I Can Explain, Except That I Can’t

Listen, I had such high hopes for this summer in terms of my website. I planned to blog each week, keep you guys in the loop on everything bookish, and basically be the blogger I always wanted to be.

And then I didn’t.


Given that every time I think about trying to describe ALL THE THINGS I’ve done since June, I start to get a little wobbly, and my vision starts to cross, and I get the unstoppable urge to hug my knees to my chest and rock in the corner while shoving handfuls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch into my mouth.

Which means my update will be in the form of photos with captions, and then we’re going to try again with this whole blogging thing, and hopefully I can do a better job this month.

Here are some things that happened in late June and early July. They are not chronological, nor are they particularly detailed, but here they are anyway.

(Boy, I am SO GOOD AT THIS.)

1) My very first magazine article came out! I write for Fresh Style, and I’m super proud of the piece on Chatham Hellmers. The magazine is available basically everywhere, so if you see it while you’re out and about, please pick up a copy!

I was out of town when the magazine came out, but my husband sent me this picture!

I was out of town when the magazine came out, but my husband sent me this picture!

2) I started working at a brand new school. This is huge for many reasons, mostly because I worked at my old school for eight and a half years. It’s been a bittersweet transition, but as the first day of class draws closer, I find myself feeling more and more excited!






3) I got a tattoo. To answer the FAQs I’ve been getting about it: a) No, it didn’t really hurt, although it was quite irritating. However, anytime I say something “didn’t hurt,” it’s wise to remember I also completed an entire unmedicated labor without knowing it, so for all I know, getting a tattoo might be really painful. b) No, I don’t have to cover it up for work. c) It represents the four members of my family. Everybody is flying in their own way, but we’re all tethered together by Christ (represented by the vine with stars each bird carries). d) No, it has nothing to do with Divergent. I loved birds WAY before Tris was even a character on a page.


This was taken about two hours after I got it done. Now, it looks even sharper and cleaner. I LOVE IT.

4) We went to my husband’s ten year reunion. It was basically a BLAST.



And, okay, that’s really all I can do at this point. Lame, huh? I do vow to be better as the school year progresses and I get settled in. Until then, please keep checking back–I’ve still got a book coming out sometime next year, and I can’t wait for all of you to read it!

Stay classy… That’s the way the cookie crumbles… Witty taglines…

See y’all next time.

Hey Juuuuune…

So! Time for our monthly update, isn’t it? I have MANY things to tell you about, not the least of which is the fact that I have been basically absorbed, water-to-sponge-like, by the world of Chuck and Blair. That’s right, Upper East Siders, Mama has discovered GOSSIP GIRL on the Netflix.

And let me just go ahead and tell you, it is even trashier than Dawson’s Creek. Mostly because kids in Manhattan have like a million more ways to get into trouble than kids in Nowhereville, Massachusetts. But if Pacey Witter were to suddenly come in to Chuck Bass’s money and resources? Make no mistake, he’d be slinking around in a designer suit with a look on his face that said Why should you do what I say? Because I’m Pacey Witter.  

Give him a suit, and he becomes...

Give him a suit, and he becomes…



And clearly, the best time to become hopelessly sucked into a trashy show about New York teens is when I’m smack in the middle of my Round 2 Revisions. *clears throat*

BUT, the good news is that they seem to be going well; I’m nearly halfway done, and the only reason it’s taken me so long up to this point is that I’ve had to write several brand new chapters. Writing new words is INFINITELY more time-consuming than editing already-written words, so it’s dragged me down a bit on the time front. But I *think* all the new writing is behind me, which means once I get past this current chapter, everything ought to pick up a little steam.

So THAT is my update on writing (and television, I guess). The second thing I should tell you–and y’all, I’m so excited about this, I can hardly stand it–is that I am now a contributing writer for FRESH STYLE magazine!

Fresh Style cover


I met editor Ande Fanning several months ago, and she recently contacted me to ask if I’d consider being a freelance writer for her latest publication–which has now gone INTERNATIONAL. It took me about five seconds to decide that YES THANK YOU I WOULD IN FACT LIKE TO DO THAT and I’ve already written and turned in my first article! It should run in the September/October issue, so keep an eye out for that!

Okay, and I realize this blog post has been a little on the lame side, in that it has been all THIS HAPPENED and THAT HAPPENED, but I also want to give a quick shout-out to my freelance editing business, Yellowhammer Lit.



I am booked through AUGUST for manuscript critiques, and this month, I also have a query critique (which I love doing!). Since February, I have had the privilege of working with ELEVEN different authors, helping them polish their query letters so that they stand out from the slush pile and honing their manuscripts into something that really shines. IT IS SO MUCH FUN.

So having said that, if you or someone you know would like a query or manuscript crit, please get in touch! I can take queries right away, and as far as manuscripts go, I can take a partial the last two weeks of July and a full in September.

Love you guys. Have a great rest of June!

It’s Gonna Be May

Oh, you HAD to know this was coming.


If there is a better way to ring in the month of May than with an N’Sync gif, I don’t know what it is, and if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right, etc. etc.


Hi, and welcome to the May Day celebration here on Anne Riley Books! Now, before you even think about pointing it out, I am WELL aware that my last blog post was on April Fool’s Day. Which was ONE MONTH ago. And that, friends, is just unacceptable.

But here’s the thing.

I’m a high school teacher, right? And late spring at any high school in America–or the world, for that matter–looks something like one of those orc battle scenes from Lord of the Rings, except we’re all just a little prettier and we don’t make that screeching/retching noise every time we open our mouths.


Aside from school, I’m also waist-deep in my second round of edits for Pull, and BOY, IS THIS ROUND A DOOZIE. I’ve basically rewritten the beginning of the book and will now proceed to make the rest of it MORE BETTER.


Don’t get me wrong–I actually love doing edits. No, really. I would rather edit a book than write a book. But the problem is that it’s SUPER HARD to edit a book that doesn’t exist, which is why I resign myself to writing them first.

We all have our cross to bear, I suppose.

When you combine work and revisions with children, husband, house, and other random things like yardwork, sometimes you have to find a small thing to cut out of your life for just a little while, and for me, that thing is blogging. So until I get done with this round of revisions, I’m going to blog on the first of each month–but I’ll try to make it worth the wait.

How, you ask?

Well, how about two completely amazing videos?

Awesome Video #1: This llama prancing to DMX’s “Party Up”  is the stuff of dreams. The high schoolers showed it to me weeks ago and I can’t stop watching it. (Make sure your sound is turned up. And if your sound is mysteriously not working, hover your mouse over the video and see if a little sound icon pops up in the top left corner. Then make sure it’s not on mute.) (Why is sound so complicated?)

Awesome Video #2: NFL Bad Lip Reading. This is pretty old, and many of you have probably seen it, but OH MY WORD. (Also, I am fairly confident they don’t say anything off-color, but I can’t totally understand every single word. So if you notice something, I am sorry. And if it’s really bad, let me know.)

Also, keep in mind you can close the little ad banner at the bottom.


Let’s see here..

In other news, we had a fabulous Easter. In our house, Easter is a delightful combination of Jesus’ resurrection, the Easter bunny, and chocolate. M and J had a great time hunting eggs over and over and over and over.




And over…and over…and…*dies*

That backyard, by the way, is my 90-year-old grandmother’s backyard. I hunted eggs in it when I was a little kid, too. And on the Saturday before Easter, we had four generations hunting eggs in Mimi’s backyard.

Quite sentimental, when you think about it.

So that’s our April, and I hope you had a delightful one, too. Happy May, and I’ll see you next month!