Showing posts from June, 2013

Flash Fiction Friday: Kayaks are Not a Good Place for Major Life Changes

I'm honestly not sure where this piece came from. I was thinking about the kayaks a nearby state park has available for rental and somehow this happened. 

“What do you think?”

I break out of my daydreams. “What?” I ask, a knee-jerk reaction. I look around, orienting myself with my surroundings again. I’m in a kayak drifting along a wide, slow-moving river. Trees span the banks on either side. Next to me is my fiancĂ©, Ryan, staring at me with an intense expression.

“You didn’t hear anything I said, did you?” I expect his voice to be accusing, but it’s not. He’s used to my mind wandering off and taking me with it. I think back, trying to remember anything he’d said over the last few minutes—or hours, who knows how long he’d been talking—and come up blank.

“Sorry, I must’ve zoned out.”

He chuckles. “I was just thinking, what if you moved in with me?”

I jump so hard the kayak almost capsizes. Perhaps an open river wasn’t the best place for discussions of major life changes. “Are you s…

New Releases: Proxy, Tarnish, and Ink

Proxy by Alex London Proxy #1 Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

 Tarnish by Katherine Longshore

Anne Boleyn is the od…

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. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 
This Week's Topic:  What's the best book you read in June? I'm going to be honest. I finished three books this month and I don't feel right about putting any of them on this post. I've been in a reading slump and haven't read anything that I've really loved in quite a long time.

So to cleanse my reading palate I decided to reread a book that I knew I would love. And that's the book that I'm going to choose for this month. I haven't actually finished it yet, but I'm close and definitely will before the end of the mon…

Writing When the Wind Blows...

It's hot and humid and miserable outside, which as always makes me hope for rain, and that got me thinking. I've always liked thunderstorms. I like watching the lightning split the sky and the rain pour down and listen to the thunder knocking on the windows.

Something about it helps me write, especially when it's late in the evening. Late enough that it's dark outside, so I can't see the rain, but if I open my window a crack I can still hear it coming down. But still not so late that I'm tired and should go to bed.

It's hard for me to write when it's beautiful and sunny outside, when the temperature is just right and the humidity is low so it doesn't feel like it's hard to breathe. That's when I want to be outside, be out living life instead of sitting inside somewhere typing away.

On days like that, I have to wait until the evening to write when it's too dark to do anything else.

Does the weather affect your writing? Or do you get those…

Monday Updates: June 23

How's Life? 
It was an off week. The only good news is it's officially summer! I love the feeling of possibilities that summer brings. I love the fresh watermelon and eating steaks off the charcoal grill and stealing mulberries from the tree across the road. I love the turtles coming up to lay their eggs and walking through the woods in the shade of the trees. I just wish I could have all of that without the humidity.

How's TV? 
ROBERT DOWNEY JR SIGNED ON TO TWO MORE AVENGERS MOVIES. I was terrified that he might leave Iron Man, but he's staying and I'm so excited! No news of a fourth Iron Man, but I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. Iron Man 3 was my favorite of the trilogy and I'd love to see one more.

I'm still working my way through Buffy. I'm four episodes away from the two-part finale for season three.

How's Writing? 
Total words: 3,756
Best day: 1,520
Like I said, it was an off week. I'm getting close to the end with my WIP and, for o…

New Releases: Far Far Away, Boy Nobody, Born of Illusion

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn't even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he's able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it's been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn't been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specificially, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales …

RTW: Welcome to the Avengers Initiative

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. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

This Week's Topic: In our Bookmobile selection this month, Amy Tintera's REBOOT, the main character has died and been reborn as a robot-like soldier. If you were reborn faster, stronger, and quicker healing, what's the first thing you'd do?
When I thought about this topic on Sunday (which is when I usually schedule my blog posts for the week) I was at a complete loss. Then today I came back to thinking about it.

My first thought was Buffy. I've been working my way through the series (I'm on season three now) and that's basically…

Tips on Building Houses for Your Characters

You can tell a lot about a person from their home. Whenever I think about the perfect reveal of a character's house, I think of NCIS and Tony. It wasn't until recently that the inside of his apartment was shown on the show. It wasn't when I imagined but, for him, it was perfect and that really helped to deepen his character. 

When it comes to houses, I'm not the most imaginative writer in the world. My characters' typically get a two-story house with a kitchen, living room, and enough bedrooms/bathrooms for the family. When it comes to wall colors, flooring, and furniture, things get even trickier. Here are some ideas on how I find inspiration to help me with my characters' homes.

Use real places for inspiration. In terms of exterior, look around on long drives and pick out houses you like. Certain details that you like on various houses could come together to make the perfect home for your character. Consider subscribing to a magazine or two for ideas as well…

Monday Updates: June 17

How's Life? 
It was a good week. I got to see my niece this weekend (she's lives several states away so I don't get to see her much) and that was a lot of fun. Four-year-olds can be exhausting!

The Stanley Cup series is tied 1-1 between the Blackhawks and Bruins. All I can say is it's going to be a hard fought series. I'm still in shock by the triple overtime in Game 1.

How's TV? 
After having it stuck in my head since I first saw the trailer when it was in theaters, I finally got to see The Words last week. It's a great movie, but not what I expected.

Since all my shows are still in hiatus, I've been wrapped up in working my way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Star Trek: The Original Series. I'm halfway through season three of Buffy and a third of the way through the first season of Star Trek.

How's Reading? 
Books read: 1
Finished one beta read last week and I'm still working on the second. I'm also working my way through Sense and…

Flash Fiction Friday: Only Kiss

This piece wasn't born from a prompt. The idea of an only kiss popped into my head while I was out hiking and this is the story that came with it. 

It’s not a first kiss, filled with promise and discovery and the slight tang of nervousness. It’s not a last kiss, darkened by goodbyes and the bitterness of endings.

It’s an only kiss, a once-in-a-lifetime kiss, touched with the desperation of knowing that you’ve never felt anything like this before and never will again.

When Angela wandered out to the beach for one last look at the ocean sunrise, she didn’t expect to run into a boy. A cute boy with eyes the same color as the sea, hair dripping wet from an early swim, and the body of an experienced surfer.

“Good morning,” he said, dropping down on the sand next to where she was sitting on her towel. “Watching the sun rise?”

“Yeah.” It was short and clipped. She wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone today. Just wanted to be left alone with the sun and the waves and the sand.

He sta…

New Releases: The Moon and More, Charm & Strange, Rush

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where s…

RTW -- Packing for a Post-Apocalyptic Future

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. We'd love for you to participate! Just answer the prompt on your own blog and leave a link - or, if you prefer, you can include your answer in the comments. 

This week’s topic:  If you time-traveled to a post-apocalyptic future, what would you bring?
This is a really tricky one, because for me it depends on what kind of post-apocalyptic future. Is it like Hunger Games or City of Ember or Forest of Hands and Teeth or The Water Wars? Will I be fighting for my life against zombies or attempting to survive outside of an isolated city or struggling to find enough food or water?

In general, I would probably bring the basics. Extra clothes for varying climates, because there's no telling what the weather will be lik…

Managing Social Media

I really like social media. I like staying in touch with friends and seeing what's going on. I like to have separate accounts for different things. The trouble comes when social media starts to take away time from more important pursuits--like actually writing.

I like to follow a lot of blogs to keep up with my favorite writers and what's going on in the publishing industry. For the last few years I've done that by using Google Reader to organize all of my blogs into categories and watch for new posts. Sadly, Google Reader is shutting down on July 1st so I've switched over to Feedly. A few times a week I set aside some time to jump on and scroll through all of the new blog posts. If something catches my interest, I open the page in a new window (I prefer reading blog posts on the actual site than in a Reader so it's possible to comment).

This is where I follow a lot of authors, agents, and other industry professionals. To keep up, I use TweetDeck orga…

Monday Updates: June 10

How's Life? 
Life is fine. It was a stressful week, but a good part of that is over now.

The 2013 Triple Crown came to a close on Saturday with the Belmont Stakes. Palace Malice pulled the upset and did it rather convincingly. I'm looking forward to seeing how Oxbow and Orb fare over the rest of the year. 

I saw Epic over the weekend. It's an adorable tale and if you have the chance to go see it, I highly recommend it. I finally got the chance to watch War Horse which made me cry hysterically. It's very well done in terms of staying true to the book. Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston are on horseback. And, finally, after owning the DVD for a couple months, I finally got around to watching The Hobbit. It was just as fantastic as I expected it to be and I'm so ready for Desolation of Smaug this winter.

How's TV? 
I don't know if I've ever had all of my shows on hiatus at the same time before and it's kind of boring. In a post-Star Trek Into Dar…

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:  What's the best book you read in May?

I expected to get a lot more reading done now that I'm home and don't have classes to study for, but sadly that doesn't seem to be the case. It was a hands down, easy choice this month...
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler is my choice for May. It's a sweet book with great characters and I loved the hockey and ice skating elements. I also really liked the idea that your dreams can change and just because you have the opportunity, doesn't mean you have to take it. 
And the cupcakes sounded amazing, too. It makes me really wish that I could bake that well so I could give some of them a shot.

It's the Little Things

When it comes to bringing a story to life, the smallest details can help. In life, sometimes it's the small things that we notice first. The way the cotton falling from the trees looks like snow even though it's the first week of June. The smell of charcoal smoke on the air. The feel of velvet. The crash of a deer running through the woods. The sweet and sour taste of a fresh pineapple.

Use all the senses. Focus on what the character would be experiencing and focus on the details based on what they would see.

One character might choke on the heavy smell of bonfire smoke, but another might remember a summer at camp sitting around a fire and singing songs.

If it's not something a character would notice, then leave it out and focus on something else instead. Choosing which details to include and which to leave out can tell as much about the character as it does about the setting.

For example, I love the sound of sirens. If I hear a siren coming down my road, I'll run to …

Monday Updates: June 3

This is actually an update post from the last two weeks since last Monday was Memorial Day.

How's Life? 
I saw Star Trek Into Darkness over the weekend and it was AMAZING. Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible. I already can't wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it as much as I want.

And I ran into my favorite teacher from high school over the weekend. She was my English teacher, my play director, and the teacher overseeing our writers' club. I hadn't seen her since I graduated, so that was nice.

How's TV?
I've been working my way through Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I'm slowing down now because I'm dreading what's coming up. Also watching Star Trek has given me this urge to go back and watch the TV series, so I'm thinking about doing that.

Karen Gillan joined the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy--AS A VILLAIN!--and Matt Smith announced that he's leaving Doctor Who. I don't even know how I'm feeling about that right now. I'…