Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Yesterday was gorgeous!!! The most perfect weather ever. So I spent the day outside putting in my vegetable garden and starting a butterfly garden. I used to have one and it didn’t make it through the installation of the retaining wall and last year I missed my one gardening window (not too hot, not too buggy) plus the whole impending debut book launch thingy kept me preoccupied. So needless to say–the butterflies got the shaft last year. But this year, not only did I run across the most perfect spring day that just made me want to plant a vacation paradise for butterflies, but my fabulous nephew has been doing some yard work to help me get ready to put the house on the market. This means…I get to pick the flowers and plant them and tomorrow he will do all the unpleasant bed weeding and mulching around my creation. *sigh* Everyone should have a fabulous nephew. <3
But acting like Martha Stewart all day has left me with the need to shower and get acquainted with my couch this evening. Because of this, I have decided to enlist all of you with the job of blog-post-deep-thinking. Of course, there has to be a pay off for you firing your brain cells so mine can rest. So, as a reward for being creative and funny, (myself and the mystery judges) will pick one lucky winner to get a signed copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. Keep it for yourself, donate it to the library or use it as a gift. Just get it in the hands of a reader. How to win? Write a caption for this picture in the comments and you will be entered. Every caption is a separate entry. And just so you know, the cat in the picture is named Beans. This contest is open internationally. Have fun.
Catching up after being away for the weekend…
See you on Wednesday.
Because it’s Monday and you need this…
PS–Just want to remind you that there is still time to enter for a chance to win one of five signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE for your favorite middle school or high school.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Me: *cough, sniffle, cough* Nyquil…Zzzzzz
Hey everyone, I have my friend Kai Strand writing a guest post today. I expect you guys to be on your best behavior while I’m off doing really fun stuff like cleaning and laundry. If I catch you acting up I’ll make you help just like I do with my kids LOL!
Kai is going to tell us a little bit about writing middle grade. Now I know that my blog mainly focuses on YA Lit, BUT I am a firm believer in the cross pollination of ideas and experiences. So, sit back and enjoy. Take it away, Kai…
The main character of my newly released book, SAVE THE LEMMINGS, is much like my host, Kimberly Sabatini. Happy, positive, uplifting and inspiring.
*Wait…I haven’t started cleaning yet. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t really going to clean. Maybe I was actually going to fart around on the internet. Sue me. If I’d been being domestic I would have missed this lovely compliment. Okay…I’m going…sorry Kai.*
8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her? Will she be able to SAVE THE LEMMINGS?
There are two rules in writing middle grade. 1.) Make sure the reader can relate. 2.) Exaggerate the heck out of everything. One common issue to a kid in middle school is feeling like they don’t fit in. Natalie Edwards is an incurable priss. She walks around spouting things like, “Be pleasant to your neighbor and they’ll water your garden when you’re out of town,” and “A task performed is most rewarding when it is in service to others.” Luckily for our main character, she doesn’t let the groans and eye rolls from her fellow 8th graders bother her. So even though Natalie should feel like an outcast, she has the security of her three close friends and the love of her parents to shelter her from the meanness of others.
However, when her Texty-Talky invention makes her an overnight sensation, nothing can protect her from the meanness of the headline hungry media. Being accused of things like stealing her invention from aliens and coming up with the invention in a drug induced stupor, Natalie finally knows what it feels like to be picked on – even though she has been her whole life.
How she overcomes the media bullying and takes control of her life again will inspire readers who might be struggling under similar circumstances. Though hopefully nothing involving aliens!
You can read and excerpt and order your copy of Save the Lemmings here: http://www.featherweightpublishing.com/ShowBook.php?YA=KS_SAVE_LEMMINGS.
About the author: Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale is set in the same storytelling village as The Weaver. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, “Do your dishes!” She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.
To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: www.kaistrand.com. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author.
Yes, I’m back? So now that you’ve had a mini lesson in MG I’m wondering what you think the biggest similarity between MG and YA is? What’s the difference? Are there any books out there that you think should be YA instead of MG or visa versa? What’s your favorite MG book? Does anyone write both? Any thing about MG that really makes you crazy? Come on…lets talk.
I have another Class of 2k12 preview for you!!!! INNOCENT DARKNESS by Suzanne Lazear is a Steampunk Faerie Tale, but if you’re anything like me, you might not really know exactly what steampunk is. To help you out, I’ve grabbed Lazear’s explanation straight from her website to get us started.
What is Steampunk?
Steampunk. You hear the term more and more. But, what is exactly Steampunk, other
than an excuse for people to wear bustles and brass goggles?
I commonly describe Steampunk as “Jules Verne on Crack” – which I’m sure would
make my high school English teacher sigh in despair. Steampunk is imagining a world
where steam and natural gas, not coal and electricity, are still the primary power
sources, yet technology continues to advance. It’s a world abounding with airships,
gas lamps, gears, cogs, and brass goggles and populated with mad scientists,
philosophers, adventurers, brass robots, and air pirates.Steampunk stories can be set in the past, in the future, or on another planet. They
don’t even have to be Victorian. The Wild West is a very popular place for
Steampunk and I’ve even been hearing about Steampunk set in the Regency Era.
Steampunk transcends genres, creating genre-blending and bending at its finest.
Steampunk stories can be dark or light and funny, scary or romantic, for kids or
adults, they can even feature the supernatural or paranormal elements.
It’s in the setting, the gadgets, and the characters–who could speak like Victorian
ladies or fast-talking American teenagers. Steampunk characters often desire to make
the world a better place in some way shape or form–even if it’s by blowing up
parliament. Their adventures are often about figuring out where they fit even if it’s
means bucking the system.
With Steampunk, anything is possible. Steampunk offers an opportunity to be creative
and make amazing worlds ranging from gritty to opulent.
But Steampunk doesn’t stop at writing. Steampunk can be found in comics and
movies (League of Extraordinary Gentleman, anyone?) music (Emilie Autumn is my
favorites), clothes (if you haven’t seen the boots at Clockwork Couture, you should),
and jewelry (I am partial to tiaras made of clockhands). There are entire Steampunk
online communities dedicated to making rayguns, writing Steampunk, and Steampunk
So, now that you know all about Steampunk are you ready to write?
Wish. Love. Desire. Live.
Sixteen-year-old Noli Braddock’s hoyden ways land her in an abusive reform school far from home. On mid-summer’s eve she wishes to be anyplace but that dreadful school. A mysterious man from the Realm of Faerie rescues her and brings her to the Otherworld, only to reveal that she must be sacrificed, otherwise, the entire Otherworld civilization will perish.
INNOCENT DARKNESS is available for Pre-order here…
*Barnes & Noble
*The Book Depository
KIMBERLY SABATINI’S REVIEW
Recently I went to a writer’s conference where everyone was debating what the “next big thing” in YA literature was going to be. Some people argued that contemporary is on the rise and it was also suggested that steampunk has yet to see it’s day. But what everyone seemed to think was the most probable was a mash-up of some of our perennial favorite genres–a blending of some of our best loved reads. The first thing that came to mind when I heard this was INNOCENT DARKNESS–a steampunk faerie tale. Now, I have to admit that this was my first foray into steampunk and I found it to be very interesting, but what I loved the most was how creative Lazear got with this story. It was very clear that she has her finger on the pulse of this new type hybrid. It is also obvious that INNOCENT DARKNESS is a mix of topics that Lazear really loves and feels passionately about. Steampunk meets the fae is just fun. I can’t wait for the next installment to see what happens. Oh–and Dollymop is my new favorite word!
Suzanne Lazear’s young adult steampunk dark fairytale, INNOCENT DARKNESS, book 1 of The Aether Chronicles, will be released from Flux in August of 2012. Suzanne lives in Southern California with her daughter, the hubby, and a hermit crab, where she’s currently attempting to make a raygun to match her ballgown. She’s also part of the Steampunk group blog Steamed.
You can find out more about Suzanne Lazear and INNOCENT DARKNESS here…
*Facebook–the Aether Chronicles
*Tumblr–Runs with Bustles
*Class of 2k12
So, are you familiar with Steampunk? What’s your favorite steampunk book, movie, related site?
Yesterday I Rocked the Drop!!!!
Rock the Drop 2012
Once again, Readergirlz and Figment did ROCK THE DROP in honor of Support Teen Lit Day on Thursday, April 12th. All I had to do was find some YA books that I wanted to share with the world and then
* Snag a bookplate, created by the uber-talented David Ostow (who blogs hilarious cartoons here), and then proclaim that I will ROCK THE DROP! I love proclaiming things so this was already gonna be fun.
* Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) to drop on April 12th. The goal is to drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!
* Snap a photo of your drop and post it at the readergirlz Facebook page. Then tweet the drop at #rockthedropwith all the other lovers of YA books.
You can visit the readergirlz blog for more news and pictures before, during, and after the event!
Here’s how it went down…
I picked three books that I had on hand. Class of 2k12‘s Megan Bostic– NEVER EIGHTEEN, from YA Outside the Lines I had THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard and I had an ARC from of IMAGINARY GIRLS from Nova Ren Suma.
In each book I included a class of 2k12 bookmark and a TOUCHING THE SURFACE bookmark.
I also added in the readergirlz Rock The Drop bookplate.
Since I planned on getting out of the house and doing some writing (in addition to wanting to try to catch the finder of the book) I decided to take all three books with me to Panera.
So I planted to books and waited–going through my emails with one eye on the lookout. I was in between the breakfast and lunch crowd so I figured I needed to get a little writing done while it was slow. I got lost in my manuscript and when I looked up…all the books were done. For a moment I felt some panic. I’m usually very careful to screen perspective new parents of books that I loved. What if…
But I decided that when you Rock the Drop you’re moving outside your box and you never know what’s going to happen.
Do you like to give books as gifts? Do you have one go to book that you give everyone? Any great stories of book gifting? Planning on Rocking the Drop next year? You know I am–I’ll have my own book to leave too. <3
I have this babysitter, Amy.
I love her for all the usual reasons–like she watches my children once a week so I can go to my dance class, she’s cleaned up vomit, she plays games with my competitive yet whiny kids and she plans awesome crafts and projects. My boys adore her.
But I love her for my own selfish reasons–she’s my friend. And I had to tell her that in the acknowledgment pages of my book.
“And to Amy Miccio, boy-watcher extraordinaire, you are important to me.”
I could write another book–a book of reasons why she has become someone special in my life–but one will be enough to convince you it’s true…
She made me my first paper crane for my birthday. And then she helped three little people that I love make the second, third and fourth…
And I am reminded that there is nothing more special than having someone say…you are important to me. I am too warm and fuzzy to ask a question–just talk amongst yourselves.
I thought that I’d do a funny post highlighting some of my greatest birthday presents of all time. I mean–heck I’m 42 this year–I’ve gotten some great stuff. But my mind kind of went here first and wouldn’t go anywhere else…
If my dad was still alive–today would have been the day he shaved his winter beard. He did it every year for my birthday. He knew how much I “hated” his scruffy kisses when he rough-housed with my brother and I. He used those scratchy whiskers as a weapon in the tickle wars while putting us to bed. It was the perfect torture. Ironically, after all of the initial complaining I did–begging him to shave it off–every year I got used to it. And every spring, when March 19th rolled around, I’d be sitting at the kitchen table, eating breakfast and trying to figure out why he looked so funny that particular morning. I think the trickster in him loved that, as much as he liked to get me with his scruff. I wish he was still here to give me that present–it was one of my favorites.
What’s you’re favorite birthday present?
I don’t know if I mentioned that my friend Linda Hanlon and I have taken over as
co-conspirators co-coordinators for The Hudson Valley Shop Talk. This is my local writer’s group for the SCBWI Eastern New York. We had our second meeting of the year yesterday (I missed the first get together due to attending the New York SCBWI Conference) so for me, it felt like the first. I’ll admit it–I was a little nervous but I think it went well. We are still in a kind of transitional phase, trying to see what works best for the group. But I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you and see what you guys like out of your writer’s groups.
First of all, this group is a very mixed bag. Not everyone will be able to attend all the time, there will be a mixture of illustrators and writers from picture book to novel and there will also be a range of members from newbie to published.
This is a tough group to work with. Because of the diversity it can be very hard to meet everyone’s individual needs IF you think of Shop Talk as primarily a place to get a critique done on your work. But you guessed it–I don’t think of it that way. I know you’ve heard me mention this before, but I think of these Shop Talk meetings as a tribe gathering place–almost like a family reunion. All good families have a mixture of people at varies ages and stages of life and for Shop Talk to be an effective tool for all of us, I think we need to treat it as our tribal reunion for the month.
Here is what I see happening at a successful Shop Talk…
*Information and resources are readily available-Anyone new, walking in for the first time, should have a plethora of information about the SCBWI at their finger tips. Every month we will be adding more resources to our reference documents.
*A monthly book club where we all read one PB and one MG/YA book and briefly discuss it as WRITERS. It’s an optional exercise but it helps us all to learn to read with an eye towards craft.
*A monthly topic. On Saturday we talked about critique groups. We touched upon the traditional skills that are needed to give feedback. We also addressed a common occurrence–negating our own worth when it comes to giving feedback. We need to acknowledge that our critique skills will grow with time and practice, but that we are all capable of giving a thoughtful response as a reader. Then we discussed a blog post by Kristen Lamb, which suggest that we would benefit from being a Non-Tradtional Critique group. I have to agree. It is my personal belief that there is a limited amount a large, mixed, rotating group of people can truly do for each person’s individual manuscript. Instead we need to focus on learning general critique skills, working with big picture plot/synopsis critiques, creating relationships that will result in successful critique partners/groups and beta readers. We also need to utilize the diversity in our tribe to foster mentorship within the group. I began attending Shop Talk meetings with no real knowledge or skills about writing or publishing–I learned everything I know from the SCBWI and other children’s writers. I feel that there is no better way to say thank you for what I was given than to pay it forward. I’m inspired by the idea that the Hudson Valley Shop Talk will be a community where we all share and learn from each other.
*We need to take it to the streets–or the book stores or the restaurants or online. For this group to harness the power of it’s members we need to be in contact more than just for 2+ hours a month. Friday some of us will be heading to one of our local independent bookstores for a YA author event. We’ve got an online group on Facebook to help stay in touch and we’ll be putting together an email list so we can stay connected. Additionally,there are SCBWI conference events, book festivals and more coming down the pike. I’m excited to get to know everyone a little bit more.
I’ll be honest–I’m sure some of our best laid plans–well you know how that goes LOL! But I’m hopeful and really, isn’t that the best way to be? So, now it’s time for you to step up dear reader–whether you’re in my local Shop Talk or not. You don’t even have to be in a writer’s group to have an opinion of what you’d like out of a group. Spill. Tell me your wishes. Share your best tips.