So, I’m not surprised that my friend Heather (of the brilliant Then Heather Said blog) had the same bright idea about checking up on our goals at the monthly marks instead of waiting until next December and feeling like losers.

So, I set up a recurring event on my google calendar to remind me to check on my progress on the first of each month.

First, let’s check up on my 30 before 30 goals!

Here’s the key: Bold means in progress/Strikethrough means completed

1. Record at least 5 more Wedding Day Rain songs for our album 1 in the can!
2. Get back to my happy weight Been getting closer each week!
3. Finish another novel
4. Find a literary agent that I LOVE Here’s the scoop!
5. Run another 5k
6. Complete one perfect month of #photoaday
7. Visit someone who lives outside of Texas
8. Read at LEAST 10 published books 1/10
9. Obtain a book deal for DAMSEL DISTRESSED
10. Travel out-of-state with my beloved
11. Eat lacto/ovo vegetarian for 6 months Started on 12/29/12
12. Join a group blog as a contributor  Have you checked out The Writer Diaries!?
13. Go to my IRL critique group at least once per month 1 out of 12
14. See at least 3 live shows (probably musicals)
15. Maintain my renewed yoga practice First class 1/1/13
16. Learn how to properly use en/em dashes and hypens (HA!)
17. Find and take opportunities to teach new/future teachers
18. Attend a writers’ retreat and/or a writers’ conference
19. Watch Pitch Perfect when sad/stressed Watched it 2 times so far this year!
20. Go skating
21. Be a part of a cast (yes, I’m leaving this purposefully ambiguous.)
22. Attend a book release party or author signing RSVP’d for Victoria Scott’s release party!
23. Perform live (as Wedding Day Rain–for the 2nd time)
24. Start a REAL vlog project  Started KelsNotChelsNotLive on 2/12/13!
25. Give more attention to putting myself together each morning  So far so good!
26.

Things are looking good! The big changes from when I first started are starting my new VLOG series and planning to attend Victoria Scott’s release!

YAY!

How are you doing with your goals for the year??

Still looking for a few more to round out my 30. Any new ideas?

Holy crap balls, readers! one of my favorite people in this UNIVERSE is right here answering my questions and being generally FABULOUS. I’m not so excited to share her ’cause she is mine responses with you! Jessica Love is, honestly, the reason I decided to try writing a book. She made everything look so effortless and meaningful, which really inspired me–and continues to do so! You can find Jessica at her blog HERE and follow her on twitter HERE!

Can you tell us an abbreviated version of your agented story?

I won a query critique from my agent and I sent off my query, not even considering she would do more than just give a crit. She ended up wanting to see a full, and my full wasn’t even done. Smooth move, Jess. I took six months to finish revising the book, and, luckily, she was still interested!

How many manuscripts have you started/completed?

The one that got me my agent was the very first one I finished! The one I’m working on now is my second! I completed NaNoWriMo in 2011, but that book was never done. And I have a few random beginnings of ideas that never panned out.

When did you fall in love with words?

I’ve been a voracious reader since I first learned to read. And I’ve been writing in one way or another (pen pals, blogging, whatever) for just as long. Words have always been a powerful force in my life.

What is your favorite type of book to read?

Contemporary realistic YA romance.

Who’s the one character from a book that you wish was real and in your life?

ONE? Well that’s just impossible.

My first love is Dexter from This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen…but I also love Remy, too. So I’ll just say both of them. We can all hang out.

What is your favorite hot beverage?

I’m a coffee addict. I love me a good flavored latte, but plain coffee is good, too.

You have written about “whitewashing” in YA before. Since you last wrote about it, do you feel things have stayed the same or changed one way or another?

I have so many feelings on this issue, from whitewashing of YA covers to the lack of diversity in YA books. I feel like the more we talk about it, the more progress will be made in getting all types of teens represented on and in YA books.

How did you meet your critque partners?

Oh, various ways. Mostly I stalk them down and beg them for their help. But, really, I met most of them at local SCBWI events. SCBWI is such a great opportunity to meet people who are in your area!

What is one specific writing ritual you have?

MUSIC. I need music to write. I have a playlist of music for this book that evokes the feelings I’m going for when I write, but I also find that I work well with the same album or even the same song on repeat. I need the music to set the mood, but I can’t let myself get too distracted by the lyrics.

Tell us a bit about what you’re working on now, if you’d like! (SIDEBAR, READERS. I was given the honor of reading a beta version of this manuscript and I just… It is going to blow you away. AWAY, I TELL YOU!)

Sure! It’s about a girl who road-trips to surprise her online best friend and finds out he’s been keeping some secrets from her. Sort of a romantic comedy version of the show/documentary Catfish.

Thanks, Jess!

When you’re done basking in her awesome, leave her a comment below!

Just take a second and bask in it…

Let it wash over you like the sun or the rain or the wind.

How fortunate we are to be able to

write

sing

dance

paint

flow

act

rhyme

our way through life when the world around us is often disapointing and lonely.

How fortunate we are to have

dreams and the chance to make them come true

passion and the fortitude to fight through the fray

creativity and the willingness to let it pour from and through us like water

a voice.

And the desperate need to have it heard.

So, now that you’re done basking.

GET UP.

Get back to

writing

singing

dancing

painting

acting

flowing

rhyming

your way through life.

Because life is so much more beautiful than burdensome.

Don’t waste your good fortune on fear or doubt.

Your art is for you.

But it isn’t ONLY for you.

It is also for me.

And for them.

And we are just

waiting for you

to make

it.

GUYS.

I know you may have seen it already, but that makes me no less excited to share it here for you again.

Sarah Guillory, fabulous fellow teacher and writer has a book coming out from Spencer Hill Contemporary super soon and her book cover is gorgeous.

I’m so happy to feature it here and to help spread the word about her book.

Be sure to add it to your goodreads shelves!

Here’s the scoop about Sarah Guillory’s RECLAIMED!

Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two.  
 
All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother.  She’s determined she’ll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn’t tainted by her family’s past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets.
 
Ian McAlister doesn’t want to start over; he wants to remember.
 
Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle.
 
The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget.
  
Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian’s memory return.
 
Jenna, Ian & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you. 

Title: Reclaimed
Author: Sarah Guillory
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary (www.spencerhillcontemporary.com

 

)

Release Date: October 15, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-937053-88-8 
Formats: paper, e-book


OMG, I have the best, most unique idea!

I’m going to write a summative blog post on the eve of the new year!!!

THIS IS A TOTALLY NEW CONCEPT! WHERE IS MY FAME AND FORTUNE?

So, it isn’t original, but as we’re all the main characters in our own stories, why not write a wrap up for our own enjoyment.

As this is my “writing” blog, I’ll start with some highlights of my writing journey thus far.

  • I began this writing blog in March (my first post is >>here<<) and in the time since then, I’ve managed just under 10k page views, and ~150 subscribers + followers. This is very humbling and awesome seeing as I have no idea what I’m doing. 
  • I survived the query trenches and signed with the unfathomably brilliant Jessica Sinsheimer. I am forever grateful to every single person who read (and RAKED over hot coals) my manuscript, helping me attain this huge milestone. I am overwhelmed by the support I’ve recieved. 
  • I submitted my work to 4 contests + 2 twitter pitch contests, and was selected or recieved reqs from 3 of those. But more importantly, I met incredible CPs and friends who know what it feels like to be cuckoo birds. 
  • Other than my AGENTED post, the most popular post on this blog, BY FAR, was “Fan Their Flame.” This post means so much to me, and it outlines my hope for artists and people everywhere: let us build each other up, and not belittle others’ talents to highlight our own.
  • The most interesting search term that lead to my blog was “there’s a fine line between bold and crazy.” THIS MIGHT AS WELL BE MY FREAKING LIFE MOTTO. 

Outside the world of writing, there were lots of happy happenings.

Hubs and I performed for the first time as our band, Wedding Day Rain, and won first place in that talent show! We’re currently writing and recording our first album WHICH IS SUPER HARD.

I had the pleasure of performing as Lucy in the community theatre regional premier of AVENUE Q in my town. That was a ridiculously good time. Then, late in the fall, I performed in my first devised theatre piece with the fabulous team at Sundown Collaborative Theatre.

I realized how ridiculously awesome John Green is. I went on a fabulous adventure with my friend Ashley and we fangirled like crazy and basically just walked around in a TFIOS haze with a bunch of like minded nerdfighters.

My beloved and I went on a fantastic California adventure, and explored the northern coast. We saw massive redwoods, coves, and even ventured into San Francisco for a day as well.

In less happy news, 2012 wasn’t full of all awesomeness. The realities of sitting on your tush and writing for hours every day and avoiding workouts like a plague means that I put on *censored for my loves who are triggered by others’ body numbers* pounds this year. Ouch. The happy weight that I maintained for 3 years collapsed under the effects of so much writing fueled binges on wine and M&Ms. I also have tried with varying levels of success to be a brave advocate for myself and other women with the very under-researched disease ENDOMETRIOSIS. 
While I spent this year progressing, I didn’t have the FOCUS that I usually do. I was a bit rambly which isn’t my style. 
To help that listless feeling, I’m setting off on a quest to accomplish 30 goals in the next 10 or so months until my 30th birthday! These goals are happening in lieu of NYE resolutions, and I’m really excited to tackle them. 
To check out my list and help me come up with the last few, check this page here
Have a fabulous 2013, my loves!

Hey, loves!

This week’s episode of KelsNotChelsNOTLIVE features my TOP TEN reasons writers are totally and absolutely CRAY CRAY.

I should note that I am guilty of all of these, save one. So don’t get ’em pannnnnies in a bunch. I mean no offence. If we can’t make fun of ourselves, what fun is LIFE?!

Let me know in the comments below if there’s one (or more) that is particularly YOU!
xoxo

Sweet darlings! Yesterday, I told you the first half of the story of how DAMSEL DISTRESSED found its way into the hands of the right people at the right time. Now, for the dramatic conclusion! Part 2!
If you missed part 1, read it here, and for information about the new book, click here! 😀

Part 2
Just three days after Danielle received my book, she wanted to talk to me on the phone. Of course, I was freaking out a little bit because, well, honestly, I didn’t know what to think. I’d never spoken to Danielle. We didn’t even follow each other on TWITTER. (Which means, we were basically dead by omission in each other’s lives, amirite?) I mean, I hadn’t submitted to her press. I hadn’t asked to be considered for publication, but at the same time, I believe that everything happens as it should, so if she read it and had thoughts about it, I planned to listen.
When we got on the phone and she told me that she’d love to publish my book, my heart stopped. It actually stopped because I felt like I was being torn in two.
Here’s the thing…
Danielle loved my book.
I hope that every writer who sells a book gets to hear an editor say what Danielle said that day. Danielle said things during that phone call that I will remember for as long as I live. And I know now, and I knew then, that having an editor with a passion for your project—with this level of excitement—is not something to be tossed aside.
I knew that my buddies with mega-book-deals love their editors, but that sometimes the “let-me-discuss-this-with-the-committee” part of having a deal at a huge publisher made some of that initial fire seem diminished.
I knew that, somehow, working with Danielle seemed right… It felt like she was the person who was “meant” to usher my book into the world.
But at the same time… I knew, without a doubt, that I wanted an agent. I wanted that partnership. It was a non-negotiable part of the journey for ME.
Even more, I knew that my agent was out there, waiting for me… and I knew that I was close. I could just feel it.
I was overwhelmed with fear as I told Danielle that I would like to have just a bit more time. Just a little bit more time to see if I could turn up the heat and obtain representation before her offer expired. She was gracious and generous, and told me to take my time and to do what would make me happy.
She told me—she actually told me—that the most important thing to her was that my story be told… no matter what that meant for her, or their press, or time, or whatever.
I was floored. And I knew that I would have to get extremely lucky in how all of this played out, or I might just lose it all.
Back to my agent spreadsheet I went. It was all covered in red, but I took a breath and pulled out the big guns.
I’d kept a special list of favorites—a special list of people that I wanted to work with… agents that I considered “dream” agents or “rockstar” agents or whatever you want to call them.
Almost every line was already red, except one. One dream agent that I’d been too frightened to query… until now. I’d literally been too afraid to send her my query because I was too afraid that she’d say no. I’d admired her from afar for a long time, and I just couldn’t stomach the thought of highlighting her name in red.
I sent a dry query to Jessica Sinsheimer, and I mentioned that there was an offer on the table from Danielle, but that I was very sure that I wanted to obtain representation prior to selling my manuscript ANYWHERE. I had no way to know if my little note would even make it out of the slush pile. She didn’t know me. She hadn’t requested from me before. Oh, and it was 2 weeks before Christmas.
And then, as I sat and waited and died a little bit each minute, she responded. And she wanted to read it.
I sent it right away, and just three days later… the same number of days that it took Danielle to read it, by the way (I love numerical coincidences like that)… Jessica wanted to speak with me.
If Jessica had wanted to sign me and put me in her pocket for the next several years, I would have let her. I would have been satisfied to have someone with her experience and reputation in my corner, even just to guide me through the motions with Spencer Hill.
But after just one conversation with Jessica, I knew I’d hit the agent jackpot. Jessica was not content to take my book–or the offer I already had–at face value. Almost immediately, she began brainstorming and thinking faaaaaaar outside the box. She didn’t just want my book to be a book. She wanted my book to be something more—because she believed that it could be. She picked up on the little pieces of musicality and theatricality in my manuscript, and eventually, she got me to spill my guts and tell her all about my former life as a teenaged recording artist, and my present day moonlighting as half of the indie pop band Wedding Day Rain.
As a creative person, sharing ideas with another creative person is an tremendously bonding experience. 
And in those moments, Jessica became so much more than just my “representation”… she became a collaborator. And she had an idea that would make DAMSEL DISTRESSED something completely new, musical, and magical. 
I didn’t have to tell my story in one way. And DAMSEL DISTRESSED didn’t have to stay on its pretty white pages. It would also be strummed and sung and heard. We would find a way to make my story come alive as a book and as an album. And we’d do it together.
Once the creativity was flowing, and the discussions were hatching, there were several magical, serendipitous, special little things that happened, and soon enough, we all knew that Spencer Hill Contemporary was the perfect home for my story. The home I had believed it could be all along.
Somehow, I found myself with an agent who believes in me, and supports me, and collaborates with me, and inspires me to make, do, and be MORE.
And I also found myself with an editor who understands my story completely—from the inside out. I have an editor who not only knows my character, but loves and breathes her almost as much as I do. I have an editor who cherishes and nurtures my book with as much care as she would give her own.
These two people break my heart with joy. It’s not their fault, really, but my heart simply wasn’t made to hold this much happiness at one time. This much appreciation. This much gratitude. 
So, there you have it. The story about how my book managed to find representation and publication.
This book wouldn’t exist at all if it weren’t for my number one partner in crime, my husband Daron. We joke that he wrote 50% of my book, but really, his support and inspiration are 100% responsible for anything awesome that I happen to stumble upon.
And my friends, critique partners, and every single reader… I will never be able to thank you for the time and attention you gave to my words. That investment is one that is so difficult to repay, and as such, I imagine I will remain indebted to you for a very long time indeed.
This book means so very much to me. And I hope that it comes to mean something special to you as well. 

Technology has failed me today! I’m so sorry for the delay, but I’m having to try and repost from my phone!

Don’t let my technological hiccup stop you from posting all about your progress, though!

Hello Darlings!

It’s the 10th day of March and #wipmadness!!

Today’s post got all jacked up, but at least we’ve made it.

Isn’t it such a buzzkill when you depend on technology and it fails you? Like if you want to write but your computer is fritzing out or you get all settled to do editing and your software bugs out?

It happens.

But we keep going, and we try to find some other way to work around those detours.

So how are you all doing on your goals? I’d love to hear an update!!