The clock is ticking towards Valentine’s Day!
I’m betting a lot of our readers have someone they want to make feel special...whether it’s a guy-friend or good friend. So I thought we could shout-out some ideas to help your Valentine’s Day with that special someone really rock.
Writing a personal card, letter or poem to tell that person how you feel?
Making a mixtape of songs that are special to the two of you?
Making a dessert with TLC and his/her favorite ingredients?
Buying a picture frame key ring, and of course, slipping a photo of the two of you?
Finding a DVD that is meaningful to you both, and ripe for a rewatch?
Now it’s your turn. Can you think of any gifts for BFF’s or BF’s that have been successful for you?
Monday, January 31, 2011
The clock is ticking towards Valentine’s Day!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 1/31/2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011
One of the joys of the holidays for me is catching up on books and movies, either finding the time for new ones or revisiting old favorites.
Last month I did some of both--in addition to catching a 1999 teen movie on a cable station that I’d only vaguely heard of. Called She’s All That, it stars Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Rachael Leigh Cook, with the premise being: “A high school jock makes a bet that he can turn an unattractive girl into the school's prom queen.”
RIGHT up my alley! How had I missed this?
A hot guy, a bad boy, some snooty girls (look for a real young Anna Paquin from True Blood!), and a slightly-nerdy-we-can-all-relate heroine. Plus, a fun dance scene! While I will admit that a few times the dialogue was so predictable that I was able to speak the response before the on-screen character, consideration must be given to the fact that I am, of course, a teen romance writer!
So put this one on your next holiday list...a fun way to relax and get some smiles and “aww” moments.
And please tell us if you have any favorite books or movies that you like to rewatch when time permits!
Monday, January 24, 2011
You Killed Wesley Payne is a black comedy disguised as a neo-noir crime novel set in the rough locker rooms and mean hallways of Salt River High. The hero (anti-hero) Dalton Rev transfers in to solve the mystery of a body found hanging from the goalpost at the end of the football field. It just so happens that the body is Wesley Payne. For a fee, and maybe Wesley’s cute sister, Dalton is prepared to go up against The Balls (the football team) and Pinker Casket (the rocking campus band). Not to mention one very curvy redhead, also the head of the school, Principal Inference. There’s cliques, danger, loot, wisecracks, and femme fatales. There’s Foxxes and Plaths. Here’s ten words that perfectly describe You Killed Wesley Payne:
2. Fedora Wearing
3. So Metal.
4. Young Lust.
There’s girls, guns, grift, garage rock, and guffaws. Even though I’ve never much liked the word “guffaw.” Also, Dalton is trying to get into Harvard. Since I was paid by the sentence, much of the book is unnecessary. For instance, there’s forty-plus pages of back-matter, including a slang glossary. Here’s an example of one of the glossary entries:
Sitting On Your Ham |ˈsettin’ on yah hem |
1. Being lazy. Coasting. Parking your donk at the end of the bench and refusing to move. Trading up three jeans sizes in one semester. Ordering a pair of McGriddles to go with your order of four McGriddles. Flipping channels. Adding a few more broken lamps to the pile of junk that’s already flowing out your big ol’ steamer trunk.
USAGE SENTENCE: “Get up off of that ham right now, young lady, and come help swab your brother!”
Essentially, You Killed Wesley Payne is the mystery novel you’ve been dying to ask on a date for months, but haven’t worked up the nerve. It’s at once a sly satire, a neck-slap, and a redemptive love story. It goes down like a Four Loko milkshake, but comes up lighter than air.
It’s possible that it’s the best book written.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky and I will decide that question in a Madison Square Garden cage match later this summer. Until that time, you can take my word on it. I’m not cramming forty-six grams of soy protein down my gullet and doing a thousand quad presses every day for nothing. Get your tickets now.
So, in summation, You Killed Wesley Payne is pretty much everything you’d expect from Just Another Debutante Novel. In fact, we almost decided to call it Gossip Boy. Or, another suggestion was Dalton Rev’s Slightly Effeminate Professional Demeanor. That was ultimately shot down by a focus group, but for a long time it had its adherents on the editorial board.
Hey, tell you what, if you buy a copy of this book, I will treat you to a maple bar the next time you’re in Seattle.*
* Offer of maple bar is contingent on county laws and customs, lawyer’s recommendations, and author’s actual willingness to follow through on promise, which may be negligible, depending on your level of interest in spending many post-pastry hours listening to author whine about his bad back, mean agent, and desire to own a cat even though he has severe cat allergies. All rights and restrictions apply.
Sean Beaudoin is the author of Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue, and You Killed Wesley Payne. His stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Glimmer Train, The New Orleans Review, The Nervous Breakdown, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Onion, Instant City, The Rumpus, Opium, Barrelhouse, Redivider, Narrative, and Spirit: the In-flight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He is currently working on a collection of short stories and a crime fiction novel. Visit his website, www.seanbeaudoin.com.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Here are the nominees for Best Children's Books of 2010 posted at Teenreads.com!
Check out this great list of books! The cool news is that you are allowed to vote! Winner to be announced May 2011.
AFTER EVER AFTER by Jordan Sonnenblick
ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab
ALPHAS #2: MOVERS & FAKERS by Lisi Harrison
ALPHAS #3: BELLE OF THE BRAWL by Lisi Harrison
ANIMAL CRACKERS: A Gene Luen Yang Collection by Gene Luen Yang
ASHES by Kathryn Lasky
BAKUMAN., Volume 1 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
BAKUMAN., Volume 2 by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
BARTIMAEUS: THE RING OF SOLOMON by Jonathan Stroud
THE BEAUTIFUL BETWEEN by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
BEHEMOTH by Scott Westerfeld
BLACK BUTLER, Volume 1 by Yana Toboso
BLACK BUTLER, Volume 2 by Yana Toboso
BLACK BUTLER, Volume 3 by Yana Toboso
BLOODY VALENTINE: A Blue Bloods Book by Melissa de la Cruz
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS by Anna Godbersen
BRILLIANT by Rachel Vail
BULLET POINT by Peter Abrahams
BURNED: House of Night, Book 7 by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast
BUTTERFLY by Sonya Hartnett
BY THE TIME YOU READ THIS, I’LL BE DEAD by Julie Anne Peters
CALAMITY JACK by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale and Nathan Hale
CAPTIVATE by Carrie Jones
THE CARDTURNER by Louis Sachar
THE CARRIE DIARIES by Candace Bushnell
THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD, Book 4: ELEVENTH GRADE BURNS by Heather Brewer
THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD, Book 5: TWELFTH GRADE KILLS by Heather Brewer
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE MANGA, Volume 4 by Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE MANGA, Volume 5 by Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE MANGA, Volume 6 by Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai
CIRQUE DU FREAK: THE MANGA, Volume 7 by Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai
THE CLIQUE #12: THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR STALKING by Lisi Harrison
THE CLIQUE #13 MY LITTLE PHONY by Lisi Harrison
THE CLIQUE: THE MANGA by Lisi Harrison and Yishan Li
THE CLOCKWORK ANGEL: The Infernal Devices, Book 1 by Cassandra Clare
THE CLONE CODES by Patricia C. McKissack, Fredrick McKissack and John McKissack
CONFESSIONS OF THE SULLIVAN SISTERS by Natalie Standiford
COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles
THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers
CRUSADE by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
THE CURSE OF THE WENDIGO by Rick Yancey
DANIEL X: DEMONS AND DRUIDS by James Patterson and Adam Sadler
DARK SONG by Gail Giles
DASH & LILY’S BOOK OF DARES by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
THE DAUGHTERS by Joanna Philbin
THE DAUGHTERS BREAK THE RULES by Joanna Philbin
THE DEAD-TOSSED WAVES by Carrie Ryan
DEADLY LITTLE GAMES: A Touch Novel by Laurie Faria Stolarz
DEMON SACRED, Volume 1 by Natsumi Itsuki
DEMON SACRED, Volume 2 by Natsumi Itsuki
DEMON SACRED, Volume 3 by Natsumi Itsuki
THE DEMONATA, Book 10: HELL'S HEROES by Darren Shan
DREAM LIFE by Lauren Mechling
THE DREAMING: THE COLLECTION by Queenie Chan
THE DUFF (DESIGNATED UGLY FAT FRIEND) by Kody Keplinger
ELIXIR by Hilary Duff
ENCHANTED IVY by Sarah Beth Durst
THE ENEMY by Charlie Higson
ENTICE by Carrie Jones
THE ETERNAL ONES by Kirsten Miller
THE EXILED QUEEN: A Seven Realms Novel, Book Two by Cinda Williams Chima
EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin
THE FAMILY GREENE by Ann Rinaldi
FAT VAMPIRE: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex
FEAR: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror by R. L. Stine
FEVER CRUMB by Philip Reeve
FOILED by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro
THE FOOL’S GIRL by Celia Rees
FOR THE WIN by Cory Doctorow
FORGE by Laurie Halse Anderson
THE FRENZY by Francesca Lia Block
THE GENIUS WARS by Catherine Jinks
GHOSTGIRL: LOVESICK by Tonya Hurley
GHOSTOPOLIS by Doug TenNapel
THE GHOSTS OF ASHBURY HIGH by Jaclyn Moriarty
GIMME A CALL by Sarah Mlynowski
GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick
GLIMPSE by Carol Lynch Williams
GONE by Lisa McMann
THE GOOD NEIGHBORS, Book Three: KIND by Holly Black and Ted Naifeh
GRACE by Elizabeth Scott
GREEN WITCH by Alice Hoffman
THE GRIMM LEGACY by Polly Shulman
HALF BROTHER by Kenneth Oppel
HATTER M, Volume 3: THE NATURE OF WONDER by Frank Beddor, Liz Cavalier and Sami Makkonen
HEART TO HEART by Lurlene McDaniel
HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
HEREVILLE: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
HOLD ME CLOSER, NECROMANCER by Lish McBride
HOTHOUSE by Chris Lynch
HOW I MADE IT TO EIGHTEEN by Tracy White
I AM NUMBER FOUR by Pittacus Lore
I SHALL WEAR MIDNIGHT: A Tiffany Aching Adventure by Terry Pratchett
THE IMMORTALS, Book 4: DARK FLAME by Alyson Noël
THE IMMORTALS, Book 5: NIGHT STAR by Alyson Noël
INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher
IT'S NOT SUMMER WITHOUT YOU by Jenny Han
JANE by April Lindner
KEYS TO THE REPOSITORY: A Blue Bloods Novel by Melissa de la Cruz
KISSES FROM HELL by Kristin Cast, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead and Francesca Lia Block
THE LAST SUMMER OF THE DEATH WARRIORS by Francisco X. Stork
LIES: A Gone Novel by Michael Grant
LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater
LIVING HELL by Catherine Jinks
LOCKDOWN by Walter Dean Myers
LUKA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE by Salman Rushdie
THE LYING GAME by Sara Shepard
MALICE #2: HAVOC by Chris Wooding
MATCHED by Ally Condie
MAXIMUM RIDE #6: FANG by James Patterson
MAXIMUM RIDE: THE MANGA, Volume 3 by James Patterson and NaRae Lee
MED HEAD: My Knock-down, Drag-out, Drugged-up Battle with My Brain by James Patterson and Hal Friedman
THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney
MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins
MONSTER HIGH by Lisi Harrison
THE NECROMANCER: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 4 by Michael Scott
NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer
NUM8ERS by Rachel Ward
THE ODYSSEY by Gareth Hinds
ONLY THE GOOD SPY YOUNG by Ally Carter
OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M. Draper
PATHFINDER by Orson Scott Card
PEGASUS by Robin McKinley
PICTURE THE DEAD by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
PLAIN KATE by Erin Bow
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #7: HEARTLESS by Sara Shepard
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS #8: WANTED by Sara Shepard
THE PRINCE OF MIST by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
RADIANT SHADOWS: A Wicked Lovely Book by Melissa Marr
REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS: Yes. Boyfriends, plural. If my life weren't complicated, I wouldn't be Ruby Oliver by E. Lockhart
RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke
REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly
ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci
RUNAWAY: An Airhead Novel by Meg Cabot
THE SAGA OF LARTEN CREPSLEY: BIRTH OF A KILLER by Darren Shan
SALEM BROWNSTONE: All Along the Watchtowers by John Harris Dunning and Nikhil Singh
SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher
SCARLETT FEVER by Maureen Johnson
THE SCORCH TRIALS by James Dashner
SCOTT PILGRIM, Volume 6: SCOTT PILGRIM’S FINEST HOUR by Bryan Lee O'Malley
THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer R. Hubbard
SHAKESPEARE MAKES THE PLAYOFFS by Ron Koertge
THE SHORT SECOND LIFE OF BREE TANNER: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
THE SIX RULES OF MAYBE by Deb Caletti
SKELETON CREEK #3: THE CROSSBONES by Patrick Carman
THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
SMILE by Raina Telgemeier
SOLOMON'S THIEVES by Jordan Mechner, LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland
SOME GIRLS ARE by Courtney Summers
SOMETHING LIKE FATE by Susane Colasanti
SPLIT by Swati Avasthi
STOLEN by Lucy Christopher
SUGAR AND SPICE: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad
SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis
SWEET LITTLE LIES: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad
THEY NEVER CAME BACK by Caroline B. Cooney
THE THIN EXECUTIONER by Darren Shan
THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS by Dana Reinhardt
THIRTEEN DAYS TO MIDNIGHT by Patrick Carman
THREE BLACK SWANS by Caroline B. Cooney
THREE QUARTERS DEAD by Richard Peck
THE TIME PIRATE: A Nick McIver Time Adventure by Ted Bell
TOKEN OF DARKNESS by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
TRICKSTER: NATIVE AMERICAN TALES: A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki
TWILIGHT: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, Volume 1 by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim
TWIN SPICA, Volume 1 by Kou Yaginuma
TWIN SPICA, Volume 2 by Kou Yaginuma
TWIN SPICA, Volume 3 by Kou Yaginuma
TWIN SPICA, Volume 4 by Kou Yaginuma
THE UNWRITTEN RULE by Elizabeth Scott
VAMPIRE ACADEMY #5: SPIRIT BOUND by Richelle Mead
VAMPIRE ACADEMY #6: LAST SACRIFICE by Richelle Mead
VERY LEFREAK by Rachel Cohn
VIRALS by Kathy Reichs
VIXEN by Jillian Larkin
WHITE CAT: The Curse Workers, Book 1 by Holly Black
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green and David Levithan
WISH by Alexandra Bullen
WITCH & WIZARD: BATTLE FOR SHADOWLAND by James Patterson, Dara Naraghi and Victor Santos
WITCH & WIZARD: THE GIFT by James Patterson and Ned Rust
WOODS RUNNER by Gary Paulsen
X-MEN: MESSIAH COMPLEX
X-MEN: SECOND COMING
ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Monday, January 17, 2011
Thank you for entering the Faithful Giveaway!!
And the random lucky winner of a copy of Faithful by Janet Fox is....
Congrats, Sammy! Please send your mailing info to Tina at email@example.com and she'll get the book to you.
Thanks again, and happy reading!
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 1/17/2011
Friday, January 14, 2011
Recently I participated in a charity auction, where I was the highest bidder for a debut young adult novel by Janet Fox, Faithful. I read the book over the holidays, and enjoyed it so much that I contacted the author for an interview. So have fun learning about Faithful and about Janet, and leave a comment below if you want to be entered to win that signed copy!
Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Janet: Sure! I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil…but I began writing for children as I was trying to teach my son to read. He’s dyslexic, and I thought if I made up stories for him that captured his imagination, it might make reading easier for him and more fun. Then I found the local chapter of SCBWI – this was in Texas – and the retiring Regional Advisor was Kathi Appelt. She put me in touch with the group and I found soul mates, inspiration, and guidance. And I found my critique partners (Kathy Whitehead and Shirley Hoskins) who were truly responsible for helping me hone my craft. With their guidance I sold a magazine story and an article.
My very first book sale was my non-fiction book, Get Organized Without Losing It. I literally woke up in the middle of the night with the idea for it, and within a week had written the book proposal and put it in the mail to Free Spirit Publishing. That was an inspired moment in my life – it happened because of my passion around my son’s difficulties.
It was at an SCBWI conference in San Antonio that I met my agent, Alyssa Eisner Henkin, when I had the luck to be paired with her for a critique. She signed me based on her reading of ten pages of Faithful, and after we worked on it together – she’s a very hands-on agent – she sold it as part of a two-book deal to Penguin.
I’d like to add that Kathi then persuaded me to attend Vermont College of Fine Arts, from which I graduated last July with an MFA in writing for children. This degree and the lessons learned at VCFA have truly grown me as a writer. I know the rest of my career will be profoundly impacted by that experience.
Please tell us about your novel, Faithful, and what we can expect from your characters.
Janet: Faithful is historical fiction set in 1904 in Yellowstone National Park. I wanted to tell the story of Maggie, a rich Newport girl who finds herself suddenly poor and removed from her comfort zone by her father after her mother disappears and is presumed dead. Maggie misses her mother; but she also must come to terms with her place in a society in which upper class girls are expected to be subservient, and she must come to terms with how much more she is like her bohemian mother than she is like her society friends.
Maggie also finds an unexpected love in Yellowstone, both human (with a young man she meets) and environmental, as she slowly comes to respect and then love the beauty of the wild and exotic Park. She also discovers, through an older mentor, that she has an artistic gift and can express it through photography.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Janet: second YA novel, Forgiven, will be out in May/June 2011. Forgiven follows a secondary character from Faithful, Kula Baker. Kula is a feisty and determined young woman who grew up with little and desires nothing more than to become a society girl (like Maggie was) and wishes to find a prosperous man to support her, but she must learn that she carries her own strength of purpose within her, and that she is free to make her life important irrespective of social standing.
Kula travels to San Francisco in early 1906, and is there when the great earthquake and fires devastate the city, so that event obviously plays an important role in the story.
And she also falls in love, twice over…although there are some tragedies in Kula’s life (and I can’t spoil the surprises around that!)
Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Janet: Sure! When I was trying to discover Maggie’s character I created a scrapbook, as if she’d made it. I used pictures, stickers, words – it was a real scrapbook in every sense. The idea came from a workshop I did with the late Paula Danziger. I discovered things I might never have learned about Maggie – how much she loved her horse, Ghost; the name of her nanny, Mina; details about her relationship with her father; how she felt about wearing corsets. Just changing from my usual brainstorming with words to brainstorming using pictures and a first person narrative was liberating.
In fact, I’m going to use that on my next character, for the novel under construction now…!
Thanks, Janet! And now for our readers: to be entered to win this signed (and gently read) copy of Faithful, simply leave a comment for us the name of a National Park you’ve either visited--or would like to!
The winner will be announced on Monday. Good luck!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend.
Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...
In case you haven't heard, Deadly Little Games by Laurie Faria Stolarz, the third book in her Deadly series, is now available!
I really enjoy Laurie's writing. It's suspenseful and mysterious and her plots keep you guessing! Not only that, but her voice is honest and real. Laurie was kind enough to share a quote from Deadly Little Games with us...
"With only a few minutes of class remaining, I close my eyes again, still picturing Adam’s mouth. I try to imagine what he would say if he knew what I was doing. Would he suspect that I was interested in him? Would he think it was weird that I remember so much detail about the moment that night inside his car? Would he tell Ben what I was up to? I take a deep breath and try my best to focus on the answers. But the only words that flash across my mind, the ones I can’t seem to shake, don’t even address the questions at all. “You deserve to die,” I whisper, suddenly realizing that I’ve said the words aloud."
Laurie would also like readers to know she's offering a Touch Series contest:
“In celebration of the release of DEADLY LITTLE GAMES, I’ve launched a very exciting contest. You will need to read a copy of DEADLY LITTLE GAMES to enter. Prizes include having a minor character in DEADLY LITTLE VOICES, the fourth book in the TOUCH series, named after him or her, or a phone call from me. OFFICIAL RULES for this contest are on my website, under NEWS. ALL ENTRANTS MUST SIGN A RELEASE FORM, DOWNLOADABLE FROM WWW.LAURIESTOLARZ.COM/NEWS.html. Sign up for my e-Newsletter for updates on contest, book, and appearance info: http://www.lauriestolarz.com/newsletter.html.”
Very cool! Good luck, Everyone!
Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold nearly 750,000 copies worldwide. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at www.lauriestolarz.com.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Thanks to all who entered our contest to win all three books in Bonnie Hearn Hill's Star Crossed series!
Our winner is...
So Cherie, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get those books traveling their way to you.
And a note to all our readers: we're having another cool giveaway this upcoming weekend, so be sure to drop by!
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 1/10/2011
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Freshly Posted by TinaFerraro @ 1/08/2011
Friday, January 07, 2011
Kelly and I love giving away young adult novels...and this weekend we're especially excited because our "author in the hot seat," Bonnie Hearn Hill, has generously donated all three books in her Star Crossed series to one lucky commenter!
So with no further adieu, let's meet Bonnie and learn about her exciting series.
Hi, Bonnie, could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Bonnie: I was a newspaper editor and closet novelist. In 2002, thanks to my awesome literary agent, I contracted for six thrillers with a large international publisher. As much as I loved the thrillers, I wanted to write for teens.
My best friend is a top astrology writer--Cosmopolitan magazine, four books of her own, on TV, radio and blogs all over the place. She's also in my critique group in California. When I told her my idea for the Star Crossed series, she couldn't wait to offer me her astrological insights. Before that, I didn't even read my horoscopes in the newspaper.
Writing these books was so much fun. I love the characters. I love their conflicts and their romances. I especially love the e-mail I get from teens who relate to them, and some who want to write their own books.
Please tell us about your novel, GEMINI NIGHT, and what we can expect from your characters.
Bonnie: It's the third in the Star Crossed Series. Logan, my protagonist, is a junior in high school now, and she has an internship at CRUSH, a San Francisco teen magazine. She'd like to be the teen astrology columnist, though, and finally her editor makes a deal with her. Here's the birthdate of a Gemini celeb who will be attending the magazine's costume launch party. Do a good job of predicting what will happen to this person, and you have the job. The anonymous Gemini is in deep trouble, Logan realizes. And when she studies her own chart, she sees that it's not looking too good for her Aquarius self either. Her goal--discover the identity of the Gemini before the party. The subplots are kind of fun as well. Logan is failing to connect with her guy, who is out of the country. Her two best friends have their own issues, which are revealed at the CRUSH costume party.
Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Bonnie: Write character-driven fiction. Too many authors just write themselves with better hair, hotter bodies, and faster comebacks. Or they write plotty fiction with only action and coincidence, as the reader falls asleep. Ask yourself who this fictional person really is. She must be both proactive and sympathetic--or at least empathetic. What is the hole in her life? This is what makes her vulnerable.
In the Star Crossed series, Logan has to deal with living with her dad while her mom is on a golf tour. The reader knows the marriage is in trouble, but Logan is in denial. Now that she has Fearless Astrology as a guide, she can make predictions and assessments. Ultimately, she learns that no one--not your parents, not your guy, not even astrology--can do it for you. Yes, she solves the mystery, but she also changes and grows as a person. Just as we all do from conflict.
A final tip, and you've heard it many times before. If you know you're supposed to be a writer, then write. Don't find the time. Make the time. Never give up.
Now, for our readers who want to be entered to win these books: leave us a comment with the word "star" in it. You could write out "I'd love to win the Shooting Star series" or just a phrase like "shooting star" or "rock star" or whatever star you come up with! Have fun with it and check back on Monday to see the announcement of the winner.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Heather Davis, author of Never Cry Werewolf and The Clearing, joins us today to talk about writing and her books!
Hey, Heather, could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Heather: I’ve been telling stories and writing all my life - just ask my dad. He’ll tell you in kindergarten I talked my way from the school parking lot to the house. Anyway, I had planned to be a documentary filmmaker, but my life took a turn when I got married and let go of my goal of an MFA in film. Instead, I started concentrating on writing. After checking out some writers' conferences and reading a lot of books on writing, I sold my first short story to Cricket Magazine in 1998. That was a sign to me that I was on the right path, so I decided to try to write a novel.
In 2000 I found a critique group in my small mountain town, and they encouraged me to “pick a genre” so I joined Romance Writers of America to learn more about popular fiction. I tried to shoehorn myself in to romance, but didn’t have much success. (I was terrible at all the love scene stuff.) About that same time, I was teaching elementary school as a substitute and realized that I wanted to write something my students could read. I forged ahead with my first teen novel in 2004 and it was nominated for an RWA Golden Heart in 2005. The same book, and my next, finalled in the Golden Heart the next year and I won! I had an agent by then, and that fall he sold my third YA manuscript, Never Cry Werewolf.
After six years I was an overnight success! Never Cry Werewolf finally came out in the fall of 2009. It was a long road to publication, but I never gave up. That’s the secret - proceed with confidence that you will eventually succeed and keep getting better. It’s a war of attrition.
Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Heather: Right now, I work at an office during the day. So, I either get up early (5:30 am!) to write an hour before I get ready for work, or I work all day and then go to the coffee shop to write after the office for about two hours. I do this about 3 days a week, depending on deadlines. When I have something due, I will work on the book nearly every day or night until it’s done. When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about the story, which is also writing for me.
Please tell us about your novel, The Clearing, and what we can expect from your characters.
Heather: The Clearing is a book about getting over the fear that you let other people impose on you (fear of the future, fear of loving someone, fear of being yourself) and having the courage to find your own destiny. It’s a book with a touch of magic, time-travel, and deep emotion.
Amy, the protagonist, is recovering from an abusive relationship and needs to find the joy in her life again, along with her self-esteem. Henry, a boy stuck in an endless time loop of the year 1944, needs to gain the courage to face the future he’s protecting his family from. He’s heroic, pure of heart, and has a touch of naivete that is really appealing to Amy.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Heather: In the Fall of 2011, Harcourt will publish my next book, Wherever You Go, a story about Holly, a girl caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather who claims to communicate with the ghost of Holly’s boyfriend who died six-months earlier. Grandpa Aldo becomes an unlikely spirit guide for this lost boy and in the process, helps Holly heal her wounds of the past and open her heart to a new love.
Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Heather: Sure! I think the biggest tip I can give is to write toward the emotion. We read to process and feel things in our own lives - so find what moves you and write to help your reader experience that too. As you write, avoid getting too wrapped up in the “plot” of things and worry more about what the character feels and how they react - that will lead you to the natural action of the story and to the shape of the narrative. In other words, be true to the characters and the story will emerge.
Thanks, Heather, and please visit us again soon at YA Fresh!
Saturday, January 01, 2011
And another year has gone by. What will 2011 bring?
I'm hoping for many new YA Fresh guests and visitors, as well as continued visits from all our fresh friends, and lots of wonderful books to read and chat about.
Wishing you much peace and happiness in 2011!
~Kelly & Tina
Freshly Posted by Kelly (Lynn) Parra @ 1/01/2011