Hello, fellow book junkies! Happy New Year! ‘Tis the season, so I’ll get this out there. In putting together my goals for 2017, I’ve kept things simple and focused on what will give me joy and peace of mind. Here are my:
Goals for 2017.
Finish writing & polishing YA dark modern fantasy manuscript by May 1, 2017.
Read more YA books featuring bi females and write a blog post about them.
Spend time with people. Nurture relationships.
Walk every day.
Keep going on Saturday morning hikes.
Read 96 books.
Devote more time to keeping the house looking nice.
Newly out this month from St. Martin’s Griffin is a YA contemporary penned by co-authors Michael Kun and Susan Mullen called We Are Still Tornadoes–a quick, feel-good read.
Set in the 1980s, We Are Still Tornadoes takes us into the relationship between lifelong friends Cath and Scott through letters they write to one another after Cath moves away to college.
As someone who also grew up with a dear friend of the opposite sex (coincidentally, also named Scott), I appreciate how authentically Kun and Mullen capture the open, honest, sometimes goofy, sometimes flirtatious friendship between a girl and a boy.
Cath, Scott and their shared history are totally believable. Scott is very funny. Cath is more cerebral but can hold her own in the humor department. Both are genuinely good people navigating the turbulent seas of post-high school life. They make mistakes, deal with social faux pas, encounter tragedies, and through it all we root for them.
We Are Still Tornadoes’ only weakness is its ending, which would have benefited greatly from more of a build-up and a denouement. No joke, when I arrived at the last page of the story, I kept tapping my e-book screen thinking there had to be more–but nope. Despite the rushed ending, We Are Still Tornadoes is definitely worth the read and deserves a hearty four out of five stars.
Some people seem to know themselves quite well. They have clear likes and dislikes and distinctive personalities. Maybe it’s because my head is in the clouds most of the time, but I don’t think I’m one of those self-aware people. That’s why it’s nice when a tag like this comes along to bring me back down to earth and get me thinking about what makes me tick. For that I have smart, funny, forward-thinking Rae @ Bookmark Chronicles to thank. Rae discusses so many intelligent topics in her blog, not the least of which is, of course, books. 🙂 I hope you get a chance to check out her blog.
Answer the questions
Nominate 4 people to answer the same questions
Four names People Call Me Other Than My Real Name:
Eve / “V” / Mom / “Honey”
Four Jobs I’ve Had:
Music/foreign language teacher, vocal arranger, Acquisitions & Divestitures Coordinator (sorry, that really was my title, ha), waitress
Four Movies I’ve Watched More Than Once:
Groundhog Day, Zoolander, Galaxy Quest, Love with a Proper Stranger (w/Natalie Wood & Steve McQueen)
Four Authors I’d Recommend:
V.E. Schwab, Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Marie Lu
Four Places I’ve Lived:
Japan, Taiwan, Virginia, Southern California
Four Places I’ve Visited:
San Francisco, Vancouver, Seattle, Cancun
Four Things I’d Rather Be Doing Now:
Writing, playing with my dogs, finding new music, talking to my friends
My favorite relative was my dad. When he got home after a long day of work, he made time to talk to me, play board games and word games with me, start tickle fights, and make me feel unconditionally loved.
If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?
I’d be a big tree with wide branches overlooking the forest and seeing up into the sky. Woodland creatures would make their homes in me and be my friends.
What would be your preference, awake before dawn or awake before noon?
My preference would be to awake before dawn, though I rarely do this anymore. I love the quiet of early morning, running and cycling, getting lots of writing in before the day begins.
Would you like to sleep in a human size nest in a tree or be snuggled in a burrowed spot underground?
If it’s big, really comfortable, and not too high off the ground, I’d go for the human size nest in a tree.
Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I’m grateful that I “woke up” and starting reaching out to friends and family. I realized I was sort of cocooning, but I’m reconnecting now and it feels good. Next week I’m looking forward to the relief of being done with a couple of major events that have been zapping my time and emotional energy.
I’m one of those weird people who actually likes it when people show me their family photos. I’ll happily browse through them, even if the pictures are of people I’ve never met. I enjoy looking at all kinds of pictures, really, especially of books, exotic locales, and cute animals. “You’ll love Instagram,” people tell me, “especially #bookstagram!” So why did it take me so long to hop on the Instagram train?
Issue #1. I am a terrible photographer. Seriously, taking decent pictures is not in my skill set.
Issue #2. When I first set up my Instagram account, I logged on simultaneously from both my computer and my cell phone. Why or how I did this is a mystery. All I know is that afterward I was unable to log onto Instagram.
As of today, issue #2 has been resolved. Yay, now I’m ready to post badly photographed pictures and to follow all you wonderful booklovers on Instagram. If you have any Instagram advice you’d like to share, this rank newbie would sure love to hear it.
Who do you like to follow on Instagram–any recommendations?
What are good things I can post pictures of?
Is there anything else should I know about Instagram?
Yay, I get to be a “Sunshine Blogger” and answer some questions thanks to friendly, super smart, book-loving Lila @ The Bookkeeper’s Secrets. Lila is truly a wonderful book blogger, so I hope you get to check out her blog.
Answer the 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate some wonderful bloggers and write 11 questions for them to answer.
1. What/who makes you smile the most? Acts of kindness and my hilarious daughter make me smile the most.
2. Would you ever get a tattoo? If so, of what? I’m not planning on getting body art any time soon, but if I did it would be a tattoo of my good luck symbol, a hummingbird.
3. What do you think heaven looks like? I think heaven is unimaginable for us mere mortals.
4. What’s the first item on your bucket list? Good question! The number one item on my bucket list is a trip to Europe. I have a special affinity for Scotland and Norway and am forever wanting to include Scotland as a setting in my stories.
5. If you could ride the Whirling Teacups at Disneyland with one person, alive or dead, who would you choose? I would, for sure, ride the Whirling Teacups with someone who doesn’t mind me throwing up on them.
6. Plaid and polka dots or stripes and florals–which combination is more visually appealing? Stripes and florals, definitely. Spring flowers are my favorite!
7. What does licorice taste like? (I ask this out of genuine curiosity as, due to my celiac disease, I can’t have licorice 😉 Black licorice tastes like bitter gasoline (to me), so you’re really not missing anything there.
8. Coke or Pepsi? On the rare occasions that I drink soda, I am Team Coke all the way.
9. Are you enjoying yourself atm? As a matter of fact, I am. 🙂
10. Is there a pattern to these questions? If so, what? Ggaaghh, I find no pattern to these questions.
11. What is life??? Life is what we try to live to the fullest by maintaining connections with good people and exploring our talents.
Hello, and welcome to my 100th blog post! Apparently, on 100 different occasions over the past ten months I have attempted to come up with something worthwhile to say in this blog. The shocker is that sometimes other people read and comment, which makes me happy. Thank you!
What I’ve Been Up to:
Well, I’ve been blogging a lot lately about reading YA books but haven’t talked as much about books I’m writing. For the record, writing is going well. I’m working on a dark, modern YA fantasy that I’m pretty excited about. Ideas are brewing, the main characters have life (if not set-in-stone names yet), and plotting is about 50% complete. I look forward to sharing more with you about this new novel-baby as it grows and decides what it wants to be.
Of the 100 posts I’ve written for this blog, the one with the most likes is:
Heeeello, my lovely internet users! Today I am back with another FWF post!
Feature with Followers isa weekly meme created by JBelkBooks (me) where I will be showcasing one of my AMAZING followers. This gives me an opportunity to really get to know them and give them an opportunity to get their blogs out there in the community. The way I choose my featured follower is Top Secret, so wait for your chance to be featured!
Again, I am so very happy to share yet another wonderful blogger in our blogging community. This lovely lady is very interactive with her followers/following and I just love that so much about her. Here are some hints that may reveal who this week’s featured follower is:
When I think of her name I think of Christmas EVE, lol.
Her username is kind of like an old saying: “Don’t shoot the ____?”
my daughter and how she brings sparkle and laughter to my life.
my son and how ambitious, confident and reliable he is.
my husband and how loyal and smart he is.
the city I live in with its small town feel, friendly people, and quaint Old Town and British-style traffic circle, even though it’s actually a big city with all the conveniences.
that I have a short commute to work.
losing myself in music, both as a listener and as a player, and that jubilant moment when I hear, for the first time, a song I know I’ll love forever.
the music and foreign language students of all ages I work with, their enthusiasm, “aha” moments, hugs, and goofy things they say like, “You smell like a seashell.”
my piano students, AKA friends and fellow musicians, who tell me jokes and say Anna is way better than Elsa (I agree!), and get me to do my Stitch, dog, pigeon, and wicked witch imitations.
the excitement of knowing I will publish novels.
my two dogs and two cats, the friendliest, most intuitive furry friends ever, especially Teddie, our not-purebred-poodle-after-all with his really ugly butt.
my friends who make me feel like the nicest, funniest, smartest person in the world and who’ll talk to me about anything.
my parents and wish they lived closer.
my brothers and what good family men they are.
ice cream, being outside on sunny days, being indoors on cloudy days, libraries, meeting nice people, amazing talent, handsome cowboys (but, sorry, not cowboy music), epiphanies, dumb blonde jokes, walking in the woods, and beauty in all its forms.