What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop for writers, started by the lovely Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join in, you can learn more on Jaime's website.

What I'm reading

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge // www.bridgidgallagher.com

I'm participating in the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge. You can see my first update here. I'm still reading the same books (ahem), but I did add BEHIND THE SCENES by Dahlia Adler as my debut read. I am loving it so far! I'll share more when I finish.

Sidenote: I shared a pic of my workspace on YA Buccaneers as a part of Dahlia's blog hop. You can see it here!

What I'm writing

Revisions! Are! Hard! :) Anyone else share that sentiment?

I did hear back from my CP of Awesome with an amazing email, full of notes on my manuscript. So! I'll be going through those and trying to figure out what needs to happen next.

What's inspiring me right now

Honestly, I haven't been super-motivated to write this week. I have been going outside, cooking, working on house tasks I put off when I'm writing. A couple of things are changing for me in the fall, so I've been trying to take advantage of the time I have to take care of my body and health and enjoy the summer.

What else I've been up to

The YA Buccaneers One-Year Anniversary! Our crew put together a HUGE giveaway to celebrate our anniversary. We have books by our crew members, prize packs, critiques and I pitched in signed copies of UNREMEMBERED and UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody, plus an ARC of A DEATH-STRUCK YEAR by Makiia Lucier. It's an amazing giveaway!

YA Buccaneers One-Year Anniversary Giveaway // www.bridgidgallagher.com

Creating a group blog and keeping it organized is a massive effort, and knowing that we have such a fantastic community of writers to share it with makes the hard work worth it. Please stop by and say hello, we'd love to celebrate with you!

How's your week going?

P.S. My other What's Up Wednesday posts: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 22, 23, 23.

Summer Reading Challenge Check in 1

Posted on June 23 2014 in writing

Last week was the start of the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge, a three-month challenge with book prompts, check-ins, and prizes. Feel free to join in!

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge // www.bridgidgallagher.com

Here's a look at my progress so far:

  1. Read a biography or memoir

  2. Read a non-YA book Pending: THE PLOT WHISPERER by Martha Alderson

  3. Read a classic (YA or otherwise)

  4. Read a book by a debut author

  5. Read a book with Summer in the title

  6. Read a book published the year you were born

  7. Read a book with a male protagonist Pending: LEVEN THUMPS AND THE GATEWAY TO FOO by Obert Skye

  8. Read a book of your choice

  9. Re-read a book you disliked as a kid

  10. Re-read an old favorite

  11. Read a Printz Award winner

  12. Read a book set at the beach

  13. Read a book with LGBT themes or main characters

  14. Read a book of poetry or novel in verse

015. Read a book that's been on your TBR a long time The Underland Chronicles series

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge, Check in #1 // www.bridgidgallagher.com

I loved the Underland Chronicles. Without wasting any words, Suzanne Collins does a fantastic job of creating a vivid world with complex, fascinating characters. I gushed about these books here and here, so go there for more of my thoughts. I would highly recommend these, and I think young readers would love them. They are easy to read, but they are dark - there is death and violence - so be sure your reader can handle that sort of story.

I'm still plugging along with THE PLOT WHISPERER book. Nothing new to say about this one, but you can read my initial thoughts here.

This week I started LEVEN THUMPS AND THE GATEWAY TO FOO by Obert Skye. The writing is beautiful, very lyrical and rich. So far, the story is fun ... and the adventure is just beginning.

I absolutely loved the start of the book, so I thought I'd share the first paragraph:

It was at least forty degrees above warm. The day felt like a windowless kitchen where the oven had been left on high for an entire afternoon. Heat beat down from above and sizzled up from the dirt as the earth let off some much-needed steam. The sky had decided it had had enough, thank you, and had vacated the scene, leaving the air empty except for heat. No matter how wide a person opened his mouth that afternoon or how deep a breath was taken, there just wasn't enough oxygen in the air to breathe. The few remaining plants in people's gardens didn't droop, they passed out. And the flags that only days before had hung majestically on top of local flagpoles no longer looked majestic, they looked like multi-colored pieces of cloth that had climbed up and tragically hung themselves.

When people suggest that only children should read children's books, I think about books like LEVEN THUMPS AND THE GATEWAY TO FOO. The writing is beautiful. Truly fantastic. Beyond being a good story, simply reading the perfectly-crafted lines of this book brings me so much joy and feeds my well of inspiration.

If I stuck to books 'appropriate for my age' (whatever that means), I would be missing out on books that have inspired me, moved me, entertained me, or simply touched me in some way.

And that is a sad, sad thought.

Whether it's a picture book, middle-grade, young adult, non-fiction, romance, fantasy - I think that if it's a good book that speaks to you, then you should read it. (End rant.) ;)

P.S. I'm over on the YA Buccaneers blog today sharing a peek into my workspace. Share your own pic on Twitter for giveaway entries!

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop for writers, started by the lovely Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join in, you can learn more on Jaime's website.

What I'm reading

All the books! It's been a big week of reading. I blame amazing books. :) It's also the start of the YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge, a three-month challenge with book prompts, check-ins, and prizes. I used to LOVE summer reading lists (yes, I was that child/teen/college student), so I'm very excited about the challenge. Want to join us? Details here.

YA Buccaneers Summer Reading Challenge // www.bridgidgallagher.com

On to the books!

First, I started reading THE PLOT WHISPERER: SECRETS OF STORY STRUCTURE ANY WRITER CAN MASTER by Marth Alderson. One of my lovely siblings gifted me with THE PLOT WHISPERER WORKBOOK: STEP BY STEP EXERCISES TO HELP YOU CREATE COMPELLING STORIES for my birthday, so I figured now was the time to jump into the book.

I originally found Martha Alderson through Ghenet Myrthil, who recommended Martha's videos on plotting (see below). I found the videos helpful (a few of the tips are a little repetitive, but overall the videos are great), and I'm hoping the book will be useful as well. So far I'm enjoying it, although I do feel like the book could be a bit more succinct.

I finished books two and three in Suzanne Collins' Underland Chronicles series. I'm still loving this series and can't wait to see where Gregor's adventures take him. Not only are the books great fun, but Suzanne Collins is also such a fantastic writer. These books are worth reading for the action scenes alone, but the compelling characters are what keep me reading late into the night. Have I mentioned that I recommend these yet? ;)

I also read THE REVENGE OF THE WITCH by Joseph Delaney, the first book in The Last Apprentice series. I didn't realize it was a horror book (there are horror books for kids!), and it was seriously creepy and dark. It's well-written, but I know it would have given me nightmares as a kiddo. Still, it's a great read for creep-curious kids.

What I'm writing

Since getting feedback from one of my first readers, I made a new revisions list then got started on Revisions Round I Don't Even Know Anymore. My to-do list items range from fixing quick spelling mistakes to overhauling one of the main character's motivation for the entire book. So. I fixed all the easy items, and am now slogging through the big stuff. I hope to finish this week!

Bridgid Gallagher // www.bridgidgallagher.com

What's inspiring me right now

Books! See above. :)

What else I've been up to

House projects, hiking, swimming, enjoying summer. :)

So, how about you? How's your week going?

P.S. My other What's Up Wednesday posts: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 22, 23.

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop for writers, started by the lovely Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join in, you can learn more on Jaime's website.

What I'm reading

As I mentioned last week, I've started delving into some Middle Grade fantasy books. I read GREGOR THE OVERLANDER by Suzanne Collins and FABLEHAVEN by Brandon Mull, both fun reads. GREGOR THE OVERLANDER was fantastic - excellent story-telling, with a fast-paced plot, memorable characters, and such a unique world. Highly recommended! FABLEHAVEN was great too. The start felt a bit slow to me (especially for MG), but the ending and world building made up for it. I can definitely see this series being a good one, and it would be perfect for readers who are a little older. Next up is THE REVENGE OF THE WITCH by Joseph Delaney, the first book in The Last Apprentice series.

Sidenote: If you have any MG fantasy recommendations, let me know! I'd love to add to my list. :)

About a million years ago (okay, last January), my writerly friend Kristina Atkins recommended SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman. I finally read it last week, and guys? It was AMMMMAZING. Prepare for some serious book gushing. :)

Let's start with the opening:

SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman // www.bridgidgallagher.com

That might be my favorite first line EVER. And it only gets better. Even the chapter openings are delicous! And the world building!! Honestly, I can't figure out how to communicate just how awesome it is ... Fortunately, there are people with mad wordsmithing skills who have gushed about SERAPHINA:

“A book worth hoarding, as glittering and silver-bright as dragon scales, with a heroine who insists on carving herself a place in your mind.”

Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author of the Temeraire series

(That's pretty spot on, because I'm thinking about buying a copy of my own to hoard study.)

And Maggie Stiefvater talked about it on NPR when she highlighted the best 2012 YA fiction she read in 2012:

My relationship with high fantasy — fantasy set in another world — has always been tumultuous. Actually, I'd like to refer you to the first item on this list. Everything I said about historical fiction also applies here. Which is why, despite multiple recommendations, I let this debut novel about a half-dragon, half-human girl sit unread on my desk for five months. I'll admit I very much wanted to remain a curmudgeon, but the thorough world-building and specific characters won me over. This city of austere dragons and emotional humans felt complete, as if I could turn down any number of alleys and never find the seams showing. At 480 pages, the novel is satisfyingly plump with politics, religion and prejudice — and a restrained but edifying measure of love. It also has a healthy dose of music (I was unsurprised to discover Rachel Hartman was a fellow admirer of medieval polyphony), and I find I'm very interested to see what Hartman writes next. Teens and adults alike will love to creep down the magical streets of Seraphina's city. I certainly did.

Maggie Stiefvater via Goodreads

I loooove that line about never finding the seams to the world. It's perfect. The world building is above and beyond what you'd expect, but that alone wouldn't do it for me. The main character grabbed me from the start, and the ever-growing and deepening pool of fascinating characters kept me reading. Ohhhh, this book!

I'm going to stop there ... I think I need a little time and distance (perhaps another read-through, hee hee hee) before I can even hope to articulate the whys and hows behind my love for this book. I'll just end by saying that you should read it. ;)

What I'm writing

Yesterday, one of my first readers finishing reading my manuscript (eek!). We talked about it (there was much boucing/dancing - on my part), and I have pages of notes of things to improve/fix/think about. I'll be going through those starting today! Excited doesn't quite cover how I'm feeling. :)

What's inspiring me right now

Reading good books! Getting great feedback! Using exclamation points!

What else I've been up to

Mostly taking care of my body. Lots of yoga, walks in the desert, and special time with the foam roller and lacrosse ball (it's a muscle release-thing). I haven't shared desert photos lately, so I put together a few ...

Utah in the spring // www.bridgidgallagher.com

Plus house-related fun (give or take the fun). We're painting our guest room, which until yesterday has been a lovely shade of fake wood paneling. Ahhh, yes. The creepy hunter lodge ambiance - all the rage when our house was built, apparently - is on the way out. It's our first really big house project, and although I don't love the work involved, I will be so glad when it's done.

That's it for me this week. I'd love to hear how you're doing!

P.S. My other What's Up Wednesday posts: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 22.

ONE TWO THREE and aspen trees

Posted on June 4 2014 in writing

What's Up Wednesday is a blog hop for writers, started by the lovely Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk. If you'd like to join in, you can learn more on Jaime's website.

What I'm reading

Last week, I shared an interview with Elodie Nowodazkij, author of ONE TWO THREE on the YA Buccaneers. When Elodie offered me an e-ARC of her book, I jumped at the chance to read it. I read it in two sittings ... one involved some late-night reading (oops) because I couldn't put it down. :)

ONE TWO THREE by Elodie Nowodazkij // www.bridgidgallagher.com

ONE TWO THREE it is a heartfelt, emotional story about a girl who loses her dad--and possibly her dance career--in a car accident. After the accident, her mom turns to alcohol, leaving Natalya alone to deal with her grief and guilt. She reconnects with a childhood friend, Emma, who helps Natalya realize she doesn't have to be alone, but it's relationship with Tonio, a boy with problems of his own, who truly challenges her to open up to the possibility of love and a brighter future.

You've probably heard me say before that I don't read a lot of Contemporary YA. The Contemporary YA books I do read - and LOVE - are books like ONE TWO THREE. Books with honest stories about captivating characters dealing with challenging situations.

Although ONE TWO THREE delves into some serious emotions and complications, it didn't feel forced or unrelatable. I was captivated by Natalya's character - by how she reacted to things, and by the ongoing question of how (or if) she'd deal with everything going on in her life. I also loved that the darker parts of the story are balanced with moments of light, laughter, and romance.

Speaking of ... Natalya and Emma's relationship is one of my favorites in the story. It felt like a very real friendship to me--perfect in it's imperfections--and I loved that they had each other. I also laughed out loud at a few of their scenes together . :)

If you like realistic YA then definitely check out ONE TWO THREE! You can learn more about it on Goodreads, or visit Elodie's website for updates.

Sidenote: There's a giveaway on Goodreads right now for a signed copy of ONE TWO THREE!

After I finished ONE TWO THREE, I picked up GREGOR THE OVERLANDER by Suzanne Collins and FABLEHAVEN by Brandon Mull from the library. Both are MG Fantasies ... so I consider reading them research. :) That works, right?

What I'm writing

No writing for me! I've been getting some feedback, so I've been fixing my manuscript a little here and there. But mostly I'm waiting. Waiiiiiiiting. :)

What's inspiring me right now

Hiking in the La Sals! Being up in the mountains this time of year is just magical. The aspen trees are budding, the birds are chirping, there's sunshine and cool breezes, plus the scent of pine resin and ... that inexplicable dry forest smell. So yes. That.

Aspens in the La Sals, Utah // www.bridgidgallagher.com

What else I've been up to

Let's see ...

  • Plotting exciting things with the YA Buccaneers for summer

  • Checking out Moab's first beer & wine festival

  • Thinking about travel plans for the summer

How about you? How's your week going?

P.S. My other What's Up Wednesday posts: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22.