Monday, November 29, 2010


"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier

I hope everyone had a great week! We sure did. I missed staying in touch with all of my online friends and blogs, but it was also kind of nice to unplug for a while. I honestly didn't even think about checking my email for a couple of days. That was like some sort of miracle. Ha ha. Thanksgiving was fabulous, my family rocks, I have so much to be thankful for, and yep. It was a great week! How was yours? What did I miss out on?

So, on to the quote. Or, back to the quote, as the case may be. Success. It's what we all want, right? Our definitions of success are probably different--one person may think just getting a book on a shelf somewhere, ANYWHERE is success. Others may not feel "successful" until they are a bestseller. Those are just two examples, and obviously not all the success we want necessarily applies to getting published. There are many other successes I worry about and hope to achieve, the top of the list being my desire to successfully raise my children into honest, happy, independent (yet still family oriented), confident, loving, caring, wonderful people. Is that too much to ask? Yikes. I hope not.

When I start to feel overwhelmed in my efforts to be successful, this quote is very comforting. It's the little things, the small efforts, repeated day after day that will get me there. With my kids, with my life, with my writing, with anything I'm striving for. By writing every day, by revising, by reading, by learning and applying and moving forward. I. Will. Make. It. And so will you.

So what little things do you need to be doing each day?

Monday, November 22, 2010


Today I wanted to focus on a few things I am thankful for, considering that Thanksgiving is this week. So often it seems like all we can see or think about is what we don't have--what we haven't achieved yet. Or at least there are times when I find myself doing this. But really, I am very blessed and have SO much to be grateful for. This is only a short list of some of those things.

I am thankful for my love of writing. I'm grateful for the ability I have to do something I love so much. It can lift me when I'm down, or let me escape when I need a break. It takes me to places I've never been, and to meet people who are so very, very interesting. I love to write!

I am grateful for my incredible agent, Hannah. She is so supportive and believes in me 110%. She encourages me, helps me, guides me, and so much more. I couldn't have asked for a better agent and friend.

I am thankful for the amazing online writing community. I am constantly amazed at how kind and generous and amazing you all are. I've met some truly incredible friends through blogs and twitter and other places. Seriously, you guys blow my mind. Thank you for everything. Wow.

I am grateful for my friends--those who I've known for years and years, who have supported and believed in me no matter what, through everything. And for friends I've met more recently who have kept me going when I doubted, or kept me strong when I was weak, or who make me laugh whether I'm happy or sad. All of you who cheer for me and make me feel like I am special and important in someone else's life. Thank you. I hope you feel as though I return the sentiment and favors, at least in part.

I am thankful for amazing family: for parents who taught me to go for my dreams and gave me wings. For a mom who is one of my best friends. For my sisters who cheer , and read my books, and give me advice and love, and who are also some of my dearest friends. I may be the oldest, but I learn from all of you. For my aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents--all who believe (or believed when they were alive) and share their love and friendship. I am truly blessed.

And most of all--I am grateful for my husband, who is unwavering in his faith in me. His support and belief has lifted me when I was sinking. He mends my wings when they are failing, he gives me the strength to always move forward. And my two boys... they are my reward for everything. I couldn't have asked for two cuter, sillier, smarter little guys who love me so much. And since I am a person of faith, I hope no one will be offended by this, but I must express my gratitude to my Savior. I am nothing -- and can aspire to be nothing -- without Him.

There is so much more I could list, but I will let that suffice for now, especially since this already sounds like an epically long acceptance speech or something. (No, I haven't won any awards or anything. I just am feeling very grateful right now.)

I am going to take a small break for the rest of the week to enjoy the holiday and catch up on some other projects and work. I hope all of my friends in the U.S. have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And everyone else, I hope you have a great end of November. ;)

Now it's your turn! What are you thankful for this week?

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Friday Five...

that didn't happen. Because, let's face it--my F.F. today would consist of: Harry Potter is amazing. The movie actually stuck to the books, woohoo! It rocked! I am exhausted. And the movie was SO good. And I'm super tired. I love these books so much. I can't wait for the next movie to see how they do with the last half. But I'm so tired right now, I think I have sand under my eyelids. Oh wait, I have kids--no falling asleep! Must. Stay. Awake. Plus I have lots of writing to do, and cleaning, and you know... Life waits for no tired Mommy.

So, instead, here is an inspiring quote and a suggestion:

"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of."

-- Benjamin Franklin

Even though I'm tired, I'm not squandering the time I have been given today. But I might be going to bed nice and early tonight. Let's hope anyway.

My suggestion is that you go check out my guest post on the lovely, fabulous Carolina Valdez Miller's blog. (Who I am now calling Cuteness, because she really is cute, and also SO sweet, but she already decided to call me Sweetness, and I can't call her the same name back. C for Carolina and Cuteness. Yep. Perfect.) Okay, I got off topic there. Back to my post. Do you worry about following the "trends" in YA? Find out my thoughts!

Happy Friday, everyone! What did you think of the movie? Or crazy adults who go see it at midnight? (or 12:35 if you want to be really accurate.)

In the meantime...

I am guessing my Friday Five might be up a little bit later than normal today, since I will have been up until 3:30 am or later. (Yes, I'm doing this on Thursday night.) So, in the meantime (and in case you'd like to read something coherent, relevant, and well thought out), make sure and check out Carolina Valdez Miller's blog where I am guest posting about trends in YA. Should you try and write what's trendy... or what you really love? Find out my thoughts on that and there's even an inspiring story. Hope you'll check it out! Click here (While you're there, if you don't already, I HIGHLY recommend following her. She's the definition of awesome, sweet, caring, yeah pretty much she rocks.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Go check out My Pile of Books today, where my good friend interviewed me about why I write YA, what books inspire me, and more!

So, anyone else going to the midnight showing of HP7 tonight? I know, I know, I'm crazy (as are all of my friends), but it sure is fun! Maybe I'll even post some pictures from our party for your viewing pleasure (horror?) tomorrow. Hmm.... Who else out there just LOVES Harry Potter?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where in the world...

am I posting next? I have the very great privilege of doing a few different guest posts this week! I'd really love it if you'd check them out:

Today, I am over at the lovely and talented Elle Strauss' blog, discussing the importance of learning to love revisions. Sound like an oxymoron? I promise it's not! Hop on over and see for yourself: click here.

Tomorrow you can check out my interview on My Pile of Books (and become a follower while you're there, it's a great book review blog). Find out why I write YA, and lots more.

Since I am going to be majorly sleep-deprived on Friday (midnight showing/party for HP7 on Thursday night, WOOT!) (Yes, I am an adult, why?), be prepared for quite the Friday Five. I can only imagine what I'll come up with. Anyway, I can't wait to see this movie... please let it be at least CLOSE to as good as the book. Please? Pretty please? Also, I will be talking about trends in YA and whether aspiring authors should try and follow them or not on the fabulous Carolina Valdez Miller's blog, so be sure and check that out on Friday as well! (Luckily that post is already written and will not suffer from my sleep-deprived mind.)

And to close out this rambling post, what books are on your Christmas list this year? I'm trying to come up with mine, and though I already have a loooong list, there's always room for more. So tell me, what books am I missing?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, November 15, 2010

When do you dream?

Yep, not WHAT but WHEN?

"All men dream but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible." -- T.E. Lawrence

I proudly dream during the day, and yes -- I do intend to act upon my dreams until they become my reality. I have been doing so for years, and will continue to do so.

How about you? Are you a "Day Dreamer" like me? What are your dreams--and are you acting on them NOW?

P.S. I will be doing a couple of guest posts this week. So in case my blog just isn't enough Awe-Sara-ness (which is a way cooler word than "awesomeness") for you, stay tuned for more information on that! :D

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Five

1. Anyone else watch DTWS? I admit that it's one of my guilty pleasures. I usually don't have time to watch it (or any other shows), but ever since I started working from home at night (doing fairly mindless stuff), I get to watch lots of TV. DWTS is one of the only reality shows I'll watch. But this season is really making me Mad. Yep, mad enough to deserve a capital M. Seriously America, SERIOUSLY?? Bristol is still semi-walking around the ballroom looking dazed and confused while Rick and now Kurt are voted off? Seriously. Grrr. (She's nice and all, but seriously. Can't. Dance. At. All.) (That was a lot of seriously's. Obviously I am upset about this. Seriously.)

2. I love getting the chance to read ARCs, I really do. Except for one thing. That whole "oh no, it's a cliffhanger, and it hasn't even been published yet, so that means I have to wait HOW LONG to read the next one?!?!?!" That part can be rough. But still, totally worth it. For some reason it makes me feel special to read an ARC, something the rest of the general public doesn't get to read yet. So, ya know, if you ever feel like making my day, feel free to send me an ARC. I'll even give it back, I don't have to keep it to be happy. Just read it. He he he.

3. Boys are exhausting. I'm not talking about the ones you are dating and/or married to (although they can be too); I'm talking about the pint-sized ones that you give birth to after the dating leads to marriage and then that baby in the you-know-what. I grew up with four little sisters, and so far I have two boys. Can you say gender shock? In case you were wondering: Little boys? VERY different than little girls. I'm still trying to figure out when my boys are actually being naughty, as opposed to just being, well, boys. Any hints?

4. I'm tall. Not turn-your-head, jaw-dropping, amazon woman tall (I seriously saw a woman that had to be 6'4" without heels the other day. She made me feel short -- something I haven't experienced since 4th grade). But, anyway, pretty tall "for a girl." I'm 5'9" - and I still love to wear heels. I married tall, so I can get away with it. I love shoes. Like a lot. I kind of have a fetish for finding awesome, unique heels. If you ever meet me in person, chances are you'll see what I mean. Unless I'm tired, and feeling too lazy to walk in heels. Then not so much.

5. I LOVE Mystic Mints. They were the most amazing treats ever. Then, one day, I couldn't find them anymore. Oreo had bought them out or something, and poof! Gone. Sadness reigned supreme for many days. Oreo tried to make a copy-cat, but they were like getting generic Kroger brand mac&cheese when you're hoping for Kraft. Those eventually disappeared as well. I mourned the loss of a favorite treat. (The thing is that they're just normal oreos on the inside, but they come inside a thick shell of mint fudge. The best way to eat them is to bite off just enough of the top so that you can stick a fork into the white oreo filling [without breaking the cookie apart], and then set the whole thing in a cup of milk for about 30 seconds. Just enough to let it soak into the cookie, and permeate the fudge coating. Then you eat the whole thing at once. It. Is. Heaven.) Why did I tell you all that? Because Oreo brought them back for a limited time and this time, THEY'RE ACTUALLY GOOD!!!! Celebration! The only downer is that they charge $2.50 or more for a little box of 12 cookies. What a rip off! But, I love them, so I bit the bullet and bought a box. I am rationing my cookies. No more than 2 at once. I have to try and make it last.

How was that for random thoughts on this lovely, cold Friday? How about you? What are your thoughts today?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


"Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." --William Shakespeare

Anyone here ever struggle with self-doubt? Um, ME! ME!

How do I overcome doubt? By forcing myself to take the next step forward. The only way to completely erase your doubts is to prove them wrong. I had many, many times when I doubted if I would ever get an agent. When it got the worst, I would send out ten more queries, or start a new book so I had something new to query soon. I would Keep. Moving. Forward. No matter how paralyzed I wanted to be by my fear, I forced it back by acting like I believed it was going to work. Even when I actually didn't. Does that make sense? It did for me. Did it work? Yes! Eventually. It took time, effort, faith, hard-work, more time, more effort... you get the idea. It took SIX blog posts about "my path to get an agent" worth of time to get there. But I did get an agent.

Now, I have all these doubts about finding an editor who will love my work enough to buy it. So, what am I going to do? Work hard, move forward, do what my agent needs me to do, and keep going until it happens. Then I'm sure I'll have new doubts. Woohoo! So much to look forward to! Ha ha. (Actually, I do look forward to it!)

How about you, what do you do to overcome your doubt?

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the winner is... (plus a confession)

(Sorry for the delay, SonB needed me, then my computer froze, and yeah. Fun times. Anyway, without further ado...)

The Random Number Generator has spoken, and the lucky winner is.....


*Tosses Confetti!* Woohoo!

Congrats on your win! However, you didn't specify what package you wanted, so please email me at sarablarson21 (at) gmail (dot) com to let me know which one you want and also include your mailing address please (even if you want the critique, because you still get some REAL Swedish chocolate!). Congratulations again!

Thank you all for entering and for spreading the word. I really appreciated it!

If FOKXXY doesn't respond by Wednesday November 10 by midnight, a new winner will be drawn and announced.

How is your Monday going? I've actually been cleaning this morning (I know! I'm probably more shocked than you are) and... well... okay, I'll confess. *looks surreptitiously to the left, then the right, and whispers* I've started putting up Christmas decorations.

Hey! Don't give me that look! We're not having Thanksgiving here, and last year we ended up having to move the day after Thanksgiving and I barely got to decorate for Christmas at all. I think I deserve a little bit longer to enjoy the season this year, right? (This is where you say "Yes!")

So, what's your guilty confession today?

Almost done...

Sorry this is taking me longer than I thought it would, but I promise to have the winner of the contest posted later today. Stay tuned... !!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Friday Five

1. My kids have decided to start waking up around 6:30 the last few days. This is not conducive to my well being. I need a longer night than that. Can someone please give them the memo that if they want nice, happy, rested, patient Mommy to stick around (or, okay, let's be honest, TRY to stick around), they need to sleep longer? Or at least stay silent for another hour if they have to wake up. Is that too much to ask?

2. I got the chance to read an ARC of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis. My only complaint is that it doesn't come out until next spring, which means I have to wait FOREVER to read the sequel. Gah! Seriously though, wow. What a ride. I can't wait to discuss this one with... well, anyone who's read it! Anyone?

3. In exciting news for you, guess what??? Remember how I tantalized you all with the promise of Swedish Chocolate for prizes in my super awesome giveaway that happens to end tonight at midnight MST? And remember how I was sorry no one in my family had been to Sweden in a while, so it wouldn't be super fresh because I was going to have to buy it at Ikea? Well, hot diggity dog, my dad is going to Sweden on MONDAY!! (He was born there, plus he is the manager for a #1 band called Renegade Five over there, that he's working on getting a record deal for worldwide. Their music is awesome if you want to check it out!) Anyway, why is this good news for you? Because when he gets back a week from Tuesday, he's bringin' me some real, honest-to-goodness, straight from the source Swedish Marabou Chocolate to use for my giveaway!!! That means the winner will have to wait a little longer to get their package, but I'm hoping they're okay with that to get real Swedish chocolate, fresh from the actual country of origin. Oh man, I'm totally salivating right now just thinking about it... (I promise not to drool on the chocolate I'm giving away, don't worry.)

4. I have a love/hate relationship with really amazing books. I LOVE them because, well, hello. They're amazing! Which inherently means I adore reading them, that I want to marry them, then I want to tell everyone I know to go buy and read them. The hate part comes in when I go to write again after reading such a book as this, and think, "I hate you for writing a book that amazing because now I realize that I'm never going to write something as good as ________. Why the heck am I even losing sleep to do this? My kids are going to start yelling 'Mama!' at me at 6:30 in the morning, I should just go to sleep." Then my computer electrocutes me, and I snap out of it and keep writing. (No, actually, I'm just kidding. I don't actually hate anyone who writes amazing books, my computer doesn't actually electrocute me, I don't actually think I suck that bad or I would have quit a long time ago. However, I do have a hard time believing anything I write could ever elicit a response of love that strong in anyone else. Maybe once an editor buys one of my books, I'll be more inclined to hope for that. Ya know, that at least one or two people might think that. Besides my husband. And a couple of friends of mine that I've bribed with desserts and stuff.)

5. I ramble a lot when I'm sleep deprived. So here's a short one. Giveaway ends tonight at midnight MST. Don't forget to click here to enter! It's easy, you get to pick your prize, and the chocolate is to die for. Also, useful for consoling yourself if you ever suffer from #4.

Happy Friday! What are your thoughts today?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


"When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." -Helen Keller

I had a "door of happiness" close for me at the end of last week, and I'm determined not to stare at it. I might have kicked it once or twice, but stare? Nope. Not me. I am moving forward, determined to find the new door that has opened. Somewhere. Or maybe it's still in the process of opening. Or maybe I'm going to have to go find it and yank it open. But I'm determined to find it.

Have you ever spent so much time and thought and energy dwelling on a door shutting, that you didn't notice a different chance of happiness? Or are you really good at looking for the positive? If Helen Keller could find happiness in her life, surely we can, too. Right? No matter how many doors it takes to get there. And maybe the trick is learning to be happy in the journey--not always just wishing to arrive at some predetermined destination. Because you know what? That destination might not turn out to be everything it was cracked up to be anyway, and if we can't learn to be happy with where we are at now, how will we ever be truly happy? There will always be something bigger, better, brighter out there if we get stuck in the rut of comparing (or staring at those shut doors). I, for one, am trying to learn to really enjoy where I'm at now. To love the beauty of today and everything it gives me.

Also, I'm planning on taking a nap because I got about two hours of sleep last night. So if this post seems somewhat rambling, disjointed, and/or incoherent, blame the lack of sleep. (Unless you've been a reader for a long time, then you know that sleep or no sleep, I'm just random sometimes.) Happy Hump Day! What's making you happy today?

Monday, November 1, 2010


November is a month that everyone looks forward to and yet dreads at the same time. Nope, not because you have less than sixty days until Christmas--because it's the month of NaNoWriMo. (National Novel Writing Month)

For two years in a row, I've wanted to participate, but unfortunately both times I haven't been in a place to start a new book. Hence, this year I am participating in "NoWayMo" in which I am strong and resist joining in NaNoWriMo. No matter how much I'd love to.

I do want to wish everyone participating good luck and can't wait to hear how it goes! I will still be working on a new, fun WIP I've been playing around with off and on, and continuing to work with my agent on a few projects. I already know what I'm asking Santa for this year... if I haven't already gotten it by Christmas. *wink*

What are your plans this month? Are you joining in the madness of NaNoWriMo? Or are you working on other things?

Also, don't forget you have until Friday at midnight to enter my contest to win your choice of prizes! Click here to see the details.

Happy November everyone!