Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In Which I Say Goodbye To 2014

So. 2014. 

Intense year, I must admit. 

Terrible things happened. To me. To friends.

Great things also happened. 

I graduated from my Master's program. 

I got a new job one month later. 

I rescued and adopted another stray puppy (my very first boy!). 

I rescued yet another stray puppy and found it a forever home on Thanksgiving Day (yep, a boy, too) (I think stray puppies are just texting each other about how kind I am to them, so now they're all like, HOUSE PARTY LET'S GO).

After months of struggling, I have fallen back in love with my WIP. It is a mad, consuming love. I vow to work my butt off even harder on this project. I must. 

So yeah. 2014 was both terrible and great. I made a lot of mistakes, but I have no regrets.

2015 might be terrible. It might be great. It might be terrible and great, too.

I just hope it's weird enough to remember, and that it comes with candy. :) 

Happy New Year, folks!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On Inspiration And The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter

So. The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
I had never gone to the WWOHP until last week.
Hogsmeade. Diagon Alley. I went to both of them.
I was also quite inspired by everything. Confession: I've been putting off WIP revisions for about a month now, but once I returned from my trip, I felt reenergized to work again. I've written a little, but I plan on writing more as the days roll on. My drive and focus? Back where they belong.
I owe a lot to the WWOHP. Not only did I fangirl squeal most of the time, I also felt this weight lifted off my shoulders. There I was, skipping along streets and barging into shops and eating food that existed in one woman's head for so long, and they were right where I could touch them. Right where I could enjoy them. I stopped thinking about stories as things I needed to perfect. Revisions are fun for me, but with this WIP, I've been struggling. The joy was sucked out of the writing experience. For the rest of my trip, though, my WIP and other stories became fangirl squeals. They were my source of joy, even if most of them aren't even worthy enough of full commitment. Even if they give me the hardest time of all hard times.
It's about time I enjoyed my imagination again.
So. WWOHP. Thank you for giving me back what was missing. Oh, and I'm definitely returning someday. Because this:






Saturday, July 26, 2014

Never Say Never Because Benedict Cumberbatch Finally Went To Comic-Con

I think this post's title explains itself.


Enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch at Comic-Con.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Why It's Okay To Want (And Some Laini Taylor Gushing)

So. Laini Taylor. Lots of people have been telling me--no, no, INSISTING--that I read her books. All of them. Immediately. 

Well. This week, I finished her short story anthology, LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES. Holy amazeballs, Batman. Holy. Amazeballs.

First off, there's the (glorious) cover.


Then there are the actual stories.

Goblin Fruit
In Victorian times, goblin men had only to offer young girls sumptuous fruits to tempt them to sell their souls. But what does it take to tempt today's savvy girls?

Spicy Little Curses
A demon and the ambassador to Hell tussle over the soul of a beautiful English girl in India. Matters become complicated when she falls in love and decides to test her curse.

Six days before Esme's fourteenth birthday, her left eye turns from brown to blue. She little suspects what the change heralds, but her small safe life begins to unravel at once. What does the beautiful, fanged man want with her, and how is her fate connected to a mysterious race of demons?

Awesome, no? Well, I enjoyed all three stories, but my absolute FAVE was "Goblin Fruit." Like the talented Laini Taylor, I'm quite fond of Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market." I even chose to study it for my comprehensive exams in my M.A. program. Everything about "Goblin Fruit" rocked my world: the mythology, the dynamic between main character Kizzy and her friends, her BADASS grandma, the tempting suitor.

Which is why I've decided to highlight something particularly awesome about this story.

You see, there's a paragraph on page 41 that knocked me sideways with its brilliance. It deals with the many, many things Kizzy daydreams of having and doing. The paragraph is immediately followed by a single sentence:

I couldn't help but stop reading to stare at the wall in front of me. Not only was the writing gorgeous, it was also speaking of true things. Of things we can all relate to, whether or not we've been seduced by a goblin disguised as a pretty face. Publishing offers aspiring authors many things. But before we can attain any of them, we're left with the insatiable yearning. Some people advise against thinking of landing film deals and hitting the NYT Bestseller List and touring the world and having monuments built in your name. I say there's nothing wrong with wanting. It's okay to want.

The problem comes when we turn a blind eye to what's within our reach--writing--and only see what we would love to have. Or even worse, when we only see how others obtained what we want first. This helps no one. You should want as many things as you can, but you must fight for them. And even if you fight for the things you want, that doesn't guarantee you'll get them. That's why you should always put writing first. Regardless of what happens, you'll have put in the work toward your dreams instead of just dreaming all the time. You tried. Others might not make it past the first page, but you will. You want. That's the first step to having and doing.

Now go out there and write, folks.

Also, if you haven't already, please devour Laini Taylor's LIPS TOUCH: THREE TIMES. I insist.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Book Giveaway WINNER!!

Guess what, y'all? It's announcement time! With the help of, I can finally choose a winner for my DEADWOOD book giveaway. Without further ado, let's get to it.


The winner of DEADWOOD by Kell Andrews is:


Congrats, Lori!! Please email me your home address at amparoortiz (dot) author (at) gmail (dot) com so I can send your copy of DEADWOOD!

This giveaway showed me how much I missed doing giveaways, so hopefully there will be more where this one came from. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Giveaway: DEADWOOD By Kell Andrews!!

So. There's a book coming out today. Well, there's more than one book coming out today, BUT I'm focusing on one of them. Because it's awesome and you should read it.

Which book, you ask?

There’s something evil in Deadwood Park.

Martin Cruz hates his rotten new town. Then he gets a message from a tree telling him it’s cursed — and so is he. It’s not just any tree. It’s the Spirit Tree, the ancient beech the high school football team carves to commemorate the home opener. And every year they lose.

But the curse is no game, and it gets worse. Businesses fail. Trees topple like dominos. Sinkholes open up in the streets, swallowing cars and buildings. Even people begin to fade, drained of life.

Martin teams up with know-it-all soccer star Hannah Vaughan. Together they must heal the tree, or be stuck in Deadwood Park at the mercy of the psycho who cursed it.

And since I think you should read it, I'm giving away a copy on le blog!!! All you have to do is comment to enter the giveaway. That's it. If you want to blog/Tweet/Facebook/Tumbl/whatever about the giveaway, that's great! It won't get you any points, but it will get you my infinite gratitude. :D The deadline is next Tuesday, July 1st. So go forth and comment! 

Best of luck to all who enter!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Writing Blog Hop! Or, In Which I Talk About My WIP(s)

So. My friend Kell Andrews tagged me for this writing blog hop that's been going around. Thank you, Kell!!

Now. Here's a little about her:

We first met as members of the Operation Awesome critique group. Later on, we became CPs and co-bloggers! Kell writes nonfiction for adults and fiction for children. A little bit of "magic" helps with both. DEADWOOD, her middle-grade contemporary fantasy comes out from Spencer Hill Middle Grade in June 2014! (YOU SHOULD READ IT!).

Growing up, she spent a lot of time reading, writing, drawing, and looking for treasure in the woods and on the beach. She still does. Kell holds a humanities degree from Johns Hopkins University and a master of liberal arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. A lifelong Philadelphian, she lives with her husband and two daughters in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, right next to a park a lot like the one in Deadwood. Kell is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

You can find Kell  at, on Twitter, Tumblrand the Operation Awesome blog.

Okay. Let's answer some questions!!

*cracks knuckles*

1.  What am I working on?
Two things. I'm currently trying to write a synopsis for my WIP, which is a YA high fantasy I've previously written about. To sum it up, the story follows a seventeen-year-old girl who rebels against a magic-wielding tyrant bent on conquering her homeland. You know. Happy-go-lucky stuff. :) Synopses are not my friends, let me tell you. BUT I do love my manuscript and my main character and everything else, so I'm keeping the faith. I think.

The other thing I'm "working on" (as in, brainstorming a lot) is my next WIP, which is yet another fantasy, but set in contemporary times. It involves a girl and a boy and the magic keeping them apart. That's all I can share for now. :) I've been having WAY too much fun brainstorming this one. It must be a keeper. *crosses fingers*

2.  How does my work differ from others of this genre?
My main character is a POC, which doesn't usually take center stage in YA high fantasy. The manuscript features a large cast of mostly female characters with different hopes and dreams and they get along. Sometimes. :) Also, my manuscript deals with identity through gender, race, politics, religion, blood ties, and romantic love in ways that I *hope* are complex and layered. Of course other novels do this in better ways, but I think my little story has something to add in those departments.

3.  Why do I write what I do?
I write two kinds of books: books of my heart and books of my dreams. The former are stories that resonate with me because they're about a personal truth. The latter are stories that resonate with me because they're about someone else's personal truth that I wish to see on bookshelves. They're stories I'm dying to read, but haven't been written yet. So I write them. I have no power over when and where and how these stories come to me, though. They just do.

4.  How does my writing process work?
Depends on the book. Sometimes I can sit down and write and write and write. This is super rare, though. Most of the time? I sit down to write, listen to music, then write a page or less. I get up, away from the computer for about an hour or two, then come back to write some more. Rinse and repeat throughout the day.  

That's it from me, folks! A huge thank you to Kell for tagging me! :) Now. Let me keep this chain going by tagging two more writers:

Natasha Heck is one of the Iron Keys, which is my critique group! I'm tagging her because she writes beautiful stories that make me want to punch myself for not being as talented/evocative/lyrical/imaginative as she is. *sigh* Natasha is  a native North Dakotan. She attended Minnesota State University Moorhead and graduated with a degree in English emphasis Creative Writing. She has touched Stonehenge, climbed the Glastonbury Tor, walked the Philosopher's Path, and kissed her true love on the Eiffel Tower. She's a fangirl, Jedi Knight, and Gryffindor whose love of unicorns led her to live in the land of geekdom and sunshine (San Diego, California) with her programmer husband Joey and their two kitties, Topher and Sophie.

Natasha is a member of two writing fabulous groups, Stone Circle and The Iron Keys. She writes a bi-weekly column for YA Interrobang. She attends various science fiction and fantasy conventions and served as a con chair for Fargo's Core Con for three years. She is currently working on her dream of writing when she's not wrangling cats.

You can find Natasha on her website, The Heroine's Domain, and on Twitter

Kaye M. is another member of the Iron Keys!! I bet you're sensing a pattern here. :) Anyway, I'm tagging Kaye because I also hate myself for not being as talented/evocative/lyrical/imaginative as she is. AND she loves dragons. Kaye is a self-professed twenty-something Muslim girl who reads a lot of books, drinks a lot of tea, and wears a lot of (figurative) hats.

Currently, those hats include student aiming for a future MLS, YA and MG book blogger, staff writer for online YA magazine YA Interrobang, and fantabulous intern for Pooja Menon of Kimberly Cameron and Associates.
She's also the Once and Future Queen of the Iron Keys, which gives her life-long tiara rights.

When she's not reading, Kaye writes about dark worlds, high stakes and tough, wounded girls who carve out their own happily ever afters. 

You can find Kaye at her blog and on Twitter!

Stay tuned for what Natasha and Kaye have to say next Monday, June 2nd!

Happy weekend! :D

Sunday, March 30, 2014

That Time My Father Loved The Divergent Movie

So. After a week of the film hitting theaters, I finally saw Divergent. As a fan of the book series, I was expecting to enjoy it. I did. A lot.

My family went with me to the theater. 

Including my dad.

And he loved it.

Dad: "The movie was awesome. I loved it."


Dad: "No, really. I loved it."


Dad: "For real."

Dad: *asks me questions about the plot* *seems genuinely interested in my answers*


So now you know. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

BRB Crying. Or, How ALLEGIANT By Veronica Roth Destroyed Me In The Best Way.

Some of you may know that this book has been the source of CONTROVERSY and FEELS. Not only is it the ending of a (hugely successful) trilogy, it's the ending's ending that got tongues wagging.

I managed to avoid spoilers before sitting down to read ALLEGIANT

I'm so thrilled I did. 

I was genuinely surprised by the ending.

I cried while reading it.

I cried after I finished the book.

And I feel a strong need to thank Veronica Roth for destroying me. 

I think this ending is going to haunt me forever, not just as a reader, but as a writer. Especially as a writer. Stories that resonate and linger and cling to my bones often have authors who do the unthinkable. In ALLEGIANT, a character tells another the following two words: "Be brave." It's a story for the story's sake, not its fans' sake. I wouldn't have it any other way. Veronica Roth's bravery, as well as that of the countless authors I admire, has taught me that I should never conform with whatever I can conjure. No. It's not enough to write. 

It's enough to write bravely.

Even if it destroys you. Even if it destroys those who trust you to pick them up and give them the happy ending they envisioned. Fiction isn't one thing. It doesn't provide the same answer over and over. Sometimes, it doesn't provide answers at all. I'm at peace with that. I think I always have been.

I'm going to try and write as bravely as I can. I hope you do the same.

Monday, January 13, 2014

In Which I Vow To Read More Books

So. Last year, I set a reading goal of 30 books.

I read 25.

Not only did I not meet my goal, I also didn't want to set that particular goal in the first place. I like to read more than 50 books a year. Unfortunately, I couldn't juggle my reading schedule with WIP revisions and thesis writing and work, so I settled for 30. I didn't even read that amount.

This year, things are going to be different.

Yes, I did set a specific amount of books to read: 35.

No, I won't limit myself to 35 if I find it possible to surpass it. Other authors fuel me to get better. Their stories dazzle me with their genius. I need that kind of magic in my life. I crave that kind of magic in my life.

So here's to 2014 and goals and books and magic. 

Oh, and Nutella. Can't forget about the Nutella. 


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In Which I Celebrate Sherlock Day



In the U.K.


BUT fear not. I'm still celebrating. Because Sherlock.

So. Even though I have to wait a while to see the first episode AND I must avoid Tumblr like the plague, I've chosen to keep an upbeat attitude about this whole thing and just rewatch the super sadsies final episode of Season 2. Because Moriarty. 


So. If you don't watch Sherlock, we can still be friends, but you should really get on that. Like, right now. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go pretend Tumblr doesn't exist and get reacquainted with some of my favorite Brit peeps. :)