Friday, December 30, 2011

End of Year Book Survey

This end of the year bookish survey is hosted by The Perpetual Pageturner!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

I have several favorites from this year.

YA contemporary- Heist Society, Uncommon Criminals, Only The Good Spy Young
Dystopian- Divergent, The Hunger Games trilogy, Delirium
YA paranormal/supernatural: Unearthly
Adult Fiction: Austenland, Reaching Riverdale
MG/YA Fantasy: Ranger’s Apprentice series
MG/YA Contemporary - The Cupcake Queen

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
Purposely not answering this question out of fear of much anger. ;)

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
I was surprised at how much I liked The Hunger Games trilogy. The premise is SO dark and bleak. But the books. Wow. So, so good.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
The Hunger Games trilogy, The Cupcake Queen, Heist Society, The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Austenland, Divergent, Wither, Forgive My Fins, The Uglies series.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?
Hunger Games wins again!! J

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Scott Westerfeld, Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver, Mary Pearson, Veronica Roth

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Unearthly and Paranormalcy. I don’t usually (as in, ever) read paranormal sorta books. Both of these were good.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Hunger Games!! Divergent, Wither, Delirium. (This was the year of the dystopian novel for me!)

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
Only the Good Spy Young, Heist Society

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?
Can I include my own book?? Because I really love the cover. J

11. Most memorable character in 2011?


12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

I can’t really pick one.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
Speak. Oh, man. SUCH a powerful book. I cried.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Austenland. How did I not know about this book??

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

“Seriously, a thirty-something woman shouldn't be daydreaming about a fictional character in a two-hundred-year-old world to the point where it interfered with her very real and much more important life and relationships. Of course she shouldn't. ” —Austenland

“Here’s some advice. Stay alive.” —Hunger Games

“In the clandestine services, nothing ever happens quickly (except when it does). Nothing is ever, ever easy (except when it is). And, most of all, nothing ever goes perfectly according to plan (except in the movies).” —Only The Good Spy Young

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
Austenland, All of the Gallagher Girls books

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? Be careful of spoilers!
AHHH! The end of Delirium! Catching Fire!

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011 (optional)

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

 I Eat Words (Farrah and Britney!)

2. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

YA Day at the RT in Los Angeles was really awesome. I met Ally Carter!

3. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

 All of the hits I got on my blog from my post about the Taylor Swift concert I went to. Best night ever!

4. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Taylor Swift concert and book reviews (for my book)

5. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Some of the “Photo Friday” posts I did.

6. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
Using my husband’s iPad (that he won!) for eBooks. Yay!

7.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I did a challenge for 100 books. I read at least 124 books this year. J

Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

A Tale of Two Cities

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

Gallagher Girls #5, Midnight at Austenland

3. Goals for 2012?

Reading lots of books again.
Writing more books.
Blogging about books more often.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: Year in Review

2011. Wow. This has been a terrific year. I'll display it in pictures! (A picture is worth a thousand words, right?) ;)

I started the year posting about query letters. (I don't like query letters. I haven't met any authors who does.) But!! The good thing is that one of those query letters ended up with some very awesome people at The Little Things Publishing! Which led to...

Winter Camp with the youth group. Came home to find a message on the machine from TLT Publishing. Danced around the kitchen like a maniac. Full post here.

Signed official contract! Woohoo! AMAZING feeling. I was finally able to tell everyone about it!

I went to the first book signing I've ever been to and met a "real life" author! ;)  Patrick Rothfuss!

Went to my first ever writer's conference through SCBWI. Met some super cool authors and writers! (No photos, unfortunately.) 

Attended the Renaissance Faire for the first time with my awesome friends who also like to dress up.

Got some GREAT ideas for a book I'm working on. Plus, archery! Horses! Epicness! Twas a great day.

Went to the Young Adult book day at the RT conference in Los Angeles and met Farrah Penn, my fantastic editor!

Also met Ally Carter, one of my very favorite authors.

I had a lot of fun walking around, meeting book bloggers (Diana!), other authors (saw Patrick Rothfuss again!), and just being with fellow book people.

Saw my cover art for the first time!! Matt Maniscalco is so very talented and I'm so grateful to be with a publishing company that allows the author to have input about the cover. 

Galley edits were done on THE SEVENTH BLESSING. Yay! Farrah is the best editor I could have wished for.



Lots of interviews, blog posts, book reviews happened because MY BOOK WAS RELEASED!! August 15, 2011. Yep. Super happiness was flying about. :)

Book Signing on August 20. That was super cool. :)


Finished edits for Book Two in the series. Yay!! again for Farrah as my editor. (Truly, people, she's wonderful.) Renamed the book. (Ugghh!!) It is now named THE HIDDEN BLESSING.


I wrote a children's book and entered it into a contest. (Wait and see about that.)

Did an "Author Day" at a local middle school and received fan mail!

Christmastime! Did a lot of things, just like everyone else. ;)

-In short-
I read a lot of books this year, edited two books, started writing three other books (none finished!), finished writing a children's book, did multiple sewing projects and craft projects, volunteered at my son's school, served as a youth group leader and Sunday School teacher...and did lots of laundry, too. :)  Took lots of photos of my kids, played Lego Star Wars with them, read them books, cleaned their room, all that stuff moms do. ;)  Went to Santa Barbara twice with the hubs, to Temecula, to Idylwild, and to the beach. (And thankful for family for watching the kids when we were able to get away to S.B. and Idylwild!)

I have to say that I think my life is rather awesome. Busy, yes. Hard at times, yes. But! I know that all things work out perfectly to His purpose. And that's what is truly amazing.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Books Read in 2011

According to, I've read 123 books this year. I know that I've read more than that, actually. (Some I don't remember to add to Goodreads, some I purposely don't add.) If I start a book and it is HORRIBLE, I don't add it. I have a separate Word document for "DNF" (Did Not Finish) books.
There are books that I've read a few chapters of at pertinent times but I haven't read the entire book yet (mostly theology books/Bible study books).

This also doesn't count the books that I've re-read this year, unfortunately. I do re-read many of my favorite books.

So, the novels/books I've read this year, from newest to oldest, are as follows:

Title Author
Elementary, My Dear Watkins (A Smart Chick Mystery) Mindy Starns Clark
The Quillan Games (Pendragon, #7) D.J. MacHale
Brilliant (Avery Sisters Trilogy, #3) Rachel Vail
How Not to Be Popular Jennifer Ziegler
On the Jellicoe Road Melina Marchetta
Halt's Peril (Ranger's Apprentice, #9) John Flanagan
Amy and Roger's Epic Detour Morgan Matson
Airman Eoin Colfer
Becoming a Woman of Simplicity Cynthia Heald
Gorgeous (Avery Sisters Trilogy, #2) Rachel Vail
Unearthly (Unearthly #1) Cynthia Hand
Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1) Kiersten White
The Homeschool Liberation League Lucy Frank
Inheritance (Inheritance, #4) Christopher Paolini
Blind Dates Can Be Murder (A Smart Chick Mystery) Mindy Starns Clark
Disney at Dawn (Kingdom Keepers, #2) Ridley Pearson
The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus, #2) Rick Riordan
A Tale Dark and Grimm Adam Gidwitz
Flip David Lubar
Disney after Dark (Kingdom Keepers, #1) Ridley Pearson
The Kings of Clonmel (Ranger's Apprentice, #8) John Flanagan
Once Was Lost Sara Zarr
The Homework Machine Dan Gutman
Gamer Girl Mari Mancusi
Divergent (Divergent, #1) Veronica Roth
Forget Me Not (Wedding Planner's Daughter, #4) Coleen Murtagh Paratore
Palace of Mirrors Margaret Peterson Haddix
Just One Wish Janette Rallison
Superior Saturday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #6) Garth Nix
Perfect You Elizabeth Scott
Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7) John Flanagan
Delirium (Delirium, #1) Lauren Oliver
Drowned Wednesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #3) Garth Nix
Austenland Shannon Hale
Princess of Glass (Princess #2) Jessica Day George
Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) Lauren DeStefano
Multiple Choice Janet Tashjian
Golden (Golden, #1) Jennifer Lynn Barnes
You Wish Mandy Hubbard
Grim Tuesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #2) Garth Nix
Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1) Garth Nix
Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life Rachel R. Russell
The Espressologist Kristina Springer
The Truth about Forever Sarah Dessen
This Lullaby Sarah Dessen
If I Stay (If I Stay, #1) Gayle Forman
Once Upon a Marigold (Upon a Marigold, #1) Jean Ferris
The Girl Who Invented Romance Caroline B. Cooney
How to Be Popular Meg Cabot
Born to Rule (Camp Princess, #1) Kathryn Lasky
Dream Factory Brad Barkley
Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely, #1) Melissa Marr
Runaway (Airhead, #3) Meg Cabot
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight Brad Barkley
Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2) Ally Carter
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks E. Lockhart
Claim to Fame Margaret Peterson Haddix
A Pearl Among Princes Coleen Murtagh Paratore
The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love Rosie Rushton
Artichoke's Heart Suzanne Supplee
Forgive My Fins (Fins, #1) Tera Lynn Childs
Someone Like You Sarah Dessen
Being Nikki (Airhead, #2) Meg Cabot
Enna Burning (The Books of Bayern, #2) Shannon Hale
It's Raining Cupcakes Lisa Schroeder
Heist Society (Heist Society, #1) Ally Carter
The Reluctant Heiress Eva Ibbotson
Reaching Riverdale Geeta Schrayter
Victoria and the Rogue Meg Cabot
Lock and Key Sarah Dessen
Just Listen Sarah Dessen
The Siege of Macindaw (Ranger's Apprentice, #6) John Flanagan
The Sorcerer of the North (Ranger's Apprentice #5) John Flanagan
The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles, #2) Rick Riordan
The Battle for Skandia (Ranger's Apprentice, #4) John Flanagan
The Rivers of Zadaa (Pendragon, #6) D.J. MacHale
Black Water (Pendragon, #5) D.J. MacHale
The Cupcake Queen Heather Hepler
Prairie Storm (A Town Called Hope) (Book 3) Catherine Palmer
Airhead (Airhead, #1) Meg Cabot
The Dowry of Miss Lydia Clark (Gresham Chronicles; Book 3) Lawana Blackwell
Finders Keepers (Finders Keepers #1) Catherine Palmer
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) Suzanne Collins
Learning to Play Gin (Cheating at Solitaire, #2) Ally Carter
Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2) Suzanne Collins
Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls, #4) Ally Carter
The Reality Bug (Pendragon, #4) D.J. MacHale
The Never War (Pendragon, #3) D.J. MacHale
Specials (Uglies, #3) Scott Westerfeld
Snap Carol Snow
I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1) Ally Carter
The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1) Jenny Han
Switch Carol Snow
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) Suzanne Collins
Jinx Meg Cabot
Invasion of the Boy Snatchers (The Clique, #4) Lisi Harrison
The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2) Patrick Rothfuss
The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice, #3) John Flanagan
Cheating at Solitaire (Cheating at Solitaire, #1) Ally Carter
Enchanted Glass Diana Wynne Jones
Goose Chase Patrice Kindl
Best Friends for Never (The Clique, #2) Lisi Harrison
Revenge of the Wannabes (The Clique, #3) Lisi Harrison
The Clique (The Clique, #1) Lisi Harrison
The Lost City of Faar (Pendragon, #2) D.J. MacHale
Pretties (Uglies, #2) Scott Westerfeld
The Courtship of the Vicar's Daughter (Gresham Chronicles, Book 2) Lawana Blackwell
The Burning Bridge (Ranger's Apprentice, #2) John Flanagan
Dead Is the New Black (Dead Is, #1) Marlene Perez
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #1) Mary E. Pearson
Prom Laurie Halse Anderson
The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2) Catherine Gilbert Murdock
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? Melissa Kantor
A Wish for Christmas (Cape Light) Thomas Kinkade
The Princess Test (Princess Tales) Gail Carson Levine
Jet Set Carrie Karasyov
Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1) Catherine Gilbert Murdock
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon, #1) D.J. MacHale
Uglies (Uglies, #1) Scott Westerfeld
The Widow of Larkspur Inn (Gresham Chronicles #1) Lawana Blackwell
The Atlantis Complex (Artemis Fowl, #7) Eoin Colfer
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls, #2) Ally Carter

This probably shows you that 1.) I read A LOT of books. (I pick reading over watching T.V.) 2.) I read many different types of books. That's how you get to be a better writer, in my opinion. Read lots of different things!!
So, what did you read this year? What were your favorites?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Winner of "Christmastime" Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I used to pick a winner. 

The grand prize winner is...
America Sianez!

The 3 second place winners are 
-Ashlyn Rae
-Kristen Adams
-Kerry Castorano

Winners, please be sure to send me your address so I can send you your prizes (check your e-mail). 

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Book Sake Blog Giveaway!

The fabulous folks over at "Book Sake" are holding a MASSIVE giveaway. Be sure to check it out. SO many books are being given away.

Book Sake Giveaway

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fan Mail! (Really!!)

I went to East Middle School last month for an "Author Day" presentation. I spoke to several hundred students about writing, reading, and publishing. It was a really fantastic group of students. I did the presentation three times (2nd, 3rd, 4th periods) and my voice was pretty much gone by the end of the day. :)

I was able to meet several of the students after the presentation which was AWESOME. They were so enthusiastic about writing stories and reading some of the books that I talked about. The questions asked during the presentation were fun, too. They asked how quickly I've read a book. I told them when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was delivered at my house at 10 am on Saturday morning, I read all day (though I did remember to feed my kids!) and all night. I finished the book at 4 a.m., slept, woke up at 7 a.m. and went to church. They were flabbergasted that someone could read for "so long."

Yesterday, I was handed a package with this inside!

Thank you notes, a little "book" with my book cover on the front FULL of thank you notes, and about two dozen letters from students. I read them all last night. WOW. I was crying. And laughing. It was pretty amazing. I'll share some of my favorite lines with you.

So, the above letter states, "I was really surprised how you can be a mom and, like, write books. Well, you must have good responsibility because you're a mom and you write books."

"I thought it was really cool when you said that you spent a whole day just to read a book and that you finished it. When I heard you say that I said in my head, 'WOW.'"

"I learned you don't have to be famous to become a writer." (HAHA! I don't remember saying that but...okay!)

"I learned that it doesn't take a really smart person to write a book you just have to have an idea for it." (This made me laugh SO much!)

"I was very excited because I met a real author in person." (This warmed my heart!)

"I'm impressed that you read a Harry Potter book in one day."

"I was surprised how much time it takes to write a book and thoughts to put in it."

"I was surprised to hear that she was married and how young she looked." (Well, thank you! My vanity appreciates you saying that.)

"The thing that helped motivate me was to don't give up."

"It was cool when we had to think of a name for a story. I think that part was my favorite. At first I didn't think it would take 7 months to write your book. I would guess 8-9 1/2 months with all the research you had to do." (This made me smile.)

"My favorite part was when you told us your favorite books. I also like Diary of a Wimpy Kid."

"Thank you for letting us have fun."

"Something you taught me is that you need a main character and that writing isn't that hard if you have an exciting life." (Oh dear! My life really isn't that exciting. I do have a good imagination, though.)

"I was surprised that you have two kids because you took the time to come to East when you had work to do." (I, thankfully, have great friends who help out with child care.)

"We found out that before writing "The Seventh Blessing" you had to research about medieval times."

"I thought it would be hard to write a story but it is not hard at all. I think I will write when I grow up." (Yes!)

"You helped us think beyond our imagination."

"You motivated me to write a blog and write neater in class."

"Thank you for your interesting book. So far I am reading it and LOVE it."

"I hope you publish more books."

"I can see how difficult it is to be an author. I don't want to make it too long because I know you're busy." (This was great. I'm not too busy to read these amazing notes!)

"I am constantly reading your book." (Thank you!!)

"You are appreciated by many people in the entire world." (This made me crack up!)

"The thing I like most about your book is the front cover!" (That's the awesomeness of Matt Maniscalco for you!)

"I am already in the fourth chapter. I love it when Samantha and Nolan fight."

"I took your advice on writing a book and I wrote a book."

Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow wow wowwwwwwwww. 
That pretty much sums up how I feel after reading those notes again right now. Do you see how fantastic kids are?? I was (am!) so glad that I had the opportunity to talk to them about writing and such. Maybe it'll make a difference in the life of a few of those kids. Yay for cool kids who write and read!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmastime is here!

"Christmastime is here..."

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I thought we could celebrate by, you know, giving away some presents.

I don't have any gold, frankincense, or myrrh but I DO have books! And coffee! And bookmarks! And bookplates! Can you hear the excitement in my voice?!

How are we going to do this? I could make it pretty simple. But that would be boring. Okay, to enter, leave your name, e-mail address in the box below AND quote your favorite line from your favorite Christmas movie. It could be "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or "Elf" or "Miracle on 34th Street" or "It's A Wonderful Life" or .... you get the idea. (Without a quote, you don't get an entry.) You can also leave the quote in the comment box below so that everyone gets to enjoy it. :)

I'll use the random generator thingie to pick a winner. I'll have one grand prize winner who autographed copy of my book AND a $5 Starbucks gift card AND bookmarks AND bookplates! Three second place winners will get bookmarks and bookplates.

You have until December 18 to enter. I will close the entries at 8 p.m. I will mail out the prizes as soon as I have contacted the winners and they have responded. (If they don't get back to me within 48 hours, I'll choose new winners.)

 ----Giveaway now closed----

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome Authors...and their books!

I get to work with some pretty cool people because of The Little Things Publishing! Like...

SM "Frankie" Blooding

She's hilarious. You should subscribe to her Twitter. More about Frankie here. AND you should buy her book! :)  Check out my interview with her here.

Paul Schumacher

Such a nice guy! And a Star Wars nerd. (Sorry, Paul, I had to mention it!) His book is also a YA fantasy novel! Put it on your "to buy" list! More about Paul here. Read my interview with Paul here.

Kerry Castorano

She's a mud runner! (Something I can never hope to be...) Get to know more about her awesome fantasy novel VALREN and more about Kerry here. Check out my interview with Kerry here.

Sang Kromah

Gorgeous model, amazing writer, what can't she do?? Her YA novel CONCEALED is about a girl, a djinn (a genie!), and lots of mysterious happenings. Go buy it! :) More about Sang here.

JD "Jimmy" Gordon

Jimmy's adventure book DARTBOARD is an exciting read. Check it out! Find out more about Jimmy here.

Geeta Schrayter

Geeta's tweets are a lot of fun, too! Her novel REACHING RIVERDALE is a sweet, fun read. Pick one up today! Find out more about Geeta here.

As I interview more authors, I'll post more blog posts about them and their awesome books! 
Let me know if you've read any of these books.
All of these books are available at The Little Things Publishing online bookstore as well as and Barnes and Noble. Check your local indie bookstores, too. Many will be happy to order it for you. :)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finding My Blog??

So, the search terms people use to find my blog are rather entertaining at times. And very awesome at other times. Here are a few recent ones. :)

"Taylor Swift 13" / "Taylor Swift Concert Stage Tree 2011" / "Taylor Swift curtains"
-I get a lot of hits on my blog because of Taylor Swift searches. I went to a concert in August (and blogged about the amazingness of it all!) and consequently get a lot of traffic from it. And I love that.

"To Read or Not to Read Tshirt"
-I don't have a shirt like this but I'm glad it brought someone to my site. Maybe I need a shirt that says this.

"He is turning 5 today"
-Yeah, my son did turn 5 recently. But why someone would search for that term and it would take them to my page...yeah, I don't know.

"Book Review"
-YAY! That makes me happy. People finding my book blog and wanting to read book reviews. :)

"Imagination Personality Test"
-Um. Okay. I'm not sure why this came up I do talk about imagination. I did post about taking a personality test. But the two together...Interesting.

"Different marbles"
-Haha! I took a picture of awesomely colored marbles and posted it for a "Photo Friday" one time.

"Guinea Fish Patrick Rothfuss"
-I got to meet the super amazing author Pat Rothfuss at a book signing in Huntington Beach. He told us a hilarious story about his pet guinea pig. You can read the blog post about it. My friend drew him a picture of a guinea fish. It was fantabulous.

"Seventh Blessing Book"
-Again, YAY! for people looking for my book. That's an amazing thing. Really and truly.

So, that's my fun little post today. :) Maybe internet searches make you laugh too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Autographed Copies of Books!

You know what would be an awesome gift? My book! ;)

How can you buy my book? It's on sale right now at! It's also available on Barnes and Noble and at TLT Publishing. You can also ask your local independent bookstore to order you a copy.

Want an autographed copy? It's easy! I'll send you a personalized, autographed bookplate, free of charge. Just send me the information below to my e-mail. (4melissabuell -at- gmail -dot- com)

  • Your name & address
  • What, if anything, you’d like the bookplate to say (if you don’t specify, I’ll just sign my name).
  • If it's for a girl or a guy, teen or adult. (I have different style of bookplates available.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bloggers and ARCs

Are you a book blogger?
Do you like YA fantasy novels with a strong female MC?
Do you have the ARC of my book?
Want one??

Send me your request in the comment box below (or you can tweet your info to me) and I'll e-mail you the e-ARC that I have just for bloggers like you! :)
I'm also open to interviews and/or guest blog posts. You know, if you want me to ramble on about writing, reading, and all the other stuff that I do in my crazywonderful life. ;)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Children's Book I Wrote

I entered a children's book contest! Want to read my story? If you like it, you can vote on it! :)
If I win, my son's school library gets a year of ebooks for free!

"Sometimes My Brother Bugs Me"
by Melissa Buell

Click on the link below! 
MeeGenius! Contest

Cookies for you all! :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Be Thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you have all given thanks today. I know that I have SO many things to be thankful for: salvation, my husband, my sons, my family, my friends, my home, my job, and the many manifold blessings that I take for granted. Take time out today to be thankful. (I'm preaching to myself here, too!)

1 Chronicles 16:34 "Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is 

good! For His mercy endures forever."

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Writing vs. Real Life

My writing life and my real life are at odds right now. I was SO excited about NaNoWriMo and totally slammed out a bunch of words in the first two weeks.

AND THEN....Real Life.

My youngest son's birthday and subsequent birthday party, Cub Scout events, Thanksgiving Feast at my older son's school...Plus all the regular stuff in my life: cooking, cleaning, laundry, picking up after two busy boys. Something has to give. And that "thing" is writing. And you know what? I'm okay with that. Really. Because I need to take care of my family first. I do sometimes feel that I NEED to write or my brain will implode. But then I remember that I need to not over exaggerate. My brain hasn't imploded yet and there have been very stressful times (final exams!) when I was not able to write. But hey! I'm not giving up on NaNoWriMo! Not at all. I'm actually writing tonight with my friend Amanda! (And taking a break to blog about it...) My life has slowed down this week because of Thanksgiving break so I get to have a breather. My word count is at 23,811 right now. (Recommended word count for right now is 36,666.) Not fantastic, I know. BUT it is more than I had when I first started! That's what I have to tell myself in order to keep going. I hope your writing is going well! Or if you're not writing, I hope your reading pile is keeping you busy. :)

Happy reading and writing!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book 2 Updates!

Book 2 Updates!
For those of you who have asked, "When is Book 2 coming out??" I have an answer!


Ha. No, really, it will be out early summer 2012. When I have a more concrete date, I'll let you know. :)

What else is going on with Book 2? Well, we have a name!
If it changes, I'll let you know. But Farrah (my editor at TLT Publishing) and I both like the name. I think it communicates what happens in the book and it follows the pattern of the first book (THE SEVENTH BLESSING) which is good to do in a series.

Here's what has happened with making Book 2:
First started writing it - April 2010
Finished it - August 2010
My own personal edits/rewrites - July 2011 (I left it alone for quite a while), August 2011.Turned it in to Farrah - August 2011
1st round of edits based on Farrah's comments - September/October 2011
2nd round of edits based on Farrah's comments - November 2011

And that's it for now! It's now time for typesetting and cover art. I'm not part of the typesetting process but I do get to have input about the cover art. I've already made a document with pics that I love and would love to have as inspiration for the cover. I'm working on my play list for the book, music that inspired me as I wrote.

Have a question or a comment? Leave it below! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My baby boy is turning 5 today! Happy birthday, Wyatt! We love you. :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 10

The awesome thing (one of the awesome things) about NaNoWriMo is the accountability. I am faced with my stats everyday that I write. Or don't write. I hate to fail. It's something I'm working on but will probably never succeed at killing my hatred of failure. I was able to write A LOT today by sticking to the story, not reading the news during my break time. I ate quickly at lunch time to have more writing time, too. I'm so happy at my screen shot today!

Look at that little brown graph! Smacking down that word count! :)

I have to keep up the momentum. And remember this...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 9

Day 9 already?!
So, NaNo is almost 1/3 of the way over. So, I should (theoretically) be 1/3 of the way through my 50,000 words. Tomorrow, I should have 16,500 words. How far am I?

I actually caught up!! I've actually gotten a lot written the last few days. Woohoo! I have two free periods while I'm subbing this week and I've been working away on the story. Just keep writing, just keep writing. That's the hardest part. Writing when I don't feel like it. Or I don't know where the story is going. I keep throwing new stuff out there, new characters, new situations. I can't stop and analyze why the characters are doing what they are doing. I just need to write. More and more and more! It probably isn't very good writing but I can go back later and work on that. The important thing is to get the thoughts down.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 7

I've been writing off and on since NaNoWriMo began. More off than on, unfortunately. I subbed today and had two free periods so I was able to write A LOT today! :)  Screen shot of my NaNo stats.

 Not so hot, I know. Hopefully I'll get my average up so that I can catch up and be done on time! My story has evolved a bit since I started. I'm really liking my MC. It's the first time I've written a story as a guy only. He's already been through some odd things. Odd but good. I hope it'll all come together. How is your writing going?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ten Year Anniversary!

Once upon a time, there was this guy.

 And there was this girl.

And they fell in love.

And got married.

Ten years and two kids later, they still like each other.

We went up to Idyllwild and stayed in a little cottage this weekend for our ten year anniversary. It was peaceful and quiet. We took some time for some silly photos. :) 

We had a nice dinner, visited a used bookstore (got a hardcover of "Emma" by Jane Austen!), gathered acorns, visited the local museum, took photos around the cottage.

I love you, Chris!
Life has been an adventure and I'm glad you're right there next to me on the journey.

 Still dancing after all these years! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Melissa-ish Monday - What To Write Next? edition

So. I have a conundrum. I've finished round one edits for Book 2 in the Tales of Gymandrol series.

What do I work on next??

I have the following projects:
-Middle grade (MG) book about a girl, contemporary setting - 10 pages written
-Young Adult (YA) book about a guy, contemporary setting - outline somewhat written
-General fiction (possibly "chick lit") about a 20-something after her engagement is broken off - 15 pages written
-Book 3 in the Tales of Gymandrol series - 80 pages written

Chris said I should work on Book 3 so I can get it out of my head. BUT! I'm kinda thinking I want to work on something other than fantasy for a short time. I was able to finish a young reader's book this month and it was so much fun to do something radically different than YA fantasy. It also made me realize how much I love so many different genres of books. Not only to read but also to write.

And for NaNoWriMo, you're not supposed to work on anything that you've already written. might be the YA guy story. Or...I might have some new lightning bolt idea between now and November 1!

That's it for this Melissa-ish Monday. What are you planning on writing for NaNoWriMo?

Happy writing!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Interviewed by Kerry Castorano

The super fun Kerry Castorano (author of VALREN) interviewed me! Check it out. :)

Getting to know Melissa Buell