As most of you know, I have a tendency to take too much on until I burn out. Hey, I’m a Taurus, what can you expect? I decided to take a blogging hiatus for that reason. I had too much going on to keep up my stellar blog (if I do say so myself) at the same time. However, I wanted to come out of my blogging hiatus just for one post to share with you my 2012 highlights.
1. My friends Diane Sismour, Ginger Merante and I decided to start having our own mini writing retreats! In January, we had one of the best retreats ever. We all camped out at Diane’s place and spent 3 days in writing bliss.2. I also started my MFA program. After years of dreaming about it, 2012 was my year and I went for my first on-campus residency (two weeks out of the year I have to be on campus. Everything else is online). I met the most amazing group of writers and I’m working towards my goal!
3. My second book ‘The Cowboy and the Rose‘ was published by The Wild Rose Press! My publisher has been really supportive and a wonderful starting point to get my name out there. TWRP done wonderful stuff with my books so I’m really grateful for them.
3.a In February, I also went out on Submission for the first time with my agent! Fingers crossed the good news from that keeps rolling in during the new year!
4. I got a raise at work AND I was promoted to Director. I know it’s my day job and all, but I still feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in my career and the promotion was a tangible example of how far I’d come.
5. I attended the Liberty States Fiction Writer’s Conference with my friends Alyssa and Bob who are pursing their MFA degrees with me. They were so supportive when I gave my workshop on time management and goal development for writers at the conference.
6. In March I also self published my first book. I got the rights back to ‘The Bewitched Cowboy’ and after a cover change and renaming it to ‘A Cowboy’s Destiny,’ the book was up and ready to sell on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Woohoo!
7. I think it was April when I went to my friend Charity’s beach condo. We ended up having such a productive writing weekend. Loved it!
8. I also went to Connecticut and chilled out at the nicest hotel ever with my friends Ginger and Diane for an awesome writing weekend. I really love that hotel. We had tons of laughs and got so much stuff done.
9. I turned 27 in May! I hadn’t dated in a while for personal reasons, but on the eve of my 27th birthday, I decided to take the plunge back into the dating world. It’s been…interesting. lol.10. I also got to be a part of one of my best friend’s wedding. I was there for the bachelorette party in Atlantic City which I helped plan. I went to the Pakestani wedding and chilled with Mona in the hotel room where she had to stay before she was introduced to the groom. Then I went to the Iranian wedding where we danced all night overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. That was a ton of fun. Her wedding is a memory I will cherish for a really long time.
11. In May, I also hired Laura who I went to law school with. She has become one of my best friends hands down. I’m so happy to be working with someone who is so awesome.
12. In June I went to my second MFA residency (woot!) where I got to party with my cool writer people again.
13. I also went to Book Expo America where I chilled with R.L. Stein, James Patterson, and took pictures with Erotica cover models (*sigh*). That was a GREAT experience.
July14. I went to Nora Robert’s bed and breakfast place Inn Boonsboro with my friends Ginger and Diane! We stayed in the Jane and Rochester suite and got to meet Lady Nora herself. Totally worth doing again.
15. In July, Laura and I went to Pittsburgh for a work conference. We networked and did our thing during the day, but we had such an awesome time after the conference was over. We went to the Phipps Conservatory (so incredibly beautiful), and we saw all the shops down by the waterfront. We even went to temple! It was really a fantastic trip.
16. August was hot, which meant shore time! I went down to my college roommate’s beach house where we hung out on the beach and by the pool and then went to Seaside Heights for some quality people watching time. It was such a great getaway.
17. September was pretty amazing because I got to spend Labor Day weekend with my family (and my sister turned 25!)18. I also went Chick Camping with Diane and company. We went to a camp location near the shore and we had awesome food and even awesome company by the camp fire. During the day, Diane and I drove the a day workshop with Deb Dixon. It totally helped with my story plot line (thanks Deb!)
19. October was strange because of Hurricane Sandy. It was tough to see my friends in such a bad situation along the Jersey coast. The good news was that my family from India was able to stay with us, and because I couldn’t go into the office, I was able to spend time with my aunt, uncle, and cousin!
20. Thanks to my friend Becky, I was totally hooked up when it came to the Twilight premiere. I was able to snag an invite to a VIP party where I spent a few memorable hours saying goodbye to a 4 year relationship I had with the Twilight saga in the company of other dedicated fans. That was a really special night.
21. I also got to party with the fam during Thanksgiving! We had a really great Turkey vacation. No one fought, we all chipped in, and of all my cousins and I had a blast spending time together.
22. I had my annual “It’s Christmas, Charlie Brown!” Christmas Party at my apartment this year. It was awesome because I had friends from work and friends from college I hadn’t seen in FOREVER mingle at my place. Ali and Anna’s presence made me think of the good days we had back at Muhlenberg and they made the night so much more special.23. My parents celebrated Christmas with ME this year. How crazy is that? All of five of us spent three days in my apartment. Not once did we fight. (totally nuts). I got awesome Christmas gifts too! My sister gave me a kick-ass Vera Bradly overnight bag, and I got suede boots, gift cards, and a crock pot. On Christmas Eve, my brother, sister and I had the best Chocolate Chip cookies at Jaques Torres in Manhattan. We also scoped out the tree and the cool windows on 5th.
It was seriously a GREAT year. Sometimes the annoying day-to-day stuff takes our focus away from the whole picture. Forest for the trees and all that. In addition to the highlights above, I had book club meetings at least once a month with really passionate readers. I took the train pretty regularly with my writer friend Charity which I have come to really look forward to. I had movie, dinner or lunch dates with Mona, Laura, Archana, Becky, and Diane. My family is happy and healthy and that’s what matters.
Thanks to everyone who made 2012 so special for me. Here’s to an even better 2013!!!
I have just started my MFA program, I’m working crazy hours and I’m neck deep in revisions for another cowboy romance novella, so I’ve initiated a temporary blogging hiatus. I love you all, I swear, which is why I’ll be back! I just need a bit writing time to get myself in gear. In the mean time, you can always read my archived blog posts for a bit more fun!
I have been so busy lately that i haven’t been able to blog! I recently got a promotion at my day job so I’m still making the transition. I’m also trying to find a house now (I know, it’s such a grown up thing to do) so my life has been totally focused on these few things. Have I also mentioned that I’m trying to stay up to date with my MFA program and I’m single again so I’m attempting to date?
I’m exhausted just reading that. Which is why I haven’t gotten to my TBR pile in a while. I wanted to share some of my books with you. If you guys have ready any, or if you have more suggestions (god forbid) send them my way! Have a happy Friday, everyone.
Midnight Movie Premiere:
The Hunger Games
Last night I went to go see The Hunger Games. (No spoilers, I promise!) I have to say, I wasn’t sure that I’d like it, and I’m still torn about it. Maybe because the person I went with was so miserable during the whole movie because I dragged her to see something I knew she probably wouldn’t like, or because I really only watched the movie to see the romance aspect of the novel come to life. Either way, I’m torn.
My question to all of you is, why do you like The Hunger Games? What draws you to the story? When I ask myself the same thing, I come up with two answers:
1. I love a strong heroine, a kick-butt heroine that does what she can to survive and to help others even if helping is an unconscious effort.
2. I love a good romance. I am, above everything else, a romance novelist. I want to see people become better because they found the one person in their lives who can improve them, support them, and in some ways, complete them.
I guess that’s why I write stories that contain strong heroines in a strong romance thread. I want to entertain people with the very things that entertain me. Because honestly, what good is a writer if she doesn’t like her own work?
Back to HG. Now, I wouldn’t classify Ms. Collins’ work as a romance. However, I, and several others, hone in on that aspect of the story (Team PEETA!) because the emotions are so real, so unexpected in such a harsh, unfeeling environment where kids are forced to kill each other (sorry, i guess that counts as a spoiler). The one aspect of the movie I really enjoyed was the interpretation of the cave scene and the kiss. The one where although Peeta is injured (damn, another spoiler), he is so hungry for her, his broken body literally lifts up to get more of her, to stay connected to her. *sigh*. And for that, I’m glad I went to see the movie.
I’m not sure where this disjointed blog post is going, but I guess the best way to conclude is to say that I like my characters to be happy and Ms. Collins’ tortures her characters so much that I’d think this wouldn’t be the type of book for me…except when she writes those tiny moments of insight into the romantic link between Katniss and her men like the cave scene, she makes up for the horrible things that happen in Panem. The moments are so much more important and make a bigger impression on the reader/viewer BECAUSE of the world they exist in.
Kudos to the movie for doing a great interpretation of the movie, and kudos to Ms. Collins for making me believe that love can exist even after the world ends.
Movie Monday: 21 Jump Street
Just as a quick note before I jump into Movie Monday (pun intended), I attended the Liberty States Fiction Writer’s Conference this weekend and met so many awesome people! I even connected with really great readers and received positive reactions frommy workshop. So thank you, Liberty States! You guys throw one heck of a party…er, I mean conference!
Okay, now for Movie Monday. 21 Jump Street came out this past Friday and it got great reviews. Jonah Hill was on Ellen and he talked about how he spent the last 5 years writing the movie. I really respect actors who are so talented that they write, produce AND act. Jonah Hill is really hysterical and I definitely plan on checking out this one. Enjoy!
I’m pleased to announce the re-release of my book “A Cowboy’s Destiny” under my pseudonym ‘Tess Quinn’! It’s vamped up with a new title, a couple revisions, and a brand spankin’ new cover that’s so awesome sauce. You can purchase it on Barnes and Noble! Check out the blurb below along with an excerpt…
Destiny, a PhD and successful parapsychology writer, certainly did not expect her mother to tell her that she would die if she didn’t get married to a man chosen for her in infancy.
The collision of two hardheaded, anti-marriage witches makes Destiny and Matt’s first encounter explosive. Now they have to figure out a way to get along for the two weeks they can’t be separated without doing the one thing that could change their fate forever…falling in love.
Destiny’s voice was thick and sluggish with sleep. “How can you not believe I’m your other half after everything that happened today, cowboy?”
Matt smiled into the crown of her hair. Her question bothered him, but he didn’t think he could hide the truth from her. He didn’t want to. Despite everything, he wanted to be honest.
“It’s not that I don’t believe in bonding. I just don’t want anything to do with it or marriage. The last time I got involved with helping someone find the person they loved…bad things happened.”
Destiny looked up at him, her face close to his as she continued to rest against his chest. “Sometimes, you can’t stop life from going the way life was set to go.”
“You can’t stop ‘destiny,’ huh?” Matt knew he sounded rueful, but he couldn’t help respecting her for her answer. For someone who reacted so intensely to any reminder of her mother, she didn’t carry any guilt or blame anyone for her difficult life.
“What are we going to do for the next two weeks?” Destiny said, yawning. “We can’t be away from each other, apparently. Leaving you doesn’t feel…right.”
Matt knew saying that must have taken courage. He didn’t want her to know how close he already was to her. How panicked he felt. Was Destiny really the other half of his soul? He took a deep, ragged breath.
“Have you ever ridden a horse, Dr. Snow?”
Matt smiled at the dry tone in her voice. “Well you’re going to have to get a crash course in riding, I guess.”
“In your dreams, cowboy.”
Matt smiled as he wrapped Destiny against him more firmly. Holding her this way calmed him, and that was what scared him the most.
Movie Monday: Men in Black 3 Trailer is HERE!!!!
I am so happy to announce that the Men in Black 3 trailer is out! I loved these movies and I can’t want to see this one on Memorial Day. Enjoy.
I have a beat-up moleskin that I use as my venting journal. I have been filling it since I started working in New York last March. Recently, I flipped through my journal and I realized how negative, how depressing it sounded. I know that seems funny since it’s a venting journal and well, it’s supposed to sound depressing, but I didn’t like it. I’ve been having a rough time lately, with health, work stress, book stress and after looking at my journal, I knew that as much as I vented out the bad emotion, I needed to focus equally on the good stuff, the stuff I take for granted.
A couple weeks ago, I started a new tradition. Every day, I’d write down one thing I’m thankful for on an index card. I’d address it to God, because I feel like I haven’t given him his due respect in the few years, and I’d leave the index card in front of my god statue I have in my apartment.
I cant say that things have become dramatically better, or dramatically worse. Last week was really bad and this week was okay. The whole purpose of my index card isn’t to pray for something better. It’s simply to be thankful for what I already have. The process has helped ground me and put things in perspective.
So Thank You. For being friends, readers, and generally good people. And maybe you can take a moment to be thankful for something today, too.
I’m. So. Excited.
2012 NYC Teen Author Festival Full Schedule
Monday, March 26 (Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8):
Plotting Dangerously: Doing What it Takes to Find the Story
moderator: David Levithan
Tuesday, March 27 (McNally Jackson Bookstore, 52 Prince Street, 7-8:30):
The Mutual Admiration Society Reading
John Corey Whaley
Wednesday. March 28 (42nd St NYPL, Bergen Forum, 6-8):
Things Fall Apart: World Building and World Destroying in YA
Sarah Beth Durst
moderator: Chris Shoemaker
Thursday, March 29:
The NYC Big Read
NOTE: SPECIFIC MANHATTAN LIBRARY LOCATIONS TO COME
Queens – Long Island City branch of the Queens Public Library (37-44 21 Street Long Island City, NY 11101)
Manhattan – Locations to come
Melissa De La Cruz
Leanna Renee Hieber
Brooklyn – Brooklyn Public Library, central branch, Grand Army Plaza
Bronx — Bronx Library Center – 310 East Kingsbridge Road, Bronx
Sarah Darer Littman
John Corey Whaley
Friday March 30, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, 2-6)
2:00 – Introduction
2:10-3:00: Being Friends With Boys
Terra Elan McVoy
moderator: Sarah Mlynowski
3:00-3:50: The Writer as Time Traveler: Writing the Past While Sitting in the Present
Leanna Renee Hieber
moderator: David Levithan
3:50-4:40: No Ordinary Love: How to Create a Satisfying Love Story and a Satisfying Supernatural World at the Same Time
Melissa de la Cruz
moderator: Barry Lyga
4:40-5:30: New Voices Spotlight
Friday March 30, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30)
John Corey Whaley
moderator: David Levithan
Saturday March 31, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, 1-5)
1:00 – Introduction
1:10-2:00 – Rising to the Challenge: YA Characters Facing Down What Life Throws Them
moderator: David Levithan
2:00-2:50 — Killer Instincts: Death, Murder, and the YA Novel
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
moderator: Marie Rutkoski
2:50-4:00 — Moments of Truth: Characters at a Crossroads
Sarah Darer Littman
moderator: E. Lockhart
4:00-5:00 – Looking Forward to Fall
…and more authors reading from their upcoming books
Sunday April 1: Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4):
Jennifer Barnes (Every Other Day, Egmont)
Matt Blackstone (A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie, FSG)
Caroline Bock (LIE, St. Martin’s)
Jen Calonita (Belles, Little Brown)
Anna Carey (Eve, Harper)
Susane Colasanti (So Much Closer, Penguin)
Andrea Cremer (Bloodrose, Penguin)
Gina Damico (Croak, HMH)
Emily Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Harper)
Jocelyn Davies (A Beautiful Dark, Harper)
Sarah Beth Durst (Drink, Slay, Love, S&S)
Elizabeth Eulberg (Take a Bow, Scholastic)
Gayle Forman (Where She Went, Penguin)
Natasha Friend (For Keeps, Penguin)
Kim Harrington (Perception, Scholastic)
Barry Lyga (I Hunt Killers, Little Brown)
Daisy Whitney (The Rivals, Little Brown)
Margie Gelbwasser (Pieces of Us, Flux)
Alissa Grosso (Popular, Flux)
Jenny Han (We’ll Always Have Summer, S&S)
Leanna Renee Hieber (Darker Still, Sourcebooks)
Anne Heltzel (Circle Nine, Candlewick)
Jeff Hirsch (The Eleventh Plague, Scholastic)
Jennifer Hubbard (Try Not to Breathe, Penguin)
Melissa Jensen (The Fine Art of True or Dare, Penguin)
PG Kain (Famous for Thirty Seconds, S&S)
Melissa Kantor (The Darlings in Love, Hyperion)
Kody Keplinger (Shut Out, Little Brown)
Lucas Klauss (Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse, S&S)
David Levithan (Every You, Every Me, RH)
Stewart Lewis (You Have Seven Messages, RH)
Sarah Darer Littman (Want to Go Private?, Scholastic)
Elisa Ludwig (Pretty Crooked, S&S)
Carolyn Mackler (The Future of Us, Penguin)
Andy Marino (Unison Spark, FSG)
Wendy Mass (13 Gifts, Scholastic)
Terra Elan McVoy (The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, S&S)
Lauren McLaughlin (Scored, RH)
Sarah Mlynowski (Ten Things We Did, RH)
Carley Moore (The Stalker Chronicles, FSG)
E. C. Myers (Fair Coin, Pyr)
Michael Northrop (Plunked, Scholastic)
Micol Ostow (What Would My Cell Phone Do?, Penguin)
Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door, Penguin)
Jessica Rotherberg (The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Penguin)
Marie Rutkoski (The Jewel of the Kalderash, FSG)
Erin Saldin (The Girls of No Return, Scholastic)
Leila Sales (Past Perfect, S&S)
Kieran Scott (He’s So Not Worth It, S&S)
Melissa De La Cruz (Lost in Time, Hyperion)
Alyssa Sheinmel, (The Lucky Kind, RH)
Jennifer Smith (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, Little Brown)
Jeri Smith-Ready (Shift, S&S)
Jon Skovron (Misfit, Abrams)
Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, Hyperion)
Mark Shulman (Are You Normal?, National Geographic)
Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Chaos, Little Brown)
Arlaina Tibensky (And Then Things Fell Apart, S&S)
Siobhan Vivian (The List, Scholastic)
Melissa Walker (Small Town Sinners, Bloomsbury)
K.M. Walton (Cracked, S&S)
John Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back, S&S)
Alecia Whitaker (The Queen of Kentucky, Little Brown)
Maryrose Wood (The Unseen Guest, Harper)
Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo (Sirenz, Flux)
SO. MANY. AUTHORS.
And be sure to join the new Facebook page for up to date info on the festival!
Happy President’s Day everyone! Whoot! To celebrate President’s Day AND Movie Monday, I thought this trailer was totally apropos to post. It looks awesome even though I have not read the book yet. Check it ouutttt!