When Your Book Gets a New Title!

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Hey everyone! The book formerly know as Prom Bitch has a shiny, brand new title!

LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US

Things change a lot in publishing (note: new pub date of MARCH 2016!) but I am very excited about everything and am so grateful to be in this position.

An extra special thanks to everyone who supported me during new title gate 2015: My fabulous editor Kristin Kulsavage, my agent Victoria Lowes, Sarah, Rachel, Natalie, Natasha, Fall Fifteeners, Fearless Fifteeners, and of course my family. : )

Revelations

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Ma sits on the edge of my bed like she’s always done. Never mind I’m almost seventeen and her preach-reading doesn’t do more than put me to sleep. “Sometimes,” she says, “it feels like your mind ain’t here. Like you’d rather be somewhere else.”

Shielding my face with the sleeve of my nightshirt from her soul-searching brown eyes, I whisper a lie. “I’m here, Ma. Like always.”

“I have just the verses to read tonight.” Ma taps the book with the end of her eyeglasses, then slips them on. Crinkling the pages, she opens the Good Book to read a passage about blood, burning, and the sun. Like always, my mind runs elsewhere.

A shiver rides my arm while my brain flashes to my own memory of feeling a burning fire all shaky and blissful in bed. It was so right and so lovely, I don’t even feel wicked to let my mind wander to that night knowing full well it’s something Ma would never approve. With the fire and brimstone words of Revelation blurring in one ear and out the other, I think of Isla.

The week I slept over her trailer this past winter was like riding an infinite escalator of hoping and needing. The momentum raised eighty flights every hour. Ma was gone for the week. She and two other single lady members left with Prophet chasing for new Community recruits.

Isla was sixteen and her golden skin and cherry stained lips clenched at my heart and gave me stomach tingles something crazy. Even during prayer hours and church when I was sposed to be looking to God.

We shared her rickety twin bed and I didn’t mind. On the last night before Ma came back, the wind licked the windows as her jagged breaths in and out, vibrated in my ear. I’d been waiting all week for the last night because I figured if I was gonna kiss her, it’d have to be on a night I couldn’t tell myself “maybe tomorrow night.”

We shivered together under the blankets and over the thumping of my heart, I whispered, “Snuggle closer.”

The next second her breath warmed my neck and the next her tongue was gliding across my lips and into my mouth. Isla laughed at my jokes, she held my hand when no one was looking, and at that moment, she was reading my mind.

Baking soda mint toothpaste was still faint on our tongues and teeth. I didn’t care because we tasted the same.

Making out with Isla was a dance. Hands in my hair, lips on mine, and up and down and left and right.

A creak in the hall, just outside her room jerked us from each other’s mouths and I figured it was over. Isla padded away from her bed and I slowed my breaths until she came back.

“It was just Petey,” she whispered. “Stupid cat.” She cocooned us back under her quilt and clicked on a tiny flashlight pulled from the drawer in her night table. The light stung my eyes until I closed them and Isla sighed into my ear. “You’re so pretty.” She kissed me again. This time from my ear to my lips, harder but slower. The orange peel and honey shampoo she let me use suddenly took on the scent of want and need.

She smelled it too. “I want to do something,” Isla whispered.

“Okay.” I opened my eyes to her sliding down my torso, gripping the flashlight as she pushed up my nightgown with her other hand.

Her kisses got lower and lower and I wanted to tell her to come back up because my cheeks were burning with heart-speeding nerves and fear. But I couldn’t because the want was stronger than any nagging worry that my shower before supper was maybe too long ago.

That night was when I realized that everything down there wasn’t dirty and awful and private and just for me.

When her hot breath vibrated onto me down there. When her kiss was sliding in and around, all the best feelings in the world melted into my pores. I didn’t care about Genesis, Luke, John, or Revelation because there was no such thing as sin under our blanket.

It was spring and summer and cinnamon candy, wild rainbow flowers, happy carnivals, and TV and secular dance music and everything else we couldn’t have at The Community. It was all the good, tingling through me, threatening to pull me apart into the highest kind of heaven. The rush of light I’ve only been able to reach by my hand if I let it go any further.

Gripping her shoulders, I pulled Isla back up like I was scared my body alarm would go off and we’d be over and done. I wasn’t ready for it to be over.

I framed her face in my hands, the glow of the flashlight now somewhere at my feet, lighting her just barely.

“What’s that like?” I asked, holding my breath preparing for the worst.

“It was like this…” Then she smooshed her mouth onto mine just as I was about to ask what she meant. The baking soda mint was miles away swapped for the taste of sweat and hot summer in the middle of winter.

My hands slid to her shoulders and I almost pulled away. Our lips touching again was weird and awkward, but she kissed like nothing else mattered. So I let myself fall back into her.

Isla was the first girl I saw the day Ma pulled our station wagon onto The Community. Ma was ready for a new life, free from the heathens, the liars, and anyone else who couldn’t compare to the way my daddy was before passing. Ma was Ready for something new and the closer she could get to God, the closer she’d get to Heaven. The second I saw Isla was the second I knew every doubt I had about who I was, was for nothing. Love is patient and kind and pure. Isla personified all of that. And if Isla was love, then I was good.

With the taste of mostly me almost gone, I moved my lips off Isla. My breath needed to slow down and I didn’t know how to do it without taking up all the air under our blanket. I gasped a little and tried to make words happen. “This. Is. Good. I like this. Do you?”

She grabbed my hand and held it tight. “I like all of it, but I’m scared that–”

I took her bottom lip in my teeth and cupped her breast to stop her from saying the rest.

Our hands went wild until her fingers dipped and swirled into the place she’d been kissing earlier. And to her, I did the same. Our kisses were breathy and heaving into each other’s ears. We used hands and fingers until we turned into life blaring love hot breathing exploding fireworks into each other’s palms.

Wiggling away from her hand, I let my body ride the end of the wave. When I whispered “Mmmm…” into her mouth she breathed, “I love you too.”

Isla and I laid like spoons and I never slept so good as that night. The buzzing in my body ran from my knees to my shoulders and I felt higher than an angel watching me from the clouds.

We didn’t talk the next day. Or the next. Isla never invited me over again and I never asked why not.

But the way she’d flush and bite back the slightest smile when we’d make eye contact whilst ignoring each other in the schoolhouse told me she felt just as good about it as I did.

When spring came, Isla and her Pa left on account of the stories Prophet started telling on Sabbath. Prophesies. Stuff about nuclear war coming, famous movie stars joining the calling, and other things he swore God warned him on. A whole lotta immediate future telling never coming to fruition. Prophet said God was testing him and getting him to humble himself in front of the congregation. The Community. And we all needed to humble ourselves and follow him straightway, no backsliding or looking to the left or right lest we end up burning for eternity and missing out on all the rewards Prophet was leading us to. Some members saw through it and walked once the air got warmer and leaves started growing back on the trees.

Ma closes her Good Book with a snap. “We’ll be saying goodbye to all our earthly possessions soon enough.” Her smile is soft and certain. “But hello to Him and a choir of angels. What do you think about that?”

“Heaven sounds nice,” I say. What I don’t say is that Heaven can be anywhere you make it, because I’ve already been there. “G’night Ma.” My eyes close, and I sigh into my pillow.

Isla said goodbye with empty eyes, a stiff hug, and mailed me a letter with seven lipstick kisses and a tiny “I.L.U” in a crease. It’s been three months. It’s folded in a purple envelope into a tiny rectangle and kept beneath my sports bra, even while I sleep.

I have the address memorized and I’ll be there before the end times come. And if I don’t make it to her first, I’m either flying with angels or burning in hell with all those kisses on my heart.

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#WriteLadyHeadRight Blog Hop Schedule because OH YES, there’s more! Grab yourself and/or a Valentine and get your read on…

Christa Desir
Sunday, February 8

Katie Cotugno
Monday, February 9

Bryson McCrone
Tuesday, February 10

Ashley Herring Blake
Wednesday, February 11

Me! Right here.
Thursday, February 12

Adrianne Russell
Friday, February 13

Carrie Mesrobian
Saturday, February 14

When & Where Can I Get This LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US Book?

Millions of people keep asking when my book is coming out! Okay, not really that many people but my mom has a bad memory, so I am writing this quick post.

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LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US is not out yet. However, it can be PRE-ORDERED! You can do this right now online via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and you can also check your local indie bookstore site. LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US can also be found on BookLikes and GoodReads…so you can add it to your TBR lists. Even though you can’t hold it yet, DO mark your calendar for MARCH 15, 2016 because that is when it releases! You will then get to read and dance around with my book. MARCH 2016 y’all!

MG dancing at prom

March is a great month. You’ll be able to buy it for your friends, lovers, frenemies, and family for St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, Promposal gifts (because this should be a thing!) and then all the other 2016 holidays.

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Also, you can find the boutonniere, perfect dress and/or lipstick to coordinate with the LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US cover for 2016’s prom season. Convenient, eh?

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And hey: special thanks to everyone who’s expressed interest and enthusiasm for my book this far. It’s so exciting and very humbling. (Eeeeeee!) I still can’t believe it. (Here’s my book deal story, in case you missed it).

I’ll be sure to update this post whenever I get more details! (Actual day! The cover! Buy Links!) Okay. That’s all.

awk thank you in formal wear

XOami

2015 MG & YA Debuts To Watch For

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Please let me know via twitter or in the comments if a title or release date has changed or if *gasp* I’ve made a spelling error. Also FOR SURE let me know if you know of any other MG or YA debuts that I can add to this list!

WINTERish RELEASES

GIF winter

JANUARY

13: Maggie Hall, THE CONSPIRACY OF US

13: Gail Nall, BREAKING THE ICE

20: Susan Adrian, TUNNEL VISION

27: Michelle Falkoff, PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD

27: Dan Gemeinhart, THE HONEST TRUTH

27: Holly Smale, GEEK GIRL

FEBRUARY

3: Courtney Alameda, SHUTTER

3: Lee Kelly, CITY OF SAVAGES

3: Laurie McKay, VILLAIN KEEPER

3: A.L. Sonnichsen, RED BUTTERFLY

5: Eve Ainsworth, SEVEN DAYS

5: Maya Rock, SCRIPTED

5: Abbie Rushton, UNSPEAKABLE

10: Lisa Aldin, ONE OF THE GUYS

10: Victoria Aveyard, RED QUEEN

10: MarcyKate Connolly, MONSTROUS

10: Cindy L. Rodriguez, WHEN REASON BREAKS

10: Jasmine Warga, MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES

17: Kathryn Holmes, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND

24: Alison DeCamp, MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES (98% TRUE!)

24: Catherine Doyle, VENDETTA

24: Melinda Salisbury, THE SIN EATER’S DAUGHTER

26: Abi Elphinstone, THE DREAMSNATCHER 

MARCH

3: David Arnold, MOSQUITOLAND

3: Bibi Belford, CANNED AND CRUSHED

3: Lisa Freeman, HONEY GIRL

3: Mary McCoy, DEAD TO ME

3: Becky Wallace, THE STORYSPINNER

10: Francesca Haig, THE FIRE SERMON

10: Kristy Shen & Bryce Leung, LITTLE MISS EVIL

17: Sheila Grau, DR. CRITCHLORE’S SCHOOL FOR MINIONS

17: Stacey Lee, UNDER A PAINTED SKY

17: Darci Manley & Shani Petroff, ASH

17: Moriah McStay, EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU

17: N. K. Traver, DUPLICITY

17: Jenn Marie Thorne, THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT

18: Melody Maysonet, A WORK OF ART

24: Aisha Saeed: WRITTEN IN THE STARS

24: Erin Estrada Kelly, BLACKBIRD FLY

24: Rhiannon Thomas, A WICKED THING

24: Tommy Wallach, WE ALL LOOKED UP

SPRINGish RELEASES

GIF spring library

APRIL

2: Tatum Flynn, THE D’EVIL DIARIES

7: Becky Albertalli, SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA

7: I. W. Gregorio, NONE OF THE ABOVE

7: Marie Jaskulka: THE LOST MARBLE NOTEBOOK OF FORGOTTEN GIRL & RANDOM BOY

8: Fonda Lee, ZEROBOXER

8: Stefanie Lyons, DATING DOWN

14: K. E. Ormsbee, THE WATER AND THE WILD

14: Lance Rubin, DENTON LITTLE’S DEATHDATE

14: Michelle Smith, PLAY ON

18: Rachel Shane, ALICE IN WONDERLAND HIGH

21: Lori Goldstein, BECOMING JINN

21: Amy McNulty, NOBODY’S GODDESS

28. Jen Brooks, IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT

28: Melissa Grey, THE GIRL AT MIDNIGHT

28: Megan Morrison, GROUNDED: THE ADVENTURES OF RAPUNZEL

28. Sabaa Tahir, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES

MAY

5: Sarah Benwell, THE LAST LEAVES FALLING

5: Wendy Brotherlin, FREAKS OF NATURE

5: Elaine Dimopoulos, MATERIAL GIRLS

5: Jenny Martin, TRACKED

5: Miriam Spitzer Franklin, EXTRAORDINARY

5: Krista Van Dolzer, THE SOUND OF LIFE AND EVERYTHING

7: Meredith Moore, I AM HER REVENGE

12: Holly Bodger, 5 TO 1

12: Angelica R. Jackson, CROW’S REST

12: Kelly Jones, UNUSUAL CHICKENS FOR THE EXCEPTIONAL POULTRY FARMER

12: Maggie Lehrman, THE COST OF ALL THINGS

15: Valynn E. Maetani, INK AND ASHES

19: Francesca Zappia, MADE YOU UP

26: Sonia Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton TINY PRETTY THINGS

JUNE 2: Cassie Beasley, CIRCUS MIRANDUS

2: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, BOOK SCAVENGER

2: Virginia Boecker, THE WITCH HUNTER

2: Melissa E. Hurst, THE EDGE OF FOREVER

2: Cordelia Jensen, SKYSCRAPING

8: Lynn Lindquist, SECRET OF THE SEVENS

9: Gina Ciocca, LAST YEAR’S MISTAKE

9: David Fulk, RAISING RUFUS

9: Stephanie Oakes, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY

9: Katie M. Stout, HELLO, I LOVE YOU

9: Jen White, SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE

16: Lauren Gibaldi, THE NIGHT WE SAID YES

16: Adam Silvera, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT

16: Christine Hayes, MOTHMAN’S CURSE

16: Sharon Huss Roat, BETWEEN THE NOTES

SUMMER RELEASES

GIF summer

JULY

7: Kris Dinnison, YOU AND ME AND HIM

15: Randy Ribay, AN INFINITE NUMBER OF PARALLEL UNIVERSES

20: Valeria Tejeda, HOLLYWOOD WITCH HUNTER

21: Amanda Panitch, DAMAGE DONE

AUGUST

4: Anne Boles Levy, THE TEMPLE OF DOUBT

4: Michelle Levy, NOT AFTER EVERYTHING

4: Shannon Grogan, FROM WHERE I WATCH YOU

4: Kaitlin Ward, BLEEDING EARTH

6: Dawn Kurtagich, THE DEADHOUSE

18: Alexandra Sirowy, THE CREEPING

FALL RELEASES

Anne of Gr Gables BFF

SEPTEMBER

1: Carol Riggs, THE BODY INSTITUTE

1: Natasha Sinel, THE FIX

1: Ronald L. Smith, HOODOO

1: Jackie Lea Sommers, TRUEST

1: Nicola Yoon, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

2: Mandy Mikulencak, FACING FIRE

3: Lauren James, THE NEXT TOGETHER

8: Marci Curtis, THE ONE THING

15: Anne-Marie McLemore, THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS

15: Heather Petty, LOCK & MORI

19: Kelly Loy Gilbert, CONVICTION

22: Mikaela Everett, THE UNQUIET

22: Mike Grosso, I AM DRUMS

22: Mackenzi Lee, THIS MONSTROUS THING

29: Laurel Gale, DEAD BOY

29: Amy Lukavics, DAUGHTERS UNTO DEVILS

TBA: Isabel Bandeira, BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER

OCTOBER

6: Ann Jacobus, ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT

6: Sarah J. Schmitt, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH

7: Marcy Beller Paul, UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING

NOVEMBER

10: Charlotte Huang, FOR THE RECORD

24: Kate McGovern, RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES

DECEMBER (so winter!)

8: Ryan Dalton, THE YEAR OF LIGHTNING

9: Sarah McGuire, VALIANT

16: Claire Kennedy, AFTER HOURS

MOVES FROM 2015 to 2016:

Jan 2016: Patrick Samphire, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB

Feb 2016: Ami Allen-Vath, PROM BITCH

Ten Alternative Titles for PROM BITCH

I was tagged by the lovely Becky Albertalli to play this game. Becky is the author of the highly anticipated and already much praised SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA which will be released April 7, 2015!

The rules of this game are as follows: “Scroll through your manuscript and stop on a random place. Whatever you land on becomes one of ten terrible titles. I picked the first short sentences I randomly came across.”  (Also, because Becky got away with it, I’m following her lead & cheating slightly. I DID pick ten random pages from my manuscript – but I cherry-picked my phrases a little bit. Worth it.)
So, without further ado: Ten Alternative Titles for PROM BITCH.

1. Of Pissed & Envy

2. Growing The Ovaries To Ask You Out

3. The Guitar Between Us

4. Dresses Off the Rack

5. In Their Underwear

6. Moon In Your Hair

7. Disciplinary Action

8. Like They’re Tissues

9. The Sounds of…Nothing

10. Just Fuck It

So, now I’ll tag a few author friends to play the same game. Ooooh and DO check out their books releasing in 2015 and 2016:

NICOLA YOON, author of EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING

STEFANIE LYONS, author of DATING DOWN

SARAH GLENN MARSH, author of FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP

AVA JAE, author of BEYOND THE RED

Last Will and Testament by Dahlia Adler is here!

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LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT by Dahlia Adler is out today! LWaT is Dahlia’s first New Adult book and it’s been on my GOTTA HAVE list since I first read about it. (For 411 on Dahlia’s YA Behind The Scenes and those upcoming go HERE).

I’m totally into a book that can combine feelsy, sexy and witty, and Last Will and Testament sounds like it hits all these marks. Read the blurb to see what I mean:

Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she’s acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she’ll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn’t exactly Lizzie’s biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you’re ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks… and that she’d like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he’s not the kind of guy who’d ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.

Sounds great right? Here’s an excerpt just in case you need proof that you want and need it:

“Did you mean what you said?” he asks. “About dropping?”

“I’m not sure yet.” No point in lying, especially to the one person who’s actually been helping me organize my thoughts. It’s not like I know I can get into another class this late, but I do know the idea of sitting in one with him is torture. And the truth is, it’s not just his class I’ve been thinking about leaving. The more of Tyler’s moodiness I observe, the more I wonder if Radleigh itself just isn’t the right place for us right now.

“You can’t make me the difference between staying and going,” he says tightly, bracing a hand on the back of kitchen chair. He doesn’t meet my eyes, but instead watches his own knuckles go white from his grip. “That’s not fair.”

I snort. “First of all, you’re talking to someone who lost her parents in an instant and became an eighteen-year-old mother of two, so if you want to compete about ‘fair,’ you’ve brought a fucking watergun to the Second Crusade.”

“That’s not—”

“Second of all, this isn’t a ‘boo hoo, the boy I like doesn’t like me back so I’m uprooting my life’ situation, okay? I need an A in all my classes this semester in order to keep my scholarship, which I need to stay here. Now my transcript is shot to hell. Honestly, it’d probably be better for both me and the boys if I stopped wasting money on my tuition altogether and got a full-time job instead. Maybe then I could actually afford to get the boys’ their own damn bedrooms.”

“But you’re getting an A in the class….”

“Maybe for now, but you think that’s gonna hold up without you tutoring me?” I all but growl, taking care to make sure the boys can’t hear me through the door. “You think I’m gonna be able to focus in class every day? Watching you hand out papers and remembering how those hands feel on my skin? I’m supposed to listen to you lecture and not think about how you said my name like I was a glass of water and you were dying of thirst?”

“Lizzie, stop.” His knuckles are so white now I swear I can see bone through the skin. But I don’t care. I’m not done.

“I can’t be around you. I’m sorry if that sounds crazy to you or whatever. But I need to focus, and I don’t see myself doing that when all I can think about when I see you is finishing what we started.”

Connor swallows hard. “Even now?”

“I threw myself at you earlier today, Connor. Just because your feelings go away with the snap of your fingers doesn’t mean mine do.” The humiliation of my admission burns in my face, and I gather up the remaining dishes with a clatter and stalk past him to drop them in the sink. When I turn back around, he’s standing in my face, so close I can feel body heat radiating from every inch of him.

“You don’t really think that’s what happened, do you?”

“I don’t know how else to explain it,” I counter, but all the fight’s gone out of my voice. He’s just too close. The heady scent of his aftershave is scrambling my brain cells.

“I told you—because I’m your TA. And everything you just said is exactly why they forbid us from getting involved.”

“Then why are you here?” I rasp.

“Because I can’t not be.” He takes the last step needed to close the space between us and slides his hands into my hair, pulling me into a starving, searching kiss. His tongue sweeps my mouth as if he doesn’t want to miss a spot, and pressed up against him as I am now, there’s no doubt he wants me every bit as much as he did last night, if not more. Even when he pulls away, panting.

Told you you want it. Win a copy by leaving a comment below or retweeting this tweet from my Twitter feed. If you don’t win or just can’t wait until tonight to see if you won a copy, here’s Last Will and Testament on GoodReads and all the links to find & buy your own: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Smashwords | Kobo

For your chance to win an eCopy of Last Will and Testament, leave a comment below with your name and –not necessary to win–your twitter handle, if you have one or you can retweet the LWaT tweet on my Twitter feed. Winner announced here and Twitter at 9 pm EST!

We got a Winner Here! Final #WIPmo Check-In 5/5

winning

We won! You won! I won! And I’d like to thank…I’d like to thank you guys. Yeah, sure I didn’t write a 50K plus novel or revise a whole manuscript, but I did get lots of writerly stuff done and I’m so cool with that. And yes, I had a lot of distractions, being sick, Twitter, kids, being extra tired BUT YET. I pushed myself because I knew there’d be some #WIPmo accountability. There’s no way I would’ve set and met any of my November writing goals without the #WIPmo crew by my side. THAAAAAANK YOU!

How’d you do? Let me know in the comments:

1. Name & @ twitter handle if you have one

2. How your week/November went

3. What are your biggest writing distractions?

4. What you’re going to do writing wise, in December–the season of ALL THE DISTRACTIONS. But yay–lots of cookies!

cookies

xoAMI