Wednesday, April 28, 2010

RTW: Best book I've read this month

Okay, confession: I have been a total reading slacker this month. I have done a few beta reads, and I did a lot of writing and editing, so I certainly haven't been idle with my time. But yeah. I'm a little bit ashamed of my lack of published book reading this month. And I'm going to kind of cheat. Just this weekend/the early part of this week, I reread LIRAEL by Garth Nix, keeping a close eye on how he does world building. It TOTALLY counts as a book I read this month, because I did read it, but it's probably not fair to the poor other (two) books I read this month because it's already one of my favorites.

But whatever. It rocks. It's actually the middle book of the ABHORSEN trilogy, but the first book, SABRIEL, could have stood on its own. The next two take place twenty-ish years later and go together. The awesome thing about LIRAEL is that everything about the book is so vivid, and it takes place in a completely different world than our own, but he doesn't need 700 pages to get the story out. It's just awesome. That's really all.

Everyone should read it ASAP. (Maybe start with SABRIEL, though, even though it's not strictly necessary that you do.)

So what was the best book YOU read this month? Wander over to YA Highway and share!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks everyone for your comments!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Contest alert!

This is convenient, because I've been wanting to fit in a congratulations on my blog to the lovely Veronica Roth for her super amazing book deal. I haven't read DIVERGENT, but I am one hundred percent certain she deserves it. I mean, she made the awesomesauce award, after all. The awesome is built right in! So anyway, if you haven't yet congratulated it.

And while you're there, enter her contest, which has the most unique and awesome prizes EVER. And follow her blog--she writes great, thoughtful posts that more often than not make me laugh, too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

They're watching...

I have a fear that this post may sound condescending, and that's not my intent. So I'm going to preface it by saying that I am not perfect either, and I just want everyone to be successful and I don't want anyone to shoot themselves in the foot. And that this post is definitely inspired by a lot of potential foot-shooting I've seen lately, which scares me.

The internet is kind of a new frontier for a lot of us, even if we've been using it for a long time. I advanced from AIM to forums sometime during college, and things like twitter are even newer than that. Forums are amazing for networking, friendships, so many other things. I've talked about it before, I won't go into it again. But there's also a downside. While you may feel like you're only chatting with your friends, anyone can see everything you type. Twitter, too (unless you're on private.)

I say this, even though it's been said many times before, because I worry sometimes. I lurk around Absolute Write a lot more than I actually post. I see the things people say. I read tweets, and can often figure out what they mean even if people think they're being cryptic.

And I'm not the only one.

Everyone knows (I think/hope) that agents visit Absolute Write. How could they not? At the very least, the Bewares and Background Checks subforum is going to come up for most any agent, if they google their own name, or that of their agency (I just googled 'Fineprint Literary Management' and AW is the first search result after Fineprint's website and blog). You don't think that once they find B&BC they might wander around the rest of the forum a bit? I would.

And on twitter. You know when an agent tweets something like 'omg this vampire ms is amazing' and you have a friend (or yourself) who has a vampire ms out with said agent, you start to excitedly speculate? You don't think agents can read into your 'cryptic' tweets of frustration just the same way? Sure, they're not necessarily following you. I'm certainly not being followed by every agent I've ever queried. But does that mean they might not look you up if they're curious? Do you want to scare them away prematurely because you come off as overdramatic, even if you aren't?

Not that you can't ever tweet or blog or discuss on forums how disappointed you are about rejection. No one likes rejection. It sucks, and it's one of those things that really never stops sucking. I don't think any human being on the planet could fault someone for feeling frustrated. But there's a difference between expressing frustration appropriately, and going into an all-out rage fest.

If you're feeling like doing a rage fest, there are appropriate places to do that--instant messaging programs, email to friends, talking to significant others or siblings or parents or whoever.

I think I've made my point. We all say dumb things sometimes, whether on purpose or by accident. (I mean, I say dumb things often.) But it is so so so important to remember that the internet is public. The whole world can see your words.

Make your impression a good one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

THE DUFF ARC giveaway!

The very first ARC giveaway of THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger is happening at YA Highway. It's easy to enter, and you will love this book! It's easy to enter and so worth it to be able to say YOU were the first one to win a copy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RTW: Best writing advice you've ever received

So...I thought this was going to be an easy question to answer, but when I actually sat down to write this blog post, I realized, not so much.

I attribute most of my writerly growth to an accumulation of advice--the little things like "watch out for passive sentences" to the big things like "be patient"--and it's hard to pinpoint one piece of advice as The One.

But then I remembered that there is a quote from J. K. Rowling that I really like. She said: "I wrote about characters I was deeply interested in."

It sounds so simple, so obvious, but I've had WIPs fizzle out before because I just wasn't into them. And it's not the plot that's the problem. Plot can be made more exciting. Getting bored? Explode something. Lock your MC in a cellar. Have someone get slapped across the face. You know, whatever.

But if you don't care about what happens to your characters, no one else will either.

So I don't know if I can honestly say I'd use that same piece of advice as my "best ever" if I wrote this post again tomorrow, but it's good advice nonetheless.

Visit YA Highway to see what my fellow highwayers wrote, and to post a link of your own!

And as a side note, if you'd like to see some of the craziness we get up to, and maybe join in with a little crazy of your own, see Kristin Miller's post from yesterday about the wonder that is produce.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The YA community & more cover love

First of all, Kody Keplinger unveiled the final cover for her book, THE DUFF, which will be out September 2010, and the cover is fabulous, so go check it out if you haven't yet.

And now. I gush a lot--maybe too much--about the writing community. The friendships (okay, when I typed that I couldn't help but hear Emilia sing it while making her adorable little heart hands) are so strong, it's almost unbelievable. Twenty, or even ten, years ago, no one would've thought you could bond so thoroughly with people you may or may not ever meet in person, but you really can.

So I wanted to blog about the YA community, because while other groups of writers might be just as close, it's the YA writers who I know best. And I think they're so amazing! Not only my group of lovelies who I blog with at YA Highway, but there are other cool groups like OPWFT and the YA Rebels. And people who hang out in the various YA chat threads on Absolute Write. And who tweet. They're all so amazing and hilarious and wonderful. I love talking to people on IM, on twitter, via email. Love beta reading for people who I didn't know very well and finding out that they're a super cool person. Reading everyone's blogs. And not to be left out are agents who rep YA (not that agents who rep other stuff are uncool, but, you know.) They're hilarious and amazing too. As are book bloggers.

I wish I could be BFFs with every last person in this wild little community we have, and of course that isn't possible, but I figured a post in tribute to everyone's awesomeness was certainly due. I have so much fun with all of you, and I hope you all continue to be the amazing, brilliant people that you are, because you all brighten my day. Every. Single. Day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

An adorable contest & other happiness.

The lovely Becca Rogers is having a contest on her blog, and the prizes are pretty cool. Various artistic things, plus journals. Go enter it! You never know--you might win something.

Also today, Emilia Plater made an epic video about her love of the publishing industry in honor of No Whining Week (started by Colleen Lindsay--#nww on twitter). And in doing so, she pretty much embodies what's most awesome about the publishing industry: the people. If you haven't watched it, you need to ASAP.

That's all. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

RTW: No Whining

This week's topic is inspired by Colleen Lindsay's no whining week on twitter. So I am going to write some good things about the publishing industry. Visit YA Highway to post your link, and to see what my lovely amazing co-bloggers had to say!

So what is awesome about publishing?

1) It has given me something to strive for. I'm a SAHM, which is a full-time job in itself, as I'm sure many of you know. But writing has always been that thing I do instead of watching TV--or while watching TV. It's honestly gotten a lot more fun (about 97% of the time, anyway) since I decided I wanted to work toward getting published. Obviously I'm not there yet, but it's still a blast.

2) The people. Oh my God have I met some amazing people in or related to the publishing industry. Just visit Absolute Write on any given day--the YA subforum in particular--and you'll see. I won't be dramatic and sappy, but I don't know where I would be if it weren't for the wonderful people I met there. And that includes every single one of the YA Highway ladies, who go so far past being people I blog with. And outside of writers, there are so many agents and other publishing people who are also just genuinely awesome people.

3) Books!! There are books out there for everyone. And books rock.

I could probably say more loving things about the publishing industry, but I might start to ramble. So: the end!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Thanks everyone who commented :) I'll leave the bottom non-teaser part up, though, because the sentiment still stands:

congrats to the multitude of people who I adore who have gotten agented lately! And good luck to the wonderful amazing people who are on submission right now. I won't list names for fear of leaving someone out, but I can't wait until all of your amazing books are on shelves!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dear immune system: I love you

What? The title of this post doesn't seem to have anything to do with writing? That's doesn't. But every time I get (and recover from) a cold or other illness, I'm reminded of how great my immune system is.

And why is my immune system so great, you might wonder? Well, I'm sure it's partly to do with genetics and luck (yes, luck.) But I owe significant thanks to some large furry beasts called cows. (Ok, so that picture on the left there is a water buffalo. In Italy. But isn't it cute?? I'm also in Italy on the right. I just didn't have any pictures of my beautiful Jerseys on the computer!)

I think the cows can probably share credit with chickens and cats and horses and dogs and slimy things I found in the pond. But growing up on a farm around the animals and the dirt and the nature was very good for my body. It had to build up an immunity to all sorts of strange things.

The point of me blogging about this? Partly because I came across the awesome picture of myself patting the even more awesome cow and wanted to use it somewhere. But mostly because I am thankful for where I grew up. But just because other people might not have grown up on a farm like me doesn't mean it's too late! Go outside. Pet an animal. Play in the mud.

Enjoy nature, just because it rocks.