Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Liebster Award

Sarah Kettles, fellow member of TGNA, tagged me to do this ages ago and I have been putting it off because I haven't been writing much. In the last few days, I've had a few spare minutes to write and I feel more ready to answer these questions now.

1. Tell us a little about your WIP. 
LOVE'S GRAVEYARD is a contemporary retelling of the romantic ballet Giselle. 

Elle, a college senior, falls hard for the transfer student without realizing he's still kind of got a girl back home. When her "nice guy" best friend reveals the whole mess in the worst possible way, Elle takes too many sleeping pills and nearly doesn't wake up. As she recovers in the hospital, Elle must make peace with her past if she wants to have a future. But can she forgive the guy who broke her heart in order to save herself?

2. How did you come up with your WIP's title?
I came up with the title LOVES'S GRAVEYARD because the cemetery where the second act of the ballet Giselle takes place is such a huge part of the story. This retelling doesn't end up in a literal cemetery but the hospital and Elle's therapy group there are their own type of graveyard. Once I realized that, the title hit me like a brick to the forehead and I immediately loved it. 

3. What's your favorite type of villain?
The kind who could be the hero of their own story. I used to love flat villains you can easily hate but life isn't really like that and the more I age the more I want my books to reflect that. 

4. What motivates you to write?
My motivation depends on the day but generally it's a simple desire to get a story out of my head and onto paper. More specifically I am motivated by my experiences with teenager students and dancers. 

5. What's the best book you've read in your genre?
Ugh, there are so many good ones! Don't make me pick one. My current favorite is probably Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin. She totally has the college vibe down and the sweet romance. 

6. Share a favorite line/scene from your WIP.
This Elle's lowest point and one of my favorites in the story

How could it all have been a lie?
When I set the photo on the end table, too sick and heavy to keep looking at it, I saw the cheesey bouquet of slightly wilted daisies he’d given me a few days ago, just because.
Does a guy give just because flowers to his girl on the side?
My mind felt sluggish to respond, must have been the pills kicking in or maybe just me avoiding an answer I didn’t want to hear. I slowly drew one daisy from the vase and plucked a petal, watching it fall to the floor.
“He loves me,” I whispered.
I plucked another petal.  “He loves me not.”
I finished the whole flower but it ended on “he loves me not” so I picked up another. The whole process was like counting sheep and it started to lull me to sleep. There was a banging on the door but I didn’t get up to open it. The banging continued. So did my little game.
He loves me.
He loves me not.

Just as the door burst open, I pulled the last petal off the last daisy. “He loves me,” I whispered before everything went black.

7. Tell us about your favorite character you've ever written.
I love every single one of my characters but I think my favorite so far was Mirella for GOODBYE, GOOD-GOODY GIRL because she is so flawed yet amazing. She tries to be a good daughter, friend, and performer but she struggles with real issues and questions. She was so fun to write because I didn't feel like she had to be a role model or a hero, she just had to be herself.

8. What is/are your crutch word(s)?
I totally copied Jenny and plugged G4 into wordle. Here is the result: 

9. Are you a plotter or a pantser and why?
I am a huge fan of the outline but I let the details come on their own. Therefore I outline and re-outline at least 10 times a draft. But it works for me. 

10. What is you advice do you have for other authors?
Shut up and love yourself. That's not strictly about writing but I don't think you have to be self-deprecating to be a good writer. I think you have to have confidence and love not only your writing but yourself and your mind and just you. 

Now I tag Alex and Faith. And here are your questions:
1. What are you working on right now?
2. What is your preferred writing program/word processor/etc.?
3. Are you a rule breaker? (AKA do you love or hate adverbs?)
4. If you could write anywhere, where would it be?
5. Share one of your favorite lines/scenes that you've ever written.
6. Do you prefer writing from the 1st or 3rd POV?
7. When did you start writing?
8. How do you feel about short stories?
9. What is you favorite thing about your life as a writer?
10. What are you top do's and don't's of writing, for yourself and others?

Monday, December 15, 2014

If you've ever been dumped go read OVER YOU

I picked up this book because moving on is hard. As in, I broke up with my boyfriend over the summer and I still don't know what I'm doing emotionally. So, yeah, I picked up a YA book as a self-help book. Sue me. 

But you know what? This book was EXACTLY what I needed. 

Max is the girl who helps everyone else get over the boys that dump them, but deep down she isn't really over the boy who dumped her. Her program for getting girls over their exes is AWESOME and pretty real world accurate.  Her concept of The Moment as what every girl wants (and kind of needs) when getting over a guy is phenomenally on point. I couldn't help but think of experiences from my own past, of running into old crushes/bfs/etc and not feeling on my game or pretty enough or successful enough. But this book made me feel empowered and independent and awesome even when I'm not perfect. Oh, and Bridget is pretty much my favorite ever. 

Oddly enough, the best part about the book wasn't the man-hating, it was the girl power. I didn't come away from reading it hating the opposite gender (any more than I already did going in) and in some ways it even rekindled my hope for relationships. If a book about moving on can do that, I don't think you need any more of a recommendation. Just go read it. 

L.S. Mooney

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's Up Wednesday # 9

    Nothing! But I just picked up a hardcover edition of The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer which looks super interesting. And by interesting I mean there is an eccentric theatre teacher and events that relate to the play she chooses. 
    I'm still working my way through edits of G4 but I am loving it. After a pretty slumpy writing month in November, I've been making new progress with fun additional scenes :) 
    Musical rehearsal is in full swing and I'm finding so much inspiration in my teenagers. They keep me laughing at them, at myself, at the world. They also keep me current. Today they were debating the plausibility of the movie A Cinderella Story and said "like they really didn't know each other's screen name? How is that possible." It was a fun moment for me to explain the way the internet worked when I was a teenager (and to feel incredibly old).
    My car is in the shop (in the wrong state) and I hate depending on other people for rides. I am an incredibly independent person so I'm stressing big time. And I'm trying super super hard to be social in spite of my deep desire to hibernate. 
What's up with you this Wednesday? 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Existentialism on Monday Night

Sometimes you get a text that says "I need you" from one of your best friends because they're having an existential crisis and you realize that everything you tell them are things you needed to hear too.

I could try to explain it to you but instead I think I will just share a song that was popular and relevant when I was in high school. And try not to think I'm old and irrelevant. 

L.S. Mooney

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm having Deep Thoughts thisThanksgiving

Every couple of years Thanksgiving falls on November 27 and makes itself an especially emotional holiday for my family. This is one of those years. You see, November 27 is my uncle's birthday but my uncle died in a tragic car crash in 1988.

I never had the opportunity to get know my uncle (I wasn't born until 1989) but the pictures and stories that my family share inspire a special kind of missing in me. Almost a kind of missing out mixed with sadness and a huge helping of wondering how my life might've been different knowing him. I'm overcome with that feeling today.

This would be his 52nd birthday but he only made it to 25. 25. The same age I am now. I have heard so many wonderful things about him and the richness of his life that realizing he was only my age rocked me. He lived so much for being so young. I don't feel like I've lived half that much in the same amount of time.

A secret source of pride for me has always been that people say I'm like him. My grandmother says it, my mom says it, his best friend who still keeps a piece of his wrecked car in the glove compartment says it. As a little kid (before I knew the details of his crash) my favorite Match Box car and the one I said I wanted when I grew up was the car he died in (let me tell you how creepy that was for my family). Honestly, even now that's still my dream car and I can't convince myself otherwise even though it should be weird. Maybe I just like the idea that I've got something in common with him. Something just for me when everything about him is second hand.

When I turned 25 last month I felt old and like I had nothing to show for it. I had a great birthday and I can't complain about my first month or so of this age but it hasn't been spectacular either. But that's no one's fault but my own. Thinking of my uncle, I can't help but feel like I'm wasting time.

So, today, with my uncle in my heart, I pledge to live this year of my life to the fullest. To have fun, to reach out, to celebrate, to learn, to love, to grow, to be me. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to do that.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME was a catastrophe for my feelings

This freaking book. I picked it up because it immediately made me think of Giselle and since I'm all about reading the things similar to my WIP (yes I know that makes me weird) I snatched it up and devoured it. And you should do the same. 

This book had me in tears. That awful pain behind your eyes, I WILL NOT CRY, kind of hurt that sneaks up on you and makes you die a little. Books that claw at my emotions like that are pretty rare but this is definitely one of them. In the best way possible. 

As Brie, the girl who literally died of a broken heart, progresses through the stages of grief, she finds that her life was not what she thought it was and her death isn't what she expected either. The range of human emotion in this book is crazy and by that I mean crazy accurate. I don't want to spoil anything so just trust me when I say you will love Brie's attitude and voice as you laugh and cry right along with her. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #8

(how freaking cute are the new autumn WUW buttons?!?!)
    Yesterday at the library, I picked up THE CATASTROPHIC HISTORY OF YOU AND ME by Jess Rothenberg and I am so excited to get into it. I started the first chapter (artfully titled Don't Your (forget about me) which makes my Breakfast Club-lovely heart purr) and the voice has me already. When I read the cover blurb, I immediately thought of Giselle (and my WIP by extension and I knew I had to read it. I know some people avoid things similar to what they're writing but I actually find it super helpful.
    I'm still slowly working on the GiselleBook but did I mention it was slow? So I'm writing some new words for G4 too. I got GREAT feedback from by CPs Jenny and Alex so I am all about making this MS the best it can be.
    Lately, daydreaming has been so productive for me that I don't know if I can actually call it daydreaming. I've been getting an idea - sometimes related to my writing, sometimes not - and just going with it. Those idea journeys have taken me to some interesting places and given me some cool new ideas. I have a new little idea notebook that is just for these musings. It's a bizarre thing to look through but it's kind of cool too.
    I really like grad school, I am drowning in musical drama, I am bizarrely happy with life. Who am I? 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No, you just turned 25!

I can't tell you how many times this weekend I heard the words "oh, 25! That's the last big milestone then it's straight on to 30." While that doesn't exactly instill me with confidence, I am stoked to make this year the beginning of exciting adventures.
My birthday resolutions are as follows:
1. Make new friends/meet new people
2. Have new adventures
3. Find happiness in unexpected places
I'm pleased to report that my birthday weekend alone has already pushed me in the right direction. I started off early by tagging along to my sister's work happy hour on Friday where I even gave my number to a really cute guy she works with. I hit up a local production of Grease before staying up way too late to finish a grad school paper when there were other things I would have rather been doing. My actual birthday dawned and i spent most of the day in class (boo) but then watched Josie and the Pussycats with my family (this movie is so quality) before hitting the town with friends. I met up with that cute guy for birthday shots of Fireball (nectar of the gods why were you unknown to me?) then danced the night away at the drag club with my girls. While there, I got a tarot reading by a queen named Kitty who was so on point that I'm still thinking about it. On the way back to the car, we got caught in a torrential downpour that left us soaked to the skin and shivering but I really didn't care.
I could not have asked for a better birthday weekend. It set the bar high for the year to come but I'm ready to hit the ground running.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

You don't get to call me that!

I will be turning 25 in just a few days and I'm trying not to freak out. It doesn't help that last weekend I had a musical fundraiser which plopped me right in the middle of a bunch of old high school acquaintances and one in particular that somehow made me revert to my raging 16 yr old self. I haven't decided if that is a good or bad thing yet. 

But this relates to writing I swear! When I wrote G4, I based a minor character off a boy I went to school with that everyone called by a shortened version of his name. Just as my MC, Mirella, does, I always called that by his whole name when I had a crush on him and when I moved on, I adopted the shortened version (also like Mirella). Sometimes I take "write what you know" a little seriously. #sorrynotsorry

Anyway, I ran into that boy at my musical fundraiser (you don't even want to know the details) and as I relayed my encounter to a few friends, I noticed the gradual shift back from short name to full name. As if that wasn't worrisome enough (Lavender, you are not 16 and five minutes after seven years does not change ANYTHING!), my best friend noticed it too. "You haven't called him that in years," she proclaimed as she waggled her eyebrows. 

So this tiny, insignificant encounter that I first found so interesting because I wrote something similar into my book has now got me thinking about names and diminutives. Several of my characters have nicknames used throughout the book but they are also referred to by their full names. I realized that as I complete this first pass of edits, I HAVE to examine my placement and use of short vs full names and those types of habits etc because what we call people matters. Would Mirella's dad only call her Songbird when she's singing or all the time? Would he only use Mirella when he's mad? Would it matter when her long-lost best friend calls her Miri again for the first time. Are these details important? After my recent experience, I have to think that the answer is YES. 

What do you think? How important is naming to you? Have you considered the role of nicknames  in any of your writing? 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Is My Retelling Worth Telling? (And info about my new WIP)

I'm over at TGNA today talking about retellings and my four easy questions to help you decide if your retelling is going to be awesome. Below are my answers to those questions in regards to my new retelling project: LOVE'S GRAVEYARD.

First, identify your original - Giselle, the 1841 romantic ballet. Read more about it here:

1. What is different about your version? What makes it unique and separate from the original?
My idea is for a NA contemporary retelling. No ghosts, no graveyard, no magic. A different time, a different country, a different ending (kind of). 

2. Do your readers need to know the original to appreciate your retelling? And will those who do know the original appreciate small details of your work?
Absolutely not, part of why I want to write this is to bring what I think is a powerful story to a new audience. However, those familiar with Giselle will appreciate names - especially the character named after the original choreographer.

3. Related to the previous questions, what elements of the original do you want to keep, re-purpose, or otherwise incorporate?
I plan to keep the general character cast the same. They've got new jobs, etc. to fit the setting but they're essentially the same characters. Also the daisy and he loves me loves me trope that appears several times in the original libretto will be seen (one of those tidbits for fellow Giselle lovers). The themes of forgiveness and powerful love will hopefully remain as well.  

4. How do you draw inspiration from the original?
I've performed in the ballet Giselle 3 times and seen it on two other occasions so I bring a lot of personal experience to this project. However, Claire Legrand (WINTERSPELL) had an awesome suggestion since her book is a ballet retelling as well. She suggested viewing all the versions I could get my hands on and listening to different arrangements of the score. I was already drawing heavily on the libretto but broadening my base of inspiration has already proved really helpful. 

So those answers helped me see that I could write this story. That I should because it's different and new and I'm passionate about it. I hope the questions can help you, too!

L.S. Mooney  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #7

  1. WHAT I'M READING: I just finished Sarah Addison Allen's latest book LOST LAKE. SAA is pretty much one of my favorite authors anyway, but there is something about the way she weaves the magic into real life and the way she writes human relationships, broken and hopeful and messy but lovely. Just go read everything by her.
  2. WHAT I'M WRITING: As you know from my last post, I just finished draft one of Goodbye, Good-Goody Girl and I went a bit without being able to really write anything concrete. However, just in the last 24 hours, I've managed to write 314 words and create a rough outline for the new NA book I've been discussing with CPs lately. I don't want to say too much just yet. But I am all kinds of excited about it.
  3. WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW: I'm currently inspired by loss and the rebuilding that comes after it.
  4. WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO: I just enrolled in graduate school! I know, right? It's an awesome program that I am going to LOVE and I can't wait to start classes. Plus musical things are happening! (Just because this book isn't about a musical doesn't mean you won't still heard about it from time to time."

What are you up to this Wednesday?

L.S. Mooney

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing a Book: My Journey in Gifs

So...I finished the first draft of my first book and I am beside myself. Allow me to show you my book journey with gifs. 

One day I was just sitting around like this: 

When I got an idea like: 

So I worked really hard for a long time until I was all: 

 But then I lost the plot and was all like:

Suddenly inspiration struck and everything fell into place and I was all: 

With only a few chapters left I felt like life wouldn't stop happening long enough to let me write. Like, seriously:

And  then I finished it and I'm currently dancing like whoa: 

 Sorry for the preponderance of Buffy gifs but that show is basically my air. When I am a little more coherent I might have more eloquent things to say about this 15 month journey but for now this is it.

L.S. Mooney

Monday, July 28, 2014

Lex Martin got it right with DEAREST CLEMENTINE

I want to preface this post with the fact that I have not read a ton of NA. Despite starting my own NA project (but more on that in a different post) I have only read a handful of NA and liked even fewer. And then I got DEAREST CLEMENTINE because it was free on my Kindle app a few weeks ago. I hate reading on my Kindle app, it isn't a fun experience for me, but I put up with it when the stories I want to read only come in that format (worthy stories so far have included THE ART OF FALLING by Jenny Kaczorowski, CLASS OF '98 by A.L. Player).  When I saw the tweet that DEAREST CLEMENTINE was free and FINDING DANDELION was coming out, I decided to get them both. But because I'm not big on ereading, I forgot I had them until I didn't get to the library  before it closed and NEEDED something to read.

And how glad I am that I did!

Lex Martin NAILS the college feel. That one roommate who is always screwing her boyfriend but you love anyway and the struggle to politely tell your roommate that you hate their furniture. And the horror of letting someone else plan your 21st birthday party. I loved letting myself fall back into my college days as these girls took me on a great journey.

And don't even get me started on Gavin. He is the perfect mix of confused college boy and sweetheart and amazing cuddler. Gah, I want a Gavin, ok? And the bad communication and the misunderstandings and ugh. Why was this romance so perfect?

Oh, and Clementine? While she has a much darker past, I could so easily relate to the one setting: bitch. Hello, most of my young life. For real, my best friend called me a praying mantis for the way I treated guys in late high school. I loved seeing those feelings of disgust portrayed so accurately in Clementine. I wanted to be her BFF and commiserate about the eternal shortcomings of young men. Except Gavin, because he's perf.

Basically, Lex Martin GETS IT. Her dialogue is awesome, her characters feel real, and her story is part mystery, part romance, and a whole lot of college friendship. Go read this book!

Monday, July 14, 2014

There Is No Wrong Way to Read a Series

I think we've been over the fact that I am a binge reader (I read 5 books in the last 7 days), but I am not a series binger. I realized this on Saturday when I finished THE WARLOCK, the 5th installment of Michael Scott's Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel saga and had no desire to sprint to the library for the sixth and final book. Not because I didn't enjoy the book I'd just finished but because I needed to digest it a little. I wanted to think about what had happened and maybe even think about what might happen in the next one.

As I was ruminating on The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel books, I realized that I had done the same thing with another series book a few days earlier (one I've actually already talked about here) BORN WICKED, the first book of Jessica Spotswood's Cahill Witch Chronicles. This book has a serious cliffhanger ending and I want to know what happens, but I don't want to know right now.

Two examples in a week felt like more than a coincidence so I took a look back on other series books I've read. I read DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS (the last book in Laini Taylor's Smoke and Bone Trilogy) but that was the last book so it doesn't count. Or, at least that was what I thought until I looked at how I had read the whole series. I read the first book after the second had come out but I still waited over six months before reading it and I waited again for the last one.

I asked myself, was this a trend?

I thought of UNSPOKEN by Sarah Rees Brennan the sequel to which I still haven't gone near (although I want to). Then I remembered I just read HOLLOW CITY by Ransom Riggs, the second book in the Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children Series, 20 months after I read the first one and 6 months after it was released. I haven't read the sequel to PEACHES by Jodi Lynn Anderson even though I know it will be the perfect summer read. Or, the rest of published Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

The list grew and grew as I fell backwards through the rabbit hole of my reading. I couldn't find a single series that I binge read in the last five years. Not a single one.

So I had identified my pattern, now I wanted to know why. Which turned out to be a really easy question to answer.

The reason: Harry Potter.

I will never be ashamed of the impact that the entire Harry Potter phenomenon had on my existence. However, I am often shocked to find evidence of just how much it has effected me. Being a true member of the Potter Generation, I grew up waiting for the next book. I devoured the first three books the summer before sixth grade and then went to my first midnight book release at Media Play for Goblet of Fire. Which I read until I was done, without sleep or nourishment. Then I promptly had to wait until the summer after eighth grade for Order of the Phoenix to come out. I got to dwell on the first four books and the return of Voldemort. I reread them several times. I had numerous discussions about what might happen next. I read some fanfiction.

When Order of the Phoenix came out, I was so engrossed in reading that I missed a friend's birthday party. And, of course, the sobbing and throwing things when it ended. But then 2 more years of waiting for Snape to go all traitorous in Half Blood Prince. I will never forget how much my best friend defended him while I was staunchly with Harry that he'd been a traitor all along. Or discussing what we thought the rest of the horcruxes might be. Then finally we got Deathly Hallows in 2007 and found out what happened.

The process of binging then waiting and speculating and hoping was horrible and wonderful. It was imposed on me but I loved it anyway. Even though I was dying for the next book, the waiting made me love the characters and the stories even more because I got to spend time with them rather than of rushing all the way through on the first go.

It seems that the process has become ingrained. I no longer want to read the next book in a series immediately after finishing the first. I want to stew with the characters. I want to analyze and think about the story, then I want to read the next one.

How do you read a series? (Bonus points if you tell me how you read Harry Potter the first time)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

BORN WICKED gave me feels about FATE

So I picked up Jessica Spotswood's BORN WICKED, the first book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles Trilogy for $1.79 at one of those bargain close out places. I'd been looking for it anyway because the all-knowing Jenny Adams Perinovic said it was awesome and that Jessica is awesome (which she is obviously, because she let me threaten to shake her via Twitter and knew it was just the feels talking). I started started it on Monday but was so tired I didn't get very far. Last night, I binge read the rest of it and I'm still hungover from it. Hence talking about it here. There might be spoilers so read with caution.

Cate lives in New England just before the dawn of the twentieth century in a world where The Brotherhood has kept women subservient and uneducated, feeling dirty and stupid. (My hatred of The Brotherhood was so immediate I almost threw the book several times.) Cate is the oldest of three sisters and she has been protecting them since her mother's death. Except Cate and her sisters, Maura & Tess, aren't normal. They're witches. Any not just any witches - sister witches with special powers whose existence was foretold in the last prophecy before the fall of the witches and the rise of the Brotherhood. Sister witches who could change the world. As if her life wasn't complicated enough, Cate is also falling in love with Finn, the gardener and local bookseller's son, and making interesting new friends with the daughter of the Brotherhood council leader. She has some tough choices to make but there are some who would rather not let her choose at all. 

This book was soooo good.  Jessica Spotswood hits the nail on the head every time she describes emotion. She gets the feuding between sisters and the love that underlies it. AND THE FALLING IN LOVE? If you don't love Finn and Kate (FATE), you're being silly. Once again, Jessica nails it: kissing is fun but kissing the right guy is amazing. 

I know that wasn't entirely coherent but I hope you get the idea that this book is amazing and perfect and visceral. And the paperback cover is beautiful! JUST GO READ IT! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


So there are THINGS happening in my personal life right now. Big ugly bad things AND shiny new exciting things. Good or bad, these THINGS mean that my emotions are all over the place. One second I am all hyped up to be productiv before I bottom out in soul-crushing desire to binge watch Teen Wolf.

It is making work hard, and being near people hard, and writing hard. How do you have emotions??!?!

But really? How you do deal when you've got THINGS going on in your life. Do you master it and use it to get stuff done or does it master you?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

YA Prom

So I went to both my junior and senior proms alone. No. That's not right. Without a date. I went with a great group of friends who made both nights amazing. I have no regrets. However, that doesn't mean I'm not going to have a little fun picking my favorite YA boy as my date!

The Dress
Short, fun, and flirty because I did long dresses for both my real proms.

The Boy
Levi from Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl who looks like Hunter Parrish in my mind (no tux needed)

The Theme
By the Light of Fireflies - because who doesn't want to dance with a hot boy in the twinkling magic of fireflies.

Ok, that was way too fun.
I hope you'll all join in. Check out to get in on the party!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Laini Taylor is a Godstar and I don't care if you don't believe me.

A little over a year ago I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and fell in love with the universe that Laini Taylor created. I read Days of Blood and Starlight in the fall and was heartbroken in so many ways. Then two weeks ago I saw Dreams of Gods and Monsters at the library and left it on the shelf. I was so worried that it would rip my heart out and thought maybe I was better off not knowing what happened to the characters I had grown to love.

On Monday, I went back and picked it up. AND I AM SO GLAD I DID. I believe the chat below pretty accurately sums things up.

So I was reduced to semi-incoherent babbling by this book which is a pretty awesome feat. The only issue is that I miss them. I miss them all. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it so  I guess I really can't say any more. Just know that these characters are awesome. The story is phenomenal. The world is rich. And it is perfect. So perfect that it will leave you begging for more.

Go read this trilogy, you will not regret it.

L.S. Mooney

Saturday, June 21, 2014


I am currently 47,000 words into my first draft of Goodbye, Good-Goody Girl. But, instead of wanting to write the last 13k in this story, I have three/four really good ideas for new stories.

At first I said " WTF brain?! This is so not cool!"

Then I saw Jenny's post on TGNA about working on two completely different novel projects right now. So I told her about my ideas. And we had a great writerly chat about ideas, and writing, and motivation. And making our ideas reality. It is starting to sink in how close to being done I am with G4 and that I will have written a whole book-shaped thing from a tiny idea. So I could do it again. I should do it again. I will do it again.

At the end of the day, if our ideas are going to matter we have to do something with them. I can talk talk talk about the two especially awesome ideas I have for NA books right now. But they won't matter. Not really. An idea can live forever but if it is never more than an idea do we care?

Anyway, so I have awesome ideas that I'm writing down and holding onto for a time when I can make something with them.

What do you do when a new idea strikes you?

L.S. Mooney

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

carpe diem ain't got nothing on Just One Day by Gayle Forman

I was drawn to this book because (a BUNCH of people recommended it to me and) I have this constant feeling that these tiny brief encounters in my life have greater meaning even when no one else seems to give them value. Just the blurb for this book made me feel like I wasn't alone in that. Actually reading it was like making a new friend. C.S. Lewis is credited with the quote: Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . " and with every new emotion that Allyson shared, I had that feeling. Throughout the book, I connected with Allyson in profound ways. 

Goodreads calls this book sweepingly romantic and it is. I mean she has this fairytale day in Paris then spends a year recovering before deciding she has to go back and find that fairytale guy. But to me, this book was so much more than that. It was a novel about friendship - learning to grow with old ones and get close to new ones, family - finding the nuances of being an adult with your parents, responsibility - paying your own way to your dreams, and self-discovery - figuring out how the sometimes clashing part of your personality make you who you are. This book, for me, is about so much more than romance. 
Don't get me wrong, I was dying for her to find Willem. To know why he left her. To know anything more about him. To know if they still had a chance. 

But Gayle Forman did something amazing with my emotions in this book. I won't spoil the ending because you should ALL read it but it left me profoundly missing its entire cast of characters and thinking about my own life.

Go read it. NOW!

xoxoxL.S. Mooney

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cover Reveal: ONE OF THE GUYS by Lisa Aldin

Coming February 11, 2015 from Spencer Hill Contemporary

Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She'll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures any day. So Toni is horrified when she's sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a "lady" while the guys move on without her.

Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date to make Emma's ex jealous. Soon word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. 

But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends—the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she's built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.

Add it on Goodreads today!

About the Author: 

Lisa Aldin graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English Literature. She loves reading and monster movies. She lives in Indiana with two cats, two dogs, and her husband and daughter. 

Learn more about her at

Find her on:

Friday, June 6, 2014

It's the freaking weekend, baby. I'm about to have me some fun.

I just finished my first week of full time summer employment and I am LE TIRED! It is on that basis that I am asking you to indulge my R.Kelly Next to Ignition reference as my blog title.

I am super excited for this weekend. My good friend is turning 25 tomorrow and having a big party to celebrate. I am really looking forward to it. My goal for this summer, despite my new job, is NEW ADVENTURES. They can be small and quotidienne but they will happen. I need to live my life. Even if it's only a little bit at a time.

Also, the person I have been continuously friends with the longest in my life is in town for the next few weeks and he normally lives on the other side of the country so I am incredibly excited to hang with him and catch up. He's known me through all my "phases" and it's really cool that he still loves me. Sometimes you just need that.

Finally, a fun share. Today, I made a wordle for what I have done so far on G4 (44451 and counting). Besides being graphically fun, it really opened my eyes to my use of language and which words I rely on in my writing. Take a look at mine - does it make you want to read my book? And make your own here:

Wordle: Goodbye Good-Goody Girl1 (click here to see it full size)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Feast or Famine

Feast scene from the Lutrell Psalter. 

This past weekend, I wrote 3000 words in an afternoon. That was more than I had written in the previous three weeks. You want to know the best part?

It wasn't even hard. 

My brain was ready to write and it did. The story had been stewing in there just the right amount of time to flow freely onto the page. It was honestly one of the best writing days I've had in recent memory. 

I know you aren't supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth but I can't help asking WHY?

I mean why this weekend after weeks of wanting to write and no being able to? Why those chapters when there are others I really want to write as well? Why did my internal editor finally take a day off?

I don't know if anyone can honestly explain it. But I know I want to understand it better so I can have more feast days and less famine.

Anybody have any real tips? I don't mean those "make yourself do it" writer's block tips. I mean real ways to get words flowing instead of trickling.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Family of Readers

I love libraries. I love the concept. I can borrow and read books for free. And not just me, anyone. It is like the single most awesome thing people have come up with. I'm sure I inherited my love of libraries from my mother who took my sister and I to our town library at least once a week. We had special canvas bags for library books so that we didn't lose them or mix them up with the books we owned. It was both a regular occurrence and big deal to go to the library. I can still remember the smell of my early childhood library.

Anyway, the library in my town now is still pretty cool. I spent a decent amount of there in my school-aged years.  While I was away at college I lost touch with my town library and definitely lost my old library card so a while back, I finally got a new card and starting going back. The librarian remembered me and the shelf dedicated in memory of my uncle was still there waiting for me. 

Last week, I was running errands with my mom and asked if we could stop at the library so I could return books (I compulsively return books as soon as I finish them so that I don't accidentally lose them). We pulled in and as I was getting out my mom asked me to grab her something that looked interesting. Because being around my mom brings out my teenage attitude I said she should get it herself. Her response shocked me. 

"I don't have a library card anymore."

It makes sense, when I stopped going to the library with her, she kind of stopped going, she didn't stop reading by any means but the ritual of going to the library faded. So I marched her right into the library and up to the counter to get her a new card. 

Then I went off in search of my books. I only take out 3-5 books at a time. It's my rule so that I 1) don't become entirely antisocial while binge reading 2) don't lose any of them. (I'm noticing a reoccurring theme with a fear of losing library books - I'll have to ask Mom if I have a lost library book childhood trauma.) I picked out a few:  

And then I went to find my mom. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of the table I found her at because it was hilarious. She had two whole series laid out on the table and a stack of DIY books. If I ever had any doubt as to where my love reading came from, it disappeared in that moment. I talked her down to 10 books. Take that in, DOWN to TEN!

I made fun of my mom (who is already done with three of those ten books by the way) but I am incredibly thankful that I come from a family of readers, where it was ok to spend a day curled up in a chair with a blanket, a cup of tea, a cat, and a good book, where it was ok to miss a friend's birthday party because you're not done with the fifth Harry Potter book yet even though you've been reading since you got it at 12:01am, where no one even says anything when you come home with yet another thrift store copy of To Kill A Mockingbird. 

I wouldn't trade my family of readers for anything.

Do you come from a family of readers or are you the exception? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What's Up Wednesday # 6

    I just finished A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller and it was awesome. I don't generally love historical fiction - for a lot of reasons - but this one was great. What I found shocking about it in some ways was how little things have changed for women in a lot of respects. It reignited the fiery passion I had about EVERYTHING when I was a teenager. Plus, art, fashion, and a very cute policeman.
    I've crossed the 41k mark on G4. I'm writing the shenanigans in the middle right now and loving it. Most recently, Mirella and friends went to a frat party. I've also written a lot of friendship based scenes lately which is always a blast because this book is 50% about friendship, 35% about musicals and only 15% about romance. Don't quote my figures though, I just made them up as I typed that sentence...
    I also started a short story that is garbage but I like the topic so I might explore it further. I'll keep you updated. :)
    Inspiration is coming from the weather and music. The warm weather makes me want to sit outside and write - even though G4 is set in winter. Recently, I had to introduce my students to a great song I loved in high school but NONE of my students had heard (I talked about that experience more on TGNA last week) and it has sparked a nostalgic bout of musical stylings from the 00 years.
    I recently took a huge step towards becoming more self-sufficient by learning to work on my own cars. I replaced the shocks in our truck and took the starter off my car. It's really liberating and empowering! I've been paying people for YEARS to do things that it only took me an afternoon to learn. #winning
    I also just finished (today actually) a long term substitute teaching position. It was a wonderful experience and I will miss my students a lot but I am ready to be done. There is something about another teacher's classroom that always keeps you on edge. My summer job starts Monday and once again, life is moving on faster than I can keep up!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

When Did Reading Become Cool?

Today I asked a student what she was reading and she said “The Fault In Our Stars, it’s good but I don’t really like to read a lot. I know that’s weird and uncool or whatever.”

I was speechless. I stood there and blinked as I took in the fact that she’s just said NOT reading was uncool. When I was in high school, plenty of people hid the fact that they loved to read because it was considered boring, nerdy, and all around the antithesis of cool. Less than a decade later, a girl thinks the opposite is true.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for reading being cool. (does that mean I'm official a cool kid?) But when did it happen?

It’s not just my students, now that I think about it. I read an article in Cosmo magazine last week by John Green and why adults read YA. IN COSMO. When I read magazines in high school there was almost no mention of books! It was make-up and kissing and clothes. And quizzes, lots of quizzes for everything.

For real, can someone tell me what has changed? Is it social media? Is it because I can now follow John Green on Instagram and Sarah Dessen on Twitter and Tessa Gratton on Tumblr? Are authors’ real lives more accessible to their readers so they find them cooler?

I have no clue. I am honestly asking for someone to clue me in here. I think it’s awesome but HOW!?!?!

In the meantime, happy reading!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #5

1. WHAT I'M READING: I'm in the middle of Quattrocento by James McKean. The jury is still out on the whole book since I'm not done with it, but so far it's interesting enough to keep me reading but not so good I can't help but binge read it. 

2. WHAT I'M WRITING: Musical memories. There is a great scene in G4 in which the senior cast and crew members get together and reminisce about all their past shows. It might not get to stay in the final draft because I think it's a musical kid thing that might not appeal to the general audience but for now it is super super super fun to write. 

3. WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW: My first and forever CP Jenny Adams Perinovic recently started querying her first novel and I'm so excited for her I could die. She's one of the most talented people I know and also one of the busiest. She worked her butt off to finish this book and she is going to keep working until she finds it an agent and then a publisher. Her determination and hard work are incredibly inspiring as I struggle to finish Draft 1. 

4. WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO: I am in the place where two jobs meet and it's tough but I'm making it work. I also may or may not have recently purchased an old pick-up truck.   

What's up with you this Wednesday?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Real Life, Bragging Rights, and Hope

I've been a little MIA lately because "real me" started a new job and is training for another summer one. Oh, and my car is a drama queen. Who wants to be an adult anyway? Responsibilities? Gross.

Anyway, I'm making time today to pop back in because I have exciting personal news. The high school show for which I did choreography this season just won a regional award FOR CHOREOGRAPHY. I know, I know, I'm bragging. But, really. It's a big deal and I'm so freaking excited I can't stop smiling even though it happened in a big ceremony last night. 

I love doing musical choreography, I love being a part of shows - it's why I'm writing a novel centered on a high school musical. Being recognized for being good at something I love is truly an incredible feeling. I've been feeling pretty adrift for a while now and knowing that I can do what I love and be good at it and have people recognize that I'm talented was a serious morale booster. It also gives me hope for the other aspects of my life in which I haven't felt particularly successful or recognized. I am modestly confident that when the time is right people will recognize what I'm doing as worthwhile. 

Also, have a picture of me on stage at the ceremony (I'm the one in purple).

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #4

I just finished Graveminder by Melissa Marr. It was very good. It had just the right balance of creep factor, romance, mystery, and small town. The best part was that I found this book at a Dollar Tree in hardcover for $1. I love getting good books cheap! Note: Melissa Marr also wrote the YA Wicked Lovely Series, the first of which I greatly enjoyed.

2. WHAT I'M WRITING: More kissing!! It's so hard but so good!

3. WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW: Greeting to know a new group of high school kids has really got my brain moving! Despite the attitudes, kids have a lot of great things to show us adults. Also, I think they keep me young.

4. WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO: I just started a long term substitute teaching position and it's going well so far. I also spent Monday afternoon and evening celebrating Dyngus Day (complete with homemade pussywillow crown) and I'm hoping to take an epic nap this afternoon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What's Up Wednesday #3

Nothing! I just finished E. Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. I am so in love with Frankie that I can't read anything new just yet. She reminds me so much of the passionate and opinionated girl I was in high school that I actually got into a debate about respect on my work website. I love when a book affects my daily life. <3

I'm writing kissy scenes! It started late last week as I drafted my first kiss scene for G4. Now I've revised that one several times and moved on to a few more! I feel terribly inept at them but it's fun nonetheless. Muah!

The weather has me itching to write adventures. I love the transitional seasons of fall and spring. Watching the world change is so breathtaking when you stop to watch. I watched the crocuses (my favorite flower) sprout through the mud and decaying leaves last weekend and I was reminded that we can do anything. I feel both very small and very powerful as I watch the world come back to life after our brutal winter.

I'm continuing my nomadic life with a week long visit to Ohio. That means the boyfriend, job #3, sunshine (and snow), and fun. I might even cut the grass tomorrow! How fantastically mundane :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Are you there, Judy? It's me, Lavender.

I know, I know. Riffing on Judy Blume's Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret  is overdone. However, I recently read my first ever book by Judy Blume, Summer Sisters. I have loved a lot of the books I've read recently, but this book left me with deep thoughts all day in a way nothing has for a long time.

Summer Sisters is the story of Vix who spends every summer on the Vineyard with Caitlin, a wild child and serious trust fund baby. The book follows Vix and Caitlin from their first summer together as pre-teens, through their summer of first loves, to college, marriage, and beyond. Along the way there are fights, laughs, betrayals, and unforgettable memories.

One of the things that struck me about this book was how accurately it nails a variety of interpersonal relationships. Firstly, the friendship between Vix and Caitlin is one I've seen and been a part of. It is both toxic and incredible, sometimes alternately, sometimes simultaneously. It doesn't matter how long it's been since you last talked because you pick right back up where you left off. It doesn't matter how crazy your last stunt was because you still love each other anyway.

Secondly, Vix's relationship with Caitlin's father and stepmother, Lamb and Abby. They completely take her in. They treat her like their own, protecting, providing, and advising as they do Caitlin. Vix, in return, loves them fiercely and turns to them for support. This connection really hit home for me. While I was never anyone's Summer Sister, I had a best friend raised by essentially a single dad while I had been raised by a single mom. We used to joke that together we had a whole family. The almost illicit feeling of loving someone else's parent/child as your own is well captured here.

Perhaps, the most poignant part of this book for me was the messiness. Every character had a messy life. Even the ones who ended up happy made mistakes and screwed things up in their own ways. I think there is a profound message to be found in this book about blended families and what it really means to be family, whether you're connected by blood or something else. I can't articulate it for you, but I do think it's there.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop!

I was tagged for this blog hop by Faith McKay. Hey there!

1.) What am I working on?
I'm working on a YA contemp called Goodbye Good-Goody Girl (aka G4). It's the story of Mirella, a theatre nerd trying to make the most of her senior year. She lands the leading role in Thoroughly Modern Millie and starts acting a little more "modern" in real life, too. It's a story of friendships and firsts with a hearty dose of musical theatre.

2.) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
 This question was really hard for me but the always wonderful Jenny Adams Perinovic told me G4 is different from other YA contemps because of it's lady-mances, her new term for female bromances. There have been a few posts floating around the web lately about female friendship ( and and a huge part of my story is about friendship, positive, deep, female friendship. There is a little romance, too. And a dash of drama.
I also think G4 is different because of the role the musical plays in it. I read (and loved) Maria Boyd's Will but the role of the musical show itself was so much smaller than I imagined. I just had to stop for a moment to think what the show was (The Boyfriend). In G4, Thoroughly Modern Millie is not only important because Mirella is a theatre nerd, the content and story of the show is important, too.

3.) Why do I write what I do?
 I write because I want to share stories. I write YA contemp with musicals and lady-mances because that is what I know and what I think is missing from a bunch of YA. I had a wonderful, if at times emotional, high school experience complete with weirdness and great girl friends. I want to share that with teens who have it rough. We talk about fiction as a safe way to explore difficult and diverse situations, and it is which is awesome. However, I also love fiction because it's an escape and a comfort. I want my readers to relate to the quirkiness of my characters and know that being "weird" or "abnormal" is ok. Actually, it's awesome. Jenny Kaczorowski has talked about this on her blog as well ( )
At the end of the day, I write what I do because of memories like this photo of me and my girls during spirit week junior year (2005) which actually made it into our yearbook in hopes of inspiring and supporting those kinds of memories for others.

4.) How does my writing process work?
 Before I officially joined The Great Noveling Adventure, I wrote a guest post about my process of writing longhand first. You can find it here: Why I Love Longhand And that is still true. I write most scenes longhand first then type them up where I flesh out and do a quick edit. My hand on the page helps ground me to the words I'm writing. To be honest, as much as I love writing longhand and I think the process works for me, sometimes I really hate the typing. But nothing is perfect, right?
As far as the planning and organizing part, that's my writing notebook (a front shot and the inside cover). In case you couldn't tell, I like sticky notes. I normally start writing linearly but now I'm writing by scene so I have sticky notes for each separate scene I've written that hasn't been typed yet. Then the inside front cover is a list of finished scenes/chapters, scenes I still need/want, and a rough word count list. I'm very tactile and love to physically organized things. I often rewrite my sticky notes and relay them and it helps me somehow. I'm a quirky writer, I know.

I'm tagging Alex Yuschik
and Angel Cruz 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

rules were made to be broken

A few days ago, on Twitter, this happened.

It was so incredibly encouraging to have this interaction with other authors. As a writer who has never taken a creative writing class in her life, I get really anxious when I break the "rules" that we see all over the place.
1. Use said.
2. Never start a chapter with dialogue.
3. Or the weather.
4. No adverbs
5. etc. etc. etc.

I can get myself so worked up that I can't even write because I'm sure I'm not following the rules and then it will suck. But honestly, you can't always follow all the rules or it will suck. And there are so many freaking words in our language why don't we use them? Why don't we create the most colorful and well-illustrated picture we can for our readers? So I'm going to just keep writing and worry about the rules later. Everything in moderation. I will write the story as it flows. I will use my goddamn adverbs.

I will just write.

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...