Showing posts from 2012

Resolutions: 2012 and 2013

Another year is coming to a close which means it's time to look back on the year that's ending and to look ahead to the year to come.

My resolutions for 2012:

1. Continue to strive to live without regrets 
I won't say that I didn't have any regrets this year, but it was a good year. I've made some changes in my life and I think I'm better for them.

2. Revise Cardinal Three
Better late than never on this one. Another WIP took priority this year, but I have started working on revisions for CT.

3. Get a 4.0 this winter semester
So close on this one! I'm very happy with my grades this year.

4. Start riding again
Some things just aren't in the cards and this is one of them. Someday...

5. Read 50 books
I made it to 47 this year. 

And now it's time for my resolutions for 2013...

1. Read 100 books

2. Read 10 classics

3. Volunteer more of my time

4. Volunteer to work as a research assistant to gain experience in psychological research

5. Do five things that I…

Favorite Books of the Year

I managed to read 48 books this year, which was just shy of my goal of 50 books. Though the quantity was low, the quality was not. It took me forever to decide which books were my favorites. Which is why I'm going to cheat and do five books across three categories...

Top Three First Read (in no particular order)
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I'm late to the Game of Thrones party, but I'm already a huge fan of the series. The first book has me hooked and I'm on the second right now. Already can't wait to get my hands on the third. This is a long book, but it didn't feel that way when I was reading. Martin made me feel like I knew the characters my whole life after just a few pages. It's a masterpiece.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
If you put my feet in the fire, I would say this is the best book I read this year. It was beautiful and it made me sob harder than anything ever has before. I can't wait to read it again soon.

Every Day by David Levi…

RTW -- Writing Songs

YA Highway is doing a special extended week of road trips this week! Today's topics are:

- Best Music to Write To/Be Inspired By
The music that I write to is kind of random. I have more Pandora stations than I know what to do with. Generally I just choose the one that I feel like listening to and just write. I don't make playlists because I rarely ever have songs that I associate with my WIPs. When I do have specific songs, it's usually just one or two and not nearly enough to make a playlist out of.

Mostly I listen to my Nickelback station because it's easier for me to tune out rock music than anything else. WTS was mostly written to my Keith Urban station because it takes place on a ranch in Nevada and that felt more appropriate.

Specific songs that I find inspirational:

"Impossible" by Joe Nichols

"Even If It Breaks Your Heart" by Eli Young Band

"Crazy Town" by Jason Aldean (The song itself isn't really the inspirational part, but…

RTW -- Favorite Settings and Characters

YA Highway is doing a special extended week of road trips this week! Today's topics are:

- Best "I Want To Go To There" Setting in a Book - Favorite YA Characters For settings, I would have to start this off with Hogwarts, of course. All Harry Potter obsessing aside, Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight really made me want to see London. Not that I didn't want to see it before, of course. Seeing London has been on my bucket list for years. Mark of Athena really made me want to see Rome. Twenty Boy Summer makes me want to go to a beach, any beach.
Favorite YA characters...I think I'm going to stick to the ones that I read this year. Otherwise I could be here half of 2013 trying to decide.  First up there's Cassel in White Cat. I have to admit that I'm very late to the series, but I really loved the first book and the second one is already on my stack. I couldn't help but fall in love with Cassel, in spite of -- or maybe because of -- his conm…

Pets: Real Life and Fictional

I thought it might be fun to talk about my pets in real life and those of my character's. There aren't a lot of animals in fiction that aren't central to the plot and that's always kind of bothered me.

My Pets: 
I don't have any pets that I can specifically call my own because I live in a college dorm and we're only allowed to own fish. Last year I had a betta named Rory Williams who, sadly, did not live up to his namesake's ability to survive death. After I get back from break, I want to get a new betta named Bates (after John Bates in Downton Abbey). 

At home we have one dog and six cats. We have a Husky/Chow mix named Loki that's getting up there in years. Then there's Bandit, an orange and white male cat that we've had for as long as I can remember; Diamond, a black and white male that growls at everyone; Lyra, a sweet brown and white female; Talon and Mia, Lyra's two kittens; and Scoot-Scott, a pure black female that is only sweet when s…

RTW -- By Any Other Name...

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.

Next week's topic:  How do you decide on names? Would you ever name a character after a friend/family member/ex?
I have a friend with a really cool name who I've already told I'm going to steal it at some point. As for family members, maybe but only because I have family members with really common names. As for exes...never. I have trouble separating people from their names so when I name a character after someone I know in real life, I have to work to separate their appearance and personality from that character.
As for how I decide on names...that's a complicated question. A lot of my characters come with their own names. If they don't, then generally I just hop on my favorite baby names site and g…

Mark of Athena Review

***WARNING: This is the third book in the Heroes of Olympus series. There will be spoilers for the previous two books and this one***
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan Heroes of Olympus #3  Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand:
Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will s…

Tips for Querying Multiple Projects

It's best to query one project at a time, but if you just can't help but query two projects simultaneously, then here are a few tips.

1. Best with diverse projects
Querying multiple manuscripts at once is best if they are all very different. Perhaps you have one non-fiction proposal and one YA novel. Or perhaps one is adult and the other is middle grade. This way your agent pool for each project is more likely to be segregated.

2. Write individual queries for each project
There should be one manuscript per query. Don't try to save time by putting summaries for all your projects into the same query.

3. Don't query the same agent with both projects simultaneously 
If you're querying the same agents with both manuscripts, it's best to choose the manuscript that you think would be their best fit. If you have a YA fantasy and a YA contemporary, and the agent is looking for all types of YA and specifically mentions fantasy in their wish list, don't send them the c…

Random Things I Miss About Home

There are some things that you don't realize you miss about home either A) You're back at home, or B) You're on campus and realize how much you miss it. Friends and family are a given, so here are a few random things that I always miss about home.

1. My pets. The lack of animal companionship is one of the things that I hate most about living in the dorms. I mean, sure, you can have a fish, but you can't snuggle up in bed to a fish.

2. The ability to lock my bathroom door

3. Actual food

4. Being able to retreat into my bedroom and avoid everyone if I want to. I'm a major introvert, so the fact that I have to be around people all the time without any real means of escape can be exhausting, no matter how much I love my friends.

5. Being able to listen to music in the shower

6. Long showers without having to worry about someone walking in

7. Not having to worry about loud or drunk neighbors (Though, I suppose this could be a problem at home depending on where you live.…

Book Recs: Young Adult Part 2

Last week I talked about ten young adult books that I love. This week I'm going to talk about seven more.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he's found his other half until he blows it and realizes he has to get Noah back while everything is falling apart. It's a quick read with amazing voice and beautiful characters.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice's world everyone is divided into five factions, each with their own focus: Amity (peace), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (intelligence), and Candor (honesty). When Tris turns sixteen it's time for her to decide where she wants to spend the rest of her life and the choice she makes surprises everyone, including herself. This is the first book in a trilogy and it's absolutely brilliant.

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann
When Kendall's classmates start disappearing she has to push her problems aside and help to find her missing friends, even if it means teaming …

RTW: Measure a Year in Books

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:  About how many books do you read in a year? Do you want to read more? Or, less? For the past few years, I've been averaging about 50 books a year. It was a lot easier when I was in high school and had more time to read. Now that I'm in college, there isn't a lot of free time for pleasure reading. So far this year I've read 46 books and my goal is 50. 
I would really like to be able to read more. My to-read shelf on Goodreads is 457 books and counting. At this rate (assuming that I don't add any more books to the list, which is impossible) it will take me 9 years to read all of them.
I'm thinking next year my goal is going to be 100 books, but I doubt that I'll make it. …

CRUSHED Release Day!

Crushed by Dawn Rae Miller For seventeen-year-old serial womanizer Fletch Colson, life is a game and if he plays by the rules, he’ll win it all: his dream college, his parents’ money, and a hot (if a little vapid) girl on his arm. Really, it couldn’t be easier. All he has to do is get good grades, live a privileged boarding school life, and try not to mess up too much.

However, when he accepts the seemingly impossible bet to change his ways and be “just friends” with smart, beautiful, tempting Ellie Jacobs – a girl who seems hell bent on confusing him - Fletch’s whole world is turned upside down.

Suddenly, what seemed simple and clear, no longer feels right and Fletch must decide if winning it all is worth losing a piece of himself.

Check out her website for more information and the first four chapters!
Happy book birthday, Crushed!

The "FINALLY" Moment

The "Finally" moment is a major factor in the majority of TV shows, movies, and books with romance as a big element. That's the moment where two characters finally get together after a long period of sexual tension and beating around the bush and readers/viewers screaming "Just kiss already!" 

There's a fine line between dragging it out and building up to just the right moment. There's commonly a lot of "almost there" moments where it almost happens, but it's not quite the right time.

There needs to be tension and it needs to feel right, but there's always the potential that it's going to start dragging on forever.

A couple good examples of "Finally" moments that come to mind right now...

Ross and Rachel in the finale of Friends is the ultimate "Finally" moment. That's actually the scene that inspired this post. We always knew they would be together from the first moment to the last. It was a ten year span …

College: How to Survive Finals

It's that time of the semester again: finals. The time when the library is always packed and free time is in extremely short supply. Here are some tips on how to make the stressful time a little easier.

Start studying early 
Don't wait until the day before the test to read the chapters for the first time. Instead, start early. Make flashcards a week in advance and study them every night up to the test. The same thing works for notes. Every night before you go to bed, read over your notes. Studying often implants the information more deeply into your brain.

Study the way you do best
Some people learn best by reading the information multiple times and others by listening to the information. Review notes, make flash cards, complete study guides, listen to lectures, review Powerpoints, read chapters again, have a study session with a friend in the class, and anything else that might help. Do whatever works best for you.

Plan your studying
Make a list of everything that you need to …

Book Recs: Young Adult Part 1

Continuing with my series of book recommendations is my young adult recs. Part two will come next week.

Every Day by David Levithan
Every night at midnight, A shifts into a new person's body and has to be them for a day. A is fine with this, until one day he breaks one of his own rules by falling in love with his current body's girlfriend. This book is absolutely beautiful. It has wonderful characters and great writing. It's one of those books that I recommend everyone read. It's a great "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" kind of story.

Cracked Up to Beby Courtney Summers
Parker -- cheerleading captain, teacher's pet, and future valedictorian -- starts failing all of her classes and drinking at school in reaction to a traumatic event that just might be her fault. This is another beautifully written book. I love the characters and the plot and the writing. It's all true to high school life as well.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
When Verity -…

RTW: Approaching Revisions

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:  For many, December is a post-NaNoWriMo revision haze! How do you approach editing/revising? Any tips or tricks or resources you can share? I'm in the midst of revising right now (a project that is not my NaNo) so this subject is definitely on my mind. Here are three random tips that I like to use: 

1. Break it down
I break my manuscript into chapters and scenes and then, using Scrivener's notecards, I summarize each scene and chapter so that I can see how things progress. even if you don't have Scrivener, you can use a bulleted on a separate document or Post-It notes on a corkboard (this also works well to make a calender to check for timeline issues).

It makes it easier for you to …

Misuse of Apostrophes

I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but I'm going to say it anyway. We need to talk about the correct use of apostrophes.

Recently I've picked up on a lot of misuse of apostrophes. I have a Game of Thrones poster that I've found no less than three mistakes in so far and I also went to a craft show over the weekend where I picked out two things that misused apostrophes.

So, here we go.

Apostrophes have two uses:

1. To indicate possession 
Amy's husband's name is Rory. [There are two apostrophes in this one. The first indicates that the husband is Amy's. The second one indicates that the name "Rory" is the husband's.]

I need to borrow six doctors' white lab coats. [In this case, "doctor" is plural so the apostrophe goes after the "s."]

2. Contractions
Let's = Let us
Can't = Can not
Won't = Will not

Next up, some situations in which apostrophes are NOT appropriate, but somehow get used anyway.

1. Sp…

NaNo Wrap-Up

I made it! I'm tired and behind on my homework and sleep-deprived and I'm not sure what to do with this bit of free time that I now have, but I've had it! I hit 50k on Tuesday. For now, Hacker (that's the nickname for my WIP) is going to be trunked. It needs a complete rewrite, but that's okay.

Final word count: 50,520 

First line: I remember the murder very clearly. 

Last line: Everything's not back to normal, but everything is okay.  

I'm really excited about this one and its characters. It's just going to take a lot of time. For now, I get to concentrate on getting caught up on homework and finals that are only a week away. 

Did you do NaNo this year? How did you do?

College: Winter Break Advice

It's that time of year again. Time to start getting ready to go home for winter break. It's an exciting time, the break between semesters. Thanksgiving break isn't nice, but with the homework and stressing about finals, it's not really a break. Here is some advice on how to get ready to go home.

Turn in any necessary paperwork 
If there's anything that you need to turn in about going home or living arrangements for next semester, make sure to get it in on time.

Pack anything and everything you'll need for home 
Make sure you have any clothes, toiletries, personal supplies, electronics, chargers, and everything else that you need at home. If you're planning on bringing up extra stuff after break, you might want to leave a little extra room in your suitcases for it. 

Make travel arrangements and don't forget to budget money for it 
If you're not driving yourself home, make sure to find and settle plans with a ride ahead of time. Don't forget to budg…

Book Recs: Middle Grade

Christmas is just around the corner and so is that period of trying to figure out what to buy for everyone. Here are some ideas of great middle grade books and why I love them so much.

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
No list of mine discussing middle grade books would be complete with Tamora Pierce. I've been reading this one at least once a year since fifth grade and I've never gotten tired of it. WM is the first book in the Immortals quartet. It's a great story with strong female and male characters, wild fantasy creatures, and a touch of romance later in the series.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
This is the first book in the Song of the Lioness quartet. It's another amazing story with strong female and male characters, surprising twists, and a bit more romance than Immortals.

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane
I got into this series in middle school and just recently discovered it again. It hasn't lost any of its magic over the years. This is the …

RTW - Best Book of November

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 best book you read in November?
Last month I hadn't finished any books and I'm happy to say that I fared much better this month reading-wise. I managed to finish two books, both of them amazing. The first was Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie. This was my second of her works that I've read and I loved it. 
My pick for best book, however has to go to... 
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book is definitely a classic. I have to admit, it was a little strange but I loved it anyway. The epistolary style is very well-done and all the characters are brilliant. I've been wanting to read this one for years (and now I really regret that I passed it up in h…

Why I Love NCIS's Characters

Over the last couple months, I've been on an NCIS-watching marathon. I've made it all the way to the end of season three so far. It's one of my all-time favorite shows. One of the reasons for that is its amazing characters. I love all of them and asking me which one is my favorite is like asking me to pick my favorite best friend.

Leroy Jethro Gibbs
No discussion of NCIS characters would be complete without Gibbs. Say whatever you want about him, he's probably one of the greatest characters written today. The backstory behind his character and everything he does is incredible. As I'm watching the show, I keep learning more and more about him. Every time an episode mentions his wife and child, or I see him dealing with a case that includes a child, I burst into tears. I can't help it. You might call him a chauvinist, but is he really? When a naval officer protested when he requested to bring Kate on board a submarine, didn't Gibbs fight until Kate was allowed…

NaNo Update Week Four

Total Word Count: 40,284
Mon: 0
Tues: 0
Wed: 4,154
Thurs: 0
Fri: 2,981
Sat: 2,152
Sun: 0

It was a very up and down week writing-wise for me. Monday was an extremely stressful day for a lot of reasons. Tuesday I spent most of the day in a car traveling from uni to home (and then spent most of the day Sunday making the same trek in the opposite direction). And Thursday was Thanksgiving so I think that one speaks for itself. Other than that, though, it was a solid writing week. It occurred to me on Friday that all I needed to finish up that last leg of the story is one great writing spree.

How is everyone doing? It's the last week of NaNo! That means it's time to buckle down and blast out those final words.

RTW - Balancing Writing with the Holidays

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 is: With Thanksgiving on the horizon we want to know how you balance hectic times like the holidays with your writing schedule.
I'm probably not the best person to be answering this question because I haven't written in three days (combination of getting everything ready to come home for break and stress). However, I'm hoping to go on a huge writing spree while I'm home so I can get ahead on NaNo (I'm behind right now) because the last week of November is the second-to-last week before finals (YIKES!). 
My biggest advice for writing during hectic times is write in your down-time. Even if you can only write 250 words at a time, those words add up a lot over time. And just a little bi…

NaNo Week Three Update

Total Word Count: 30,997 words
Mon: 2,605
Tues: 1,192
Wed: 2,744
Thurs: 0
Fri:  2,095
Sat: 3,860
Sun: 0

It was a good weekend in writing. I've been trying to get ahead again so that I don't feel too pressured while I'm getting ready to go home and hanging out with my family over the holidays. This is the first time I'll see them since I got up here in August, so I don't anticipate having too much time for writing this week.

Prioritize and give yourself permission if you need a day to catch up on other things. A few of my 0-word days were the result of my attempt to finish most of my homework in one day so that I could concentrate on writing later.

Even if you're normally a pantser, consider trying outlining if you're struggling to decide what to write. I have three points of view, so I outline chapters ahead so I know what's going to happen with each point of view. It helps to eliminate writers' block because I don't have to remember wher…

College: Going Home for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is next week (I know, I'm in shock too) which means it's almost time to head home for the holiday! If you're lucky enough to get the whole week off, you might be on your way home already. If you have to wait until Wednesday, I sympathize. Here are some tips on going home for the holidays.

Get homework done
You might think that you'll have plenty of time for homework when you get home, but in my experience the holidays are the worst time to try to get things done. Home is nine hours away from college for me, so going home is a really big deal. My days tend to be packed with visiting people and going out. Therefore, check your syllabi and make a list of all the homework that you should get done. Get as much of it done before you leave as you can.

Make plans with any rides/passengers early
If you're catching a ride home or taking on any passengers, make sure you get all plans set ahead of time. There's nothing more annoying than having to wait for a dr…

New Releases: Ashes of Twilight, Undeadly, Struck by Lightning

Ashes of Twilight by Kassy Taylor  Ashes Trilogy #1 Wren MacAvoy works as a coal miner for a domed city that was constructed in the mid-nineteenth century to protect the royal blood line of England when astronomers spotted a comet on a collision course with Earth.

Humanity would be saved by the most groundbreaking technology of the time.

But after nearly 200 years of life beneath the dome, society has become complacent and the coal is running out. Plus there are those who wonder, is there life outside the dome or is the world still consumed by fire?

When one of Wren's friends escapes the confines of the dome, he is burned alive and put on display as a warning to those seeking to disrupt the dome’s way of life. But Alex’s final words are haunting. “The sky is blue.”

What happens next is a whirlwind of adventure, romance, conspiracy and the struggle to stay alive in a world where nothing is as it seems. Wren unwittingly becomes a catalyst for a revolution that destroys…

RTW -- Bits of Inspiration

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:  Share your most inspiring and/or motivational video, book, or quote on writing!
I love quotes and I have a whole collection of them. I started going through them looking for something to do this post and then I ended up not being able to decide which one I liked best. So here are a few of my favorites: 

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default. ~ J.K. Rowling

I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had. ~ J.K. Rowling

“’What’ and ‘if’ are as non-threatening as two words can be. But put them together and they have the …

Ambiguous Characters

On Sunday nights, I have a tradition of watching Once Upon a Time. If you've never seen the show, basically the evil queen curses every fairy tale character to a little town in our world. It's a fantastic show on its second season.

But, anyway, my favorite character by far is Rumplestitskin. He only ever acts to his own ends and you can never tell which side he's really on. His agenda with a lot of things is unclear.

That's why I love him. I love the ambiguity of his character. I love his back story and everything that led to him becoming the way he is (no spoilers, I promise).

My favorite characters are often the ones where you can never tell which side they're on. They might do the right things for the wrong reasons or the wrong things for the right reasons. 

We love ambiguous characters because no one is always good or always bad. As Sirius said, "The world isn't divided into good people and Death Eaters. We've all got light and dark inside of us.&…

NaNo Week Two Update

Total Word Count: 18,501 words
Mon: 5,017
Tues: 1,777
Wed: 2,036
Thurs: 0
Fri: 2,127
Sat: 0
Sun: 0

I've been in a big slump. I have a rough idea of things that I want to happen, but no idea on how to make them happen. I've been busy with a lot of schoolwork, reading, and friends. Hopefully getting back into a class schedule through this week will help me get over my sparse weekend.

This Week in Tweets:

Starbucks. Gingerbread latte (may be my new favorite). Two hours until my next class. Time to write! #amwriting #NaNo

Just hit 10k! Maybe I should do caffeine-fueled writing sprints in Starbucks more often... #NaNo

Note to self: Telling friends that "my characters aren't talking to me" might make them find me insane.

I'm ahead in #NaNo, but behind on homework. Shows where my priorities are, doesn't it? #muststudy #wanttowrite

Word count for today: 0. I did, however, get quite a bit of homework done.


At the end of every writing session, leave yourself …

Going to College in a Cold Climate

I'm so far north that half of the locals have Canadian-sounding accents. So when it comes to winter, it hits us hard. We got our first snow a week ago so I figured that now might be a good time to talk about how to handle the cold winter months.

1. Dress in layers
There are times up here when it'll be negative outside and then about seventy in the classrooms. (I wish I was kidding. I'm not.) The best thing to do is dress in layers. When I'm going to class, I generally wear a T-shirt or light long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, and a thick winter coat. There will also become a point when I'll start wearing Under Armour pants underneath my jeans. To keep your feet warm, get a couple pairs of fuzzy socks. When I'm going to spending a lot of time outside in the cold, I wear an Under Armour shirt, a warm long-sleeve shirt, a hoodie, and my winter coat.

2. Scarves are wonderful 
I have a thick woolen Gryffindor scarf that I wrap around my neck in the winter. It's a…

New Releases: Black City, Renegade, Meant to Be

Black City by Elizabeth Richards Black City #1 In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

 Renegade by J.A. Soulders The Elysium Chronicles #1 Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has been trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater ut…

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 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 best book you read in October?
I thought about just skipping RTW, but I'm kind of hoping that this confession encourages me to actually start reading. 
I have a confession to make: I didn't finish a single book for fun in October. It's been a very crazy month all around and reading just hasn't been in the cards. Instead, I think I'll talk about the books that I started reading but haven't yet finished...
A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin This looks to be promising a very epic second installment to the series (yes, I am very behind) and I'm really excited about it. I only stopped reading because of the arrival of:
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling 

NaNo Week One Update

Word Count Total: 7,492 words
Day 1: 4,180 words
Day 2: 1,304 words
Day 3: 2,008 words
Day 4:       0 words

Tweets from This Week: 
Wrote almost 500 words at breakfast! I was planning to write at lunch but then I remembered I have a lab report due tomorrow...

I need to get one of those screensavers like #Castle has that says "You should be writing" scrolling across the screen…

It's really frustrating when my killer can't decide who to target next. #NaNo #murdermystery

Time to watch the end of Avengers and write. Word count today is 0 and that needs to change.

I'm to the point in my #NaNo where I'm staring at the screen asking "What happens next?"


1. Write whenever you can, wherever you can.Even if it's just for a few minutes, just get the words down.

2. If your target word count for the day is too daunting, write in short sprints. My target for each day is 2,000 words so when I'm struggling I do sprints of 250 words. Breaking the lar…

New Releases: The Lost Prince, Venom

Sidenote: Happy first day of NaNo everyone! If you're participating, I hope you have a very productive first day of writing. The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa  The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #1 Don’t look at Them. Never let Them know you can see Them.

That is Ethan Chase’s unbreakable rule. Until the fey he avoids at all costs—including his reputation—begin to disappear, and Ethan is attacked. Now he must change the rules to protect his family. To save a girl he never thought he’d dare to fall for.

Ethan thought he had protected himself from his older sister’s world—the land of Faery. His previous time in the Iron Realm left him with nothing but fear and disgust for the world Meghan Chase has made her home, a land of myth and talking cats, of magic and seductive enemies. But when destiny comes for Ethan, there is no escape from a danger long, long forgotten.

Venom by Fiona Paul Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: wit…

RTW -- Scary Books and Movies

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:  Halloween! What's your favorite scary book or movie? I'm not a big one for scary movies. I can count on one hand the number of scary movies that I've seen in my lifetime. Until a few years ago my answer to the question "What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?" was "Taken." 
That being said, my favorite scary book is Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann. I hid under my blankets and read it in a single afternoon. I also wasn't a big fan of sleeping that night. Coming from a small town myself, this one really hit close to home. I'm kind of glad I waited until after I graduated high school to read it...
Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's Cr…

Writers/Publishing on the Big Screen

Last week I talked about myths about writing in the media so today I figured that I would talk about some examples of writers or publishers in movies and television.

Ruby Sparks
I haven't seen this one yet, but it looks really cute. It's a story of a young novelist who writes about his perfect girl and is shocked when she comes to life.

The Words
The trailer gives me goosebumps every time. I've been dying to see this movie for months now, but I still haven't. It's about a struggling novelist who finds an old manuscript and gets it published.

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
This is my favorite romantic movie. It's about a girl that falls in love with two amazing guys: a struggling writer and a successful ad executive. It's guilty of multiple myths that I discussed (in particular, the "there is only one publisher in the world" and "having a day job equals giving up your writing dream" myths).

The Decoy Bride
In orde…

NaNo: Pre-November Preparations

November is only a few days away and that means it's almost NaNoWriMo time! I might be insane but I'm going to really go for it this year. My name on the site is Horserider if anyone would like to add me. I'll also be blogging my progress and NaNo tips every Monday from now until the end of November.

To kick off the posts, here are some tips on things to get done before November 1st rolls around.

1. Figure out the idea 
There's nothing worse than scrambling for an idea on November 1st. Figure out what you're going to write about and get a rough plot worked out in your head at least. Last year I started with a sweet contemporary love story that morphed into urban fantasy 5k in because I decided that it "wasn't exciting enough." This is the same NaNo when I didn't even hit 5k. That's why this year I have the basic plot already worked out.

2. Prepare the documents
Open a document on your computer and do any preparations required so you won't ha…

Myths About Writing in the Media

I watch a large number of movies. A ridiculous percentage of those are romantic comedies. And every once in awhile, I find a movie that includes writers and/or the publishing industry. Here are some of the many myths that I've found these movies commonly entail.

You have to go to publishers to submit to them
So many movies have the aspiring writer going straight to the publisher and being rejected in person. In reality, this is extremely frowned upon.

Writers cannot have a day job and if they do, they're "giving up on their dream" 
The truth of this business is that most writers will not make enough money to support themselves solely on their writing. It's perfectly okay to have another job that pays the bills, especially in the beginning. Added financial pressure can even affect your writing negatively.

You can only submit to one publisher
I'm always confused by movies that make it seem like there is only one publisher in the world. One of my favorite romantic…

New Releases: Dark Star, Conjure, and Ask the Passengers

Dark Star by Bethany Frenette Audrey Whitticomb has nothing to fear. Her mother is the superhero Morning Star, the most deadly crime-fighter in the Twin Cities, so it's hard for Audrey not to feel safe. That is, until she's lured into the sweet night air by something human and not human--something with talons and teeth, and a wide, scarlet smile. 
Now Audrey knows the truth: her mom doesn't fight crime at night. She fights Harrowers--livid, merciless beings who were trapped Beneath eons ago. Yet some have managed to escape. And they want Audrey dead, just because of who she is: one of the Kin. 

To survive, Audrey will need to sharpen the powers she has always had. When she gets close to someone, dark corners of the person's memories become her own, and she sometimes even glimpses the future. If Audrey could only get close to Patrick Tigue, a powerful Harrower masquerading as human, she could use her Knowing to discover the Harrowers' next move. But Leon, …

RTW -- Ideal Books for Adaptations

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 is it that makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?
I think the biggest factor in a film translation of a book is an established fan base. Books that are extremely popular (think: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, Percy Jackson) are all but guaranteed a good showing in the box office simply because people will go see them because they love the books.

There's a recent trend towards making YA books into movies for this reason. A few series do very well in the box office and they start looking for other great series that might be the next "hit."

This trend also reflects the preference for "series" books over stand-alones because there's more money to be …