Showing posts from July, 2011

Week in Short

Song of the Week: Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri. I can't stop listening to this song.

Must Read:
Still your itchy trigger finger -- Why you should wait before hitting send

Borders has officially gone under and is selling all of its stores. I feel like I just lost my home.

Janet Reid is taking a break from queries

Peeta and Gale from Hunger Games are on the cover of Entertainment Weekly What do you think? I'm hoping Gale and Peeta's looks are different in the movie than the are on the cover. IMO both of them look too old and I've always imagined Peeta as looking younger and softer than that. Katniss looks okay.

The publication date for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green has been moved up from to January 10th from May. My first thought: IS IT JANUARY 10TH YET?

Omnivore Books live-tweeted in-store surprise marriage proposal

It's almost time for WriteOnCon 2011!
How the live events work
Faculty announcements

Workshop Wednesday -- YA query


RTW: Best Book of July

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:
What was the best book you read in July?
The best reread was, of course...
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
I spent a large portion of July rereading this book in preparation for the movie. This was the third time I've read it, the first time I've read it since I started writing seriously, and I'm happy to say that it has not lost it's magic. This book is still one of my favorites of all time.

And yes, I cried.

The best book I read for the first time was...
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
I love this book with a passion. It's actually overdue at the library by about a week and I don't want to take it back. You can read my full review of it here.

What was the best b…

Legacy Review

by Cayla Kluver
#1 in Legacy trilogy
In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really like it either. I wanted so badly to love it, but I couldn't. Through the first half of the book I was constantly waiting for the"real" action to start. When it did, I got caught up in the story a little bit more but by the time I got …

Mom, Where Do Ideas Come From?

It's probably the most common question any writer gets asked after "Are you published?"

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Like a writer is suddenly going to answer with the location of an Idea Store where beautiful ideas line the shelves and we can just walk in and pick up a likely looking one. The real answer tends to be a lot more complicated. My answer is always the same:


It's the best answer I can give and it's 100% true. I've had ideas hit me while I was sitting in a car driving down the road. I've had ideas hit me at track meets. I've had ideas hit me while I'm sleeping. Here are the stories behind some of my novels.

DestinyThe original story (called Andra) came from a dream I had. I know there was more to it, but the only part that I can remember with full-clarity now is an actual scene in the book. My dream self woke up on a stretch of grass and looked up to see a barbed wire fence surrounding her. She screamed and ran at…

Series Syndromes

With trilogies and series becoming so popular, I've been noticing certain problems that arise as the result of this trend. The first three syndromes are going to refer specifically to trilogies, though they can occur in series as well.

First Book Syndrome:
This occurs in a series where the first book is build-up for the rest of the series. Done well, a first book has a strong arc but leaves enough threads so that the series can continue. A book with this syndrome, on the other hand, might read like an exposition for the series or backstory that the author feels she needs to get through in order to lead into the rest of the series.

Examples of good first books: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Middle Book Syndrome:
This is probably the most prevalent. MBS occurs when the middle book in a series acts as a bridge between the previous book and the next. This book is there only to get through certain events that have to occur before …

Boy Meets Boy Review

Boy Meets Boy
by David Levithan
This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: the cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a gay named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he's found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12 to 1 against getting Noah back, but Paul's not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be driving away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon...but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

I picked this book up after reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson because I'd never read a Levithan book before. When I started to read, I was in the midst of a post-Potter depression and cou…

Tell Me: What Do YOU Want More Of?

Today, I'm asking for your opinions. What do you want to see more of on this blog? More new releases? More opinion posts? More posts about writing, revisions, or querying? Do you have any specific topics or questions that you would like me to cover?

I'm planning on continuing participating in Road Trip Wednesday and continue my Week in Short posts (at least until September when classes start).

If there's anything you've ever wanted me to cover or any question you've ever wanted me to answer, now is the time to tell me.

Deathly Hallows-2


I'm going to be completely honest here. Deathly Hallows was great, but it could have been incredible. The book is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, it was definitely worth seeing, and I will watch it again when it comes out on DVD. I just think it could have been better.

Things I Liked:
The added scene in Snape's memories where Snape is holding Lily after she died. It tore my heart apart. Neville's speech. It was amazing. Snape's memories. Molly killing Bellatrix. It was everything I could have hoped for and more.
Helena Bonham Carter. She is amazing. The part where Hermione is disguised as Bellatrix is BRILLIANT. The epilogue. Though I wish they'd shown Teddy! Neville saying that he needs to go tell Luna he loves her because he could die before he gets another chance.The Slytherins being sent to the dungeons. I'm a little undecided on this point, but it was kind of awesome. The part where Harry…

Harry Potter Week: Favorite Movies/Books

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *runs around in circles* I'll definitely be there at midnight tonight (wouldn't miss it for the world). Tomorrow I'm going to post my customary review. There will be LOTS AND LOTS of spoilers. If you don't like spoilers, don't read the review. I'll put another warning on the review as a reminder, but this is just a head's up.

Today I wanted to talk favorite movies and books out of the Harry Potter series. They're all amazing so it's kind of difficult for me to judge.

1. Deathly Hallows
I'm not quite sure why this one is my favorite. It certainly made me cry the hardest. I just think it was the most incredible. The end was explosive and I loved the end of the character arcs, especially when it comes to Neville.

2. Prisoner of Azkaban
This one was my reigning favorite until DH came out. Personally, I think my middle school self loved it so much because of Buckbeak. Though now it's more because of…

RTW: My Biggest Mistake

I need to interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a special announcement.


*clears throat* Okay, now it's time for Road Trip Wednesday.

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:
What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made?

My biggest mistake was querying too soon. It's hard when you have a completed novel in your hands and a list of agents in front of you to hold off but do it until something tells you that you're ready. It wasn't until after the third novel that I looked back and realized that the problem wasn't my book, it was me.

The first time it was because I was a young and naiive writer. I knew just enough about the busi…

Harry Potter Week: Favorite Characters

THREE DAYS! Today I wanted to talk about my favorite characters. These are in some particular order, but I love these characters so much that it's hard for me to pick favorites.

She will always be my favorite character. When I first started reading the series, I dreamed about playing her in the movies. I had the hair, I had the teeth, I shared Hermione's passion for reading. As far as I was concerned, Hermione was me. Which is why Hermione is and will always be my favorite character. I know exactly how it feels to be teased for not having any friends. I know exactly how it feels to be laughed at for your bushy hair.

He's been in my heart since the moment he walked into the series. I would have given anything for him to be my teacher. His death was one I cried the hardest for and the only one that I still haven't accepted. His compassion, willing to teach, and love for Harry despite his circumstances were unmatched.

She was another incredibly awesome…

Harry Potter Week: Childhood Stories

FOUR DAYS! In honor of the final Harry Potter movie (*sniffle*), I'm declaring this week Official Harry Potter Week on this blog. I did indeed watch the red carpet in London and cried through everyone's speeches.

If you missed the red carpet, here are Emma's, Rupert's, Daniel's, and Queen Rowling's speeches. At the very least, watch Rowling's.

Best quotes (both by Queen Rowling):
"Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."
"No stories live unless someone wants to listen."

Now...for the real topic of this blog post.

Harry Potter is my childhood. I still remember the exact day so many years ago when I read the first book. I was seven years old and my mom and I were living in an apartment at the time. My male cousin had read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and, knowing that I was a huge reader, passed it on to me. My mom decreed that she would read it first and then, if she deemed it appropriate for me, I would be allowed to re…

Blogfest: Q&A

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th. Head over there to check out the other participants!

Day 9: Ask the Teens Q&A

1. Middle grade novels are defined as books for the 8-12 age range. Do teens still read middle grade fiction as they get older (for example, Harry Potter is an example of middle grade that's read by teens and adults) or are they naturally attracted to books with older themes and characters? Is it uncool to still read middle grade as you enter your teens?

Most of the teenagers I know are either moving completely to adult books or are half young adult, half adult. I stick pretty solidly with young adult books. I do read some middle grade, but I tend to be incredibly picky about it. The majority of middle grade on my shelves are from authors that I already know and love. For example, Harry Potter, and anything by Rick Riordan or Tamora Pierce. I think teens are naturally attracted to books about peopl…

Blogfest: On Writing

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th. Head over there to check out the other participants!

Day 7: On Writing

I've been writing literally for as long as I can remember. Somewhere in the world there are binders containing sheets of notebook paper where I hand-wrote my first stories. The only ones I remember were both about cats. Each story was ten chapters long, each chapter about half a page in the length.

Over the course of middle school I graduated from short stories to attempting novels. There was one called Mystica about a unicorn fighting in an ancient tournament to decide the ruler of their world, one about a stallion that lived on the sun, and one about a hunter that gets lost in the woods and has to find his way home. I still have Mystica but unfortunately the last two were lost to an ancient computer.

I didn't start writing seriously until November 2008 when I started writing a novel that I later called Andra. I didn'…

Blogfest: Blurb Critiques

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th. Head over there to check out the other participants!

Day 5: Blurb Critiques

I'm critiquing these like I would final draft queries. Everything below in white is a submission courtesy of a brave writer. Everything in pink is my comments.


Genre: Upper Middle Grade Adventure
Eccentric debate club champ Tripplehorn Parker is certain he’ll be dead by next week, his body rolling around the stomach of an African beastie. He might be right. While his wildlife-researcher parents are thrilled to be entering the field again, Tripp can only mourn the inevitable loss of his limbs. Unfortunately, nobody will listen to reason from a friendless twelve-year-old, even one with a large vocabulary. The night before leaving home, Tripp receives a cryptic message ending with: Only you can stop them. Where exactly is Parker going? Why is P…

Happy Fourth of July

In celebration of Independence Day, I'm taking today off blogging. Happy Fourth of July!

And remember: Today is not about fireworks, or cookouts, or parties (though, those things are nice). It's about celebrating our independence and the people who committed high treason and risked their lives to fight for what they believed in. They gave their lives to get something that we so easily take for granted and give away these days:

Our freedom.

Blogfest: On Reading

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th. Head over there to check out the other participants!

Day 2: On Reading

The majority of my books are young adult. I also read a little middle grade and occasionally an adult book, usually one that's being made into a movie. I'll read all subgenres, but my favorites are romance, contemporary, dystopian, and fantasy. I'm extremely selective with (which is just a nice way of saying I don't really like) science fiction, horror, and paranormal.

Some of my favorite authors:
J.K. Rowling -- I'm a major Harry Potter geek. I read Deathly Hallows in twelve hours the day it came out and cried so hard I had to stop reading for a couple minutes because I couldn't see well enough.

Tamora Pierce -- In middle school I picked up Wild Magic because of the gray horse on the cover. That was the beginning of a beautiful addiction to everything she writes. I prefer her Tortall books to her other ser…

Blogfest: Introductions

Brittany over at Hills and Corkscrews is holding a blogfest from July 1st through the 9th.

Day 1: Introductions

For those of you who don't know who I am, I'm Rachael. I'm also known as Horserider across a lot of the web (though I'm not the only Horserider out there). I love to read anything young adult. My favorite subgenres are fantasy, contemporarym and -- more recently -- dystopian. I'm extremely selective about the paranormal and horror that I read. The last book I read was Water for Elephants. It was a good book, but I like my young adult genre better.

I don't have television at home, but there are a few shows that I love to watch. My favorite currently running shows are Glee, Doctor Who, and NCIS. I am a very avid Gleek and Whovian. My favorite Glee characters are Kurt and Blaine. Ten and Eleven are both tied as my favorite Doctors. In my mind their versions of the Doctor are so different that they can't really be compared. Captain Jack, Rory, and Rose a…