Monday, March 31, 2014

My New Endeavor

Hello everyone.

Just a quick note to let you all know about something new I've started. You may have noticed that my posts on here have been super patchy, as I've been working on getting this new thing started. I've begun a podcast with two of my friends. It's called Use Your Words, and you can listen to the first episode at It's loosely based on writing and publishing, but with some extra topics as well.

Have a listen, if you'd like to, and feel free to follow it on Twitter here. Tweet us fun book-related show topics and we'll try to include it!

We are changing out microphones so I apologize if some of it doesn't sound as great as it could.

Thank you. <3

Friday, March 7, 2014

So Yeah, We Met on Twitter

A lot of people ask how I met and came to be engaged to my now-fiancé, with him being from England and me being from America. There's a short answer, which is, "We met through a mutual friend," but the long answer is much more interesting. When I tell it in person, I tend to gush about "feelings" and I get as close to "emotional" as is possible for me. Me typing it out will spare you from that. You'll just, for the most part, get the facts and the details.

How does this belong on my blog? Well, this is my young adult love story.

*NOTE: If you have no interest in this whatsoever, go right ahead and hit that back button. I won't judge you.*



I have so many amazing friends I've met on Twitter. (You know who you are! I love you all.) One of those friends is Samantha Shannon. We met a couple of years ago, and through our Twitter interactions, I met her friend Thomas. They knew each other through attending Oxford together, and he and I soon became Twitter friends. We were both in very different places in our lives, physically and emotionally, me living in Maine, and him traveling to various continents and being generally awesome. Eventually, one of those continents he traveled to was America. California, to be exact. I'd recently gone through a very tough time, and had the same week off from work that he was going to be in the States. And I was going to California. So after work one day, I hopped onto a two-part late-night flight across the States. By myself. Because I needed it.

Prior to meeting Tom in person, I'd come to romanticize British guys and assumed they were all like Darcy or Heathcliff or any other passionate, tortured soul I'd read about. Though perhaps not quite like either of those, I'd be lying if I said that Tom wasn't every bit as charming as I'd psyched myself up to believe. Seriously. We met as friends when I got to California, but I had feels pretty quickly.

It was close to midnight in San Francisco when I got off the plane. I was exhausted after working and flying for hours, feeling gross and like I shouldn't be out in public at all, and starving because my crappy choice of airlines thought it was humane to charge an arm and a leg for a couple bites of food. But despite that, I got actual, real-life butterflies when Tom was standing at baggage claim waiting for me, ready with snacks and drinks (and a killer British accent) after my journey. He even escorted to me to my residence, completely unbothered by my haggard appearance.

We spent a couple of days together, in between me visiting with other friends and exploring San Francisco. I'm from California originally, but I always end up acting like a tourist when I'm there. (Just ask my friend, Leiana.) Those few precious days soon came to an end, however, as I had to return to work and Tom had to return to Australia, where he was spending some time. On a sunny afternoon, I found myself on a plane once again, this time heading east.

Tom didn't take his flight back to Australia. He stayed in California for the next couple of weeks, making our conversations much easier without him being on the other side of the world. We stayed in touch daily, talking about everything and where our lives were going next. And then one day, half on a whim, half because he'd been wanting to see New England, he booked a flight out to Boston for the next day. It was only days before I was set to go on vacation to England to visit Samantha and a mutual friend of ours, Claire, but he had a place to stay in New Hampshire and thought we could visit for the couple of days before I left.

Although I've lived in four countries and four States, New England has always been my favorite place. I got to show him some of my favorite places and take him to Maine's beautiful beaches and generally have a good time with him. It was like California all over again, except in a different part of the country. Soon, though, we were saying goodbye before I boarded my red-eye flight over to England. I was going to be gone two weeks, and while I would miss him during that time, I needed this trip. I needed to get away and go spend time with friends and distract myself from the recent things I'd been working through.

Seeing Samantha and Claire was wonderful. We traveled around London, took long (weird) bus trips, and visited beautiful English villages. And then one day, Tom texted me and asked if we'd be interested in going out to the beautiful area of the country where his family lived, and he'd arrange it for us from America. So on a very hot and sunny day (which I've learned there aren't very many of in England) we got on a train and headed out to meet his parents, who'd agreed to show us around. It was still fairly early in the morning when we got off the train and met his wonderful parents. But the best part?

Tom was there. He'd made plans with his dad and secretly caught an overnight flight out from Boston and landed in England that morning, and he was there at the train station waiting for us. It was just as big of a surprise to his mother as to me, since she hadn't seen him in several months while he was staying in Australia and America. I would say I cried, but I didn't, because I was too skeptical that it was really happening to show emotion. But it was really happening, and he was really there, and it was amazing.

All too soon, my time in England was over, and I flew back home. Tom had to stay there for work, so again we kept in touch as much as possible. At this point, we'd agreed that we were dating, and made it official. A few weeks after I returned home, he came back out for another visit, but we knew that eventually he'd have to go back to England. So in the fall of last year, I made the decision to go back to England with him, and that's where I've been until my recent move to New York City. We spent a month from December to January at home with my family, and on Christmas Day, at a beautiful iced-over beach, we got engaged. As I sit here typing this, the ring he gave me on my finger and our story on this screen, I'm realizing more and more, as if I didn't know already, how I can't imagine having gone through all of this with anyone else. Having a ring from anyone else. Getting to spend the rest of my life with anyone else. I've had some difficult times, but now I get to move forward, knowing that whatever happens and whatever hard times will come, I get to go through it with the world's most amazing man at my side.

And I'm really lucky.

So yeah, we met on Twitter. There are those people who disapprove and think it was foolish, but it's what happened, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why YA? with Sara Raasch

Welcome back to Why YA? Where young adult authors talk about their love for the genre, and why they decided to write it.

This week's author is Sara Raasch, author of the upcoming Snow Like Ashes.

Snow Like Ashes
by Sara Raasch
Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 2014

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since. 
Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again
 So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch’s debut fantasy is a lightning-fast tale of loyalty, love, and finding one’s destiny.

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, comes out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures.

Why YA?
I wish I could say I write YA for some deep, philosophical reason that sounds all Professional and Mature and Scholarly. But when I sat down to write this and typed the words “I write YA because…” the first reason that popped into my head, the truest reason, was simple.
I write YA because it’s FUN.
Because it deals with characters on the cusp of becoming, characters that teeter on that ever-daunting precipice of childhood and adulthood, taking steps into change that will shape their futures in glorious and terrifying ways. Because anything is possible on this precipice, anything at all, and that opens a delicious world of opportunities. 
Because sometimes it’s far more enjoyable to play around in someone else’s precipice than mess up my own. Because it’s safer to navigate a world of my own creation than deal with the one I’m in. Because in YA, life feels so much easier, probably because of all the other becauses. Because even when it’s hard and sucks and makes me question my sanity, it is still, will always be (I hope), fun.
And snow above, don’t we all need a little more fun in our lives?

Thank you for the response, Sara!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Genres I Wish YA Covered More

Young adult is a very broad category, as you can tell by walking into a Barnes and Noble or a Waterstones. There are just YA books everywhere, and it's amazing. But even with all of that awesomeness, there are a few (in my humble opinion) gaps in the market that I would love to see get filled. I have outlined those below.

YA Science Fiction

Now, I know that there are a couple of these that have either already released or are coming out. For example, I am currently reading These Broken Stars by Aimee Kaufman and Megan Spooner. I am loving it so far and I wish there were a lot more. I know about the Across the Universe series, and about Avalon. More like these! More space! More spaceships! I guarantee you I will spend money on these.

YA Historical

To be fair, there is a good amount of young adult historical on the market, but history has such a broad range and what's out there only covers a small part of it. I would love more young adult books set in the 1920s--but in Paris or London or Moscow, not just in New York City. Give me something set in Roman times, or something during the Italian Renaissance, or something involving Native Americans!

YA Horror

I need to caveat this by telling you that I am obsessed with the TV show American Horror Story, and I would turn into a major fangirl if something like that was to be done in young adult. Bring on the creepy, the weird, the insane. Make it historical, make it modern, make it in the future. Just make it scary!

YA Mystery

Who wouldn't love a teenage Sherlock Holmes? A series with in-depth mysteries and murders would be off the charts. But get creative with it. Maybe set it in a fantasy world or make it steampunk or historical! I love some awesome genre-blending.

There are probably some of these already done that I just haven't heard about, so if you know about them, please feel free to point me in the right direction.

What would you love to see more of when it comes to young adult?