How I’ve Been Spending My Summer Vacation

I feel like my blog’s been so abandoned this month, except for a few scattered posts and interviews! I’ve been so busy – but that’s no excuse! Here’s how I’ve spent my summer vacation (besides wishing I’d had a vacation) – or at least the last couple of weeks!

On the writing front, I just received second edits on Cahill book 3. These are mostly line edits, but there are also a few bigger things – two pivotal moments that aren’t quite working for Editor Ari and require rewriting a few pages, one character motivation to simplify, and one world-building issue to seed earlier. I love the line edit stage of the process, really tinkering with word choice, trying to be as richly visual as possible without slowing down the plot, trying to get my meaning across as concisely as I can. The most frequent note by far is still “show her” – I’ve gotten better at this after three books with Ari, but my early drafts are spare, and I don’t describe people’s faces and body language often enough.

I’m working on  proposals for two potential next projects, too – one is a series of fantasy fairy-tale retellings, and one is something brand new but super-different that I’m keeping mum about for now. We’ll see which my agent likes best! I hope eventually I’ll get to write both.

I’ve also spent four weeks this summer teaching writing workshops through Writopia. All four of my classes were with teens, but they ranged from a class of three thirteen year old girls to one with four sixteen year old boys and one girl (the girl held her own). Each class was three hours a day, five days a week. We’d start out with a writing exercise (which I sometimes participated in too), share the results, write independently for awhile, then do a half-hour workshop at the end. While they wrote, I’d go into their stories (shared via Google Docs) and leave comments and questions for them. The best classes were when the students got really excited about each other’s work and helped each other brainstorm. I had some super talented young writers! I’ll be teaching once-a-week after-school classes this fall, too.

I’ve also-also been doing a lot of organizational behind-the-scenes work on a new venture that I’m excited about, which I’ll be announcing sometime next month. It’s not related to writing – or at least, not mine…

In terms of other fun stuff – I did two book events last week! I was the “celebrity judge” for a summer-reading-based teen trivia contest at the Waldorf West Public Library. Thanks to a YALSA grant, the four girls on the winning team each got Nexus tablets! And then I did a fun event at the Bethesda Library with author Elisa Nader (ESCAPE FROM EDEN). We had so much fun bantering, and Elisa evilly tried to trick me into revealing the title for book 3. But she did not succeed!!

I also saw the Mortal Instruments movie last week with a group of DC writers! Confession – I haven’t read the books yet. Simon was my favorite, though! It was a fun night out. And then the next night I participated in the end of our summer-long DC scavenger hunt, in which a bunch of DC MafYA writers competed against the DC Forever YA book club in bookish-themed challenges. And then the night after THAT, I hosted a pie-themed girls’ night at my house. I highly recommend it as a theme. My friends brought spinach empanadas, a roasted tomato and corn quiche, a ratatouille pie, a custard pie, and a mint-chocolate-chip ice cream pie with a chocolate-dipped rice krispie crust. (I made this chocolate peanut-butter-cup icebox pie with an Oreo crust, which was also pretty delicious.)

Of course, after three nights in a row of being social, I have not left my house in 48 hours. #introvert

Now I’m super-excited that it’s almost September! I love fall best of all. Summer makes me feel all lazy; fall feels rejuvenating. And I’ve got fun plans for the long weekend – a winery trip, some new play readings at the Kennedy Center (including one of The Playwright’s), a production of NEVERWHERE that is supposed to be amazing, and an expedition to a local farmer’s market! But first – must banish that end of summer ennui, finish these revisions, see if I can get some words down on the Shiny New, and tackle some of my TBR pile!

What about you? How’s the end of your summer going?

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