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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Liar Review

LIAR
by Justine Larbalestier

Micah will freely admit she's a compulsive liar, but that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's fooled everyone: her classmates, her teachers, even her parents. And she's always managed to stay one step ahead of her lies. That is, until her boyfriend dies under brutal circumstances and her dishonesty begins to catch up with her. But it is possible to tell the truth when lying comes as easily as breathing?

If you're looking for a light-hearted read for a rainy day, this is not it. I honestly think his was the strangest book I have ever read in my life, and I mean that in a good way. The writing style might be jarring for some people, but personally I thought it fit perfectly with Micah and her story. LIAR is the kind of book that makes you think and sticks in your head long after you've closed it.

This book hooked me from the start. I felt like part two dragged on a little more than it should, but part three was perfect. I read the last half within a few hours because I couldn't stop reading until I saw her lies through to the end.

It was so weird having a compulsive liar as a narrator, but I liked it. It made me think more than I usually do while reading and kept stringing me along hoping to finally get the truth. As for the characters, I thought they were all excellent, but I especially liked Pete. Micah's relationship with Zach, Tayshawn, and Sara was perfect. Weird, but perfect.

Overall: 9/10 I can see that this one is going to stick in my head for quite awhile.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

The fact that I still don't know if she was telling the truth or not is going to drive me crazy for awhile. It's making me want to read the book again, to see if there are any clues that she might have been lying about it all.

What happened to Jordan? She said it was an accident, but what was the accident? And was it one?

I can't believe her parents threw her out of the house like that. I also can't believe they still celebrated Jordan's birthday and death-day too. I mean, I can believe it, but...wow.

I also can't believe Micah wanted to kill Yayeko and her family. Does that mean when she said that wolves don't kill humans she was lying? She wanted to, just like Pete killed Zach. She would have.

Yeah, I'll be thinking about LIAR for a very, very long time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

The 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren is almost here! For more information and to sign-up check out the link above. The objective is to to read a least twelve debut Young Adult or Middle Grade novels released in 2011 over the course of the year.

This year, I'm taking the challenge.

Here are some of the books that I hope to read next year:

  1. A TOUCH MORTAL by Leah Clifford
  2. LIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten Hubbard
  3. WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight
  4. WHERE I BELONG by Gwendolyn Heasley
  5. ANGELFIRE by Courtney Allison Moulton
  6. THE WATER WARS by Cameron Stracher
  7. THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
  8. POSSESSION by Elana Johnson
  9. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
  10. WITHER by Lauren DeStefano
  11. TIMELESS by Alexandra Monir
  12. ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis
  13. XVI by Julia Karr
  14. DARKNESS BECOMES HER by Kelly Keaton
  15. THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER by Jana Oliver
  16. I AM J by Cris Beam
  17. ENTWINED by Heather Dixon
  18. THOSE THAT WAKE by Jesse Karp
  19. LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker
  20. BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys
  21. END OF THE LINE by Angela Cerrito
  22. ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre
  23. TEMPEST RISING by Tracy Deebs
  24. AWAKEN by Katie Kacvinsky
  25. PAPER COVERS ROCK by Jenny Hubbard
  26. LOST VOICES by Sarah Porter
  27. HALF-BLOOD by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  28. NEVER EIGHTEEN by Megan Bostic
I probably won't get to all of them, but I will try to get to as many as I possible can. I can't wait to begin! There are so many amazing titles being released next year.

So, who's in?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Week in Short

I hope everyone had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! For those of you who live outside the U.S., I hope you had a wonderful Thursday. :) Hope everyone is staying safe and having a fun time shopping on this Black Friday.

Song of the week: Just The Way You Are -- Glee cast. This week's episode of Glee = MADE. OF. WIN. I haven't stopped listening to this song since Wednesday. I didn't think I'd ever find a song that topped Teenage Dream or an episode that topped Never Been Kissed...but they did it this week.



Must Read:
10 commandments of social networking for writers

Gatekeeper:
Overheard at Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America party

GLA:
Michelle Brower: 10 tips for attending writers' conferences
Kimberly Shumate: How to create a professional submission

Jennifer Laughran:
The best time to query

Marieke's Musings:
How to write YA sci-fi with Beth Revis

Nathan Bransford:
Nine circles of writing hell

Queryshark:
#188: YA urban fantasy

Querytracker:
Agents requesting material
On beta readers

In Movies:
  • The Holiday -- Beginning was a little slow but the rest of the movie was AWESOME. I might have to buy this one. 9.5/10
In Writing:
On the to do list for my four-day weekend: finish the second pass on Burning Bridges. This could be the last major revision before I start tweaking.

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

P.S. GO BLUE! (Michigan's playing Ohio State this weekend.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

RTW -- Best Book of November

It was no contest this month with a reread of one of my favorite books of all time...

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS!
By J.K. Rowling
It seems like just yesterday that I was joking about trying to read it and walk out of the store at the same time (I wanted to, but I managed to hold off until we got into the car). Just yesterday that I curled up in my room, scorning human contact for twelve straight hours in favor of my favorite characters as I raced through the pages. Instead it's been two crazy years and part one is now in theaters.

This was my third time reading Deathly Hallows and it never gets old. It's still the same amazing story that it was the first time. I still cry my heart out over the end. I still grin as I turn the final page and feel the bittersweet pang of sadness that this wonderful series is over.

Overall: 10/10. Deathly Hallows gets an O for Outstanding. :) Well done, J.K. Rowling. An incredible end to what has been an incredible ride.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Outside References and Dating

A lot of people worry about adding real life references to their books in fear of dating them. Others don't have that fear at all.

I'm somewhere in the middle.

I like references to the real world in novels. It makes the characters and the plot more relatable. This is especially true for contemporary novels where creating a story that is relatable for teens is one of the most important things.

The problem for me is where the references become so prevalent that they actually draw me out of the story. For example, I read a novel last year where the main character literally lists off every song she listens to during certain parts of the story. There is no plot reason for her to list off all the songs, she just does. I had no idea what any of the songs were, or their artists, and I didn't love the book enough to have the interest in looking them up. A year later and that's the main thing I remember about that book.

Occasional song references are good things. They give the story depth and if I like the character or the story well enough, I might even take the time to look them up and gain a new favorite song. The same goes for book, TV show, and movie mentions. Just make sure that the reference doesn't have to be understood for the reader to enjoy your book.

Also, don't be so worried about dating a story that you make all your character's favorite books classics. Unless your character is actually the kind of person to read 1984 or War and Peace or *cough* Wuthering Heights. *cough*

Lately I've seen several contemporary releases dealing with Twitter as a main plot point. I want to pick them up, but I worry about them for two reasons.

One, Twitter will eventually be obsolete. All technology has its time and no one can tell when the next big thing will come along and sweep everything else aside.

Two, when I see a book that deals directly with something in modern teenagers's lives, I wonder if the author was trying too hard to be modern. I read a book a couple months ago that had so many references to Youtube and Google that it hurt my perception of the story. It felt like the writer had been trying too hard to "get" teenagers.

The same thing goes for teenage slang. It is possible to try too hard to capture that elusive teen voice. Especially considering teenage slang not only changes constantly, it's also regional. Two of our favorite words around here are "epic" and "legit." A school in, say, California might not even know what "legit" means the way we use it. Even abbreviations like FTW can mean different things to different people. To me it means For The Win. To one of my guy friends it means F The World.

My favorite references are the ones that only people that are "in the know" will understand. For example, in Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid he mentions that "Manhattan has different gods" as a reference to his other series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Now if you'd never read Percy Jackson, you wouldn't understand the reference but you'd still be able to enjoy the book. If you had read Percy Jackson, you'd catch it and laugh. Apparently Despicable Me is full of references. I missed...all of them, but I still loved the movie.

In short, IMHO:

  1. References are good, but in moderation.
  2. Don't try so hard to have your teenagers be like normal teenagers that you risk alienating readers.
  3. Be careful with plots that revolve around something that could be obsolete before the book is published.
  4. Hidden references are the best kind.
  5. Try not to worry too much about dating a book.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Movie Review

First the non-spoilery review.

Part one was AWESOME. End of story. Good-bye. The end. (Virtual cookie to anyone who can tell me what that's from.) It didn't meet my insanely high expectations, but that's mostly because it was build-up for what's coming in part two. It'll be a lot better when the two parts come together. It was still worth stayed up until three in the morning and being exhausted in school the next day. SO. FREAKING. COOL. I'm hoping to go see it again Wednesday night. Eight months until part two!

WARNING. THERE ARE LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS COMING. IF YOU DO NOT LIKE SPOILERS, CLICK THAT LITTLE RED X RIGHT NOW.

Things I Liked
  • The part at the beginning where Hermione wipes her parent's memories. I'm really glad they added that part.
  • Ron. I think Rupert was my favorite actor in this movie. He was SO GOOD.
  • Fred and George. Enough said.
  • Ginny. She's better in this movie than the last one, trust me.
  • The part where Ginny and Harry are kissing and George walks in behind him. So cute!
  • Ron destroying the locket. EPIC. Except for the one part which I will address in a minute.
  • I seriously thought I was going to die during the torture scene with Hermione. A part of me wishes that Bellatrix had just used Crucio, but another part says it was a nice touch.
  • Dobby. OMG DOBBY. There wasn't a dry eye in my theater when he died. The girl sitting behind me was literally bawling. I didn't think it was possible, but I loved him even more after his scenes in the movie. Especially when he helped Kreacher catch Mundungus and when he unscrewed the chandelier and his BEAUTIFUL speech before he saves everyone...
  • The little Decoys in the Ministry were adorable.
  • The silver doe scene was perfect.
  • Ron and Hermione together were SO CUTE.
  • The scene where Harry and Hermione dance. Harry was so sweet. :D
  • The part where Cattermole's wife kisses when when he's still under the Polyjuice potion. Brilliance.
  • The place they chose to end it was perfect. It's so dramatic, but DANG CLIFFHANGERS
Things I Didn't Like
  • The part where the locket opens and the smoke Harry and Hermione make out. It was awkward.
  • That Wormtail didn't kill himself with the silver hand. This. Is. Important.
  • They cut the part with Dudley thanking Harry for saving his life.
  • No Harry being nice to Kreacher and giving him the locket.
  • Kreacher also never tells the full story of what happened in the cave with Regulus.
  • There's still a gaping plot hole of how Harry is supposed to know what the other Horcruxes ARE. They better fix that soon.
  • They never explain that the reason Bellatrix flips out so much over the sword is because it's supposed to be in her vault.
  • No Potterwatch. That part in the book is SO important to me and it was what kept Harry fighting.
  • The Lovegood house scene. It was cool, but the book scene was way cooler.
  • Taboo on Voldemort's name is used but never explained.
  • Harry never stole the eye off Umbridge's door.
  • Harry still hasn't realized how much his Cloak is like the one in the tale.
  • Harry never uses his Cloak. Including when they just walk into Godric's Hollow. I understand why they wouldn't want to have the use the Polyjuice potion again, but why no Cloak?
  • No sign or monument in Godric's Hollow. Another morale booster for Harry in the book.
  • Lupin never came to Grimmauld Place and it still hasn't been announced that Tonks is pregnant.
  • I don't know how they're going to explain Snape finding them in the Forest of Dean without Phineas.
  • Harry never made a gravestone for Dobby.
  • They left out the HUGE internal conflict with Harry getting obsessed with Hallows and then deciding not to race Voldemort towards the Wand.
  • Ron just hid from the Snatchers instead of going home.
  • No breaking free the Muggleborns. I loved that part SO MUCH in the book and they just left it out.
Despite the fact that there are more things I didn't like than things I did, I still LOVED the movie.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Week in Short

This week was AMAZING. Best week I've had in a long time. :)

Song of the week:
Glee's rendition of Teenage Dream. I am so addicted to this song.

Must Read:
Writing through doubt
References and dating your manuscript


News:
Jessica Faust updates on submissions and is closing to them from November 25 to January 5

James Frey's Book Factory Mess:
Basically: James Frey is running a young adult book factory. He recruits writers and then asks them to sign their lives away. Almost literally. A few of the worst terms even continue after the contract has been terminated.

This is the essence of the terms being offered by Frey’s company Full Fathom Five: In exchange for delivering a finished book within a set number of months, the writer would receive $250 (some contracts allowed for another $250 upon completion), along with a percentage of all revenue generated by the project, including television, film, and merchandise rights—30 percent if the idea was originally Frey’s, 40 percent if it was originally the writer’s. The writer would be financially responsible for any legal action brought against the book but would not own its copyright. Full Fathom Five could use the writer’s name or a pseudonym without his or her permission, even if the writer was no longer involved with the series, and the company could substitute the writer’s full name for a pseudonym at any point in the future. The writer was forbidden from signing contracts that would “conflict” with the project; what that might be wasn’t specified. The writer would not have approval over his or her publicity, pictures, or biographical materials. There was a $50,000 penalty if the writer publicly admitted to working with Full Fathom Five without permission.
New York Magazine: Inside Full Fathom Five
Read the full contract
Writer Beware cautions writers
The Man in the Frey Flannel Suit by John Scalzi
The James Frey Problem by Maureen Johnson
What is a book packager? at BookEnds
Book Packagers at kt literary
Positive personal experience with a book packager at Teen Writers Bloc

BookEnds:Right to first refusal

Caroline in Space:
What I've learned from NaNoWriMo

GLA:
How I got my agent: B.A. Binns

Nathan Bransford:

The importance of being yourself

Pimp My Novel:
Dealing with procrastination

Pub Rants:Top 3 culprits of errors in royalty statements and what happens when they're found
Queryshark:

#187 -- commercial (literary?) fiction

Querytracker:
The wicked truths of edgy young adult

Rachelle Gardner:
Answering questions on contracts part 1 and part 2

YAHighway:
iPhone Apps for NaNoWriMo
Interview with Neoagents

In Movies:
  • According to Greta -- This movie reminded me of Wintergirls and Cracked Up to Be. The main character was rather annoying, but I had to hear her story anyway. 8/10
  • Unhitched -- relatively cute movie. 7/10
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- AWESOME! Formal review to come tomorrow. 10/10
In Writing:
Started BB's second pass of revisions this week. It's coming along quite well.

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

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Releases -- Matched, Firelight, Grace

Deathly Hallows is almost here! As an advance warning tomorrow I'm going to do a review of Deathly Hallows. I'm not sure if I'm going to do one that's half without spoilers and half with, or if I'll just do a spoiler-filled review. I'll put spoiler warnings all over it if they're going to be included. Though if you haven't read the book yet, I don't know why spoilers matter. :D

Matched by Ally Condie
Release date November 30
[I've heard so many wonderful things about this book. I can't wait to read it!!]
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Firelight by Sophie Jordan
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.
Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sticks, Stones, and Words -- Bullying and Suicide

Today I want to talk about something serious and not related to writing.

Bullying and suicide.

We've all heard the phrase "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Most of us know -- some more than others -- that the saying might be true for physical pain, but words can hurt emotionally.

Bullying is a very serious issue. Just last week I heard of another case of a teenager committing suicide because of bullying. The girl had been raped and the guy that did it made fun of her and blamed her for getting into trouble. Another day, a friend of mine told me a story about a girl she knew that was being bullied for turning in a bunch of kids that had come to school drunk. Both of these cases were extremely close to home for me. After I watched the Glee episode, Never Been Kissed, I knew I had to write about it.

Bullying should not be taken lightly. We're all human beings and tearing each other down is disgusting. But what's more disgusting than bullying is watching it happen and doing nothing or even joining in because it seems like the "cool" thing to do. There is nothing less cool than making someone else's life miserable because it somehow makes you feel better.

If you are thinking about committing suicide or know someone that is, get help. Find someone to talk to. You are not alone, not by a long shot.

And remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

Danah Boyd blogged about bullying this week in a way that I'd never thought of before. I'm having a serious light bulb moment right now.

This is one of my favorite songs and music videos of all time. Don't Laugh at Me by Mark Wills.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too Much Theme?

THREE DAYS!

I watched all of season two of Glee last weekend. I didn't like the first three episodes nearly as much as season one, but I couldn't really put my finger on why until I mentioned it on Twitter.

amandaplavich: "It's been disappointing this year. Too much focus on the themes and not enough on the storylines."

And that's exactly it. In TV shows, movies, and even books there is always a theme. You as the writer might not even realize it's there until someone points it out to you. The theme should be subtle. It shouldn't leap out of the pages and slap the reader across the face. It's extremely important that the reader doesn't feel you have an agenda, even if you do.

The best way to do that is to not write for an agenda. Tell the story right and the lessons and themes should come through on their own.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNo Check-In

FOUR DAYS! I hope everyone had a great weekend. :) I finally managed to catch up on Glee. Last week's episode was my favorite. It was an incredibly emotional episode for a few people and Darren Criss was the icing on the cake. I really hope he becomes a regular.

Anyway, it's the fifteenth which means we are exactly halfway through the month! I'm still amazingly behind. I can see a major writing weekend in my future.

So how's everyone's NaNoWriMoing going? Are you right on track? Behind? Ahead? Do you have any tips for people that are behind to push through the second half of the month?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week in Short


This week has been crazy. I am now convinced that the universe is on a mission to drive me more insane than I already am before the end of this month. I apologize for my complete lack of blogging this week. I will be back next week. Promise. :)

Speaking of next week, as of 12:01 this morning, there is now ONE WEEK until Deathly Hallows!

In assorted news, Darren Criss was on Glee this week (haven't yet seen the episode, I'm still on season one), Call of Duty: Black Ops came out and I still haven't managed to find someone who I can beg to let me play it, and four episodes of season one of Everwood arrived in the mail today. I'm such a nerd. :)

Song of the week:
Don't Laugh at Me by Mark Wills (I love this song so much. The video is beautiful and makes me cry every time I watch it.)

Must Read:
Quick grammar review

News:
Nathan Bransford left the world of publishing. I'm still in shock.

If you missed the Amazon debacle this week, someone self-published an e-book 'Pedophile's Guide' and Amazon refused to take it down, sparking a boycott of Amazon. The guide has since been removed.

Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles book 2 release date has been announced.

Suzi Townsend is going on a query hiatus from November 15th to January 5th.

GLA:Joanna Volpe on why realistic teen dialogue isn't necessarily a good thing

Johnson Literary:

October query stats

Kidlit:
Is contemporary YA a tough market?
Is waiting a bad sign?

Nathan Bransford:
It was Harry Potter week at Nathan's blog in honor of Deathly Hallows impending release. :D
Which HARRY POTTER book is the best?
Five writing tips from reading HARRY POTTER
Which character is your favorite?
J.K. Rowling and the art of being a clutch writer

Rachelle Gardner:
Publishing contract clauses
Agent-client relationship

In Movies:

  • A Secret Affair -- OMG this movie. I think I felt every emotion on the spectrum watching this. And even though it's been about a week since I watched it, I haven't stopped thinking about it. 9/10
  • A Room with a View -- old British romance starring the same actress that plays Bellatrix Lestrange. Wow it's weird seeing her as anyone other than Bellatrix. 7.5/10
In Writing:
Let's just say if I win NaNo this year, it'll be a miracle. Only wrote a couple days this week total, but at least I've finally settled into ONE novel. BB's been calling to me to start working on revisions so those are continuing as well.

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

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

RTW -- Supreme Ruler Rachael

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:
If you were made supreme ruler of the publishing world (go you!), what would be your first ruling?

My first ruling would be that there are to be no less than 48 hours in a day. This would allow for the required 9 hours of sleep and still leave 39 hours left to get work done. I find this a win-win situation.

Since that's not possible without completely throwing the Earth's rotation off, my other first ruling would be to require anyone wanting to query to read and sign an agreement outlining basic querying etiquette and advice on how to write a strong query.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

New Releases -- Hunger, Bright Young Things, Nevermore

It's VOTING DAY in the United States of America! If you're old enough to vote, go out there and celebrate your democratic right. Because if you don't utilize that right, then it is very easily taken away. For those of us that aren't old enough to vote... *sigh* Only a few more years until we can join you at the polls.

Hunger by Jackie Morse Kessler
Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?

Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen
The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the Roaring Twenties.

Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey escaped their small Midwestern town for New York's glittering metropolis. All Letty wants is to see her name in lights, but she quickly discovers Manhattan is filled with pretty girls who will do anything to be a star…


Cordelia is searching for the father she's never known, a man as infamous for his wild parties as he is for his shadowy schemes. Overnight, she enters a world more thrilling and glamorous than she ever could have imagined—and more dangerous. It's a life anyone would kill for . . . and someone will.


The only person Cordelia can trust is Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have it all: money, looks, and the love of Cordelia's brother, Charlie. But Astrid's perfect veneer hides a score of family secrets.

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNo Kick-Off or NaNo Tip #4: Just Write

Happy First Day of NaNo! I hope everyone's stories are off to a roaring start! Before I get to my NaNo tip of the week, I have some things I want to say.

1. I saw Secretariat last night and I just want to say I LOVE that movie. Penny Chenery is my new idol. She is made of some serious awesome. And so was Secretariat, of course.

2. EIGHTEEN DAYS TILL DEATHLY HALLOWS! I already have tickets to the midnight premiere. I. Am. Such. A. Nerd.

3. I have to complete my senior duty of going on college visits this weekend. Which means I will be offline from Thursday afternoon to Sunday night. This means that there won't be a Week in Short this week.

Now...

NaNo Tip #4: Just write

The main purpose of NaNo is quantity over quality. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. They don't even have to be good words or make sense. You can dump in useless backstory, meander for thirty pages, spew five pages of plotless drivel if you like. The best part of NaNo is letting go of all your inhibitions and just shoveling words onto the page.

So my best advice to you is to forget everything you know about writing for now and just write whatever comes to mind. Because it doesn't have to make sense until after you get through the first draft and start putting all those words into the perfect order.