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11/26/14 Lies I Told

Lies I Told

 

“What if the worst lies you told were the ones you told yourself?”

COMING APRIL 7, 2015 from HarperTeen

 

“Highly readable, gripping and touching.” – Kirkus (starred review)

“… a tale of deception and mixed loyalties that effortlessly draws readers in…” – School Library Journal

 

Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

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03/02/15 Lies I Told # , , , , , , , , ,

ANOTHER Awesome Review for LIES I TOLD!

You guys! This is crazy! I’m so excited to announce the THIRD (out of THREE!) awesome review for LIES I TOLD, this one from Booklist. “The sense of foreboding that pervades the novel explodes at the end, with irreparable damage to everyone. An addictive read.”

AN ADDICTIVE READ! Woo-hoo!

Full review follows. Thanks Booklist! heart emoticon

Lies I Told.
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Zink, Michelle (Author)
Apr 2015. 352 p. HarperTeen, hardcover, $17.99. (9780062327123).

Grace and Parker were adopted by a couple of con artists. Their cobbled-together family moves from state to state, integrating themselves into wealthy communities, learning the habits of their marks, and then robbing them blind. But the strain of leading this duplicitous life begins to send fissures through the family, and as their double-dealing house of cards comes crashing down around them, Grace’s deepening feelings for the handsome Logan, her assigned mark, only make the situation more complicated and wrenching. Grace is a complex and compelling character. Her parents give her a true sense of belonging, something that was missing while she was in the foster system. But what she fails to recognize, and what causes increasing conflict between her and Parker, is that by making the teens complicit in a series of long cons, her adoptive parents are being psychologically abusive, ultimately destroying Grace’s ability to have any real friendships or relationships. The sense of foreboding that pervades the novel explodes at the end, with irreparable damage to everyone. An addictive read.
— Eve Gaus

:)

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03/02/15 Uncategorized , Writing # , , , , , ,

Online Young Writers Series Week One; Preparation

Welcome to Week One of the Online Series for Young Writers.

*throws confetti and hands you a pretty mocktail*

;)

If you were here last week, you know that I announced this eight-week series as a way to give writing advice for teenagers and other young people. You can find that post, which breaks down the topic for each week, here.

This week’s topic is What You Can do Now (Prepping for Your Future Writing Career). I chose this as a week one topic because it’s one of the questions I get most often at book events when talking to young writers. Sometimes it’s phrased differently.

“What is your best advice for young writers?”

“What’s the most important thing for a young writer to know?”

“Did you write when you were young?”

But these are all really asking the same thing. “What can I do NOW?” And I totally get it. If you’re fifteen or sixteen or seventeen and still in high school, your future as a writer can seem a world away, which can make anything you do now seem pointless anyway.

But it’s not. Trust me.

In fact, this is the BEST time to lay groundwork for your career as a writer. Why? Well, for one, you have more free time than you will ever have in your life (unless you’re training to be a ballerina or for the Olympics trials or something like that). I know it might not seem that way. You have school and friends and parents and chores and homework and school events and probably multiple sports and/or extra-curricular clubs. Maybe even a part time job. But you also have weekends and holidays and breaks. You have TV and social networking time you can trade for time to write or read or research.

And here’s what you DON’T have; kids, a house to run, groceries to shop for, a full time job (probably), a spouse who needs your attention, bills to pay, dry cleaning to take in or pick up, older parents who need you to help care for them, etc., etc.

The truth is, it will never be EASY. Making time for something you feel passionately about rarely is in the modern world. But there are times in life when it will be easier than others, and for 99% of you, this is one of those times.

The other good news is that LOTS of unexpected things fall under the category of preparing yourself to be a writer. Of course, writing is very important.

Writing is good! You should do it as much as you can!

:)

But reading is also part of being a great writer. Stephen King has famously said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

It’s THAT important, guys. So every hour you clock reading? That COUNTS as writing prep. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re reading fiction or non-fiction, whether you’re reading the newspaper or an essay for school. Something crazy happens when you read; your brain processes EVERYTHING, even when you don’t realize it. It’s making little notes about which sentences are pleasing to the ear, which phrases sound “right”. It’s leaving little bookmarks in your brain that your subconscious will go back to later, bookmarks that will tell you (when you’re writing), “That’s too long” or “That sentence sounds clunky” or “That’s not the word I’m looking for” . These bookmarks tell you when you’re bored, when you check out of a story, and when you sit up straighter in the moment a story gets your full attention.

And all that stuff STAYS WITH YOU. It stays with you even if you don’t know it’s there. The next time you sit down to write? Your writing will be informed by all the lessons you’ve learned, often unwittingly, while you’ve been reading.

All of this is why READING is #1 on my list of Things You Need to Make Time for if You Want to be a Writer.

Even before writing.

But of course, writing is next. If you want to be a writer, it’s probably because, well, you enjoy writing.

:)

So make some time for it on a regular basis. It can be every day before bed or every Saturday at 10am, but make time to write SOMETHING, even if it’s just a journal entry or a poem or a snippet of a story idea or a stream-of-consciouness rant about something that’s ticking you off. As with reading, you will learn while you write, even if you don’t realize it. I’ve found that earmarking a certain time of day or certain day of the week for writing makes it more likely that I’ll actually do it (more on this later in Week Seven; Keeping the Balls in the Air (How to Juggle School, Social Life, and Writing)). It can be five minutes before bed in your journal, an hour on Saturday morning to work on a short story, or twenty minutes in Study Hall every other day. But try to find time to write on some kind of regular basis. For me at least, the longer I go without writing, the harder it is to jump back in.

Reason enough to regularly put words on the page!

Now this next one is going to seem obvious. And maybe a little weird because it’s so obvious, but stay with me here.

To be a good writer, you have to THINK.

I’m not just talking about school thinking or studying or thinking about what outfit to wear (although all of those things will also inform your writing in unexpected ways). I’m talking about CHALLENGING yourself to see things in another way.

That kid at school that you can’t stand? What’s his story? What might have made him obnoxious/annoying/rude/disrespectful/ chauvinistic? That person who has a different political viewpoint? Where is she coming from? Does she have any valid points? Can you see why she might feel the way they do? That teacher who seems a little beaten down? What is going on behind the scenes? Has she had a rough morning? What might have happened on in the hours before school (an alarm that didn’t go off in time? A sick child who was up all night? A fender bender? Spilled coffee on a favorite shirt?)? You’ll be surprised by the paths you travel and the ideas you get for stories if you think beyond the obvious.

Which brings me to my next point.

OBSERVE. As writers, most of us do this anyway, but sometimes it’s nice to know all those little thoughts you have throughout the day aren’t for nothing. When you feel anxious before a test, note the physical response; are your hands clammy, is it harder to take a good, deep breath? What does school sound like? What does it smell like? That beautiful sunset? How would you describe it on the page? When you see your crush in the hall, do you feel your cheeks get warm? Do you want to run and hide or profess your undying love? Or maybe both.

;)

All of these things are the stuff of LIVING. And you can’t write about life if you’re not living it.

Lastly, I have a fun assignment for you! Seek out other kinds of stories. Plays! Movies! TV shows! All of these things are stories told in different formats. Not only will they keep your creative juices flowing, but you might just find your interest in writing extends beyond book writing.

Let’s recap! To give yourself the best head start possible for a future writing career;

1) Read as much as you can. Anything! Everything!

2) Pick a consistent time each day or week when you will sit down and write something. Anything!

3) Think. Go beyond the obvious to establish empathy for people who are different than you and to see things in a new way.

4) Observe. Pay attention to the little details that make a story – and life – interesting.

5) Broaden your story horizons.

And lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Adolescence is a busy time for most people. Keep your eye on the ball of what you want for your future, but recognize that all the living you’re doing now is setting you up to write about it later. Someday you’ll be surprised at all you did and learned when you didn’t even know you were doing it! And believe me when I say that you have lots of time for other writing-related stuff after high school (and even college).

Feel free to put your writing questions in Comments. And join me next Monday for Self-Editing, a Checklist.

<3

 

 

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02/24/15 Life # , ,

Making Time

Goethe_Things-That-MatterToday I finally thwarted my most used excuse (“I don’t have time”) for not getting yoga and/or meditation in, and I thought I’d share how I did it. It’s simple, too; I no longer allow myself to open my computer in the morning until I’ve done both.

“Attaching” something to an everyday task is the best way to make it a habit. For awhile, I was attaching meditation to my morning shower, i.e. meditation time was right before I took a shower in the morning. But 3-4 days a week I’d find that I got caught up answering emails, posting to my social networking sites (and YOURS! ;) ). I’d look at the time and think, “I need to hurry and shower! I guess I’ll try to get everything else in later.” Except “later” never actually materialized as a good time to meditate or do yoga.

Isn’t that always the case with “later”? He’s a tricky little bugger, isn’t he?

;)

Anyway, I thought about the source of my distraction (work) and decided to try putting yoga and meditation BEFORE it instead of after. And you know what? It worked! I’ve had four solid days on this schedule and I feel SO MUCH BETTER.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to make a daily habit? Try attaching it to something you MUST do every day (like brushing your teeth or eating dinner) – but make sure to attach it BEFORE the must-do event and not after. I hope it works as well for you as it’s working for me.

:)

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02/23/15 Uncategorized

Online Series for Young Writers

I am asked A LOT of interesting questions by readers. Sometimes they’re personal and sometimes they’re about my books, but I’d say at least half of all questions are asked by young writers seeking advice about, well, writing.

And I totally get it! The writing itself can seem like a pretty mysterious process. Add in editing and agents and beta readers and all the different kinds of publishing available now and parents and friends who might not take you seriously and juggling schoolwork and a social life with your writing, and I can see where it could be overwhelming.

Which is why I’ll be launching an eight-week series on this blog geared specifically to young writers. There is no fee and no specific participation required. I’m just going to impart what wisdom I can about this crazy process and its equally crazy business in the hopes that it might help and encourage all the young writers I here from on a daily basis. You can also ask questions in the Comments section, and I will do my best to answer every one. Consider it my gift to you!

;)

So starting next Monday March 2nd, you can visit this blog and check out topics ranging from what you can do now to prepare yourself for a writing career to the merit of agents and editors to what to do if your friends and family don’t support your passion for writing. I can’t promise to solve all your writing-related problems, but I can definitely give you some info that might help you along the way. Readers of any age are welcome, but I’ll be focusing on issues pertaining to teens and college-age writers. Topics will break down as follows;

Week One; What You Can Do Now (Prepping for a Writing Career)

Week Two; Self-Editing, a Checklist

Week Three; Paths to Publication (Traditional Publishing, Boutique Publishing, and Self-Publishing)

Week Four; A Word About Outside Advice

Week Five; How Do I Sell My Book? (A Step-by-Step Walk Through the Process)

Week Six; Agents and Editors (What They Do and Why We Need Them)

Week Seven; Keeping the Balls in the Air (How to Juggle School, Social Life, and Writing)

Week Eight; Rowing Your Own Boat (What To Do If the People Around You Don’t Take You Seriously)

Other than my family, writing is the love of my life. I’m super excited to talk with all my young readers about it, and equally excited to hear your thoughts.

I also want to point out the links to my other social networking sites on my sidebar. Feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr (I don’t always post the same stuff on each site)!

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02/16/15 Life , Recipe of the Week , Recipes # , , , , , , , ,

The Paleo Vegetarian

Whole30Ha! I got you there, didn’t I? That’s because there’s no such thing.

Except there will be for the next thirty days, because today is the first day of Whole30 for me. As many of you know, I’ve been a vegetarian for the last three years (I guess I would technically be a Pescatarian, since I did sometimes eat fish). It wasn’t as difficult a transition as you might expect. I was ready to eat healthier and also wanted to do my part to contribute to a sustainable way of life for the planet (modern cattle and poultry farming techniques wreak havoc on the planet in more ways than one and require WAY more land and water than an equivalent amount of plant food).

To be honest, I was surprised when my teenagers all decided to go vegetarian, too. But they did, and we all went veggie cold turkey. Immediately we all felt better, more energetic, CLEANER.

Until I didn’t.

About a year ago I started feeling sluggish and tired. After an initial weight loss, I actually started to gain weight, something I didn’t understand because I was eating SO CLEAN. Not just vegetarian, but very little sugar or processed food and tons of whole food, veggies, etc. I didn’t notice it right away. It was more that one day I realized I just didn’t FEEL WELL, and when I looked back, I realized I hadn’t felt my best for quite some time.

So I started reading about body chemistry and metabolism and all kinds of other science-y type things, and I came to the conclusion that I am probably insulin resistant. It doesn’t really surprise me. Some of my family members on one side have diabetes, and I’ve always felt a little shaky when I eat too many carbs or too much sugar. My hope that it would be enough to eat clean and include lots if plant protein just didn’t prove true.

In my reading, I came across the Whole30 program, which is a kind of hard-core, 30-day Paleo regimen designed to help you determine which foods don’t work with your body by first eliminating them, then slowly reintroducing them one at a time. The plan relies heavily on animal flesh and veggies (plus smaller amounts of healthy fats and fruit). After reading the book, the science made perfect sense to me, and I definitely recognized some of the symptoms of insulin resistance in the way I’d been feeling. One of the things I like most about the program is it’s reliance on how YOU feel eating certain foods. The first thirty days is the same for everyone (no sugar, alcohol, carbs, dairy, or legumes of any kind), but after that, it’s up to you to decide which of the restricted foods make you feel healthy and which don’t. This makes perfect sense to me. I know lots of vegans and vegetarians who are super fit and healthy and who FEEL GREAT. I also know lots of people on Paleo-type plans who are equally fit and healthy and who also FEEL GREAT. I think the human body is more mysterious than we are willing to admit. A one-size-fits-all nutritional plan just doesn’t make sense to me. Instead, I think it’s wiser to focus on eating whole foods (processed food and sugar isn’t good for anyone) and then pay attention to our body’s cues to determine what’s best for us.

Today is Day One of the program for me, and while eating meat feels strange, I’m excited to see if this way of eating makes me feel better. I’m a big believer in listening to my own instincts – physical and otherwise. I trust myself to know when something isn’t working for me or my body, so I’m putting faith in myself to recognize when I need to make a change. I’m keeping an open mind and will re-evaluate based on the way I feel at the end of thirty days. The Whole30 plan recommends eating humanely raised, pasture fed meat, and I’ll be doing my best to purchase meat from those kinds of sources.

I don’t AT ALL regret going vegetarian three years ago. In many ways, it’s prepared me for this kind of eating plan. I already eat very little sugar, have flirted with veganism and so don’t rely on dairy, and have already all but eliminated processed food  (trust me, when you stop eating it for awhile it doesn’t even taste good anymore). The biggest change will be giving up brown rice and legumes, because they have been a major part of my diet for the past three years. I’m hoping the novelty of meat will take the sting out, at least for the first week or so.

;)

Anyway, I wouldn’t even be mentioning this here except I know many of you follow my vegetarian recipes (oddly, my Vegetarian Stroganoff recipe is one of my highest-ranking posts) and I didn’t want to confuse you. If you found me while looking for vegetarian recipes, I hope you’ll stick around! I share your commitment to a healthy lifestyle, whatever that may be for each of us, and I look forward to keeping you all posted about my progress.

<3

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02/12/15 Lies I Told # , , , , , ,

Preorder Goodies

Just a reminder that you can now preorder a signed copy of LIES  I TOLD from Oblong Books and Music! I love doing preorder incentives with Indies, both because I want them to stick around and because it means I get to see the names of the people who have preordered and can write a personal message along with my signature. I feel like I know so many of you from Twitter, Facebook, etc., and it’s really nice to see your names on the list and then sit down to write you a note. Plus, if you order from Oblong you get a handy-dandy peacock pocket mirror as part of the promotion.

Like you needed something else to make this worthwhile.

;)

Preorders are a very important benchmark for authors, as publishers look at those numbers to determine how well the book is expected to do. And THAT is important because if a book does extraordinarily well with preorders, a publisher may give the book more exposure through increased marketing, something that can make ALL the difference in how well a book does long term. It’s one of very few things you can do in advance of a book’s release to support the book and its author. So do me – and any author you want to support – a solid and preorder a book today!

P.S. Hang onto your receipt if you preorder from another store (online or otherwise) as well. All of my preorder swag is going to the Oblong orders first, but if I have extra, I’ll be offering it to readers who preordered elsewhere.

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02/09/15 A Temptation of Angels , Lies I Told , Life , Prophecy of the Sisters , Shadowguard Series , This Wicked Game , Writing # , , , , , ,

New and Improved

If you’re here I’m sure you’ve noticed something; I finally ditched the old website for something new, sleek, and if I do say so, very chic.

;)

The old website was developed all the way back in 2009 just before Prophecy of the Sisters came out. The black lace made perfect sense, I swear! But of course, times are a changing, and my writing is ever-evolving. With LIES I TOLD soon-to-be-released and a whole slate of other non-fantasy projects (and even non-YA) in the works, I’m hoping this look will carry me through anything I choose to write. Hopefully it’s also easier to read, which is a complaint I sometimes got with the old site.

Now that the new site is up and running, I’ll be posting more often (this has been in the works for awhile). Stay tuned for more information about LIES I TOLD, PROMISES I MADE, and other super secret projects yet-to-be-announced. As we approach April 7th (the release date for LIES I TOLD), there will also be tons of giveaways and goodies.

So stick around, will you?

<3

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01/13/15 Lies I Told # , , , , , , , ,

Another AMAZING Review for LIES I TOLD!

Goodreads_CoverThis time from School Library Journal!

“Zink uses a fabulous vocabulary to build a tale of deception and mixed loyalties that effortlessly draws readers in…”

We’re two for two on snark-free reviews, guys! Plus we got that star from Kirkus!

:)

 

LIES I TOLD releases April 7 and is available for preorder now.

Gr 9 Up–Fans of romance and a good heist will fall in love with Lies I Told. Grace is a foster child who has been adopted by a pair of con artists, and they are the closest thing she has to a real family. Her brother, another adopted foster child, is finding the life of constant deception increasingly unsatisfactory. He’s ready to get out, and he wants Grace to come with him. Parker’s entreaties would be more successful if Grace wasn’t falling irrevocably in love with their newest mark. Zink uses a fabulous vocabulary to build a tale of deception and mixed loyalties that effortlessly draws readers in and allows them to vicariously experience the tension of living a lie while trying to be completely transparent with a love interest. The victims of the graft are sympathetic characters, and Grace can be forgiven her deception since she must make an untenable choice between first love and familial abandonment or betrayal of a truly good person and an artificial family. Zink liberally includes the palpitating hearts and more mature, steamy love scenes that many young adult readers have come to expect in an action-packed tale, but leaves her readers dangling with an ending that will leave them demanding more.–Jodeana Kruse, R. A. Long High School, Longview,WA

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01/05/15 Lies I Told # , , , , , ,

Kirkus gives LIES I TOLD a STARRED Review!

Goodreads_CoverI’ll let you in on a little secret; some reviews are scarier than others. Kirkus, for example, is known for being on very tough customer. Which is why authors all kind of hold our breath as we wait for their reviews to come in.

And why I’m SUPER EXCITED to announce that Kirkus is giving LIES I TOLD a STARRED review.

The highpoint; “Zink deftly weaves the story together, employing foreshadowing and symbolism to support the plot. Although readers know from the prologue that things will turn out badly, suspense ripples throughout the story. Grace’s character blooms as she balances between the good person she hopes to be and the bad one she’s forced to be. Highly readable, gripping and touching.”

Lies I Told releases April 7, but you can preorder now through Indiebound, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Huzzah!

Full review as follows;

LIES I TOLD [STARRED REVIEW!]
Author: Michelle Zink

Review Issue Date: January 1, 2015
Online Publish Date: December 10, 2014
Publisher:HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Price ( e-book ): $10.99
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-06-232712-3
ISBN ( e-book ): 978-0-06-232714-7
Category: Fiction

A girl struggles to hold onto her own identity within her family of thieves. Grace disobeys her parents by keeping mementos from her family’s previous criminal jobs. She hopes she hasn’t completely become the deceptive creature her parents trained her to be from the time they adopted her as a young teen. Now 17, Grace has moved with her family to an affluent area as part of a plot to steal millions in gold from Warren Fairchild, a wildly wealthy but mentally unstable man. Her parents assign Grace to get close to Logan, Fairchild’s son, a task she finds only too easy, as she and Logan truly fall for each other. Grace likes her new friends in Playa Hermosa, making one truly good friend for the first time in her life, her family having moved incessantly to keep up with jobs and ahead of the police. She lives with the realization that she must lie to these good people constantly, and she knows she must betray Logan, whom she loves. Zink deftly weaves the story together, employing foreshadowing and symbolism to support the plot. Although readers know from the prologue that things will turn out badly, suspense ripples throughout the story. Grace’s character blooms as she balances between the good person she hopes to be and the bad one she’s forced to be. Highly readable, gripping and touching. (Thriller. 12-18)

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12/10/14 AdviceforGirls , Life # ,

Advice for Girls

Believe it or not, boys are just as scared as you are.

It’s true. And as the mother of both two boys AND two girls, I have it on good authority. I can say with certainty that my boys (and all the boys and men I know) have had just as many awkward, embarrassing, terrifying, uncomfortable moments as the girls and women in my life.

The truth is, boys are sometimes nervous to talk to you. They wonder if they’re wearing the right thing or if they should get a haircut or if they smell after track practice. They replay the things they said to you in Trig. They talk to their moms about you (or their friends or their brother or their dad or their sister). They worry about getting you the right Christmas, birthday, or Valentine’s Day present. They wonder if they should hold your hand or kiss you or if it’s too soon. They worry about making a good impression on your family.

And then, oftentimes they work very hard not to seem scared.

Try to remember that the next time you feel dumb or awkward or embarrassed or terrified around a boy, the next time he seems untouchable and hopelessly cool.

You’re in this together.

;)

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12/05/14 Advice for Girls , Life # , ,

Advice for Girls #2

girl_in_hammockDo something nice for yourself every day. Seriously. Every day. Taking care of yourself is the most important job you have.

Sound hard? Expensive? Complicated? Time consuming?

It’s NOT. Give yourself a ten minute nap, make a cup of your favorite tea and take ten minutes to actually sit and enjoy it, paint your nails, give yourself a facial, go to a movie (going to the movies alone is fun!), make something nice to eat, buy a new (or used) book or check one out from the library and take some time to read it, have the cupcake, buy a new lip gloss (or climbing rope or light saber), meditate (this is truly the best gift I give myself every day), STRETCH (doesn’t that feel GOOD?!), take a walk…

Just give yourself something you want or need every day. Because let me tell you a little secret; the times when someone else will do it for you are few and far between, and you aren’t doing anyone any favors by neglecting yourself. You will BE better at everything, and more importantly, you will FEEL better when you are taken care of. Don’t wait for someone else to do it.

<3

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12/03/14 AdviceforGirls , Life # , , ,

Advice for Girls #1

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to learn that I’m a ponderer. It’s hard for me to turn my brain off even to sleep, which is probably why meditation has been such a lifesaver for me. We NEED white space in our brain, wide open space with no words or thoughts.

But I realized that a lot of the things I think about are things I wish I’d known when I was younger. Younger, like, twenty years ago, and younger, like, two years ago.

;)

 

So I decided to start documenting those thoughts in a simple way, on my social media sites with the hashtag #AdviceforGirls. I like to think they will come at just the right time for someone, and maybe in a parallel universe, a younger me will hear it too.

So today’s #AdviceforGirls is this; You are allowed to want whatever you want without apology. Period.

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12/01/14 Life , Reading # , , , , , , , ,

A Quick and Easy Gift for the Reader on Your List!

Prophecy_PB_COVER_HRNeed a personal book for the reader on your list? I’ve got you covered!

;)

Right now through 12/8 you can purchase ANY of my books (online or in person) from Oblong Books and Music and I’ll sign and personalize it for you in time for the holidays. That includes Prophecy of the Sisters, Guardian of the Gate, Circle of Fire, A Temptation of Angels, and This Wicked Game.

Nothing makes a better gift for a book lover than a signed book, plus you’ll be supporting an awesome Indie.

Just order here and tell me to whom you’d like the book signed. Easy peasy!

:)

 

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11/16/14 Life # , , ,

This Shit is Hard

love-and-lightI post a lot about personal growth and enlightenment (my idea of enlightenment isn’t a religious one, but you can apply to the term whatever works for you). This isn’t because I see myself as a paragon of said enlightenment. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The more I learn about the higher consciousness associated with spiritual growth, love, connectedness, and anything else you might put under the umbrella of enlightenment, the more I feel I have to learn.

Which is why it’s particularly disappointing to see people I respect and admire, people who routinely spout love-filled ideology, behaving in ways counter to their supposed spirituality.

Listen, I get it. It’s not easy to deal with some of the situations life throws our way. It’s not easy to decipher the truth of a situation when everyone has their own version (and we see things through a lens uniquely altered by our own experiences, loyalties, and agendas). It’s not easy to watch the people we love targeted, belittled, hurt, shamed, excluded. But as I try to learn and grow, to become a better person really, my goal is to bring love and light to every situation, ESPECIALLY those where it’s difficult to do so. And while I’d love to say I always do this, the truth is that it’s not always possible.

Because this shit is HARD.

So when I find myself in a situation where I want to rage, where I want to be my smallest, meanest, most petty self, my goal shifts. Then I am aware that I am just not capable of bringing light and love to the situation, and my goal becomes to NOT bring more darkness to it. In those situations, it’s sometimes all I can do to mediate on the issue at hand, to STAND SILENT rather than BE MEAN. Yes, I would like to be the kind of person who can always bring light and love to a situation, but the truth is, I’m just not there yet. Sometimes I can pull it out, but other times it takes everything I’ve got just to NOT BRING DARKNESS.

As I share my own journey, the last thing I ever want is to be a hypocrite, to be less than honest about where I’m at on the path. But there is one thing I can say with certainty – it has been a long, long time since I have been outwardly mean, small and petty, even in a very trying situation. Inwardly, I still struggle with these things from time to time. Of course I do. But I have finally gotten to the point where I can’t remember the last time I’ve said or done something to make someone feel bad about themselves, their behavior, their journey. The point where I can honestly say that a majority of the time, I strive to make people feel loved and worthy of love.

Because here is the truth; there has never been a spiritual teacher, or even someone I respect and admire spiritually (again, not a religious definition for me, make the connection to this word that suits you), who has spent their time pointing out the flaws of others, criticizing them, being mean and petty and small and making others feel mean and petty and small. The people I admire spiritually aren’t always perfect. They are often people who will acknowledge, again, that this shit is hard. But neither do they bring more darkness to already-dark situations. Instead they bring the light, or at the very least, turn inward to work on themselves until they can.

So the next time you find yourself in a trying situation, try asking what you can do to bring love and light to it. And if you can’t, that’s okay. Just don’t bring darkness. Look inward instead and work on being the kind of person who can. And if you are the unfortunate target of darkness-bearing people (especially those cloaked as light-bearers), retreat and bring light to yourself — and find others who will join you in keeping the torch lit, and of course, in passing it on.

<3

 

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11/13/14 Life # , , , , , , ,

You Are Not In Jeopardy

All_Is_WellIf I ever get a tattoo, this is what it will say.

I think these words often, ever since I read a quote that went something like; “Do not for a moment entertain the idea that you are in jeopardy.” I wish I could remember who said it! Rumi maybe?

In any case, those words changed the way I think about fear and worry and strife and the never-ending obstacles that can feel like a necessary part of life’s bargain. As soon as I read them, I felt a burden lifted from my shoulders. Of course, I know now that this is because all our fear and stress and anger and disappointment is a result not of the events that happen in our lives, but of the way we think about them and our attachment to the outcome. But back then I only knew that I felt… relief at the idea that I am okay.

I AM NOT IN JEOPARDY.

What powerful words. My mantra, ALL IS WELL, is just a shorter way of saying it.

I repeat the phrase often. I repeat it when I’m worried about paying for braces or college or about that strange sound coming from my car (and how much it’s going to cost to fix). I repeat it when I wonder if — yes, IF — I will sell another book and when I’m feeling like a hack and a has-been (it happens more often than you might think). I repeat it when I wonder if my brand is shot to hell from writing different kinds of books and if I’ll ruin my career by doing something bold and ill-advised. I repeat it when I’m thinking about my kids moving out of the house and the now-imminent moment (exhilarating and terrifying!) when I will have long stretches of time to fill with something other than the mindless tasks of making lunches and driving people everywhere.

These simple words have the power to calm the shallow breath and knotted stomach of anxiety. They have the power to ground me in an instant – whether I’m driving in the car saying them out loud or standing in a check out line repeating them in my head. But I know it isn’t the words themselves that do the job. It’s the knowledge — the REMINDER — that all really IS well. It’s well because I say it’s well. It’s well because, in the words of another famous, unattributed quote, “Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not, it’s not the end.” The only sure thing in life is that everything is always changing. Don’t like what’s going on, how you’re feeling, what someone is saying? Ride it out and it will pass. Try it the next time you are worried or scared or beaten down. Take a few slow, calming breaths and say the words.

All is well. I promise.

<3

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11/06/14 Contests & Giveaway , Lies I Told # , , , , , , , ,

LIES I TOLD Sneak Peek and ARC Giveaway

Goodreads_CoverRight now on Goodreads you can enter to win one of three advance copies. Which is the perfect excuse to give you guys a sneak peek.

;)

 

Looking back, I should have known Playa Hermosa was the beginning of the end. We’d had a good run, and if things were sometimes tense between Mom, Dad, and Parker, it was nothing a new job couldn’t fix. Just when they’d be at each other’s throats, we’d move on to a new town.
 
And there was nothing like a new town to remind us which team we were on.

But Playa Hermosa was different. It was like another world. One where the old rules didn’t apply. Like the exotic birds on the peninsula, we were suddenly all on our own.
 
Except it didn’t feel like that right away. In the beginning, it was business as usual. Plot the con, get into character, work our way in, stick together.
 
I don’t know if it was my relationship with Logan that tipped everything over the edge or if the signs had been there long before. Either way, I tell myself it was for the best. The universe seems to have its own mysterious plan. I guess we’re just along for the ride. I can live with that. The harder part, the impossible part, is living with what I did to Logan and his family.
 
We knew what we were doing. Knew the risks. But Logan and his family were good. Maybe the first really good people I’d ever met. They loved each other, sacrificed for each other. Not because they didn’t have anyone else, but because that’s what love is.
 
What happened to them is my fault. And I’m still trying to figure out if I can live with that.
 
Then there’s Parker. Deep down, I know the choice was his. But I can’t help wondering if he stuck around because of me. If he hadn’t, everything would be different, and he’d probably be drinking beer in Barcelona or coffee in Paris or something.
 
I can’t think about the other stuff. Thinking about it forces me back to the question; Why didn’t I see it? Had the end of our family been one sudden, impulsive decision that set into motion a string of events that changed everything? Or had it all been a long time coming? I think that would be worse, because if it was true, it meant that I was hopelessly, unforgivably naive.
 
And there’s no crime as unforgivable as naivety when you’re on the grift.

 
Entering is easy!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Lies I Told

by Michelle Zink

Giveaway ends November 18, 2014. See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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10/30/14 Contests & Giveaway , Lies I Told # , , , , , , , , ,

LIES I TOLD Giveaway!

Remember when I ran that LIES I TOLD ARC giveaway a couple of months ago and over 1100 people entered in two weeks? Well, I have MOAR ARCs to give away!

Three of them!

All you have to do to enter is click a button on Goodreads. Then you’ll get to read my new book five months before it comes out — PLUS get the ending that didn’t appear in the final copy.

Fun! And easy!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

Lies I Told

by Michelle Zink

Giveaway ends November 18, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

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10/24/14 Reading # , , , , , , , ,

It Was Exactly Like Waking from a Dream

Station_ElevenSad to finish Station Eleven last night. Definitely one of my all time faves. I didn’t want it to end. Some of my favorite quotes;

“She started to explain her project to him again but the words stopped in her throat. “You don’t have to understand it,” she said. “It’s mine.”

“We traveled so far and your friendship meant everything. It was very difficult, but there were moments of beauty. Everything ends. I’m not afraid.”

“She was thinking about the way she’d always taken for granted that the world had certain people in it, either central to her days or unseen and infrequently thought of. How without any one of these people the world is a subtly but unmistakably altered place, the dial turned just one or two degrees.”

“What was it like for you at the end?”… “It was exactly like waking up from a dream.”

“If nothing else, it’s pleasant to consider the possibility. He likes the thought of ships moving out over the water, toward another world just out of sight.”

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10/20/14 Life # , , , ,

You Are Terrifying and Strange…

warsan_shire_quote1It took me a long time to understand that not everyone will know how to love me. That’s okay. But it’s also okay to insist on the kind of love you deserve. It might mean that it takes longer to find the right people. It might mean there are fewer of them. But in the end, the people who know how to love you — just as you are — are the people you need in your life. As for the others; send them light and love and let them go. In the meantime, learn to love yourself like the most gentle of friends, the most passionate of lovers, the kindest and wisest of mentors. Because the most important thing of all is that you know how to love you.

Have a wonderful week, sweet friends.

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Michelle Zink is the award-winning author of over seven novels. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
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Acclaim

"This arresting story takes readers to other planes of existence…"
- Booklist (starred review)


“An intense and captivating story…”
- VOYA (starred review)


“A fresh and engaging cast of characters, a page-turning plot and lyrical prose add up to an accomplished feat of storytelling…”
- The Guardian


“A captivating tragedy…"
- Publishers Weekly


“Zink’s methodical unfolding of events will draw readers in…”
- Kirkus


“Tingly suspense is craftily managed…”
- The Bulletin

Awards
 

 



@MichelleZink
Signed books make great gifts! Preorder a personalized copy of LIES I TOLD from @OblongBooks; http://t.co/uCpncpfog2 http://t.co/T04oXEWgI9
Photoset: realitydestroys-usall: Olive Penderghast’s cool parents. I want to be them http://t.co/nUa0DZkFE0
Dying for something besides eggs and veggies for breakfast so I made this hot "cereal" out of diced… https://t.co/P5Z199lK3B
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