Tuesday, December 30, 2014

goals: 2015 edition

So it's that time of year again -- a time for making goals.

Personally, I like to throw a bunch of goals out there and see what sticks. I'm only moderately good at checking back in a year later to see how I did. But this year, I am going to separate my goals into categories, which will hopefully help me stay on track.

Physical goals
Eat less meat
Lose weight (but remain positive about body image etc.)
Run a half marathon
Take up rock climbing again
Bike more

Writing goals
Draft and revise a YA contemporary novel
Draft "suburban fantasy" idea 
(Yes, I made up that category. Can it still be "southern gothic" if it's set in the north?)
Revise NA novel
Investigate all the self-pubby fun
And any other goal that seems like a good idea

Adventure goals
Go camping more
Visit another country 

What goals do you all have?

Friday, December 19, 2014

the drafting cave

It's been a crazy few weeks, friends.

I'm taking some time off from work in order to start new projects and finish old ones. Everything is looking sunshiny here in Ru Land, although a little snow before Christmas would be nice.

I know I've been a subpar blogger this year, but pop back after the holidays. Considering how well things are going (knock on wood), I'd like to pay it forward with a giveaway or two. And if I don't write again for a few days, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snarkington Manor

Pardon me, I'm going to poke a little bit of fun at the writing community. Don't take it too seriously.

Writers tend to want to write series. It makes sense creatively--you get invested in a world, in a plot, in a character, you want to continue to explore that. It makes sense economically--a series allows you to more easily build a brand, build a readership.

What I don't really get is the trend of naming the series.

What is the name of the Harry Potter series? Harry Potter. Twilight? The Twilight books. It's self-explanatory. Either they have a recurring title (The Shannara books), a recurring character (the Mickey Haller books), or a recurring theme (The Mortal Instruments, which for a long time I thought was the "cities of beautiful covers" series).

So those are all fine because the names of the series flow naturally from the books themselves. But what is weird is when authors (or publishers -- I totally get that in some cases it's the publisher) try to force a series with a generic title name.

The Love series.
The Learning series.
The Again series.
The Beautiful series.
The Hockey series.
The Lamp series.
The File series.
The Pen series.

(Is it obvious that now I'm just picking items from around the room? Good.)

Writers, publicists. Stop this. It's nonsense. You know how I convince a friend to read a book? I say, "It's this fantastic book about [VERY SPECIFIC DETAILS!]"

I never say, "Well, it's about ... beautiful things. It's the Beautiful Series, haven't you heard of it?"

That one I think is actually impossible to have heard of, since I have seen SEVERAL authors try to brand their series as the "beautiful series." No. No, no, no, no, no. Nope.

You cannot brand something with a word as generic as "Love." It's so vague as to become meaningless, in addition to being wildly cheesy.

You can, however, brand something specifically. The Curse Workers! "Oh, that's about an alternate universe where a minority of people are genetically gifted with one of five magic powers, and because those gifts have been outlawed by the U.S. government, most people who want to use their magic end up involved with organized crime. It's like Harry Potter meets The Godfather."

See how simple that was? And now you kinda want to read them, right?

Now pardon me, I'm off to work on my Panda Express Series. All the characters work at, and fall in love in, a Panda Express.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why I wrote my Pitch Wars novel

I am so stoked to be part of Pitch Wars. Have I mentioned that lately? I have been so lucky to get feedback from my mentor, Emily Martin. (Remember that name, folks, her first book comes out next year!) I loved my book back in August when I applied—I love it even more now.

So when some of my fellow mentees suggested we create a blog hop about why we wrote our Pitch Wars novel, I was excited to participate.

There were two things I wanted to do when I first got the idea for my book. First, I wanted to write a book that was primarily about the friendships between girls. Yes, there is a smidgen of romance in my book, but the important relationships are between four girls who have been friends for most of their lives. 

Second, I had read THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, and I’d been beyond impressed at the way that Matthew Quick wrote a story about something that was serious (mental illness and traumatic brain injury) that was simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious. It seems like even the saddest things are usually also pretty funny, and for a long time I wanted to write something about a serious topic (an attempted suicide) in a funny way.  When my four main characters (Rosie, Ket, Jenna, and Elin) began to take shape in my mind, I knew right away that I wanted to make people laugh just as much (if not more) than I wanted to make them cry.

So that’s it! My main reasons for writing my book. I hope you all get to read it someday.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The holiday season

I am a big fan of holidays. I can tend to get a little ... TOO into them. Right now, we're in what I like to call the Holiday Corridor: Halloween--Election Day--Thanksgiving--Christmas--New Year. It's 100-plus days of non-stop fun!

(Oh, you don't celebrate Election Day? That's sad.)

This year, I may try to incorporate NaNoWriMo into the Holiday Corridor, because who doesn't want to create some new holiday traditions? (I imagine NaNoWriMo celebrations will have to involve a lot of jogging, to sort of combat ... all the side effects of NaNoWriMo.)

Jack Skellington heads from the Salt Lake Farmer's Market -- I should have bought one, but my Halloween decoration game is already a wee bit ... excessive.
What are you favorite holiday traditions?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


So today on Twitter I read an article about HOMELAND (spoilers for everyone who isn't caught up!) (which also includes me! I can never resist an article about something I like and am CONSTANTLY spoiling myself!) and it prompted a need to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart.

Platonic friendships between men and women (and boys and girls).

People love to 'ship (gag) their favorite couples, I get it. I mean, I DEFINITELY wanted Leslie Knope to end up with Ben Wyatt, you'd have to be heartless not to.

But I really wish people would stop ruining great examples of male-female friendships just because every story MUST include some romance. Why can't some stories simply NOT be romantic? Or why can't you introduce another character to fill the role of Love Interest, and watch as platonic friend (gasp!) does not get jealous. Because friends generally do not get jealous when their friends find someone they care for romantically.*

In my current W.I.P. (oh hey Pitch Wars, looking forward to the showcase!), I have four girls who have all been good friends with the same boy for years. Two of those girls end up (doomed or not, intentionally or not) in romantic entanglements with that boy. The other two girls NEVER EVEN CONSIDER IT. It is never even addressed.

Why? Because they're just friends. And that is how friendship works.

So can we get a shout out for a few of our favorite platonic pop culture friendships? Thank you!

In case it isn't clear, YES I REJECT ANY NOTION THAT THESE CHARACTER SHOULD HOOK UP. Their friendships are rare little flowers that need protection! Looking at you, Vampire Diaries...

* Distressed by a changing dynamic? Sure. Annoyed by less Friend Time? You got it. Wistful about their own romantic prospects? SURE! But the friendship isn't a true platonic friendship if someone is secretly harboring romantic feelings of their own. That is not how friendship works.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Is there any better feeling than realizing you're too old for some nonsense?

I've always been a people-pleaser by nature. Not only do I want people to like me, but I REALLY want people in positions of (perceived or real) authority to realize I am following their rules. Because of that, I've always been a good employee. A good volunteer. A good team-player.

I still am that way, deep down, but I think the best part of getting older is realizing who REALLY has the authority. Most of the time, it's actually me.

A few months ago, I agreed to be part of a volunteer organization. I was super excited about the opportunity and the ways that my particular skills could help the organization grow and improve. But over the past few months, it has become increasingly obvious that another person within the organization has a WILDLY different view of how things should be going.

At first I laid out my rationale for what I wanted to do. And then I tried to just do my own thing and not worry about what the other person thought. But it became obvious that neither tactic was getting me anywhere. And all that stuff I was excited to do a few months ago? I didn't want to do any of it if I couldn't support how it was being done.

22 year old me would have stuck it out, desperate to please all the people.

25 year old me would have a little more respect for her own needs and would have tried harder to advocate for alternative options.

But 30 year old me?

She quit. Because life is too short to butt heads with other people. And it feels grand, friends.

Book that is awesome: ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

Songs that are awesome: "Habits" by Tove Lo and "American Kids" by Kenny Chesney.

I recommend looking into those things.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


No, I'm not going on vacation. (Besides, isn't Labor Day the unofficial end of summer?) I'm helping with the blog tour for SUMMER IN NEW YORK, an anthology of short stories by some writers that I really adore.


In USA Today bestselling author Janette Rallison’s delightful novella, JOB HAZARDS, Lydia Robinson is posing as a prostitute. Undercover of course. Lydia’s job as a police officer hasn’t reeled in her prince charming yet. That is, until Harrison Aldridge, old high school flame, pulls up to the corner to rescue the fallen damsel. Lydia can’t exactly give Harrison the truth without blowing her cover, and it takes a series of mishaps and another whole set of misunderstandings before Lydia will even consider letting Harrison back into her life.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, A TASTE OF SUN, Winona Grant embarks on a summer-long visit to NYC to house-sit for her great-aunt after a nasty break-up with her boyfriend Paul. But when her aunt commissions neighbor Steve Monti to tour Winona around, they strike a deal. Winona has too many deadlines to play tourist, and Steve is looking for a distraction from his looming gallery opening. So Steve goes on the tours by himself, and Winona reports back to her aunt as if she’d gone too. The longer this happens, the more Winona wants to change her mind. Seeing the city with Steve might be the perfect solution to forgetting about Paul.

In Luisa Perkins’s sweet romance novella, DULCE DE LECHE, Marisol is desperate for another nanny job after being unfairly fired from her previous position. She has only two more semesters of college, but she’s too proud to ask her wealthy parents for financial help. When her potential new employer, a single father working long hours as an anesthesiologist, decides she’s too young and pretty to hire, she practically begs him for the job. Darius finally agrees, and as he watches her work miracles with his Asperger’s son, he realizes there is much more to Marisol than he first believed.

In TAKE A CHANCE, a captivating story by Sarah M. Eden, Miguel Santos has a stopover in New York. When the announcement of delayed flights comes over the PA system, Miguel is looking at spending several hours at the airport. Determined to get comfortable for the long wait, he’s surprised when he spies a familiar face amongst the stranded passengers: Jane Schoonenburg, the last person he expected to see. Three months have passed since he asked Jane to marry him—three months of misery. And now he knows that he must talk to her, if only to find out why she broke his heart.

Annette Lyon’s entrancing novella, FIRSTS AND LASTS, begins with Dani’s last week in New York. She’s failed in her dreams to catch a break as an actress and is now ready to return home and dust herself off. As she visits the places on her final to-see list, she meets Mark, another New York City transplant with big dreams. Except Mark hasn’t given up on his. As they spend the day together, Dani realizes that even though she hasn’t hit the “big time” she might be living her dream after all. Only problem: she has a one-way ticket back home.

In Lisa Mangum’s whimsically titled story: &, Lucy is riding a wave of success at having found a bestselling novel in the slush pile at an exclusive New York publishing house. If only her personal life was storybook perfect as well. Her relationship with Devon is on the rocks, and even though she's been put in charge of the house while her boss is gone on business, Lucy isn't sure she's up to the task. It will take a chance encounter with a handsome wordsmith to help Lucy claim the courage that has always been a part of her heart.

And now, an excerpt from SUMMER IN NEW YORK:

Job Hazards
Janette Rallison

Chapter One

Fighting crime wasn’t supposed to involve wearing a leopard-print miniskirt, a silky halter top, and stiletto heels. Not once while Lydia Robinson was in the police academy a year ago had she envisioned that the job would land her on a seedy New York street posing as a hooker. But as Lieutenant Miner had told her a week ago after he called her into his office, “You’re a natural.”

A natural hooker? “Is that supposed to be a compliment?” she asked.

He held up his hands to stop her protest and nodded at the glass window of his office. Outside, two other female officers were talking about a case. Officer Loomis was fifty-two and had more wrinkles than a pile of forgotten laundry. Officer Dustin was seven months pregnant. “I just meant,” Lieutenant Miner said, “that you’re the best one in the department for the sting.”

So now Lydia stood on a dimly lit corner next to a row of bars and strip clubs. She wore so much makeup that she looked like she was part of a Broadway play. Her usually long, brown hair had been curled, teased and poofed. It was magazine-girl, notice-me hair. Half-a-bottle-of-hairspray hair.


Doesn't that sound fun? You can buy it here, here, or here. Let me know if you like it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


This is the biggest favor I have ever asked you guys (even bigger than the time I asked you to "like me" on Facebook, and may we all pretend that never happened, ok?)

I read this book in junior high (possibly elementary school) and I LOVED it. So much. I read it and re-read it. It was probably the first paranormal book I ever read, and to-date, it was probably the best.

And believe it or not, I cannot remember the title, author, or names of any of the characters. IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO.

I periodically wish I could remember the name of this book so I could re-read it and see if it lives up to the hype of my memory. I've tried, and failed, so many times.

But I remember almost all of the plot. So in an effort to hunt down this much-beloved book, I am going to tell you ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I can remember about it, and hopefully someone in InternetLand can help me out, ok?

The book starts in a small town or village in the 1800s (possibly the later half of the 1800s). The town is being attacked by werewolves (though, I don't think they were referred to as werewolves). The main character, a girl of about 13, realizes that her beloved older brother is one of the werewolves when he takes down the herbs over his window that were intended to protect the family. She tries to warn her father. The brother is ultimately killed by the villagers.

When her father realizes the girl saw the signs of the brother being a werewolf, he decides she should be trained (in what? never specified). Her mother objects to this plan. An aunt and uncle come to debate the matter. (The uncle has a really strange name.) They decide that the girl will stay at home with her parents and learn basics like herbology and healing for a few more years. There's a lot of lovely discussion about flowers and minerals and sketching things into books.

A few years go by. The Heroine develops a crush on Boy 1 (who the reader recognizes as unsuitable husband material, even though Heroine does not). A new family moves to town with a beautiful daughter who is always ill. Boy 1 drops Heroine like a hot potato for the new girl. At a town dance of some kind, the heroine realizes the daughter is a vampire and Boy 1 is under her thrall, though Boy 1 just accuses her of being jealous. Heroine, father, uncle, and Boy 2 (shyer, older, and clearly a better catch than Boy 1, though Heroine doesn't realize it yet) go to kill the vampire. Her "parents" (really grandchildren or great-nieces and nephews) are terrified and relieved, as they've been forced to help her for decades. Boy 1 does not recognize the solid that Heroine did for him and totally blows her off for reasons like emasculation or something.

Mother is super angry that the family members allowed daughter to go vampire hunting in defiance of the mother's orders. At this point, the aunt (?? Pretty sure it was an aunt) comes to take Heroine off to do more training elsewhere to resolve the family conflict. Boy 2 does something really thoughtful like carving a chest for all of Heroine's healing magic herbs.

Aunt and Heroine hear of a town that used to be called Cloudcatcher. (How I remember the name of this town and none of the names of the characters is BEYOND ME.) The town currently has a much creepier name, as the town is haunted by a malevolent ghost. It's always dark and depressing and the sun never shines on the town. Aunt and Heroine do some investigating. The mayor's daughter is behaving in a very questionable manner. She apparently has a beau her father disapproves of. The beau has been away, mysteriously, though the mayor's daughter is convinced he shall return.

Aunt and Heroine do more investigating. Apparently the ghost is an unwanted baby (either aborted or left out to die by some desperate teenage girl in the town after her boyfriend abandoned her). Aunt and Heroine do an exorcism which just pisses off the ghost baby more. They then discover the mayor's daughter is PREGNANT (which is a direct echo of the situation that created ghost baby). When the mayor's daughter's boyfriend returns and proposes to the mayor's daughter, the ghost baby is either appeased or weakened so it is successfully exorcised. The sun comes out, the town goes back to being called Cloudcatcher. There is some reference to Boy 2 either planning to come for a visit or sending a gift to the heroine, and the book ends.

Final details:

In the mid-1990s, it had a black and white paperback cover of what might have been a cabin. Or a forest. Or a mountain. I'm hazy.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

crazy names

Hello, my name is RuthAnne, and I am addicted to giving my characters crazy names.

Many people have talked to me about this, over the years. My sister. My friend Diego. Mostly just those two, actually. If other people were concerned, they kept their thoughts to themselves.

And now that Diego is offering his thoughts on my manuscript before Pitch Wars, the topic has come up again.

(To be honest, I think my list of crazy names is sort of whimsically perfect, particularly given it's set in Utah. I mean, you've heard some of our names, right? But I might end up changing a few of them, just to be on the safe side.)

What is the craziest name you have ever read in a book? Is there ever a moment where you think, ", this is not working for me"?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I don't know about you all, but normally celebrity deaths don't really upset me. I mean, it's sad, but I didn't know them, right?

For some reason, Robin Williams' death feels really different.

Maybe it's because his movies were such a cultural touchstone within my childhood. Maybe it's because we have this cultural belief that funny people must also be happy people.

I don't know what I want to blog about, other than to say what we already know -- depression is no joke, people. There's no reason why it hits some people and not others and it always needs to be taken seriously.

If you know someone who is depressed, don't try to "cheer them up."

If you suffer with depression, tell somebody. And if that person doesn't take it seriously, tell another person. Keep going until you get the help you need, because it's out there.


Here's a fun video for everyone. We could all use a smile.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pitch Wars Application Bio: Or, The Day I Learned How To Use GIFs

Recently, some Pitch Wars hopefuls started posting "mentee bios." A few other Pitch Wars hopefuls pointed out that, as none of us are mentees yet, that seems a little jinxy.

Here's the thing about Pitch Wars: Most of us ain't getting picked. The statistical reality is that, despite the confidence I have in my story, I will not make it into Pitch Wars. And that's ok, since I will be doing the regular-old querying thing this fall if I don't make it in. Pitch Wars is a great opportunity and I hope I get to take advantage of it, but if not, I will live.

So I am not making a mentee bio.

But here's the OTHER thing: I just learned to use GIFs. So ... obviously I still wanted to do a getting-to-know-me post.

(I mean, seriously, if someone had told me a long time ago that GIFs were this easy to use ... I would have been blogging with GIFs a long time ago.)


So if you've never met me before, welcome to the blog! This is me:

Yes, I put a filter on this. I had to cover my hag lines somehow.
I'm a lawyer and a writer and there are cowboys in my office. (There is a good reason for the cowboys.) When I am at the day job, I usually do my best to have a neutral-to-inquisitive expression on my face. This can be difficult, as I was born with a severe case of RBF. Symptoms of RBF include being frequently misunderstood and an inability to make friends in group settings. If you too were born with RBF, know that you're not alone.

This is my ethos. Most of it came from TV, and I don't feel at all bad about that, because I love TV.

1. If you want to inspire someone, quote Coach Taylor.

It's very simple, always start out with, "Listen to me, son. I'm gonna need you to listen."

2. When you want to burn someone, channel Don Draper's contempt.

3. And when it comes to succeeding at work, lean in like Liz Lemon.

4. When you have to admit you've blown it:

5. And when you want to blow someone's mind with your concept, and then totally fail to deliver in the long-term, just distract everyone with an attractive pirate:

(Spoiler alert: There are no funny Once Upon a Time gifs.)

6. If you find a partner-in-crime, treat them right. Like this:

Don't let it get weird.

Or criminal.

7. And when it comes to telling stories, I think it's always better to err on the side of ...

... than end up with ...

I take my storytelling very seriously.

(Of course, as an attorney, there is no one who makes the bile rise in my throat QUITE like Nancy Grace. But that's neither here nor there.)

8. And if you can't remember anything else about me, just remember this:

Best GIF ever.

August 16th edit: Now that I've officially entered Pitch Wars, I've joined the bloghop. To check out other Pitch Wars hopefuls, check out Dannie Morin's blog here.

First lines

Awhile back, all my Facebook writerly friends were posting the first lines from the first three chapters of their current works-in-progress. Since I am a big-ole-lemming, I am going to do the same--except cheat and do the first line, first two lines, and first three lines.

(Brief foreword: this book is written in multiple POV, which is a decision I really love. Various readers that I all respect have had different opinions on this decision, so I am currently rolling the dice and sticking with it. I guess we will find out if that was an awful idea or not come #PitchWars, amiright?)

First chapter (Jenna)

              I love Elin Angstrom to death, but it pisses me the hell off that she tried to kill herself.

 Second chapter (Ket)

             Not for the first time, I wished that we could just tell Teddy about Elin’s Incident.
             Partly because as one of her oldest friends, he deserved to know. 

Third chapter (Rosie)

The last thing I wanted to do was put on the prom dress hanging on my closet door. But if I didn’t get up and change soon, my step-dad Will was going to pop his head into my room and try to talk about my feelings.
And neither one of us was that great at talking about feelings.

I tag all the other writer folks to do the same -- put the link to your blog post in the comments so I can go check you out!