Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reading in 2010

So I am in the midst of waiting for my first ever made from scratch brownies to cook, and I decided blogging might be a good way to pass the time. I've been feeling a little like a blog slacker lately.

The other day, I was perusing the lovely blog of Kate Hart, and I noticed her 100 book challenge list on the side. Now I'm not brave enough to do the 100 book challenge, because I think it might take the fun out of reading for me, with all the pressure! (Although I think it's a cool idea. And one day, maybe.) But what's cool about Kate's list is, it doesn't just include published books, but beta reads too (mine included!)

After I saw it, I started to wonder how many books I read a year, if I include beta reads. So I've decided to keep track of how many books I read in 2010, and at the end of the year, I'll share my stats. Because I find that sort of thing interesting.

Not sure this post quite counts as unslacking, but good enough!

By the way, this took me so long to write--because of distractions, not slow typing--that my brownies came out of the oven. They look and smell delicious, so I'm thinking success?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

RTW: If I could be any character...

This week's Roadtrip Wednesday question is: if I could be any character in a book, who would I be?

This is harder than I originally anticipated. Leila's post on the subject kind of exemplifies the process that went on my brain when I was trying to decide.

I think I've settled on Fire, from Fire by Kristin Cashore. It would probably suck a lot to have men chasing her around all the time, and monsters trying to kill her. But she has really cool hair. Wouldn't it be fun to have bright hair that looked good, not fake? And more importantly: she has Brigan.

My slight love of Brigan is second only to my less slight love of Gale in The Hunger Games, and let's face it: being Katniss would really suck.

Fire also does lots of interesting things. I think it would be cool to live in her high fantasy world with castles and epic battles and all that fun stuff.

So that's my kind of short, kind of lame answer. Want to see some others? Visit YA Highway to see what my co-bloggers said, and to link your own!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks for the comments everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

RTW: my favorite place to read and/or write

My bed.

It's snuggly and warm and convenient. I do probably about 90% of my (non-beta) reading there, and a fair amount of writing, too. I do a lot of rough drafting and outlining in longhand, so I can do it wherever.
Reading and/or writing before bed has been a going to sleep ritual for me since I was a teeny little thing. From grade school upward, masses of notebooks and regular books were stacked beside my bed, so I guess it's kind of always been my favorite place to write.
But I do a lot of writing at my computer desk too (for obvious reasons) so I've grown fond of writing there too.
Guess I'm not all that exciting, but there you go.

What's your favorite place to write? Go to YA Highway to see what others have said, and link your post too!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Blog awards

I've been kind of hoarding these. Not intentionally, I just never remember to post about them. So now I have three to post about and pass along.

First is the Honest Scrap award. It came to me from both Kristin Miller and Becca Rogers ...It's from December, but we'll try to forget about that. For this one, I'm apparently supposed to share some true things about myself, so let's see. I'll try not to be boring.

1) I had the best childhood ever. No, seriously. I grew up on a farm, had a mom who stayed home until I was in first grade, a younger sister, and three boy cousins who were always over at our house, so it was kind of like having three extra (awesome) siblings and an extra mom--in a good way. There were lots of fields, lots of animals, lots of woods, lots of places to play.
2) My house (well, now, my parents' house since I don't still live there) was built by an ancestor of mine in 1790, and hasn't left the family since. It was the first built in the town (long before it was a town!)
3) I like to eat saltines and chocolate chips as a snack sometimes. It sounds gross, but it's so good.
4) I'm only just learning to cook without burning everything. It's actually more fun than it looks.
5) I'm very grandmotherly when it comes to cell phones. I get confused when there are two many buttons. I don't want one that does too much, because I get overwhelmed, even though I don't struggle with any other technology.
6) I (sometimes literally) cringe when I see a misused 'to/too/two'. Also, 'these/those ones', which is technically so incorrect, but has sort of found its way into the mainstream and seems to be accepted now.

Those are all the random facts I can think of at the moment. So I'm going to pass this along to three people.

On to the next award. The Humane Award, from Kristin Miller. Also in December. I'm glad she thinks I'm humane. That can only be a good thing, right?

The three people I'm passing this one along to:

And the groovy blog award, from Medeia Sharif. I am quite a fan of the fact that my blog could be considered groovy.

The three people who're getting this one:
-Kate Hart: Because, well, you just have to take one glance at her crazy awesome blog to see why it's groovy.
-Kristin Miller's food blog: Because there is nothing groovier than food. She takes beautiful pictures of her awesome creations, and it makes me drool a little.
-Kristin Otts: Because she did some really hilarious things with Bella and Edward dolls (I made that sound disturbing. Really, you need to see her posts, you will laugh so very hard). And she posts interesting, insightful things regularly.

(I felt like I should explain my choices for those groovy blogs rather than just link them!)
So...there. I'm caught up. Thanks to the lovely wonderful awesome people who awarded me these!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RTW: Favorite moment of affection in YA

This was actually a really hard topic for me. Because it wasn't limited to romantic affection. There are so many great moments of affection in YA--between parents and children, siblings, friends, lovers, etc. But in the end, my favorite was a romantic one.

This is from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman, the third book of the His Dark Materials trilogy. If you haven't read should. Immediately. I don't think this is a very spoilery quote, but if you're worried, maybe skip it. Can't say I didn't warn you! It's from very, very near the end, and may or may not make sense if you haven't at least read The Golden Compass. Also, this scene makes me cry every time I read the book--not for this piece, but for other, sadder things. (Also I could have quoted a really longggg piece, but I just did the end of the scene.)

Will put his hand on hers. A new mood had taken hold of him, and he felt resolute and peaceful. Knowing exactly what he was doing and exactly what it would mean, he moved his hand from Lyra's wrist and stroked the red-gold fur of her daemon.
Lyra gasped. But her surprise was mixed with a pleasure so like the joy that flooded through her when she had put the fruit to his lips that she couldn't protest, because she was breathless. With a racing heart she responded in the same way: she put her hand on the silky warmth of Will's daemon, and as her fingers tightened in the fur, she knew that Will was feeling exactly what she was.
And she knew, too, that neither daemon would change now, having felt a lover's hands on them. These were their shapes for life: they would want no other.
So, wondering whether any lovers before them had made this blissful discovery, they lay together as the earth turned slowly and the moon and stars blazed above them.

So mainly why I love this: because combined with the whole scene, it's bittersweet--sad and happy. Also, as a couple, they are pretty much the embodiment of everything that's amazing about first love. And Will was my first literary love, back in the day when I was closer to his age (no one try to argue with me that this book is MG because of their ages! It is so not.)

It's just sweet, and subtly written. Sometimes, the best love isn't in-your-face love.

So what's your favorite moment of affection in a YA novel? Head on over to YA Highway to see what my wonderful co-bloggers said, and post a link to your own!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

NYC publishing tips: the movie...on YA Highway!

This is pretty much the best video ever made. Go to YA Highway right now and watch!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

RTW: the next Big Thing in YA

Ok, let's start this post off by saying I really have no idea. So I might be a little silly.

Fantasy is always big. Let's just get that out there. ALWAYS. Of course, fantasy is so broad. I'd like to see high/epic fantasy get way popular--beyond Graceling, Fire, and the Eragon series. I might be totally making this up, but I think it's one of those genres that has its ups and downs. It's time for an up!

As for paranormal creatures that might start making the rounds...sirens? I'm so uncreative right now, I can't even think of what other interesting paranormal creatures there are. I like ghosts. Maybe those will become more popular. Or maybe paranormal creatures will go out altogether. Probably only for a spell, though. I mean, so many of them are immortal, you just can't keep them away forever.

Hmm...contemporary. I am woefully lost on how to detect trends in contemporary. I mean, what counts as a trend? I'd kind of like to see more things where romantic relationships aren't central to the plot. Because, they aren't always! This isn't to say I don't like a good romance. And maybe I shouldn't comment. Maybe non-romance contemporaries are trendy already and I just missed it. I should probably not reveal how underread I am in contemporary. I'm trying to catch up, really!

And I really so hope that books with college aged characters become popular soon. (I refuse to call these "new adult" until it's actually an official term--in my super professional opinion, "new adult" is a stupid term). College is like high school, but older. There's so much to write about! So much coming of age stuff happens when you wander off to the magical place known as Anywhere That Isn't Your Parents' House. So much to write about and read about! And when I was in high school, I was dying to read about college kids. I had no idea what I was in for, and I was nervous!

Anyway, don't want that to get too long-winded. But. College kids should have a place on the shelves too.

So what do you think? What's next in YA? Wander to YA Highway to see what my other lovely ladies thought, and link your own blog post in the comments!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh, Strand. I do love you.

I don't know why I felt the need to blog about this. It's kind of pointless, actually. But as I mentioned in yesterday's post about my NYC weekend, on Sunday, Kirsten, Kody and I visited the Strand, a bookstore.

The best way to describe this bookstore is, a tiny--or maybe even medium-sized--piece of Heaven. That's what it is. We could've probably spent hours in there, but we were kind of on a timeline so I wouldn't miss my train. As it was, we scoured shelves for inexpensive books (both used AND new!)

I bought Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, on Kirsten's recommendation, which I'm about two thirds of the way through now. It rules.

And I also made the brilliant discovery that *gasp* you can order books from the store's website! Inexpensively! It made my day. And I have two new books traveling my way. Or will soon.

And thus ends my semi-useless post about the most rockingest bookstore ever.

Monday, February 1, 2010


As lots of you probably already know, I went to NYC this weekend. Let me just say, it was AWESOME. It started off mildly scary, though. I was worried I would miss my train/take the wrong train/have some other train related mishap.

But I didn't.

And once I escaped from the maze that is Grand Central Terminal, I walked the couple blocks to the hotel--and didn't get hit by a single cab--and met the lovely Kirsten Hubbard in the lobby. It was so weird, because you'd think meeting someone in person for the first time would be at least slightly awkward, but it wasn't at all! And it was also not awkward when we picked up Kody Keplinger from the bus station. It was probably so perfect and unawkward because they are both so amazing and adorable.

We had a great time at the Kidlit drink night on Friday, although eek at the prices of drinks! Kody and I kept poor Kirsten up with our chatting (because crazy Kody is practically an insomniac, and I can't resist late night slumber party chats). I wrote/ate while they went to the SCBWI conference on Saturday, and then we proceeded to have pretty much the best night ever!

We had dinner with some, as Kody calls them, "publishing geniuses". Who are also awesome people. It was such a great time because we had so much to talk about. Who doesn't want to spend their evening talking about books and writing?? There will also be some can't-miss vlogs from this dinner on YA Highway. Pubtips + hilarity = these vlogs.

Later that night, we went to Times Square (because, why wouldn't you go to Times Square at midnight when it's freezing outside?) It was way too cold, but still pretty, and we had fun. We kind of fail at hailing cabs, though. Kirsten got the hang of it on Sunday. Kody and I made her be the brave one.

On Sunday afternoon, we went to The Strand. If only it were a chain store! It has books at insane prices. Kind of like Heaven. And I got something new to read for the train ride home.

Getting back on the train to go home was bittersweet. I mean, you always have to go home sometime! But I will miss Kirsten and Kody, and it was just such a great weekend that it was hard to come down from.

I'm already thinking ahead to the possibility of SCBWI LA with more of my YA Highway lovelies. Let's hope!