Category Archives: Inspiration

I met Tamora Pierce!

Talking to Tamora Pierce is the highlight of #RT16 for me! Childhood idols are never not amazing, but Tamora is extra special every time I get to meet her. If you’ve never read her stories, I highly recommend changing that ASAP! ???

Via:: Tumblr to WordPress

Because I was just talking to amirosebooks about it, this is a…

Because I was just talking to amirosebooks about it, this is a map I made in college for a fantasy world. I taped like six or so pieces of graph paper together and started drawing. Then I color coded where I thought the country border lines would be. Then I decided that having it only on paper wasn’t enough. So I scanned it into my computer and traced the entire thing in Photoshop. The color coded version you see at the bottom is like eight layers of different things so I can turn them on and off and get a different view of the whole landscape.

I honestly don’t even know how many hours of my life I poured in to this thing. The book I originally drew the map for? I never finished it. I did go back to this world last year, though, adding another group of people and a war that I might one day be able to tie in to that other concept I had once upon a time.

Even if I never publish anything in this world, though? I fucking LOVE this map.

Via:: Tumblr to WordPress

A poem inspired by SSN

I love fiction and art inspired by other things. I think this is how we start as creators of new art, by loving and recreating the work that has come before us. I started seriously writing within the world of Twilight fanfiction. While I do have some issues with trying to make money off of something that is obviously someone else’s work, fiction, poetry, music, and art inspired by other works are not only a natural part of an artist’s evolution, it’s a necessary one. In fact, one of the things I’m really excited to see if fan art of my series.

I just never expected to start seeing it so soon!

Created by Andye at Reading Teen

Already I have seen several graphics made with quotes from the books, a sketch, and now a poem! This landed in my inbox last night and I requested permission to share it because HOW COOL IS THIS?! The poem below was inspired by Mariella from the beginning of Sing Sweet Nightingale and written by Kayla DeGroote.

Who knew someone,
Especially someone like me,
Could live in such complete and utter

I haven’t said a thing
In years.
Not a word, not a sound, not a single noise

You’d think it’d be hard
To live without a voice
But silence is easier
Than words I could ever say

It hurts those I’m close to
But I refuse to give in
Because I do it for him
And he’s all that truly matters

He’s all I really need
I’ll love him forever
And with my silence,
It’s something we’ll have

He’s turned my all my dreams
Into a beautiful Paradise
A reality I’d never have
In the real world I live in

So I will bite my tongue
Swallow my words
Hide my voice
And take pride in my silence

Soon we will have eternity
And to make that happen,
I will gladly be mute
Who knew I so easily could?


Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Kayla! 😀

Posted this on Tumblr. It’s only fair to repost here.

Earlier today, I posted this snippet from a YA contemporary I’m currently writing. It’s from a book I really like, but I’m less than 1/4 of the way through a first draft and I still have some pretty big things to figure out plot-wise. Mostly, though, what I love about this book is how my two MCs interact with each other in the beginning. There’s such a great play between their personalities!

The section below is from the first chapter of this book, a book that you’ll hopefully see out in the world one day. If I ever finish it. 😉

Let me know what you think!!

Fire Escapes of New York (c) Gregory Runyan

Fire Escapes of New York (c) Gregory Runyan

“You’re not a thief, are you?”

The smile on my lips is impossible to keep away. I glance over my shoulder to find him standing with his hands in his pockets, watching me carefully. “If I was, would I tell you?”

“No,” he says, his lips curving up into a smile. “You’d probably say something just like that.”

I nod and shrug at the same time before turning and continuing to walk away.

“Where you going, Cat?”

This time I turn around completely. “Cat?” And then it clicks and I grin. “As in burglar? Cute.” I laugh and walk a few more steps—backward this time. “I’m going to finish a project.”

“Thought you were escaping.”

I shrug again, an idea taking hold. I slide one hand into my messenger bag and start digging for my camera. “Turns out I didn’t need to.”

He blinks and looks back up at the building as I find my camera and turn it on. “Really? What did you think you were you escaping from?”

“You.” Wiggling my fingers in a girlish approximation of a wave, I pull the camera out of my bag, let the auto-focus take over, click a quick shot, and turn around. Mostly to make sure I’m not about to trip over a curb and fall into traffic. Getting my head crushed by a cab would not be the way to end my day.

“Hey! Wait, wait, wait.” I hear the quick thuds of Converses hitting concrete as he runs to catch up with me. “What do you mean, me? Do I know you?”

He comes up beside me as I turn east toward the subway stop so I shake my head—I still can’t shake my grin. “Nope. Never seen you before in my life.”

“Yet you felt the need to escape from me?” he asks, one black brow disappearing under the brim of his hat. “And why did you take a picture of me?”

“Well, I wasn’t running from you specifically,” I say, quickening my pace and completely ignoring his second question. “Just the person who lived in the bedroom attached to that particular fire escape.”

He’s silent, but only for about two footsteps. “Thanks. That explanation cleared everything right up.”

“People get touchy when you borrow things without asking.”

“So you are a thief?”

“The fire escape is still attached to your building, isn’t it?” He gives me a funny look, but nods. “Then I’m not a thief.”

“You were borrowing the fire escape?” Two more footsteps of silence. “Why?”

“I told you,” I say as I swing into the subway terminal and slide my metro card. “I have a project to finish.”

“What kind of project involves borrowing a fire escape?” he calls through the gate as I walk down the grimy, graffiti covered staircase.

I laugh. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”


That’s all for now! Happy Tuesday everyone!

Keep Calm and Write On.

Stepping Down (c) Craig Lucas

Stepping Down (c) Craig Lucas

I’m finished with this round of edits on Sing Sweet Nightingale.

I’ve turned in the first draft of The Dream War Saga Book 2.

I’m waiting on revision notes on a project from my agent.

I’m on hold with my co-authored series while things happen. Good things.

Basically, I’m suddenly like an airplane that wants to come in to land but keeps being told by air traffic control to circle. It’s awesome because it means I have a lot going on and people who are willing to help me, but it also means I’m kind of at loose ends right now. Between projects. So… what do you do?

Start a new one. 🙂

The best thing to do in these situations is let a new idea take center stage for a little while or go back to an idea you maybe didn’t have the time to develop earlier. I have more than enough of the latter to keep me occupied, so right now I’m tinkering with a story involving a death, a conspiracy, and a lot of mystery. I’ve never written anything like it before, so it’s both difficult and fun to force my brain down meandering paths I’ve never traveled. I don’t know if this project will ever see THE END or if anyone except me will ever read it, but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable.

One thing I think can be forgotten in the press to get published and to make a career of it and all that is that writers need to play. We need to write drafts that don’t work to figure out what does work. We need to meet characters we hate so we know how to write ones we’ll love. And we need to create stories for ourselves sometimes. Just because it seems like fun.

Maybe this book will one day sit on a shelf next to all my other ones. Maybe not. Right now, I’m not worried about that. Right now, I just want to see what happens next.


Sarah Guillory – On Growth

My friend Sarah Guillory posted this on her blog yesterday, but I liked it so much I asked for her permission to repost it here. Because I wanted a copy. 🙂

I could comment on the timeliness and the insight of what Sarah wrote, but I’d rather just let you read it and see for yourself. Without any further ado, I give you Sarah Guillory’s thoughts On Growth:

(c) Disney ABC Television Group

I’m not a huge fan of the Oscars. I do appreciate artists, those who work and hone their craft, and I am always glad to see that celebrated, as well as disappointed when it isn’t. This is not going to be a long rant on the state of Hollywood, as I know absolutely nothing of the state of Hollywood. But what I have noticed since the Oscars is frequent comments, namely on Twitter, that make me believe that we as a society have failed to grasp the notion of growth.

When Anne Hathaway won, I saw over and over again how an Oscar just went to the girl from Ella Enchanted or The Princess Diaries and isn’t that appalling and horrendous. No, actually, it’s what should happen.

I don’t know where we got this notion that a person – and their talent – is stagnant or frozen. Artists, whether they are actors, painters, musicians, or writers, have to start somewhere. And I don’t believe they are born incredibly talented yet remain undiscovered until finally bursting out into the world fully-formed and incredible. Yes, some do. But most begin with a passion for something. They work hard at this passion, and over the years, they improve.

This is how it should be.

So no, I’m not surprised to see someone grow and improve in their craft. I’m impressed. No, I would not be surprised if someone wrote fill-in-the-blank-with-the-genre-you-think-is-trash novels and then later went on to pen a book that won the National Book Award. That is what growth is.

True artists work hard at their craft, seeking to improve it with each new work. Some of them start out way beyond where the rest of us will ever be. But that doesn’t mean they should stay there. I don’t care where an artist begins – what I want to see is their journey, the way they learn from each work they produce and go on to make it better, more meaningful, different.

I want to see passion translated into hard work and success, whatever that looks like.

I want to see someone become a master of their craft by meeting each day with the idea that they will give a little more of themselves and be a little better than they were the day before.

I want to see Ella Enchanted go on to win an Oscar.

Idea versus execution.

This post was not originally going to be centered on writing. But then I realized that, in the more general sense, this concept can apply to just about everything in life, so I’m keeping it more general than originally intended.

This hit me while I was talking to a friend of mine about a choreography project I’m working on. I told her that it really isn’t going well and her response was, “Oh, really? But it was such a cool idea!”

I blinked and kind of sat back for a second. She was right. It had been an amazing idea. So what the hell had gone wrong?

Help! (c) Carlos Koblischek

With my project? A lot of different things including the fact that I got myself in WAY over my head. That’s not really the important part, though. The important part is what I decide to do from here.

With my project (and in general), there are usually two options:

1- Scrap it.

2- Fix it.

Simple, right? Sometimes, yeah. It is. Other times not so much. It depends on what’s wrong and whether or not it’s fixable. It also depends on whether or not it’s fixable by you. Or, you know, me in this case. It’s not always the ideas that are the problem, but your approach to it. The issue is, if you’re approaching it the only way you know how… well, maybe it’s not the right idea for you or not the right time for you to work with this project. Or maybe you’re not supposed to be working on it alone.

With some concepts, execution is not as easy as it seems. Some ideas just don’t seem to want to translate into action, but if you keep pushing forward against the flow it’s inevitable that you will either hit a breakthrough or a wall. It’s when you hit that wall it’s time to make what might be a really tough choice. No matter which option you go with.

I feel as though I’ve hit a wall with my choreography project, so I’ve enlisted help. Tonight I’m getting a second opinion that will help me decide if the whole thing is salvageable or if I should just call it a loss and move on. I’ll check in later this week and let you know how that goes…

The road to discovery.

Make it Bigger 2 (c) Joana Croft

Earlier this week I talked about my state of overwhelm. Yeah. It’s still there. However, I have made a lot of progress toward the other side of the tunnel by coming up with a plot for book 2 that meets the approval of my editresses! And I’m excited. Not only do I get to play with some awesomely interesting new characters, the story itself should be a treat to write! All sorts of twisted and compelling.

The biggest lesson I’m taking away from the last few days is trust those you trust. That sounds weird to say, but let me explain.

After I wrote Sing, Sweet Nightingale, I had a vision in my head of where the story went from there. I knew more or less which characters had a part to play and how what happened in SSN changed those people and the world around them. I presented this whole idea to my editors and they came back with questions that made me go back and really take stock of the world. Now I’m still telling the same story–mostly–but the impact will be completely different. And better, I think. If almost anyone else had come to me with the same questions, I probably would have defended and talked them down until they went away and left me alone with my outlines. But I’ve already seen that Patricia and Danielle’s ideas–even when at first I don’t see where they’re coming from–are usually right. They’ve earned my trust, so when they wanted me to reexamine my story, I listened. And I’m really glad I did.

I still don’t know exactly how I’m going to pull everything off or where exactly I’ll end up if I do, but I’m thrilled to be on the journey, to discover new things about this world I’ve created. And, really, isn’t that the important part anyway?

SoCal, research, and the great cupcake overdose of 2012

Treasure Island Beach

When writing a book set in a place you’ve never been, it’s a good idea to get pictures and information from the locals. When writing seven you better get your behind on a plane.

Luckily for me, my co-author Lani not only lives near the area we’re writing in, she has birthdays. Every year in fact! Almost like clockwork or something. It’s weird. This year we combined a research trip and a birthday trip and got an epic weekend of awesome things! And I have pictures to prove it!

The weekend involved sightseeing, author pictures, visiting beaches and restaurants we want to use in the books, bonfires, and book events. And a whole hell of a lot of cupcakes. And really beautiful, cool weather, which was an added bonus. We plotted out an entire book we had nothing for before and spent time together in person instead of on Skype–another bonus!

Below the link are some pictures from the trip that I loved. I can’t wait until we meet up again. Maybe next time it’ll be on my side of the country!

Sunsets are gorgeous over the beach
Bonfires are better at the beach
Author signing in Encinitas

Sherman Library Gardens
Otters live in gardens!
Table Rock Beach

Table Rock Beach

Treasure Island Beach

Cupcakes! Sooo many cupcakes!

Inspiration from other people’s secrets.

Posted on November 4, 2012

I’ve known about this site for a long time, but over the weekend I’ve become newly fascinated by PostSecret. For those of you who’ve never heard of it, PostSecret is run by a man named Frank Warren who collects secrets. People anonymously send him letters or postcards in the mail with their deepest, darkest secrets, fears, or regrets. They send him their moments of joy that, for some reason or another, they feel like they can’t share with the people in their life. They send him things they would never logically tell someone they don’t know. Or even someone they do. And he posts it all online. And prints them in books.

Seems insane, right? But it’s not. It’s brilliant. It’s cathartic. It’s therapeutic. It’s saved lives. And it’s inspiring, both personally and creatively.

This weekend I started gathering online PostSecret pictures onto a Pinterest board. I also own two of the books, but one of the good and bad things about the books is they’re static. No new postcards appear within those pages. And I love looking through new secrets because it’s a strong, physical reminder that EVERYONE has secrets. And so many of those people feel as though they have no one to share those secrets with.

As a writer there are story ideas and character quirks by the boatload within Frank Warren’s postcard vault. As a person it’s something to make us feel connected to people we’ve never met. One of these days, I hope I can combine the two and use someone’s PostSecret submission in a story that reaches out and touches someone else the same way this project touched me. I’m also hoping other writers will find this and try to do the same.