Saturday, January 26, 2013


I am so grateful for all the blogs out there, big and small, that have entertained and educated me as I continuously try to improve my craft. My blog is new and small, but when I started it I knew I wanted it to be full of those things which I am passionate about. I review books I’ve loved and talk about what I’m learning through my writing journey. I’m thankful to other writers for sharing their passions and inspiring me.

Thank you to RhiannWynn-Nolet for presenting me with the Liebster blog award. It’s for blogs with fewer than 200 followers. The rules require me to answer 11 questions, nominate 11 more bloggers (I picked 9), and make up 11 questions for them to answer.

The questions I had to answer:

1. What’s your writing goal for 2013?

My goal this year is to finish revisions on current WIP and plot out the next two books. More importantly, I want to improve my craft. I want this book to be even better than the one that preceded it in its writing, tone, and resonance.

2. If you could write like any author (living or dead) who would it be, and why?

That’s a tough question because there are so many amazing authors out there that I admire. But I also don’t want to be just like another author. I want to be inspired and challenged by those authors, but I also want to have my own voice.

3. What was your favorite book as a teen?

Asking someone who loves books as much as I do to choose a favorite one is like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I didn’t read much young-adult as a young adult. I did really adore The Great Gatsby. In the fourth grade I fell in love with The Hounds of the Morrigan and have read that book until the cover has fallen off.

4. What would be the best thing about getting a book published?

My book is coming out in October, and I can tell you that so far, the best thing about getting a book published has been working with my editor. I love being challenged, and I had to take a book that was already the best I could get it and find a way to make it even better. Danielle helped me with that, and it’s been a great experience.

5. Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece, Renaissance Italy. You have to go live in one. Pick one, and tell me why.

I think I would choose Classical Greece. Greece is a beautiful place (I would love to visit soon) and I was always interested in their learning and creation.

6. What’s the one thing that makes you decide not to finish reading a book you’ve started?

If the writing is horrible, I usually can’t go on. Even if the story is good, if I am distracted by the telling or lack of dimension in characters, I can’t stick with it.

7. Tell me three things about the MC in the most recent book you’ve written.

Brave, angry, resilient

8. What’s the single best thing about writing?

Creation. I love taking common words and creating something new.

9. Sea shell, oak leaf, rock, pine cone, cactus. Pick one, and tell me why.

Sea shell. I love the ocean, but I especially love the colors on sea shells and how they can speak to you if you listen closely.

10. Do you hate or love editing/revising?

I love editing/revising. I like it much better than drafting. I never like what I write when I’m drafting, but I love being able to mold it and make it better during revisions. Drafting is like scraping the clay out of the earth with your bare hands. Revising is being able to finally fashion it into something beautiful.

11. Scariest book. Ever. Why?

Probably Stephen King’s It. It’s also one of my favorite books of all time. It terrified me when I first read it in the 8th grade. But now I love it so much for the relationships that develop between the kids as they are facing unspeakable horrors. It shows there is hope in love and friendship no matter how terrible everything else is.

My 11 amazing nominees:
1. Megan Whitmer, who is funny and supportive and just announced her book deal with Spencer Hill Press!
2. Maggie Hall, who just signed a three-book deal (!!!) with Putnam/Penguin and who offered me her couch so I could come Mardi Gras.

3. Erica Cameron, an amazing friend and whose book, Sing, Sweet Nightingale comes out next year!

4. Kelsey Macke, who can both sing and write beautifully and recently got an amazing agent!

5. Angi Black, a prolific, amazing writer and incredible friend who is brave enough to hang with me IRL.

6. Lindsay Currie, who is an awesome person and whose blog gives wonderful advice.

7. Andrea Hannah, who is absolutely adorable and both an incredible writer and mentor.

8. Darci Cole, a writer who also creates amazing wands. She's also super funny and supportive.

9. Leigh Statham, who is super sweet and has a book that sounds amazing.

My 11 questions:
1. Who (or what) inspired you to write?
2. What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
3. Book you are an advocate for.
4. What is the hardest thing about the writing process?
5. What are your writing goals for 2013?
6. If you could go back and tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
7. When I grow up, I want to be ____.
8. What was the last book that made you cry?
9. If you could spend a month anywhere in the world, where would it be?
10. Plotter or pantser?
11. What’s the one thing you’re most excited about right now?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Books are Bared Souls

Sharing your art with the world is an act of bravery. It’s not the same as standing on the front lines or saving people from burning buildings. But I do believe that great art saves lives in that it has the power to change us, to make us better, to give us hope. As a writer, I know just how terrifying it is to pour yourself into a creation and then let it go out into the world on its own. With no protection. With no way of calling it back once it’s gone. For Whovians, it’s very much like the Ood, who hold their brains in their hands, vulnerable and unprotected. But heavens the beauty of that song to those who are willing to listen.

As a reader, I want to thank those authors who offer themselves and their art to the rest of us. They are willing to face ridicule and heartbreak in order to share their wonderful worlds. I have been changed by books. I have laughed, cried, and trembled in both joy and fear as I read words written and shaped by authors who were brave enough to get hurt.

I don’t love all of the books I read. But I’m grateful to those authors anyway, because even if that book didn’t speak to me, it probably spoke to someone else. Sometimes a book doesn’t sing to me until years later. Because while we are changed by books, books are changed by us as well. We read them differently as we grow different, as we change and learn. That’s the great thing about stories. They are ever changing.

Thank you to the story-makers, to the yarn-spinners and the tale-weavers. Thank you for facing the world with your soul bared. You spoke to mine when you did.

Friday, January 18, 2013

RECLAIMED has a Cover!

The characters in Reclaimed started talking to me in 2010. Coming from anyone else this might be cause for alarm, but writers are overjoyed when their characters start talking to them. It means it's time to start writing their story.

I love this story and these characters so much, and I can't wait to finally be able to share them with the world. I'll start today with the cover. I actually gasped out loud when I first saw it because I couldn't believe that my cover designer had managed to somehow see inside my head and find my Jenna. I am so grateful for the designer Jenn Rush, my editor Danielle Ellison, and everyone else at Spencer Hill Contemporary for giving Reclaimed such gorgeous wrapping.

Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two. 
All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother. She's determined she'll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn't tainted by her family's past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets.
Ian McAlister doesn't want to start over; he wants to remember.
Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle.
The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget.
Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian's memory return.
Jenna, Ian, & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you.

Title: Reclaimed
Author: Sarah Guillory
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary (
Release Date: October 15, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-937053-88-8
Formats: paper, e-book

Find it on Goodreads HERE!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Please Step Away from the Manuscript

I have to be pretty disciplined, as everything I do requires it. I have a poster in my classroom that reads “You can’t built a reputation on what you’re going to do.” That is sort of a philosophy I live by. I always tell my students I made good grades in college not because I was all that smart, but because I worked hard. The same goes for running. I finish marathons because I’m disciplined. Anyone who wants to complete 26.2 miles has to be, but especially me, since I’m not talented, only stubborn. I once ran twenty miles in the pouring rain. That isn’t a brag. Most people aren’t impressed. I always get very strange looks from people when I’m running in the rain. They think I’m crazy, and maybe I am. But if I had skipped that twenty miler, then I wouldn’t have been ready for the race. Of course, if you don’t take rest days, you become over-trained and never make it to the race in the first place. It's a delicate balance.

I’m fairly disciplined in my writing as well. When I’m working on a WIP, I write at least 1,000 words a day. When I start revisions, I work at least an hour after work. If it’s in the summer and I’m off work, I spend more time. Since I’ve been working on revisions under a deadline, it’s been more like four hours a day. So after teaching school all day, I’ve been coming home and editing until bedtime with only a break for dinner. That’s like a twelve-hour work day.

These are not brags, because these things are not always good.

This weekend I was nearing the end of my edits. There were a few things I still wanted to tweak, and even though I knew what and where I needed to do it, I couldn’t figure out how. The words weren’t coming. So I sat and tried to force them. I worked on four pages for over an hour, only adding a few sentences here and there. When I finally had it where I could live with it, I allowed myself to go to the movies. It was absolutely the right thing to do. I should have done it sooner.

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Dumbledore, as always, has a memorable quote. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” Being a writer has been a dream of mine for a very long time. But somewhere in the middle of edits, I forgot to live. I became a robot: get up, run, teach school, edit, eat dinner, edit, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Sometimes you have to step away and live life. How else can you write it? I knew this intellectually, but when it came down to putting it into practice, I failed. Getting out and going to the movies was the best thing I could have done, both for myself and for my writing. Stepping away gave me perspective, as well as the few sentences I still needed.

I have a tendency to get very focused, whether it’s when I’m writing, reading, or running. That’s why my word for the year is BALANCE. I have to learn how to balance life with work, so that I can live life and put truth in my words. Wearing sweats and slaving away in my writing cave is wonderful, and I love pretty much every single minute of it. But sometimes, you just have to put on pants and see the world.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Books, BEA, and RECLAIMED, oh my: Why 2013 is Going to be Amazing

1. Books: The great thing about a new year is all the new books I’ll get a chance to read. While I love re-reading my favorites (I’m planning on re-reading The Hounds of the Morrigan, my absolute favorite book from elementary school, which I haven’t read in years), diving into a new book is like stepping into a whole other universe. It’s exhilarating and a little terrifying because you have no idea who you’ll be by the time you finish reading it. The great books change us in both large and small ways, and I just want to say thanks in advance to all the authors out there who are going to alter my world just a little this year. I’ve already blogged about some books I’m looking forward to in 2013 here, but here are just a few that have attracted my interest since then.

Altered, by Jenn Rush

Archived, by Victoria Schwab

Camp Boyfriend, by JK Rock


2. BEA: I’ve never been to NYC before. I’m a little intimidated and a whole lot excited. I get to be there promoting Reclaimed, which is even better. I’m going to get to hang out with my editor Danielle Ellison and fellow SHP writer Erica Cameron, as well as various members of the SHP family. We are going to have shenanigans. I may even get to meet Dahl and other Twitter friends who decide if I’m that far north they must come play. So I’ll be in New York City, at BEA, as an author, meeting lots of amazing people. I may need to bring my smelling salts.


3. Reclaimed: Guys, I love this book so much. I guess I should, since I wrote it, but my fellow writers know that isn’t always the case. I adore these characters, flaws and all, and I can’t wait to share Jenna, Ian, and Luke with all of you. I’m also terrified. Because this is the year that I let my words out into the world. I’ve nurtured them and swore at them, and now they are ready to be out on their own. I’m so scared. And elated. But most of all, ready.


My focus word for the year is BALANCE. I have to do a better job balancing all areas of my life – friends, family, teaching, writing. But I also need to make sure that I take care of myself too. I’m not going to feel guilty when I need to take a day or two off to recharge. This is not a race, and I don’t have to speed through my days by trying to cram too much into each hour. I’m going to read, write, run, dance, laugh, cry, and learn to let myself off the hook. I’m going to succeed and fail this year, in one way or another.  And I’m going to enjoy every damn minute of the ride.