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…

CHUCK BASS.

CHUCK BASS.

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

Yaaaaaaaaaay!!!

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.

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Y’all.

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.

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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.

SO.

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.

Usually.

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.

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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.

OH MY WORD YOU ARE SO WELCOME.

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.

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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!

March: A Photo Diary

When you think about it, it’s totally appropriate that I would post on April Fool’s Day after not posting for A WHOLE ENTIRE MONTH. But look! I have pictures! Here’s how we occupied ourselves last month (and I promise I’ll be better about posting from now on!):

I guess the first thing of interest from March would be our trip to New York. We drove to Atlanta on a Tuesday night and stayed with our dear friend Robert.

Our friend Robert, who has been friends with my husband since the dawn of time.

Robert has been friends with my husband since the dawn of time.

Then we woke up at 3:30am EST (which was actually 2:30am to our CST bodies), fell into a cab, stumbled through the Atlanta airport, and eventually ended up on a New York-bound airplane.

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We sent this photo to Agent Emma while waiting to de-board the plane. Pretty sure the caption was something about our imminent approach. #CreepyTourists

Once we reached New York–and this probably goes without saying, but–the very first thing we did was try to find Jay-Z.

Spoiler alert: We didn’t. *sigh*

But we DID have an amazing hotel in Times Square, so we got settled in and then ventured into the city to hunt down some lunch. The great thing about this trip was that each of us had already visited New York twice, so there wasn’t any pressure to do any of The Things You Do In New York, which meant we contented ourselves with pizza and walking and coffee and napping.

Yes, it was lovely, thanks.

Anyway, part of the reason for our visit was the NYC Teen Authors Festival, which happened at various locales across Manhattan, but was mostly focused at the public library and this little gem of a bookstore.

I got to visit a panel/book signing at Books of Wonder!

I got to visit a panel/book signing at Books of Wonder!

I was able to attend several panels at the library and hear a lot of great authors talk.

I also got to attend several panels at the NYC Teen Authors Festival! This was one being moderated by David Levithan.

This one was moderated by David Levithan. Great picture, huh?

But the highlight of the whole trip was definitely meeting my dear Emma Patterson in person! We had dinner in Manhattan with Emma and her fiance on our first night. Then we were able to snag her for lunch the next day, and on our last night in New York, she actually MADE us dinner and invited us to her home!

I don’t know a lot of people who get to visit their agent’s house, do you?

Me at the Brandt & Hochman office.

I got to visit my agency, Brandt & Hochman, and see their offices…

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…and hang out with Emma!

Okay, I kind of lied when I said we didn’t do any touristy things. We did spend one entire morning in Central Park because it was absolutely GORGEOUS and we just couldn’t help ourselves.

Me and the hubs at Belvedere Castle.

Me and the hubs at Belvedere Castle.

And then we also sort of accidentally got a private tour of the American Irish Historical Society, mostly because I’m not afraid to randomly ring doorbells and ask if I can come in and look around.

My husband's family hails from Ireland, in case that wasn't clear. O Raghailligh = O'Riley = Riley.

My husband’s family hails from Ireland, in case that wasn’t clear.
O Raghailligh = O’Riley = Riley.

Oh, and we saw this on one of the trains, and for some reason it just really got me tickled.

Written in careful Sharpie print just after the paragraph about how the subway system is always improving: "Hard to look up though, when late for work again."  It's just so painstakingly done.  I'd swear on my life this person was probably English... I don't know why, but it just seems like they were.

Written in careful Sharpie print just after the paragraph about how the subway system is always improving: “Hard to look up though, when late for work again.” It’s just so carefully written.

So we had a great time, and it was kind of hard to come home until we saw these little peanuts…

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And we realized how worn out we were…

Yeah, I took a little nap on my laundry.

Yeah, I took a little nap on my laundry.

And since then, we’ve been playing outside…

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…getting tubes in Baby J’s ears (thank you Jesus and hallelujah)…

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…and just generally living our wonderful lives.

I hope your March was equally as fun, and here’s to a fantastic April!