Archive for the ‘Young Adult (YA)’ Category
Yay! It’s almost here. Saturday is the Millbrook Literary Festival. Here’s a little bit about what will be going on right off their website…
Set your calendars: the 6th annual Millbrook Literary Festival will be held on June 21, 2014.
This year’s festival will present over 70 timely, thought-provoking, and thoroughly entertaining authors and illustrators to participate in panel discussions, readings, and signings throughout the day at the Millbrook Free Library on Franklin Street. The schedule of events and lineup of authors can be found at the links to the left.
People can start the day early at the Farmer’s Market beginning at 9:00 until 1:00. Lunchtime can be enjoyed at one of Millbrook’s many eateries for a deli sandwich, slice of pizza, French cuisine, classic American fare, or other culinary delight. Before leaving the festival, visitors are encouraged to shop in Millbrook’s eclectic stores where treasures abound.
Across the globe, literary festivals have been gaining popularity, increasing literacy, and celebrating books. There are more than 150 festivals in the United Kingdom supporting tourism and literacy while presenting people with direct access to writers, illustrators, editors, and publishers. Here in the United States, literary festivals are growing in numbers annually, and historic Millbrook joins the global and national movements with enthusiasm to make books and reading an important part of our lives.
Want to know who’s going to be there giving presentations and signing books? Click HERE to get the full list of authors and the schedule. Hope I get to see you there. <3
What’s the best literary festival you’ve had the pleasure of attending?
I get so excited when things I love collide. Today, for my Bookanistas review, I have a mash-up of awesomeness that I can’t wait to share with you.
It’s a contemporary novel that hits my sweet spot–not so serious it’s dark, but deep enough to make me fall in love with the characters. Just an all around awesome read.
AND it was written by my fabulous Wolf Pack Sistah Kasie West!!!
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
Kimberly’s Review of THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US:
Some times you read a book that’s dark, heavy and serious and it feel like a punch in the gut in a weird, but wonderful way. Other times you might read a book that’s so light and fluffy, it floats in one ear and out the other after you’ve breezed through it’s pages. It’s delightful cotton candy, so perfect in the moment, but doesn’t have a lot of sticking power. Fun but frivolous.
Then there’s a book like THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US. It’s the perfect pairing. It’s peanut butter and chocolate. It’s mozzarella and tomato. It’s warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk. (I’m noticing I have a lot of chocolate and_________ comparisons I could use but I’m trying not to go there LOL!) One more…It’s chocolate and caramel. Yum!
Anyway, back to the real sweet stuff. West has a talent for finding the balance between light and dark, funny and serious, familiar and unique. If you like really great contemporary–particularly the awesome reads of Sarah Dessen, you’re going to want to pick up THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US by Kasie West. You don’t want there to be any distance between you and this book. <3
You can find THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US here…
*Barnes & Noble
I write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.
You can find out more about Kasie West, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN us and her other totally awesome books here:
And you can find more perfect reads by the Bookanistas here…
Jessica Love adores WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN by Kristin Rae
Katy Upperman raves about PUSH GIRL by Jessica Love and Chelsie Hill
What other books do you recommend that have the perfect balance? And what else should I pair with my chocolate? LOL!
I read YA week is here!!!! And you can be a part of it. Follow @this_is_teen and the #IreadYA hashtag on twitter. Every day we’ll be talking about a different topic.
Go HERE to download on of your own colored icons for I read YA week.
I read YA is also active on Facebook at This is Teen.
Follow on Instagram and share your own #IreadYA pictures.
And #IreadYA is on Tumblr too! Go Check them out!
Now tell me what your favorite YA reads are!!!! I need to know because my TBR list is not long enough.
Recently the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks has been all over twitter and the blogoshere. I’ve loved hearing and seeing the amazing requests for books and covers to reflect all the lives and faces of readers. I’ve also found the surrounding blog posts extremely interesting. They have often insightfully commented on the speed bumps we put in our own path to making change. But today I’m talking about something a little bit different. #WeNeedDiverseCritsOnOurManscripts
Not exactly the same thing, but as a writer, also pretty important.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an unpublished newbie or the author of multiple successful books. At some point, you need to have eyes other than your own on your manuscript. Of course, if you’re John Green or Veronica Roth, you’ve probably got some very eager and talented higher-ups in publishing who are willing to give feedback. But I would also imagine they have a secret stash of trusted people who will give them honest feedback on their work. And I would hazard a guess, that while those special people may not all be in publishing, they are intelligent readers who bring special insight to the table. This diversity is really important.
I very recently finished up a draft of a project to send to my agent. Because this project is a little different than what I’ve previously worked on, I really needed to have a wide swath of readers to give me feedback before I sent it for it’s first date with my agent. I don’t want to give away too much about my shiny new project. *hugs project protectively* But I have to tell you, despite having close to a dozen pairs of diverse eyes looking it over, I received very little overlapping advice on how to tighten the story. And even better, most of the suggestions were excellent and incorporated. The readers who gave me critiques saw my work with unique filters and now my writing is richer because of their vision.
Here are some general suggestions for finding diverse critiques for your writing. Since I write for kids, I’m gearing my advice to similar writers, but I think you can effectively extrapolate on the idea if you write outside of kid lit. Also keep in mind that too much advice can make you crazy. Pick your readers wisely. You should also be aware of your inner compass–be prepared to pass over advice that does’t resonate with you. Know your own voice and stick with it. But just as important, be open to trying something that doesn’t initially feel comfortable. You can always return to the original. Here are some of my suggestions for getting diversity into your critiques…
*Find someone who represents your target audience. They don’t have to be a writer–just a reader. How do they organically respond to your writing. Do they emote in the correct places? Do they get confused? Do they dislike a character they are supposed to be rooting for?
*Find someone who teaches your target audience. They know your target audience intimately, but they bring a unique perspective. Is the reading level too high? Is the topic one that kids are looking for more information on? Is your dialogue completely outdated?
*Find a children’s librarian. They know what is being checked out and read over and over again. They may also be able to help you find readers in your target audience if you are having trouble with that.
*Find a parent of a child in your target audience that takes an avid interest in their children’s reading. (This is less important with teens, but can be an interesting perspective) For younger kids, it is often the parent who is doing the reading. Will a parent want to read this book over and over again with their child? And not that you always care whether they do or not (sorry parents–ultimately we write for kids) but do the parents want to ban your book? It’s never bad to know what you’re up against.
*Find an expert that compliments your subject matter. Writing historical fiction? Writing about a medical issue? Writing about a unique location? Have someone look your manuscript over who is knowledgable in the area you are writing about.
*Find someone who has great editorial skills. It’s fabulous if you can find a crit partner that knows spelling, grammar and the proper way to set up a manuscript for submission. Especially if this is an area you are weak in. *coughs*
*Find a friend who understands your emotional personality. We write with our hearts and that’s a good thing. It is a bonus to have a reader that is keyed into the deeper threads of your story. You need someone who can point out the places where those threads are seamlessly woven and on the other hand, where you’ve gotten yourself into a knot.
*Find fresh eyes. Sometimes, no matter how lovely and talented the above critique partners are, you need fresh eyes. When someone has gone over multiple drafts of your project, they can provide a lot of amazing feedback, BUT they can also get too close to the work. They may forget that they know something only because it was in a previous draft of your writing. They are familiar–too familiar with the story. Sometimes their knowledge of your manuscript can taint their response to it. At this point, it’s always nice to get a fresh pair of well rounded eyes to look over your writing with no preconceived notions.
Did I miss any? Do you have any other recommendations for utilizing diverse crit partners for your manuscript? Please share. Or if you have any questions, fire away!
And remember–it takes time to go through all those notes you get back from a critique. But it also takes time for someone to read your work and write you those notes. Not every person can drop everything to attack your MS in a pinch. Know your timeline and never forget to return the favor. Thoughtful critiquing makes you a better writer and a much more awesome human being. :o)
I had an amazing time at the Hudson Children’s Book Festival this weekend!!!
What an amazing group of book loving people. Let me share some of them with you…
Setting up–the calm before the book storm. <3
Signing TOUCHING THE SURFACE for some very special fans.
Tiffany Schmidt and her amazing books were a teen magnet all day long.
K.M. Walton and Jennifer Castle hanging out with one of the many fabulous volunteers.
Jodi Moore and Dragon giving a tutorial on how to make your very own puppet.
I had the pleasure of sitting next to the extremely talented Hudson Talbott.
And my fellow Apocalypsie –Tiffany Schmidt
Made a brand new friend, Bruce Hopkins. Feels like I’ve known him for years.
Jodi Moore, Dragon and I got to have an early celebration with SCBWI Crystal Kite winner Kit Grindstaff. Congratulations on her win for her debut novel THE FLAME IN THE MIST.
SQUEE!!!!! MY CRITIQUE GROUP GOT TO HANG OUT WITH THE INDOMITABLE ELLEN HOPKINS ALL DAY LONG!!!! (ALL CAPS INTENTIONAL) And don’t forget the bonus SQUEE!!!! Megan, Jodi and I got to hang out all weekend together. We hadn’t seen each other in A YEAR!!! Seeing them was the BEST! <3
It was an amazing day. The book lovers in Hudson already feel like family.
I hope I get a chance to see them a lot more often. And I can’t thank them enough for hosting this wonderful event and having me be a part of it.
Everyone thinks that Dust Bunnies don’t like to read. In fact, because they blow all over the floor–a little to the left, then a little to the right–everyone assumes they only excel at dancing. And while they do have a particular fondness for the Cha-Cha and a good country line dance. I’m here to tell you they are also closet reader.
How do I know this? I have proof. They are the ones who’ve had all my old diaries and journals. I’d been looking for those so ling I thought for sure they’d gotten tossed.
Those sly little bunnies. Anyway, I’ve always told my readers that TOUCHING THE SURFACE was the first novel I’ve ever written. And I didn’t lie. Phew! But I’d forgotten that I’d started one in 9th grade. And now that the bunnies are done with it, I’m finding myself rather entertained. Part of me is cracking up and another piece is thinking–parts of this (small parts) are way better than I would’ve expected from my teenage self.
Since it is Throwback Thursday and I always take the advice of Dust Bunnies when it comes to reading recommendations, I thought I’d pull this untitled work back out again. Here’s my first “draft” of eleven, single spaced, handwritten (in cursive) pages.
It goes a little something like this…
(I have left in all typos for your entertainment)
Here I Come
“Mom!” I wailed as we approached the school. “They left with out me!”
“Heidi, sweetheart, calm down” my mother replied. “There is practically a hurricane going on! “Do you expect everyone to be waiting outside with their luggage in a down pour?”
I gave it a good second thought and realized she must be right. As we drove up to the front doors of Franklin Jr. High I could see all my friends including my best friend, Amber Bates,
sitting standing in the hallway and It was getting quite dark out but I could make out everyone quite clearly with every fresh bolt of lightening. I grabbed my suitcase and kissed my mother goodbye in one easymotion. As I dased to the doors which Amber was holding open for me. The one thing that stuck in my mind was “what a way to start our big 9th grade class trip
* * *
Best 80′s Quote–“I had brown permed hair hair wich I blew out on top and left curly in the back.”
Best Dialogue– “That was quite and entrance Heidi”
“Don’t you know Tony. Its classy to come someplace fashionably late.”
“Sure it is but fashionably doesn’t mean like a seal in the hundred yard dash.”
“Well Tony, at least I don’t look (like) a seal all the time.”
Best Joke– “He was most famously known for his fig newton jokes. My favorite one was ‘What do you call a fig newton that just got out of the hospital? A: All figsed up!!’”
Best Cliffhanger– “Just as everyone was making a mad dash across the room everything went black and the only sound you could hear was clumsy Nancy Emory falling over someone’s suitcase in the dark.”
Are you still with me??? Because after a cliff hanger like that, I decided to skip that whole “write a complete first draft” step and go directly to my favorite part of writing–REVISION! I started all over again. This time with nineteen, single spaced, handwritten pages…
Above me the thunder crashed and with every fresh bolt of lightening
my the feeling of anticipation grew inside me. I couldn’t really decide if I liked that feeling or not. As I continued to pack my clothes into the suitcase I finally decided I could sacrifice five minutes of my time to analyze it all again. I mean alot was at stake this weekend but the biggest risk I was going to take was with my feelings. If this last atempt on my part failed I was almost sure I would end up with a full fledge broken heart.
Best Pep Talk–“If it was your different speaclness (specialness?) that attracted him to you in the first place then the only way you can ever get him back is by being different and special. If he really loved you inside as much as he had said he did then he won’t forget you very easy.”
Best Revised Sentence–DRAFT #1 ” I gave it a good second thought and realized she must be right.”
DRAFT #2 “I gave it a good second thought and started to scold my imagination for being over active.”
Best Random Sentence–“Instead I followed him back to our group and silently
watched listened to Craig Morris do tell us about how on his vacation he accidentally walked int a nudist camp while taking a hike.”
And since I can’t top that AND my kids need my attention AND the dust bunnies want their reading material back–I’ll stop torturing you now. LOL! Go look up some of the things your dust bunnies have been reading and don’t forget to share!
Woo hoo!!! I am so excited to be a part of the 6th Annual Hudson Children’s Book Festival!!!!
I’ll be there with my sharpies signing copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE!!!
But it’s not just me!
There is an epic ton of amazing kid lit folks on the scene. For the full Author/Illustrator list click HERE.
But I have to SQUEE!
Some of my best writer buds and fan yourself fan-girl worthy authors are going to be there…
So, come out and visit all of us!!!! We can’t wait to hang out with you <3
Katherine Longshore keeps getting better and better. In my opinion, BRAZEN (The Royal Circle, Book 3) is her best book yet!
Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?
Kimberly’s Review of BRAZEN:
I’ve never been one to lean in the direction of historical fiction until I started reading Katherine Longshore’s books and BRAZEN is my favorite to date. Her writing just keeps getting better and better. It’s so rare to find a book that is historically educational while also as tantalizing and swoon worthy as a very popular romance. An amazing read.
Mary Howard and Henry FitzRoy are chess pieces in the very real and dangerous games being played in King Henry VIII’s court. But love has a power all it’s own and Longshore gives us front row seats to the danger and intrigue. You do not want to miss your chance to be a part of this. Read BRAZEN–better yet–read GILT, TARNISH and then BRAZEN asap!
You can pre-order BRAZEN by Katherine Longshore here…
*Barnes & Noble
Having spent time as a freelance travel writer, travel agent, coffee shop barista, bookseller, ship’s steward, construction company contracts manager and Montessori preschool teacher, I have finally found my calling. I write historical fiction for young adults. I am represented by Catherine Drayton of InkWell Management.
You can find out more about Katherine Longshore and BRAZEN here…
Want to know what other must-reads the Bookanistas have been consuming? You’re in for a treat…
Lenore Appelhans is nuts for NOGGIN by John Corey Whaley
Tracy Banghart swoons for STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood
Rebecca Behrens raves about PUSH GIRL by Bookanista Jessica Love
Christine Fonseca is riveted by SEKRET by Lindsay Smith
Jessica Love sings the praises of OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord
Katy Upperman is crazy for THE SYMPTOMS OF MY INSANITY by Mindy Raf
If you could read a historical fiction about any time period in history, what time frame would you like to see between the pages of a good book? I want to hear more about the Berlin Wall and what that felt like for families separated and trying to get home to each other. Okay historical fiction writers–get on that for me.
It’s been a long time since I’ve run a contest for signed copies of TOUCHING THE SURFACE.
Last weekend one of my dear friends and a fabulous children’s librarian, Cathy Nuding, volunteered her time to come speak to my local SCBWI Shop Talk. It was two hours of amazing. I’d like to recognize Cathy’s awesomeness and help out even more hard working librarians. I’ll be giving Cathy another signed copy of TTS for her library (along with some other goodies) but I’ll also be giving away SIX more signed copies. You don’t have to be a librarian to enter. Just tell me about the library you believe should have a copy of TOUCHING THE SURFACE. If Rafflecopter pulls your name–I’ll send a signed copy right to their front door.
“Soulful and inventive. A thoroughly original vision for what happens next.” –Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds
“This gorgeous, lyrical read will sweep you away.” –Jessica Verday, bestselling author of The Hollow trilogy
“Sabatini creates an exquisitely tangible alternate reality, ordering the cosmos with impressive authorial derring-do, crafting answers to ontological questions with grace, disarming simplicity, and nary a trace of dogma. All while believable teens–teen souls, that is–tangle with affection, selfishness, and doubt. Thought-provoking and romantic, Touching the Surface takes risks with narrative and form, and succeeds on multiple levels.” –RBW (Chronogram)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Squee!!!!! It’s SCARLET #2 aka LADY THIEF by A. C. Gaughen. I’ve been waiting forever to sneak back into Scarlet’s world and hang out with my boyfriend Robin. <3
Scarlet’s true identity has been revealed, but her future is uncertain. Her forced marriage to Lord Gisbourne threatens Robin and Scarlet’s love, and as the royal court descends upon Nottingham for the appointment of a new Sheriff, the people of Nottingham hope that Prince John will appoint their beloved Robin Hood. But Prince John has different plans for Nottingham that revolve around a fateful secret from Scarlet’s past even she isn’t yet aware of. Forced to participate at court alongside her ruthless husband, Scarlet must bide her time and act the part of a noblewoman—a worthy sacrifice if it means helping Robin’s cause and a chance at a future with the man she loves. With a fresh line of intrigue and as much passion as ever, the next chapter in Scarlet’s tale will have readers talking once again.
Kimberly’s Review of LADY THIEF:
Dear A. C. Gaughen,
The sheer awesomeness of this book is driving me crazy. Scarlet is a serious badass, but sweeter than ever at the exact same time. How did you manage to pull that off? And that thing you did with Gisbourne–too many feels for a character I dislike as much as him. He’s such the perfect creeper. And about my favorite band of merry men. I still love them all *crushing hard* but how could you??? It was amazing it was awful. It was shocking–yes that’s what it was–it was shocking!!!! So this leaves me with one BIG question–WHEN DO I GET TO READ SCARLET #3??????
You can order LADY THIEF by A. C. Gaughen here…
*Barnes & Noble
ok, no, AC does not stand for ACCUWEATHER. but last time i tried googling myself, the first thing that comes up when i type “ac” is “accuweather.” go figure.
i’ve been madly in love with writing since I was in kindergarten. not kidding–some of my earliest memories revolve around books and writing, like reading in front of the class, reading with my mother, and writing a story in first grade that was so funny (it dealt with a gorilla finding someone naked in the shower, and was, sadly, the culmination of my humor writing skills) it got me kicked out of class. which was also the first and last time for that.
no that’s a lie. in third grade i got detention for ripping bark off a tree.
i know, i’m a rebel.
from there, it was a long road. i wrote all through middle school and starting submitting novels (I hope I still have those very kind, gentle rejection letters somewhere) when I was thirteen. ACK you have no idea how bad those novels looked. All through high school I was writing in a notebook instead of taking class notes (explaining the less than perfect GPA). It was always novels for me–the first time I seriously wrote short stories was at the end of my college career, to get into my graduate program, and it felt awkward and weird.
but i got in to grad school, wrote like a fiend, and when i graduated i spent three miserable years as a freelance writer while working on several different novels. I wrote them, prepped them, submitted them, and kept on working, because as far as I can tell, the actual writing is the only thing that i can control, and it’s the part that really makes me happy. oh, and i have two dogs. because every writer should have dogs.
You can find out more about A. C. Gaughen and LADY THIEF here…
Want to know what other badass books the Bookanistas are reading? Here’s a list…
Jessica Love is captivated by LIV, FOREVER by Amy Talkington
Katy Upperman praises PANIC by Lauren Oliver
Christine Fonseca applauds DANGEROUS by Shannon Hale
Lenore Appelhans is riveted by THE GLASS CASKET by McCormick Templeman
Scarlet is a wiz at getting in and out of tight places undetected. If you could be really good at one Navy Seal style skill (no super powers please) what would you choose? I think I’d have to go with absolutely NO fear of heights with some really good balance for extra measure. LOL!