Thursday, December 20, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: BEST IN SHOW



It’s the last day of the blogfest L

I’ve had so much fun, and even more fun popping around to see your choices each day! My TBR list is now about the same length as my kids’ Christmas one, and I don’t think I’ll read any 2013 novels because I’ll be catching up on 2012, but still SO MUCH FUN!!! I hope you’ve had fun too. J

Anyhoo, before I begin, slacker blogger Alison’s a bit behind in the sharing department, and two of her amazing CPs recently had some super huge news!

If you are doing this blogfest, you obviously know Katy, and most of you probably know that she recently parted ways with her agent, plunged into query waters, and within less than a month signed with a new agent—the fabulous Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency! (you can read all about it here) I’ve had the fortunate pleasure of reading Katy’s story four times, and I’m not exaggerating when I say I could read it again and again and again (and again). It’s unputdownable. Her story is one I still think about, and I seriously hope you all get the chance to read it one day.

And then, while Katy was in the midst of agenting attention, my amazing CP and friend Marice Kraal signed with Brittany Howard of the Corvisiero Literary Agency! (you can check out her news here)Marice is not only an incredibly thorough, fantastic, and supportive CP, but she writes the most amazing stories. I’ve been so honored to read two of them, and her latest has the most amazing concept and the most incredible story. I seriously can’t wait until it hits the shelves and you all can read it.

Congratulations, Katy and Marice!!!

And now on with the Best in Show

Favorite Cover:




Cutest Couple: Hazel and Augustus (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green)

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.): THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!) THIS IS NOT A TEST (Courtney Summers)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.): PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel: NEVERMORE (James Patterson)—last (insert gihugic sad face) in the Maximum Ride series and ended exactly how it should have

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath: Whitley and Nathan (A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, Kody Keplinger)

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.) AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, BEFORE 2012.): JELLICOE ROAD (Melina Marchetta)—if this book was a 2012 release, it’d be dominating my choices. SO GOOD

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.): AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield). I don’t know why I held off on this one as long as I did, but I’m glad I finally read it.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle: THE RAVEN BOYS—while I am definitely Team Gansey, I really, really do feel for Adam.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.): DROWNING INSTINCT (Ilsa J. Blick) and PERFECT ESCAPE (Jennifer Brown)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book): I really want to say ON WRITING (Stephen King), but while that was a 2012 read for me, it was not a 2012 publication. So, I’ll go with 11th HOUR (James Patterson). LOVE the Women’s Murder Club!

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

Character who deserved the biggest hug: Adam (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater) and COLBY (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCoeur). My heart broke for those two SO MUCH.

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL holiday! Thank you so much for participating this week! Oh, and don't forget to add your link below!



Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: Elements of Fiction!



Having fun? ME TOO! Today's topic: Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.) THIS IS NOT A TEST—Red Dawn meets Breakfast Club meets the zombie apocalypse. LOVE the premise and the fast and furious plot.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)—pretty much any dystopian society, but definitely not futuristic Chicago (INSURGENT, Veronica Roth)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.): BITTERBLUE (Kristin Cashore)

Loveliest Prose: DROWNING INSTINCT (Ilsa J. Bick) - I want to read every Ilsa J. Bick book now, THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater) - eerie yet so beautiful, and PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver) - I will read ANYTHING by Lauren Oliver. I bet even her grocery list has gorgeous, emotion-filled prose. J

Best First Line:

Hangovers are a bitch. A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger)

and

The night before Amelia Anne Richardson bled her life away on a parched dirt road outside of town, I bled out my dignity in the back of a pickup truck under a star-pricked sky. AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield)

Most Dynamic Main Character: They’re not all main characters, but can I just say ALL the Raven Boys? No. Okay, well then I’ll pick Gansey.

Honorable Mention: Kaleb (TIMEPIECE, Myra McEntire)

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending: PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)—read this back in February and my mind is still reeling from it. And left me hella desperate for REQUIEM

Best Performance in a Supporting Role: Again, can I just say ALL the Raven boys? They are so distinct and so absopositively phenomenal.

Best Use of Theme: STEALING PARKER (Miranda Keneally)—I read a few 2012 issue books, but this one was very real and dealt with some very tough topics without being too didactic.

So, what were your favorites in these categories? Sign up on the linky and tell us all about it!



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Superlative Blogfest: Popularity Contest!


It's Day Two of the Superlative Blog fest and today we're choosing our faves yearbook style. If you want to join in the fun, click here for a recap of the "rules" and hop aboard!

Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest

Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown(s): Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green)

I know, I know. They're cancer patients. Just read on...

Hazel: "God, you're the best,”
Augustus: "I bet you say that to all the boys who finance your international travel.”

"What a slut time is. She screws everybody."

“It's just that most really good-looking people are stupid, so I exceed expectations.'
'Right, it's primarily his hotness,' I said.
'It can be sort of blinding,' he said.
'It actually did blind our friend Isaac,' I said.
'Terrible tragedy, that. But can I help my own deadly beauty?'
'You cannot.'
'It is my burden, this beautiful face.'
'Not to mention your body.'
'Seriously, don't even get me started on my hot bod. You don't want to see me naked, Dave. Seeing me naked actually took Hazel Grace's breath away,' he said, nodding toward the oxygen tank.”

Okay, so maybe not class clowns, but despite their tragedies and struggles, they were funny. Hilarious actually. My heart and gut hurt so much from alternating periods of laughing and crying.

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star: Mike Ness (ZERO, Tom Leveen)—he IS a drummer, and totally deserves a successful road to fame, IMHO

Mostly Likely to start a Riot: Ronan (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater)—ticking time bomb, one I couldn’t help but love though.

Biggest Flirt: Whitley Johnson (MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE, Kody Keplinger)

Fashion King and/or Queen: Aphrodite (HIDDEN, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast) and Mia (BETWEEN YOU AND ME, Marisa Calin)

Girl /Guy You’d Most Want For Your BFF: I debated too long on this one, trying to find a girl I’d most want for my BFF, and the only ones popping into the brain were boys. Then silly Alison realized, OH...the category is Girl/GUY. *facepalm*

So, here’s two: Corndog (STEALING PARKER, Miranda Kineally) and Colby (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer). They’re loyal and just always seem to be there when their friends need them—no matter what.

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School: Hands down—Heath Luck (HIDDEN, P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast) I’d say more, but I’d spoil things for non-HON fans.

Most Likely to Become President: Gansey (THE RAVEN BOYS, Maggie Stiefvater). Well, he IS President Cell Phone.

Quirkiest Character: Meg (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer)—she’s in a band, likes the Supremes, has pink hair. LOVE her. And Gigi (SKINNY, Donna Cooner)—she doesn’t get much page time, but her eclectic wardrobe and hair stand her out when she does.

Villain You Love to Hate: King Leck (BITTERBLUE, Kristin Cashore)—still gives me the heebie jeebies

Favorite Parental Figure: the Lancasters (THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, John Green) - most supportive parents EVER, and Miriam Walsh (ZERO, Tom Leveen)—at first, I didn’t care for her much. She seemed enabling and wishy-washy. She evolved into the strong, dependable parent—even if she wasn’t the coolest one.

Honorable Mention for coolest parental figure: Uncle Pete (THE DISENCHANTMENTS, Nina LaCouer)—he has a van named Melinda…Melinda… that he offers up for The Disenchantment’s roadtrip.

Coolest Nerd: Rat (SKINNY, Donna Cooner)—okay, so maybe not a nerd. But he’s Ever’s best and only loyal friend and I just thought he was pretty awesome.

Any you agree with? Who would you pick? Add your name to the linky and join in the fun!



Monday, December 17, 2012

The Superlative Blogfest! Head of the Class

Umm,…hi.

*dusts off blog*

Sorry I haven’t been around much. The past two months have been a little busy. There’ve been a lot of exciting things going on. My husband’s boys soccer team made a huge playoff run, earned an appearance at the State Championship game. And with one goal down and one man out, they came back in overtime to win! It was an incredibly miraculous finish - one I swear I'm putting in a story some day - and super exciting. (You can read more about it here)



My high school’s boys soccer team made their first ever appearance in a State Championship game, and they won too! Then, my high school’s football team won their State Championship game the same weekend my daughter’s soccer team won a tournament in Virginia.



Between all that excitement, I’ve been working insane hours. There’s the full time job and in between getting my kids to and from where they need to be and watching my husband’s soccer games, I tutor about ten different kids sometimes up to twelve hours a week. One week I drove to the Raleigh (about a two-hour drive) three times for soccer games. I pushed sleep to the back burner. I added five-hour energy drinks to the diet.

For a while there I felt like I was just going through the motions, and even with all this really exciting stuff going on, I just didn’t feel like I could enjoy it—I actually found myself in a bit of a funk - like a downward spiral, can't-seem-to-get-happy funk. Usually I can just force a smile, put on my big girl panties and deal with it all, but I just couldn't stop feeling sad about how I was unable to enjoy anything. (I know-I'm depressing) And when my husband had that playoff run, I looked at my schedule, looked at my responsibilities, and I just said, screw it. I’m going to focus on my family. Focus on what’s most important. I AM going to enjoy the ride.

And I did. I lessened some responsibilites. I said "no" to people (gasp). And I hung out with friends instead of worrying about trying to be Wonder Woman. Things were still busy, but I knew the busyness wouldn't last forever. Of course, just when I thought life was slowing down a bit, my eight year old had an emergency appendectomy last Monday. He’s fine. Mom’s fine. We’re all fine. But WHEW

And my little man was SUCH a trooper

totally going in his high school yearbook

There’ve been a lot of highs. Some lows. And I’ve been experiencing the emotional rollercoaster with it. My reading time has suffered. I haven’t read a book in forever, but I have been revising. And writing. And mostly, I’ve been enjoying any time I get to be with my family, which, TBH, is where my heart truly is. And while I’m sad my son had to endure surgery at such a young age, I’m not sad about the time I was able to spend with him. Especially in light of what happened in Connecticut Friday. I hugged my children extra tight that night. I’m sure you did too.

And to be honest, I was a little tempted to throw in the towel on the Superlative Blogfest, but it was one of the most fun things I participated in last year, and just picking out my choices has rejuvenated my love of reading. I think Alison will be catching up on her TBR list over Christmas vacation. Also, I've REALLY missed the blogging community. I've missed YOU. And once I finally get the WIP where I want it, and maybe possibly feel ready to plunge into query waters, I’ll be back more often.

But I am definitely here this week for the Blogfest! And I have really missed popping around and catching up on what you’ve been doing so I am super excited about seeing your choices for each day!

Just in case you don’t know what I’m talking about…

The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest is hosted by Katy Upperman, Tracey Neithercott, Jessica Love, and me, and is a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest will span four days, beginning today and culminating Thursday, December 20th. And…AND if you participate all four days, you could win your choice of a 2012 book from the Book Depository! (see details here)

The rules for participating are simple:

1. Select books/characters that apply to the superlative topics for each day of the blogfest. Feel free to give explanations for your choices. You can go into as much detail as you like!

2. Add a link to your post on Katy's, Jessica’s, Tracey’s or my blog.

3. Take a few moments to hop around and check out the superlatives of other participants each day.


See? Fun AND easy! But wait, there’s more!

Some additional information:

- Unless otherwise indicated by the topic, stick with books published in 2012.

- Of course we want you to participate in all four days of the blogfest, but if you’re only able to commit to a day or two, that’s cool too! (but…BUT if you do participate all four days, you could win a 2012 book of your choosing. Just sayin’)

- Don’t have a book or character to fit a particular topic? No biggie—just skip it!

- For the sake of continuity, focus on YA books only.

- Pretty please keep your posts spoiler free!

Today’s topic: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian: PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver)—honest moment: I was disappointed in DELIRIUM, wasn’t even going to read this sequel, but SO GLAD I did. AMAZING and I can’t wait for REQUIEM!

Favorite Science Fiction: TIMEPIECE (Myra McEntire)—sequel to HOURGLASS from Kaleb’s POV? The story is hooking enough, but that little twist made it fifty thousand times more fabulous.

Favorite Fantasy: BITTERBLUE (Kristin Cashore)—I read both GRACELING and BITTERBLUE this year and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Bitterblue, Katsa, Po, and everything about this series. I really need to get my hands on FIRE!

Favorite Contemporary: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)—one of my favorite reads in 2012

Favorite Action/Adventure: NEVERMORE (James Patterson)—finale in the Maximum Ride series. Ended EXACTLY how it should have. J

Favorite Historical Fiction: umm…I read THE CARRIE DIARIES, SUMMER AND THE CITY, and THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER—all wonderful, but no 2012 releases. L

Favorite Comedy: tie: A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger) and THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green)

Favorite Mystery: another tie : AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE (Kat Rosenfield) and THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)

Favorite Romance: Out of my 2012 reads, there were a lot of romance-y parts of books I enjoyed, but while this book is not in the romance genre, I especially loved the romance in PANDEMONIUM (Lauren Oliver).

Favorite Paranormal: THIS IS NOT A TEST (Courtney Summers)—Red Dawn meets The Breakfast Club meets zombies. And while I’ve never been a huge zombie fan, I LOVE those two movies. And I LOVE this book! BEST read of 2012

Favorite Family Drama: A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE (Kody Keplinger)—um, mc Whitley certainly finds herself entangled in a romantic, hilarious, and dramatic family snare.

Honorable mention: PERFECT ESCAPE (Jennifer Brown)—love the sibling connection between and the adventure with Kendra and Grayson.

Favorite Genre Bender: THE RAVEN BOYS (Maggie Stiefvater)—mystery, romance, supernatural…I’m sure there are other ways to classify this one. One of my favorite reads of 2012.

Add your name to the linky below and join in the fun! Can't wait to see your choices!



Monday, December 10, 2012

Superlative Blog Fest is NEXT WEEK!


Just a teensy reminder that the Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest will run next Monday, December 17th through Thursday, December 20th and will highlight favorite books of 2012. And…AND we’re having a contest too! Participants in all four days who live where The Book Depository ships will be entered in a drawing for one of four books (winners get to pick a 2012 book of their choice from the Book Depository within a $20 limit). MORE reason to join in the fun!

Oh, and just in case you forgot, here are this year’s categories:

Monday, December 17th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian

Favorite Science Fiction

Favorite Fantasy

Favorite Contemporary

Favorite Action/Adventure

Favorite Historical Fiction

Favorite Comedy

Favorite Mystery

Favorite Romance

Favorite Paranormal

Favorite Family Drama

Favorite Genre Bender


Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest

Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Mostly Likely a Riot

Biggest Flirt

Fashion King and/or QueenGirl You’d Most Want For Your BFF

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Most Likely to Become President

Quirkiest Character

Villain You Love to Hate

Favorite Parental Figure

Coolest Nerd


Wednesday, December 19th: Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)

Loveliest Prose

Best First Line

Most Dynamic Main Character

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Best Use of Theme


Thursday, December 20: Best in Show

Favorite Cover

Cutest Couple

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, BEFORE 2012.)

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book)

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

So, get your choices ready and join in the fun! See you next week!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

So. Much. Fun!

Last year, Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, and I hosted The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest—a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. It was amazing fun and we are gearing up to host it AGAIN!



Tracey designed our button and banner, guys. One word: GORGEOUS!!!

Today I’d like to share with you some specifics about the blogfest—dates, categories—so you can prepare to join in the fun! The Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 17th – Thursday, December 20th and will highlight favorite books of 2012. We’re introducing a few new superlative categories (see them all below!), and we’re giving 2012 books away to lucky blogfest participants as just one more reason to in on the fun (stay tuned for more giveaway information!).

Here are this year’s categories:


Monday, December 17th: Head of the Class

Favorite Dystopian

Favorite Science Fiction

Favorite Fantasy

Favorite Contemporary

Favorite Action/Adventure

Favorite Historical Fiction

Favorite Comedy

Favorite Mystery

Favorite Romance

Favorite Paranormal

Favorite Family Drama

Favorite Genre Bender


Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest

Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!

Class Clown

Most Likely to Become a Rock Star

Mostly Likely a Riot

Biggest Flirt

Fashion King and/or QueenGirl You’d Most Want For Your BFF

Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School

Most Likely to Become President

Quirkiest Character

Villain You Love to Hate

Favorite Parental Figure

Coolest Nerd


Wednesday, December 19th: Elements of Fiction

Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)

Loveliest Prose

Best First Line

Most Dynamic Main Character

Most Jaw-Dropping Ending

Best Performance in a Supporting Role

Best Use of Theme


Thursday, December 20: Best in Show

Favorite Cover

Cutest Couple

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)

Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath

Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, BEFORE 2012.)

Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry

Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)

Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book)

Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!


Remember, The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest is all about promoting extraordinary novels! Don’t worry if your 2012 reading list is on the short side (HERE’s a list of 2012 novels if you want to get your speed read on). And don’t worry if you don’t have a book/character/cover/element for each of the categories. We just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

Also, please help us spread the word by grabbing our banner and/or button! And definitely join in the fun. I’ll be back periodically with more updates, but for now, read some amazing 2012 books and be thinking about your superlative choices!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Superlative Blogfest is BACK!

Last year Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, and I hosted The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which turned out to be a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. We had a fantastic group of bloggers who signed on to participate, and we had a blast hopping from blog to blog to find out how you awarded your 2011 superlatives.

Jess, Tracey, Katy, and I had such a great time promoting awesome 2011 books and getting to know new bloggers through the blogfest, we've decided to do it all over again! This year we'll highlight 2012 books, we'll introduce a few new superlative categories, and we're planning a giveaway as just ONE more reason to join in on the fun.

There will be lots more information about specifics of the The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest in the coming weeks (We can tell you that it'll take place toward the end of December), but we wanted to give you a heads up now, so you have plenty of time to beef up your books-published-in-2012 reading list (there's a comprehensive catalog of titles HERE). And we encourage you to revisit our 2011 posts (Jessica's, Tracey's, Katy's, and mine) to refresh your memory on the superlative categories we included last year.

Just like 2011, the The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest will be all about FUN and promoting fantastic novels! Don't worry if your 2012 reading list is on the short side, or if you don't have a book/character/cover/element for each category; we just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

Sounds like fun, right?! Do YOU plan to sign up for The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest?


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

(In which I go a little TMI about my WIP)


Two weeks ago, my friend Katy Upperman tagged me in a post entitled The Next Big Thing—a WiP-focused questionnaire that came to her via Caroline Richmond and Miss Snark’s First Victim. So, once I got over my two-week anxiety about sharing, I thought I’d post too and play along.

Here goes…

What is the working title of your book?

CHICK MAGNET

(yes—Alison will win the award for most cliché titles ever! But it works…trust me)


Where did the idea come from?

Three years ago, I wrote the first in what I hoped would be a series of paranormal companion novels on the seven deadly sins. The first one was on envy, this one was meant to center around lust. It morphed into something majorly different, something so much better. And although my mc definitely has some lust issues, it’s no longer a seven deadly sins story, but a somewhat inverted retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And I LOVE it.

Also, if you’ve been around my blog, you know I have a fierce love for anything football and the beach. This story combines those two loves.


What genre does your book fall under?

Upper YA Magical Realism


May we see an intro?

Here are the first few lines:

Getting with Susan Milton should be the last thing on my mind.

I should be thinking Northeast and their defensive line, the one that racks up eight QB sacks a game. I should be running through Coach’s five new plays—the ones the Panthers won’t see on the scouting tapes. I should think about how David and I are going to get a keg for the beach after the game. Or how if I don’t play the game of my life, we won’t even need one.

Maybe I should focus on my senior project.

Or the Pre-Calc test I have in thirty minutes.

But I just can’t get my mind off her.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

So, I’m a little afraid to post answers to this question, mainly because I like to give very vague details about my characters—leave a lot to the reader imagination, if that makes sense. So I won’t post pictures (although I did spend my weekend staring at pictures of Matt Dallas and Ian Somerhall—very close matches for my mc ). My mc does have some defining characteristics, and since I’m not sharing pictures to give you a visual, I’ll try to paint you a picture with words from the WIP…

“Do you always bring your bodyguards with you?” Susan Milton asks, a chuckle in her voice.

I smile, and my eyes take in Dave, Kurt, and Nate. They’re all well over 200 pounds, most of it muscle, and block for me every Friday night, protecting my 6’1”, 165-pound frame. Yeah. I guess they could be considered my body guards.

My boy has some stuff going on with his hair too. Here he is walking his wheelchair-bound sister to her bus…

She must know she’s struck a nerve because I suddenly feel the weight of her chair . I wince at the wheel sitting on my sneaker, then muss up her hair. She squeals and wheels away from me. “Quit or I’ll mess up your hair. Oh wait. It’s already messed up.”

Instinctively I run a hand through my hair. It’s not messed up. It’s short in some places. Long in others. And not that bed head shit every lame ass got after those werewolf movies Liz and all her friends “swooned” over. The guys all got mohawks last year, right after we won our second round playoff game, but I couldn’t do it. They gave me hell about it—said I was just trying to look like my hero, TQ Zedek. Maybe that’s true, but Liz wouldn’t hear of it anyway. She would’ve been so devastated if I shaved my head.

As for his love interest, he’s VERY detailed about her so I could almost post a picture (blonde Natalie Portman comes to mind), but I’ll give you a few words from the first page…

And not just because Susan Milton’s the hottest chick I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, she is: tight little body, sexy smile, shiny blonde hair that smells like the jasmine growing in my backyard. She has a habit of wearing these low cut tops, and if she bends over just right, I almost get a free show.

Hope you enjoyed the “visual.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I have one actually, but it gives a little too much more away than I’m capable of sharing right now so…I’ll just offer up the first two paragraphs of my query (for those of you who’ve already seen this…well, you get to see it AGAIN J )

JD Marshall has a power most guys would trade their left nut for. With one hypnotizing look, he can get a girl to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And for three years he’s racked up more scores than Brett Favre. But his power’s not a blessing. It’s just a curse.

And it is a curse. One he’s got three months to break or lose any chance of ever having a real relationship. The only way to break the curse—learn to love and be loved. Like that’s going to happen. JD needs to focus on quarterbacking his team to the state finals. He needs to pass freaking math. And he needs to quit thinking about Susan Milton. She’s taken. She’s forbidden. Worse—she seems to be the only one immune to his power.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If and when Alison is ever ready to query her beast, I will be searching for agency representation.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Which one? Haha – this is a third rewrite and each version took me roughly five months.


What other books would you compare this story to?

My story is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a Paradise Lost twist, but it also has elements comparable to The Blindside, Varsity Blues, The Program…pretty much any football movie. J

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Since I already talked about where my idea originated, I’ll tell you what continues to inspire me. Watching football games. My students and their shameless one-liners. The ocean. Saturday, on the way to my son’s soccer game, I passed an orange Dodge Charger (my mc drives one)…total SIGN.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Typical teen guys. Their pranks. Their naked exploits. Their angsty-ness. Romance. Phone banter. Steamy kisses in the most forbidden places. Aladdin. Disney princesses. Yellow roses.

I shared my love list for my WIP before, but I’ll share a few things that seemed to resonate with my fellow YA Highwayers—skee ball bets, Crisco, hummingbirds on crack. English classes that are hard to get through. I hope you all get to read it one day so you can see what’s really behind the last three.

Oh, and football. A little Vince Lombardi. A whole lot of heart.


So, that’s my NEXT BIG THING. I’m supposed to tag a few friends for their Next Big Thing, but I’m so Alison-come-lately to this, I think most everyone I know has been tagged! So, if you haven’t shared your NEXT BIG THING, go for it! And leave me a note about it in the comments so I can check it out!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Follow Up

Wow. It's been a while. I hope you've had a fabulous few weeks! Here's my follow up

on WRITING/REVISING: Still revising. Still working on the back end of the manuscript. Between work and tutoring and soccer games and practices and everything else, I sneak in moments when I can. It’s frustrating not to write for hours on end like I could in the summer, but as I always tell my children, “It is what it is." I’ll finish this round of revisions. One day.

Currently I’m readying pages for CPs, and then I’m onto the finale. Then another round of revisions to flesh out some big issues. Then another round. And then maybe I’ll feel like it’s not too horrible to send to beta readers. Maybe. J

Oh, and my fabulous friend Katy tagged me in this Next Big Thing post last week. It’s actually really cool and I LOVE reading about what all my blogging friends are writing, bu-ut the super vulnerable chicken in me is experiencing a little anxiety about participating. But it looks fun. And cool. And I may just have to get over my fears of sharing and post a little more about my WIP on Monday. Stay tuned.

When do YOU squeeze in writing time?

on READING: So, the major CON to reading the first book in a series you love,love, love? You have to WAIT A WHOLE YEAR for the sequel! Grrr. But um…this book?



Hmm...how to describe? Supernatural. Mystery. Adventure. Troubled boys with even more troubled pasts. Psychic predictions and premonitions. Ravens. Eerie, chilling yet beautiful prose that made me feel prickly and goose-bumpy and like I was actually inside Monmouth Manufacturing or Blue’s house or the TREE. Forbidden love and love triangles not quite like anything I’ve read before. Shocking twists. Rather often too. And Gansey. I have to wait a-whole-nother year for more GANSEY.

But it’s good. So, SO good. Like one of the best books I read this year good.


I also just finished




I read CATCHING JORDAN (football story with a kickass female quarterback) earlier this year and enjoyed it, but, even though I am not a huge baseball fan, I actually liked this one better. It dove pretty deep into some very real issues and I could very much relate to Parker’s struggle with her church and with God and with trying to do the right thing. Also, after reading, my vegetarian self suddenly has a wicked affinity for corndogs. Read it. You’ll definitely see why. J

on IRLs: Two weeks ago I got together with my amazing CP and friend Alexandra Shostak for the first time EVER. We text and email and chat all the time, but I got to meet her and hang out with her and write and watch Avengers and well, I just had an awesome time!

Have YOU met any of your CPs (ya know—In Real Life)?

on KINDNESS:



The Kindness Project blog (brainchild of the awesome and super sweet Carolina Valdez Miller) is up and running and I am SO honored to be a contributor! Check it out here and spread some kindness with us!

on AWESOME NEWS!!! My fabulous blogging and writing friend Rebecca Behrens book WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE will be published by Sourcebooks in 2014!!! I am so excited for her and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! You can read all about her success story here.

on FAMILY: The Miller house has had its share of visitors lately. First Alexandra (yay!) and then my mother-in-law stayed with us last weekend which was super nice because we haven’t seen her in two years! (I know—WAY too long) The kids got to hang out with Grandma Tish and she got to see McKenzie play soccer and watch Dave coach and experience Aidan charades. It was a wonderful weekend. J

on OTHER STUFF: This week was Spirit Week at my high school. It’s fun. It’s crazy. It’s crazy to try to get anything accomplished. But I love it. I love spirit week and I love dressing up with my students. And so, as I always do, Tuesday I wore my Winnie the Pooh costume (Disney Day) to school. For the last time. Ever. A little weird and a whole lot bittersweet, but after twenty years, I’m ready to hang up the Pooh costume and try my hand at something new. Like writing. And full-time motherhood.

Just the thought of what I’ll hopefully be doing this time next year makes my heart sing.

What’s made YOU smile this week?

Happy Friday! And have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Winners!

Thank you SO MUCH to all who entered and tweeted about my giveaway and subscribed or followed me and shared some amazing thoughts about book banning! You. Are. AWESOME. And I wish I could pick all of you to win.

But since I can't, *sigh* I let random number generator pick two...

Winner of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Dominique

Winner of the $15 Amazon Gift Card

Sarah O

Congratulations! Please email me at alisonmiller20 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get your prizes to you!

Thanks again, everyone! Have a great week!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

BANNED BOOK Giveaway!

It’s Banned Books Week!



Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. (American Librarian Association)

My take on Banned Books:

I have a thirteen-year old daughter who reads just as much if not more than I do. We share books, but there are certain YA books that she will definitely wait to read. Is it because I want them banned? NO. It’s because she’s not ready to handle some of the older YA content. But one day she will be. And I want her to have accessibility to these books. She’ll read them. I’ll encourage her to read them. And hopefully mother/daughter discourse will ensue.

There are so many valuable, wonderful, amazing books out there for teens—ones many should read. Just because of the slight explicit content in Thirteen Reasons Why should a library ban a book that I believe should be a required read for every freshman in high school? Just because teenagers who’ve only known each other for a week have sex, should Twenty Boy Summer be banned reading? Should candid discussions of sex be the reason Shut Out never makes it to a high school’s library shelf?

If you don’t like the content in a book, don’t read it. And parents, if you’re concerned as to what your kid’s reading, then read with them. And while you’re at it, make sure you monitor every movie and television show and YouTube video and Xbox game and Facebook status . But don’t get a book banned from a library that could save another kid’s life. Like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Or Ellen Hopkins' Crank.

This week, I am a Reader, Not a Writer and I Read Banned Books are hosting the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop. And I’m giving away a book and a gift card in honor of it.

First, one of my favorite Banned Books



Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

I read, cried, and then reviewed this one sometime ago. You can check more out on this book here.


And if you’ve already read that book or would just like to pick out a banned book of your own, I’m also giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card!

To win either the gift card or a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, all you have to do is comment. Extra entries can be obtained as follows:

+1 follower of the blog

+1 follower on Twitter

+2 tweeting about the giveaway (@alisonmiller20)

And for the undying love of your favorite math geek, please tally your entries and mention that in the comments. Contest is open internationally and ends October 6 at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be announced Monday October 8!

PS - there are soooo many particpants! Check out the list





So, support Banned Books Week and try to win a banned book. And then read it!

What’s YOUR take on Book Banning?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Nuggets from the King

Every year, I try to read at least one craft book, and after three years of “meaning to read” Stephen King’s semi-autobiographical craft book, ON WRITING, I finally did. And then I kicked myself for waiting SO LONG to read it! His book is a peep hole view into his fascinating journey to publication, but mostly it’s filled with astute observations and learned experiences regarding the craft. I learned a few new things, but mostly, his shared words of wisdom were extreme VALIDATION. As in, I already do most of what he advises to do.

Anyway, here are some quotes that resonated with me. And I’m sharing them with you.

Some Stephen King (mixed with my) thoughts ON

READING: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

When someone questions me as to why I try to read two books (I always read at least one) a week, I’ll quote Stephen King. Reading poor writing helps me know what not to do. Reading good writing helps with my own craft. Also, “Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.” Plus, I enjoy it. Win-win-win all around.

ADVERBS: “The adverb is not your friend.” I already know this. You probably already know this. But Stephen King is adamant about limited adverb use. He mentions it—wait for it—copiously. Abundantly. Considerably throughout his craft memoir. Find a stronger verb. Show don’t tell. Another validation for my toolbox. How about yours?

PLOT: “I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless…and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.

I pantsed my first three projects, and when I started my current WIP, I felt like I needed to plot a bit more. And the plotting was worth it, but to be honest, I kind of like not knowing exactly where I’m going when I begin a story. I enjoy the art of discovery. And I felt like Stephen King wrote me a huge permission slip to pants a bit. To not know my ending when I start out. Is plotting completely wrong? I don’t think so. Plotting works really well for some people. Some people need a plan. And I actually believe spontaneity can exist in plotting. I still have my beat sheets for my shiny new ideas, but I think I’ll be okay to not have them completed when I go to write new projects.

DESCRIPTION: Indubitably my kryptonite.

“Thin description leaves the reader feeling bewildered and nearsighted. Overdescription buries him or her in details and images. The trick is to find a happy medium.”

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the readers.”

I always feel like I don’t give ENOUGH description because yeah, as a reader I like to have a little left up to my imagination. I like to do the same for my readers. Permission granted, says Stephen King.

DIALOGUE: Whereas description is my kryptonite, dialogue is my superpower. I attribute it to years in the theatre and scene writing and years of working with teens, and I found Mr. King’s words on dialogue refreshing and validating. Some biggies that resonated with me:

“The key to writing good dialogue is honesty.” Interpretation: keep it real.

“It’s dialogue that gives your cast their voices,” and you can do so much SHOWING through cleverly crafted dialogue.

GETTING STARTED: “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”

How many times have you procrastinated getting started on something new or revisions or that murky middle? And how many of you, once you sit your butt in the chair and force yourself to get started, find that the words start to flow and you finish a scene and wonder why it took you so long to get started?

*raises hand*

TIME BETWEEN DRAFTS: He recommends six weeks. Enough distance to still recognize it as yours, but it will also be like “reading the work of someone else, a soul-twin, perhaps.”

RESEARCH: “I simply made up all the stuff I didn’t know.”

Okay, so he doesn’t REALLY make up his own facts about things, but on first draft he does. Then he goes back and fills in the blanks later. I just felt like he wrote me a giant permission slip on that one too.

KNOWING THE MARKET: “Submitting stories without first reading the market is like playing darts in a dark room—you might hit the target every now and then, but you don’t deserve to.”

TIME TO WRITE and why Stephen King writes in the morning (and why I have to write in the morning!): “And the larger the work looms in my day, the more it seems like I hafta instead of just an I wanna…”

PERFECTING THE CRAFT: “You will improve with practice, but practice will never make you perfect. Why should it? What fun would that be?”

Amen.

TEACHING: “…for the first time in my life, writing was hard. The problem was the teaching. I liked my coworkers and loved the kids—even the Beavis and Butt-Head types in Living with English could be interesting—but by most Friday afternoons I felt as if I’d spent the week with jumper cables clamped to my brain.”

Stephen King pretty much summed up my energy crisis with that last line.

LOVE: “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends…it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life.”

Yes. THAT.

And one of my favorites:

WHERE TO WRITE: “put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

And I totally teared up writing that sentence because—ya know—I am such a SAP. But really, it's about priorities. Something I'm still learning. But I'm getting there.

There’s so much more I could “quote” here, about writing to an Ideal Reader and shutting the door on first draft, but you really do have to experience Stephen King for yourself. If you’ve not read it or if it’s been a while since you have, please pick it up. SO rejuvenating and refreshing. And oh, so validating.

What’s YOUR favorite quote from those listed today?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday Follow Up

Happy Friday! I hope you've had a wonderful week! Here's my follow up

on WRITING/REVISING: I’m plugging away at that Black Moment. Still two parts in major need of a tune-up before I send it off to CPs, but I’m getting there. Truth be told, I’m working on the part after the Black Moment…the Dark Night of the Soul, when my mc feels lost and hopeless and oh, it hurts my heart. Anyway, I’m kind of feeling a little of that lost and hopelessness too. Not with my story…just with the time I have to work on my story and still do the fifty thousand other things I LOVE TO DO. Rebecca Behrens and Barbara Watson posted some brilliant, beautiful words about this earlier this week: finding balance and hope amidst life’s craziness. You should totally check out what they have to say.

Anyhoo, I’m getting there. Most importantly, I’m ENJOYING the journey. And I enjoy sharing it with YOU.

PS—gihugic thank yous for all the kind words on my story premise! (Wednesday’s RTW) Very encouraging and very sweet and I am super blessed for all my fabulous blogging friends!

Where are YOU with your writing?

on READING: I don’t know why it took Alison SO LONG to finally sit down and read ON WRITING by Stephen King. I know many of you have read it, but if you haven’t, stick a bookmark in your current read and find this book NOW.  J  Seriously, you won’t regret it. BEST CRAFT BOOK EVER. I’ll be sharing Stephen King wisdom Monday. Stay tuned.

Also, I will note that I want to add every Stephen King book to my TBR now.

What have YOU been reading?

on TRENDS: I’m blogging about smoking over at YA Confidential today. You can check it out here.

on FAMILY: My daughter continually asks me this



which pretty sums up the Miller family this week. CRAY. CRAY. Soccer games. Soccer practice. Dance. School. Work. More work. Oh, and my husband’s been dressing all cray cray for spirit week. Heat miser wigs to ref Powder Puff Games. Rolled jeans on Twin Day. Mullets and pleather pants on Decades Day.

He goes ALL OUT.

So, how have YOU been acting all CRAY CRAY?

on BOOK CLUBS: Do you belong to a book club? Mine is AWESOME. I love my book club ladies (non-book conversations are the best—brazilians, Fifty Shades…I think my group needs an R rating), and they get me to read tons of awesome books outside my preferred genre (The Help, Room, Bossypants). Anyway, I’m hosting next week and it’s my turn to put up the books for the next month! My choices always involve some YA love (already got them reading Hourglass and Hunger Games—I have to broaden their horizons too!) and I thought I’d ask you to help me narrow down my choices. Here’s my way too long list (that I need to shorten to THREE):

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Looking for Alaska by John Green

And since I’m really supposed to choose books I haven’t read before,

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick

I try to choose books that the library has several copies of so that factors in a bit, and maybe you have some I should add to my list. Help. Please. Which books would you offer up if YOU were hosting book club?

on OTHER STUFF: Last Friday, my school’s football game was postponed due to inclement weather. My boys played Monday night—way too hard for this busy chick to see, and UGHHHHHHH I am SO SAD I missed that game! The score was 17-20 (we were losing) and with 22 seconds left in the game, one of my kids, on a quarterback sneak, pushed in three yards for the win! He actually scored the last two touchdowns of the game, and I hate that I missed it! a) because I teach so many football players and I want to be out there to support them and b) umm…last second touchdowns, miracle finishes? I WRITE ABOUT THIS STUFF!!! Missed a perfect research opportunity. *facepalm*

But I’m certain there’ll be other opportunities to watch great football.

And speaking of football, did anyone else see this?



6’4” Brent Celek hurdling Ed Reed in the Eagles ugly win over the Ravens last Sunday. Celek’s been my favorite Eagle for a while now. This just makes me heart him SO MUCH MORE.

Happy Friday! And have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RTW: Tale as Old as Time

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.



This week's topic


In honor of this month's Bookmobile book, Marissa Meyer's CINDER, name a fable or story you'd like to see a retelling of. If you're feeling creative, come up with a premise of your own!



Well, this is easy.

If you’ve seen my query or have been keeping up with bits and pieces of my blog, you know my story is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It’s not exactly guy does bad thing, witch turns him into beast, guy has to find true love to break the curse,…okay, never mind. It’s totally like that, but it’s got a little twist to it too. Not an inverted fairy tale since the guy is still the one cursed, but his curse is a power most guys would...oh heck, I’m just going to share the premise.

Cue excerpt from Alison’s query (which she is mucho nervous about sharing *hides in corner*)


JD Marshall has a power most guys would trade their left nut for. With one hypnotizing look, he can get a girl to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And for three years he’s racked up more scores than Brett Favre. But his power’s not a blessing. It’s just a curse.

And it is a curse. One he’s got three months to break or lose any chance of ever having a real relationship. The only way to break the curse—learn to love and be loved. Like that’s going to happen. JD needs to focus on quarterbacking his team to the state finals. He needs to pass freaking math. And he needs to quit thinking about Susan Milton. She’s taken. She’s forbidden. Worse—she seems to be the only one immune to his power.


Okay, so that’s only half my story blurb, and it still needs work, but hopefully you’re getting that Beauty and the Beast vibe. And maybe one day, you’ll even be able to read it! (ya know – if revisions would quit kicking my butt!)

So, yeah. I’m a Beauty and the Beast fan. I also LOVE Aladdin (which managed to work its way into my story too!) so I’d be totally cool with seeing that one redone in a totally unique manner. But for now I’ll keep plugging away at some true love breaks the spell stories.


How about YOU? What fairy tale or story would you like to see retold?! Got one of YOUR own? Tell me about it in the comments!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Scary Stuff

So, the big buzz this weekend was the attack on agent Pam van Hylckama (Larsen Pomada Literary) Hear about it? In a nutshell, she was in her car, preparing to pick up her daughter, and some guy broke off her side mirror, reached in and pushed her forcefully into her steering wheel before her dog attacked him. Turns out, the nut job was a writer that had queried her and whom she had rejected.

WHOA

How did he know how to find her? According to the Los Angeles Times, “she's one of those people who has been comfortable living online, using Twitter, Facebook, and the check-in app Foursquare. And that may have been the problem…it may have just been that living so openly online may have allowed her attacker to track her down.”

First, let me say that in no way do I think this makes the attack HER fault. There’s obviously something wrong with psycho writer and I hope he stays behind bars or in some facility for a long time. But the article by the LA Times and then a response post by agent Jennifer Laughran certainly got me thinking about online privacy, how much I choose to share with others. And whether or not that’s a good thing.

How much of your life do you live online?I know at least a couple hours of my day are devoted to email and blogging and Facebook and Twitter. It’s a reality for many people. But gosh, we’re so…PUBLIC these days. Texts can get forwarded to an entire school faster than my daughter can type one, people I barely know are sharing some pretty intimate pics on Facebook and Twitter, check-ins and status updates can pin down locations of mere acquaintances.

And while there are certain things I WON’T share, there are probably certain things I shouldn’t divulge either. I’m guilty of sharing pics of my family on here, on Facebook, and on Twitter. My husband “checks us in” to events and restaurants for our entire Facebook families to see. I am somewhat cautious when it comes to posting about vacation—most often I don’t even talk about them until I’m back home. But most people know I live in Eastern NC and near the beach. Could someone find me if they really wanted to? Probably.

Scary stuff. How much sharing is too much? Do we just not share anything at all? Personally, I’ve met some pretty awesome people through blogging and Twitter, and there are certain things (pics, exciting news,…) I want to share with them.

In response to Friday’s events, Jennifer Laughran said, “you can't really predict or protect against a stranger snapping on you. And you can't live your life in fear.”

Yeah. THAT.

So, what are your thoughts? Have YOU seen these articles? Heard this news? Pam van Hylckama Vliegv has since limited her online time. Does this make you want to cut back on yours?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Follow Up (Currently...)

My friends Katy Upperman and Jessica Love did this cool Currently… post recently. They got the idea from Kate Hart. Who got it from Amy Lukavics. Who got it from here. Anyway, I thought I’d mix up my normal Friday Follow Up and join in the fun too! Here’s what I’m up to. Currently…

Loving…

YA Confidential. My fellow operatives. Our teen spies and analysts. We’re having this gihugic anniversary giveaway, our favorite books just for YOU. Have you checked it out yet?

Also, our awesome teens are taking questions today. Ask them about school, books, movies, music. What teens are really up to. Or maybe you have a question that could help you with your WIP.

Reading…




You know that little VOICE thing that all these agents and editors and bibliophiles everywhere are looking for? This book nails it. No. Take that back. This book SCREAMS voice. Like as loud and amazing and awesome as the music Audrey listens to. Swear to you, this book has the STRONGEST voice I’ve ever read. The kind of strong that makes me wonder why I ever thought I could do this writing thing, yet at the same time make me so passionate about writing that I just want to boot up my laptop and try to emulate a smidgen of Robin Benway’s talent.

And Audrey! She is so incredibly likeable and despite the insanity happening to her she’s so relatable and I love her and her bff and James and Jonah and Bendomolena and even Simon of the Lolitas (okay, maybe NOT him). And ohmygosh it’s so funny and fun and crazy good. CRAZY GOOD. Seriously one of the best reads this year.

Also, I would’ve never even known about this little piece of story heaven had it not been for the fabulous Tracey Neithercott, founder of the YA Book Club, blogger extraordinaire, and co-creator of cool book covers like these





Umm…Tracey’s pretty fabulous.

But back to AUDREY, WAIT! I mean, I know this book was released in 2008, but how is there so little buzz about this book?! This book deserves mad love and props and well, I’ll just have to give it a much more extensive gushy review in the future.

Watching…

My children grow up too fast. Can someone please stop time for a few minutes, give me ten more hours in a day, let me ENJOY my children before they go off to college. My son’s in third grade. My daughter’s in eighth grade. When did THAT happen?

Thinking about…

My story. My characters. How much I love it and love them and all I want to do is work on my WIP even though I know I have so much more work to do. Also, I love that my mind is on my WIP practically twenty-four/seven. That even when I’m driving or grading papers or hanging out with my kids while they make me watch shows like The Amazing World of Gumball, my subconscious is sorting out tricky scenes and plot points.

Anticipating…

SLEEP. I seriously walked around school Thursday looking and feeling like something off of Zombie Planet. I don’t usually sleep in on Saturdays, but my son doesn’t have a game until 1, and uh…this chick might be snoozing. Until ten.

Wishing…

Honestly? That I could shut the door on life for a while and just work on revisions. I know…I know. That sounds selfish and awful and I should totally be careful of what I wish for, but sometimes it would be nice to be an island. Even if just for a few hours.

And if that’s too much to ask for, then I wish that my house would magically clean itself. I think I’m about two fire hazards away from it being condemned.

Making me happy…





My family. Always.


What’s going on in YOUR life? Currently…