Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Hello, fair blog readers! My apologies for the late post today. Yesterday was probably the worst day ever. And by ever, I'm not sure I have experienced a worse day in all my 22 years of life. I thought I'd already had the worst day ever, but getting lost in Venice was at least something where I had control over the outcome. Yesterday was not one of those days.

But I survived yesterday and ended it by eating crepes and watching Downton Abbey with my little sister and my roommate/best friend, so that was all right.

Besides, I did not open this blog page to tell you about my Worst Day Ever. I opened it to tell you some NEWS: I finished my novel!!!

Specifically, I finished my first draft of "The Long Road Home," lovingly referred to as "that Irish novel." (Writers: do you also refer to books by things other than their titles, or just me? Mine are always "that French Revolution novel" or "that Irish novel" or "that London Blitz" novel.)

So, what now, you ask?

Well, my little sister is visiting me in Ithaca for the week, so I am taking the week off to hang out with her whenever I'm not at work. After that, I plan on trying my hand at writing a one-act play, because my aforementioned roommate/best friend is an actress currently without any acting to do, and also because why not give it a try?

And then of course there are the edits. So many edits. I'm not sure I've ever been so aware, immediately upon finishing a draft, just how much work needs to go into a piece to make it work the way it should. But I think this one could REALLY work if I get all the little jigsaw pieces to fit exactly as they should.

My new goal is to have it ready to send out into the world by the time many writers are gearing up for the madness that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. That should give me plenty of time to do edits of my own, send it out to a beta reader or three, and do another round after that.

So... anybody want to beta read a rather dark fairytale about the Irish potato famine for me? :)

And writers - what is it that you do after you finish a project? Do you do a victory dance? Do you read a lot? Sleep a lot? Catch up on tv? Or do you dive immediately into your next project?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Making Mischief

Hello, fair blog readers! I have a teaser for you today!

Maire has been told by the Secrets Man to mess things up a bit at the farm, namely, by disrupting a shipment of grain due to be sent off to London. She recruits Caleb and Elizabeth's help, but then finds out that that might not have been the greatest of ideas.

I hope you enjoy it!


“’S’all right, Caleb,” she whispered. “No one will catch us.” 

“Easy for you to say,” he muttered back, barely moving his lips. 

“If you keep looking so guilty, you will get caught. Relax. Everything’s going to be fine. And if they ask you-”

“I truthfully won’t know. I know, Maire.”

The last thing they’d done the night before was ‘borrow’ the hayloft ladders and lug the last of the grain up onto the barn roof. It had been a tricky job, with harrowing moments aplenty – one even left Maire dangling from the gutter for two desperate minutes – but they’d managed it. And then Maire had hidden the ladders as well. 

“Tell me everyplace that I can hide these,” she’d told him, “and then go to bed.”

“Why? Those are heavy, Maire, let me-”

“Because I can already tell you’ll make a dreadful liar, Monaghan. This way, if somebody asks you where the ladders have got to, you can truthfully say that you don’t know.”

“But if I tell you where to hide them-” he’d said, looking puzzled. It really was sweet, how unused to causing trouble he was. Maire had half-wanted to ruffle his hair over it.

“You’re going to tell me a handful of places. And if someone asks you, you can say truthfully that you don’t know, because you won’t know which place I’ve put them in, or if I’ve put them all in the same place or not. And you won’t need to go into detail listing possibilities. You can just say ‘I’ve no idea’ and look sweet like you do, and they’ll let you alone.”

“If you’re sure-” he’d said, still looking skeptical
“I’m sure,” she’d answered. He had finally told her some good hiding places, and she then shunted him out the barn door, watching his vanishing silhouette for a long moment before setting to work.  

Looking at Caleb’s pale face in the bright morning sunlight, her stomach gave the same twist of guilt it had once she’d chased him from the barn several hours before. It was wrong of her to drag him into this. It was wrong of her to take such an innocent and involve him in her schemes. No matter that she could not have accomplished this on her own. No matter that he had volunteered even after she had told him to stay away. Caleb had probably never even pulled Elizabeth’s pigtails when they were children, never stolen extra helpings from the kitchen or skipped off working on a particularly fine day to skip stones on the duck pond instead. 

She, on the other hand, had spent her whole childhood playing pranks on her siblings. And she’d spent the past two years stealing where she could, making trouble, as her mother called it. She was good at it. She was good at throwing her elbows and her fists into other people’s faces, never mind that her nose got bloodied because of it. She always came out with that fistful of barley, or that extra blanket, or what have you.

Caleb, however – Caleb was not a fighter. He was not mischievous. There was not a mischievous bone in his whole body. And Maire dreaded the thought of her troublemaking ways crushing his sweetness. 

Caleb was like sunshine. And she – well, she was the hailstorm no one expected and certainly no one wanted.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

ONE releases TODAY!!!

Hello, fair blog readers!

I have some questions for you.

Do you like YA novels?

Do you like superheroes?

Do you like amazingly self-sufficient female protagonists?

Then I have good news! Leigh Ann Kopans' debut novel ONE releases TODAY!!!

With a cover that gorgeous, don't you just want to run and buy a copy? Of course you do!

ONE is the story of Merrin Grey, a girl with only one superpower in a world where you need two to actually accomplish anything - flame powers and the ability to heal your own skin, for instance, or the ability to float and then the ability to propel yourself forward. She thinks that if she can just land that internship at the Hub, the science research center where her parents work, she might just be able to "fix" her one-ness and solve all her problems. But then, of course, nothing is quite as it seems and no problem so big is so easily solve-able.

ONE is a little bit like X-Men meets The Incredibles with a super-sweet and incredibly well-portrayed love story to boot.

Trust me. You want to read this book.

You can find ONE here, here, and here. You should really check it out. Leigh Ann is a wonderful human being and a wonderful writer, and I think you'll really enjoy the story she's got to tell.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Thoughts from Places: Oh, Canada

I seem to be shockingly good at forgetting that it's Tuesday. All the days have sort of started bleeding together a little bit. Never fear, good blog readers - pending some phone calls to make sure that I am not a serial killer, I am gainfully employed as a hotel front desk receptionist, so that should force me to remember what day of the week it is a little more often.

And now: I don't believe I told you about my recent trip to Toronto, did I?

You know those crazy plans that your friends come up with sometimes? And often they're not even so crazy - I suppose plans of this nature could really range from "hey, I never see you anymore, we should hang out," to "let's go back to London!!"

Toronto started out as one of those plans. Except we actually did it. My roommate extraordinaire Lisa drove me, her boyfriend Toby, and our two friends Brandon and Jillian up into the wilds of Canada (and by wilds I mostly mean completely mental highways where the speed limit signs are suddenly in kilometers per hour) to have a weekend of adventuring in Toronto.

While we were there, Jillian said something along the lines that all cities remind her of other cities, and it is very much the case with Toronto. Lisa and I decided that if you mashed up Philadelphia, Newark, and Dublin, you'd get Toronto, architecturally speaking at least. Culturally speaking it leans more towards the Dublin/small British city vibe - we found ourselves in this really fantastic pub in the entertainment district that had All the British Things on the walls, bowler hat light fixtures, and really good macaroni and cheese.

I suspect that Lisa and I may have driven our traveling companions slightly insane over the course of the weekend by bringing up our adventures in Europe pretty much every twelve seconds, but we couldn't really help it. This semi-spontanous trip was especially great - or just especially nostalgic - for me because it felt so much like our trips from last year. We felt like going to Cardiff one weekend, so we did. We felt like taking a trip to Camden Markets another weekend, so we did that too. And a couple of months ago, we felt like driving to Toronto and having another adventure in another country, so we made sure it actually happened. And then we jabbered about past adventures nonstop. Lisa told the story of our disastrous day of traveling over spring break. I talked about that time I became a random tour guide in Paris and the WWII bomb shelter in Cardiff Castle. There was a lot of reminiscing, a lot of nostalgia, which stung a bit for me on the first day, at least. And we maaaaybe prattled on a little TOO much about our adventures to our poor captive companions. (... sorrynotsorry)

Our adventure was brief, and probably lacking in things that would stereotypically be called adventurous. We didn't really go to any museums (we did go to a place called Casa Loma, which I keep calling Castle Loma because, well, it's a castle), didn't really get horribly lost (well, Jillian and I got minorly turned around, which was entirely my fault, but we got un-lost again rather quickly), didn't climb any Arthurian-named mountains or visit any cathedrals.

Instead, we found ourselves in a sports bar right when the Toronto Maple Leafs beat whatever Boston's hockey team is in a Stanley Cup playoff game. The entire bar erupted in cheers, and we sort of watched and soaked it all in. We went to a very delicious dinner at Toby's grandparents' house, which meant figuring out public transportation on the way there and stuffing Brandon into the trunk of Toby's step-grandmother's car on the way back (and no, Brandon, we will never ever let you forget that. Or that you volunteered quite happily for the position). We didn't climb any mountains, but we did climb the crazy stairs of doom from the Scott Pilgrim movie. Our first night there, we wandered into a restaurant that had a live jazz band playing. And our second night there, the boys went out without us and the girls stayed in our hostel room just chatting. So, perhaps a smaller-scale adventure than ones I've been on previously, but a grand adventure nonetheless. It was a kind of a last hurrah with friends - a last crazy college student thing to do before Senior Week and all its fun, and graduation sending us on our separate ways. I'm so glad that our random late night exclamation of "let's go to Canada!!!" actually became a real adventure that we really went on.

Especially since, on the way back, before the speed limit signs changed back into miles per hour, pennies came into existence once again, and hockey stopped being a big deal, we stopped to look at Niagara Falls for a little while.

From left to right: Toby, Lisa, Jillian, me, Brandon. Also a seriously giant waterfall.