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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Me in my college radio days with The Eyeliners (who opened for The Donnas). They are part of the inspiration for the all girl band in my WIP.

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February 27, 2014 · 8:47 pm

NaNoWriMo Tips for 2013

I’ll keep this short because if you’re like me, you’re behind on your NaNoWriMo word count goals and it hasn’t even been a week.  Instead of writing, you’re sitting in front of a space heater, eating an almond “ice cream” sandwich while watching The Wire.

Wait, you’re not? Okay, it’s just me.

Hopefully you’re cruising along in your manuscript, throwing down words like they were gang signs (I need to turn off the The Wire). But if you aren’t, here are a few important things to remember:

1) No one said your book has to be good. All of my previous NaNoWriMo projects were a sh*tstorm of suck. Only  last year’s story rose from the ashes after several rewrites and is now a shiny, pretty thing in the hands of my agent. 

2) WEDD (Write Every Damned Day). Even if it’s 400 words before work, or 500 words on your lunch break, or you 1667 words after your household has fallen asleep. By writing a tiny bit each day, you’ll slowly chip away at that 50k goal without killing yourself.  It’s much easier (for me) to look at what I can do in 15, 30, or 60 minutes and call it a day rather than fret about how I can squeeze out 6k and still do laundry/ buy groceries/ go to hot yoga/ eat food other than leftover Halloween candy.

Besides, by WEDD, you’re cultivating writerly habits that will help you succeed later in life if you choose to be a writer.


No one said NaNoWriMo was easy (if they did, they’re lying), but it’s not brain surgery or rocket science. It’s putting words down on a page and walking away. Stop overthinking it.

Get back to work! (or watching The Wire. I won’t judge).

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Secret Heart Playlist: Track 1 “Closer”

I’m deeply immersed in some rewrites and revisions for Secret Heart. As I’ve said before, in order to get into a character’s head, I need to know their at-bat song. For Avery, my out-and-proud lesbian punk-rocker with a weakness for rom-coms and Taylor Swift, her at-bat track is Tegan and Sara’s “Closer.” It’s only fitting, considering that I originally got the idea for Secret Heart (then jokingly referred to as Prom and Prejudice) last September at a Tegan and Sara concert and it became my NaNoWriMo 2012 project.


All I want to get is a little bit closer
All I want to know is, can you come a little closer?

Here comes the breath before we get a little bit closer
Here comes the rush before we touch, come a little closer

The doors are open, the wind is really blowing
The night sky is changing overhead

It’s not just all physical
I’m the type who won’t get oh so critical
So let’s make things physical
I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical
I won’t treat you like you’re oh so typical


The lyrics really capture Avery’s feelings for Madison.

Here’s the original video for “Closer”.


And one involving dogs.


Next week I’ll reveal Madison’s at-bat song.

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WIP seeking Playlist

I’ve hit a wall.

For reals.

No one said writing is easy, even when you have the coolest idea. Sometime you have the words but not the mojo. In my case my Muse is music, and for this particular WIP the soundtrack has zero songs which means I have a helluva time jumping into it from scratch. Mostly it’s just letting my iTunes DJ spin tracks while staring at a blank screen (or Twitter). I’m hoping that will change. Soon. Otherwise I might starting hitting things other than walls.

I’m jealous of all the people out there who can write without music, who feed off the silence or off the dull roar of coffee shop conversations. That is not me. I need to nearly blow out my eardrums with bad pop music to get words on the page. LETHAL has an amazing soundtrack. SECRET HEART’S playlist is pretty awesome, too. But VALENTINE? Totally tone deaf.

Please send me your music suggestions. It can be Top 40. It can be Indie. It can be your boyfriend’s brother’s middle school teacher’s polka band. You never know where inspiration will come from. A new song might be the ticket out of Writer’s Block.

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WIP Playlist: Lethal

The best way for me to get back into a manuscript, particularly one I haven’t looked at in some time, is to listen to the playlist I made when I did the first draft. Fact: I don’t write well unless I have music. It keeps me from thinking about things unrelated to my WIP and it allows me to get into my character’s head. If I know what music my character listens to, I know who my character is. For me it’s that simple.

Each (main) character has a theme song. Or for any baseball fans out there, an “at bat” song (the song that plays every time a player steps up to the plate.) Even I have an “at bat” song (Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Dani California”) that I play before a presentation or interview or when I need a boost in my confidence. It’s also my go-to song in Rock Band. When these character’s appear on the page, the “at bat” song that signals their arrival. Often I have to jump between manuscripts (because I can never just do one thing at a time), and while I don’t enjoy it, I can do it just by changing my playlist. Not all playlists have a diverse mix like Lethal does. In my first YA manuscript The Good Girl, I pretty much listened to Grand Hallway on repeat. For NaNoWriMo 2011 I pretty much only listened to country music, which is one of my least favorite genres, but it fit the story.

In Lethal I have two main characters: Jessica and Trey. Jessica’s theme song was easy. She’s a badass who tells it like it is, but she’s also fiercely loyal to Trey. For her I chose  Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation.”

Trey was much harder, partially because he’s so complex. On the outside he appears to be a stereotypical baller and player, but underneath he’s actually a good guy who’s in love with his best friend (Jessica), who treats his granddad well, and who heard  his mom get shot to death when he was nine. After a lot of consideration, I chose Drake’s “Headlines.”

And with that, I give you my Lethal playlist

1. “Headlines”– Drake

2.  “Yeah“- Usher

3. “Paper Planes“- MIA

4. “Bad Reputation“- Joan Jett

5. “Forget You” Ceelo Green (Trey would listen to the unedited version)

6. “No One’s Gonna Love You”– Ceelo Green

7. “Burn“- Usher

8. ““- Band of Horses

9. “We Found Love”-Rihanna and Calvin Harris

10. “Someone That I Used to Know”– Goyte featuring Kimbra

11.”Pumped-up Kicks“- Foster the People

12. “How Do You Like Me Now?“- The Heavy

13. “5 o’Clock” T-Pain and Lily Allen

14. “Work Out” J. Cole

15. “Stereo Hearts“- Gym Class Heroes featuring Adam Levine


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