Monday, June 26, 2017

A Couple of Giveaways

This week I've been learning what it feels like to be a career writing, and I love it.

Not that I am; I am very far from being at the place in my life when I can quit my day job and write full time. But, this last week, I did so much writing that I got a small taste of what it would be like to wake up and write all day, every day. It's exhausting, but I enjoy it.

I still have a ton of writing to do, and honestly, all I did last week was write, so I don't have a lot of interesting things to report (except that at this time last year I'd just come back from Disneyland, so there has been some reminiscing this week).

I did take part in a couple of giveaways last week, which are both still going so if you want to try to win a copy of Under Locker and Key, you can!

One giveaway is part of Celebrating Debutantes 2017, a series of giveaways and interviews with authors whose first books are coming out this year. Here's a picture of my giveaway, which includes a signed book, a bookmark, and a pair of "Retrieval Specialist" sunglasses:

Under Locker and Key is one, but there are a lot of other great novels you can win, so I recommend clicking through the below link and doing some exploring. Free books, am I right?

The other giveaway is from the blog From the Mixed-Up Files and is specifically middle grade. I'm giving away a copy of my book, and like the other giveaway, there are plenty of other middle grade books worth reading that are also being given away. Here's the list of all the books that are part of the giveaway, and you can click through the below links to learn more about each one:

ONE SHADOW ON THE WALL, by Leah Henderson
AHIMSA, by Supriya Kelkar
UNDER LOCKER AND KEY, by Allison K. Hymas
UNDER SIEGE! by Robyn Gioia
THE GHOST, THE RAT, AND ME, by Robyn Gioia

Here are the links for the giveaways:

Celebrating Debutantes 2017

From the Mixed-Up Files

And, here are this week's debuts:

Young Adult:
Carlie Sorosiak - If Birds Fly Back (6/27)
Bonnie Pipkin - Aftercare Instructions (6/27)

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dream Diary

Things that have happened in the last week:

1. I discovered one of my running routes may be .5-1 mile longer than I thought (which would explain why my times are always worse than expected when I run it).
2. Speaking of running, I just got back to my normal running schedule after 3 weeks of unusual and recovery runs, so this morning's 4-mile-fast run felt like death. Thank heavens for cold showers after hot summer runs!
3. I've been working hard on my work in progress, revising it and polishing it as much as I can.

The work in progress is the one about sleep and dreams. I'm currently working on 3 books at once (Arts and Thefts finalization, a third Jeremy Wilderson book, and this other one), but I call the dream book my work in progress because it's a new project.

As a result or driving into dream science and spending so much time and energy using my imagination, I've been having some weird dreams lately. Weird, vivid dreams that leave me wondering, "Where did that come from?" I usually have pretty vivid dreams, but this last week they've been weirder than normal.

So, here are some of my recent bonkers dreams. We'll see if any of them turn into stories (my WIP came from a dream, appropriately enough):

- Snowy morning in June (I blame watching the new live-action Beauty and the Beast three times in three days for this one). I was on vacation in some small resort town, and it was snowing, but I still needed to go running early in the morning. I remember this dream because the cold of the snow was so vivid, as was the taste of the dark chocolate I bought during said run from the candy store that was strangely open at 3 am.

- Apocalypse. I dreamed that something had happened that had destroyed modern civilization, and my dad was trying to protect me and my siblings as we traveled through Provo. (Happy Father's Day, all!) I don't know where my mom was. I do know, though, that there was widespread flooding and people were dropping into comas for no good reason. Other people were finding these amulets that looked like crescent moons, and, if you had one with you when you returned to the place of your birth, you'd get superpowers. I was born in Provo, so I wanted to find one! I was trying to solve what had happened and how to stop it from getting worse. The other thing I remember about this dream was that people who still had indoor plumbing charged people to use their toilets. Seems like a good apocalyptic strategy.

- The half marathon from Hades. Clearly, I dream about running a lot. This one, I'm sure, comes from the two halves I did recently. But this race was organized by a despotic government that had magical monsters and powers behind them. I was part of some group that believed that by running this race, I'd have a chance to counter some of that power and prepare for a coup. They were helping me cheat (apparently, that was needed to counter all the other racers' cheating), but they still expected me to take 3 days to finish a race that currently takes me two hours. Oh, and the kids from Fablehaven were there.

- A TV show based on my book. I dreamed I was watching a TV show based on the Jeremy Wilderson books and I was on episode 5, which is impressive considering I've only written 3 books, so it was going further than I'd written. I was upset because they had some good ideas, and I couldn't use them because I wasn't the one who came up with them. But then I woke up and realized that they were, technically, my ideas because I dreamed them and I can use them if I want to.

So, that's my dreaming recently, or at least, what I can remember of them. When I sleep deeply, and am exhausted mentally and physically before bed, I have dreams like this. I can't express how vivid they are: I've been able to feel and taste things in the dreams like they're real. Maybe I should keep journaling what I dream, for research purposes.

Here are this week's debut:

Young Adult:
Larissa C. Hardesty - Kiss Me Kill You (6/19)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Race Results

So, first: a shout-out to the people who have checked out/put my book on hold at libraries. Thank you for making me feel like my book is wanted.


(I'm still excited about this.)

It's also on Barnes and Noble's website, now.

Now, on to the race results!

So, I just came back from a vacation where I ran two half marathons. You saw the report on the first race, in the Grand Tetons, last week. Now I'm going to tell you about the second race in Yellowstone.

The conditions in the Tetons were perfect: a relatively flat, paved road to run on, ideal temperatures, and sunny sky. Yellowstone, not so much:

This is a picture of my brother and sisters running the 5K the night before the half marathon. I don't know if the picture shows it, but it was cold and very rainy. It was miserable, and I feel so bad for my siblings. They were soaked through by the end.

The next morning, it was rainy and we even had a little sleet, but that ended by the first mile. After that, the sun came out and we had a bit of wind, but the worst part about the rain was all the puddles it left behind. The trail (yes, trail) was covered in huge puddles that you had to dodge. The mud was also thick and slippery.

Add to that that yes, it was an actual trail with exposed rocks, weedy patches, and even small trees, and the run became that much harder. We also had some steep hills we didn't have in the Tetons.

But the thing that burned me up the most about the race was that my brother of the Spartan Race fame, who is fit but doesn't run long distance, kept pace with me the whole time and even pushed it so I was running faster than my usual, dashed forward at the end and beat me by two seconds. I will get him back for that. There's no justice in this world if someone who doesn't prepare can beat someone who has spent weeks preparing. He says that keeping my pace kept him from burning out, but still.

Revenge ideas are appreciated.

But, as a result of our running together, I got a PR on a hard trail: 2:03:29, two minutes faster than my previous PR. I was 14th in my age and gender division. And, now that I know I can do it at altitude on a difficult trail, I'm thinking I can beat a 2 hour half marathon on an easier, paved road at a lower altitude. All I have to do is imagine my brother a few feet ahead of me the whole way. I helped him pace, he pushed me faster. It's amazing what stubbornness, pride, and sibling rivalry can do for you.

It was a beautiful trail, though, through pine forests and along a river. I'm glad I did it. I got three shirts and three medals out of it, too, which, as any runner can tell you, is a very good thing.

The center medal in the picture with me with three is for the Grizzly Double. Doing both the Grand Teton and Yellowstone half marathons earned me and my parents an extra shirt (which is great) and a third medal (which is fantastic).

It's interesting that we did the "Grizzly" Double, since when we drove back after the race we actually spotted a grizzly bear near the Tetons. It was my first time seeing a grizzly in real life, so that was amazing and the timing was perfect.

I just hope my brother was sore yesterday, or there really is no justice in this world.

Here's this week's debuts:

Young Adult:
Meg Eden - Post High School Reality Quest (6/13)
S.K. Ali - Saints, Misfits, Monsters, and Mayhem (6/13)

Monday, June 5, 2017

Checking in to Report

First off, I was online yesterday, and I found something interesting:

My second book is now up on Amazon.

There's a release date, a nice summary, and everything. It's also up on Goodreads, but that one doesn't have the cover art yet. But hey, if you read Under Locker and Key and are waiting for information on the sequel, here it is!

Now, in other news, guess what?

I ran another race.

This one was near Grand Teton National Park and was held by Vacation Races. It was a half marathon, and it was beautiful. I mean, look at the finish line!

This is where we sat and stretched and ate green bananas and gloated over our new medals! And it looked like this the whole way! I ran 13.1 miles with the Grand Tetons constantly visible!

I loved it. So glad I get to do it again, kind of.

Yes, this weekend will be Part 2 of my running vacation, when me, my parents, and my brother will run another half marathon near Yellowstone Park. It's supposed to be a little hilly, but I'm really looking forward to it. I love being able to do this much running in a week, especially when the runs are races.

Racing is fun. There's the crowds cheering, the finish line, the medal, the free food...but also the feeling that I'm accomplishing something special. That I'm pushing myself to my limits and achieving. I get that feeling as I run, and also as I write.

It's nice to have a vacation where I can experience both.

Here are this week's debuts:

Middle Grade:
Lauren Albright - Exit Strategy (6/6)
Gareth Wronski - Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy (6/6)
Leah Henderson - One Shadow on the Wall (6/6)
Alexandra Ott - Rules for Thieves (6/6)

Young Adult:
Natalka Burian - Welcome to the Slipstream (6/6)
Sarah Tolcser - Song of the Current (6/6)
Alexandra Ballard - What I Lost (6/6)
Kayla Olson - The Sandcastle Empire (6/6)
Rebecca Christiansen - Maybe In Paris (6/6)
A.V. Geiger - Follow Me Back (6/6)