Showing posts from June, 2012

Week in Short

It's Friday! I hope everyone's staying cool and safe in this ridiculous heat. It hit 100 here yesterday. I can't even remember the last time that happened. The season finale of Legend of Korra was on Saturday, but I didn't get to watch it until Tuesday. BEST. SEASON FINALE. EVER. Seriously.

Song of the Week: Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin. I completely forgot how much I LOVE this song.

Must read:  
Pub Rants: Action vs active openings to grab attention

YAHighway: Live from ALA

Adventures in Agentland: 
Novels in Nowhere Land

Blood Red Pencil: 
Another perspective on audio books
Author visits by Skype 
DRM - Digital Rights Management 

Janice Hardy:
Kill them all: Does killing off characters make readers care less?

Eleven authors who hated the movie versions of their books

Myth & Mystery: 
Covers from around the world

Pub Rants: 
Breaking the rule: Show don't tell
Mechanics vs spark  
A quick look at tag lines 

Sell it to me! 

Rachelle G…

Songs That Mean the World

Every once in awhile, a song comes along that impacts your life. A song that takes you back to another time and place. A song that makes you shiver or gives you goosebumps or makes you cry.

The biggest song for me is "Cat's in the Cradle" by Harry Chapin. It's an old song and my mom always used to sing it to me when I was young. The older I get, the more I find it relates to my life. Looking up that song and listening to it has made me think about other songs that have impacted my life.

"Honey, I'm Home" by Shania Twain is the first song I remember being my favorite. My dad had a Shania Twain CD and I'd sing along while he'd play it. This is the only song from the CD that I can still remember. 

I remember the exact moment when I saw "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride's music video for the first time. I heard it playing on the TV and I walked out into the living room from the bedroom, sat on the couch, and watched it. I can't…

RTW: Best Book of June

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 June? 
I read a lot of books this month, especially for me, so I'm going to cheat and do my top three. I love them all for different reasons so it's tough to decide.

The first one is Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. It was the first time I've read one of her books and I loved it. I don't know why it took me so long to start reading them. She's a fantastic writer and I adored the ending. Every time I think about it I can't help smiling.

 Second one is Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann. I had nightmares about this book and it still makes me shiver just thinking about it. It's not something that I would normally read, but …

New Releases: Dust Girl, Between the Lines, Smart Girls Get What They Want

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel The American Fairy Trilogy #1 Callie LeRoux lives in Slow Run, Kansas, helping her mother run their small hotel and trying not to think about the father she’s never met. Lately all of her energy is spent battling the constant storms plaguing the Dust Bowl and their effects on her health. Callie is left alone when her mother goes missing in a dust storm. Her only hope comes from a mysterious man offering a few clues about her destiny and the path she must take to find her parents in "the golden hills of the west": California.

Along the way she meets Jack, a young hobo boy who is happy to keep her company — there are dangerous, desperate people at every turn. And there’s also an otherworldly threat to Callie. Warring fae factions, attached to the creative communities of American society, are very much aware of the role this half-mortal, half-fae teenage girl plays in their fate. 

 Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer Delilah …

Cryer's Cross Review

Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she's not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world's sweetest boyfriend, behind.  But when Cryer's Cross is rocked by an unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: Help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn't get close to...the one who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.  Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she's always loved, Kendall keeps up the search -- and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can't stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried....  This book isn't something that I would normally read, but I absolutely ad…

Week in Short

It's officially summer! I hope you're all staying cool and not melting in this heat. The finale of Legend of Korra is tomorrow. I can't believe the season is over already! It seems like just yesterday I was skipping around my room excited about the first episode...

Song of the Week: "(Kissed You) Good Night" by Gloriana [I didn't realize how much I missed them until I heard this song.]

Must read: 
Lauren DeStefano: Feeding another quarter to hype machine

A Fool's Golden Paradise: 
Slush pile: When agents stop reading

Blood-Red Pencil: 
Listen to the PDF lady: using Read Aloud function to revise
Embracing technology: Audio books

Janet Reid: 
Editing symbols

Janice Hardy: 
The Great Twitter Experiment: what does "more Tweets" really get you? 
Living in my head: Crafting natural-sounding internal thoughts

Guiding the reader emotionally
Button on character

Mother Write:
The beta reader browse

3 myths about villains

Rachelle Gardner:

New Releases: My Life Next Door, This is Not a Test, Soulbound

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick “One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
 This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former s…

RTW -- Summer After Graduation

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: How did you spend the summer after graduation?
My first act after my last day of school was to break up with my boyfriend. It was the first in a very long line of changes to my life. At the time, it felt like my heart would never be the same but now I wish I'd done it sooner. 

I had a pretty boring summer after graduation. Living in the country and not having a car isn't exactly conducive to an exciting summer break. I spent most of it freaking out about college, looking up job opportunities in my future collegetown, scheming with my best friend and now-future roommate. I was both excited and terrified of the idea of leaving home for nine months and living on my own. Orientation was in May …

Snow White and the Huntsman Review

I promised a full review of Snow White and the Huntsman last week and so here it is.

WARNING: There are spoilers beyond this point.

Okay, first of all, it was a good movie and I fully intend to own it when it comes out on DVD, but it could have been so much greater than it was.

The majority of the cast was incredible. Charlize Theron made a brilliant queen. She actually made me feel kind of sorry for the queen despite hating her so much. The part where she turns back into her human form after being a flock of crows is just beautiful. And the part where they show her as a child and how her power was tied to her beauty was a great addition.

Chris Hemsworth nailed the part of the Huntsman and he looked hot doing it. He's such a great actor, being able to play the part of the drunkard, the huntsman, and the grieving widower all in the same movie.

Sam Claflin made a flawless Prince William. His acting was amazing and the expressions on his face made me melt. I loved the scene where…

Daily Word Count Goals

One piece of advice for writers that is often given is to set a goal each day for the amount of words you want to write. After a couple months where my writing became even more sporadic than usual, I decided to give this advice a try.

It's working out incredibly well. I've found that it really helps me to push through writers' block and get the words on the page. Over the past two weeks, using a goal of 500 words per day, I've written anywhere from 565 words to 3,389 words in a single day. Initially, I gave myself weekends off my word count goals and I found that I barely wrote at all.

If you're planning to set a daily goal, start small. Around 250 or 500 words is a good start-off point. You may hear that some writers have goals of 3,000 or more words per day. While that may sound fantastic, I don't recommend starting there. You may get burnt out incredibly quickly, especially if you find it impossible to hit that goal each and every day. A small word count go…

Week in Short

I went to see Snow White and the Huntsman this week. I have a proper review planned for next week but the short version is: It was a good movie, but it had the potential to be phenomenal. I also watched the first part of the two-part miniseries for Casanova with David Tennant. I have to admit, he makes a great Casanova. And Burn Notice started back up this week! I haven't watched the premiere yet -- sadly -- but it's on my to do list for today.

Song of the Week: Dancing Away With My Heart by Lady Antebellum

Class action lawsuit filed against PublishAmerica

More BEA 2012 reports:
Writer Beware

Janet Reid: 
Not that me, the other me: responding to emails sent in error 
Want me to buy your book? 

Layers of emotion

Nathan Bransford:
The randomness of bestsellers 

Rachelle Gardner: 
Using setting as a character 
Understanding the role of emotion: 5 ways it can help you

Video of the Week:
When I went to see Snow White and the Hunstman, this trailer for The Words is the l…

New Releases: For Darkness Shows the Stars; Crazy; Shadow and Bone

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund Generations ago, a genetic experiment gone wrong—the Reduction—decimated humanity, giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s f…

RTW -- Writing Retreat

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: If you could go on a writing retreat anywhere, where would you go & who would you bring?
This is a tough one! Normally I would just go straight-out and say "England" but I can't imagine I would actually get much writing done there... I think I'll say Sweden. Somewhere beautiful, but a little bit isolated so I don't get too distracted. Where exactly, I'm not sure. I would bring all my friends from AW (*waves* Hi, guys!) because I think that would be amazing and hilarious and we'd make sure to keep each other on track while still having a ton of fun. 

As for inspiring authors, I think I'd like to borrow John Green and Tamora Pierce for awhile. And J.K. Rowling, too.…

City of Lost Souls Review

 City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare Mortal Instruments #5 The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s frie…

Premise vs Plot

Premise and plot. They're both essential to every story, but they're not the same thing. I've had books where I loved the premise, but didn't love the plot. I saw a TV commercial for the movie Ted that showed the premise, but not the plot, and started thinking about the difference.

This is the basic idea. For example, the premise of Harry Potter is a boy attending a school that teaches wizardry. The premise of Twilight is a girl meeting a family of vampires. It's the foundation that the plot of which book and the overarcing plot of the series is based on. 

This is the arc that drives the story. It's the escalating conflict and has an obvious beginning, middle, and end. Going back to the Harry Potter example, this would be Harry's fight against Voldemort across the series. In the Twilight example, the plot would be the girl falling in love with the vampire and wanting to become one herself.

Here's the commercial for Ted that brought about…

Week in Short

It's been a very productive week in the Chasm. BEA was this week and, once again, I was not there.  (SOMEDAY!) I'm kind of hyper at the moment because finally, after three long weeks, THE BELMONT IS TOMORROW! If you've been living under a rock, the Belmont Stakes is the third jewel in Thoroughbred horse racing's Triple Crown. I'll Have Another rocked both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and if he wins tomorrow, he will become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

ETA: No Triple Crown this year. A couple hours after I wrote this, it was announced that I'll Have Another was scratched from the Belmont. 

Song of the Week: Call Your Girlfriend - Erato [Click the link and watch the video. It's awesome.]

Must read: 
Beth Revis: Never surrender

Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer! I am so excited for this movie!

Shatter Me has a new and COMPLETELY AMAZING cover 

Janet Reid: BEA Day 1
The Strangest Situation: BEA re-cap

In Honor of Ray Bradbury

When I was in tenth grade English, we read a book called Farenheit 451. I spent large amounts of time raging at the ending, but was fascinated by its truth in predicting the future. I loved the idea of the "TV room." It reminded me of many people's obsessions with television, especially reality TV and soap operas.

The part that most deeply affected me, however, was the censorship. The book burnings. The very idea was enough to make me shudder. There have been a lot of books in my life that I haven't enjoyed. Books that I've tossed to the floor (though, I've never thrown one into a wall, it makes me feel bad). Maybe even a few that I truly hated.

But burning books? Never. The scene in the original Footloose makes me twitch. It's unthinkable for me. I don't know what my life would be like without my books, but I know that I can't even begin to imagine it.

Fahrenheit 451 was my first exposure to censorship, something that I've violently opposed …

RTW -- Best Book of May

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 May?
This month's best book was hands down, no contest... (Don't worry, no spoilers!)
Insurgent by Veronica Roth Divergent #2 I've been excitedly waiting for this book since I read Divergent and I can say that it did not disappoint! Even my mom, who knows firsthand how fast I can read, was surprised when I devoured it in nine hours. There were points when I actually wanted to stop reading because I didn't want the book to be over that fast, but I couldn't stop turning the pages. It took forever for me to be ready to read something else because I couldn't stop thinking about it. I can't wait for D3!
My full review (with spoilers)

A Midsummer's Nightmare Release Day!

I'm so excited to get my hands on this book!

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger  Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Sherlock BBC

Some time ago, one of my friends suggested that I watch Sherlock. Far too long after that initial conversation, I watched the first episode.

I was hooked instantly. I gradually watched all six episodes. Last week I watched the finale of the most recent season. I am now an official Lockian.

I will freely admit that I was never really into Sherlock Holmes. I've never read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books (though I plan to spend part of this summer fixing that) and it wasn't until this year that I saw the two Sherlock Holmes movies: Sherlock Holmes, and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. But I love Sherlock.

The show has a strange format. Each series consists of only three episodes, but each episode is an hour and a half long. And they're all some of the most brilliant things ever written.(If you've ever watched Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, head writer of DW for the past two series, is the co-creator and writer of Sherlock. So you know it has to be genius.)


Week in Short

I hope everyone had a great week. The temperature here dropped about 30 degrees overnight so I'm really hoping the sun comes back out soon. I finally watched the series two finale of Sherlock (which rendered me unable to think about anything else) and am now dying for next summer to be here.

Song of the Week: Even If It Breaks Your Heart by Eli Young Band

Must read: 
Seeking the Write Life: Don't compare and don't compete 
Beth Revis: How to respond to negative reviews 

Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan cover reveal! SO BEAUTIFUL. It's definitely my new favorite. You can also read the first chapter here!

The movie version of Perks of Being a Wallflower (with EMMA WATSON AND LOGAN LERMAN) has a release date! September 14th!

Sign-ups are available for Once Upon a Read-a-thon 2012! The goal is to read more books than you normally would from July 9th to July 11th. Check out the link for more information and to join in!

"And it was all a dream..." St…