which was just what I needed, heading into this new week.

And I’m especially grateful for the incredible hug I got from my sweet little Elsie after church this morning.

Life is so, so good.

State of the Blogger: Emotional (& Probably Not How/Why You Think)

Countdown to Truest: 2 days, 38 minutes. Wowza.

My friend Cindy arrived safe and sound at MSP this morning, and we’ve been hanging out all day, talking, talking, talking– not so much “catching up” since we literally talk almost every day, but just enjoying being together.

Tonight we watched Chopped, the teen version of the cooking show.

For five hours.

It just sort of happened.

We’d watched two rounds of the quarter-finals, then we watched one more … then, well, there was only one round left. But then, of course, we had to watch the championship round. When sweet little Tommy Rae from South Carolina won a scholarship to culinary school, I started crying.

For real.

Her dad was just so proud of her, and she won all this money, and her dreams were coming true, and I said to Cindy, “I think I’m a little over-sentimental this week.” She agreed.

With that, I’m headed to bed.

Tommy Rae and me? We’re living the good life.

State of the Blogger: Content, Excited, Detailed, Loved

It’s about three days, four hours, and twenty-one minutes till September first … but who’s counting?

I woke up this morning stressed to the point of sickness. Plus my wrists, hands, and arms have not been doing well lately– very inflamed and overused. I’ve been elbows deep in Biofreeze. I’ve also been icing them, got a massage, am taking Ibuprofen … I’m not sure if the stress and anticipation can make it worse or not, but it’s been pretty bad.

I stayed home. I slept in. I cleaned my house. I did the laundry. And then I worked on Mill City.

It was just what the doctor ordered.

Now, with so much of that behind me, I’m feeling good, much more relaxed, and tremendously excited for my friend Cindy to fly into MSP tomorrow from DC! (You might remember Cindy from here or here or here.) Since Cindy left Northwestern to join the Navy, I have seen her five times: twice in the Cities, once in Wisconsin, once in Boston, and at her wedding in DC last year. But Cindy and I talk just about every single day, and she knows more about me than probably anyone. I honestly think the distance aids that: it’s easier to tell your long-distance friend your flaws than the ones you spend weekends with, you know? I am so thrilled to host her in my new home and to have her spend the next four days with me, including at my launch party. Cindy is one of the people to whom Truest is dedicated, and I’m just giddy with anticipation for her arrival!

I’m feeling very detailed right now too. I’ve been re-reading Saving Francesca (by my queen Melina Marchetta), and I’ve been reminded of just how detailed she is … there are so many lovely little details dropped into SF that I’d forgotten about but which make you feel you truly know the characters. So I’ve opened up a new document and am thinking through the childhood of my characters (they’ve known another their whole lives), about their quirks, about random little details that I can sow like seeds into my story, hoping they will become vines that add to the structure. It’s been fun to think about the little pieces. It makes me love my characters even more. I know Truest is the book that’s coming out in days, but I’m also so ridiculously excited about Mill City. I think people are going to see a marked improvement in my writing, and that makes me really, really happy.

I keep hearing from friends who are coming to my launch party, who have pre-ordered Truest, who have invited friends and book clubs and spouses into my excitement, and I’m feeling so loved. Thank you, all, for your well-wishes, your prayers, your presence, your pre-orders, your patience with me at this time and always. I’m a lucky girl.

I keep talking about 2012, which is when I started writing Truest— in January, so very nearly four years ago. But that’s not even close to encompassing my journey as a writer. I have wanted to write books since second grade, when I was seven. I’m 33 (almost 34) now … so Tuesday has been over twenty-five years in the making.

Thank you for celebrating with me. And for bearing with me through all these blog posts. I know that a handful of you have been grateful for the insider look at publishing. These posts are for you. But also for me, to keep me sane and to keep a history of my dream coming true.

Thank you for making me feel loved. You are loved right back.

State of the Blogger: Tired, Eager, & Full

So, it’s basically Friday. Or it will be in one hour. Which means that my book comes out in four days.

I’m better now. Happier. I saw my therapist, and that was just what I needed. She reminded me that there are certain things I said I couldn’t hold right now … but that I’d tried to pick back up anyway. I set them back down.

I’m tired. I can never seem to get enough done. Every night, by the time I’ve gotten everything I need to do out of the way and am ready to write, it’s bedtime. Right now, it’s an hour past bedtime, but I said screw it and stayed up to work on rearranging a few scenes in novel #2 based on thoughts I’ve had all evening. I think it’s going to work.

But every morning I’m exhausted. I just don’t understand how I’m supposed to make this whole twenty-four-hours-a-day thing work. Yes, I know Beyonce has the same number of hours. But does she spend nine of them in a cubicle recruiting?

Not that I want to whine about my UNW job. It’s been such a joy and blessing to have the students back– and all the wonderful new students too! Today, three freshmen and a senior stopped in to just shoot the breeze with me and my co-workers, and it reminded me: I love this place.

I do. So much.

I’m eager. I’ve been waiting about twenty-five years for Tuesday to arrive. My book. In the world. An author. Me. I’m a little sad that September 2nd will be back to business as usual, except … it will be business as usual but with a book in the world.

I’m full. Of emotions. Of gratitude. Of desire. Of love for my characters in both of my books. Of ideas. Of readiness. Of poetry. I’m full but I still want more.

1 Week Till Truest: Sneak Peek!!!

t1Yes, that’s right: ONE. WEEK. LEFT.

One week till you can start reading Tru– oh, just a moment.

*confers with the powers that be*

*whispers, “whaaaaaaaat?!“*

*scurries back to you*

BIG NEWS! You can start reading Truest

Click the picture below to read the first few chapters of Truest, and then go pre-order it! I have links to all your favorite online bookstores at!


 Also, if you’re local, please consider coming to the launch party:
Tuesday, September 1, 2015, 7 pm
University of Northwestern
Nazareth Great Room

Food, door prizes, an opportunity to buy Truest and have it signed–
and simple, easy, free parking. I hope to see you there!

A Humble, Hesitant Defense of Pantsers

I know I’ve been spewing on this blog since last night, but I have a hundred million emotions, and I haven’t been blogging, so in some ways, these hundred million emotions have been locked up inside me, and I need to get them OUT OUT OUT. I’m a mess, to be honest.

So, lately I’ve been a little (or more) stung when one of my favorite authors has really been slamming the whole “pantsers” process. For those unfamiliar with my terminology here, it’s a term you hear in the writing word: some are plotters (they plot and plan prior to writing a book) and some are “pantsers” (they write by the seat of their pants). I write my first drafts as a pantser. It’s the only way 1) I know how and 2) I can. I’ve tried to plot before, and then I lose all the energy around the project and can’t even start it.

Anyway, this writer I really admire has been really shredding the pantser process, saying that you can’t write a life-changing book that way. In addition, this other blog I follow and really respect said much the same thing. It’s hard not to feel attacked, even though obviously these posts aren’t aimed directly at me– but indirectly, they are!

I want to be indignant and upset and mad and frustrated (and I am … and have even spouted off on Twitter about it a little), but I also want to acknowledge that I’m new to this. Yes, I’ve been writing my whole life, but not professionally. My first book comes out in just over a week, and I’m working on a second one. I’m at the starting line. This would not be the first time that I’ve vocally disagreed with something that I later come to embrace. Which is why I’m being hesitant. I could see myself eating my words in ten years. Because I’m hasty and an amateur.

But GOSH, does it bother me to have people that I respect slam my writing process! It’s so very hard to have an author I admire essentially prescribe the right way to write. Yes, a pantser probably has a lot more rounds of revisions– but I’d hope that the final product masks that. Yet, this author says that a well-thought-out perfect sentence on the front end will always be better than a multiple-times-revised sentence. I just can’t win.

It probably shouldn’t bother me the way it does. But it’s hard to have a hero say, “You’re doing it wrong.”

I’m cranky and tremendously emotional, and I feel snubbed by the profession in more ways than one. Oh, and I forgot to take my OCD meds yesterday, which I’m sure doesn’t help things.

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again: I thought getting the book deal would be the hardest part of the publication process, but that’s not even close. The revisions were so much harder and the emotions are a BEAST. Sometimes I’m not sure I’ll ever figure out the writing life– or how to toughen up my skin enough to make it in this field I love. I never imagined that a week away from publishing my debut novel I would feel so sad and alone and scared and bedridden.

Sigh. And I need to revise novel #2 today. It’s okay. I chose this life, and I honestly do love it. I can’t imagine not being a writer. It is one of the sweetest joys I’ve ever been allowed– a reason I believe in God!– but oh, is it ever hard.

Thank you for listening. ❤

girl typing on a typewriter