The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Have you seen The Duff movie? If so, what did you think? I only recently found out the movie is based on a novel by the same name. I loved the movie, so why not read the book? To be honest, I was a little hesitant to read it; I thought the movie would’ve ruined the book for me. Oh, was I wrong! The book is nothing like the movie.

When the school hottie, Wesley Rush, informs 17-year-old Bianca Piper that she is the Duff—Designated Ugly Fat Friend—in her friend group, she can’t stop thinking about it. She’s horrified by the label. To make things worse, Bianca starts having problems at home with her parents. She wants an escape, something to distract her from the bad things happening in her life. Surprisingly, Bianca finds herself hooking up with Wesley, even though she has always hated the guy. As the two start spending more time together, her friendships are tested, and she comes to realize she has a lot in common with Wesley. She hates to admit it, but Bianca is falling for him. Will she face reality or continue to try to escape it?

Kody Keplinger’s debut novel is a fun read full of laughter and charm. Though predictable, the ending had me smiling and my heart feeling warm. I might even have fallen in love with Wesley (shh, don’t tell my boyfriend.). This is one book I won’t soon forget. 5/5 stars!

“No matter where you go or what you do to distract yourself, reality catches up with you eventually.” ― Kody Keplinger, The Duff.

 

Hello NaNoWriMo!

Happy Halloween! I hope your costumes scare all the little kids away and you get the candy all to yourselves. Just kidding. Mostly, anyway.

If it’s Halloween, that means It’s almost NaNoWriMo! Are you participating this year? Are you excited?

After much debate, I’ve decided to sit this one out. I have a lot going on: continuing education classes, job stuff, my reading goal, and don’t get me started on the adorable new kitten that is always distracting me. She’s so cute, right? Her name is Jasmine.

Anyway, where was I? Right! While I may not be doing NaNoWriMo this year, that doesn’t mean I won’t be writing. I have plans to start writing a new story soon. Naomi really wants me to tell her story; she reminds me every day. *eye roll* Y’all will meet Naomi soon enough. Also, I should be working on editing a manuscript. Don’t tell Naomi that, though. She might not like me focusing on another character’s story.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, I wish you the best of luck! If you’re feeling discouraged, maybe this will help. My first completed manuscript took me YEARS to write. I started writing it the summer after 7th grade and finished it on my 20th birthday. You can imagine how hesitant and discouraged I was feeling to participate in NaNoWriMo the following year. I had so many thoughts running through my head. You can’t write a book in a month. It’s impossible. Don’t even waste your time trying.

I don’t know how but I did it! I wrote a book in a month. My first manuscript took me 5+ years to write and my second took me only 30 days. I’ve always struggled with finishing first drafts, but if I can do it in a month, so can you! You got this! I’ll even buy your book when it’s published. Good luck!

A Writer’s Questionnaire

Chilly weather, football, leaves falling, pumpkins—Yes, fall is here! *Sigh* I don’t know about you, but I’m glad the hot weather is gone.

A couple months ago I got a library card! You would think that I, a major bookworm, would already have had a library card, but I did not. Now I have access to thousands of free books from my favorite authors just on my phone. I also have access to online classes for free! Why did it take me so long to get a library card?! If you love reading and don’t have a library card, I suggest getting one.

I gave myself a new goal: Read a hundred books in one year. I started this goal on July 25th (the day I got the library card), and so far I’ve read eight books. I’m currently reading Split Second by David Baldacci and some weird book my boyfriend wanted me to read. Will I accomplish my goal? I guess we’ll find out on July 25th, 2020. You can expect a lot of book reviews, so I hope you like books!

I found this questionnaire in a Facebook writing group, and I thought it would be fun to post on here.

A Writer’s Questionnaire

How long have you been writing?
My entire life.

What kind of writing do you do?
Novels are my passion, but I do a little poetry, articles, etc.

When did you write your first piece?
I started writing my first novel in 3rd grade.

Ever been published?
Not professionally. I’ve had pieces published on blogs.

How old were you when you first published?
N/A

Title of your first published work?
N/A

What’s your opinion on the oxford comma?
I like it and use it.

Biggest pet peeve as a writer?
Probably double negatives.

Do you prefer traditional publishing or self-publishing?
I like traditional, but I’m open to publishing myself.

Your top five favorite writers:
Oh, this is a hard one.
1. Nicholas Sparks
2. Sarah Dessen
3. David Baldacci
4. Barbara Freethy
5. Nora Roberts
So hard to pick only five!

What’s your genre?
Mystery/thriller, suspense, YA, and romance.

Least favorite part being a writer?
Editing.

Favorite part?
The freedom of it. Being able to create worlds and people from scratch.

Why did you decide to start writing?
I didn’t choose to be a writer; the writing life chose me.

Do you have a favorite piece of writing or book?
The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks.

How often do you write?
Not nearly as often as I should.

Who or what inspires you as a writer?
The world around me. Everyday people.

Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A little bit of both.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
To write more, edit more, and write some more. Don’t procrastinate.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yeah, I’ve experienced it a few times.

Did the thought to give up writing ever occur to you?
Yes, but I could never give up writing. It’s a part of me. Also, the voices would haunt me until i finished their stories.

Does your family and friends support you as a writer?
Yes they do.

What writers have most influenced your own writing?
Nicholas Sparks

What time of the day do you usually write?
Whenever it is most quiet, usually late at night.

What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
Read a lot! It’s how I learned to write.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?
Getting in the zone and staying in the zone.

What writing projects are you currently working on?
Editing a manuscript and writing a new story.

Any future writing goals?
Finish editing and get an agent. Maybe self-publish.

What do you use to write with?
Mostly my laptop, but sometimes a pencil and journal.

Last but not least, do you enjoy writing?
We have a love/hate relationship. I mostly love having written.

Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe

If you don’t know who Lauren Graham is, I’m assuming you’ve never seen the show Gilmore Girls. If you have never seen Gilmore Girls, you’re missing out! Lauren Graham is one of the stars on the show, and not only is she an amazing actress, but she’s also an author! When I discovered she wrote a novel, I knew I had to read it.

Anyway, let’s get to the review, shall we?

Someday, Someday, Maybe is Graham’s hilarious, laugh-out-loud, quirky debut novel about a struggling actress trying to make it in New York City.

The year is 1995, and Franny Banks has six months left to make it as an actress before her three-year deadline is up, a deadline she gave herself. In the two-and-a-half years she’s been in New York, Franny has only landed a line in a commercial and a waitress job at a comedy club, not exactly where she pictured herself. She dreams of being on Broadway and doesn’t want to give up on her dreams and have to move back home. Things start to look up when she gets the attention of two agents and the cute actor from acting class, James. But as soon as things start to go well, things start to fall apart. With the help of her friends and roommates, Jane and Dan, Franny just might achieve her dreams someday, someday, maybe…

Someday, Someday, Maybe is the perfect light read to pick up when you feel like your dreams aren’t going anywhere, especially if you wish to be an actor. The characters are relatable and witty. You’ll be cheering—and laughing—throughout the book. It is a story about chasing your dreams, finding yourself, and finding love along the way. 4/5 stars!

 

2019: A New Chapter

Goodbye 2018 and hello 2019!

I remember sitting in this exact spot a year ago and writing about the year ahead. I said this and that would happen in 2018, and you know what? I was right. For the most part, the year went how I predicted it would go. The only thing I was wrong about were the characters in my story. Life threw some curve balls, but lessons were learned. I conquered many fears. I experienced all the firsts I envisioned a year ago. I just experienced them with new characters.

“People come, people go – they’ll drift in and out of your life, almost like characters in a favorite book. When you finally close the cover, the characters have told their story and you start up again with another book, complete with new characters and adventures. Then you find yourself focusing on the new ones, not the ones from the past.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Rescue

Over all, 2018 was a good year for me.

How did you bring in the new year?

I brought in the new year at a karaoke bar with some of my favorite people. I even had my first New Year’s kiss. It was a night full of games, music, drunken laughs, and one twisted ankle after I tried to escape from my friend’s house at 4 AM. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start off the new year or with a better group of people.

I’m in a much better place than I was a couple months ago. A lot has changed and a lot has happened in such a short amount of time. My New Year’s resolutions? I don’t have any except to be a better person than I was the day before. I’m going to continue writing and working toward my goals and my personal growth. I have no predictions for the new year. 2019 is a mystery to me; I’m entering the year blindfolded. I can’t wait to see what’s in store, though. I have a feeling 2019 will be good to me.

I hope all of you had a good New Year’s and I wish you all a good year ahead. May your year be filled with more blessings than worries and more smiles than frowns!

Dear Lucky

Dear Lucky,

I never would have thought a month after writing a letter to Cappie I would have to write a letter to you. I meant to write sooner, but I needed time. I probably shouldn’t be writing this when I’m emotional. There will likely be a lot of errors, but I don’t care. I finally have the energy to write this.

I thought we had more time together. You still had your sight. You still could hear. You still jumped six-foot fences. You ate a mile a minute. I had to constantly remind you to slow down before you choked or vomited. One day you’re chowing down, and the next day you weren’t.

The last weeks of your life were hard. If I’m being honest, I wanted to stay as far away from you as I could. It was too hard for me to see you go through all that, but I couldn’t stay away. I wanted to spend as much time with you while I still had the chance, and someone had to take care of you. You only ate your regular food when it was in my hand, and I had to tell you it was okay to eat. When you missed the bathroom sink and ran out, you came back after I went in and you let me lift you up there. Thank you for letting me take care of you. Thank you for trusting me.

I’m sorry you couldn’t go outside. It broke my heart every time I heard you meow, but I wasn’t about to let you disappear to die somewhere. I probably wouldn’t have been able to find your body, and I wasn’t about to let your story end like that.

Whenever I cried, you forced yourself to eat or drink. I know you wanted to get better for me, and I know you were scared. I was scared, too. I tried to stay strong for you. I didn’t do a good job, though, I know. I don’t think you wanted to die (if you even knew what death was), and I didn’t want to lose you. You’ve been with me for most of my life; I’ve never had to live without you. You meant the world to me. You were more than my pet. You were my fur baby, my emotional support, and a best friend. 2016 has been the shittiest year of my life, and I wouldn’t have made it through if it weren’t for you. You brought so much joy into my life. Of course, the one thing that made me happy would be taken away from me. That’s 2016, huh?

I feel empty. Part of me died when you did. I don’t have much motivation these days. I keep thinking what’s the point when my girl is dead?! I looked at your ashes. I have a hard time accepting that you went from a furry animal to a few ashes in a small box. I almost regret having you cremated. Mom and Dean may not always live in this house. I didn’t want to bury you and not always be able to visit your grave.

I don’t want you to worry about me, though. I know you hated it when I was upset, so I’m trying to be okay for you. I have to keep reminding myself of the positives. You’re not in pain anymore, and I got the chance to say goodbye. I got to spend a lot of time with you before you left. You lived a long, healthy cat life. If Alex hadn’t brought you home from Corky’s, who knows what would have happened to you. You were a homeless kitten in need of a home. It’s why your name is Lucky. Not every cat is as lucky as you were.

We’re getting another cat any day now. They wanted it to be a surprise, but I already knew. I heard them talk about it. Then Dean showed me the picture of her. She’s an all black cat. I wish I didn’t need a new cat. If I had only one wish, I’d wish for fifty more years with you. I’d wish pets could live as long as humans. I hope you’re okay with me getting another cat. No cat will ever be able to replace you, and I don’t want to replace you. You’re one of a kind! I’m not sure why, but I almost feel I’m betraying you by getting a new cat. I want you to know I’m getting another cat because I loved you so much, and I need an animal. I need the emotional support, a furry best friend, and I need a fur baby to take care of.

There may be a new cat coming in the picture, but that doesn’t mean I’ll forget about you. You’ll always be in my mind and heart. I’ll always cherish our memories, and I have a few hundred pictures of us. I’m so glad I took a lot of pictures these past few years. I only wish I had some from when you were younger.

I love how you used to lick us in our ears as a kitten.

I love how you always rushed to my aid when I cried. Remember that one time you kept petting me on the head when I was crying? I burst into laughter. I thought I was the one who had to pet you?

I love how you followed me around the house. When we had that crack in the bathroom door and you weren’t already in with me, you’d sit on the other side and watch me. Some might think that’s creepy. Or you would scratch on the door as if it were life or death.

I love that you watched my first meteor shower with me.

I love that you hated my singing.

I love the times you would force yourself between me and my laptop because you wanted to cuddle. Or the times you kept jumping on the desk. You were a major writing distraction, but a good distraction.

I’ll always remember the times you made me get up in the morning to sit with you at the kitchen table so you could rub your head against me. All you wanted was to give loves before heading out for the day, and all I wanted was to go back to sleep. I regret not sitting at the table with you more. I was always so tired and mad at you for constantly making me get up in the morning. I’d probably get up an average of five times in one morning just for you to jump back on the kitchen table. I miss those days.

Remember the times you left rats for us? I know you only wanted to provide for us. Thank you.

I love that phase you went through when you only came inside when I called you. Everyone would call for you, but you’d just sit on the front porch. I’d then call for you, and you would come right inside. I loved those days.

You know what my favorite memory of us is? The day you spent all day cuddling with me. It was a few months ago, and all you wanted to do that Saturday was be curled up next to me. I kept waiting for you to get up and start your day outside, but it never happened. I didn’t mind, though. Wishing you were an indoor only kitty, I loved that you wanted to spend all day inside. Eventually, we got up to eat and use the bathroom, and I thought for sure you’d finally go outside. Nope, you followed me right back to the room and curled up next to me again. The same thing happened the second time I got up. I had planned on getting some editing done that day, but I guess it really was Caturday.

The other night, as I was dozing off, I thought I saw you. You meowed. I tried to meow, but nothing came out. I meowed louder then I fell asleep. I occasionally hear faint meow sounds, but I’m sure it’s just my mind playing tricks on me. I don’t know if God and Heaven are real, but I’m going to think they are. I have to believe you’re in Heaven, and I’ll see you again someday.

I hope you and all of our other furry animals had a good Christmas in Heaven. I wish you could have been here for one last Christmas. I got some picture frames that I’m going to fill with my favorite pictures of us.

I read that tortie cats tend to like and stick to only one person. I’m honored to have been the chosen one. I know you love me, and I know you heard me say this a thousand times in the last month, but I’m going to say it again. I love you more than anything and everything! I always have, and I always will. No matter how far apart we are, you’ll always be my girl. You were the perfect first cat! Well, minus the fact you always had fleas and worms. Thanks for leaving some of each behind for me (sarcasm). Despite that, I love you. All I want is you curled up next to me in your spot. Your spot is empty without you. This house is empty without you. I miss you so much! I would do anything to bring you back, but I know there’s nothing I can do. Until we’re reunited, you’ll live in my heart. Also, every novel I write will have a tortoiseshell cat named after you.

I love you more than you will ever know.

Sincerely,

Your Abigail

luckycollage

 

 

Dear Cappie

Dear Cappie,

It’s been three years. It’s been three years since you died. I remember the day so vividly. I had stayed up all night just so I had more time with you. I couldn’t care less how heavy my eyes felt or how many times I yawned, I didn’t want to waste a single second. I talked to you for hours and we watched Scooby-Doo on Netflix, remember? We took a ton of pictures before we left. I didn’t have enough pictures with you. I still don’t. Time was suddenly slipping through my fingers, and I still had a lifetime of memories I wanted to share with you.

After pictures, we got in the truck. I should have ridden in the back with you, but the canopy was off, and it was raining. I didn’t want to be in the rain, and I didn’t want other drivers to see me bawl my eyes out. I was selfish, and I’m sorry. It could have been another ten minutes we had together.

I hope you understand why we did it. Watching you die was the hardest thing I ever had to endure. I sobbed on the way there and on the way home. I cried so much I didn’t even hear my phone when my friend called me. He wanted to make sure I was okay, but I wasn’t okay. Sometimes I’m still not okay. Sometimes I still cry. Life sucks without my best friend. They say time heals our wounds, but I don’t believe that to be true. I think we learn to just live with the pain. I know I still feel pain after all these years, but I’m used to it now.

I don’t want to dwell on the bad times, though. I know you wouldn’t want me to be sad. I’m one of the lucky ones. I was lucky enough to have a special dog like you. People go their entire lives without ever owning a dog, and I truly feel sorry for them. We shared a special bond and not everyone is fortunate enough to experience what we had.

Do you recall my surgery in 7th grade? I’ll never forget how excited you were to have me home after being gone for almost two weeks. As soon as the front door opened, you bolted for my lap. There wasn’t enough space on my lap while I waited to be helped out of the car, but you managed to leap up anyway. You covered my face with doggy kisses.

Remember the time we went for a walk and somehow you got away with my wheelchair? With your leash tied to the chair, You took off down the street, swinging your head side to side as though you were walking on a runway. I fell in the middle of the road, laughing uncontrollably. My friend chased after you. What was going through your head? It was the first time you didn’t stay by my side while out for a walk. You always stayed by my side even when we were home.

There were times I pretended to cry, and you did everything you could to cheer me up.

Remember the game we always played? You had to save me from the “blanket monster.” You whined every time you couldn’t save me.

I remember when I met you. You came to our apartment for us to meet you and Atlas. You stayed the night, and they put you in my room to sleep with me. All you did was whine. You didn’t want to be left alone with me. Funny how things change, huh?

I have only a handful of memories of you. I wish I could tell you I remember everything, but I’d be lying. I feel like my memories of you are slowly fading into oblivion, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I may not remember all the times we shared, but I will never forget you.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Even though you’re no longer here, you’re still doing stuff for me. Thank you for all the loves and laughs. Thank you for following me around the house, and catching me every time I stumbled, especially in the bathroom. I’ll never forget how you helped me out of the tub or how you let me use you as a walker. You didn’t have to do those things. You weren’t a registered service dog, but you were my best friend who was looking out for me. Thank you for being the best dog in the world! Forget man’s best friend, it’s woman’s best friend.

Three years have gone by, and it’s still fresh in my mind. Where did the time go? I wish I could see you again. I wish we could have traveled the world. We got another dog, but Lucy doesn’t compare to you. I wish you could meet our newest family member, Logan. You would love him. Liam still asks about you. I tell him you’re in doggy heaven. I have to believe there is a heaven and you are there. I have to believe I’ll see you again someday. I hope you’re with Atlas, and I hope you two are chewing on tasty bones right now. I hope your tail is wagging, and your tongue is sticking out. Tell Atlas hi for me and that I love him. I love you, too. I love you more than life. I miss you every single day.

Your best friend,

Abigail

P.S. I haven’t forgotten my promise to you.

cappiecollage

 

 

NaNoWriMo Round Two!

It’s pouring rain outside, my Facebook feed is flooded with people in their costumes, and I see pumpkins everywhere. NaNoWriMo must be here!

NaNoWriMo 2015 was my first year participating in the event. I still can’t believe I wrote a novel in a month. Well, I’m pleased tonanowrimoparticipant announce I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, too! However, I will not be writing a new story. I’d much rather write a new story, but this year I’ve decided to focus on editing my first novel, Lucky Star. For NaNoWriMo, I’m going to continue working on the major edits, which basically means I’m rewriting the entire story. *sigh*

I want to wish everyone doing NaNoWriMo good luck, and I hope y’all reach that 50,000-word mark!

“This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It’s that easy, and that hard.” – Neil Gaiman

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” – William Faulkner

nanohalloween

Happy Halloween and happy writing!

Write, Edit, Read Writer’s Market, and Edit Some More

I bet you didn’t expect to see me back so soon. I intended to take a break from writing, but life had other plans for me.

A couple of days after I posted my last blog, I got offered a new writing opportunity with My Trending Stories. I’m all for building my writing resume and author platform; I had to say yes. I’ll be writing articles about whatever I want whenever I want. I have yet to write my first article, but I’m working on it.

WritersMarketA few days later I got an email from Writer’s Digest letting me know of their awesome sale. The Writer’s Market books were 75% off. It was such a good deal, I got three of them and all for under $30. Not bad, huh?

I had to buy the new edition of Guide To Literary Agents to help with my novel writing and agent search. I have the 2015 edition; I’m thinking about starting a collection.

I had to have Writer’s Market 2016. It’s packed with information on all things writing from articles, freelance, blogging and more. Plus, it has hundreds of listings for magazines and trade journals.

I know what I need to do to get my novels published, but I’m completely clueless how to go about getting song lyrics out in the world. With that said, I got Songwriter’s Market, too. I don’t know if my songwriting is any good, but it can’t hurt to try someday. No, I do not sing. If my cat runs away when I sing, you will too.

I sure have a lot of note taking to do!

As you can see, I like to do different kinds of writing, but my novels always come first.

Between the new writing opportunity and my new books, I feel as if the universe is telling me I should be writing. I feel motivated. I said I needed to take a break from writing to focus on myself, but writing is a part of me. It’s exactly what I need to be doing.

I’m going to start editing Lucky Star within the week. Hopefully, I’ll have it polished by the new year and ready to send off to an editor, then I can begin sending out query letters to agents. Have I mentioned editing is my least favorite part? Well, it is. I know it’s worth it, though.

AbigailWyvonWriterTwitter

I’ve been active on Twitter recently. Among other things, I’ll begin posting updates on the progress I’m making on my novel, so follow along if you’d like and have an account. I usually follow back.

These upcoming months are going to be busy: editing, writing, reading, more editing, and can’t forget it’s almost football season. I’m stoked!

Until next time!

Tough Times Make Tough People

“Abby, how’s the writing going? You haven’t posted a new blog in a while,” a friend mentioned to me.

I guess it has been a while since my last post. Four months.

Truth is, I haven’t done much writing. These last few months I’ve gone through depression. I lost interest in the things I loved to do most. I did things that aren’t me; things I normally would never do. Depression changes people. I lost sight of who I am, but I’m happy to say that I’m starting to feel like myself again, only now I’m stronger and wiser! Tough times make tough people.

Though I’m starting to feel better, I’m not sure when I’ll begin writing—or should I say editing—again. I’m focusing on myself right now, mentally and physically. It’s just what I need to do.

Thank you for understanding. Hopefully, I’ll be back at blogging and writing in the near future. I’m even calling it quits on some other social media, at least for now anyway.

I’d also like to say my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by with what happened in Orlando! May the victims rest in peace and may their loved ones and the survivors find healing. Orlando Strong!

Goodnight y’all or good morning depending on where you are in the world. Hope y’all have a good one! I must be a servant to my cat now. Meow