Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Prepping for a New Year of Blogging

Since last month I've been contemplating what direction to take this blog in 2013. There are some ideas floating around in my head, for instance:
a. writing 
b. photography 
c. crafts/art
d. food
e. 365 days of _____
f. craptastic internet funnies that will annoy everyone including myself

But in the end, I'm undeniably a lost cause at focusing on just one of those subjects. There is no way I consider myself an expert in any of said fields. I don't want to blog regularly, at length, on just one of those topics. 

This leaves me at an impasse, lovely readers. What to do... What to do? 

Like many other blogs I follow, I started this blog to get into the world of my number one passion (writing). Yet I've found a number of blogs with excellent writing advice; a delicious number of blogs about yummy foods; a slew of artistically talented and crafty bloggers. And they already blog about their respective subjects with amazing talent. 

So, lovely reader, I asked myself:  

Self, what do you have to offer the glorious inter-webs that isn't already out there? 
My answer: ... *stares horrified*...

While at a loss for words, myself waiting impatiently for an answer of course, it hit me. The answer is in everything we create - one person's take on a situation is unique to them. 

I had an answer! This whole journey of life and writing and blogging and creating is unique to each of our own POVs. 

Here's the idea:

g. all of the above; sort of. 

I'm thinking a mix of things that inspire me, motivate me, encourage me, teach me - CREATIVELY. Simply: one big bulletin board of creative disarray, or kicking it old school: blogging diary style (as it pertains to my creative side). 

The new blog will have: a heap of pictures, quotes, random remarks on things I encounter in the wilds of society. A blog post on any of the aforementioned subjects; if I feel I have a new perspective to share. Basically I'm thinking Twitter-ish ramblings with higher character counts that all revolve around what gets me going creatively. 

Yes. This sounds good to me. Decision made. 

Any fellow readers out there feel like changing/organizing their blog in the new year?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fast Drafting, NaNo, and Changes

It has taken me from the end of November, when I finished Nanowrimo, until an hour ago to pull my thoughts together in regards to all the writing I've accomplished in the past two months.

My overworked brain needed to gorge on caffeine and sweet baked goodness and quiet, happy places before it would cooperate with a round-up here on the blog. Now I really understand the twitter hashtag "writerproblems".

On December 1st, I felt like this:
I'm good. I'm gooo-ahh*YAWN* Just don't touch me.

Over the last week, I've finally turned into:
Are we going to do this or not?


Was all the writing worth it?
Hells Yes.
Awesome. Why?
See below:

1. Taking the Fast Draft/Revision Hell class held me accountable and taught me I could finish a draft. And revise it. Well, revise it a bit.

1a - I'd never send said revised draft to beta readers, much less out with queries, but it is a more polished draft than the original hurried draft.

2. Nanowrimo was amazing. As I'd just finished a 70k word MS in two weeks the month before, 50k came much easier. Added plus: this MS was handled with more care as I wanted to focus on the story and not just word count - which was easier to do after that the FD class made me a believer in my own ability to finish on time.

2a - Only downside was that I didn't check in everyday and I didn't verify my 53k word MS at the end of the month (it's not finished, but my nano word goal was met). Ooops! Well, there's always next year to get that Winner Badge for the blog. Still, I was happy to know my October MS wasn't a fluke. Thanks to November Nanowrimo, I now have two viable manuscripts.

3. After all the writing and revisions and both stories were put away, I can honestly say I'm stupendously proud that I forced myself to just do it! BICHOK (butt in chair, hands on keyboard) actually works. Imagine that. No wonder other writers were quoting BICHOK for like ever.

See, I've had this writer problem since I chose creative writing as my focus in college. Maybe you've heard of my writer-disease: Holding Oneself To Perfectionist Ideals That Are Totally Unrealistic.

Or maybe it's just me.
It started with classes and lectures that went as so:

Professors: Read this on craft. Read this published fiction piece. Recreate in your work.
Me: Wait, there are rules? And formulas?! And I'm doing it ALL WRONG!
Professors: *stares*
Me: *obsesses over non-rules, non-formulas, and flails* I will not write until I know everything there is to know about every part of the creative process so that when my characters do anything there is a deep rooted reason and it will be a brilliant reason with shiny metaphors and symbolism.

Yeah... That went about as well as you can imagine.

See, I could go on and on about how productive or hindering this type of learning enviornment can be, but what works for some doesn't for others, and vice versa. So, I'll just say that in my case it helped tremendously in some areas and nearly crippled me in others. I received my BA, MALS, & MFA within 7 years. Every bit of craft I learned in creative writing and screenwriting during that time was mostly valuable. However, it has since taken me 2 years (and counting) to let the creative process flow organically.

I'm happy to report that what the past two months of marathon writing has taught me the most is:
To write without hesitation, and not overanalyze Every Single Word/Decision/Outcome.

Oh, and one other gem I discovered writing all the words:
(you know how you hear something over and over again, but you never get the full meaning until it's something you've experienced for yourself? Yeah, that...)

Knowing that I have material ready to be worked over (if either of the stories still beckon to me a few months from now) is a huge motivator. After two months of BICHOK, I no longer have to stare at a blank page and worry if I'll fail or not. I've proved to myself that I can do this. I have stories on actual pages to work with. And that is a gift greater than any class fee, or month of dedicated writing.

What's next for this Writer Girl?
I have a new idea that is in the early stages of development. And now that I know I can finish a draft, I'm going to try and let this WIP flow as organically as possible - no more long outlines, no more obsessing over theme and symbolism, and no more analyzing every detail to death - I have started writing something with only a general idea of the beginning, middle, and end. And the freedom to fill in the holes the way the characters want is liberating in a way that finally allows my creative brain to breathe without anxiety or fear. It is a delicious feeling.

If you're still reading this - THANK YOU. You are awesome, and you should totally eat the biggest piece of chocolate near you. Also, I promise to do a more streamline job of blogging from here on out.

Any writing news, plans, or discoveries on your end friends?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Quick Update and All Things NaNo

I was going to check-in on Oct 29th - the 2 week deadline for my Fast Drafting class, but I took the rest of that day to relax away from the computer as a reward for writing 70,000 words.

That's All The Words, my friends, in 2 weeks. So many words. I can barely find any to use in regular conversation, now. Seriously, I've become somewhat of a home-body. Even at the part-time job, I'm super quiet, and thinking about story. Good thing I work in a book store, where I'm not expected to handle anyone's healthcare or finances in this writer-coma state!

Since Oct 29th, I've:

~Read through the entire 319 page crappy first draft. (and it was crappy, but only in the rushed way. It has all the bones and structure I need to make it special)


~Trick-or-treated with the kids.

~Begun Revision Hell class, which started as soon as I finished the Fast Draft portion, so after taking one day to read through the MS, I've been revising 20-30 pages a day.

~Started NaNo yesterday! So excited to participate this year. I'm working on something that is just a grain of a new idea right now. I usually have a pretty solid plot before I write, so we'll see how this experiment works out. I'm hopeful though, because completing a MS for the Fast Draft class in 2 weeks has given me the confidence to push forward and keep writing. I know I can finish a draft now, and sometimes that's all it takes.

Feel free to add me as a NaNo writing buddy: scriptedYA (the NaNo badge on the side of the blog is a link to the site).

Also, in NaNo News: if you like YA as much as I do, there are some lovely, kind, and amazingly talented authors participating in NaNo this year. I've already added some as writing buddies: Beth Revis, Susan Dennard, Sarah Mass, and Erin Bowman. I'll be adding more as I have time. It makes the whole process more thrilling.

They are not only sharing their usernames and inviting all of us to be their writing buddies, they're answering all of our questions too! How awesome is that?
Here's the link: Ask A Published YA Author.

If you're looking for a few tips on NaNo, here are some from one of the published YA authors mentioned above: Tips from a NaNoWriMo Old Timer.

Happy writing, y'all!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Writing Classes and Holding Myself Accountable


I mentioned before that I took a writing class with Jackson Pearce this summer. August to be exact. I'll start with that writing class. 
It was an epic 14 hour road trip. Yep, you read that right. I willingly drove 7 hours each way to attend four writing classes (well, two actually, unfortunately I didn't make the last two because of interviews). 

How it all started:
I'm on twitter. Enough said.
No seriously, I follow my favorite YA authors on Twitter to keep up with their books, funny comments, and writer-life experiences they share. One lovely day Jackson Pearce tweeted. It went as so:
Something. Something witty (I'm sure). I'll be teaching a writing workshop at Georgia Center for the book. Link to class info. Something else she squeezed into the 140 word limit.
I was curious. I clicked the link and the rest is history.

I immediately went crazy for supplies.
Then it was off to GA!

The four classes were broken into weekly Wednesday night sessions to allow for outlining, writing, writing, more writing, revision, and query drafting. The classes started at 6:30 PM. I took the kids to school and left at 10:30 AM to allow for ...um... any wrong turns, etc. I mean, that one time right after senior year I was sure I'd found a short cut on the map, but-

Anyway. 
MUCH of this was needed!
Some driving drama ensued. For example, has anyone heard of, or been on, Spaghetti Junction in the middle of Atlanta. In 6PM traffic. OhMyCraziness! I was not prepared, y'all. Not prepared at all. And a bus tried to kill me. Just saying...

Anyway. 

I LOVED everything I learned from the two classes I attended (I missed the Revision class and Publishing Class, which I was mighty upset about. Especially since the interviews I missed them for didn't work out). I'd share all the amazing class information with you, but per Jackson's wishes we are keeping the class special to those of us that attended. 

Although, I will say this: she may teach another in the future, and if it's taught through Georgia Center for the Book again their programs are free to the public. And most importantly: You will learn SO MUCH from a working, published author. 

That's why I drove 14 hours to sit in a 2 hour class - having a published, working author give me insight while willingly sharing personal tips was totally worth the drive. Mathematically put: I easily spent 10 times the amount of gas it took to get to GA and back for every screenwriting class I attended in grad school. It's that simple (and I'm not usually that excited about math). 

Now, if you're still reading this (sorry for the length), you may be wondering when the other part of the blog title will be relevant. Well, here it is: I attended Jackson's class in August and learned a great deal of valuable lessons. I worked on the idea I had while job applications, interviews, and more stress continued to pile on. 
Then I was blocked (not like ICan'tThinkOfAnything writer's block. This was all FEAR). I wasn't writing on my idea anymore. I obsessed and over-analyzed EveryLittleThing I wrote, or idea I put on paper. I was letting my past creative writing classes, rules, and formulas get the best of me even though I knew (KNOW) better.  

So, as the story goes:
I was on twitter. Enough said. 

I've found a writing workshop that demands I Fast Draft. If y'all aren't familiar with this, here's a quick summary: multi-published novelist Candace Havens hosts workshops and a Yahoo Group for writers that need to hold themselves accountable and get pages out quickly. She created Fast Draft as a method of drafting a crappy first draft in 2 weeks - to just get it out and have something to work with. 

This is everything I need at this stage in my writing journey. I need to let go and get that crappy first draft out before I have time to hate it, or revise the words before they're on the page, or go crazy analyzing every single plot point/character motivation. Because we all know we can't edit a blank page. 

I need to try something new. I'm looking forward to having a deadline. I'm thrilled to push myself past the inner-editor and break into subconscious writing. And I know holding myself accountable by showing up every day to write, and checking in with the workshop group, will give me the results I've been scared of lately.

Best part, this one is online. And it was inexpensive. So excited, y'all!

Okay, I promise to stop now. If anyone is still reading, thank you for your time. Go get something lovely or sweet as a reward for reading all of my words on writing classes and such.

And feel free to discuss any classes you've taken in the comments!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Q&A with Jennifer Echols at Southern Spines!


Jennifer Echols' most recent YA novel Such a Rush has been hailed as her best YA romantic drama yet. It also made me miss the beach like crazy; and y'all know how I swoon for the ocean.

The story:
When I was fourteen, I made a decision. If I was doomed to live in a trailer park next to an airport, I could complain about the smell of the jet fuel like my mom, I could drink myself to death over the noise like everybody else, or I could learn to fly.
Heaven Beach, South Carolina, is anything but, if you live at the low-rent end of town. All her life, Leah Jones has been the grown-up in her family, while her mother moves from boyfriend to boyfriend, letting any available money slip out of her hands. At school, they may diss Leah as trash, but she’s the one who negotiates with the landlord when the rent’s not paid. At fourteen, she’s the one who gets a job at the nearby airstrip.
But there’s one way Leah can escape reality. Saving every penny she can, she begs quiet Mr. Hall, who runs an aerial banner-advertising business at the airstrip and also offers flight lessons, to take her up just once. Leaving the trailer park far beneath her and swooping out over the sea is a rush greater than anything she’s ever experienced, and when Mr. Hall offers to give her cut-rate flight lessons, she feels ready to touch the sky.
By the time she’s a high school senior, Leah has become a good enough pilot that Mr. Hall offers her a job flying a banner plane. It seems like a dream come true . . . but turns out to be just as fleeting as any dream. Mr. Hall dies suddenly, leaving everything he owned in the hands of his teenage sons: golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson. And they're determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business—until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers—and the consequences could be deadly.

It was terrific, y'all! Full of heartbreak, secret struggles, steamy romance, and so much adrenaline. And who doesn't love a great YA romance with backbone?

Jennifer was a delight to chat with, and had much to say about being a Southern author and writing stories set in the South. So hurry over to Southern Spines and check out my interview with Jennifer Echols! 

Learn more about Jennifer Echols on her website. Or find her on twitter.

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Interview with author Jen Calonita!

Lots of fabulous things happened for me in August. For now, I'm sharing a bit about a new friend, a new journey, and an epic chat with fantastic author: Jen Calonita.

In short:
1. I attended Jackson Pearce's writing class during the month of August in Decatur, GA (yes, 7 hours away. I'll blog about that this week). While there I met Alison Law. (find more about my new friend here: www.alisonlaw.com . Alison also tweets at: @alisonlawAlison is fabulous, y'all!)

2. Alison and I started chatting after the first class and it didn't take long to discover our mutual love for southern books, southern writers, and books set in the South. Alison mentioned she was embarking on a creative journey tapping into the love of southern fiction - a website dedicated to the aforementioned: Southern Spines (the new adventure has started, the website is live! Many CONGRATS to Alison, and the other contributors, and all their hard work!)

3. I was sold. I wanted in on this journey. Alison must have noticed (after many I Volunteer As Contributor emails) that I would be super dedicated, because she allowed me to act as a YA contributor for the website and sent me on my way to contact southern writers, or authors of southern fiction. 

4. Now the BIG NEWS! 
Jen Calonita agreed to an interview! It was so much fun to chat with Jen. She was a trooper during the website launch and even offered a special giveaway - a copy of Belles and Winter White - to the readers! 
So, Dear Reader, want to know why a girl from the big apple wrote about the South? Want to know more about the world of Winter White; the second installment in the Belles series? Want to know what types of comfort food Jen loves, and which songs fill up Jen's iPod? Of course you do! 
Go check out Jen's interview on Southern Spines




Learn more about Jen Calonita on her website. Or find her on twitter.


(click on the images to find out more about each book in the Belles series.)

Hope y'all had a lovely long-weekend!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer reading and Zombie Survival

My oldest child is 11 and at this specific age he had the honor to choose whether to participate in the Children's Summer Reading Program, or move up to the Teen's Summer Reading Program. This would be of importance to my11 year old boy because he no longer wanted to participate in the "Little Kids" event that handed out a t-shirt, ice cream coupon, and baseball game ticket upon completion. Instead, he wanted to use his reading prowess to build up Library Money and wage it all in an epic auction at the end of the summer.

The Teen's Summer Reading Program rules:
Every hour of reading time paid you $20. Every event you attended earned another $10. And bi-weekly trivia sheets earned another $5. (all non-existent money of course. The librarians stamped the specific dollar amount in an allocated reading log)

Once a reader reached 10 hrs/$200* they were given a prize bundle including: Teen Program water bottle filled with 1 sheet magnetic poetry, water park ticket, shutter shade glasses, teen program rubber wristband, ice cream coupon, and a baseball game ticket. (Yep, he got them anyway)

*The reader does not use the $200 on the prize bundle, it is simply for completing 10 hours of reading, and probably to ensure that every reader will get something.

After the 10 hr mark, it was every reader for his/her self. Though, $1600 was the max limit any one reader could earn.

Some samples of auction items: Nook Color, Hunger Games DVD, 4 Movie Tickets, Jessica Spotswood's Born Wicked (signed),  Hunger Games Trilogy, Zombie Survival Kit, USB Desktop Missile Launcher, Opportunity to decide librarian assistant's hair color, and a many other items I can't recall.

My son's overall take: $1255
(he completed all but 4 hours of the allotted reading hours, and earned the rest through events and completing all trivia sheets)

We didn't see any bids close to the $1600 range, but most were over $1000.

And he WON something!!!

Check it out:

And what would one think a Zombie Sak would include?
Well, survival flashcards, of course...



 Then comes the real survival gear...

That is a can of zombie whoopass, my friends.
Not really. How awesome would that have been?!

It's actually a kit for humans to remain, well human, and non-living-dead.

I'd love to show you what's in it, but my son has vowed to leave it sealed until the Zombie Apocalypse. Lest we lose a valuable tool that's inside.
However, I did photograph the list of contents:

I for one am very interested in the Survival Instructions. Does this can know exactly what harsh conditions we will face? Or is it merely a guide on how to operate the wing stove and poly water bag that's included in the can? I'm on the verge of breaking into the can while Little Man is at Middle School this week. So much suspense *insert nail-biting here*

So, summer reading can save us all from Zombie Apocalypses, if you were the winning bidder, but more importantly my son filled his summer with reading adventures and that is worth more than all the auction items combined.

As a parent of two young readers (my 9 year-old daughter happily accepted her t-shirt and coupons, thank you very much) I owe a huge thank you to the great team of librarians in our area. I hope other parents, or readers, found a fun adventure this summer at their library!

If you'd like to check out more about our local Teen Program, look for them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Teens-RCPL/307017845923

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Joys of Vacation

Vacation was everything it promised to be: RELAXATION. Creative reboot. Change of scenery. Did I mention, RELAXATION.

Want proof? I don't blame you...

This is Southport. If you find my heart on the shore, please leave it there until I get back. Thank you.


While on this shore, I gathered my first ever sea glass loot (the dark green on the left was the first piece I spotted, but my favorite is the lavender on top).


We took the ferry, when it was in service, to save time.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Midsummer's Nightmare: Book Review

(click on the image for more info on Kody Keplinger!)


Great read*! 
Brought this one to the beach and finished it in two days - I couldn't get enough of Whitley and the ever fun Nathan (every girl needs a Nathan in her life, just saying...). Whitley is a new favorite of unlikeable characters, or at least unlikeable by most standards. I was enamored by her independent and strong-willed attitude when we first meet her, though it's easy to see that this flippant, carefree attitude will lead to some big self-destruction. And boy, does it lead her down that path! 
Kody Keplinger has once again mastered the YA contemporary/romance genre in A Midsummer's Nightmare. There are true-to-life issues for Whitley, honest and compelling reasons to root for her and against her in the same breath (which is no easy feat for any author), and each character that crosses Whitley's path is defined and intriguing. Did I mention the sizzle factor?! I had to stop myself from reading ahead in an effort to get to more Nathan-Whitley passion-charged scenes! 
I could go into more detail, but that'd give too much away and I'm not a fan of spoilers. So, I'll finish by adding: if you want a fun, sexy, honest-to-the-core story of love, heartbreak, and gritty confrontation this is a perfect read!
If you can't tell I'm a huge Kody fan. Enjoy, readers!


*I received this book for free through a contest on Daisy Whitney's The Mockingbirds Facebook page. Which was super exciting as I usually never win the contests I enter and I'm a HUGE fan of Kody's! And, for no reason other than to share my crazy with you - The Mail Guy still thinks I'm crazy as I once again did my little IGOTBOOKS twirl when he handed me the book-package.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Getting Creative, or Recharging

The Sessoms Clan arrived to the NC coast yesterday at 4:37 PM. We all needed a vacation, but for myself...well I'm officially recharging my creative batteries, y'all!

More details to come. Here are some pics for now:

4314 Beach Drive. The Sessoms' Bungalow (for a week)...


View from the Master Bedroom. The ocean makes my soul sooooo happy!


The first night is always a lazy one after driving all day, so we ate out at one of our favorite spots. Our table was on the pier behind the restaurant. The kids' laughter melded with the live band for a lazy, unwinding atmosphere. The food was scrumptious. And the view was simply gorgeous.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys

If you're not a fan of Maggie's work, get your tail over to her website, and check out all of Maggie's books, amusing blog posts, and incredibly talented self-made book trailers!

Yep, you heard me right, Maggie Stiefvater makes her own book trailers. The Shiver series trailers were made from paper cut-outs put together with stop animation filming. The Scorpio Races trailer was made from gel-like paint, I believe, again using stop animation filming. If you haven't watched them, or read her blogs about the process, you're sorely missing out!

Her newest trailer is for her much-anticipated new series: The Raven Boys.

Have a peek below:




Wasn't it wonderful?! I love to see an author create outside of writing. 

Maggie is hosting a giveaway on her website in honor of the trailer debut, 10 lucky winners will win and ARC of The Raven Boys. Will you, dear reader, be one?

Monday, May 21, 2012

In my absence, I...

1. Finalized the revision notes for Secret Idea/Thesis Script. Still no set in stone title, but a tagline is forthcoming.

2. Finally found a grown-up dress for graduation.

3. Wore said dress under this ridiculously hot polyester-rayon blend, but MAGNIFICENT robe to my MFA graduation!!! 


4. Wrote a hopefully helpful email to a prospective graduate student that has been accepted to both the Screenwriting and Children's Literature programs at my alma mater (it's weird to refer to it as such, now. Ah, bittersweet).


5. Placed thousands of applications out into the world and am now gearing up for interviews (gotta have the day job to support the dream), all while planning my ultimate-relocation-mission post haste.

6. Lastly, I've been eagerly anticipating this awesomeness to happen: A live-chat about outlining from none-other than Jackson Pearce herself. Ah, so excited!!! If you haven't checked out her blog or watched her YouTube Channel, you're so missing out.

That is all for now. I'll be back soon with more regular blogging.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Burn For Burn ARC contest WINNER!!!!

Thanks to all that entered here on the blog and over at twitter. The lucky winner of Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian's Burn For Burn is:

Ashley R  of Ashley Loves Books!

Congratulations, Ashley! I hope you love Burn For Burn as much as I did.

Send me a message at: samantha (dot) sessoms (at) gmail (dot) com  with your address :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Burn For Burn ARC Giveaway!!!!

I posted a review of Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian's upcoming book earlier today. You can find it here.

Now it's time to show some Blog Reader Love by hosting a Burn For Burn ARC giveaway. *Oh, yeah, it's happening!!!*

Which, by the way, is REALLY hard to do so soon, because I already started reading the book again. So, to give me time to re-read at a much more relaxed pace, and with a little more sleep this time, I'll run the contest until next Friday, May 4th at 7PM EST.

Open to US residents only.

To enter:

1. Follow me on Twitter: @scriptedYA and retweet my giveaway message, "Want an ARC of #BurnForBurn by @jennyhan & @siobhanvivian? Yeah, you do! Go to http://samanthasessoms.blogspot.com/2012/04/burn-for-burn-arc-giveaway.html for details."

or

2. Comment on this post by answering the following:

Did you ever want to get revenge on someone in high school? If so what was your plan?

or

3. Do #1 and #2 for double entries!

Winner will be announced on Friday, May 4th at 9PM EST. (possibly a few minutes after 9 or before, as this is my first giveaway and I have no idea what I'm getting myself into! haha)

Good Luck!

Need to know more right now? Check out the authors: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian. And to read the latest on Burn For Burn before it releases Sept. 18th check out the tumblr: Burn For Burn.

Review of: Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian


Oh. My. Badass Girl Power. (can I say that? ...hope so)

I received* Burn For Burn yesterday and started it immediately! When I stopped reading, everyone in my house was asleep and I didn't know what to do with myself - I needed to tell someone how AWESOME this book was! It crossed my mind to do a review right then and there, but I couldn't figure out how to include all of it's splendor without spoilers.
I'm still not sure I can do it, but here goes:

Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian have created a diverse group of three unlikely-to-get-along girls - Lillia, Mary, and Kat - each with their own secret hurt, who come together for the sake of making all the wrongs right. And the best part is you want them to do it. Then you don't, then you do, then you don't, and before long you're wrapped up with them in the deceitful tangle that is revenge - and far too involved to back out when things reach the breaking point.
This intricate story is told in the girl's rotating voices, while we watch the other characters evolve in new shades through each girl's POV: Who can we trust? Who's telling the truth? Who really deserves what's coming for them, and who doesn't?
My favorite parts of the book in no particular order:
lyrical story telling, summers at the ocean, the Voices - each so distinct and relatable even though maybe unlikable, intrigue - Oh The Intrigue, fresh and snappy language, high school hierarchy, and something 'different' among the Revenge Girls.
I can't say much about the 'different' without spoilers, but I'm sure if you're interested in this book you know it has been billed as supernatural on certain sites. If this was the intention, I'd instead say, it's supernatural for readers that don't like supernatural (or, readers that are burnt out on it), and at the core it is a suck-you-in-never-let-you-go story of heartbreak, love, friendship, loss, broken promises, and getting even, above all else. (with an innovative spin on ______: a classic I can't name or it'd give too much away. But I'm really curious if Jenny and Siobhan were thinking of said classic while writing it!)

My overall review for readers: Get your reader-butts to a bookstore, electronic device, and/or library on September 18th and fall heart first into Lillia, Mary, and Kat's story. You will be entranced page by page - Burn For Burn!


*I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. And couldn't have been happier! I may or may not have ripped the package open on the front porch and danced around cheering to no one in particular. The Mail Guy will never look at me the same again, I'm sure. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Today is a day for Inspiration

Made this and wanted to share with you, Dear Readers. It speaks for itself...



(photo: Samantha Sessoms. Quote: The Genius a.k.a. Steve Jobs.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

That Night Friday

As always, if you'd like to submit your own That Night story, send them to samantha(dot)sessoms(at)gmail(dot)com

Don't forget to come up with a sign-off, leave your state and/or city, and which category your story falls under. You can include names if you'd like (and it's helpful to the reader, as too many pronouns gets confusing!), but last names will not be published for the privacy of those involved.

The categories are: best, worst, crazy, embarrassing, and bittersweet.

Today's That Night Friday story:



I remember that night when I discovered that a childhood rival passed away.   The term friend isn’t appropriate, so I can’t use it.  I’m not certain that he had any.   He was named Bradley.  We basically occupied the same artistic world in our youth.  Youth—fuck, I’m still young, and he was certainly too young to be dead--dead for over 2 years.  “Rival” is a bit strong too.  We weren’t bitter rivals.  Maybe that’s because the last time we went head to head (for a role in a musical), I was cast and Bradley wasn’t.   I remember the feeling of walking into the audition and seeing him sitting there.  The competitive juices started to flow.   He stayed to watch all the auditions.  I swooped in at the last half hour, and seeing him made me work all the harder.   I wasn’t confident that I came out on top until the director called me.   I think Bradley should be happy for that.  In a way, it’s a sign of respect.  

I wondered what he was up to, so I “Googled” him.  I couldn’t find any hits, which is odd since he was into theatre and music.  There are always links from performances, etc.  I had to really dig, and I still couldn’t find anything.   Then, I stumbled across a link to a classmate on Facebook who had posted his obituary two years ago.  She thought the obituary was thin, so she was asking people to write something about Bradley.  Thin?  The obituary was ten sentences long.   No one from Facebook even bothered to comment on her post.  Granted, he was annoying.  Bradley had developed that annoying type personality that comes from having been picked on too much.  At least that’s what I think.  For the record, I only picked on him once.  If it makes it any better it was behind his back and he didn’t know.   I had lost in a regional contest, and he wasted no time at feigning his surprise.  I was already wounded and he salted the wound.  So in all honesty, I don’t feel bad for that incident.  Except, I do.  I am better than that. If the cosmos allow you to feel my thoughts or read my words Bradley, I’m sorry.  I feel worse though that I stood by and watched this slow train wreck called his life.  


Now, I sit trying to gather my thoughts.  I am sad.  I guess my world was happier knowing that he was somewhere out there in it.   I thought that he was journeying through life pretty much alone.  His obituary only being 10 sentences confirms my belief.   Couldn’t his mother have written something that showed he was loved?   His father died young, and his mother was more into herself than her children.   I heard they used drugs together.  Either way, he ended up a drug addict.  People knew too, but they didn’t do anything about it.   I suppose you can’t stop an addict that doesn’t want to quit.  I don’t even know if they tried.  I am also disturbed that his sparse obituary was edited.  It mentioned that he liked singing with the Madison Chorus. There isn’t a Madison Chorus as my next Google search showed.  It’s the Madison Gay Men’s Chorus. I wonder why his mother left that out.  We all knew that he was gay.  I mean word got around when he kept inviting groups of straight men to a circle jerks...Seriously!  He wasn’t without his issues, but whatever.   High school is high school right? He was picked on for that though.  I had a friend who once told Bradley never to touch him.  Now that is ridiculous, but my friend is a decent guy.  I flashed a smile and joked that he was just insulted that he wasn’t one of the people invited to the circle.  Humor defuses situations.   He stopped picking on him in front of me.   I can’t help wondering if Bradley’s obituary was so loveless because his mother couldn’t accept the fact that he was gay?  Does that still happen?  If she wasn’t ashamed, why was it edited?   


The saddest part of all was that he died in his home.   It was one of the 10 sentences.  It didn’t say from a battle of cancer or from a congenital heart defect.  It just said he died at home.   I know what this code language means.  It makes me very sad. It was from an overdose or worse…that he just was tired of a world that didn’t care or love him.  I’m also afraid that he might have been right.   If the cosmos allows you to sense this Bradley, I want you to know that you did a stupid thing.  You were wrong.  Two years later, someone did care—me.


Only an acquaintance, Wasn't enough
Washington
(sad)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Hello Fellow UBPartyers!

This will be a quick introduction, as my posts reveal more about me than I could think to say.

1. I'm a writer of YA fiction. (prose and screenwriting) To read my journey with magical words you can go here.

2. I love RED ink. Seriously, I would forgive almost anything if a red fine-tip Sharpie was the peace offering.

3. This blog is my way of sharing with others the many adventures of writing, the journey to get your writing out there, and life's little surprises along the way. Have fun looking around!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

That Night Friday (on Saturday)

As always, if you'd like to submit your own That Night story, send them to samantha(dot)sessoms(at)gmail(dot)com

Don't forget to come up with a sign-off, leave your state and/or city, and which category your story falls under. You can include names if you'd like (and it's helpful to the reader, as too many pronouns gets confusing!), but last names will not be published for the privacy of those involved.

The categories are: best, worst, crazy, embarrassing, and bittersweet.

Today's That Night Friday story:



The night I was driving and Doing What Guys Do to Find Pleasure and a cop pulled me over. Most embarrassing night by far.

John Doe
Wyoming
(embarrassing)  

Friday, April 6, 2012

That Night Friday

Check out the details of That Night Friday in the first post.


As always, if you'd like to submit your own That Night story, send them to samantha(dot)sessoms(at)gmail(dot)com

Don't forget to come up with a sign-off, leave your state and/or city, and which category your story falls under. You can include names if you'd like (and it's helpful to the reader, as too many pronouns gets confusing!), but last names will not be published for the privacy of those involved.

The categories are: best, worst, crazy, embarrassing, and bittersweet.

Today's That Night Friday story:



I remember that night...It was the last night when I believed that the world was governed by the rules and morals that parents and schools and churches try to impart on us as we grow. I sat in my metallic blue firebird outside an empty movie theatre. The film had been good. I was happy. A temperate February wind whipped Shelly’s clothes around her slender body revealing some very pleasant curves as she stood outside my car door. I was surprised…pleasantly surprised. I didn’t realize that someone so slender could possess those curves. Damn! Now, the wind was warmer than most February winds, but this was Maine. She soon stood shivering. Shelly had something that she wanted to tell me. Tears filled her eyes as she confessed how lonely her life had become. Her hair looked so soft. Even now, I can almost smell her shampoo. I would have expected her hair to tangle and snarl against the wind, but her long hair moved in one fluid motion with the wind. She was married. She was getting a divorce, but she was still married. A person doesn’t date a married woman…let alone perform any type of action that would make more than adequate use of those beautiful, sweet curves. I believed that within my soul. It was just a rule. It was who I was. Of course, we had just been to dinner and a movie, but I didn’t call it a date. We had been doing this for the past month. I was naïve. Just because a person doesn’t call any particular activity a date…doesn’t mean that a person isn’t on a date. My rules had blinded me to the most amazing experience. I was falling in love, and she was falling in love too. I invited her into my car as a friend, and I comforted her as best I could. I should have invited her into my car and leaned in to sample her pink lips. It would have been a true, beautiful expression of our belief in one another. For a brief time, we were each other’s Santa Claus. Oh, Shelly, we would have been such a pair. John Greenleaf Whittier was correct, "For of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: 'It might have been!'"


Heart on Sleeve
Maine
(bittersweet)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

51 Days of... (FYI, I have a lot to say in this one)

(photo: Samantha Sessoms. For you, Dear Reader, because our family loves putt-putt, and the lake, and especially putt-putt above the lake. Oh, and this post is about crossing metaphorically bridges, even if they're scary...)

In the last 51 days the following happened:

a. I started to unravel at the seams and my graduate Thesis Script contracted my anxiety.

b. Mr. Sessoms was told the company he worked for would close in June.

c. The entire outline and first act of Thesis Script were tossed in a drawer. Never to be heard from again (not now anyway). Seriously. I had a momentous sit down with my writer-self and realized that the anxiety was because I had nothing to say for that particular movie idea. I let others hype about how good the idea was influence my decision to write it instead of Secret Idea I'd been passionate about for the last year and half.

d. Little Man and Baby Girl became socialites of their elementary school, for about three weeks straight, it was something everyday it seemed. Including Little Man's field trip to his future Middle School. I'm not ashamed to admit I went all raving-mother, or, Is That Profanity On The Bathroom Stalls, These 8th Graders Are Going To Corrupt My Angel. I say this because of course My Son will never turn into a hormone-raging, obnoxious teenager like ALL of the kids I grew up with. *wink, wink *

e. I worked at, and was laid off from, two part-time temporary jobs.

f. I pulled out all the outlines (there were SO many) for Secret Idea, and all the notes (on receipts, post-its, junk mail, junk mail envelopes, memo pad paper... I mean you name it and I'll write on it if a scene/line/motive/character/description comes to me) Any how, I gathered all Secret Idea's notes/outlines and got to work creating a coherent updated version. Then I gave myself permission to write Secret Idea instead of Thesis Script, which was HUGE because I was afraid to tell my Thesis Advisor of the change. What if he thought I was just being lazy, whiny, writer-distracted-by-new-shiny-idea? I had to approach him with something serious to show Thesis Advisor that Secret Idea was meant to be my new Thesis Script II.

g. Mr. Sessoms was laid off (along with everyone else at the company, but still). As you are aware, if you have a calendar, it is not June. This was not good.

h. Little Man and Baby Girl participated in their school's science fair. Little Man created a tornado in a box. It took four different tries with fan types, and more dry ice than anyone should buy in a weekend (I think Mr. Sessoms is on a Special Watch List now at our local market), but it worked! He was very confident and articulate in front of the judges, receiving excellent marks and a gold medal. Baby Girl partnered with a friend in her class to make the classic project: Volcano. But, wait, this was not any run-of-the-mill science fair volcano, this was a volcano that bordered the ocean. Play-doh waves and palm trees made an appearance, along with real lava rocks. The judges loved the creativity, but wished the girls would have spoke up more (they're still kind of shy and soft spoken), not to be fazed, the girls ran around the room holding their silver medals high!

i. I finished the outline for Secret Idea/Thesis Script II. Then I discovered SCRIVENER. Oh My Drafting! I've never been able to describe my writing style before because I jot notes everywhere I can, in all their out-of-order glory (if you remember), but I also can't write until everything is organized. Then, I need to see it, all of it, laid out in a visual way (not a word document I have to scroll through). See how that could wreck havoc on a writer?! Me too - it's so 3-deminsional character of me! Enter Scrivener - think: Sexy Kick-Ass You Want Me theme music – Scrivener sashayed into my life all shaved-short hair, brooding guy rocking 12 pack abs – it was HOT! Seriously, this program rocks my writer world. I can attach note cards and outlines to specific scenes, and then I can move within said scenes whenever I want without scrolling. For the first time ever I was able to write which ever scene I wanted with the click of my mousepad. I was writing my writer-tail off! (sadly, Scrivener did not pay me to write this post, shame on them)

j. Mr. Sessoms went to NC for a week to look for work, so we could relocate. I was elated, y'all. It seemed the dream of beaches and writing under Spanish moss-covered old Oaks was right around the corner. It really turned the job lay-off into the most positive experience one could have from such a situation. Then...he came back with not many leads, or hopes to move soon. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed because I'm into unrequited tragedy like that, and I just want the ocean to need me the way I need it!

k. Mr. Sessoms was called for interviews in our hometown. This should be a good thing. I have nothing else to say about that.

l. Today, on April 5th 2012, I completed Secret Idea/Thesis Script II. All 150 pages of it. I'm not even kidding. Another cool thing about Scrivener is that you can draft novels, screenplays, teleplays, plays, essays, etc. That being said, there was no regular Final Draft page number in the corner while I wrote. I just got everything out and now I have more than enough material to work with in revisions. I. Loved. This. It may not be for some, but I can't stop smiling – seriously, it's like someone gave me a thousand dollars to go buy office supplies, I have perma-grin! Though, I shouldn't give the page count and the 'I finished' aspect all the credit, there is another reason I'm overjoyed. For the first time ever I'm relieved to be finished with a project (especially before deadline), AND at the same time I can't wait to get back into it. Not even joking, I had to put the hard copy in a drawer to keep it from my greedy fingers and eyes. Now I know what everyone's been making a fuss over. I love this project. I know my characters inside and out. You could throw any event at me and I'll be able to tell you how each of them would react. I even have so much love for it, I can't wait for my betas to tear it apart so I can make it that much better. This has never happened to me before – I've only ever written for plot and created the characters around my main idea. What a heady difference. I'm addicted!

Our last *51 days have been a roller coaster of stress and sheer joy, but it was the best 51 days I've had in a long time simply from being around people I love more than anything in this world, opportunities knocking at our door in the face of bad times, and finally giving myself over to my dream – trusting it to take me further than I could have imagined.

*There is nothing significant about 51, other than the day I could no longer write Thesis Script. Wish it was cooler than that. You have my permission to make something up, if you'd like :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

That Night Friday

As explained on the first That Night Friday post (in which I drew from my That Nite website's archives for a story), I thought it would be a brilliant idea to have readers share their stories of "Remember that night I/we/you..." on the blog here, now that I'm no longer anonymously hosting the website. I mean, after all, who doesn't love a good story?

Friends/readers have responded!

As always, if you'd like to submit your own That Night story, send them to samantha(dot)sessoms(at)gmail(dot)com

Don't forget to come up with a sign-off, leave your state and/or city, and which category your story falls under. You can include names if you'd like (and it's helpful to the reader, as too many pronouns gets confusing!), but last names will not be published for the privacy of those involved.

The categories are: best, worst, crazy, embarrassing, and bittersweet.

Today's That Night Friday story:



Remember that night you broke off our engagement? You went out to dinner with your friends and came back saying that getting married isn't the best idea. Of course, I asked what had changed and all you could say was that your friends reminded you that you never really wanted to get married ever and that the behavior was so unlike you, you just weren't built that way. I was upset and angry that you could base such an important decision about us on the opinions of your friends and so I questioned your love. You got so angry that you literally ran out of the room. I chased after you but you were very fast so I wandered around campus, looking for you. About an hour goes by and you finally answer you phone, telling me you are in the chapel. I find you, sitting alone. We start to talk and you tell me you love me. I ask if we are breaking up and you say, 'Oh no, baby, of course not.' Then, you ask me what my least favorite food is. I am confused and do not understand so you ask again. I say corn. The words that followed out of your lovely mouth were, 'If I ever really break up with you, I'll serve you corn, that way you'll know it's real.'

And now, I am alone every night, never having received my corn...

Red Flag
Charlottesville, VA
(worst)

What kind of Friday will you have, friends?!