When All You Can Do is Sit

Today was rough.

One of the sucky things about depression is that it doesn’t care if the sun is shining, or if you’ve had a great morning, or if you just don’t have the energy to fight it off that day. Actually, I think if depression were a person, it’d be a jerk who loves to kick others when they’re down.

For me, days like these can go a number of ways. Sometimes a walk helps. Sometimes a scroll through Pinterest will brighten me up. Sometimes all it takes is the perfect song. Today wasn’t so easy, though it wasn’t nearly my worst–it ended with me sitting on the kitchen floor, listening to my kiddo play happily in his room and watching the dog sling around his stuffed dinosaur while dinner cooked. It’s been a while since I’ve hit a moment like that, when all I was capable of doing was sitting there, staring.

Moments later, my kiddo ran into the kitchen, a huge grin on his face, and plopped into my lap. Within minutes, I was smiling and laughing along with him.

And then I realized that, while it’s great to have someone help you to your feet, having someone who’ll sit with you on the kitchen floor is even more powerful.

It’s not as simple as dusting yourself off and getting back up. So if you’re reading this and you’re suffering from the ruthless depression jerk, I hope you have someone who will sit with you during your rough moments.

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Do Something Challenge – Week 5

It’s the final week of the Do Something challenge! Honestly, I’m a little sad. I’ve had a blast this month, and I hope you guys have, too! Since we’re winding down, let’s review the previous four challenges:

– Perform two acts of kindness.

– Ask someone how they’re doing, and then listen. Really listen.

– Leave an inspirational sticky note in a public place.

– Write a letter to someone who inspires you.

And now, it’s time for number five:

Don’t forget the things you’ve practiced this month.

Despite what you may be thinking, yes, this is a challenge. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of something new, especially as it’s ongoing. But as time passes, your passion dwindles. And while that’s normal, that’s not what we want to happen.

My parting challenge for you guys is to make kindness a daily act. Do you care about someone? Show them. Do you love someone? Tell them. The little things we do can make all the difference. You never know the lives you can change.

Do Something Challenge – Week 4

It’s Monday! And do you know what that means? Do ya?

It’s time for another Do Something challenge!

Last week, we decorated our towns with inspirational sticky notes. I don’t know about you guys, but I had a BLAST. We learned that a well-timed message can bring a smile to someone’s face. This week, we’re making that message a little more personal:

Write a letter to someone who inspires you.

This can be a family member, a friend, a co-worker, or even a favorite author, singer, musician, etc. It doesn’t have to be three pages long–it can be as short as a few sentences. The point is to let this person know that they’ve made a difference in your life.

(And if you don’t have this person’s address to mail their letter, an e-mail is perfectly fine. However, if you do have their mailing address, a handwritten letter never goes out of style!)

As always, I’d love to hear how your challenge is going! Feel free to reach me on Twitter @MichelleA_Smith.

Interview with Dahlia Adler

Happy Tuesday, folks! I have a super-special guest on the blog today. The fabulous and oh-so-lovely Dahlia Adler answered a few questions about her upcoming novel BEHIND THE SCENES, which is releasing next week from Spencer Hill Contemporary!

Hi, Dahlia! Thanks so much for swinging by my little ol’ blog. I’m SO stinkin’ excited for BEHIND THE SCENES. Now, I’m sure you knew this question would pop up: can you give us a quick rundown of the story?

Yay, I’m glad you’re excited! I am too 😉 BEHIND THE SCENES is about a girl named Ally who’s sort of surrounded by Hollywood but wants nothing to do with it, until working in the industry as her actress best friend’s assistant becomes the only way to do what she does want – leave LA behind. When she falls for her best friend’s co-star, she finds a lot more to hate about the industry, but she also learns why it’s so compelling and important to these people she loves.

I’m currently in the middle of edits for my book, and I’ve shed a tear or fifty for a few darlings that had to be slashed. Did you have to say goodbye to any favorite characters, scenes, or even a line during your editing process?

Amazingly, no. BEHIND THE SCENES went through some massive edits, but they were entirely additions. After my betas ripped it apart, I added 10K words, and then during the first round of edits at Spencer Hill, I added another 11K. Literally the only thing that I can recall trashing was a, uh, particularly graphic occurrence, that’s now more…interruptus than it was originally.
 

I’m a super visual person, so I love casting my characters. Have you seen anyone and thought, “Oh hey, I’m gonna borrow your face for my Pinterest board. ‘Kay thanks bye.”

Oh God, yes. I don’t usually base characters on celebrities but this entire book was written with Matt Lanter in mind for Liam. In fact, I have to confess that I’m pretty sure I even subconsciously stole his character’s name on 90210 for Liam. I don’t really have an image for anyone else in the book, but for Liam…yeah. Hi, Matt Lanter. Thanks for your face. And body. All of it. Thanks.
 

You’re trapped on a deserted island with one of your characters. Who is it, and why?

Oh God, that’s a tough call. I’m definitely the most like Ally, but I think that would make us both crazy after about a day. Liam’s reallllly pretty, so that’s tempting, but it’d probably have to be Vanessa. She’s definitely the one I can most guarantee would make it a fun experience.

 You’re my go-to when I need a YA rec (and seriously, one can never go wrong with a Dahlia rec). What is it about YA that makes you say, “THIS is why I love it”?

Aw, thanks! There are two huge things for me when it comes to book love. One is if a book makes me laugh, not necessarily out loud, but if I just think, “God, that’s witty.” The first YA I really remember falling in love with as an adult is CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers, and even though Parker is theoretically the paradigm of “unlikeable MC,” I just remember thinking she’s such a freaking clever, witty trip that I could never not want to hang out with her. The other biggie is just doing something different. I was blown away by the way AS King plays with perspectives in PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. I still can’t get over the way Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD LOVE STORY burrowed into my brain and changed the way I think. I can’t remember an ending making my mouth drop open like DANGEROUS GIRLS by Abigail Haas’s did. Those are the books I can’t wait to shove into someone’s hands.
 

And last, but most certainly not least, what’s up next for you in the authorly world?

A lot, thankfully! BEHIND THE SCENES has a companion coming out next June called UNDER THE LIGHTS. It takes place about a year after BtS ends, and is told from the alternating perspectives of two of the secondary characters in BEHIND THE SCENES. Then, the following November, I’ll be releasing a standalone, currently called MY NAME IS EVERETT. That one’s the original “book of my heart,” so I’m really excited to see it go out into the world! Meanwhile, I’m working on a few other YA and NA books with currently indeterminate futures, so stay tuned!

Dahlia Adler is an Assistant Editor of Mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA writer and blogger at The Daily Dahlia, YA Misfits, and Barnes & Noble at every spare moment in between. Her debut novel, BEHIND THE SCENES, releases from Spencer Hill Contemporary on June 24, 2014. 

Do Something Challenge – Week 3

Hi guys!

We’re now in Week 3 of the Do Something challenge! I hope these past two weeks have been as awesome for y’all as they have been for me. Are you ready for this week’s challenge?

Leave an inspirational sticky note in a public place.

This can be at the grocery store, or the library, or even on a bathroom mirror. It may sound silly, and you may think that there’s no way this can make an impact, but a kind word can move mountains for someone. A well-timed message could be the exact thing that they need to make it through the day.

We all need a little inspiration sometimes. This week, be the reason for someone’s smile.

As always, I’d love to hear how your challenge is going! Feel free to give me a shout on Twitter @MichelleA_Smith.

My Writing Process Blog Hop

Hi guys! The fabulous Valerie Cole has tagged me in the My Writing Process blog hop.

1) What am I working on?

A lot! I’m currently in between edits for my April 2015 release, PLAY ON. While waiting for the next round, I’m revising another YA Contemporary.

2) How does my work differ from others in its genre?

This is a toughie. I’d have to say it’s different because, well, they’re my stories. And these stories draw from my experiences and the way I see the world. For example, you’ll find bits and pieces of me scattered throughout PLAY ON. That’s the great thing about the world of books: all authors bring different life experiences to the page!

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write YA because there’s something magical about the teenage years (seriously. Go with me here.). Emotions are heightened, passions are intensified, the voices are louder and more distinct. There’s something about that first kiss, first love, and even that first heartbreak. I adore capturing those moments on the page.

4) How does my writing process work?

Every manuscript’s been different. Heck, each revision has been approached a different way. It’s kind of scary when you realize that a proven “routine” doesn’t work for the next manuscript, but hey, it keeps things interesting. The one thing that remains the same is where it all goes down.

 

MyWritingProcess

Where the magic happens! The only thing missing is my actual laptop. I’m giving the poor thing a breather for a few days.

Who’s up next?

I’m going against the tagging norm, but a group of awesome ladies are up next–and you can find all their answers in one place! Look for the post next week on the Revision Warriors blog.

Cheryl A. Ham

Hi! I’m Cheryl. I write YA Fantasy and am in love with all things SpecFic. Stories that combine speculative elements with lyrical prose blow my mind. Hello, Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor, and Leigh Bardugo, I’m looking at you.

Random facts: I’m a dog lover and have two fur babies, Zeke and Ollie. Coffee fuels my soul–chocolate soothes it. I hate the cold (read: New England winters), but holy crap do I love ALL THINGS Christmas. I love wine and martinis. I’m an audiobook addict, enthusiastic sleeper, and lover of warm weather, socks, and cozy blankets.

Diane Bohannan

Hi! I’m Diane and I absolutely love to write. I can’t imagine not doing it. In the last two years, I’ve gotten serious about writing, rolled up my sleeves, joined critique groups, and visited conferences to hone my craft. I’m hoping to query my YA fantasy next year! Some of my favorite craft books are Plot versus Character, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, and The First 50 Pages. Books that make me fall in love with words even more are: Cinder, Shadow and Bone, The Maze Runner, and Divergent.

Marlana Antifit

Hello! I’m Marlana. My non-stop imagination concerned family and friends until I began jotting down my made-up worlds, added some pretend friends and called myself a writer. I read a vast variety of genres but for creating, I lean toward science fiction and fantasy for MG/YA.

I’m a member of the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators aka ScaBeeWee. My writing heroes include JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook, Beth Revis, James Patterson, Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins and Stephen King. I also find inspiration from movies and television. If you look up sci-fi geek, you just might see my picture.

Rina Heisel

Hello! I’m Rina. I write middle grade novels, and more often than not, something furry or fantastical works its way into way into my pages.  I’ve been crazy for middle grade since those early reading years, when books like To Kill a Mockingbird and Julie of the Wolves delivered whole new worlds right to my cozy reading couch. Books like Ender’s Game, Watership Down, and the ghost stories of Mary Downing Hahn and Betty Ren Wright were like rocket fuel to my imagination and made me want to write! I’m currently represented by the amazing Danielle M. Smith of Red Fox Literary and trying to make my publishing dreams a reality. I’m also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

 

Do Something Challenge – Week 2

Hi guys!

We’re now in Week 2 of the Do Something challenge! Last week, we learned that even the smallest actions can make a huge difference in someone’s day–heck, maybe even their life. If there’s one thing I want you guys to take away from this challenge, it’s that something as simple as a smile can be a lifesaver. Never forget that.

This week, we’re going a step further. This may be a bit difficult for the introverts out there (speaking as an introvert myself). However, it’s another tiny spark that can grow into a flame.

Ask someone how they’re doing, and then listen. Really listen.

This can be someone you know, but if you’re feeling brave, do it for a stranger! You don’t have to approach a random person on the street–it can be the coffee shop barista, or someone on the subway, or your cashier at the grocery store. How great does it feel when someone looks you in the eye and truly cares about what you’re saying? Keep that in mind.

Their reply may be a simple, “Fine,” or your question may kick-start a conversation that the person desperately needs. Either way, remember to listen. Sometimes all we need is to know that someone’s there. That someone cares. This week, be that someone.

If you’re interested in taking this challenge even further, keep reading. We’ll call this the bonus challenge.

Ask someone, “What’s your dream?”

I can’t take full credit for this question. It’s inspired by a recent TEDx talk given by TWLOHA founder Jamie Tworkowski (which I HIGHLY suggest watching. Well worth the 8 minutes.). You may read that question and think, “Whoa. Wait. What?” But go with me here. How awesome would it be to live in a world where talking about our hopes and dreams is as commonplace as commenting on the weather?

The possibility of amazing is one heck of a driving force. Letting others know that it’s okay to talk about those possibilities, to be excited about them, creates more sparks.

So here’s to the sparks that grow into flames. Let’s create more of them.

I’d love to hear how your #DoSomething challenge is going! Feel free to @ me on Twitter @MichelleA_Smith.