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Friday, October 29, 2010

Week in Short

It's FINALLY Friday! It was an insanely crazy week for me; I thought it would never be over. I'm still fostering an addiction to Glee even though I wanted to kick half the characters off a cliff. I'm almost done with season one. I was hoping to get all caught up this weekend, but I have so much work to do it probably won't happen. I'm also getting Everwood from netflix now. Watched the first four episodes on Thursday. Now I remember why I started watching this show in the first place. :D

Song of the week:
It's My Life by Bon Jovi (Been attached to this song ever since the Glee boys (mostly Finn) sang the It's My Life/Confessions mash-up.)

Must Read:
Need vs love

News:
The beta for Window's version of Scrivener is FINALLY here! I downloaded it Monday and have been playing with it all the time. I already imported BB into it to see how it works for revisions, but NaNo is going to be it's first real test.

NaNoWriMo:
With NaNo coming up, there were a lot of posts dedicated to this amazing event. Here are some of the highlights:
Nathan Bransford's NaNo Boot Camp: Choosing the right idea, goals and obstacles, and editing as you go
Advice from Hannah Moskowitz

Blood-Red Pencil:Making friends with your internal editor

BookEnds:
Learn from what you read

Mandy Hubbard:
From query to pitch to cover copy

Pub Rants:Top 10 reasons for SF&F query rejections + 5 more reasons

Querytracker:

Tuning up your mechanics

YAHighway:
What to do when your characters won't talk to you

In Movies:

  • Arthur -- Cute old movie. Absolutely hilarious. 9/10
  • Mr. Fix It -- typical romcom formula movie with a twist. 9.5/10
In Writing:
Only three days until NaNo! I am PSYCHED!

Everyone have a GREAT Halloween weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NaNo Tip #3: Get Support

Today's tip: Get and give support

During NaNo, your friends are your greatest allies whether you know them in real life or not. You can cheer each other on to the next word count goal, bounce ideas around, celebrate wins, and mourn shortcomings. NaNo is also a great time to make new friends.

Get a group together for word sprints to help each other out with the daily word count. Word sprints are when everyone gets together, sets an amount of time to write (usually 10 to 15 minutes), and then after the alloted time is up you stop and share word counts. This can be an amazing motivator for even the toughest case of writers' block.

Nanowrimo.org has forums for areas all over the country that you can join. They even hold write-ins so that local writers can meet up and write together. If you can't make one of these, you could even hold your own. I've also heard that there might be a special online write-in for teen writers held this year.

You may also want to explain to your family what it is that you're doing when you spend long hours locked inside your house refusing to socialize. I don't suggest skipping out on Thanksgiving, but sometimes it can be nice if your family knows that sometimes you just need to be alone to sit down and write so they don't worry that something is wrong. Maybe even one of your family members can join in on the craziness.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RTW -- Best Book of October

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Next week's topic:
What was the best book you read in October?

This was a horrible month for reading for me (only two books, not counting a repeat beta read), but this month's pick was a clear one either way.

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
I loved this book so much and I can't WAIT for the sequel. I haven't been so torn in a love triangle since Hunger Games with Peeta and Gale. (I'm still Team Luc, just saying.) The cover is absolutely amazing and the insides are just as great as the outsides. I actually blacked everything out in second hour reading it and didn't get any of my work done.

Overall: 9.5/10

Full review here

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NaNo Tip #2: Plan Ahead

Today's tip: Plan ahead

The weeks before NaNo are great for figuring out ideas, working out plots, meeting characters, and planning ahead for the month to come. Unless you're planning on pantsing this November, in which case the only planning you'll probably want to do is figuring out which idea gets to have your attention. Here are some ideas to help take the edge off the anticipation:
  • Make an outline. It can be as detailed or simple as you want. It could be a couple lines describing the main plot, or a ten page bulleted list of each scene and where each chapter is going to start and end.
  • Make character bios. Write a couple paragraphs describing each character and their pasts.
  • Find character pictures. Find pictures of actors or people that instantly make you think of your characters. I often do this before revisions to help me with character description.
  • Do character interviews. Set your characters down for awhile and just talk to them. You'd be surprised how much you can learn about a character doing this. You might even be able to find their voice.
What are you doing to get ready for NaNo?

Monday, October 25, 2010

NaNo Tip #1: Try Something New

One week until NaNo! In honor of this awesome event, I'm going to be posting tips on how to make it to 50k before the end of November all week this week (except for Wednesday and Friday) and then every Monday.

Today's tip: Try something new

One of the best parts of NaNo can be trying something that you've never tried before. Write in a new genre, a new tense, a new point of view, a whole other outlook that you've never tried before. You never know what you might like.

Another new thing you can do is if you're usually an outliner, try being a pantser for the month. The worst thing that can happen is you'll find out it doesn't work for you. The best thing that can happen is you'll have a wider range of tools that you can use and maybe even find a new style of writing that you like better than anything you'd ever tried before.

If you're trying something new for NaNo this year, what is it? If you've tried something new in previous years, how did it work out?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week in Short

It's FRIDAYYYYYY! :D I love weekends. Going to a bonfire and hayride tomorrow with a bunch of people I haven't seen in like, a year.

Song of the week:
Over You by Daughtry

Must Read:
Imposter Syndrome

News:
In case you missed my fangirling on Tuesday, nine TV spots for Deathly Hallows were released. They made my brain melt. In a totally good way.

Adventures in Agentland:
Exclusives don't equal good/bad agent

Gatekeeper:
How to reject an agent and how to inform them of offers of representation
Gatekeeper's how to handle the "Who offered?" question

Janet Reid:
Response to GK's "Who offered?" post

Nathan Bransford:
Cozy mysteries

Pimp My Novel:
Tip of the day: Discipline

Steph Su Reads:
Flat characters in issue books?

Upstart Crow:
The line between middle grade and young adult

Writer Unboxed:
Prologues -- yes or no?

YAHighway:
Backstory blunders and their fixes

In Movies:

  • Picture Perfect -- I loved this movie though I wish I didn't have to scream "You are so BLIND!" through half of it. Often-used topic with an adorable twist. 9.5/10
  • Notting Hill -- One of my new favorite movies. 10/10
  • Letters to Juliet -- OMG. Awesome. A beautiful, heartwarming movie for the decade. I really want to go to Verona and write a letter to Juliet now. 10/10
  • The Covenant -- Mom wanted me to watch this movie because she saw it a long time ago. Only redeeming qualities were Steven Strait, Toby Hemingway (my personal fave), Sebastian Stan, Taylor Kitsch, and Chace Crawford. I studied through most of it. 4/10
In Writing:
First read through of Burning Bridges is complete! I started revisions this week. Cut 6,000 words, a character, and a few loose plot threads. Planning on making time to work some more this weekend.

Everyone have a GREAT weekend and I'll see you on Monday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Abundance of Katherines Review

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun -- but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

This one definitely wasn't my favorite John Green book, but I did enjoy it. True to Green's style, I loved the beautiful writing, original characters, true-to-teens dialogue, and hilarious voice. I was also delighted to see that Green really can write "happy" endings for couples.

Overall: 8.5/10. Loved it, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NaNoWriMo

I interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a moment of fangirling. OMG NINE new TV spots for Deathly Hallows! Also, it comes out in exactly one month! I CAN'T WAIT! Ahem. Now let's return to our regularly scheduled post.

NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month) is a month-long event that takes place every year through November. Writers all across the country put aside anything they can, put pencil to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Now that it's only two weeks away, a lot of people are already declaring whether or not they're going to do it, deciding on ideas, and finding places for kick-off events and write-ins locally.

For more information check out nanowrimo.org.

Aliens Ruined My Life was actually my NaNo novel last year. I won, hitting the 50,000-word mark in 17 days. Let's just say that was probably the craziest 17 days of my life. For those of you who think you can hit 50,000 words in a snap, you can shoot for 100,000 or even more if you wish. I'm still deciding whether I want to go for 50k or 100k this year.

A lot of people start preparing for NaNo weeks ahead of time by creating character sketches, character bios, outlines, story bibles, etc, but I think of it as a good time to try out being a pantser and to just write like you've never written before.

On November 1st, I'll be there for NaNo 2010. Will you?

Monday, October 18, 2010

That Mysterious First Line

This post was inspired by YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday topic of first lines last week. I put it off until today because with me favorite first lines require a lot of thought. The first line doesn't mean a lot to me. There aren't any first lines that stick out in my mind and a bad first line won't stop me from reading a book. That being said, here are some of my favorites.

The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. PAPER TOWNS by John Green

I used to be someone. THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson

My mother used to tell me about the ocean. THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan

Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings, spilled food, theft, fights, broken limbs, turf wars -- every day, a turf war -- six months until gradation and no one gets a medal when they get out. But everything you do here counts.
High school.
CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers (So technically that's the first few lines, but I couldn't just post the first sentence.)

The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath. AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES by John Green

If there's a Hell on Earth, it's high school. PERSONAL DEMONS by Lisa Desrochers

The first feeling is exhilaration. BREAK by Hannah Moskowitz

Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan

I remember lying in the snow, a small red spot of warm going cold, surrounded by wolves. SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

At a sign from the supervisor, a girl in the front rose to her feet and went over to press the metal switch. WINTER'S END by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

I like my first lines to set the stage for the rest of the book and to give me a taste of the writing and the voice for the rest of the story. The first line is the brick around which the rest of the words will fall into place with. For me, it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to work.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Week in Short

Crazy week this week. One of those that seemed to simultaneously fly by and drag on forever.

Song of the week:
Glee's remake of Jessie's Girl. I think I'm obsessed with this song.

Must Read:
The all-important first chapter
Cleaning out the cobwebs with revisions
5 articles on perseverance

News:
WriteOnCon's next event: Live chat with Sara Megibow on October 25th!
New Voyage of the Dawn Treader trailer! ZOMG WIN! I can't wait for December. :D
How to Train Your Dragon is out on DVD today!!! I am in desperate need of an excuse to go to the store so I can buy this movie.

BookEnds:
View on prologues

Gatekeeper:
Disagreeing with your editor

GLA:
How I got my agent: Lynn Rush

GotYA:
Janice Hardy guest blogs

Nathan Bransford:
T.H. Mafi -- Nine stages of dating a novel
How to fail and still succeed

Queryshark:
#183 -- mystery

Rachelle Gardner:
How to fire your agent

YAHighway:
Ease up on the self-pressure

In Movies:

  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs -- Relatively cute. 6/10
  • Planet 51 -- Very cute movie, I'm particularly fond of Rover. 7/10
  • The Bounty Hunter -- Loved the ending, had some good parts, wasn't quite as good as I expected. 7.5/10
In Writing:
The first read-through for Burning Brides has begun. Hoping to finish it this weekend.

Everyone have an awesome weekend and I'll see you on Monday! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Guest Blogger Janice Hardy: Executing the Idea

I'm very excited to announce a special guest blogger for this week, Janice Hardy, author of THE HEALING WARS series! I've heard many wonderful things about the first book The Shifter and the second book, Blue Fire, was just released October 5th. Thanks for joining us!

Executing the Idea

Back on September 29, there was a post here on the Chasm about which was more important: the idea, or the execution. It got me thinking about how both are vital, but each takes precedence at different points of your writing career. Focusing too much on one at the wrong time might even cause you some extra headaches. (And might even be the reason for some common headaches most writers go through.)

Finding Your Feet
When you first start out writing, I think it’s all about execution. Ideas are great, but until you learn your craft and build that foundation of skills, the best ideas aren’t going to get you anywhere. Also, having a familiar story or trope takes some of the pressure off, so you can focus more on the technical aspects of writing. Learning how to put a great sentence together, build paragraphs that draw you along, create imagery that brings a world to life, are vital skills you’ll need to craft great scenes and chapters.
Because writing builds off itself. Understanding what makes an effective paragraph takes the same basic structure (and skill set) that writing an effective scene does: something interesting to catch your attention, compelling info to keep you reading, and something at the end that intrigues you to move to the next piece.

Learning to Walk
After you’ve developed your basic writing skills and have a solid understanding of the mechanics of writing, ideas become more important. It’s time to train yourself to execute your ideas in a compelling way. It’s about learning to be a storyteller and finding your voice. What are the best ways to deliver your story to the reader? That’s more than just words on a page, it’s how those words are organized into scenes, how those characters are built, how that world is crafted. The writing doesn’t have to be perfect or even all that great as long as the story unfolds the way you want it to.

Learning to Run
Eventually you’ll get to a point where your story is working as intended, but you know you can make the prose better. It’s time to go back to execution. Most likely, it’s the subtleties of writing you’ll be focusing on now. The tiny tweaks that turn good prose into great prose. Tightening your pacing, clarifying dialog and internalization, smoothing your narrative flow. The polish that will make your writing shine.

Taking Flight
By the time you’re submitting to agents and editors, it’s all about the idea, because everyone who gets published is, by default, writing at a professional level. Even if you disagree what “good” means, (it is subjective) you have to be good to even be considered. What sets one well-written book apart from the next on the stack is the idea. It’s possible (and not uncommon) to start querying before you’ve reached a professional level, so never be afraid to step back and reevaluate your writing if you get a lot of rejections. You might be a great writer, and be really close to getting your work out there, but you still have a few more steps to take. Those who can say, “okay, I know my idea is great, but my execution needs a tad more work” are those who will probably see their name in print. Just like those who know they write beautifully, and are willing to step back to find that perfect idea to showcase their skills will.

Ideas and execution. You do need both, but I think trying to do both at the same time all the
time can be overwhelming. There are times when one is needed over the other, and developing
both skills at different times can help build a writing foundation that is solid all the way through.

***
Janice Hardy's Bio
A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel.

Blue Fire Blurb
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.

For more information on Janice Hardy and her books, check out her website and her blog.

Check out Blue Fire at Barnes and Noble, or Borders!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Releases -- The Lost Hero, Revolution, and Nightshade

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
[Just released today! FINALLY!]
After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,

To storm or fire the world must fall.

An oath to keep with a final breath,

And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.


Now, in a brand-new series from blockbuster best-selling author Rick Riordan, fans return to the world of Camp Half-Blood. Here, a new group of heroes will inherit a quest. But to survive the journey, they’ll need the help of some familiar demigods.

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.


Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
Release: October 19th
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, October 11, 2010

Character Motivations

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend! Michigan lost (horribly) to State so unfortunately wasn't able to spend any time celebrating, though I need begin revisions and watch a lot of Doctor Who.

Character motivations are essential for any story. They provide the reasoning behind character actions. Every character must have a motivation, from the main character to the biggest villain to the smallest side character.

A character without motivation is a flat character, a robot. They're stumbling through the course of the story with no reason to do the things they're doing. It's important that every action has a reason. Even Voldemort had reasons to do the things he was doing. He feared death that he was willing to tear his soul into pieces to avoid it. His past and beliefs set him up to do the terrible things he did in his life.

If you're having trouble coming up with a character motivation, look at a character and try to figure out why they act the way they do.

  • Look into the past first. A person's past has a profound effect on how they act in the present. A single event can give your character incredible depth and motivation.
  • Beliefs. Personal, religious, political.
  • The people around them. Some people act differently when they're around their friends than they do around strangers or their family. Peer pressure can cause someone to do something they never would have done on their own.
  • Personality.
Here are a few examples from Burning Bridges, the story of Kaye who lives on her dad's ranch for troubled teens and horses. She never cared about anything but the ranch and her horses until Skylar arrives and wants nothing more to leave again.

Kaye's conflict is that her dad wants her to leave the ranch and go away to college whereas she only wants to stay and work with her horses. She's motivated to stay by her fear. She's afraid that if she leaves the ranch she'll never make it back because that's what happened to her mom and sister.

Skylar's been forced onto the ranch when he causes too much trouble in the city and all he wants to do is escape again. Causing trouble is his way of dealing with all the pain in his family.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Week in Short

Another week is over! Finally! I'm taking this weekend off to relax, watch more movies, and hopefully celebrate Michigan's victory over Michigan State. GO BLUE! (At the time of writing the score is 7-3 MSU.)

Song of the week:
Someone That You're With by Nickelback

Must Read:
Defeating your inner critic part 1 and part 2
So you want to be a riter?

Contest:
Nathan Bransford is hosting another guest blog contest!

Adventures in Agentland:
The pitch session

Blood-Red Pencil:
What publishers use to evaluate your manuscript

Kidlit:
Internal and external conflict instead of antagonists
The four Horsemen of the Prose-ocalypse

Literary Rambles:
Turning rejections into acceptances

Nathan Bransford:
When you discover your agent's just not that into you

Queryshark:
FTW: Mystery

Rachelle Gardner:
Staying in it for the long haul
Behind the scenes on "The Call"

YA Highway:
Genre hopping

In Movies:
My mom got Netflix last weekend so I've been watching a lot of movies lately. Mostly romcoms.

  • Penelope -- I don't know what took me so long to watch this movie! Very awesome. 9.5/10
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights -- Laughed so hard my throat hurt. 10/10
  • It's a Boy Girl Thing -- Hilarious at times with a very cute ending. 8/10
  • Play the Game -- Seems like another movie about a player that gets softened by the one girl he has to chase to have. It's not. 10/10
  • When in Rome -- Love this movie and the twist at the end. I want to go to Rome! 8/10
  • The Ugly Truth -- Gerard Butler + awesome plot = epic movie. 9.5/10
In Writing:
I took this week off to let Burning Bridges simmer so I don't have any work to report this week. I'm planning on starting revisions sometime this weekend.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Loner Main Characters the Norm?

When I was typing up the back summary for PERSONAL DEMONS, a question popped into my head.

Why are almost all main characters loners?

Think about it. Most of them only have one or two friends at most. They don't involve themselves in a lot of activities. They don't have a lot of dates. They don't run around texting twenty people at once, or even a few.

Is that to cut down on the number of characters that have to have a purpose?

Is it to keep the story from getting too bogged down in unnecessary day-to-day activities?

But the truth is, a lot of teenagers aren't like that. Teenagers don't just have one or two friends. They might have a few best friends and then a long list of extended friends and acquaintances. A lot of teenagers go out on dates, good ones and bad ones. They flirt, they fight, they date, they make new friends and enemies. It's all part of the teen experience.

So, where is it in books? Am I just reading the ones with loner main characters (which seems to be a requirement for fantasy these days) and there's a whole other world of non-loner MCs that I'm missing out on? Or is this becoming the norm?

Is there something especially sweet about having a loner MC that suddenly finds herself attracting the attention of (insert paranormal creature(s) here)?

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

RTW -- Deserted Island Writer Getaway

Been watching movies on Netflix since I got home tonight and almost forgot to post. I was really excited about this topic, too...

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:
You're packing for a month on a deserted island. What, as a reader and writer, must be in your backpack?

So counting out everything that I wouldn't use specifically as a reader and writer...
  1. My laptop. Because I could never write without it, even on a deserted island.
  2. Portable solar panels and a cord to power my laptop because it has serious battery issues and needs to be constantly on the charger. So I wouldn't even be able to leave the solar panels at camp to hike upriver to write at the top of the waterfall. (I think I'm getting a little too in-depth now...)
  3. Several crates of books. Because I refuse to start reading books on my computer (unless they're beta reads) so I'm going to need something to read.
  4. Several crates of root beer. I don't think this one really requires an explanation...
  5. A light to read by when I can't read by the light of the moon.
  6. A katana. For self-defense and also to practice epic battle scenes in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Personal Demons Review

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Published September 14, 2010 by Tor Teen
Frannie Cavanaugh has always been a bit of a loner. She's spent years keeping everyone at a distance, even her closest friends. That is, until Luc Cain enrolls in her school. He's hot, sarcastic, and dangerous -- and Frannie can't seem to stay away.

What she doesn't know is that Luc is on a mission. Because Frannie isn't exactly ordinary. She possesses a skill so unique that the King of Hell himself has taken notice, and he's sent Luc to claim Frannie's soul. It should be easy: All he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come.

Unfortunately for Luc, Heaven has other plans, and he's just started making progress when the angel Gabriel shows up. Gabe will do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for, and his angelic charm might just be enough to keep Frannie on the right path.

It isn't long before Luc and Gabe find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie's soul. But if Luc fails to win her over, there will be Hell to pay...for all of them.

I've been really excited for this book for a LONG time so when I went to Borders I had to have it. I would've bought it based only on the cover. I've been known to just sit in class and stare at it for minutes at a time. I want to cut out the piece of Gabriel, blow it up to poster-size, and stick it on my wall.

The insides were just as amazing as the outsides. When I first started, I couldn't stop reading. I flew through the pages, laughing and swooning out loud (in class). That doesn't happen to me a lot. The first fifty pages made me laugh out loud, get goosebumps, swoon, and black out for an hour. I opened it back up in second hour planning to read a couple chapters and actually jumped when the bell rang an hour later because I'd completely closed out everything around me. I can't remember the last time that happened.

Frannie was a total kickass heroine. I about died laughing when she flipped Jackson. She kind of turned me off towards the end but I think I know why that was.

Luc and Gabe... *swoons* Officially, I'm Team Luc. He's hot, a bad boy, drives a Mustang, listens to Saving Abel, and has a sweet side. I know I really shouldn't love him as much as I do, but I can't help it. Gabe's a real sweetheart but I don't really know him well enough. There's never been a love triangle this hot before.

I'm confused over Frannie's parents. I hope it's explained (soon) why they're acting the way they are. Is it because Luc's a demon and Gabe's an angel or is it something else?

I love multiple PoV stories and in this one sometimes I wished that Gabe had his own parts. I constantly wanted to know where he was, what he was doing, and what he felt. It felt like he kept randomly disappearing through large parts of the stories. It was like he was never around even though he should've been.

I felt like the book started to drag a bit through the third-quarter, but it picked up quickly and took me for a rollercoaster ride. Can't wait for the sequel!

Overall: 9.5/10

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I know that Luc and Gabe are literally opposites so I figure that Frannie wants some of both of them and that's why she finds herself torn between both guys, but...she's supposed to be in love with Luc. I don't understand why she keeps letting herself kiss Gabe.

And why he keeps letting her. I figure that will be explained with time.

I also wish people would stop interrupting her and Luc when they try to have some alone time. WHY DANGIT?

Monday, October 4, 2010

5 Ways to Celebrate Writing "The End" -- Plus Good News!

I finished Burning Bridges Saturday night!! It's complete at 58k and revisions have already begun. Kinda. My goal is to have it edited and ready by December, which is around the time I'll be sending out my college applications. My timing is amazing. /sarcasm

Here are five ways to celebrate finishing your own manuscript.

  1. Eat ice cream or (insert favorite treat here) and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
  2. Read a book. If you're like me, your pleasure reading probably falls to the sidelines when you're hard at work on a new WIP. So curl up in your favorite chair or bed and lose yourself in a good book.
  3. Take an afternoon or day off and do whatever you want. Surf the internet, share the good news, look for revision tips, go for a walk, window shop, do whatever makes you happy.
  4. Curl up on the couch with a warm blanket and watch your favorite movie.
  5. Sit yourself at the laptop again, open up your manuscript, and start revisions. There's nothing quite like jumping right into the next stage of your MS's development.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Week in Short

I got home early so I'm posting this tonight instead of tomorrow. But first, some random thoughts. Friday I met a boy that had read the entire Twilight series. I have now met three specimens of this rare species and I still haven't stopped yelling "WHY?" at them and resisting the urge to force better books into their hands. He did however have the extremely genius comment of, "Twilight isn't about vampires. It's about sparklefairies."

Also, my favorite racehorse, Zenyatta, just won her nineteenth race in a row tonight breaking her own record. Again. :D

Must Read:
It's all in the details
Talking to agents and editors
5 original techniques for dealing with writer stress

News:
New Deathly Hallows trailer. MADE. OF. WIN. Enough said.

Dark Divine has been optioned!

Katniss to be whitewashed? If Chloe Moretz plays Katniss, I honestly don't know if could stand to watch it. I could see her as Prim maybe, but she just doesn't fit the image of Katniss. At all.

Speak Loudly:
Steph Su Reads makes some very good points

Ramblings of a Writer -- They only ban the good books

Laurie Halse Anderson updates and talks about Mike Foley


Andrea Cremer's Banned Books Week contest

Lucy Coat's story

Penguin takes SpeakLoudly to the New York Times

Blood-Red Pencil:
Cussing tips
Ten ways to get the most from writers' conferences

BookEnds:
Social media tips

GLA:
Agent advice: Jason Yarn
Revisions: what every writer should know
Agent advice: Suzie Townsend

Nathan Bransford:
Defense of dead/absent parents

Punk writer kid:
When inspiration strikes: a comic

Queryshark:
Romantic suspense winner

Querytracker:
The ups and downs of being a teenage writer

On Break, Back Sometime

If you're reading this on Saturday, I'm wandering a college campus somewhere and have been up since five in the morning. Please send me virtual coffee and tea.

Because of my new senior duties to check out colleges (that I, strangely enough, already know I'm not going to), Week in Short has been pushed to Sunday.

I promise.

And if I'm lucky, I'll have some amazing news to report on Sunday or Monday.

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Releases -- The Replacement, Girl Parts, and Unraveled

TGIF! Thought this week was never going to end and to celebrate the fact that it finally did, I have three new releases to share. The third one (for Unraveled) may contain spoilers for Intertwined, it's prequel.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
[I haven't gotten my hands on this one yet, but I have heard many wonderful things about it.]
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world. Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs.

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick
David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend.

Unraveled by Gena Showalter
Sequel to Intertwined
Since coming to Crossroads, Oklahoma, former outcast Aden Stone has been living the good life. Never mind that one of his best friends is a werewolf, his girlfriend is a vampire princess who hungers for his blood, and he's supposed to be crowned Vampire King-while still a human! Well, kind of. With four-oops, three now-human souls living inside his head, Aden has always been "different" himself. These souls can time-travel, raise the dead, possess another's mind and, his least favorite these days, tell the future. The forecast for Aden? A knife through the heart.Because a war is brewing between the creatures of the dark, and Aden is somehow at the center of it all. But he isn't about to lie down and accept his destiny without a fight. Not when his new friends have his back, not when Victoria has risked her own future to be with him, and not when he has a reason to live for the first time in his life.