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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

There is No Passion.

"There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." 

I think that in theory, we would all agree with this.  We would all agree that our passion shouldn't be wasted, that we should follow after our dreams, that we should never settle for a life less than the one we want.  If asked, we would probably all say that we were working towards this sort of life, that we were one day going to live in such a way that every day was filled with passion as we lived out our dreams. 

That's a fine and dandy answer, but it's not real.  It's a front, maybe a coping mechanism to get through the now.  Because it's easier to put up with passionless days if you promise yourself that one day, eventually, you will live a life full of all you are capable of. 

But today is someday.  Yesterday was someday.  Last week was someday. 

It's a Tuesday, and for all you know, it's the most important Tuesday of your life.  Right now, it's the only day that matters, because it's the only day you have.  And if you spend it mindlessly promising yourself that one day you'll have a life full of passion, instead of doing something passionate, or something that gets you closer to having a life full of things you're passionate about, then you're already settling. 

It's Tuesday, and it's the only Tuesday that matters.  What are you going to do with it?

w h i l e   y o u ' r e   h e r e :

Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy to be Alive, Because: Pretty Dresses & Coachella.

Happy to be Alive, Because Fridays are based off of my new novel, Happy to be Alive, Because.   Feel free to join in with #happytobealive2014.

1. I get to get all dressed up and go out with my husband tonight!  He has a fancy pants medical dinner, which means I have a pretty dress and expensive wine that I will pretend to be sophisticated enough to like.  Everyone is happy!

2.  I got this text from two of my friends:

With the caption, "We are happy to be alive, because we have a friend who is a fantastic writer."

My heart. 

3.  This post from my girl Jordyn about the difference between 18 & 22.  "At 18, you think you're a grown up, and wish more people would treat you like you are.  At 22, you know you're supposed to be a grown up, but wish more people would stop treating you like you already are." Amen.

4. "Coachella" by Brooke Fraser.  "I am bright as the sun, you are high as a kite, we are daughters, sons, brothers, and sisters tonight..."  It makes me want to dance around wearing a flower crown.  Aka, every day of my life.

5.  It's Friday.  And sometimes that's just enough.

What makes you happy to be alive this week?

b u y   m y   b o o k :

Monday, April 21, 2014

Because this has been the craziest week of my life.

As of today, my book has been out for a week.

My mom was at my house when my author copy came in the mail, and it was the most surreal feeling to see her flip it open to random page, because the first thing that came to my mind was, "Oh, I wrote that by the pool last year."  These are my words that I wrote down over the past few years of my life, and now anyone can buy them and hold them and put them on a shelf.

Words truly cannot express how that feels, so instead of trying--and failing--I thought we could talk about how I will forever be indebted to you if you feel inclined to support my book through any of the following ways.

R A T I N G S.  Did you buy my book?  First of all, THANK YOU.  I owe you a cupcake.  Second of all, it would be awesome if you could leave a rating on whatever site you bought it.  See those little stars next to my book?  They're just waiting on you to click on them.  Unless you hated it.  Just kidding.  But not really. 

S O C I A L.  Are we friends on twitter and instagram?  We should be.  Use #happytobealive2014 to talk about my book!  Take a picture of it, tweet a quote from it, or just say hello!  I think it's going to be super cool to be able to search that hashtag and see my book's journey.

G O O D R E A D S.  Do you have a Goodreads account?  Add my book to your to-read shelf!  And if you've read it, leave me a review on there!

R E V I E W S.  Do you talk about books on your blog?  Because that would be awesome.  Email me and we can talk about getting a book in your hands!

It's a wild and crazy and scary time.  But I'm following my dreams, and that's worth more than I know how to put into words.

Have you ever jumped all in and followed a dream of yours?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Here's to 22.

Here's to twenty-two.

Here's to celebrating with the same girls who stayed up late with you in college, dreaming about when you would maybe publish a book one day.

Here's to being married to your best friend and loving someone more than you thought was humanly possible.  To salty, windy beach days.  To laying in the sand and counting down the hours until you're a published author.

Here's to waking up at 6:00 on your birthday, both elated and panicked because a certain book is now available for anyone to read.

Here's to celebrating.  To way too much sun.  To family and cake and water way too cold to swim in.  Here's to dreaming and laughing and taking time to remember how good life really is. 

Here's to the twenty-second year of life that's turning out to be quite beautiful.  Here's to laughing and dreaming about the year to come. 

Here's to twenty-two.  To shopping and cocktails and getting caught in the rain.  To staying up way too late and getting up way too early.  To campfires and midnight movies.  Here's to ignoring fear and jumping all in.  Here's to following your dreams no matter what it takes.  Here's to the weeks of fancy dinners and to the weeks of Ramen noodle dinners. Here's to that beautiful place between success and failure.

Cheers to twenty-two.

PS: I'm thinking it's time for a new blog design!  Who are your favorite designers?

Monday, April 14, 2014

TODAY IS THE DAY: Birthday & Book Launch!

Today is the day!  After three and a half years of writing, seven months of querying, a few weeks of agonizing decision making before deciding to just go with my gut, four months of planning and changing and is the day my novel is released.  And it's also my birthday!

I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified.  I'm a whole bunch of other things too, but I think those two words sum it up best.  It is absolutely insane to me that the words I wrote that make up the story I created are now bound together in a book that anyone in the world can buy and read.  INSANE. 

I cannot see what happens with this and where this road leads.  I am so incredibly thankful for this journey, and if nothing ever comes of it, I am still so proud to have gotten to this point. 

If you have been following along on my blog, thank you.  If you've left encouraging comments or congratulatory emails, you have no idea how much that means.  If you have supported me in any way, whether that's by reading this blog or buying something from my shop or pre-ordering my book, thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You will never know how much that support means to me. 

I'm off to celebrate with the people I love more than anything in this world.  First, though, here's a giveaway of my new book!  I'll write you a special little note and mail it to you myself!

Have some cake or an extra cup of coffee today for me.  It's a good day to celebrate. 


Friday, April 11, 2014

On fridays we talk about being happy.

1. Um, my book comes out on Monday.  Really, this could be reasons 1-5.

2.  My best friends are coming over tonight to celebrate birthday/book weekend by going out for pho and champagne.  Does life get any better?  No, no it does not.


3.  These were delivered to my work yesterday.  Please just look at that card.  I love him.  He's my person. 

4.  MY BOOK IS ON AMAZON.  This is real life, my friends.  And real life is good. 

5.  The next time I blog, I will officially be a published author.  That is insane.

Have the best weekend ever!  If you're wondering about me, I'll just be off partying like it's 1999 like I'm turning twenty-two and I have a book coming out on Monday.  And listening to this on repeat, obviously:

What made you happy to be alive this week?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Quotes from Happy to be Alive, Because.

Happy Thursday! 

We are F O U R  D A Y S from book launch day, people!  

Words truly cannot convey the absolute bundle of nerves I have become.  I'm so ready for Monday to get here!  My best friends are coming down tomorrow night to celebrate the start of my birthday weekend, so I know that Monday will be here before I know it! 

To celebrate, here are some of my favorite quotes from my book.  I hope you like them! xo

What's your favorite quote from a book?

g o  s h o p p i n g:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Questions: P A R T T W O.

Good morning! My book comes out in F I V E  DAYS.  There are no words to adequately describe the way I am currently feeling.  If you follow me on instagram, then you saw that my book is on Barnes and Noble's website.  Then, this morning, I checked my phone and saw this:

That's my book on iBooks.  

No. Words.  

Here are the rest of your questions!  Thank you so much for actually caring enough to ask questions like this!

Where did you start and what inspires you to write?
I started with the very last page.  No idea why, that's just how it happened.  And as for what inspires me, is it too cheesy to say everything?  I'm gonna go with everything.  However, if I'm feeling out of inspiration to write, reading a good book always inspires me.

How did you choose a designer and ultimately settle on the cover?
Tekeme Studios is the company that my publisher works with, so that's how the designer was chosen.  as far as the cover, I spent a lot of time in the library and in bookstores browsing the YA section.  I wanted a cover that fit my story, and that would fit in if I placed it on a shelf next to popular YA novels.

Side note:  I thought for sure the cover was going to have to be revised several times, but he got exactly what I wanted the very first time.

What led you down the path to your publisher?
I got this book and researched every single publisher, which led to discovering other companies.  I started sending out queries in June of 2013 and heard from my Publisher in January of 2014.  The first time I talked on the phone with her, she talked to me for 45 minutes and answered all of my questions. It felt very very personal, which I hadn't yet felt when it come to a publisher/agent.  I could tell she was invested in my story and would also be personally invested in me.  I prayed about it a lot and at the end of the day, trusted my gut and jumped on board.

I truly cannot say enough good things about my experience with Nyree.  If you're interested in exploring the world of indie authors, do yourself a favor and check them out.

What's the hardest part about trying to get published?
The fact that once you submit your work, everything is out of your control.  You can't control when someone checks their email, if they'll ever actually read your query, or if they'll even respond to you after reading your query.

Who do you look up to as a writer?
Chances are, if you are a writer, I look up to you.  But as far as specific writers go, I really look up to Rachel Hauk because she mentors lots of writers, even unpublished writers, and I think that's amazing.  I look up to John Grisham because he hasn't changed the way he writes or the content he writes, regardless of how famous he's become.  I look up to Sarah Dessen immensely because she is a wife and mom in a small town, and is simultaneously the greatest YA author there ever was.  She tweeted something the other day along the lines of "Red carpet in LA last night, movie night on the couch with hubby tonight.  Equally as special."  And I just think that's amazing.

What are five books that have changed your life?
The Christy Miller Series.  Dreamland.  The Book Thief.  Avalon High.  Talk before Sleep.  I wouldn't necessarily classify these as my favorite books, but more so the fact that I read them during significant times in my life or they changed the way I write.  Ask me again in a few weeks and I may give you a completely different list.

Is your book based on a true story?
No.  But there are a lot of true-story details hidden in there, as far as names and places and even events. It's like a little hidden hello for people who know me.

What has been the most nerve-wracking part of the entire process?
Hands down, last Monday night.  I had to approve the final PDF to print, and talk about pressure.  I read it until I felt like my eyes may actually be on fire.  It was nerve-wracking for two reasons.  One, because I hope I didn't miss any errors, but I'm human, so we'll see.  And two, because this is a story I've been working on for close to four years.  These characters are people I have thought of every day.  I've had new ideas, changed details, added backstory, over and over for four years.  It was crazy knowing that when I approved the final PDF, that time was over.  I could never add another detail to my characters.  That's such a weird feeling.

Where should I start?
Just start writing!  Go to Barnes and Noble and browse the novel-writing section.  Get a book that inspires you, I recommend this one!  And then just start writing.  And then keep writing.  And then finish writing, even when you don't want to.

Is anyone else an aspiring author?  What inspires you to write?

g o  s h o p p i n g:

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Questions: P A R T O N E.

I hate excessively long blog posts, so I'm splitting this one into two...even though part one is already pretty long.  Bear with me!

Technically 3 years, but I didn't spend three years writing a book.  The week before I moved away to college, I had this idea pop in my head that I thought would make a really good book ending, so I wrote it down.  After that, I pretty much wrote a few pages here and there whenever I had time.  When I was overwhelmed with all the technical writing that comes along with college, I would take a break and write a few pages of my book.  I wrote more over school breaks, and I got serious about finishing in January of 2013, right after we got back from our honeymoon.

Seven months!

No.  First of all, because if I hear about or see a book I want to read, I don't first think, "Wait, it was independently published?  Guess I won't be reading that one." Secondly, I don't think that independent publishing has the stigma that it used to.  Author's aren't choosing it as a last resort, they're choosing it because it fits their needs the best.  I actually received a few offers of representation by traditional literary agents, but I still chose to independently publish.  Why?  Because I knew it was the right thing for me.  

George Weis from Tekeme Studios!

This is an excellent question.  I guess I'm afraid of the fact that as of next Monday, it will be "open season" on my book.  Anyone at all can read it.  They can say anything they want to about it, and that scares me.  This is something I have truly poured myself into over the past three years, and to know there are going to be mean things said about it is terrifying.  I'm a very private person, and only a handful of people have read this story, so it's intimidating to know strangers might hate my book!  On the opposite side of that, I'm elated for the day that I get to hear of someone reading my book and enjoying it. 

Oh, and I'm afraid of the first error that I know I will find once it's printed.  It happens. 

I'm not sure!  I haven't seen a report yet since it's still in the pre-order phase.

"Do you want to know what not living is, Avery?  It's spending all of your time and energy trying to solve things that can't be solved, and even if they could, it wouldn't help or have the outcome that we want. . .Why did your mom die?  Why are you here?  What's the meaning of life?  And will we ever really know?  No, probably not.  And so we have nights like last night.  We sit and watch the stars and bear our hearts to each other, because that's what we can do."

Check back on Thursday for more quotes! 

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here!  I'll be back tomorrow to answer the rest of them!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why I Love YA Lit.

I'll be answering your questions tomorrow--feel free to leave any last minute ones here!  One of the questions someone emailed me was about why I chose to write a young-adult novel as opposed to an adult novel.  I loved that question and thought it deserved it's own blog post!  So let's do it.

Young-adult literature is definitely getting the recognition it deserves lately due to Hollywood.  The Spectacular Now, The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent...all young-adult novels.

These novels (and now, movies) don't simply draw the attention of young adults, but they also draw attention from every age group and walk of life.  Why is that?  One would think that after 20, the gap between what happens in YA novels and what readers are interested in would be growing wider by the day.  Obviously, that's not the case.  Why?

There are certain things in life that, once they happen, they can never happen again.  The first time you fall in love.  The first time you do something rebellious.  The first time you make a decision that terrifies you.  The first time someone breaks your heart.  Sure, these things will happen over and over throughout your life, but there's only one first.  Sometimes it's a good first, sometimes it's a bad first, but once it happens, you'll never have that first again.

It's nice to be able to re-live the magic of those firsts.  It's great to watch a character fall stupidly in love and then make a ton of mistakes because it's the first time she's ever been in love.  It's wonderful to be able to recall your own version of that story with the fondness of hindsight.

Because there are still a ton of "firsts" that you are totally unprepared for.

Buying a house, having a family, learning how to budget money, figuring out how to do life with another person, stumbling through careers, figuring out what the heck you actually want to do with your matter how prepared you think you are in life, you never really are.  And it's nice to watch some characters stumble through life, because you can totally relate to that.

It's incredibly emotional. 
If you read about a grown man getting his heart broken, it's easy to be cynical.  But to read about a teenage boy getting his heart broken?  It's heart wrenching.  Because you remember how vulnerable you were as a teenager.  Reading about characters who freely fall in love and jump into new things, even when they are sure to end badly, reminds you of that part of yourself.  Sometimes you need to remember that you haven't always been cynical and stressed and worried about life.

Because there is a part of your heart that will always be young. 
A part of you will always long to fall in love, will always long to be irresponsibly adventurous, will always long to be vulnerable and open to life.  And most YA novels are about all of those things.  They're about being open to life.

Do you read YA lit?  Why or why not? 

PS:  Have a Nook?  My book is available for pre-order on the Nook today!

g o  s h o p p i n g:

Friday, April 4, 2014

I'm happy to be alive because of gold & glitter & cheap headbands.

1.  It's supposed to be 88 degrees today, and I will be enjoying every single one of those degrees by the pool.

2.  I haven't really been sleeping, and while that kind of sucks as a whole, I've had time to make things like this:

3.  I love April already.  I got to meet my mom for lunch yesterday and had the best time ever celebrating the start of book & birthday month!

4.  I'm so incredibly close to making my last payment on all things book related.  To help with the final push, I've dropped t h i s  h e a d b a n d down to $8, no code necessary, for this weekend only.  {psst, and I dropped t h i s  o n e down to $5!}

5.  Reading through your question emails this morning is so much fun!  Keep them coming!

What makes you happy to be alive this week? 

s h o p   h e r e :

Thursday, April 3, 2014


Happy almost-Friday!  I don't know about you guys, but I'm loving April so far.

Florida life is the best life.

Anyway, a lot of you have either emailed me or commented here that you would be interested in hearing more about the whole book writing//publishing process.  That's great with me, because writing is my favorite thing to write about.  Ironic, yes?

I don't want to write a blog that doesn't answer any of the questions you have, so speak up!  Either comment or email me email me your questions, whether they're about writing or something else, and I'll do my best to answer them all in a post next week!

Have a beautiful Thursday! xoxo

come say hello here:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is for dreamers & lovers & thinkers & doers.

I don't know that there's ever been a month that seemed so long yet went by so fast as March.

So many wonderful things happened in March and I will cherish this month forever.  I would be sad to see it go, but I'm way too excited for April.

So goodbye, March.

Goodbye to weather that can't decide if we live in Florida or Alaska.
Goodbye to a sick pup and a bad week.
Goodbye to getting too caught up in planning (read: worrying about) the future.
Goodbye to last minute writing and editing and making final decisions about my book.
Goodbye to chilly morning walks.

Hello, April.

Hello to living in the present.
Hello to warmer mornings and almost-summer nights and many, many days by the pool.
Hello to nights spent sleepless over how excited and terrified I am for this book release.
Hello to my very first book being available for anyone to read.
Hello to turning 22.
Hello to spending every day dreaming and doing.
Hello to celebrating being happy to be alive.

April is for dreamers & lovers & thinkers & doers.

What are you saying hello to today?

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