Showing posts from July, 2012

I Know It's Over

I Know It's Over  by C.K. Kelly Martin Pure. Unplanned. Perfect. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant, and Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over. This book is beautifully written and executed. It's told from Nick's perspective and the voice is wonderfully real. I actually started reading this last year and couldn't get into it. …

Questions from Another Time: Publishing

I started going through all my threads that I started on AW since I joined all the way back in 2008. I was fresh off the finish of my very first novel ever and convinced that I was going to take the publishing world by storm with my fifteen-year-old self and my 100k YA fantasy.

In the four years since then, I've learned a lot. The questions that I asked back then make me hang my head and want to smack my younger self. I thought it might be fun to take a look at my questions -- commonly asked by many other new writers -- and answer them.

Last Monday I answered the writing-related questions, so today I'm going to do the publishing ones.

Should teenagers put their age in the query? How can minors publish a book? Can minors hire agents?
No. Teenagers should let their work speak for itself without the effect of their age, positive or negative. If the agent shows interest in representation, that's when it's time for age to come into play. Minors' contracts hav…

Week in Short

The Olympics start today! I'm pretty excited. Although, the only events I follow are the equestrian ones. Now that I'm caught up with Downton Abbey and I'm still waiting for the new season of White Collar to come to Netflix, I picked up a new addiction over the last week. Roswell. I love it so much.

In other news, this is the last Week in Short for a couple weeks as I'm going to visit some family and I've decided to spend that time (mostly) disconnected. I'm working on scheduling posts so the blog won't be dark and silent while I'm gone.

Song of the Week: "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood

Must read:  
Adventures in Agentland: Why do I need an agent?
Pub Rants (by Roni Loren): Bloggers beware: You CAN be sued

Between Fact and Fiction: 
Don't be difficult

Blood Red Pencil:
The art of book design

Writing adaptations

Nathan Bransford:
Violence in American culture

Pub Rants:
A pitch is a pitch and a query is a query

Pub(lishing) Crawl:
On …

New Releases: Insignia, A World Away, The Girl with Borrowed Wings

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action m…

RTW - Fictional Regenerations -- I mean, Reincarnations

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 be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?
This was kind of tricky because even though I have characters that I absolutely adore, I wouldn't want to actually be them.

First and foremost, I would want to be Hermione. She's always been my favorite Harry Potter character and I've always related the most to her (all the way down to the bushy brown hair and the bucked teeth). She's strong and a great friend and loves books and isn't afraid to show how smart she is.

I also wouldn't mind being reincarnated as Christina from the Thoroughbreds series. She lives on a racehorse farm; rides her own racehorse, Star; and has the most amazing, horse-lovin…

White Cat Review

White Cat by Holly Black Curse Workers #1 Cassel comes from a family of curse workers—people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, all by the slightest touch of their hands. Since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider—the straight kid in a crooked family—as long as you ignore one small detail: He killed his best friend, Lila. Now he is sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat. He also notices that his brothers are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of one huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen. I adored this book. I had it for quite awhile before I finally got around to reading it and I wish I'd done it a lot sooner. It's morbid and awesome and clever and original and I loved it so much. The voice is amazing. The characte…

Questions from Another Time: Writing

I started going through all my threads that I started on AW since I joined all the way back in 2008. I was fresh off the finish of my very first novel ever and convinced that I was going to take the publishing world by storm with my fifteen-year-old self and my 100k YA fantasy.

In the four years since then, I've learned a lot. The questions that I asked back then make me hang my head and want to smack my younger self. I thought it might be fun to take a look at my questions -- commonly asked by many other new writers -- and answer them.

Today I'm going to do a post with all the writing-related questions and next week I'm going to answer the publishing ones. 

Are sex, violence, etc okay in YA? 
Everything goes, especially if it's realistic. Fiction should represent real life and young adult is no exception. Sex, violence, or drugs are extremely relevant to today's teens. It's okay to explore that from a realistic perspective. That being said, nothing should be i…

Week in Short

I've developed a new addiction: Downton Abbey. I watched it for eight hours straight on Saturday and was completely caught up on Wednesday. I'm ready for the new season to start!

Song of the Week: "Demons" by Imagine Dragons

Must read:  
Beth Revis: The definition of badass

WriteOnCon is less than a month away! 
Miss Snark's First Victim July Secret Agent begins on Monday 
Magnus Bane has been cast for the City of Bones movie! [Not what I pictured but I think I love him.]
And so has Jocelyn Fray! [She's PERFECT.]
And Hodge.
In other YA movie casting news: Beetee and Finnick for Catching Fire! [I think Sam is going to do a fantastic job with Finnick. I'm very excited for this movie!]

A Fool's Golden Paradise: 
Queries: the blah

Author's Echo: 
What I learned from 52 rejections 

Character Therapist:
Suicide by Facebook

Establishing ramifications

Publishing Crawl:
Facing the blank page 

Forensics Q&A: Fingerprinting

Rachelle Gardn…

The Fox Inheritance Review

The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson Jenna Fox Chronicles #2 Once there were three. Three friends who loved each other—Jenna, Locke, and Kara. And after a terrible accident destroyed their bodies, their three minds were kept alive, spinning in a digital netherworld. Even in that disembodied nightmare, they were still together. At least at first. When Jenna disappeared, Locke and Kara had to go on without her. Decades passed, and then centuries. 

Two-hundred-and-sixty years later, they have been released at last. Given new, perfect bodies, Locke and Kara awaken to a world they know nothing about, where everyone they once knew and loved is long dead. 

Everyone except Jenna Fox.
I read The Adoration of Jenna Fox quite some time ago and loved it. When I found out about this one, I had to get my hands on it.
This one is from a male perspective, Locke's, and I love it. The voice was raw and haunting and made my heart ache. The contrast between the way Locke and Kara dealt with bei…

RTW -- Chasing 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: When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?
I've always found that the best inspiration comes when I'm not looking for it. In the last week, I've had three shiny new ideas. One of them resulted from my fascination with psychology, the second from Downton Abbey, and the third just came out of nowhere.

Photographs and writing prompts can be helpful if I'm looking for creative inspiration. I usually use those for short stories, but sometimes those shorts turn into potential novels. Talking to writer friends can be great for inspiration, too.

When I need creative inspiration, I turn to the rest of my life because I know that an idea is likely to hit me at any time. If I need i…

New releases: Seraphina, The Thing About the Truth, and Don't You Wish

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt Kelsey’s not going to let…

Writing Advice Summed Up in Two Points

There's a lot of advice out there for writers, but it all basically boils down to two concepts.

1. Everything in moderation. 
New writers will often ask about the common pieces of advice "Never use adverbs/adjectives" or "Always show instead of tell" or "Never to use passive voice." The truth is none of this advice is true. At least not completely. Adverbs, adjectives, telling, and passive voice are all moderation. The first lesson in writing is learning the rules. The second lesson is learning when to break them.

2. Do what works for you. 
Another thing new writers commonly ask is "Would this work?" They ask about characters, relationships, pacing, writing styles, point of view, multiple perspective, tenses, plots, structure, outlining methods, writing methods, planning methods and just about anything else that has to do with writing that you can think of. The worst part about these questions is there is no one right answer.


Week in Short

It's Friday the Thirteenth! To everyone attending ComicCon: I am intensely jealous right now. It's the only time of year I hate living on the East Coast. In TV news, White Collar season four premiered this week. I'm still at the beginning of season three so I'm thinking a marathon is in order this weekend. Covert Affairs season three also premiered and I'm not really sure how I feel about the direction the show is going. 

Song of the Week: Circle of Life by Elton John (Not sure why, but I've been on kind of a Disney song kick lately.)

Must read:  
Wall Street Journal: Tweets from Pixar's School of PlottingA storyboard artist for the movie, Brave, on the basics of storytelling

Clockwork Princess cover reveal! LOVE! Tessa, the angel, the dress, the book! SO AWESOME!


It's been announced that the Mockingjay movie is going to be split into two parts. I'm getting really sick of this belief tha…

OUReadathon Final Tally

Thanks to Lori at Pure Imagination, Angela at Reading Angel, and Candace at Candace's Book Blog for hosting this awesome read-a-thon!

Books Read: 3
Books Started but not Finished: 1 (I'm at about 30%)
The Books: Guyaholic by Carolyn Mackler, The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson, White Cat by Holly Black, and I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin
Pages Read: 878

Not quite my goal of six, but still more than I would normally read over three days! I got to meet a lot of new people, read some great books, and had plenty of fun. This was my first read-a-thon so it was a really big learning experience. Next time I'll have to make sure I stay focused and don't make my book stack bigger than I can handle.

RTW: Movies over 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: What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?
I have movies where I loved the book and hated the movie (Eragon), loved the movie but knew the book was better (Harry Potter), and adaptations that I'm able to enjoy separately (Hunger Games, The Lightning Thief).

Then, every once in awhile, a movie comes along that I like more than the book. This is more common in situations where I fall in love with the movie long before reading the book or I read the book some time before. Prince Caspian is the first movie I know of that I felt like that with. Part of it was the greatness of the movie, part of it was Ben Barnes, and part of it was the fact that I hadn't read the book …

OUReadathon: Day 3

It's the final stretch of the OUReadathon! I didn't finish any books yesterday so I'm hoping to get a ton of reading done today.

9:42am: Thought about pulling an all-nighter last night with White Cat but I decided against it and stopped around one-thirty. I should've kept going anyway. Woke up around nine from a dream that I was like a cross between Covert Affairs (Auggie was there, we were fake-married as part of my cover) and Hunger Games. I'm now 45% through WC and absolutely loving everything about it!

11:23am: I made the mistake of taking a "short" Internet break. Then I found out that the first few chapters of Chamber of Secrets are now open on Pottermore. It might be a little bit before I get back on track... *pounces on Pottermore*

12:51pm: Compromised by reading while I waited for each new chapter on Pottermore to load. LOVE! Then I participated in Road Trip Wednesday. As soon as I finish lunch, it's back to reading!



OUReadathon: Day 2

It's time for the second day of OUReadathon! I made it through two books yesterday (Guyaholic by Carolyn Mackler and The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson) and I'm hoping to make it through two more today. I'll update throughout the day with my progress and mini-challenges just like yesterday.


10:42am: Made the mistake of completely oversleeping this morning. I started reading White Cat by Holly Black around eleven last night and, of course, had dreams about cats and curses. I'm loving it so far, but it's really making me want to watch White Collar (season four premieres tonight and I'm not even halfway through season three yet!) I'm about 15% through but I have to go to the chiropractor so not much time to read this morning.

12:59pm: I have gone to the chiropractor, took the dog for a walk, eaten lunch, and started reading more of yesterday's update posts...but I haven't done any reading. I feel like I'm going to fall asleep just sit…

OURead-a-thon: Day 1

OUReadathon has officially begun! I went through my TBR stacks yesterday and picked out ten books that I want to read. I'll never make it through them all, but my goal is to read at least six.

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Paper Towns by John Green
The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund
The Fox Inheritance by Mary E. Pearson
White Cat by Holly Black
Hounded by Kevin Hearne
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin
Guyaholic by Carolyn Mackler

Kicked off the read-a-thon with Guyaholic at midnight last night! I'm about halfway through it at the moment.

IB Book Blogging is hosting a mini-challenge for OUReadathon and asking for the answers to two questions:

Question 1:
What is your favorite cover that has been revealed this summer and why? 

I hope it's okay that I list three because otherwise I'll spend all my time trying to decide which one's my favorite and won't…

Week in Short

Hope everyone had a great week and a wonderful Fourth of July (or Wednesday)! Once Upon a Read-a-thon starts on Monday so if you haven't joined yet, you should check it out!

Song of the Week: Independence Day by Martina McBride

Must read:  
Mother. Write. Repeat: The quarter in the toilet

The Casual Vacancy by Queen Rowling has a COVER!

Writer Unboxed: 7 Sizzling Sundays of Summer Flash Fiction

kt Literary: 
Thoughts on some Comic-Con panels about publishing

Pub(lishing) Crawl:
The cliffhanger dilemma

Pub Rants:
Three reasons why prologues don't work

How to polish your writing until it shines

Rachelle Gardner: 
6 things to learn from Hemingway
7 ways you give away your power

Writer Beware:
Rights vs copyright

The first sale: Expectation vs reality part 2

Video of the Week: 
John and Sarah Green talk about self-consciousness while playing Wii Tennis. It's great, I promise.

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

Every You, Every Me Review

Every You, Every Me by David Levithan Evan is alone. His best only friend, Ariel, is gone. Evan is feels responsible. And in her wake, evan is left with nothing a guilty conscience and never-ending insomnia.
But then, while walking to school one morning, Evan finds an envelope in his path. Inside is a photograph. Of nothing. Except the spot where he is standing. 
The next day, Evan finds another envelope. In the exact same spot as before. Inside is another photograph. Of him. 
Evan's not sure what to think. Is Ariel back? Are these photographs her way of tormenting him for reminding him of what he did to her? Or worse -- has someone else found out what he did and is toying with him as punishment? Either way, he will not be able to sleep rest until he finds out who is responsible.
As the cryptic photos keep surfacing, Evan's paranoia amplifies, and the feeling that he never really knew Ariel at all starts to paralyze dominate his life thoughts. Will he uncover the truth before he …

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! (Feel more like Independence Week around here. There hasn't been a night since Friday that someone hasn't set off fireworks.) Hope everyone has a great day and stays cool!

RTW -- In the Yearbook

I haven't gone insane, I know that today is Tuesday and this post is for Road Trip Wednesday. But tomorrow is the Fourth of July and I take holidays off blogging so I'm doing this one a day early. 

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 yearbook "most" category (also known as superlatives) would your character win?When I was in school, I won "Most Shy Girl." Which was kind of funny because I wasn't actually the shyest girl in school, I was just the most well-known shy girl. Troy and Helena would probably both be voted "Most Shy." They'd also definitely be in the running for "Cutest Couple." If there was one that said "Most likely to become a bestselling author of fantasy no…

Redesigning the Classics?

A friend of mine sent me the link to this article about publishers redesigning the covers of classics in the hope that they'd appeal more to teenage readers. One such redesign involved a "Twilight-esque" cover for Wuthering Heights and a blurb that said "Bella and Edward's favorite book!" Many classics have also be redesigned with watercolor covers.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 
 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Classics shouldn't be redesigned to look more "modern." Kids should want to read them because their classics, not because they look like modern books on the outside. If I'm going to buy a classic, I want it to look like a classic.

I just finished Pride and Prejudice on my e-reader and I'm intending to buy a print version. When I do, I want it look classic. I want Elizabeth to be wearing something that the actual Elizabeth Bennet would wear. Not som…