Top 10 books I read in 2016: mini-reviews

(click here to read mini-reviews from 2014 and 2015.)

I'll be honest. I read a lot less this year than I usually do. It's been a rough year all the way around, and I'll probably talk about that later. Meanwhile, I'm writing this annual mini-review post because it brings me joy and also, there's little I love more than telling people what to read and how to live their lives.

Lezzgo.

Read More
Turn the page

Yesterday morning, at around 7:45am, I finished the second draft of hail the pumpkin king -a novel whose first draft I finished almost a year ago today (I wasn't writing Draft 2 that whole time, I swear, just for about 4 months on and off).

This is the first book I've written multiple drafts of while also working full-time. It's also the first book whose first draft I've underwritten. And just when I feel like I'm learning things, I look up the D2 wordcount and there it is: 11,000 words that were not there before.

Read More
Letters to my dead novels

dear dead novel #1,

You were the one.

The one that made me realize I could do it. Really do it. Write a book. A whole book.

You were a few hundred handwritten pages of pure, magical dream-fever. Sure, you were about talking horses running wild in Wyoming. Sure, half of you now lies smudged, faded, and illegible in a drawer because I was too naive to write with a pen and not a pencil. But Novel, I remember the long summer nights we spent together.

Read More
More confessions of a yes-woman: take a f***ing vacation

Hi, guys. This will be short, I promise. This past week, a post I wrote for The Yellow Conference went live, and I reread it for the first time since I wrote it back in May. It's about saying no and having the courage to set boundaries for ourselves.

Read More
Why we shovel sand

Here's a fun party story: Over the course of my life, I've written five novels. Despite this, it took me a long time until I found the nerve to start calling myself "a writer." This was largely because for the majority of my writing life, I was unrepresented and unpublished and yaddayaddayadda I overvalued the validation of other people.

Now? I'm not unpublished anymore. But I am still unrepresented.

Read More
How to Bookfest Pt. 2: YALLWEST 2016

(check out part 1 of the "how to bookfest" on the la times festival of books.)

This past weekend marked the end of book festival season with YALLWEST, the only dedicated Young Adult bookfest in southern California. After I got home, my roommate said, "And now you hibernate for another year in preparation for 2017 book festival season." Which is, I have to say, like 99% accurate.

Read More
How to Bookfest Pt. 1: LA Times Festival of Books 2016

This weekend kicked off LA's bookfest season. AND WE SO EXCITE.

A few days ago I got the iPhone notification that I'd set up threemonthsagowhateverit'snotimportant, I almost had a stroke* because I had not yet planned out my day author-panel-by-author-panel. Also, 90% chance of rain all day? No problem. I am a strong, independent nerd who don't need no umbrella.

Read More
Brown Paper Packages: Edition With All The Mugs

Last year, I started a series on the blog to feature a few of my favorite things on the first Monday of every month. And most people who know me also know that I have a slight (very slight) problem with buying mugs. Yes, mugs. As in, for coffee and tea and other such... beverages... What. 

...so anyway, this month's edition of Brown Paper Packages is a list of my favorite mugs because I really just want an excuse to buy more (click here to see all past editions!). 

Read More
Even if He does not

So. This has been a week. Today while I was scrolling through Instagram, I was struck by how my own posts really don't accurately reflect the state of my heart. And all of a sudden, I felt this bizarre and urgent need to ask how everybody's doing. To ask how you're doing.

Or maybe it's not so bizarre. I guess I've been asking that question a lot this week.

Read More