Stuff I Like

Charity Auction #3: Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

It’s that time again! Time for a charity auction! I’m a bit late (erm, a whole month!) thanks to touring, but hey! Better late than never.

HESCThis month, I want to raise money for the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Why? Because conservation is one of the most important causes to my heart. It’s probably the greatest passion of my life and what drove me to work in fisheries during my time with marine ecology. It’s why I keep the Seafood Watch List on my phone and nag my friends about choosing responsible fisheries. It’s why I dream of one day uniting career as writer with my love for ecology and the environment.

So in other words: this won’t be the last time you see a conservation charity pop up on my auctions. 😉

Now then, let’s do this! You all know the drill by now: whoever bids the most will win, and I’ll match the donation from my own pocket!

What You Can Win

  1. A signed copy of ANY of my books. (Truthwitch, Something Strange & Deadly, A Darkness Strange & Lovely, or Strange & Ever After)
  2. A 25-page critique!
  3. A 30 minute Skype chat to discuss the critique, publishing, whatever!

Who You’d Be Helping

Matimba, saved at one month old after his mother was brutally killed by poachers.

Matimba, saved at one month old after his mother was brutally killed by poachers.

I first fell in love with the HESC after I discovered their instagram. They share the most incredible, heartwarming (and sometimes heartbreaking) images of the various wild animals they save.

The rhinos are my favorite. Oh, and I love the cheetahs. And okay, and the caracals are kind of amazing. FINE. I love all the endangered critters, and I want to support this incredible center that helps heal and protect them.

The goals of the HESC include:

  • The breeding of endangered, vulnerable or rare animal species
  • The release and establishment of captive-bred cheetahs to the wild
  • The treatment and rehabilitation of orphaned or injured animals which are brought to the Centre
  • The education of learners, students and the general public in conservation and conservation activities
  • Eco-tourism
  • A hands-on Student’s Program to conservation and adventure enthusiasts from around the world.

Learn more about HESC on their website, and remember: nature is our most valuable resource. Once it goes, humanity goes too.

Gertjie, orphaned at 3 months old and the first rhino at HESC.

Gertjie, orphaned at 3 months old and the first rhino at HESC.

How to Participate

  1. Leave a comment below with your bid amount.
  2. You can leave as many bids as you want!
  3. The final bid must come in on or before 11:59:59 AM EST on April 18. I’ll keep track of time-stamps just to be safe.
  4. The highest bid will win, and I’ll contact the winner!
  5. Note: this is international! No boundaries here for prizes or good deeds!

Thanks, everyone — for reading. For spreading the word. For reading my blog post. And here’s to making the world a better place, one donation at a time!

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#TenDaysOfTruthwitch

The first novel of the Witchland series is ALMOST HERE! Join me to celebrate the launch of Truthwitch! Starting tomorrow, I’ll be discussing stuff like best friends, new years resolutions, and of course, fantasy books, tv and movies! And all in the spirit of Truthwitch, of course!

There’ll be free prizes! And fun parties! And did I mention the free prizes?? 😏

The basic plan is to celebrate #TenDaysOfTruthwitch, starting on the US release date (January 5th) and ending on the UK release date (January 14th). Starting on January 9, I’ll be challenging YOU ALL to join in! And each day, I’ll pick a random participant to win a signed copy of Truthwitch as well 2 other YA novels!

Check out the graphic to the right or the full schedule below!

♦♦♦

#TenDaysOfTrutwitch

 
Prizes: Beginning January 9th with the Reader Challenges, I’ll be giving away a copy of Truthwitch + two more novels EACH DAY!

Rules: For the Reader Challenges, entries must be posted by 9pm ET on each date below. Winners will be chosen every night at 10:30 pm ET. International entries are accepted!!!

Schedule:

TenDaysOfTruthwitch21/5: Truthwitch publishes in the US!!! #TruthwitchParty + a quick celebratory Twitter chat at 9PM ET! Make sure to use the hashtag #TruthwitchParty to join in! And there might be some prizes given away DURING the chat!

1/6: A live google hangout chat with moi & Alex Bracken at 8PM ET! Use the hashtag #PassTruthParty to ask Alex and me questions. We’ll each pick 10 to answer during the chat, and then we’ll take 5 more during the chat!

1/7: Reddit AMA on r/Fantasy! Drop by the forum any time during the day to ask whatever question your heart desires!

1/8: Misfits & Daydreamers giveaway + behind-the-scenes cover story! Learn how the cover for Truthwitch was crafted in my newsletter, and also enter an EPIC giveaway!

1/9: Reader Challenge #1: #ResolutionsFor2016! Show your bravery and share a truth! What do YOU want to accomplish in 2016? When posting, use both hashtags #Resolutionsfor2016 and #Truthwitch!

1/10: Reader Challenge #2: #BestFriends! Best friends 4eva! Friendship is at the heart of any adventure. Celebrate friendship by posting a pic of you and your Threadsister/brother using both hashtags #BestFriend and #Truthwitch!

1/11: Reader Challenge #3: #InTheWild! Getting that post-holiday shopping in? While you’re out, snap pics of Truthwitch by Susan Dennard in the wild and share online! Use both hashtags #InTheWild and #Truthwitch!

1/12: Reader Challenge #4: #Shelfie! Winter is…finally here. Post pics of your your fantasy book shelf, and you get a double entry if Truthwitch is on there! Use both hashtags #Shelfie and #Truthwitch!

1/13: Reader Challenge #5: #Recipes! Party treats time! Share a recipe for a fun snack inspired by your favorite novel, show or movie. You get a double-entry if it’s inspired by Truthwitch! Make sure to use the hashtags #Recipes and #Truthwitch!

1/14: Truthwitch publishes in the UK!!! Party time again, this time with #ClanChat!  Join me and the #Witchlanders on twitter at 10:00 AM ET to celebrate the UK launch of Truthwitch! Clans, fans, and fellow authors will get together to talk about their favorite fantasy novels, shows and movies. Make sure to use the hashtag #ClanChat to participate!

♦♦♦

So there you have it, my dear readers! #TenDaysOfTruthwitch. It starts tomorrow! Finally. I am so sick of talking about this book, and I am SURE you’re sick of hearing me talk about it. 😉

I hope to see you in the Twitter-verse, and if not there, then perhaps on the #PassTruthTour!

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Vengeance Road Round-up!

VRRoundupIt’s here! Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman is here!

If you all haven’t heard me gush about this book yet, then you’re about to. This book is SO incredible and SO unlike anything out there.

You’re immediately thrown in the insanity from page 1, when we meet Kate — a gun-toting gal out for revenge against the criminal gang who killed her pa. This book has all the elements of a classic western: dusty, dry landscape; treasure in the mountains; deep dialect; Apache tensions; and a morally gray group of heroes and anti-heroes.

In classic Bowman style, the pacing is fast and the prose is sure to gut you in its simple power. Plus: KATE! What a heroine with a lot to learn.

You’ll have to find out if she does learn — or if she does win her vengeance in the end.

To celebrate this book’s release, I thought it’d be fun to round up (western style!) some pics of Vengeance Road across the web!

And if you SHARE your own picture with the hashtag #VRRoundUp, you’ll be entered to win a round up of other books!

Here’s my own pic (and I’ll share another once my hardcover arrives!):

VRRoundUp1

Here’s what you can win!

Signed & Personalized Vengeance Road (of course!)

Signed & Personalized ARC of Truthwith by yours truly

Signed & Personalized ARC of Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Signed & Personalized ARC of Riders by Veronica Rossi

Signed & Personalized hardcover of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Signed & Personalized hardcover of Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Yeehaw! (Or so the awesome VR Posse would say!)

Now: All you have to do to be entered to win is share a link in the comments section to your #VRRoundUp picture!

And stay tuned for the winner, which will be chosen RANDOMLY on 9/15/15.

(Also: because of the SCALE of this giveaway, I’m afraid it’s US only! I am so sorry!! I have to think about my pocketbook here!)

Finally — in case you haven’t yet purchased your copy and want to participate in the #VRRoundup, here are some links to buy:

amazon indiebound bn bam ibooks kobo

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, ERIN! And remember everyone:

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Current TV Favorites

Because I’m currently obsessed with iZombie and looking for ANY excused to talk about it, I thought today’s blog would be about the TV I’m enjoying right now.

(And I’d LOVE for you to chime in with your favorite shows! I’m always on the lookout for more!)

Watching Now

iZombie (the CW, Hulu): I love, love, love, love, LOVE this show. Liv Moore = everything I missed about Veronica Mars, and the humor! The banter! The sexual tension and murder mystery in every episode! It’s so good, guys. I really can’t recommend this enough. And if you’re a Veronica Mars fan, then what are you waiting for?! This is THE show for you!

Black Sails (Starz, Amazon Prime): I’m only 4 episodes in on this show, but it’s SO good. In fact, I think each episode gets better than the one before–raising the stakes, pushing characters to their limits, and just going to some DARK places I don’t see often on TV. It’s definitely R-rated, though, so younger readers should probably stay away. 😉

The Wrong Mans (Hulu): The first season of this show was one of my favorite TV experiences of 2014. To my surprise (and delight!), season 2 has proved to be EVEN FUNNIER. We’ve only got one episode left, and I am so sad about this. 🙁

The Daily Show (Comedy Central, Hulu): This is a nightly requirement in my house. Jon Stewart is nothing short of genius, and I honestly trust NO ONE ELSE for my news. (Well, I trust him and NPR. That’s about it.) Seriously: if you’ve never watched the Daily Show before, there’s no time like the present! 😉

Recent Binges

Broadchurch (Netflix): This show was dark, creepy, and VERY intense. I couldn’t stop, though, and I was SO pulled in by the incredible acting and gorgeous setting. If you enjoy murder mystery, then this is a great show to binge.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix): At the suggestion of some friends (*waves at Rachel & Katie!*), I started this show a few weeks ago…and couldn’t stop. It’s SO FUNNY and has such a heartwarming message in each episode.

The 100 (Netflix): I’ve only seen season 1, so no spoilers please!! That said, I cannot WAIT to binge season 2! This show took me completely by surprise. The pilot is kind of terrible, but things really pick up after that. I couldn’t believe how many times I was brought to tears watching this show.

Galvant (ABC, Hulu): This musical comedy took me COMPLETELY by surprise–in the best possible way. Sarah J. Maas and I watched it during our annual NYE trip together…and were hooked. We literally rewatched it all immediately after the first round. So. Funny. SO. Clever.

More Obscure Shows You Shouldn’t Miss

Moone Boy (Hulu): This was my favorite show of 2014. It was so heartwarming, so hilarious, and so unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Chris O’Dowd NAILS it. Do not miss this show–seriously.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (Netflix): This show took me 100% by surprise last year. The first episode is a bit hokey (okay, the whole SERIES is a bit hokey), but I just fell in love with the characters and the 1920s setting. Plus, the romantic tension for our leading lady  detective–ungh!! It’s SO great!

Peaky Blinders (Netflix): Season 1 of this show was one of the best TV watching experience of my WHOLE LIFE. I still think it is almost flawless storytelling. Too bad they ruined it ALL with season 2. Still, if you can, watch only season 1 and prepare to be blown away.

Emma Approved (YouTube): Emma remains one of my favorite Jane Austen’s, so I wasn’t surprised when I fell head-over-heels for this adaptation. SO cute, SO bingeable, and ungh the final kiss!!!! It was SO worth the wait. 😉

Now you all TELL ME what you’re watching!

Please, please! I’d love to have more stuff to add to the queue!

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How I Got Into Martial Arts

I started karate during undergrad. I was 20 years old; it was the start of my junior year.

I’d wanted to do martial arts ever since I was about 8 years old and saw 3 Ninjas. (Oh man, Rocky was my true love!) But, being painfully shy and super embarrassed by my lack of athleticism, I never pursued my dream into an actual dojo.

Nor did I ever tell anyone how badly I wanted to do martial arts. I know my dad would’ve urged me to a sign up if he’d known—he had done various martial arts his whole life, from karate to kung fu, and I’d grown up watching him do tai chi in the living room.

After twelve years of never following my dream, I have no idea what possessed me to call up a dojo one September day in 2004. I remember exactly where I was sitting, and I remember amping myself up to do it—but can’t remember what spurred me to that point.

You’ve always wanted to do karate, I told myself, sitting at my giant desktop (computers were still HUGE in 2004). Now all you have to do is dial this one number and see what the person on the other end says. It’s not like it’s going to kill you.

I called the dojo. The sensei answered. He said to drop by later and check out the studio, try a class if I wanted, and see what karate was all about.

I did just that.

And I was immediately hooked. Everyone was so nice! The class ranged from all ages—kids to grandmas, other UGA students to officers off the nearby army base. Best of all, no one was competing with each other. The whole karate philosophy was about competing with yourself.  A “be better than you were last time” mentality.

So I got my gi and started attending class diligently three times a week. I got my first belt (the rank of yellow!) a few weeks later, and I still remember how proud I was.

I think the only time in my life I’ve ever been more proud was when I sold Something Strange & Deadly—and honestly, my pride over that yellow belt still stands out more firmly in my mind. I vividly recall calling my mother from the dojo parking lot and SCREAMING with excitement.

Karate transformed me.

I got stronger. I got faster. I got less embarrassed about screwing up a punch and more determined to “be better than I was last time.”

All that hard work paid off in other areas of my life too. My focus at school doubled—quadrupled even. I became known as That Girl—the Hermione who always had the highest test grade and was every teacher’s favorite. But it wasn’t something I did on purpose. I just found that I loved learning, and I swear it was because karate had retaught my brain to see information—of any kind—as exciting.

After about a year and a half of karate, I started doing kickboxing as well. Up until then, the kickboxing class had totally intimidated me. It was the class after my karate, so I always saw them hammering away at the punching bags on my way out of the dressing room.

And this wasn’t your mom’s cadrio kickbox class, either. It was legitimate, in-the-ring style kickboxing with gloves and mouth guards and jab drills that made your knuckles bleed.

But after months of my sensei and senpai begging me to stick around and just try the kickboxing class, I did…

IT SLAYED ME. I have never been so close to puking from overexertion in my life.

But the class also hooked me. All that sweat! All those endorphins! All that punching and kicking and gasping for breath—it was was so different from the focused, calm intensity of karate.

Soon, I was spending 6.5 hours a week at the dojo—and I would’ve gone more if there’d been more classes…

But all amazing things must eventually come to an end. My sensei was no spring chicken, and during my senior year of college, his occasional tremors escalated into full Parkinson’s—likely the result of decades of getting punched in the head.

He sold the dojo to a different sensei in town who was looking to expand. I didn’t like the new sensei. I’m sure he was a nice man, but his teaching style didn’t jive with me. So in the final months before I graduated, I all but stopped going to the dojo (as did many other students). Then I graduated, moved to Canada, and had a lot other things to worry about (like my masters thesis…or the fact that I had no friends at all).

I tried to find a dojo at my new school, but every place I tried was either too focused on competition and tournaments or just NOT welcoming in the way I was accustomed to and needed.

I wanted a family-focused dojo like my old school. I wanted tournaments and sparring to be optional, and I wanted to feel like I could fail in a safe place—because so much of martial arts IS failing…and then dusting yourself off and trying again.

I stayed away from karate for almost six years. It wasn’t until last fall, after an inexplicable itch to reume martial arts awoke in me—an itch to feel strong and powerful again, like I used to—that I finally worked up the courage to look into some local studios.

I wanted a place with a karate style similar to my old one (there are SO MANY forms of karate, it’s crazy), and I wanted one that was family-oriented.

And then I found one. It’s not identical to my first “home”—nothing will be—but the focus of my new dojo is on personal improvement. Competing and sparring are optional. Class age ranges from teens to sixties, rank ranges from yellow to multi-degree black, and everyone just wants to help everyone else.

After a single trial class, I felt that old martial artist inside me BURST awake. I couldn’t wait for the next class—I couldn’t wait to roundhouse and back kick and knife-hand my way across the floor.

Yeah, so it sucks that I had to drop from my old rank of purple belt (which, at my former dojo, was two way from black) back down to a squeaky beginner’s white…but that blow to my ego was good for me. It was a reminder that this isn’t about rank or how other people perceive me.

Karate is and always has been about my personal journey. It’s about sinking into a kata until the whole world falls away. Until all I am is this one pinprick of thought and movement and focus.

It’s about feeling strong and empowered. About knowing that the more I learn, the less I fear.

And above all else, karate is about striving—always, always—to be better than I was the time before.

And that, my friends, his how I got into martial arts. 🙂

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An Easy (and healthy!) Meal: Chicken Leg Quarters

Easy Chicken Leg QuartersI have the worst stomach known to man. I’m sensitive to everything, and eating out it is more of a pain in the butt than it is a fun time.

It should come as no surprise then, that I eat at home far more frequently than I eat out. I know what my stomach can handle, and it’s easier (read: less painful) to just cook at home.

But the problem is I’m lazy. I enjoy cooking once I get started (and I always enjoy the results of the cooking!), but actually getting myself into the kitchen and chopping vegetables…

Ugh.

Let’s just say that more often than not, 7:30 rolls around and I’m STARVING. The last thing I want to do is have to think hard about what I’ll be eating or stressing over preparation.

The same goes for lunch. I’ll be deep in the writing zone until 12:30-ish, when aha! Suddenly my stomach is gurgling and I MUSTEATRIGHTNOWORDIE. If I don’t have leftovers ready to pop into the microwave, than I’ll pretty much starve until dinner time.

Enter stage left: the chicken leg quarter.

These are SO easy to prepare, and the results are sooooo delicious.

While the leg quarters are not necessarily fast (they take between 45 minutes to 1 hour to cook), they are so EASY that it kinda negates the misery of waiting. I just play some Dragon Age Inquisition while these suckers bake. 😉

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As for what to eat alongside your chicken, there are tons of options! My husband likes to make rice or egg noodles to mix around in the delicious chicken juices at the end. Since I can’t really eat grains, I like to make an easy vegetable (steamed broccoli, for example, or cauliflower) and mix it with the chicken juices.

Or, if you have a bit more time to prep, you could always bake vegetables with the chicken leg quarters! Carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes–chop ’em up, add ’em to the baking dish, and cook with the legs for a delicious, super healthy meal.

You tell me: Do you have an easy, go-to weekday meal?

 

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Changing the Focus of My Blog

Hi everyone!! *waves frantically*

It has been 2 months since I last posted–can you believe it? It doesn’t actually feel that long, and I won’t lie: it has been great for my creative self to not have to worry about blogging.

Because, here’s the thing, guys: I’ve run out of things to say when it comes to writing.

I’ve written 560 posts, 38 newsletters, and who knows how much additional content on Pub(lishing) Crawl, Let the Words Flow, and other blogs across the interwebosphere.

That’s pretty insane when you think about it, and to be honest: I’m really proud of what I’ve built. I won three different awards for “Best Writing Blogs” in 2014, and I launched the Misfits & Daydreams (and got to watch that really take off).

I love my newsletter–like love it. It feels wildly intimate, and I find people are more likely to email me directly than they used to be (which is wonderful!). So I will 100% continue to wax poetic about writing, publishing, etc. on there. I’ll also continue to answer all questions put to me in the forum.

But I’d love to take this blog in a new direction.

You see, I’m not just a writer. Like, I actually have a number of hobbies (gasp!) and passions (double gasp!) that have nothing to do with books.

I make bath and body products–makeup too. I tap dance. I go to the dojo three times a week. I have an unhealthy obsession with good, good coffee. I LOVE fashion (even if I don’t always have the guts to follow it), and I love makeup application/techniques even more.

I love dogs (I’m sure you all knew that), and have a weakness for any and all unlikely animal pairings as well as cute baby animals doing cute baby animal things.

I like food (especially gluten-free cookies), and I really care about what sorts of ingredients and chemicals go into my body. So no surprise: I spend a lot of time cooking and finding new recipes to try (especially new gluten-free cookie recipes).

I enjoy DIY house projects. My husband and I bought a wreck of a house two years ago, and since then, we’ve been fixing it up all by ourselves–and on a very tight budget. No surprise: but I’m a huge fan of Ikea hacks and yard sales. 😉

Maybe a lot of you already know this stuff about me, but I’d love to dig more deeply into all these things and to connect with other people who are interested in them as well. Plus, I think it would give YOU ALL, my incredible readers, a deeper understanding of who I am.

I mean, if you enjoy my books or my writing advice, then you might also enjoy understanding where it all comes from. I’m one of those ANNOYING people who sees a life lesson in everything–so be prepared for blog posts in that vein.

Now, I’m not saying I won’t still write about writing or publishing–I absolutely will. And again: I’ll still discuss those things and answer questions in the Misfits & Daydreamers.

But for 2015, I’m going to give this new, fresh direction of content a try.

You tell me: What kind of non-writing stuff would you like to hear about? You can ask me anything–honestly, you can! Or, if you’re not comfortable leaving a comment, don’t ever hesitate to email me directly: susan @ susandennard.com

Also: If you all have ANY QUESTIONS about writing or publishing, I’d still love to get those! Hearing what you guys want to know helps me create content for the newsletter. 🙂

 

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Detox December (and Rejuvenation January)

As I recently discussed in a Misfits & Daydreamers issue, whole-assing (a.k.a. full immersion) is the only way I can get a book written. I need to fall so deeply into the story that no outside distractions can…well, distract.

I’m not the only author who feels this way. In fact, I’d say that the #1 complaint I hear from my fellow writers is that email, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr…basically, The Internet, is a black hole that both sucks away attention and also sucks away motivation.

Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE me some social media–and nothing gets me more excited than Twitter conversations about Vampire Diaries. But, whether we realize it or not, all those interactions stress us out.

It’s all part of what’s called the Zeigarnik Effect, which basically says that unfinished tasks cause stress and intrude into our thoughts. So for every unanswered email, tweet, text, etc. that you’ve ever read, your brain is carrying around STRESS. And until the messages are answered, that stress will build up and take away precious attention for creativity.

The brain likes finished tasks–it can’t let them go otherwise. So until you ANSWER or DEAL WITH all those social media messages, your brain can’t relax. It can’t unplug.

But hey, if you don’t even know the new email is there, then whoa! Suddenly your brain has some freed-up space.

But it’s not just messages that cause stress–it’s ANY to-do item that’s unfinished. Those packages that still need dropping at the post office. Those blog interviews you never got around to finishing or ARCs that you totally meant to read/review…

So how do we fix all this stress? We finish, we eliminate, and we stop taking on more.

As Jeff Vandermeer says in his awesome Booklife:

…I am not the kind of person whose book promotion/Internet brain is interwoven with my creative brain. The two are separate. To summon one I must banish the other. To go from being in the moment while writing in the morning to this other thing in the mid-afternoons–this person who fields requests for interviews, fan mail, production questions on forthcoming books, and all the other things a writer or other creative person deals with outside writing–to do this, I must make a transition. I cross the border into another land, assume another identity. Because, for me at least, I am becoming someone else entirely.

This is true guys. So true.

I am both Writer Sooz who never bathes and wears the same disgusting sweatshirt day-in and day-out…And I’m also Social Sooz who loves to talk to other writers and readers, who gets all glammed up for an event, and who could spend HOURS on Twitter discussing Henry Cavill’s perfect jawline. But the two sides of me don’t mix too well, and when Social Sooz takes on new tasks, then those unfinished jobs (or unanswered messages) prey on Writer Sooz’s creativity.

Hence me making Fridays my “administrative day.” This has been working quite well for me thus far. BUT, when it comes to drafting an entire book from scratch and also on deadline, I have to allocate my time in an even stricter way. I can’t just make Friday’s my day for Social Sooz. I can’t just try to avoid Twitter and Pinterest for as long as my self-control lasts (ungh, I love them both so much….). And I can’t just put everything on hold to travel for an event.

Somehow, I need to give Writer Sooz all the time and distraction-free space that she (er…I?) needs to write a book.

So, after chatting with Sarah about this, we decided to take December and January “off.” We’re both on deadline and we’re both pretty empty on the event front–which means, this is the PERFECT time for us both to try to whole-ass our way through some first drafts.

What we’ve decided to do–at least for now–is to assign strict “No Internet” hours for each weekday. We’ve settled on 12PM – 4PM. During those four hours, we’ve agreed we WILL NOT:

  • Answer emails.
  • Go on Twitter.
  • Check Tumblr.
  • Pin something.
  • Use any other form of social media.

In fact, unless there’s some pressing research need, we won’t get on the internet AT ALL from 12 to 4 every weekday. Personally, I’m hoping the less I’m on, then the less I’ll even want to be on… (Bye-bye Stefan vs. Damon discussions…at least for now.)

On top of the 12-4 ban, Sarah and I are going to:

  • Eliminate blogging (unless there’s some important announcement to make).
  • Cut back on newsletter-ing (well, Sarah doesn’t have one–so just me!).
  • Take a 2 week holiday break on Starkillers updates.

Sarah and I hope that, at the end of our Detox December and Rejuvenation January, we’ll not only each have a first draft (or a large chunks of a first draft) completed but that we’ll feel more connected to our writing. We’ll love our stories and our characters, we’ll find creative flow is easier to achieve, and our Writer Selves will have had a much needed “vacation” from our Social Sides.

Now, since December tends to be a time of reflection, and since January is often a time for setting new goals, we thought we’d invite YOU ALL to join us in our creative immersion time! We’ve got a little image you can pin on your Twitter feed or add as your Facebook status…or put anywhere, really! It’ll let people know you’re taking a little break (but will return!), and it’ll let us all join in the #DetoxDecember and #RejuvJanuary together! 🙂

DetoxDecember

Alrighty, guys! I’ll see you on the 2015 flip-side! (There will be a newsletter on Friday, and a few more throughout this time. Plus, I’ll still be on my social media outlets…just not as much. PEACE!!)

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Brief blog hiatus!

I’m off to Germany and France to visit my husband’s family. 🙂 I’ll be back on 8/13, so I apologize in advance for delayed emails. Plus, there’ll be no newsletter this Friday!

And, to send you off with a smile, here’s how I found my dog, Asimov, this morning… (That is totally MY bed and pillow.) I’d been calling his name from my office and wondering where the heck he’d gone off to…

Asimov in bed

Well, now I know. Darn Irish setters.

See y’all in 2 weeks! <3

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Announcing the YA Runs a 5K Fundraiser!

A month ago, Melody Simpson reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in setting up a 5K fundraiser. I think I terrified her with my response of “OMG YES LET’S DO THIS” (especially since I answered her, like, 5 seconds after she messaged me).

Neither of us really had any idea what we were doing, but after a bit of research and fumbling, we finally managed to put together something that we’re proud of–and SUPER excited for. So allow me to introduce the…

YA Runs a 5K

On July 19 Melody and I are running a 5K! (Though I might just be walking because I’m SO OUT OF SHAPE. Thus far my attempts at jogging have been…pitiful…at best. ;)) Our goal is to not only improve our fitness (and maybe yours too!) but—more importantly—to help children without access to books (more on that below or read more here).

The 5K we’re running is the Color Run in Philadelphia. Why the Color Run? Because it looks AWESOME. Why Philly? Because that’s where Eleanor Fitt is from (duh!)!! We’d love for you all to join us if you can, or if you can’t reach Philly on 7/19 (we totally understand!), then you can enter the Virtual Run instead! 🙂

That’s right–in addition to a physical 5K meet-up for the Color Run, we’re also hosting a Virtual Run! Virtual runners will get a virtual bib (that you can tweet, Facebook, Pin, whatever!) and can share their running progress with the #YARunsA5K hashtag! Learn more about the Virtual Run here.

Now, a little about what this donation/fundraiser thing is all about. Essentially, we’re trying to raise money for First Book. This organization provides access to new books for children in need. To date, First Book has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.

To donate to our First Book fundraiserclick here. If you donate $39 or less, you can enter a giant raffle! See the raffle prizes here!

If you donate $40 or more, you automatically get a free book! (Yep, you read that right!) Once you’ve donated, scan the list of available titles and choose what you want. Then fill out this form or email us (yarunsa5k@gmail.com) to select your book. By donating financially to First Book, you can help us reach hundreds of children without access to books!

We’re also auctioning off books and critiques. Half of each auction will go into funding our team t-shirts (until we cover that cost, of course!), and all extra proceeds will go to First Book. 🙂

Additionally, if you can’t donate financially (we TOTALLY understand), you can donate books, ARCs, or critiques! By donating physical items to our fundraiser, you can help us increase our donations! We’re shooting for $2000 raised, and every item donated helps us get closer to that goal!

Finally, if you run with us and BRING books, you can help us expand the collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia. We’ll gather up all books brought to the Color Run on 7/19, and then we’ll donate them to the Free Library after the race.

So let’s do it, guys!! Let’s come together and RUN for healthiness, fun, and books! And help us spread the word using the #YARunsA5K hashtag and the link http://yarunsa5k.tumblr.com/about!! Thank you SOOOOO MUCH!

P.S. We have to extend a HUGE THANK YOU to all the agents, authors, and bloggers who have donated! We are beyond overwhelmed with the amount of support thus far! We can only imagine what’s ahead! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

P.P.S. Melody will be attending BEA as well as the Teen Author Carnival in NYC, so if you’re an author and would like to donate a book or if you’re a reader with too many ARCs lying around, feel free to reach out via twitter or email (yarunsa5k@gmail.com). Melody will gladly receive your donations. 🙂

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