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Showing posts from August, 2011

Change is Coming...

I watched Soul Surfer yesterday. It's now one of my favorite movies. If you haven't seen it, I would definitely rent it when you can. It's an amazing story.

Now...

On Wednesday, I'm officially leaving for college. Because this is my freshman year, I'm not sure how things are really going to work. Instead of stopping blogging completely, I'm going to cut back.

I'll be posting on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Because of their time consuming nature (and the fact that, unlike normal posts, I can't just schedule them when I have an idea for a post), I'm discontinuing Week in Shorts, at least until I get an idea of my workload. Querytracker and YA Highway both do a fantastic job of weekly link round-ups.

I will, however, attempt to continue participating in Road Trip Wednesday. Except for this Wednesday because I will literally be on the road and without computer access all day.

Once I have an idea of my workload, I may up my posting or bring back Week i…

Week in Short

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Song of the Week: Somewhere Only We Know by the Glee cast (Warblers). I'm going through a Glee phase today. I can't seem to listen to anything else.

Must Read:
Too many agents, not enough gin: the truth about multiple offer situations
First draft syndrome symptoms

News:
The Republic School District (which you may remember as the same school district that challenged Speak, Twenty Boy Summer, and Slaughterhouse-Five and banned the latter two) has now had a lawsuit filed against them after failing to protect a middle school girl after she was raped. Laurie Halse Anderson talks about it and provides several awesome links to coverage.

In an apparently long-line of offers to take books to famous names, PA set up a promotion where people could pay for them to show their books to J.K. Rowling and she knows. Here is PA's full response. Talk of the events ranges from Twitter, Galleycat, The Associated Press, and Publishers Weekly.

WriteOnCon:
Here are some of the highlights from WOC…

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Review

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I was glancing through my post drafts and I realized that I never posted my review of this amazing book.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
by John Green and David Levithan
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

I adore this book. It's been several months since I've read and I'm still raving about it. I devoured it in twenty-four hours. It wouldn't have taken that long but I needed sleep and then I had to go to school. I wanted to read it again within a few hours of finishing and I'm dying to buy it so I can. Especially because there were a few lines that were so profoundly made of awesome that I want to write them down on my "favorite quotes" sheet.

Th…

RTW: Inspirational Places

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:
What is the most inspiring setting you've ever visited in real life?

Most of my books take place in imagined towns or even countries. However, I recently went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (whichwe call "the U.P.") and I'm dying to write a story set there. I'm a little biased, but I think it's the most gorgeous place in the world. There's nothing quite like standing on the rocks overlooking Lake Superior and watching the sun go down.

I tried to download pictures from my phone, but my phone apparently doesn't like this laptop. 

Gemma Doyle Trilogy Review

***WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS***

After reading the entire trilogy I decided instead of reviewing each book individually like I normally do, I'd just review them all together.

A Great and Terrible Beauty
This was my first Libba Bray book ever and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. This was also my favorite book in the series, which I don't think I can say about any other first book. I did feel like the characters were a little flat. They all had their set personalities and they never really did anything outside of them.

I hated that Gemma thought she could touch the crystals despite her mom's warnings and everything would be fine and dandy. I loved the twist ending that I didn't see coming.

Overall: 10/10 Good book with a great premise and voice

Rebel Angels
This is the book where the characters really started to drive me insane. I hated that Felicity always wanted to go into the realms and have fun without a care to what would happen if som…

Following Agents on Twitter

In the age of social networking, agents are now more accessible to aspiring writers than ever. A lot of them have Twitter, Facebook, blogs, or other ways of social networking. General advice tells you to get to know the agents you want to query. Personalize your queries to them and target your agent hunt for agents that you think that your book suits the best.

But is it a good idea to follow an agent beyond the typical information search? I don't mean stalking them to their house. I mean, for example, following them on Twitter. Oftentimes writers who follow the agents they're querying find themselves analyzing every harmless tweet the agent makes. An agent mentions an amazing partial that they're reading and you immediately begin to panic, wondering if it's yours and worrying that if it isn't, yours will pale in comparison.

On the other hand, some agents tweet when they've caught up with queries. This is great with both non-responders and responders. With a non…

Week in Short

Song of the Week: Searching for a Heart by Luke Olson (this isn't a well-known song, but I heard it on Pandora and immediately fell in love with it. Must. Have. Album.)

Must Read:
The power to choose

News:
Prayers to everyone in London and everywhere else affected by the riots. Stay safe. I hope you're all okay. I'm thinking of you all.

WriteOnCon:
Just a few more days!

Mary Sues:
There's been a lot of discussion about Mary Sues on the blogosphere lately. Zoe Marriot began with her post on what a Mary Sue truly is. Sarah Rees Brennan talked about insecurity in fiction and real life. Holly Black makes the great point that female characters are at the center of the story because they are the protagonist and suggests that the intentions of the writer should be left out. Cora Buhlert discusses Mary Sues in-depth and suggests that it's normal for beginning writers.

BookEnds:
Workshop Wednesday

ktLiterary:
What not to tell an agent in a query

Literary Rambles:
Paint chi…

RTW: Tick Tock Time to Write

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:
What time do you prefer to do your writing?

I write anytime inspiration strikes and I have time and access to a computer. I've never really had a set writing schedule. However, I am typically a night owl. I've been known to not write a single word all day and then stay up until three in the morning because inspiration struck and I couldn't stop writing.

Psychologically, night has always kind of been my "play" time and day has always been my "work" time. Because of that, I write more during the night and revise more during the day. I have a lot of work that needs to get done during the day so when night hits, my brain knows it's time to settle in and have some free time.

I…

Book Buying Tally Analysis: 2011

Yesterday I posted a list of the books I've bought or borrowed from the library recently and why I picked those books. Today I wanted to talk about the results. I also wanted to compare this year's results from last year's.

2010 tally results

My results from August 2, 2010:
23% Word of mouth
15% Liked author
15% Book in a series
15% Cover/book trailer
8% Similar to another author
8% Referenced elsewhere
8% Similar to a WiP
8% Back summary only

My results from this year:
35% Book in a series
20% Liked author (10% read author before, 5% heard good things about author, 5% author's internet presence)
20% Word of mouth
10% Already read and wanted to own
5% Being made into movie
5% Summary

I'm not surprised that my purchase of books in a series went up 20%. A lot of the books from series I'm reading came out in the last couple months. There are also more series on the market and more that I'm reading.

Liking the author and word of mouth both increased from last ye…

Book Buying Tally Results: 2011

About a year ago, I decided to do a little experiment to see why I buy the books that I do. Over the course of a few trips to the bookstore, I came home and wrote down the reasons why I bought those particular books over all the others. I thought it would be fun to do this again, to see if my habits have changed.

2010 tally results

Note: This also includes books I checked out of the library.

Already Read, Wanted to Own
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Bought because it was the only book in the series that I still didn't own.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak -- I actually read this some time ago, but I bought it recently because I loved it so much.

Book in Series

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. Bought because it's the last book in the series and I have to know how everything ends now.

Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan. Bought because it's the second book in the series and the first one was amazing.

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray. From library because it's the sec…

Week in Short

Song of the Week: Bad Day by Daniel Powter

College is three weeks away and I'm overwhelmed with how much stuff I have to get done before I go. I NEED MORE HOURS IN THE DAY. The bright spot of my week: I got into Pottermore! After three days of sleeping through the clues and the alarm that was supposed to wake me up for them, I finally managed to catch one.

I also spent an extraordinarily large amount of time watching vlogbrothers videos starting with the very first Brotherhood 2.0 ones back in 2007. It's like traveling back in time.

Must Read:
Zoe provides a new perspective on the term "Mary-Sue"
Kody's post on sexual politics, women's rights, and becoming an adult
Rejection insights -- Tweets by Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, covering snippets from a rejection report she was working on collected by Juliana Haygert

News:
The YARebels are auditioning vloggers

WriteOnCon:
Live forum events and how they work
Ninja agents!
More faculty announcem…

The Balancing Act of Life: 7 Time Management Tips

Two things have happened in the last couple weeks: I turned eighteen and my mom started working second shift. In less than a week, I went from being a teenager to an adult and I've learned a few things about time management.

1. Switch when something's not working.
If you're stuck on a scene or a revision point, do a load of dishes, take the dog for a walk, or do some cleaning. I find this helps to loosen up my mind and help me get past blocks.

2. Allocate time to certain tasks.
For example, during the day is my "work" time. This is the time I use to do stuff around the house, work on revisions, beta-read, and do other things on my to-do list. Night is my relax time. This is the time I just hang out, watch Netflix, read for pleasure, write, and sometimes do things that I didn't finish during the day.

3. Use rewards
Give yourself a reward for each task you complete. This can be a TV show you have recorded, a movie that you want to watch, or some time to relax. …

New Releases -- The Near Witch; Epic Fail; Chain Reaction

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The Near Witch
by Victoria Schwab
The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children.
If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company.

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.
But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.
As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy. Epic Fail
by Claire LaZebnik
At Coral Tree Prep in Los Angeles, who your p…

RTW: The Five Senses

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:
The Five Senses. How you use them in your writing, how you are inspired by them, pictorial essays, that character with smelly socks, books that have used them well, the ones that are currently missing from your work, etc.

This is a really hard topic for me because description is definitely my writing weakness. I've been actively concentrating on making sure I get the right amount of description and it uses all of the five senses.

I think the most commonly used senses are sight, sound, and smell. Sight is definitely the most common because it's the easiest to use in description. The two most under-used are taste and touch. Those last two are definitely the ones missing the mos…

Sisterhood Everlasting Review

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Sisterhood Everlasting
by Ann Brashares
Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn't take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can't seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever -- but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

***WARNING: There will be spoilers throughout the review***

Wh…

Why I Love Real Bookstores

I said goodbye to my Borders this weekend. I'll admit I almost cried when I got home. I've shopped at Borders for as long as I can remember. I just can't believe this was the last time I'll walk through those doors. We had to wait awhile for our ride to come back from CVS where he'd gone while we were shopping so while my mom waited for him outside I actually went back in the store and just walked around the YA section for awhile.

Goodbye, Borders.

Today, I want to talk about why I love brick and mortar bookstores so much.

First of all, there's the smell. That beautiful, crisp smell of books. If they could bottle that smell, I would spray it around my room like crazy. I love to just walk into a bookstore and take a deep breath.

(Stop looking at me like I'm crazy.)

Another thing I love to do in bookstores is walk around the shelves and run my fingers along the spines. I love the feeling of the smooth book spines under my fingers as I take in the different titles.