Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Monthly Archives: May 2014

Writer’s brains are awesome…we hold God knows how many other worlds in our head. How many are in yours?


This isn’t so much me, but I know a lot of other writers often have more than one WIP. Yep that’s how awesome our brains are. We can hold our reality (hopeful) along with one to you tell me how many other worlds that we create.

I posted this before and I’m going to post it again just because it’s that funny.

What are you working on right now? How many WIP? What do you tell your friends when they ask how that novel’s coming?

On being the token Yank: “We’ll turn you European yet!” Cultural differences in saying good bye


Image(The awkward bro hug two tap on the back I’d be okay with. Kissing cheeks? Not so much)

Yesterday I was at a meeting with some of my fellow Singapore Writer’s Group (which is an amazing group of writers, seriously! But 505 members on Meet-Up is not exactly functional). Being Singapore, we are a fairly culturally diverse group. After serious discussions about our future as a group, we parted ways.

I actually was NOT the token Yank at the time. There was one other. Note this. It’s an important fact.

So the three English women and one French women started hugging and kissing each others’ cheeks. Then it was my turn. This is kind of what I wanted to do:


Obviously I went along with it but did not actually kiss. Also I didn’t start crying, don’t worry. I’ve been through this plenty of other times, but still it makes me feel a bit awkward, especially since I don’t know them super well.

“We’ll turn you into a European yet!” one of my writing friends said. We all had a bit of a laugh.

Me and the other American looked at each other and laughed. We just waved.

We definitely don’t do the hug and kiss each cheek thing in Wisconsin. I was thinking about it, and my friends and I back home at most would do an awkward side hug farewell but that’s about it. My English and Scottish friends here, apart from those at the SWG, don’t do that either.

Image(I’d put Wisconsin in this category as well haha)

Will I turn European before I leave Singapore? Only time will tell. I’ve been told I’m practically British so I guess I’m getting closer 😛

Have you encountered cultural differences in greetings that made you feel uncomfortable? What is your culture’s method of saying good bye? (Americans, we DO have our own culture, which I didn’t really realize until I left haha)

Happy Memorial Day, American friends!


ImageTo all my American followers, and really I guess anyone else who wants to remember those who died in wars, happy Memorial Day! And happy official start to summer 🙂  I’ll celebrate vicariously through you as A) its not Memorial Day in Singapore and B) there really aren’t any discernible seasons here.

What are you up to today?


An ode to Wisconsin from a pathetically homesick person in Singapore who’s being a bit of a whiner



(On Wisconsin! and props to Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee)

Best title ever, right?

So my husband’s gone back to Wisconsin for a week, leaving me alone in Singapore feeling all homesick. Really, I’m just being pathetic and whiny so don’t mind me 😛 But anyway, it got me looking through my old Facebook photos and they have a new meaning now that I’m far from home.

So below you’ll find a few completely random pictures of things I’ve decided I miss today, besides the obvious friends and family.


Good old Mad-town, Madison, Wisconsin, taken from Lake Monona. The Overture Center, the state Capitol poking up out over it.


Madison on Halloween with the State Capitol. There used to be the occasional drunken riot as 100,000+ people descended onto State Street. It’s a bit calmer now. One of the fun parts… Trying to stay warm while walking around outside for hours when it’s maybe 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe. But we’re from Wisconsin. We don’t care about no cold. We’ve got liquid blankets for that.


Go, Pack, Go! I’ve only been to one game and it was amazing! Went in October so it was actually warm. November-January, not so much. Subzero Fahrenheit temperatures? We don’t give a care, we’ll fill the stadium anyway! It’s called the “Frozen Tundra” for a reason, people! That’s what ski masks and 18 layers of clothes and four pairs of socks are for. Oh, and the previously-mentioned liquid blanket. Did you get a shit ton of snow the night before a game? Just ask the fine people of Green Bay (population 100,000-ish) to shovel out the seats and they’ll do it for free. Need to add to the stadium? Just ask the great people of Wisconsin to buy “shares” that have absolutely no value other than a framed document and they’ll pay for it. Want a season ticket? Get on the wait list; there’s only 81,000 people on it, plus nobody gives up their season tickets. You’re name will come up in about 30 years if you’re lucky. So just put your imaginary grandchild’s name on it. The Packers are the only non-profit, community-owned major league professional sports team in the United States. That’s right, the fans own them 🙂

*Sigh* nobody cares about American football over here. It is a ridiculously confusing sport though.

So in Wisconsin, we love our beer and cheese. We make a lot of both. Milwaukee alone historically has: Miller, Pabst, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee, Milwaukee’s Best, and Blatz. Did I miss one?  And now we have tons of amazing microbreweries popping up. We have more bars than grocery stores, fancy bars, corner bars, bars converted from houses and barns. And our bars know how to do taps. Psh one or two beers on tap? That’s baby stuff.


Here’s a sample of 30 taps at the Old Fashioned in Madison. I think they have even more on the other side of the bar. Mostly microbrews from around Wisconsin. Last time I was home, we stopped at a bar with over 50 beers on tap!

Like I said, we make cheese. A lot of cheese. We may not make fancy people cheese, but we have cheese curds. Yeah, take that world. They are delicious beer battered and deep fried or fresh and squeaky. In my U.S. and world travels, I’ve encountered deep-fried pizza and Mars Bars and burgers and God knows what else, but we’re the only ones I’ve found that deep fry our cheese.


We’re also the only place in the U.S. that makes Limburger cheese. Monroe, Wisconsin. Smells like stinky feet and that’s exactly what it tastes like.

Oh, and also the people of Wisconsin are pretty amazing, too 🙂 Now I know we have our own Wisconsin culture.

Have you ever lived abroad or in place far from home? What did you miss the most? What did you do when you felt homesick?

34,000 words in 4 days omg my brain is exploding!!!



So my brain has been on fire the past four days! Writer’s high to the max, Ideas just itching and itching to get out of my head.

I finally made myself get started on the prequel to the other novel I’m wrapping up right now (which is off at a development editor), Hooligans in Shining Armour set in modern-day Belfast. I was putting it off because I don’t know why, probably because I didn’t feel like researching, but I finally found my spark. I’d already plotted it out a bit, which helped immensely. Plus as I was writing this, I found out I loved this character even more than I ever knew!


Anyway… Have you ever written a sequel or a prequel? What did your process look like for that? Is it easier or harder to write than the first?