Kristan Hoffman - Writing Dreams Into Reality
Sat Jul 26 2014

Reminder to self


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Mon Jul 21 2014

Jennifer Weiner on writing, feminism, and her daughters

Last month, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to go see Jennifer Weiner at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. I needed a little pick-me-up, and there’s something so inspiring about watching an author interact with her fans. Especially when the author is as smart, funny, and genuine as Jennifer.

Jennifer Weiner at Joseph-Beth 002


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Mon Jul 14 2014

Stuff worth reading

“A Letter to Aspiring-Writer-Me from Debut-Novelist-Me” by Natalia Sylvester

Looking back, the moments you’re most proud of won’t be your big successes; they’ll be your biggest failures, and the fact that you kept going in spite of them.

Your book may be your whole world, but to the whole world it is a book.

“On Marriage :: A Year Later” by Lisa Congdon

I will do everything in my power to protect this person from pain, comfort this person in her grief, love this person with every bone of my body, honor this person in every way possible, and to be absolutely truthful to this person.

“For Love or Money (And If You Do It Right, BOTH): Choosing a Career in Art” by Greg Ruth

Value what you do, and fight for its value. If you don’t do this then how can anyone else? Don’t wait hidden in some ancient cave like a treasure to be discovered one day, get out there and make yourself present and get discovered. That said, you don’t need to be a dumbass about it. There is a tangible difference between ego and self-worth. Fighting for a better page rate reasonably is different than refusing to do a book tour unless you get a limo. Being an artist is a natural declaration of hubris, and you will be reminded of this by friends and family more than you’d like. Don’t take it too seriously, but don’t undervalue it either. It matters because it matters to you — it doesn’t need to matter to a million others to have value.

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Wed Jul 9 2014

A wolf grows up

Confession: If I’m a bit quiet lately, it’s due to wedding planning. Everyone warned me that this would be a stressful process, but I thought that by choosing something small, quiet, and suited to me, I could escape the drama. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The concept of a wedding is all tied up with tradition, family, and culture — beautiful, powerful things — and some people have very strong opinions about what a wedding should be. Disagreements quickly dissolve into emotional tailspins. They create canyons in what you thought was solid earth. They pose problems that don’t always have easy solutions — or maybe no solutions at all.

As I try (and sometimes fail) to deal with all of that, I find myself thinking about the short story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves” by Karen Russell. In it, a group of human girls and boys are born to wolves. The wolves love their children, and take care of them for a while, but eventually they allow the kids to be taken away and raised by humans, because that’s what they think would be best. Despite some initial fears and sorrow, most of the kids do adapt, and even become happy. Then, at the end of the story, one girl goes back to see her wolf parents, and only then does she understand the gulf between where she came from and who she is now.

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Mon Jun 30 2014

My #UtopYA2014 experience

A few months ago, I received an unexpected honor. Publicist KP Simmon and writer Kallie Ross had nominated me to participate on a panel they would be moderating at the 3rd annual UtopYA Con. Though the convention is themed around supernatural Young Adult and New Adult literature, it’s actually open to all kinds of readers and writers, and my panel was not genre-specific. Through my participation with We Heart YA and #NALitChat, I had been tapped to speak about trends in the YA and NA categories. My fellow panelists were Chelsea Cameron and Rysa Walker.

Nashville is only a 4-hour drive from where I live, so two Fridays ago, I headed down the interstate, singing along to the radio and watching the beautiful Kentucky farmlands and Tennessee forests pass me by. I actually thought I would be arriving too late to see one of the panels that I was most interested in, but it turns out I had forgotten about the time zone change. Lucky me, I made it just in time!

The first day took more out of me, emotionally, than I had anticipated. It was a combination of that high I always get around people who are passionate about stories, and the overwhelmingness of so many new faces. I usually enjoy traveling alone, but in this case, it felt like everyone already knew each other — from previous conventions, or at least from social media — and I was the awkward new kid trying to figure out how/when to jump in.

Fortunately, Magan Vernon recognized me from Twitter and said hello, and her warm, welcoming nature encouraged me to be more outgoing on the second day. For several hours, I set up shop between Tammy Blackwell and Keary Taylor, and the three of us had a nice time chatting while we sold our books. (Or in my case, gave away download keys for Twenty-Somewhere.)

My panel was one of the last of the convention, and I think it went really well. Kallie did a fabulous job moderating, and KP, Chelsea, and Rysa had so many smart things to say. The audience asked great questions, and one woman even came up to speak with me afterward.

I had been live-tweeting throughout the weekend, sharing the best tips and observations, but sadly I couldn’t do that for my own panel. The next day, I noticed that a couple people had quoted me — yay! — so I’ve included those below as well.

My highlights from UtopYA Con 2014:

From Gennifer Albin’s keynote on Saturday morning:

From my panel:

Overall, the convention was a really good experience for me, and I’m so glad that I was invited to participate. From what I saw, the organizers did a great job — it’s no surprise UtopYA has been basically doubling in size from year to year.

I feel like I learned and grew quite a bit over the short weekend. And if nothing else, I got a big laugh out of what happens when 99% of your convention attendees are women:

utopya con 2014 011

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