Women at War: Let’s hear it for the girls

First off, I did not mean to exclude our female soldiers from my previous post, and I owe all of them a sincere apology for doing so. It was completely unintentional. Any female serving her country is an amazing woman, and I am in awe of each and every one of them. Seriously, I can’t imagine that kind of sacrifice, and it’s nothing short of amazing. When I read the first comment about woman soldiers being over there, too, I felt like a world class heel.

I was only thinking of men because I’m surrounded by them. I work with all men. I have only sons. I only have a brother. My mom only has brothers, so I always think of extended family in terms of “uncles.” The only soldiers I know are men. Basically, I’m surrounded by the Y chromosome. This isn’t an excuse, just an explanation (albeit a bad one).

This morning, when I reposted that blog entry, I was looking at my Christmas tree and thinking of how sad I would be if any of the men in my life were away defending our country, and wondering how the hundreds (thousands, I’m sure) of mothers across the country are getting along without their “boys.” Let me just say right now: I’d be every bit as sad if any of the women in my life were doing the same thing, and I’m sure every mother with a daughter “over there” is missing her little girl just as much.

All American soldiers are amazing people, men and women, and I can’t thank you all enough for what you do, every day, in the name of our country.


A tragic tale of shattered dreams (Oh, and how to plot a novel.)

Let me tell you a sad story.

So two years ago, I went to RWA. I ended up having lunch with a girl I’d never met, a friend of an acquaintance. She was very nice, and she was coming to lunch fresh off a pitch session with an editor.

She claimed the pitch had gone horribly. She had spent two years writing this romance novel, all about a girl moving to Paris to escape a bad relationship. She’d been querying somewhat successfully, but no real interest. The pitch session started well. She’d felt encouraged when the editor showed interest in the premise.

Then the editor said, “That’s great. What’s the external conflict?”

The friend-of-a-friend went on to talk about the girl finding herself, and becoming independent, and all those great things you want to see a female protagonist do in a novel.

The editor said, “Yeah, okay, that’s great. What’s the external conflict?”

Aha. The problem.

There was no external conflict. She had a 100,000 word novel about a girl moving to Paris to escape a bad relationship. That was it. There was no plot.

The lunch was a real downer after that.

But you know what? The whole scenario was a real eye opener for me.

There’s a lot of advice out there about writing the perfect query letter. Here’s the thing: if writing the query letter feels impossible, the problem might be your story.

I do a lot of writing from the seat of my pants. Sometimes I’ll start a thread and see where it goes. Sometimes those threads get deleted, sometimes they make a perfect connection later in the story. (In my current novel, I gave one character a retired police dog for a pet. No real reason; just because I thought it would be cool. But later in the story, I needed the dog’s owner to locate another character who’d gone missing. My amazing critique partner Sarah Maas said something like, “Well…Isn’t the dog a police dog?”)

The problem with seat-of-your-pants writing is that it’s very easy to lose track of a plot. Seat-of-your-pants writing typically just starts with a scenario (OMG, I would love to write about fairies on the moon!!), and you have to either come up with a plot right away (The fairies need to find magic moon dust or their race will die!!) or you’re going to be stuck writing nothing but a series of events.

First the fairies begin building houses on the moon. Then the boy fairy and the girl fairy kiss. Oh, but there’s another fairy who’s interested in the girl fairy. And now they want to go on a journey for no apparent reason but it’s fun to write!

Sound familiar?

First, let’s get the guilt out of the way: there’s nothing wrong with writing a series of events. It’s great practice for putting scenes on paper, developing character, finding out the theme of your story.

You know how sometimes you’ll say, “My story really gets going in chapter five”? That’s because you spent four chapters screwing around, trying to figure out what your plot was going to be.

That’s not an insult. I have two of those sitting in a drawer myself.

It wasn’t until I started getting a lot of rejections that said things like, “The writing is great, and I love the characters, but the plot really isn’t linear,” that I realized I needed to have my core plot in mind before I started writing.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. My novel that’s currently on submission started out pretty simply:

When Becca saves a classmate named Chris from what she thinks is a cruel act of bullying, she learns he and his brothers are part of a secret race with special powers, and they’re at war with others of their kind. 

That’s the scenario. That’s usually all I’d have in mind to want to start the book. That’s NOT the plot. There’s no conflict. There’s the promise of conflict (bullies, war, high school), but it’s all hypothetical. That core conflict is what needs to be nailed down.

A lot of queries stop there, too. They shouldn’t. That’s just a scenario. It’s like saying, “I stopped off at the store this evening, but men with machine guns were hiding behind the display case of the bakery.”

Imagine your spouse walked in the house, dropped that line, and then went about making dinner. Wouldn’t you be like, “OMG!?!?!? THEN WHAT?!?!?!?”

So, yeah. Scenario is great to get you started, but not enough to carry you through. I know, I know, you really want to get those first pages on paper. Go ahead, do it. But don’t get more than a chapter down before you stop yourself. Because you really need to think of a plot. I learned this the hard way. Learn from my pain. Please. I get excited too.

So before I let myself get too excited and start writing, I force myself to think of the core conflict — the plot.

By saving Chris and befriending his brothers, Becca unknowingly throws herself into the middle of their war. When her life is threatened, she must decide whether to stand with Chris and his brothers — a decision made more difficult when their actions show they might not be the good guys after all. 

There’s a key word in there: decision. There’s your core conflict. She has to decide whether to help them or stand against them.

These examples are deliberately vague for a reason. THAT’S OKAY. We’re not talking about a pitch, we’re not talking about a query. We’re talking about finding a core conflict to start a novel, especially if, like me, you want to write from the seat of your pants. (This can be built into a query/pitch later.)

Right now, details aren’t important. You don’t need to know whether Chris and his brothers will actually be heroin addicts or murderers or kitten rescuers or boy scouts. All you need to know is that at some point, your protagonist is going to face a decision, and you should have some idea what that decision is. If she goes one way, the bad guys win. If she goes the other, the good guys win. At this point, you don’t even need to know who the bad guys will really turn out to be. Just what the options are.

Starting with your core conflict is like building a house and starting with the frame. You can hang everything (drywall, bricks, whatever) from it, and it will stand up pretty well. But if you start slapping up drywall before the frame is in place, it’s going to be a mess to fix.

Trust me, I learned that the hard way, too.


Stop! Thief! You ran off with my time!

A friend emailed me the other day and asked where I find time to write.

It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this question. I have a full time job — a real full time job, made up of a forty hour work week, combined with an hour long commute each way. I have a three year old who is in day care and preschool, and I have an awesome thirteen year old stepson who’s with us half the time. I also coached fall soccer for the preschooler’s team, and I’ve participated in just about every school event so far this year.

I’m also a writer. I get words on paper.

I’m not supermom. (OMG, the stories I could tell you. Don’t get me started on the time Nick walked around the cooking island, clutching a butcher knife in his hand…) I’m out of shape and my body is crying out for me to make use of my gym membership. And writing time does not come without sacrifice.

Here’s what I don’t do:

1) Socialize

Seriously, I rarely go out. I try to write almost every night. This has to wait until after Nick goes to bed, which means I don’t break out the laptop until 8pm. I’m not a fast writer, so if I want to put 1,000 words on paper, I know I’m going to need to devote a good two hours to get a quality scene in place. When someone asks me to go out, I always hesitate because it’s going to make me sacrifice three things: time with my family, money, and a night’s worth of writing. Sometimes it’s just not worth it.

2) Watch television

I rarely watch TV. My husband was out of town recently for three days. My television only played Nick Jr. for my son. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of these anti-TV die-hards. I don’t think my son would eat breakfast if I turned the TV off. But I do pick my shows judiciously. Again, TV steals my writing time. Here’s what I watch, and please feel free to judge. (You know you want to.)

  • Medium
  • The Office
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • Glee

Sometimes I will catch an odd episode of something my husband watches (like The Biggest Loser or Fringe or something), but those five shows are pretty much it.

3) Shop

I’m not a shopper. I might be more of one if I had a body I wanted to show off in nice clothes, but I’m still living under the illusion that I will one day fit back into my pre-baby clothes. At least I’ve stopped telling myself, “It’s okay! You just had a baby!” But seriously, I don’t go out shopping.

4) Ride horses

Here’s where the true sacrifice comes in, and it was never more acutely painful than this morning, watching kids at a horse show. I used to be an avid equestrian, but I don’t do it anymore. I just don’t have the time. My son sat on a horse this morning, and I just about burst into tears. He clearly inherited the genes. I spent years teaching horseback riding lessons, and he’s one of the first kids I’ve ever sat on top of a horse who just sat upright with his legs hanging down, ready to go. This, this is a sacrifice. I miss the horses. A lot. But riding takes a lot of time and money, and right now I’m not willing to give up either of those. Every minute is too precious.

5) Clean the house

Okay, sometimes I do. But usually it’s a 3 hour process, after I’ve spent a month letting the house fall into a state vaguely resembling an episode of Hoarders.

Here’s what I do do:

1) Write

Sometimes writing is like going to the gym. You don’t do it for a few weeks, other things creep into those time slots, and suddenly you don’t know where you’re going to find the time for it. The time is always there, people. The only way you’re going to get a novel written is to do it. Sit down, open your laptop, and do it. Don’t let other people steal your time either. Tell your husband (or wife) you need some alone time, tell your kids to do something else (or wait until they’re asleep), plant your butt in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard.

Yes, this is harder than it looks. That’s why my husband got me a reloading Starbucks card, and I’d camp out there for two nights a week. The card automatically reloaded once a month so I stuck to a budget, the place had awesome comfy chairs, and I got a ton of writing done. That’s what it took. We now have a remodeled basement where I can hole up while my family forgets I exist, but you might have to go off-site to get some writing done. At least until you get into a routine.

It’s also hard to know someone needs you at home. When I’m at Starbucks, I don’t know that the dog has peed on the floor, the three-year-old has turned his juice box into a water gun, and the pasta sauce has somehow fallen on the base of the cupboard. I can just tune out the people around me (hello, headphones!) and write.

2) Seek feedback.

I have awesome critique partners. Amazing people. Sometimes I hear writers say they don’t want feedback. But let me tell you: beta readers with teeth make a huge difference. It’s great to have one cheerleader who always tells you you’re great. But running ideas past people who give you an honest opinion is a great way to find out if you’re writing something over your head. Seriously, do you want to be great or do you want to be placated? My mom’s a total cheerleader. If my son coughs, she’s practically telling him he invented the reflex. She’s not so great at genuine feedback. That’s fine, because I know it about her. Look at your beta readers and make sure you’re getting more than, “OMG this is amazing!!”

The other benefit to regular critique partners is that you’re suddenly accountable to someone other than yourself. If you’re swapping stories back and forth, you’ll get into a nice rhythm, and you’ll want to keep it going.

3) Say no.

This is a really hard one for me. I’m a people-pleaser. I want to say yes to everyone. But I realized that I was being a total crap-head when I would say yes, then back out at the last minute because I was too busy. I’ve finally started saying no (nicely!!) to people. (See above where I say I don’t socialize.) If you put your writing at the forefront of your mind, you’ll quickly learn to look at every situation as, “Do I want to sacrifice my writing time to go out for drinks with Jerry?”

And hey, I have a life too. Sometimes you do have to sacrifice writing time. That’s FINE. Don’t beat yourself up about it. 

4) Drink lots of coffee.

Lots and lots and lots. This is what keeps me awake to write in the evening.

There’s one other thing I don’t do, but I probably should: set writing goals. I would read about people saying, “I have to write 1,000 words a day or my life is crap,” (or something), and it would make me want to cry. Some days I can’t write 1,000 words a day. I tried setting those goals, and I always felt like such a failure, so I stopped.

But the other day, I read a great entry at the Story Flip blog (www.storyflip.blogspot.com), where she said she didn’t do daily goals, she set weekly goals. She, too, didn’t like the pressure of having to write every day, and didn’t like falling behind so quickly. I love the idea of weekly goals. So when I start the next MS, I’m going to try to push myself into that.

Writing isn’t a sacrifice for me. I love it. But there are definitely things I’ve had to shove out of my life for it. Do I miss them? Sure. A lot. Sometimes, painfully so.

Do I regret it?

Not one bit.

Revisions made easy (Part two)

All right, no one came out pointing fingers and calling me a no-talent hack, so we’ll keep this going.

Enough rules. Let’s just talk.

Passive voice

In my experience (and let’s be honest, it’s not all that vast), passive voice is one of the most misunderstood aspects of writing. Raise your hand if you’ve gotten slammed for passive voice on a message board for writing a sentence like, “The girl was running through the park.”

Imagine me raising my hand.

First, let’s talk about message boards for a moment. They’re a great place to put your writing out there for a quick critique. Most people who comment on critique boards are generous of spirit and talent, and they deserve your thanks, even if you don’t agree with them. They’re also usually amateurs (that’s not an insult — I’m an amateur), and that means you should take their advice with a grain of salt. (Take mine that way, too.)

It’s like using Wikipedia for research. It’s great for the quick-and-dirty, but it’s not all you should use, and it’s not always die hard accurate.

Okay, enough digressing.

Here’s a rule for you: the word was does not necessarily indicate passive voice.

If you slap the word “was” in front of another verb, it makes the past progressive tense. Like my example above, “The girl was running through the park.” You’ll find this most often when you have an action that’s interrupted. “The girl was running through the park when the masked man assaulted her.” There’s nothing passive about that sentence.

A better word to look for is “by.”

“I was hit by the car.” There’s a passive sentence for you.

“The car hit me.” There’s an active one.

Simplify. Personally, I find passive voice harder to write than active voice. Sometimes your brain gets so trained to put your protagonist as the subject of a sentence, you can’t seem to break out of that mold. Like we talked about yesterday, once you’re in your character’s head, it’s easy to start every sentence with “she” (or whatever), and it’s easy to start telling (instead of showing).

Take a look at this:
Sarah saw the car swerve in her direction. She was hit by the car before it skidded into the building.

At first glance, those sentences don’t seem too bad. Something is happening! There’s a car accident!

But it’s telling (in the first sentence) and passive (in the second).

Let’s try revising it this way:
The car swerved in Sarah’s direction, hitting her before skidding into the building.

There’s nothing really wrong with the first example. But we’ve got that new subject (yay!), and we’ve got an active sentence. Try to get in the habit of making whatever’s doing the acting the subject of your sentences, and you’ll avoid a ton of telling, and a ton of passive voice.

Dialogue Tags

I love dialogue. I’m guilty of skimming passages of narrative just to find the dialogue. Done right, it should move a story forward and give your characters some personality.

First off, there’s nothing wrong with dialogue tags. Some people try never to use them. That’s silly. Sometimes you need them, and nothing is more frustrating than trying to find out who said what in a scene. Don’t use them if you don’t need them.

Here’s a whole passage without a single dialogue tag. Do you have any trouble figuring out who’s speaking?

His hand fell away as he backed up to fold his arms across his chest. Tattoos snaked across his biceps and down his forearms, shifting as his muscles moved under the skin. “For Christ’s sake, lady, you’re downtown. Nothing’s that—”

“Shut up.” Kate got in front of him. “You can’t treat her that way.”

Sarah stooped to shove her belongings back in her bag. “It’s fine, Kate. We’ll just—”

“It’s not fine!” Her friend was still facing down the man. “You’re lucky she’s not pressing charges.”

His face hardened, turning his eyes flinty. “All right. Get out of here, both of you.”

“Gladly.” Kate turned and put a hand on Sarah’s arm and started dragging her out of the shop. “Come on, Sar. Let’s get back to work.”

Action will only get you halfway. You can’t slap meaningless actions next to your dialogue, or that just gets exhausting. Do you ever find yourself reading a whole passage where characters are constantly running a hand through their hair, quirking an eyebrow, or other actions that go nowhere? Sometimes you need a tag. Be careful, though: using words other than “said” can also turn into a crutch.


“Just go to bed,” he snapped angrily.


“Just go to bed,” he said, turning away and raising a hand as if warding himself from her presence.


“Just go to bed!” he said. “I’m sick of listening to your mouth.”

All three get the same point across. The latter two give you a much better feel for the character. Would you have guessed that the speaker was impatient and rude from the first example?

When you’re revising and you find things like, “grumbled,” or, “hissed,” or “hollered,” take a look at the dialogue itself and see if it works on its own. Or see if there’s some way you can punch up the dialogue to eliminate the need for that tag.

I know I promised to talk about action scenes tonight, but I think I see some eyes misting over, so I’m going to save it for tomorrow night. Does anyone have an action scene they want picked apart for the blog? I’m sure you guys are sick of seeing my examples. Who wants to see some revisions in action?

Thanks for reading!

Revisions made easy (Part one)

Haha, that title’s kind of a joke right there.

I’m not one for the writing posts. I’m not a teacher, I don’t have an MFA, and there are a billion-and-one posts all over the web about how to strengthen your writing.

But there’s not a lot out there about revising, especially for beginner writers. There’s a lot of reference to it. Everyone always talks about doing it. Second drafts, fifteenth drafts, whatever. Some people edit as they go, some people do it at the end, some people don’t edit at all, there’s no right answer.

Editing is not revising. Let’s get that out of the way right there. I think of editing as fixing typos, correcting grammar, things like that. I think of editing as copy-editing.

Revising is taking the structure of your story and making it better.

Rule 1) Stop counting your drafts

Seriously. Who cares? Who cares if you’re on your first draft or your tenth? Do you? Really? If you feel like you made it perfect on your third draft, maybe you’re feeling pretty awesome about it when you hear about someone on their sixth draft. Well, maybe that person on their sixth draft is rolling their eyes and calling you a n00b. Seriously, stop counting. Or if you want to count, stop taking that number seriously. It means nothing.

And if you’re not counting now, and you think you should be? You shouldn’t.

Rule 2) The delete key is your friend.

The first manuscript I queried was 125,000 words long.

I hope you choked on a cup of coffee or something when you read that sentence, because I’m sure agents were laughing hysterically when my query came through. And here’s the kicker: I remember vehemently telling my husband that I really needed all those words to tell the story! I needed them! It was just a long story with a lot of characters! Agents would see my genius!

Yeah, right.

If you ever find yourself saying something like this, “Chapter five is when it really gets good…” then you need to acquaint yourself with your delete key.

The mistake I made in my first manuscript is that I was in love with my characters. I’m not embarrassed to say that. I loved them. I kept thinking up new fun scenes to have them interact, and I kept writing them. I left all those scenes in the story. First they battle the bad vampire! Then they have a knife fight! Oh, and this guy can save his girlfriend from a holdup at the restaurant where they’re having coffee! Oh, and now they can have a sword fight!

Yes, I had a plot, but you couldn’t find it behind all those scenes.

Right now I’m on my fourth manuscript. It’s done, off to my agent, ready to go on submission. Two weeks ago, I’d sent it off to her after revising the hell out of it. I cut like ten pages, and I think I even said in my email, “I’ve cut as much as I can.”

She sent it back to me, fourteen pages shorter. FOURTEEN PAGES. That’s not one page, folks. That’s not four. FOURTEEN. And it’s not like she chopped a whole chapter. That’s fourteen pages worth of sentences pulled from the entire manuscript. I opened the file, saw all the deletion balloons on the column, and I thought I was going to cry.

Really, I thought I was going to cry. These were my words. My babies. I couldn’t cut fourteen pages.

But then I realized something: the other FOUR HUNDRED pages were just fine. They were my babies, too.

(In case you’re wondering, I agreed with almost every deletion, and didn’t put them back in. My agent is brilliant. The only thing I kept was a short scene between two characters that I felt was necessary to the story.)

Here’s my analogy to deleting: imagine you’re a size ten woman. It’s a perfectly respectable size. You look nice, no one calls you fat. You can wear dresses out, you get compliments. No one is hounding you to lose weight. There’s nothing wrong with being a size ten.

But say you hit the gym for three months. You start eating lean. Suddenly you’re a size four, and you look SMOKING HOT.

There was nothing wrong with the ten. But we’d all agree we’d love to be that four.

Let’s play with some examples. Here’s an unrevised paragraph from A Wicked Little Rhythm, the manuscript that landed me an agent:

Their first destination was a dance club, and Sarah had already forgotten the name. The door was painted a glossy black, and situated in the middle of a bare brick wall. There was no sign, but there was a pulsing beat that moved the sidewalk where they stood in line to show their IDs.

Now, reading that over, it’s not bad, but it’s nothing special, either. Here’s how I’d revise it:

Their first destination was a dance club, and Sarah had already forgotten the name. A glossy black door sat in the middle of a bare brick wall. No sign, just a pulsing beat moving the sidewalk where they stood in line to show ID.

Same concept, tighter writing. And fewer words!

Another prime spot for the delete key is bantering dialogue. If you have characters go back and forth for six lines, you can probably make your point in four. I love dialogue, and it drives my entire story. But dialogue that goes on too long is tiring to read, and it loses its smartness. Keep it sharp, snappy, active.

Also watch your dialogue tags. If you have an action following your dialogue, you can lose all the tags. I catch these in my own writing all the time.

Finally, lose actions we (the reader) expect. I read a great piece of advice the other day: only write what the reader won’t assume. If you have someone walking down the street talking about going to meet her husband for lunch at his law firm on the 20th floor, you don’t have to show her walking into the lobby, pressing the button for the elevator, riding in the quiet car for two minutes…see, you’re already bored, aren’t you? You can skip right from the dialogue on the street to the scene at the law firm. Readers will make the jump.

Some examples of the above:

Okay: “Thanks for the lift,” he said, as he unbuckled his seatbelt, slid out of the car, and stepped onto the curb.

Better: “Thanks for the lift.” He slid out of the car and stepped onto the curb.

Best: “Thanks for the lift.” He slid out of the car.

Rule 3) There’s nothing wrong with your adverbs.

The problem is your verbs.

Ha! Thought I was going to give you an easy one, didn’t I? Here’s the thing people miss when they whine about adverbs: there’s nothing wrong with them. Sometimes they are necessary. But the problem is never the adverb. It’s the verb it’s modifying.

If you say someone “sat gingerly,” instead, say, “she perched.”

If you say someone “spoke loudly,” instead, say, “she yelled.”

If you say someone “walked quietly,” instead, say, “she tiptoed.”

Any time you find yourself slapping down an adverb, look at the verb you’re modifying. Chances are, there’s a better one.

Rule 4) I don’t care what you see, hear, or feel.

This is one of my biggest faults, and I’m forever pulling these out of my manuscript. I found one in my ready-for-submission MS today. It’s like finding another gray hair. Pull it out! This is also a big sign of telling vs. showing.

Here’s what I mean:

Sarah felt the edge of the swordsman’s blade nip at her neck.

AUGH. It’s killing me to type that.

Here’s how it should be:

The edge of the swordsman’s blade nipped at her neck.

Here, we’re solving two problems. First, we’re getting a new subject (always desirable — if you take a step back from your manuscript, you’d be surprised how many sentences start with HE or SHE), and second, we’re getting a more active sentence. Any time you say, “She heard,” or “He felt,” or “She saw,” you’re distancing the reader from the character.

It doesn’t feel like it should be that way. You think you’re writing about feelings and you’re giving your reader keen insight into your character. But saying, “He saw the sun rise over the bay,” is TELLING, and saying, “The sun rose over the bay,” is SHOWING.

There’s your difference.

I hope this is helpful! This is my first ever “writing” post, and I’m all kinds of nervous about putting it out there, but one of my critique partners keeps encouraging me to do it. (Hey, Alison! *fist bump*) Please feel free to ask questions (if you have any) in comments. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it.

Tomorrow: Passive voice, Dialogue tags revisited, Action scenes that move

(Unless you guys kill me in comments. :-P)


Chicken Dinner (Get it?)

I’m one of these people who rarely wins anything, so I’ve always been of the philosophy that you make your own luck. I love that saying, “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”

Today I won a spot for the guest blog on Pimp My Novel, so go check it out, along with the other amazing bloggers featured every day this week. I consider myself lucky to be counted among them. Maybe Eric was hitting the sauce when he picked my entry.

Since my winning entry deals with beta reading, I couldn’t pass up a chance to give a shout-out to two people who have been amazing beta readers for me:

Bobbie Goettler is a fantastic paranormal romance writer who’s going to start querying her novel Granted this August. Remember her name — Bobbie’s an incredible writer and it’s a great book. Bobbie and I found each other through one of those writer’s message boards, and started as beta readers, then full-on critique partners, and now I consider her one of my closest friends. We’ve been traveling this road toward publication together, and I couldn’t do it without her.

Sarah J. Maas
is a YA fantasy author who just sold her debut novel, Queen of Glass, an epic retelling of Cinderella, to Bloomsbury for publication in 2011. Sarah and I are agency “sisters,” both represented by Tamar Rydzinski. I’m so glad we found each other, because though we’ve only known each other a short time, I’ve found her feedback to be invaluable, and I can’t wait to read Queen of Glass when it hits shelves. Keep an eye out — it’s amazing.

Both these ladies have blogs worth following, and I always enjoy reading what they have to say. What are you still doing here? Check them out!