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What's New Monday - October 22

We seem to be dangerously close to skipping right over autumn and straight into winter. Otherwise known as just another October in the Midwest.

What I'm Reading: 
I finished Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram over the course of a couple afternoons. It's a very heartfelt book about an Iranian-American boy going to Iran and meeting his family there for the first time, while dealing with depression and coming of age.

I spent a good chunk of the week with Mirage by Somaiya Daud and loved that as well. The worldbuilding is absolutely gorgeous, the characters well-rounded, and the love interest...well, I might be in love with him.

I've barely started Pride by Ibi Zoboi.

What I'm Writing: 
A Thousand Miles is still flowing well. I'm a little worried that the first draft is going to be under 50k but I'm sure I'll find plenty of room to expand in the next one.

What I'm Listening to: 
I mostly got caught up on everything Critical Role this week because I f…

Writing About Other Sexualities

This post was originally made in August 2014. I felt like it was time for an update. 

Representation is important and publishing is finally starting to embrace diversity. If you're thinking about writing queer characters, there are many things to consider, especially if you're writing about a sexuality that is not your own.

The most important thing when writing queer characters is that being queer is not the only thing they have going for them. They have pasts, futures, hopes, dreams, motivations just like any other characters. They shouldn't be here to play the role of "Gay Best Friend #1." Coming out stories are not the only queer stories that matter. They're extremely important, don't get me wrong, but we also need stories about characters who just happen to be queer, just like we have thousands of stories about characters who just happen to be straight.

Do your research. Don't rely on stereotypes or misconceptions. Not all gay men are interested i…

What's New Monday - October 15, 2018

Curious. I definitely wrote a post for last Monday but it seems to still be in my drafts. Autumn is coming on quickly. It's cold outside and the heat is on in the house and the leaves are changing colors. I still haven't had my apple cider but I did have my first pumpkin latte last weekend so all is not lost. I love fall but I can already smell the snow.

What I'm Reading: 
I ended up DNFing When I Am Through With You because I just wasn't connecting with the characters. Instead, I read Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel. It was a nice quick read but struck me as more middle grade in feel than young adult.

I also picked up Dread Nation by Justina Ireland from the bookstore and adored it. I'm not usually one for zombie novels but if this is the last one I ever read (okay, last series because I desperately need that sequel) that's fine with me. The concept is great, the execution is even better, and the characters are all well-rounded and fascinating.

The last week I sp…

The Answer to Most Writing Questions

I've seen a lot of writers ask questions that come with a very simple answer: Read More.

"Is sex okay for YA?"

"What's the difference between YA and MG?"

"How long should be chapters be?"

"Can I do this thing?"


"How do I write a long scene of dialogue?"

"What genre is my book?"

If you read more books, you'll often find the answer to your question. Be well-read within your genre. Read other genres. Read for other markets. Read non-fiction. Read books from authors you like, authors you don't, authors you've never heard of.

Find those books you love and then think about what's so compelling about them. Think about the characters, the plot, the pacing. This doesn't mean try to turn those books into a formula for your own book, it just means studying from the masters to figure out what you can do to make your book better.

Read. More.

How to Write With an Office Job

When you spend eight (or more) hours at the office, it can be hard to come home, plant yourself behind another computer, and work on a book. There's family to spend time with, errands to run, movies and TV to watch, and sleep to enjoy. Here are five tips on how to make a book happen, without quitting your day job:

1. Write when you can
If you're an early bird, wake up half an hour early in the morning, just to write. Bring your laptop or a printed copy into work and write during your lunch break. Set aside an hour or even half an hour in the evening when you get home. This is my preferred writing time. Sometimes it happens later than others but as long as I'm sitting at the computer, I always try to get my words in.

2. Make your word/page count goals easily achievable 
If you use word count goals to motivate yourself to write, make these easy to achieve. I shoot for 250 words on work nights and busy weekends, and 1,000 words on days when I have more time. It's nice for m…

What's New Monday - October 1, 2018

Can someone please explain to me how it can possibly be October 1 already? Wasn't New Year's, like, last week?

What I'm Reading: 
I just finished The Pros of Cons by Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, and Michelle Shusterman. It was a super sweet read with some A+ female friendships, diverse love interests, and a healthy dose of fandom fun. Now I'm reading When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn.

What I'm Writing: 
I'm currently in the process of writing a new project--my first since I wrote LP in college. It's YA fantasy told from a dual perspective set in the same world as LP. The two characters are polar opposites and I love both of them very much. I'm a little over 20k into the first draft and very excited about it.

What I'm Listening to: 
One of the perks of my job is that I get to listen to podcasts all day. I recently finished Wolf-359 and highly, highly recommend it to anyone that wants a sci-fi serial podcast with a great plot, laughs, and mo…

Almost Ten Years...

It's been almost ten years since I started this blog. My first post was back in January 2009. I can say a lot has changed since then.

I graduated high school and college with my bachelor's degree.

I moved out of my tiny hometown and into the city.

I accepted my first full-time job. 

Back in those days of 2009, I met a girl. Two months ago, she became my wife.

Other things haven't changed. I'm still writing and still pursuing publication, although I can say I'm a lot more knowledgeable about both now than I was nine years ago. I'm still riding horses. Tamora Pierce and Rick Riordan are still two of my favorite authors.

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts for writers lately and it's made me miss blogging. I know the writer blogosphere isn't as well-populated as it once was but it's one of my favorite platforms and I've decided to try--for real, not like I say I'm going to every New Year--blogging again. I'll be shooting for twice…