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What’s Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by the lovely Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Please check out their blogs to join in the fun!

What I’m Reading

I just started Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. I love Donna Tartt. To anyone exploring the realm of New Adult, I highly recommend her first novel The Secret History, about a small-town boy who becomes enthralled in a strange and exclusive group at his university. I’ve read some opinions that The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer because The Secret History should have won ten years ago. I haven’t formed my own opinion yet. Tartt has the rare gift of beautiful, literary prose voiced through youth. The main character, in the beginning, anyway, is a thirteen-year-old boy. For someone who reads mostly YA, it’s a huge shift in pace, but the emotions and the story are right there with my normal choices.

What I’m Writing

I broke the 12,000 word mark, and the fifth chapter, on my WIP. I’m in love with this story, yet I’m not nearly as far as I’d hoped to be by now. But it’s all good, because I was sidetracked by The Writer’s Voice. It’s an amazing contest hosted by Brenda DrakeMónica Bustamante WagnerKimberly P. Chase, and Elizabeth Briggs, based on NBC’s The Voice. If you want to get a glimpse of a day in the life of an agent, take a look at the live blog hop on any of the sites above. There are 139 queries and first pages, and the talent is mind-blowing. I am so honored to be chosen by Kimberly Chase for her team, along with fellow WUW gal Alison Miller! 

What Inspires Me Right Now

Music has been my inspiration lately. It’s funny; I tried writing this WIP to some of my Perception playlists, and it was not happening! The Lumineers are working better for this one, and the occasional Death Cab and Twin Shadow. 

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I’m thrilled to be leading a new SCBWI critique group in the Jacksonville area. Our first meeting is this Saturday, and we’ve had lots of interest online. For me, my writing life is usually compartmentalized away from my regular life with friends and family. But I’m ready for worlds to collide, and I can’t wait to meet and dig in with other local writers.

And finally, I know I just wrote a post about sharing too much about my children, but I can’t help myself. Son #1 had a piece of art chosen for an art show. I am so proud of him, and so excited! The show is being held at a local hotel, and afterward, the pieces will stay on display. Yay!

I can’t wait to catch up with everyone else!

What’s Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday is a blog hop created and hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to connect and encourage writers. Please visit their blogs to join in the fun!

Click here to buy it locally through Indie Bound


This week I’m reading Cherry Money Baby by author and agent extraordinaire John M. Cusick. I’m really enjoying Cherry’s distinctive voice and the authentic family relationships.


I’m 5,000 words in to the shiny, new WIP! It’s taking more research than I’d expected, which has kept me from moving as quickly as I’d like. But my main character–this girl is something else. I just hope I can keep up with her. I’m even more crazy about her than I was when I started with my last MC. My goal is to have the first draft finished before my boys are out of school for the summer, and for now that seems feasible.


My friend and critique partner Angelica R. Jackson has amazing news! Her book Crow’s Rest sold to Spencer Hill Press, with a release date of May 15, 2015. I can’t wait for this book to make it out into the world, and I am so happy for her. Seeing her take this next step on her journey inspires me to keep up my own persistence and writing fortitude. Congratulations, Angelica!

And on another front of CP news… Since I started writing seriously, I’ve been looking for a local critique group. I have many amazing critique partners, including Angelica, who I’ve met at conferences and through the Internet. But we’re spread out across the country. I’m greedy, I know, but I want more. I want more CPs and betas, with an in-person perspective. The existing writing groups in Jacksonville mostly focus on adult books, so through the SCBWI, I’m starting a local children’s book critique group. We’re still in the planning stages, but I’m so excited about what’s to come.


It’s been far too long since I went to a concert, and that will be remedied tomorrow night. Local Natives are playing here on Thursday. I’ve been counting down the days. They have a soulful, indie style with beautiful lyrics. Here’s an example of the images they create, from the song Heavy Feet:

Powder in your hair

Staples in your jeans

Fireworks in the water

You were holding

A styrofoam cup

Held between your teeth

Telling me how you’re going to outlive your body

You can check out their latest album Hummingbird here.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of you are up to this week!

What’s Up Wednesday

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. Please check out their blogs to join in the fun!

What I’m Reading

A few years overdue, I just finished Maggie Stiefvater’s Forever. I’ve said it before, but Stiefvater is an amazing writer. She has a talent for fleshing out characters and writing multi-sensory descriptions. But the highlight of this trilogy is the love story between Sam and Grace. I’m glad I finally crossed the ending to this series off my TBR list.

What I’m Writing

This week I’m polishing my query, short pitches, synopsis, and the opening chapters of my YA novel Perception. This whole process should have me anxious and nervous, but I’m actually just excited to get it out there and start work on my next project. These new characters won’t quit bugging me, and I’m ready to meet them on the page.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Speaking of those pesky new characters–on Monday I met with a lawyer friend to discuss a multitude of family law topics for research on my new manuscript. I didn’t want to hinge my plot on legal situations that weren’t plausible, and as it turns out, I have several different avenues to explore with my main gal. I am so ready to find out where she’ll go, and how she’ll get herself out of sticky situations!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

This weekend my nephew got married. My husband and my youngest son were both in the wedding, and it was beautiful. The bride is a wedding and event planner, so you can imagine just how spectacular it was. I was so grateful for the time to be together as a family, celebrating. But I also left with a secret emotion simmering below the surface. Weddings used to fill me with joy and hope for the future, but this time….I felt a little sad.

I’m hopeful and happy for the newlyweds, but I can’t help thinking about how time seems to speed up when we get older. My niece’s children are the young and wiggly kind who can’t sit still in church. Her husband asked, sarcastically, if I missed having children that age. I’m glad mine are older now, but I felt sad because that time of angelic faces and delightful squeals just doesn’t last, and I’ll never experience it as a parent again.

My sister-in-law has one in college and a junior in high school. The older one? She was the flower girl at my wedding. I’m happy and excited for both kids as they make that transition into adulthood, with all of the promise it holds. But they remind me that if I blink, my sons will be in those same places, and these days of loving Harry Potter and building Lego sets will vanish like the unpredictable smiles and wonder of the little ones.

Okay, okay, enough melancholy for one day. Back to the polishing trenches! I look forward to seeing what you fellow blog-hoppers have been up to!

Music for today: Wake Up by Arcade Fire

What’s Up Wednesday

I am so thrilled to join What’s Up Wednesday for the first time! WUW is a weekly blog hop developed by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk to help writers connect with each other. If you’d like to join, too, please drop by Jaime’s blog to add your post to the list!

What I’m Reading…

Buy it here

I finished Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown a few days ago. It was amazing. It was so crazy good that I had to wait before starting something new, because I just wanted to think about how she pulled it off.

In this market, surely people said No One could sell a vampire book right now. And Holly Black just laughed and said, “Watch me. I’ll write the best vampire book you’ve ever read.”

Her characters are believable and flawed. They remind you of people you know. And ultimately this isn’t a book about vampires; it’s about how people react when they’re hurt, and the double-edged swords of revenge and mercy.

After a two day grace period, I started Jonathan Maberry’s Fire & Ash, the conclusion to the Rot & Ruin Series. I’m enjoying it so far, and I can’t wait to see how he pulls it all together.

What I’m Writing…

The WIP went to beta readers this week. I’m excited and nervous for so many reasons. I can’t wait to hear the feedback, and I hope that they agree that it’s time to send it out into the world. I know that next step is full of highs and lows, but I’m positive that this book is THE ONE. I also can’t wait to get all my research in a row and start drafting my next novel. The drafting is my favorite part, so that might be the most exiting horizon in my immediate future.

What Inspires Me Right Now…

Every morning when I take my kids to school, I pass this abandoned neighborhood. It was slated to start before the recession hit, but no homes were ever built there. This little snapshot reminds me everyday of the next WIP, and I’m loving the thought of building my characters’ world. I also felt super creepy stopping to take pictures, but I’m afraid that things might turn around, and they may actually start cleaning things up soon.

What Else I’ve Been Up To…

Well, my old blogging buddies may have noticed a few changes here on the website. I officially made the switch from my Blogger title Unavoidable Awkwardness to my own domain. (www.ladennison.com) I’ve also been working on my church’s website. I’m learning more about the techie side of things little by little, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to put this knowledge to good use here and elsewhere on the Interwebs.

Thanks so much for putting this together, Jaime and Erin! I can’t wait to catch up with everyone!

Music for today: Here Comes Your Man by the Pixies