Out takes

I’m taking a  moment to celebrate where I am in the process. I finished chapter 24 in the 3rd draft of Dear Dead Drunk Girl. I’ve got 10 more chapters to revise before the draft is complete and I can break out into my I FINISHED THE DRAFT HAPPY DANCE.

Here’s a little of what didn’t make it into the draft:

I’m not heartless. I know what it feels like to be obsessed with a guy, to think about his every quirk and mannerism trying to decipher what each one means. To watch him so closely I can imitate his walk and how his face looks when he bites into a sour apple. The wondering if there are hidden messages behind his smiles, his almost touches and text messages.

Despite the fact this is abslutley written in MC Mary’s voice, it’s telling – she’s not living it. My job is to make her live through the trails of her life and death. #amwriting

A Writers Tool

I’ve been in a troubling mood for a few days, and this moring I realied why.

Nothing hurts like mining old wounds, shame and embarassment so I can authentically demonstrate the suffering of MC and the stages she goes through to forgive her trusted friend for betraying her. And then I dig deeper so she can forgive herself for the bad decisions she made and the pain they cause her grieving little sister.  ‪#‎amwriting‬‪#‎amcrying‬ ‪#‎thisshitisreal‬

7 authors- one location. Book Launch AND BELLY DANCING!

You say you have nothing to do next week? Come to an amazing event: 7 authors- one location. Book Launch AND BELLY DANCING!
11/4/14: Charlotte, NC — FLASH FICTION EVENT and DOUBLE Book Launch Celebration!!!
4:30 PM, ImaginOn Library (with Park Road Books)
300 East Seventh St., Charlotte, NC 28202

Forbidden1-852x1280-346x520Have you closed the pages on a favorite novel or watched a blockbuster movie like ‘Divergent’ or ‘The Hunger Games’ and wondered, “How did the author come up with THAT!?” Well, these seven authors of hot young adult trilogies have the secrets, and they’ll offer up a show and tell as they help guide the audience through an interactive session that builds a story a sentence at a time to develop character, setting, mood, theme, and a plot with unexpected — and often shocking or hysterical — twists. Plus, because it’s the official launch night for both Forbidden and A Thousand Pieces of You, there will be belly-dancing lessons, fun games, and delicious treats. Come and party with us!
Martina Boone (Compulsion – Simon Pulse)
Kimberley Griffiths Little (Forbidden – Harpercollins)
Claudia Gray (A Thousand Pieces of You and NYT bestselling Evernight and Spellcaster series — Harpercollins)
S.E. Green (Killer Instinct – Simon Pulse)
Beth Revis (The Body Electric; and the New York Times bestselling Across the Universe trilogy — Razorbill)
Meagan Spooner (The Skylark trilogy — Carolrhoda; and the Starbound trilogy — Disney/Hyperion)
Megan Shepherd (The Madman’s Daughter Series — Balzer & Bray)

Ten Things to Never Say to a Writer by terribleminds Chuck Wendig

I am copying this link and Chuck’s info becaus eit’s all him and I’m just laughing. Here’s to the writer’s life!



Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.

revision tip of the day

I’m breaking out my Scene Synopsis cards and using them as I revise my chapters. They’re a great tool to keep pace and tension high in a MS. 

Viewpoint character
inciting incident
swing beats
what makes this scene critical.

Voices and Faces Project

In honor of #TBT I’m celebrating the reprinting of Anne K. Ream and Patricia Evans book Lived Through This: Listening to the Stories of Sexual Violence and Survivors.
more about the book from Random House:
In these pages you’ll meet a community of rape and sexual violence survivors who have been shaped, but refuse to be defined, by their histories of violence. They are brave, and they are outspoken—but, mostly, they are hopeful.

I was interviewed by Anne and photographed by Patricia years ago near the Santa Monica beach. Although my story of rape is tragic because I kept it a secret for 13 years, it never defined my spirit. As a matter of fact they repeatedly asked me to stop smiling as they photographed me because a smiling woman doesn’t convey the pain and seriousness of the issue.

My stuggle with the aftermath of my rape included promiscuity. It’s ironic and confusing to explain that victims go out and reinact their shame. In nearly all of my sexual interactions I recreated my attack (mostly by demeaning myself) in various ways and with many partners as a way of trying to retake control for the fifteen-year-old girl who had it snatched from her. My efforts always failed. It took a therapist to tell the twenty-eight-year-old me, “You were raped and it’s not your fault,” for me to even understand that I was raped. And she had to do it and say it for a long time before I believed her. Then I had to understand it and accept it.

And there’s my point. Rape comes in many forms. All are gruesome. Let’s take a moment to educate ourselves and our children. Please take a look at the book and the Voices and Faces Website. The website has lots of information and places to get support.

Here is my story. I wrote it in verse.


by Holly Raychelle Hughes

15 years old.
On my parents bed.
While I lay still and thinking
“This is it? This is sex?”
Staring at the blue fern patterned wallpaper
Bleeding in the middle of the bed.
How do I keep this secret?
What did I do to cause this?
How old is he, 20?
My voice, white noise from a transistor
radio across the room, saying “stop”
saying “no”

My parents aren’t home.
My friend (?) Tina playing pool downstairs
in the living room with this guy’s friends.
15 years old and confused,
he’s done.

He gets up . He’s wearing a condom, where did it
come from? When did he put it on?
He walks away and down the stairs.

Raped and sitting in my blood.
Raped and standing next to my parents bed,
looking at the bright red blood in the middle of the bed.

In the afternoon.
and cleaning up the mess on my parent’s bed.
The dog jumps up and begins licking the bloody sheets.
and not understanding sex or why
he wanted to have sex with me.
15 years old

I stand at the top of the stairs leaning over the black banister
and call him back upstairs.
Everyone in the pool room cheers.
He complies.
He walks upstairs and I lead him to my bedroom.
Four purple walls covered in Duran Duran posters.
Stuffed animals bear witness to my platform bed.
I lay down again,
there’s another condom.
I try to learn what he is doing.

I try to pretend it’s my choice.

It’s over again.
He goes back downstairs,
I clean myself off.
I put all the sheets in the wash.
I bleed for one week from the wound.
He said he couldn’t believe it was my first time

Revision Tip from LA14SCBWI

I attended the LA SCBWI 2014 conference last week and it was inspirational and informational. And those two things don’t suck. It’s impossible to explain my thrill of being in the same room as Judy Blume and hear her speak. To listen to Meg Rosoff‘s funny accent and be inspired. How I’m 100% sure Lin Oliver is the coolest woman in the US. It was crazy-fabulous to be in a room with Stephen Chbosky and Jay Asher as they presented Mystery and Grit how to Write a True Page Turner. How I got to practice my pitch with Linda Pratt and Sarah Davies and see their eyes sparkle as they get what I was saying and were curious about my book. There was Lisa Yee and Peepy and how they captivated a room and got Jay Asher to walk down the center of said room, pretending to cry and stand in a corner. Not to mention that I got to see old friends make new ones and party with Ellen Hopkins! I’m going to end this part by saying it was overwhelming and worth every second. I can’t possibly name drop every author I met or heard, it’s up to you to attend next year.

Kristin Elizabeth Clark, me and Ellen Hopkins

Kristin Elizabeth Clark, me and Ellen Hopkins

photo 5

Cate Tiernan

photo 2

Judy Blume

photo 1

Illustration in Room

photo 3 photo 1 photo 2

Here’s a practical bit.

On Monday, August 4, 2014 I attended Emma Dryden’s Robust Revision intensive. I took an editing workshop with her in the past, so I knew I was in for the goods. Only this time, I was three drafts into my novel instead of one and I had the opportunity to hear her with new ears and insights.

My favorite exercise by far was this one. Ready?…

If you’re feeling stuck in a scene and need a fresh perspective rewrite the scene from a sleazy tabloid reporter’s perspective. I did this with my first chapter and it was so much fun.

Here is my spontaneous tabloid reporter, flaws and all, that I wrote in the room:

Here at 53 Shepard Drive the mother of Mary Reynolds, the 18-year-old killed last night in an alleged accident, requests vodka and privacy.

Anjulie, Mary’s little sister, started a shrine with a picture she drew of the two of them and her stuffed otter- a gift and nickname given to her by the deceased.

Investigators are looking into how the 18-year-old got her fake ID and if alcohol played a role in her death. An autopsy was ordered by the courts and the 17-year-old girl who allegedly killed Mary is under observation in a mental facility. 

What will become of Club X is still unknown but serving minors is illegal and I’m sure the Reynold’s family ought to sue them for all they can get.

This exercise was so fun and freeing. Emma’s tip after hearing what a few of us wrote- the excitement and energy that we felt in doing the exercise should exist in the chapter itself. 

Emma Dryden

T minus 9 days until I attend the SCBWI summer conference in Los Angeles. I booked the conference during a time I was seriously depressed hoping that I’d get excited and enjoy the experience. True to my optimism I’m excited and can’t wait to see some new and old friends and soak in all the wonders a conference like this will have for me.

One of the splendors will be Emma Dryden of drydenbks. I’ve signed up for her ROBUST REVISION craft intensive.

In case you can’t attend the SCBWI conference and therefore will miss Emma’s insights click here to listen in to her interview on World of Ink blog talk radio. She covers craft, impatience, publishing options, SCBWI, and more. Listen, Enjoy, and Please Share! http://ow.ly/zqkqR

Contest. Win a signed copy of BOOMERANG and first 5 page & query critique



New Adult Novel

New Adult Novel

And I’m having a contest celebrating the launch! It’s super easy to enter. Just take a photo of your favorite pet reading and post it to my twitter account @hgrilla. (one photo per person please)

Prizes include: a signed copy of Boomerang, a query and first five-page critique and maybe a surprise for your pet–Query and critique by one of the two authors who are Noelle August, Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi.

Noelle August (aka Lorin and Veronica) will select a favorite photo and I will announce the winner here on Monday, July 21st.

Deadline for the photos is Sunday, July, 20th at 9PM Eastern. Please tell two friends.

Here are our pets loving BOOMERANG:
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10500307_10152520124943750_1367429704037894028_n 1907368_10152520125043750_3301130840140118190_n

Check out the BOOMERANG interview in USA Today. Visit the August Noelle website. Want to learn more about Lorin and her uber (yes I brought back the 90s) editorial talent? 1404529265570

Do you know about Veronica’s other projects?

Great! Post your pet photos and I will announce the winner on Monday evening. Good luck. and most of all enjoy the book!photo

book launch and did I mention prizes?

We’re celebrating the launch of Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi’s novel, BOOMERANG by offering a weekend long EVENT! It’s part book-signing, part fundraiser for an AWESOME organization, and 150% fun. (Yes, we checked that math!)

New Adult Novel

New Adult Novel

Extravaganza, Part One:

Join us at Inkwood Books on Saturday, July 12 from 4-7 for a book-signing and to help launch Lorin and Veronica’s awesome new book into the world.

The first 80 people who PRE-ORDER the signed book through this page are also eligible to attend the super secret after-party from 7-9 (or later), where there will be FREE food, drinks, and MORE fun. Location to be sent upon registration.

In addition, we’ll donate $2 for every book sold through this page to an amazing organization called Bess the Book Bus (bessthebookbus.org), which travels around the entire US, bringing FREE books to kids in need.

AND THIS JUST IN: The awesome Generation Give will MATCH those funds! Woot!

That’s kind of an unbeatable deal, right? For the price of a trade paperback, you can come support some awesome authors, enjoy a strictly invite-only after-party, help support a fabulous independent bookstore, AND give the gift of books and reading to kids.

Extravaganza, Part Two:

In FURTHER support of the awesome Bess the Book Bus organization, writers are invited to attend a completely donation-based writing workshop on Sunday, July 13 from 9:30-12:30 PM. We’re still firming up the speakers and the venue, but we’ll have a humor writing class, led by memoirist and Certified Laughter Coach, Christina Crall-Reed; a class on world-building, led by editor and award-winning author, Brenda Windberg; a class on deep scene structure with author and editor Lorin Oberweger, and more! (Curriculum may vary.)

Please note that 100% of the proceeds from this class will go to support the Bess the Book Bus organization, so dig deep and know we’ll give you a challenging, fun learning experience, and your registrations will help put books into kids’ hands around the country!

Light food and beverage will be provided.

See the EventBrite page to pre-order!