Friday, November 25, 2011


You guys, you guys, you guys! GUESS WHAT TODAY IS!!

Here's a hint:

Yara Jones doesn’t believe in sea monsters—until she becomes one.

When a hurricane hits her island home and she wakes up with fins, Yara finds herself tangled up in an underwater world of mysterious merfolk and secretive selkies. Both sides believe Yara can save them by fulfilling a broken promise and opening the sealed gateway to their realm, but they are battling over how it should be done. The selkies want to take her life. The merfolk want something far more precious.

Treygan, the stormy-eyed merman who turned Yara mer, will stop at nothing and sacrifice everything to protect his people—until he falls for Yara. The tides turn as Yara fights to save herself, hundreds of sea creatures, and the merman who has her heart. She could lose her soul in the process—or she might open the gateway to a love that’s deeper than the oceans.


Today is Karen Hooper's BOOK BIRTHDAY!!

There's a whole release day theme--but first? I just have to say . . .

I've been a fan of this book for a long time. Yep. My love affair first began on July 11th, 2010. The first time Karen let me read this novel. I was at the beach (how appropriate!) and I missed almost an entire day of sun because I couldn't drag myself away from her story. I've had the opportunity--the pleasure--to watch it grow from that stream of something fabulous into what it is now: an entire ocean of awesome.

And finally you guys get to go swimming in it, too!!

Tangled Tides is dark and romantic . . . The cast is full of merfolk and selkies and sirens and gorgons, each with hidden pasts and secrets that run as deep as the sea.  It's not your standard Disney-style mermaid tale, trust me. In case you haven't already (and if so, omg why not???), add this book to your list of must reads. You won't regret it.

Be warned, however, that a there's an underwater web war raging between the creatures in Karen's story. And while Karen says she loves them all, she wants us each to choose a side.

So . . .

I CHOOSE . . .

. . . wait for it . . .

. . . wait for it . . .



As if there was ever any question.

I mean, who didn't dream of being Ariel while growing up? And like I said before--Karen's story is a far cry from a Disney mermaid story, but still. Sometimes I butterfly kick at the pool or in the ocean and pretend I'm secretly a mermaid. To. this. day.

How could I choose anything else?

And in honor of my love for all things merfolk--I'm giving away TWO copies of Tangled Tides! OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! (Ends December 1st.)

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with your email address. AND your answer to the question of the day.

Want another chance to win? Karen's giving away a SIGNED copy of her book (and some other sea creature-themed prizes!) on twitter! To enter? Just join the underwater web war by tweeting which sea creatures you're rooting for and why. Use the hasthag #TangledTides and you'll be entered to win :)

Karen will be on Twitter all day celebrating and answering questions--make sure to stop by and say hello. @Karen_Hooper

So tell me--are you Team Merfolk, Selkies, Sirens, or Gorgons?

Links for Tangled Tides:

PS. I apologize for any formatting issues or spelling errors! I'm currently in Jamaica (ya mon! <--- Sara's Jamaican accent . . . ) without Internet access to make edits. Thanks in advance for your comments and support for Karen's BIG DAY!

PPS. If you're a robber, you should know we have friends house sitting for us. With really big muscles. Don't even think about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sara's Required Reading 101

Hey--really quick, before I start my post--please take a moment to read this post by Carolina Valdez Miller. She's going on a medical mission to Haiti, and she could really use our help. I hope you'll donate if you're able! And even if you aren't, you could always show your support in the form of a kind comment . . .

* * * * * 

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Today's topic: In high school, teens are made to read the classics - Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Bronte, Dickens - but there are a lot of books out there never taught in schools. So if you had the power to change school curriculums, which books would you be sure high school students were required to read?

My answer: Oh mans. There are too. many. books. that come to mind. I'm going to narrow my list down to three, so you're not stuck reading the never-ending post of all posts. And, for the same reason, I'll (try my hardest to) keep my explanations down to one sentence.

Wish me luck.

(Seriously . . . )

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Beautifully written and engaging story--as a reader, I came away from it with new level of consciousness about the little things in how I live my life that can make a huge difference in other people's.

2. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. Gritty dystopian with a realistic premise--it's another one that will push teens into thinking twice about the world we currently live in.

3. The entire Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Because every teen (every person, really) deserves the chance to believe in magic, even if just between the pages of those books.

Hey--look at that--I kept my number down to three!

Though, honestly, I'd make my list required reading for all people, not just teens. Why should adults miss out on these fabulous books just because they're not in high school anymore? And just because the protagonists are teenagers, it doesn't mean people of all ages won't come away a slightly changed person for having read them.

For the record, a few of the other books I'm dying to mention include:

*takes a deep breath*

*spits out book titles with rapid-fire quickness*

The Book Thief-Jellicoe Road-The Sky is Everywhere-Before I Fall-The Chronicles of Narnia-When You Reach Me-The Hunger Games-Ender's Game--

*runs out of air*  

Hm. Guess I wasn't able to keep it at three after all . . .


Click here to see what other Road Trippers had to say about their own required reading suggestions!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Swimming Against the Current

The ocean. The sand. The sun. I Love the beach. Yep, Love with a capital L . And capital O, V, and Es, while we're at it.

You know those days, though? Where you're splashing in the water and look up ten minutes later to realize the current has dragged you a quarter mile from where you thought you were? And all your stuff is way down the beach? And you have to swim so hard to get back? You paddle and paddle and paddle, but when you look up you're still so. far. away. And you're out of breath and getting irritated and your muscles are so tired and you know you're being melodramatic, but you feel like you're never gonna get there?

I've had a lot of conversations recently with writers who are having days like those. I have them sometimes, too. With writing. With life. I mean, who doesn't hit that drag-you-down riptide every once in a while? When--in that moment--it feels like it's always going to be against-the-current battle? And we get exhausted. Because, seriously, when are we going to get there?

But then . . . Look around.

Dude, we're in the ocean. We get to play in the water. Yes, sometimes people ride a wave in and walk back along the sand. It's faster. It's easier. But I don't want to do that. Because, dang, look at my swimming muscles. Those things are getting JACKED. I'm getting stronger, my endurance is building. And next time it will be a little less of a challenge. And? Splashing and twisting and flipping in the ocean is fun. As long as you don't swallow too much and choke on the saltwater, yanno? So enjoy the waves and breathe out through your nose.

Because you wouldn't be in the ocean if you didn't love it.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

8 Commonly Misused Words

I have a problem. Her name is Pinterest.


Pinterest, meet my followers. They are all fabulous and I heart them. Followers, meet Pinterest. She's a total time suck, and yet I love her oh, so much. Seriously. She's like a virtual collage for EVERYTHING YOU COULD EVER THINK OF. And, let's be serious, who doesn't love a good collage?

What's that? You already know Pinterest? I should have known. Pinterest, that little minx, really gets around.

Want to know if you're a Pinterest addict? Here are the top ten signs you might have a problem... (Number 1 FOR THE WIN.)

So, um, I thought maybe I'd put my addiction to good use (okay, fine, that's kind of subjective--or maybe even nothing more than an excuse--in this case) and share some of the things I find. Like for instance, today, I've got this handy little guide for 8 commonly misused words. And, okay, most of these are easy peasy lemon squeezy --but confession? Yeah, I didn't actually know complement was a word. I've used compliment both ways forever. Whoops. And fewer and less get me every. single. time. (Which, for a former math teacher is kind of ridiculous . . . )


Tada! See, you learned something. Or maybe you didn't. But let's just pretend you did, okay? And that all my time wasted spent on Pinterest is very beneficial for my wellbeing AND yours.


Oh, and if you want to see my boards (hehe, it sounds dirty but IT ISN'T), you can find me HERE.

Have you succumbed to the big P(interest) yet? Or are you being strong and holding  out??

Most recent pin to make me giggle:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RTW: Writing Superpowers . . . and Kryptonite

I'm a long time lurker for YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesdays--and I've been telling myself that one of these days I'll jump in. So . . .


For those who don't know, Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Today's topic: What are your writing and publishing superpowers (drafting? beta-reading? writing queries? plotting? character creation? etc.) -- and what's your kryptonite?

I had no trouble pinpointing my areas of kryptonite! But when it came to my writing superpowers? Totally different story. Because I still see a lot of room for improvement with every strength I have. So I got kind of stuck. (You'll soon see that this is not quite uncommon, ha!) THANKFULLY, I have my CP Cristin on speed dial. Or, wait . . . Is speed dial even a thing anymore? She's in my favorites, which, you know, is probably a cooler way of saying it. Anyway, she came to my rescue and suggested some things I could use.

My superpower? Teen voice! I'm proud of this because, considering I write for teens, it's a pretty important power to have. Maybe because I was a teacher for a while, and a youth leader--or maybe because I'm still not entirely sure what my "adult" voice is--but teen voices come very easily to me while I write.

Cristin also recommended pacing, but I'm just going to talk right over that one, because some days I really can't tell . . .

And my kryptonite? Oh mans. I'd have to say it's world building. Which, for a fantasy/paranormal writer, is unfortunate. I'm working on it, though! I didn't realize quite how big of a weakness it was until recently. But, honestly, that discovery was priceless.

Here's the thing: I have no problem coming up with fun and different concepts for my WIPs. Like my current story, oh how I love it. I have these awesome (imo!) characters with these . . . unique aspects and with these . . . unusual, um, abilities. (Heh. Could I be anymore vague? <--Chandler Bing voice.) This story's been in my head for a looooong time. And when I finally started writing, it flew out of me. In the beginning, anyway. But I got stuck over the summer. Super stuck. Not able to write at all stuck.

Then in September, I went on a writing retreat and after lots and lots and lots of discussion (seriously, thank goodness for CPs and writing friends with brains to pick) I discovered my problem was my world building. I wasn't able to continue writing--even though the story was outlined (the high points anyway)--because while I have these super special characters, I wasn't keeping what makes them so special prevalent throughout the story. The way their uniqueness impacted the way they functioned in our world wasn't fully enough developed.


*And--dramatic sigh--a complete restart to the project*

Which, yeah . . . Holy a lot of work, Batman. (Or, I guess Superman, considering today's topic!) But it was so, so, so worth it.  Because you know what? I'm completely back on track. And maybe--after all this work--world building will grow from my kryptonite into another superpower.

What about you? What are YOUR writing superpowers and kryptonite? And don’t forget to visit YA Highway to see how the other Road Trippers answered today’s question!

WAIT! Don't go yet!! 


Have you stopped by Jessica Love's blog today? No? WELL YOU SHOULD. She has some HUGE NEWS!!! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hola :)

So, I know, it's the truth: I have been seriously neglecting Babbling Flow. It's not on purpose. And it's definitely not YOU. It's me. I swear. It's just I have this . . . you know . . . life. And it kind of gets in the way sometimes.

Well, okay. It's not always life. Sometimes I have a few hours where I *could* blog, but I choose to catch up on tivo instead. (See, I'll always tell you the truth.) It's not a crime or anything. But it can feel like one. To me anyway. Because I miss you guys. And now. Here I am. Writing in these choppy sentences. For no reason.

*stops all the choppy*

I'm just trying to say I'm back--kind of, anyway. Insofar as I am going to make an effort to update this place more often. It's not like I've run out of things to say. (Although . . . another truth: Sometimes it feels like I don't talk about important enough things. But I have plenty of silly left to share. That counts, right?)

So. Here are some of the things that have been on my mind of late:

1. Are any of you watching Revenge? (One of the aforementioned tivoed shows.) Dude. It's awesome. I am so, so, so digging it. And I swore I wouldn't pick up any new shows this season, because I don't even have enough time to watch my usual favorites. I want to be writing with my free time, yanno? But the hubs watched the first episode and convinced me I would like it (even though he doesn't watch anymore) and I. am. hooked.

2. How the heck is it November already? Not that I'm complaining. October was crazy busy. But still. It's NOVEMBER. And on that note, did you know Karen Hooper's book, Tangled Tides, is coming out THIS MONTH. Or that you can pre-order it (here)? I may have already ordered one. Or five.

3. I'm going to ALA Midwinter with Cristin and Cambria. I'm sure I'll post about it again closer to the date, but in an early opportunity to make me even happier than I already am--are any of you guys coming too? (Ugh, of all places, it has to be Dallas. I mean, nothing against the city per se, but I'm a fairly hardcore Redskins fan, which means I hate the Cowboys. So it could get . . . awkward.)

4. That's it. I'm cutting myself off right here. I could grow this list longer than three items, but let's take baby steps, shall we? For now, I'm leaving the ball in YOUR hands. Tell me how you are and what you're up to! How's life these days?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

WFC (Year 2 . . . of many to come) AND a First Line Critique!

Ah, WFC. What to say, what to say?

I am battling the dreaded con crud, which has made my mind just a little fuzzy--and I'm scared I'll forget to tell you about something or someone awesome that you should know about . . .

SO. I've decided that instead of a long post about this year's World Fantasy Convention I'll just sum it up in these simple words:


No. You don't get it.

Like seriously awesome.

I could tell you about the guy who said he was going to curse us, or astrally project into my friend Holly McDowell's dreams to turn them into nightmares. (Um, cray-cray anyone?) Or about how the hotel concierge sent us three times--THREE--to places that were actually closed. (Liquor store? Check. Breakfast joint? Check. Sushi place? CHECK.) Or how Andrew Smith really knows his scotch. (Well, I don't actually know because I was too much of a wimp to try, but STILL. According to everyone else.) Or how Carolina Valdez Miller and I wowed everyone with our *amazing* duet rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You." (Amazing is a codeword for horrible, but let's keep that between us, shall we?) Or my secret friendship handshake with Amber Van Dyk. (It's not even a real handshake, that's how secret it is!) Or discovering that Matthew MacNish is even sweeter in real life than online. (He will be my friend forevah. Even if I have to force him!) Or getting swept away by another one of Brad Beaulieu's readings. (Because, dude. The guy's books are just. so. good.) Or when Rob Ziegler told me he thought I looked like I was 24. (Um. He was so far off. And for that, I will heart him always.) Or . . . I could probably ramble on for pages and pages and pages. 

But  those things? They're only a few examples of why WFC is so great. Seriously. I've gone to a lot of conferences the past couple years, but WFC has been my favorite every time. It's not even because of the panels, though I went to some great ones. Or because, yanno, Neil Gaiman was a guest of honor. (I didn't stalk him, like some people I know, but I did see him out and about a few times. It was cool.)

WFC is so special because it's a constant reminder that we're all in this together. People are friendly and genuinely interested in each other's careers. There is so much laughter and so much fun. It's the complete sense of community. Everyone's there because they write or read fantasy, and for me--someone who has so few non-writer friends who enjoy genre fiction?--it's like heaven. Constant chatter about books, industry, writing, buzz . . . It doesn't get better than that.

Sadly, I had so much fun that I kept forgetting to take pictures. I'm beyond bummed that I missed out on capturing the fantastic moments I had with everyone else, too. But here are the few I snapped along the way:

With Carol, my heart.
And Shannon, whom I couldn't survive without.
And my roommate, Jess, who IS tiny and absolutely adorable!
So, um, anyone who knows me knows I'm a pretty strong advocate for Bellinis. 
Enjoying them here with Carol, Holly, Rae, Jane, Rob, & LK!
One more shot with Holly & Rae, who were two of the first writers I ever met in real life and will always have a very special place in my heart. <3 <3 <3

But like I said, I took way too few photographs. I'm dying to introduce *all* of my fave WFC people with you guys--so below are my WFC friends (some new, some I've had for years) linked to their twitter profiles. From there you can find their websites and their books and . . . just their general awesomeness. Because, trust me, these are good people. Each one is a blast and a half and well worth getting to know. 

And oh, look at that. This post turned out long anyway. . .

In any case, I can't wait for WFC 2012. It's in Toronto next year. Who's coming with me???

PS. For all you YA writers--we're having a First Line Critique Day at YA Confidential! Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I just got back from World Fantasy Convention (holy awesome time, batman!) and I'm sooooo trying to catch up with everything! (Con post coming soon though, promise!) So, I'll make this brief :) 


Dark Eden by Patrick Carman

Charlotte Williamson

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Zoey Talbon

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Shannon O'Donnell

Tempest by Julie Cross

Elle Strauss

Congratulations! Send me your mailing addresses (you should receive an email from me asking for them) and I'll get the ARCs out to you ASAP!

And DON'T forget your promises to spread the word about everything you love about these books!