Friday, December 31, 2010

Review: The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: January 24th 2006 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (originally published in 1993)
Format: Paperback, 179 pgs.
Source: Purchased

Description:

When Jonas turns 12, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. Now, it’s time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Be True to Your Writerly Self

On Twitter the other day, someone told me that I couldn't edit until I was finished writing, and while it's sound advice it actually kind of pissed me off. I know I've told a couple of writers to just try to finish the book before the start editing, and my reasoning was that they haven't finished one because they get caught up in the editing. Going back over passages over and over and changing their minds and the story so that it's never finished. This type of editing is not good, at least not to me.

But the thing about writers is we're all unique. Each and every one of us does things a little differently. Some people spend months hammering out their storyline with sticky notes and whiteboards. Others sit down at their computers, open a blank document, and begin typing furiously until, less than three months later, they have a first draft. And then there are some who toe the line, doing a little of this and a bit of that; but no two writers follow the exact same method. We each bring something of ourselves to the table, just like we do in our actual writing.

Now this person, I'm sure, didn't mean any offense when they told me I couldn't edit until I was finished writing. Only there's something about my writing that person didn't know: I wasn't just writing. I was editing.

You see, like all of you, I have my own method, and it's still growing and changing as I do. I thought about my TSA during school last semester, and I refused to work on it until I had free time. I jotted down notes, made comments on plot points, just little things (mostly during Biology, I'll be honest). And when I finally sat down to write it, it took me all of about three months to hammer the entire first draft out. My first draft, read like a third draft, something that's never happened to me before. So I know this method works for me. I let my idea simmer, so that when I wrote my first draft I already knew my story, which allowed me to focus more on the characters and the writing. It was awesome.

Now here's where my method branches off a little. When it came time for me to edit, do you know what I did? I opened a brand new word doc, and I started completely over. This draft is 100% new words. I don't copy and paste from the 1st draft at all. I may open it up, as I occasionally do, to double check some things, but this draft is both writing and editing. I'm changing the story and the characters with every new word I write. Making it better in so many ways.

My method, is not your method. In fact, my method may be the exact opposite of yours. But the point is, that we all have our own way of doing things, and we'll all write our books and make it to the finish line whenever we do. It's not a race. It's not a competition to see who can write a first draft fastest or best. Though I'll admit a little friendly competition can be nice. It's about the story. It's about us. We're writers. We're unique, and each and every one of us is made of awesome.

So when someone tries to tell you how to do your job, remember, they aren't you, and they couldn't possibly know what works best for you better than you do. Go, be awesome. : )

Friday, December 24, 2010

Review: Nightshade

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: October 19, 2010 by Philomel
Format: ARC 453 pgs.
Source: Contest


Description:

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything— including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Review: Jessica Z.

Jessica Z. by Shawn Klomparens 

Age Group: Adult
Published: June 24, 2008 by Delta
Format: Paperback, 340 pages
Source: To Review

Description:

Welcome to Jessica's world...

When Jessica Zorich met a tall, charismatic artist at a San Francisco party, her life had been all about coping: with a baffling and dangerous world, with a mostly inane job, and with a sweet but meandering relationship with her upstairs neighbor. But Josh Hadden doesn't cope: he's a man of action, of big visions, and of relationships that span the globe; a man certain of his passions, politics, art, and desire. And what Josh desires most is Jessica - at a time when being desired might be the most desirable thing of all.

In this daring, mesmerizing debut, a novel that brilliantly captures the angst of a generation, Jessica gives herself over to an erotic, reckless relationship with a man guarding deep secrets - and to a perfect storm of lust, doubt, joy, and fear. Now, against her better judgment, she is following Josh into his mystifying life and brilliant, dizzying work, where she will find out how much she has been missing, how far she has yet to go, and what the price of this intoxicating adventure will be.


Friday, December 17, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Kristi over at The Story Siren is hosting the 2011 Debut Author Challenge in which lots of book lovers come together in an attempt to read as many debuts as possible throughout the year (12 minimum). This year, I will (try) to be one of them.

Here's the starter list of 2011 debuts I want to get my hands on:

XVI by Julie Karr
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Like Mandarin by Kirsten Hubbard
Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker
Hourglass by Myra McEntire
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Possession by Elana Johnson
Luminous by Dawn Metcalf
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
Wildefire by Karsten Knight
The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab
Witch Eyes by Scott Tracey
Banish by Gretchen McNeil
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock


And those are just the ones I've been looking forward to for months. :)

Will you be participating?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why hello there!

What's this? Another new post? It's a miracle!

I know. I know. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. It's harder than you'd think. Sigh.

Anyway, I finally got to start writing again. I'm on draft 2 of TSA, and boy did I miss it. I broke 12k the other day; I was seriously beginning to wonder if it would ever happen (pushing 13k now - WOO!). I've got some big goals for this one over the break: finish draft 2, edit, send to some readers, edit, send to a couple of agents. We'll see if that happens. But I'm certainly going to try!

On a slightly related (if you think in terms of publishing and books in general I suppose) I had to stop reading for Awesome Agent because of school, which totally sucked by the way (school AND not being able to read for AA). But since she's made of pure awesome (hence the name) she's taking me back, at least for the break. I've already looked at one partial and have another to read for her today. I love this business, and knowing that makes the thought of moving from Arkansas (don't judge me) to New York that much easier. I can't think of anything else I'd rather be doing than bringing my own and others' books into the world, except for playing my instruments, but that's an even harder job to get into. O.O

Books. There are so many that I haven't had a chance to read and so many more that have come out. It's crazy. I'm going to do so much reading over the break, because I have at least 3 books that I have to review that desperately need to get read. Sigh. Sometimes I fail at life.

And on that note, have any of you had any success while I was away? Book deals? Agent signings? Do tell!

(Did I mention how much I missed all of you?)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Knock, Knock

*looks out at followers* Are you guys still here? I know I recently lost two of you, and that saddens me, but ya know 2 months without an update is a good reason to go.

But, I'm alive!! Really, I'm right here. I promise. And this semester is so close to being finished it's funny in one of those I'm-going-crazy kind of ways. I haven't read a book in, umm, a long time. It hurts me. I think it's been longer since I had time to read than since the last time I posted, if that tells you anything. And it's been just as bad with my writing.

HOWEVER, I totally had time to open up my 2nd draft and do a little work on The Sandman's Apprentice!!!!!  So, really, guys, I'm back. Promise. I've got a few finals left, but then it's nothing but reading, writing, and doing some light working at the library. And then there's the bit of Christmas break I'm actually going home for, and then next semester, which should be a breeze compared to this one. I will never leave you again for two months. Even when I move to NY. I will find internet. I WILL talk to you all.

Anyway, all that to say that I missed you all, and I hope you don't hate me for dropping off the planet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Winners!

I don't know where the week went, but it's time to announce the winners of my Contest of Awesome!

The first winner is . . . Sammy! You get first pick of the prize packs.

Winner number two is . . . Natasha! You'll get whichever one is left after Sammy chooses.

CONGRATULATIONS!!

Thanks to everyone who participated; I had a lot of fun with this, and I hope you did too.

Enjoy your weekends!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Update

1) The Contest of Awesome is closed. No more entries will be accepted. I will be counting everyone's entries and double checking links and will then announce the winners. If I draw your name first, you get dibs on the prize pack you want and the second name gets the other one. I know more people wanted YA than the Adult, so I might just keep them separate from now on when I have contests.

2) Thanks for participating!!! You guys are awesome and it's been fun reading everyone's comments.

3) Hello, New Followers!! Nice to see you there! Lucky for you I haven't been posting much lately, but I'm about to schedule out every last minute of my time, so updates might be a little more regular soon. :)

4) If I had something else to say I totally forgot it, so I'm just going to say thanks for spreading the word about the contest and for not leaving me flaming comments about my lack of activity. You, my friends, are wonderful.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Contest of Awesome

In celebration of my 100, 125, and 150 followers and my 21st birthday, I'm having a contest. An awesome contest.

The Rules: 

1) You must be a follower.
2) You must comment on this post.
3) Honestly, that's about it, because this contest is open to everyone! (So long as you live somewhere the Book Depository ships to.) :)

Extra Entries:

+1 for being a follower (automatic)
+1 for commenting (automatic)
+1 for telling me your newest favorite book and
+1 for telling me why you loved it
+1 for Tweeting about the contest*
+1 for linking on your blog *
+3 for an actual blog post*

9 total possible entries 

The Prizes:

There will be TWO prize packs.**
ADULT:
Soulless by Gail Carriger
Stray by Rachel Vincent 

YOUNG ADULT:
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Contest Ends: Monday, October 11th (10/11/2010) @ 11:59pm 

You have two weeks to enter. 

* I want links people. 
** If you win and already have these books, I will more than likely swap them out for something else.

GOOD LUCK!!   

  

 
   

CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT

Psst. Since I've been all over the place with my updates on here, I'm actually getting on to tell you to check back later for something awesome. Because the contest I've been wanting to hold since, umm, May (?) is about to go down.

There will be multiple ways to earn entries.
There will be winners from all over the world. (Why hello, Book Depository.)

There will be multiple winners.

There will be less money in my bank account.

So tell your friends and check your watch, because I'll be back in 6+ hours with contest details and a list of prizes!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review: Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: August 31, 2010 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 352 pgs
Source: Purchased

Description: 
 
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Calling Sarah E. Olson

Sarah, if I don't hear from you by Sunday night, I'll be forced to draw a new winner.

I'll repeat that. Sarah E. Olson, you won a signed copy of Cinders from my contest last week. If you don't send me an email by Sunday night with your mailing address, I'll have to give the book to someone else.

Monday, September 13, 2010

CINDERS Winner!!

After much deliberation, I have selected a winner. Which roughly translates into, "I numbered you and had my friend pick a random number, 'cause I'm spiffy like that."

So, one lucky person gets a signed copy of Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle, 2 Cinders bookmarks, and 2 business cards for Michelle Davidson Argyle

And the winner is . . .

Oh, hey, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who participated, and hello to everyone who stopped in and said 'hi' even if they didn't want to be entered. You guys rock. : )

So, I could stall some more, but I have to go to work now.

The winner is . . . Sarah E. Olson.

CONGRATULATIONS, SARAH!!!!

Welcome to the blog! Send me an email at a-jATcoxDOT.net with your mailing address and all get your prize sent off to you ASAP.

Thanks again, everyone! And have a good Monday!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Guest Post from My Dog Ate My Blog


Today, I have a guest post for you from one of the contributors to  a very interesting- and rather informative- site, My Dog Ate My Blog. Rather than tell you who they are and what they talk about, I'd rather just let you guys check them out for yourself. So, enjoy:


So You Want to Break Into the Publishing Industry

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the publishing industry can always expect to take a hit during times of economic downturn. Couple that with the rise of the Internet and the subsequent demise of traditional print media and it's no wonder you always hear about newspapers folding and talking heads proclaiming the publishing industry dead. On the contrary, the industry far from dead, just changing, like so many other industries experiencing growing pains as they transition into a new, on-line, interactive world. Anybody may be able to have a blog but the public still turns to trusted sources for news and other material, and thankfully, books, business-to-business or "trade" publications, and textbooks still see the same if not better circulations as earlier in the decade. Here are 8 hot jobs in the publishing industry that ARE on the rise.

Graphic designers are in high demand for not only the layout of the publications themselves but that of the publication's website, and are often required to do extensive work on both. Graphic designers must be familiar with InDesign and similar layout applications, and must be able to create an intuitive, immediately eye-catching, and engaging interface for online content. Jobseekers with web design and animation experience will have an edge over the competition.

Market and survey researchers find out what the public wants by means of surveys, focus group discussions, etc. They figure out how best to reach readers and what content they want to view, an increasingly important aspect of the industry because with so many options available online and in print, it is essential to find the audience that will keep coming back for more. Market and survey researchers report their findings to....

Advertising sales are what fuel newspapers, magazines, and their websites, and so advertising sales agents are absolutely necessary to find the revenue that will keep these publications alive. Agents analyse findings from the market research department and present them to potential clients in the hopes they will buy advertising space in their publication and/or website. Commissions often make up a large portion of an advertising sales agent's earnings, and so this can be a tough way to go, especially in less than ideal economic times.

It is increasingly difficult for writers to find steady, paid work, especially as most publications downsize or hire out work on a freelance basis, but one often overlooked though less sexy sector of the publishing industry that is hiring workers is the business-to-business or trade publication. These smaller publications cover stories and topics specific to certain industries and so only appeal to a small but stable audience, one with fewer (if any) options to receive their news. Writers for these publications may write for various magazines at once and may also be required to handle other tasks as well, and so should have some experience in layout, photography, and/or graphic design to help their prospects.

No one will read a book if they do not know it exists, and so it is the public relations specialist's job to get the word out and create buzz about new material. PR specialists devise ad campaigns in other publications, radio and television ads, etc., set up author interviews and promotional tours, and utilize any medium possible to reach their target audience. Increasingly experience and expertise with social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is essential.

Textbook sales constitute almost half of the revenue generated by the publishing industry, and with more students (especially in higher education) than ever, the demand for new textbooks and revised editions of those already published does not look to diminish anytime soon. Generally professors or other experts in a certain field devise the content for a textbook, but oftentimes need help putting their thoughts to paper in a digestible, engaging way; this is where the jobs are, and so textbook writers should have knowledge of the field to translate highly technical talk into something that makes sense for a student.

More and more in today's business climate writers are being hired on a freelance basis. Publishing companies commission freelance writers to complete any kind of assignment, mostly short-term but also recurring columns, scripts, and books. Freelancer writers are self-employed and so have the freedom to handpick the assignments they undertake and also work on their own schedule. As a downside, jobs can be hard to find and so freelancing can be a tough way to make a living, particularly as an unestablished or new writer. However, there are always jobs out there waiting to be found, and it is a good way to get published and create a portfolio to use when finding steadier work.

The area with by far the best job prospects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is that of computer network, systems, and database administrators. With so many periodicals and other publications already online, and many books being converted to a digital format, it is absolutely essential to have a working, fluid, interactive, intuitive, and cutting edge website. Webmasters turn publishers and writers' ideas into online reality, and must be up-to-date on current technologies and innovations for implementation.

Joseph Gustav is a guest post blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and a writer on accredited online colleges for Guide to Online Schools.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

CONTEST

So, I have a lovely signed copy of this pretty book here:

And I'd like to give it away, because I totally have one for myself. : )

ANYWAY, if you live in the US or Canada (I'm cheap right now, sorry everyone!) then you're eligible for this. I'm not going to get all kinds of fancy and give you the chance to have 20 billion entries, so you get one entry per person.

Rules:

(1) You must be a follower.
(2) You must leave a comment, preferably with some content in it other than, "Woo! Great contest!"

I'd like to get to know you all. So if you've never spoken up before, introduce yourself. If you have, tell me how things are going: have you read a good book lately, made any progress on your MS, or have you been so incredibly busy that it's not even funny?

That's it. Not hard at all.

ENDS: Next Friday (9/10) at 12:00 AM EST (I'll stay up an extra hour for all of you.)

PRIZE:

1 signed copy of Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle (my review here, and yes this week is brought to you by Cinders for the most part).
2 Cinders bookmarks
2 business cards for Michelle Davidson Argyle

I'd appreciate it if you spread the word about this, mostly because Cinders deserves all the attention it can get. AND if I see my link popping up everywhere, I *might* be persuaded to give out extra entries in my next contest which will be coming up later this month. Hopefully.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Author Interview: Michelle Davidson Argyle

I have the privilege today to interview the wonderfully talented author of Cinders, Michelle Davidson Argyle. If you were here on Monday, you'll need no introduction to the book, but I'll give you one at the end anyway. 'Cause I'm nice like that.

About Michelle: 

"I'm a mother, artist, and writer who lives in the Rocky Mountains with my sword-wielding husband and energetic daughter. I write contemporary, literary, and fantasy fiction." - from Michelle's author site
Yours Truly: CINDERS is a look at what happens to Cinderella when happily-ever-after doesn’t go according to plan. What made you want to write about the beloved fairy-tale?


Michelle: I've always had some issues with Disney princesses, and since my daughter kept watching Disney's *Cinderella* over and over again, I one day got the idea to tell a short story about Cinderella after she gets married. The short story grew into a novella.

YT: Your book is a novella; is there any particular reason you chose the shorter format?

M: Yes, actually. One of my favorite stories is *The Awakening* by Kate Chopin. It's a novella, and I fell in love with that format back in college. I always knew I wanted to write a novella, so when I got the idea for * Cinders,* I knew it was perfect for a novella-length piece. I wanted a fairly simple story - straightforward and a quick, fun read. Like a fairy-tale.

YT: I'd definitely say you accomplished that, though I don't know that "fun" is the word I'd use to describe CINDERS, haha. Since most people think about writing novels, which are by definition longer than novellas, how did you go about getting CINDERS published? Is the process any different than the process for publishing novels?

Novellas are difficult to get published in the mainstream traditional publishing sense, so I knew that *Cinders* was the perfect project to self-publish. Self-publishing is different for every writer, meaning you can go many different routes. Some writers choose to publish only an ebook, some go with a vanity press, some go with a POD (print-on-demand) publisher. I knew I wanted to go with a POD publisher, and then had to do my research on who was right for me. The process to self-publish is, of course, different from traditional publishing with a large publishing house, but as far as the difference between self-publishing a novel vs. self-publishing a novella, to me they would be the same.

If you want more information on my self-publishing process, you can follow my self-publishing series at The Literary Lab. It begins here:

 http://literarylab.blogspot.com/2010/08/do-you-want-to-jump-fence-part-1-of-why.html

YT: As a writer, you contribute to The Literary Lab blog which gives great advice to writers; if you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice,what would it be?

Keep writing and make professional connections. I think it's vital for writers to know when their work is ready, and most of the time their critique partners can't tell them that. Save your pennies and hire a professional editor. Query your work to agents and see what feedback you get. Make friends with a published author who might be willing to read your work and give you an honest opinion. Most of all, don't cheat yourself into thinking your work is ready simply because you're impatient and want to share it with the world (trust me, I know how that feels). I wrote 3 novels and countless short stories and got an English BA degree before I knew I was ready to publish on any sort of scale larger than a short story. I'm not saying you have to get an English degree, but be serious with your work and yourself no matter what you decide to do. From my experience, 98% of the time, my work is not ready.

YT: (As an English major myself, I have to say I'm a little biased, but I think everyone should have an English degree . . . Totally kidding, you guys.) Are you working on anything else that you can share with us?

M: I'm currently working on a novel to submit to a small press, and intermixed with that I'll be writing two more fantasy fairy-tale novellas that I will self-publish alongside *Cinders*. I also plan on self-publishing a
novelette with Scott G.F. Bailey and Davin Malasarn from the Literary Lab. We'll be doing a collection of three novellas/novelettes. I'm excited for all these projects!

YT: Me too!! So, what is your favorite part of writing?

M: Plain and simple: sharing it with readers!

YT: Great answer! Haha. And one last question for fun: since I know you’re a fan of poetry, if you could meet any poet who would it be and why?

M: Oh, tough! I'd have to say Annie Dillard. She is the writer whose work made me turn from an editing degree to a creative degree in college. I love her work dearly.

YT: Sorry about that, Michelle. Sometime I ask mean questions. : ) I loved CINDERS, and thanks again!

M: Thank you! It's been a pleasure.

Cinders: 

Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected.


With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

Visit the author online.
Buy the book: Amazon | Others 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Cinders

Cinders by Michelle Davidson Argyle

Age Group: Adult
Published: June 23, 2010 by CreateSpace
Format: Paperback, 182 pgs (novella)
Source: For Review

Description: 

Cinderella's happily-ever-after isn't turning out the way she expected.

With her fairy godmother imprisoned in the castle and a mysterious stranger haunting her dreams, Cinderella is on her own to discover true love untainted by magic.

My Thoughts:

Cinders is a fantastic continuation of the beloved Cinderella fairy-tale, but if you're looking for cute little talking animals and happily-ever-afters, you're looking in the wrong place. Michelle Davidson Argyle has given us a new look at Cinderella and just what happened after she married her prince. Things aren't all great, and magic could be the problem.

I think the thing I loved most was that there was never a definite answer to Cinderella's problems. She married the Prince and was trying to love him, but she constantly thought of another man and was always wondering if the Prince's love for her would still be there if the magic wasn't there. And in the end nothing gets tied up with a pretty pink bow. It was real and like fairy-tales used to be. Yes, I;m looking at you Disney.

It's heartbreaking and beautifully written and I wouldn't change a word of it. The characters were well developed, and Cinderella definitely grows into herself as the story progresses. The only thing that could have been different would have been the ending, but a happy ending wouldn't have been true to the real fairy-tales and to the story at all.

Cinders is a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

Visit the author online.
Buy the book online: Amazon

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's not you; it's me.

So I never mentioned that I passed my one year blogiversary. I think it was back in June, maybe July. Clearly I care. Anyway I'll be putting a contest together sometime over the next month or so since I'll finally have money again in another week and I'll be moving back to school. Don't ask me why that last one matters; it just does. The contest will be a combination of celebrations: 1 year on the blog; 100, 125, and possibly 150 followers (by then); and my birthday (which is near the end of September).

But I'll also be having another contest, like, sooner than that. Hopefully that one will be next week, and will come with a review, and possibly an author interview. :)

Moving on. If you're my friend on Goodreads, or a regular follower here, you'll have noticed I haven't reviewed anything lately and possibly that I've been reading the same two books for weeks now. It's not that I don't like them. I just can't bring myself to read them, and it's been bugging me lately. A lot. And I realized the other day that it wasn't the books at all, though I never really thought it was; it was all me. As much as I wanted to read them and as great as they are, I just couldn't. I still can't. Because right now, my brain just really doesn't want to read a long adult book.

I've always read adult books, always. YA and MG have been most of what I read but the adults have always called to me, too. So why can't I read them right now? These books are great. I want to read them, but apparently I just need to submerge myself in some younger perspectives for a few days and hope it helps.

Does this ever happen to you? Are there ever any books that you've started but you just couldn't finish right then? Or any genres or age groups you've had to step away from for a little while? This is new to me, and I feel really bad for the two books that just keep staring me down. I keep sighing and telling them that it really isn't them, but I don't think they believe me. I'll make it up to them later.

Also, it's really hard to find time to read published books when you're trying to write one of your own, reading for an agent, and taking a class that sucks up all of your time. Luckily, Spanish ended last Friday so I've slowly been regaining lost time. Will be reading again soon! Speaking of, I have a full MS I need to finish. See you all later!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What's this? A new post?!

Hi. My name's Amanda, and it's been about a week since my last blog post.

Okay, I don't know what that was, but it's after 2am (please excuse any and all typos and incomplete sentences/thoughts) and right now everything's kind of funny. So we'll just move on. If you follow my Twitter, and I don't know why you would but anyway, you know that I've been rather blah lately. Now as Jade has a new mantra for me (#nomoreblah), I've been forbidden from the levels of lackluster, no motivation living. Unfortunately, I still feel like I have absolutely nothing worth saying. Heck, I can't even finish a book to review these days, which by the way makes me feel horrible.

ANYWAY, I'm finished with Spanish for the summer. WOOO!!!!! Sorry, it kind of sucked the life out of me there for a bit, and by that I mean it really ticked me off almost every day. But it's all good, because it's over and my life is returning to normal and I have time again! Mind you I still have, like, 7 partials to read, so if you haven't heard back from AA and you know who that is, it's totally my fault (ignore the fact that she's been out of office for a bit).

Have I mentioned it's like 2:20am? I have sleeping problems. It sucks. So yea, umm, I swear I had a point. OH! That's right, if any of you have topics you;d like me to talk about or attempt to talk about or if any of you want to guest blog or something leave me a comment, because right now I seriously feel like I could just go on and on without saying a single thing of importance . . . but I won't.

I will, however, ask if everyone had a lovely time at WriteOnCon. Did you learn a lot, meet new people? I myself didn't get to attend much and I was completely absent from the forums (yay life!), but I LOVED all of the posts, chat recordings, and vlogs. Such a wealth of information. A huge thanks to the ladies who put it all together. If you're reading this,

THANK YOU!!! 

It was a wonderful conference, and I certainly learned a lot. You all are awesome. 

And now, it is 2:28 and I am finally ready for bed. Have a wonderful weekend, and I hope no one had a horrible Friday the 13th, personally it's always been a good day for me. Anyway, enjoy your weekend and, hopefully, I'll see you all again soon!  

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Author Interview: Kiersten White

As promised, today I have the pleasure of interviewing Kiersten White. You might know her from blog Kiersten Writes, which is made of awesome just like she is, or perhaps you've heard the name alongside the title of a little book called Paranormalcy. Regardless of whether or not you already know her, you should. I'd tell you to go check out her blog and come back, but I know you'd just get lost in the wonder that is the Yeti-Leprechaun love story, so you'll just have to go look at it after the interview. : )

About Kiersten: 
 
"I'm a YA writer represented by the wonderful Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary. My first novel, PARANORMALCY, will be published by HarperTeen in August, 2010, with two sequels to follow. Which makes me all sorts of happy . . .
When not lost in a Word document or cyberspace, I spend time with my wonderful husband and two rather adorable children. I prefer mountains over beaches (a bit of a problem when you live in San Diego), Dr Pepper over Coke (but should probably quit drinking either), and parenthetical statements over dashes (but only in theory--clearly I use dashes more often)." -- from her blog made of win.
Check out her website, or visit her on Twitter.
On to the interview!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Question and an Answer

(This post has been updated in bold. Also, I would like to say that these posts in no way reflect the opinions and thoughts of the agent I read for, and not all of the things I post about are things learned from AA, so don't assume that what I say is coming to you straight from the mouth of an agent, okay? Okay, sorry, I felt that might be necessary to say.)

First of all, sorry I never got around to responding to all of your comments. I promise I read them all, and I'm happy to say there are quite a few books you all are reading that I've never heard of and will have to look up. Oh, and there's a new background again because my old one expired and I got tired of looking for it...

Now then, there was a great question asked the other day by Alexandra Shostak, who has a great blog by the way, in the comments of a query post, and I wanted to answer it on the blog. She said, "It's interesting to hear that some previously published authors are querying agents. I always wondered how that worked, Amanda. Wouldn't they already have agents? Or, if not, why, and would that be a red flag at all for a prospective client? (Maybe they're difficult to work with, for example?)"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Umm, hi again.

I have got to stop telling you guys I'll have something up by a certain day. Because, seriously, I hate breaking promises. But here I am, without a review. Again.

Life has been more than a little crazy lately. But I keep having things come up, or I'm not scheduling my time properly and things aren't getting done. I was going to have a review up for you today, but yesterday I didn't get up until noon and then when I did I spent most of the day in bed feeling sick and being barely able to move because I was so drained of energy.

And since I'm off to visit my brother for a few days to celebrate his pending divorce, I hope to be up and running again next week. (I always have free time when we visit my brother, and I told you guys things were crazy.) Anyway, without a doubt I have another awesome interview for you guys, and I'm working on another after that.

In the meantime, I'd like to know what all of you are reading regardless of age group and genre. So let's have it. What have you been reading lately?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Interview: Author/Agent Mandy Hubbard

Today, my dearest bloggers, I have a real treat for you (partially to make up for the lack of attention I've been giving you, but mostly because today's guest is awesome). The wonderfully gracious Mandy Hubbard, author and agent extraordinaire, is here for an interview! 
About Mandy: 
 "Mandy Hubbard is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, and five other to-be-published novels for teens. She is also a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. She is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Enumclaw, Washington." -- from her website. 

For more information about Mandy, visit her online at http://www.mandyhubbard.com/.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blargh! It's Wednesday.

And that means it's time for a little WIP Wednesday! Sorry for the absence. I had to learn an entire chapter of Spanish in 2 days, and impressively enough I made my highest test grade. Anyway.

So, I'm about 7k into draft 2 of The Sandman's Apprentice. It's coming along very slowly what with all the other things I've been doing. Did I mention I read two fulls over the weekend? Well, I did. Which is why there wasn't a review up on Monday. BUT I will finish reading and Falling, fly for you all soon. Maybe tonight of I don't end up editing or reading a partial.

Either way, you guys are getting a review . . . and an INTERVIEW this week. Uh huh, that's right. Not telling you who with though, so you'll just have to show up. But I can promise you another review next week, too. And another after that. :) I'm awesome. I know. LOL just kidding.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Query Stats

On a blog related note, I'm going to have to cut back on posting. I'll try to do at least one review a week, but everything else right now is up in the air. Blogging is pretty much the least important thing going on right now so I'll try to keep up with all of your blog, but expect things to be slower around here.

When I first started with AA, I requested a lot more than I did today. Why? Because I was paying more attention to the concept and a person's credentials than I was the writing. I was willing to over look typos and an awkward sentence or three if the idea was intriguing. I was even willing to request a partial for something with an unusually high word count, though when it comes to queries unusually high isn't really saying much. (I had a 295k query today. No joke.) I have learned my lesson, and will more than likely keep learning as I go. 

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Queries!

I've been slacking when it comes to reading things of the published variety as of late. So reviews will, hopefully, resume on Monday.

So, now that it's 3:40 in the afternoon here and I haven't posted, I thought I'd talk about queries. Most of you will probably already know all of this, but maybe I can shed some light on something.

DO:

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Interning, Links, and a Shout Out

Alright, so I've been super busy and all kinds of scatterbrained, but this interning thing is amazing. I read slush. Lots of slush, and let me tell you that I tend to just nod my head at all the posts on blogs about reading queries and queries in general now. Man, that was a lot of links. :)

There are a lot, A LOT of really bad ones, so when you see that an agent has only requested 1 partial out of over 100 queries remember that most of the stuff they read was horrid. You can officially take my word on that, and I want to request more than Awesome Agent.

I've also noticed that what people say about the intern or the new agent reading slush is true; though, naturally, I can't find any of those posts right now. We're more willing to look at something than an agent might be. I'm sure Awesome Agent has requested way more since taking me on than she usually does, just to prove a point. And it's working. Already I look back at some of the first things I requested and wonder what I saw, and it comes down to them being the best ones of the batch, regardless of whether they were good or not.

But I have seen some good stuff, not a whole lot, but some. And that is awesome. You know what else is awesome? Getting an email that says something I picked out of the slush has agent interest/offers elsewhere. Why is that cool? Because it means that something I saw in the slush got a real agent's attention. Makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

In other news, the lovely Candyland is hosting a contest over on her blog. It's for a good cause, like how the entire writing community pulled together for Do the Write Thing for Nashville. Candyland is using her blog to support the Joy 2 the World non-profit organization. In Candyland's words:

"Matt Brady is New Medicine's bassist, and an avid supporter of the non-profit, Joy 2 the World, which generates micro-credit loans for the women of Ghana to encourage independence and empowerment.They're an amazing organization who helps build wells for clean water (as opposed to river water), create pre-k schools with hot meals, give loans to women for small business start-up and awards scholarships to those attending school.
To read Matt Brady's amazing journey in Ghana, click HERE.
To read more about Joy 2 the World, click HERE."

You can win some awesome stuff, including page/chapter/query letter critiques from industry pros like Natalie Fischer and Michelle Wolfson and autographed books, swag from the likes of Kimberly Derting and Sean Ferrell, and gift cards from T.H. Mafi.

There are plenty of ways to get entries, so head on over to The Misadventures in Candyland and check it out! :)

And something funny for those of you who read this whole thing and hopefully clicked through to a few of those links.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tantalizing Books

Okay, so I won a contest over at Andrea Cremer's blog, which means I got a signed ARC of Nightshade in the mail last week. SQUEE!!! It's beautiful, and sadly I've been doing a bunch of other stuff and haven't started it yet. But I've flipped through it and it is SO cool. I'll have to start it soon, it's bugging me too much to let it continue staring me down.

So, for those of you who don't know about it, here's a little about the book:
Cover: 

(OMG Isn't it gorgeous?!)


Published: October 19, 2010 by Philomel (3 more months!!)
Format: Hardcover, 464 pgs
Description:

While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth-birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

See what others are saying about Nightshade by Andrea Cremer on Goodreads.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Review: Bones of Faerie

Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: January 27, 2009 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 247 pgs.
Source: Purchased

Description: 

The war between humanity and Faerie devastated both sides. Or so 15-year-old Liza has been told. Nothing has been seen or heard from Faerie since, and Liza’s world bears the scars of its encounter with magic. Trees move with sinister intention, and the town Liza calls home is surrounded by a forest that threatens to harm all those who wander into it. Then Liza discovers she has the Faerie ability to see—into the past, into the future—and she has no choice but to flee her town. Liza’s quest will take her into Faerie and back again, and what she finds along the way may be the key to healing both worlds.

Janni Lee Simner’s first novel for young adults is a dark fairy-tale twist on apocalyptic fiction—as familiar as a nightmare, yet altogether unique.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's a bird. It's a plane. No, it's a Blog Award!

Can you tell I have a problem naming my posts? :)

I've been sitting on this for about a week now. What can I say? I've been a little busy. Anyway, I got the Trendy Blog Award from Medeia Sharif. She's super awesome. Thanks, Medeia! (She has a contest going on by the way, you guys. Just FYI in case you haven't been keeping tabs on the Contest sidebar over there. <---)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Review: Maximum Ride Book 3

Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride #3) by James Patterson

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: July 1, 2008 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Format: Paperback, 432 pgs
Source: Borrowed

Description:

There's one last chance to save the world in MAXIMUM RIDE: SAVING THE WORLD AND OTHER EXTREME SPORTS, the closing chapter of James Patterson's thrilling trilogy. The time has arrived for Max and her winged "flock" to face their ultimate enemy and discover their original purpose: to defeat the takeover of "Re-evolution", a sinister experiment to re-engineer a select population into a scientifically superior master race...and to terminate the rest. Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman, and Angel have always worked together to defeat the forces working against them--but can they save the world when they are torn apart, living in hiding and captivity, halfway across the globe from one another?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Okay, today's post will be a short one. Because I'm in desperate need of studying Spanish and I do better at that when my mom's at work. (Don't look at me like that, I live at home like 3-4 months out of the year. :P )

Edits are very slow. I've been busy reading lots of queries (128 of them yesterday from over the weekend and another day or two from last week) and trying not to fail miserably at Spanish. But I've made a little progress and I'm trying to iron out a few plot details that probably won't matter to most people but I want to have an answer for them nonetheless. So draft 2 is sitting at a whopping almost 3k of all new words. Yea, I told you it was slow going.

In other news, I have an idea that I've been thinking about for a few months now in my head and I can't get it out, but there's no real plot there yet. When I get time I'll see what I can make of it, but it'll be fun and comical and a change of pace if I do it right.

And completely unrelated but not really: please go watch this video of/by Jackson Pearce. I haven't read Sisters Red yet but I really, really want to  and this video just confirms Pearce's awesomeness. Better yet, I'll just show it to you. (No excuses now! Hahaha.) Enjoy! And be sure to tell me how things are going for you, whether you're a writer or not! Read any good books lately? I'd love to hear about them!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's Tuesday

I was supposed to have something to post today, but I don't have much because I'm trying to do Spanish and my Outlook messed up over the weekend and hid all my emails from Awesome Agent so I'm already behind for the week. Woot. *sigh* Here's the opening of my second draft of The Sandman's Apprentice. Enjoy!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Her Mother's Daughter

Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor by Julianne Lee

Age Group: Adult
Published: December 1, 2009 by Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 336 pgs
Source: To Review

Description: 

Her name was Mary Tudor. First of the Tudor queens, she has gone down in history as Bloody Mary. But does she deserve her vicious reputation?

She was the daughter of Henry VIII and Katherine of Aragon, and half-sister to Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Mary Tudor’s life began as the sweetly innocent, pampered princess of Wales—until the age of eleven when the father she adored cast aside the mother she worshiped and declared Mary a bastard. Only after years of exile did Mary finally rise to the throne alongside the man who, aside from her father, was her greatest love—and her greatest betrayer.

Told by Mary herself and the people around her, this grand-scale novel takes us back to the glittering court of sixteenth-century England, and tells the tragic story of a fascinating, largely misunderstood woman who withstood the treachery and passion around her only to become one of England’s most vilified queens.

Friday, July 9, 2010

A Non-Ranting Post

Don't worry, it's safe. I'm in a much better mood today. Thank you all for the support during my lovely online rant. Your comments made me feel like I'm a part of something here, oh that's right, an absolutely amazing writing community, that's what. So thank you all again and again. You're wonderful. :)

In other news I might have to lose a day or two on the blog, because not only do I start my online Spanish class on Monday but I'm also remote interning for a super awesome literary agent now. WOO! Bring on the slush! I think it's a good sign that I'm loving it already. I read 64 queries yesterday. So cool.

Anyway, I have a bunch more sitting in my inbox so I've gotta run, just wanted to update you guys. What's new with you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Review: Ella Enchanted


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Age Group: Middle Grade
Published: August 31, 1998 by HarperTrophy
Format: Paperback, 232 pgs
Source: Purchased

Description:

At her birth, Ella of Frell was the unfortunate recipient of a foolish fairy's gift --- the "gift" of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it's hopping on one foot for a day and a half, or chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse --- once and for all.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WIP Wednesday

It's almost noon here, and I just woke up a few minutes ago. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, so sorry for the delayed posting; I should really start doing these in advance again. :)

I don't have much progress to report on The Sandman's Apprentice other than to say that I've started draft #2. I seem to be basically re-writing it so far. I'll copy a paragraph from the first draft and put it a few lines down to remind me of what's happening at this point in the story and then I just write it all over again. A few things change, the prose gets tightened, and I make it more realistic and flow better.

My chapter breaks are changing. A chunk that was 2,200 words is now 1,200 and is so much cleaner and more realistic. I love turning a great story into an actual book. There's nothing like knowing that what you're working on is (going to be) publishable material.

So that's where I'm at, going a little slower than I'd like. How are things with all of you?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Little More Personal



Yea, it's been one of those weeks where things were just fine, until they suddenly weren't. My aunt came up to visit with my cousin's little girl and they stayed with my grandma. They came up, Mom and I went to see them on Sunday but didn't want to go to the church celebrations so we left and promised to come back the next day. Everything was fine.

Monday morning we get a call saying some more family has showed up; they were passing through on their way home after dropping my cousin Sean off at West Point. So we get up and get dressed and head over there earlier than planned. We stay for a bit, talk, and then give hugs and say goodbye. Things are still okay.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Review: Soulless

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate #1) by Gail Carriger

Age Group: Adult
Published: October 1, 2009 by Orbit
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 357 pgs
Source: Purchased

Description:
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? 

Friday, July 2, 2010

A rant about blogs (and contests)

First off, it's Friday!! Woo! And it's the 4th of July weekend, another Woo!! So everyone have a great holiday; Be safe and have lots of fun! (Okay I'm don't with the exclamation points, I think.)

Now then, I like contests, I really do. I've won a few of them now, and I'm even planning on having some myself; but what I can't stand are people who update their blog more for contests than anything else. I am this >  < close to not following someone any more because all they do is tell me about other contests around the blogosphere.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Review: Stray

Stray by Rachel Vincent

Age Group: Adult
Published: June 1, 2007 by Mira
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 618 pgs
Source: Purchased

Description: 
 
There are only eight breeding female werecats left . . .
And I'm one of them. I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.
Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.
I'd been warned about Strays -- werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female, and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.
This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back . . . for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever -- and whoever -- I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays -- 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them . . .

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

WIP Wednesday

It's that time again! WIP Wednesday when I tell you how things are going for me and my writing.

I FINISHED!!! *cough* ahem *cough* Sorry. I mean, I finished my current WIP on what, Friday? I think it was Friday. So I let it sit all weekend and started making a few edits last night, and I only spent about an hour and a half on it. But edits have officially begun. I am a happy camper. :] <-- that's my happy camper face, not to be mistaken with my uber happy face --> :D (they're completely different, right?)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tantalizing Books

I'm a bit worn out at the moment, so instead of searching through the MS and trying to find a suitable, non-spoilery teaser, I thought I'd share a few of the books I've got on my bookshelf that I'm desperate to read. So, in a way, this is a teaser of some still to come summer book reviews. :) 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Review and a Half: City of Bones/City of Ashes

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments Book #1) by Cassandra Clare

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: March 27, 2007 by Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Hardcover, 485 pgs

Source: Library

Description: 

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reading

Right now, I'm reading The Time Traveler's Wife. It's amazing and beautiful and I really like it. But it's a bit of a slow read for me, not because it's boring/dull or anything like that but because I'm savoring all the little details in the story. Why am I telling you this? This isn't a review or a spoiler or anything. This is a confession.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Review: Maximum Ride Book 2

School's Out Forever (Maximum Ride #2) by James Patterson

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: April 1st, 2007 by Little, Brown Young Readers
Format: Paperback, 448 pgs

Description: 


The heart-stopping quest of six winged kids--led by fourteen-year-old Max--to find their parents and investigate the mind-blowing mystery of their ultimate destiny continues when they're taken under the wing of an FBI agent and attempt, for the first time, to live "normal" lives. But going to school and making friends doesn't stop them from being relentlessly hunted by sinister spies, who lead Max to face her most frightening match yet: a new and better version of herself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

WIP Wednesday and a Blog Award

I mentioned on Friday that I got the Versatile Blogger Award from Amparo Ortiz and Katrina Lantz; both ladies are amazing. Go check them out. :) Thanks so much for thinking of me!! 

Like just about every other award, this one has a handful of rules, but I'm not going to follow them. Here they are anyway, haha: 

Okay, here are the rules I must follow:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

I wrote 5k yesterday. 5k. My eyes are still burning, so I don't know how much I'll be looking at the computer today, but I wanted to give you all a bit more of a teaser than usual. This one actual dives into the world building and the fantasy without giving away the big secret of what everyone is.

So a little info. Taryn and the people she is with are special. The Between is kind of a place and a thing. There is more than one realm in my story. There are three, and they are linked by the Between. In order to get from one realm to the other you must pass through It, but no one can actually live in the Between except for people like Taryn, Nicolai, and Michelangelo.

In this excerpt, Taryn is making her first journey into the Between to the City that Nicolai and Michelangelo are from; it is not the only city in the Between, but it is called the City. Okay, I guess I should probably give it to you now, huh? Alright, fine:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: Maximum Ride Book 1

The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride #1) by James Patterson

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: 2007 by Warner (first published 2001)
Format: Paperback, 422 pgs

Description: 

Fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "Flock"--Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel--are just like ordinary kids--only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time--like when Angel, the youngest member of the "Flock," is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were genetically engineered by sinister scientists. Her friends brave a journey to Death Valley, CA, to save Angel, but soon enough, they find themselves in yet another nightmare--this one involving fighting off the half-human, half-wolf "Erasers" in New York City. Whether in the treetops of Central Park or in the bowels of the Manhattan subway system, Max and her adopted family take the ride of their lives. Along the way Max discovers from her old friend and father-figure Jeb--now her betrayed and greatest enemy--that her purpose is save the world--but can she?

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Pages Friday

I got an award from two very awesome ladies that requires sharing facts about myself and passing the award to, like, 15 people, so I'm just going to hold off until Tuesday to share that with everyone. But a huge thank you to Amparo Ortiz and Katrina Lantz for my Versatile Blogger Award!! You should all go see their lovely blogs and say hi.

I've been thinking a lot lately about first pages, and I thought I'd talk about it here today, even though must of you probably already know these things:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: A Question of Guilt...

A Question of Guilt: A Novel of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the Death of Henry Darnley
 
by Julianne Lee

Age Group: Adult
Published: October 7th, 2008 by Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 320 pgs

Description:

A rich, compelling novel that asks the question: Was Mary Stuart guilty of murder?

It is three days after the execution of Mary Stuart and the streets of London are buzzing with the news. But not everyone is convinced that the scandalized Queen of Scots was guilty of plotting against her cousin, Elizabeth I—or that she was involved in the murder of her husband, Henry Darnley.

Scottish-born Lady Janet de Ros, wife of a wealthy English merchant, thinks the ravishingly beautiful Mary was merely an innocent bystander, betrayed by the machinations of a disloyal court. Determined to uncover the truth, Janet travels from Fotheringhay Castle to Edinburgh, to pursue an investigation that, she will come to realize, could endanger her life—and bring disgrace to her very own family.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WIP Wednesday

I feel like it's been forever since I did one of these. I've been trying to catch up on some reading lately; writing hasn't been my main priority since I still make time for that during the school year. But I've still made some progress since classes let out and I've been back home.

The current project, abbreviated TSA, is now 60 words exactly from 25k, which, ya know, kind of really bothers me. I thought about writing a bunch of crap or typing 'blah' repeatedly just to get there. I resisted!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writing Methods

Pantser. Outliner. We've all heard the terms. All used them. But there are those of us who refuse to be put in one category or the other. Those of us who hate choosing one thing over another, especially when it comes to writing.

Personally, I walk the line between both methods. And you know what? It works for me. I can't just write and write without knowing where I'm going, but I can't know every single step of the journey either.

And I know I'm not the only one who has this problem.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Review: I'd Tell You I Love You...

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: April 1st, 2007 by Hyperion
Format: Paperback, 284 pgs

Description:  

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she's already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti.) But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn't prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her? Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous mission; she's falling in love.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Agent Interview: Sarah LaPolla

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown, Ltd. I met Sarah over lunch a few weeks ago when I was there job shadowing, and she is basically made of awesome. (Everyone at CB is. No, really, it's written all over them in multicolored Sharpies. Not that you can see it in the picture, but it's there.)

Sarah is super nice and very easy to get along with, just don't mention Thin Mints. (They're all sick of those evil little cookies.)

About Sarah (courtesy of the Curtis Brown website):

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Age Group: Young Adult
Published: May 4th 2010, Simon Pulse
Format: Hardcover, 309 pgs

About:

Love ties them together. Death can't tear them apart.
Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

My Thoughts: 

Shade  is absolutely brilliant. The concept is fresh and fun and heartbreaking all at the same time. Smith-Ready captures you on the very first page and never lets you go. It's been days since I finished it, and I'm still thinking about Aura, Logan, and Zachary, not to mention the world they live in.

The Shift makes Aura's life hell. She's tired of seeing violet ghosts everywhere she turns, until the love of her life becomes one. Logan doesn't get to spend much time alive, and you know he's going to die up front, but Smith-Ready doesn't make it easy to let him go. Her characters are vivid and alive, even when they're not, and I connected deeply with each of them. I was angry at Logan for being so caught up with his music and at Aura for not understanding that she meant more to him than she thought, and it completely broke my heart when they both realized they could never go back.

Enter Zachary. I love him. Seriously. That's all I'm going to say about that.

The plot unfolds smoothly, and is full of intrigue and twists. As Shade is the first in a series,  a few plot strings are left untied, the bigger mystery still waiting to be solved, but Smith-Ready doesn't leave you dissatisfied in the slightest. Well, that's not entirely true, but the novel does come with a sense of completion and satisfaction upon reaching the end.

Jeri Smith-Ready's Young Adult debut Shade is a heart-wrenching, beautifully crafted book that sucks you in and never fully lets you go. Shade is gorgeous from cover to cover. I highly recommend it, as well as a box of Kleenex, because you'll probably need it.

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