Another great year comes to an end.

As we enter the final hours of 2009, I am sitting at my kitchen table watching Times Square on the television, and reflecting on the past twelve months. It seems like so long ago I decided, "I'm going to write a novel." But in reality, it was only ten months ago. In ten months, I've read countless books and articles on writing and networking. Flipped the pages of Writers Digest over and over again. Scourged the internet for interviews and blogs from agents and editors and book publishing houses, anything I could to learn about the industry and the market and get a vague idea of what I was getting in to.

I won't get in to all the hairy details about all that I've personally accomplished in 2009, but it does seem overwhelming. Overwhelming and inspirational.

In such a short time, I've pushed myself more than I ever thought I was able. I've made wonderful friendships and the sense of self-worth I've acquired by setting a goal, a goal that I have always dreamed of achieving, was worth every head-banging, eyeball-melting, brain-aching second.

*Fills shot glass with Hennessey* To another head-banging, eyeball-melting, brain-aching year! May all your wishes come true! And by that I mean, may you have the determination and perseverance to make it happen!

Sisters in Scribe: When it seems to almost appear as if...

Sisters in Scribe: When it seems to almost appear as if...

The use of ellipses...


What is an ellipsis? To be honest, I was going to come up with something quirky, but I am angry with my sister right now. So angry, in fact, that I....

See what I did there? Ha! And that was unintentional. I was really going to tell you that I am so angry with her that I actually had a dream last night in which I was yelling at her. But instead of finishing my sentence, I trailed off with an ellipsis. You will noticed I used four periods. An ellipsis is a series of three dots, but because I ended the sentence with it, I still have to add the period to signify the close of the sentence.

The most common usage of an ellipsis, is during dialog. In fiction writing, (in non fiction, an ellipsis indicates the omission of a word or words) we all know how important it is that our characters are individuals. A big part of characterization, especially in writing YA, is dialog. I've seen some writers using an ellipsis to signify an interruption, or to separate a clause, and this is incorrect. In such cases, you should use and em dash.

Em dash from Dictionary.reference.com:
em·dash or em dash (ěm'dāsh') n. A symbol ( — ) used in writing and printing to indicate a break in thought or sentence structure, to introduce a phrase added for emphasis, definition, or explanation, or to separate two clauses.

Just so we're clear, I'm going to give an example of each.

Em Dash:
"James, I dunno what to tell you. I think--"
"Don't think. Just don't."

James interrupted the first speaker. He cut off her sentence so we used an em dash.

Ellipsis:
"James, I think...I dunno what I think."

The speaker did not complete her thought, so I used an ellipsis to signify that.
I realize these are both poor examples, but you get the idea.

Having said all of this, ellipsis can be wonderful tools in writing dialog, but over use can make your writing hard to read, choppy and just down right poor. If your sentence ends in a full thought, one dot will do.

Waiting on Wednesday: Week 2

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine.

Today's WOW is LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater. I have been anticipating this book since I finished reading my (autographed) ARC of SHIVER last March. Maggie is also the author of two books about homicidal faeries: LAMENT and it's sequel, BALLAD. Both of these books are excellent. You should definitely check her out.

This cover is AMAZING.


The sequel to Shiver follows the story of Grace and the wolves of Mercy Falls.

Maggie says: "It's about after. What happens after you discover there are werewolves in the wood, after you've fallen in love for the first time, after you've lost what you think you can't live without, after you've become someone you can't live with."

...grace...

This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf and a girl who was becoming one.

Just a few months ago, it was Sam who was the mythical creature. His was the disease we couldn't cure. His was the good-bye that meant the most. He had the body that was a mystery, too strange and wonderful and terrifying to comprehend.

But now it is spring. With the heat, the remaining wolves will soon be falling out of their wolf pelts and back into their human bodies. Sam stays Sam, and Cole stays Cole, and it's only me who's not firmly in my own skin.

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK from an independent bookstore via IndieBoundor order through Amazon or Amazon UK

Driplet

When we're growing up, especially through the teen years, our parents have this uncanny ability to embarrass us. Be it with nicknames they shout out at your basketball games to get your attention from the free throw line, or dropping you off directly out front of your school in the rusted-out jalopy that was once known as a "shaggin' wagon", parents just know how to ignite your cheeks and make your little rabbit heart skip an embarrassed beat.

As you get older, and I know nobody really wants to hear this, you'll appreciate those little moments. Maybe not the time your cowboy dad holds you upside down in a dirty stable stall and dips your head in manure in front of your crush...but other stuff.

That same crazy cowboy dad has a nickname for me. It came around about a time when I was feeling low, I was probably about 13 or so, and he called me "Driplet". What is a driplet? Well, he'd tell you:

A driplet is a droplet
A Droplet is water
Water is nature
And nature is
Beautiful

Whenever I'm feeling insecure, and yeah even we supermom's get the blues, I just remember those words :)

Love you, Pops.

In My Mailbox - Week 1


In my mailbox was started by Kristi at The Story Siren

In addition to these, I had purchased a few books the week before and so I probably won't be doing another IMM for a while. At least not until my birthday in late January ;)

Tricks - Ellen Hopkins
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Marked - P.C Cast & Kristin Cast
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Rebel Angels - Libba Bray
The Sweet Far Thing - Libba Bray
The Lightening Thief - Rick Riordan
Sea Monsters - Rick Riordan
Titan's Curse - Rick Riordan
Strange Angels - Lili St. Crow
Betrayals - Lili St. Crow
Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr
The Dark Divine - Bree Despain (Reading now)

Beautiful Creatures


Beautiful Creatures

Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (December 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316042676

Some loves are meant to be…
others are cursed.

There were no surprises
in Gatlin County.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have
been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end,
there was a grave.


Visit the author's website to hear SIXTEEN MOONS

The Story (from kamigarciamargaretstohl.com)

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This really is a must-have book! I'm sure not everyone will agree, but I loved it! Must be the southerner in me that couldn't get enough of Amma and her chicken bones.

When I was a young girl, our family horse ranch in North Carolina hosted a Civil War reenactment, and reading that part of the book brought back memories.

The cover design is gorgeous, the plot is full of surprising twists, the stakes are high, and the characters are great! Macon Ravenwood is my favorite. I pictured Vincent Price every time he came on scene.


A great debut novel that I highly recommend.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas--Twilight Style

My good friend A.J. Spindle showed me this and it was too neat not to pass along!
From:

‘Twas the night before Christmas in the house of Cullen,
All were quite busy, no one was sullen.
Emmet downed a pine with just one blow,
Which Alice had decorated so grand, don’t you know!
Only one stocking was hung up tonight,
For a child named Renesmee, who squealed with delight!
For this celebration was made for one cause;
The arrival of none other than Santa Claus.

Back at the cottage, with paper and bows, Bella wrapped presents for Nessie…with Rose.
Delighted, that now, they were sisters, so dear;
It’s amazing what happened in just one short year.
Charlie and Sue, engaged, now, to marry,
Were also quite busy, no time to tarry.
Charlie cursed quietly under his breath.
They still couldn’t leave. Where were Leah and Seth?
When, finally, Sue’s two kids did arrive,
With the car fully loaded, they pulled out of the drive.
It seemed kind of silly to leave break of dawn,
But he wouldn’t argue, no, not Charlie Swan.

Carlisle and Esme were cooking up stuff,
But with werewolves coming, would there be quite enough!
Folks soon would arrive, but one thing to do first;
Go on a hunt to make sure there’s no thirst.
Alice could see that they still had one hour,
Which was plenty of time for some deer to devour.

Edward drove up with wrapped presents galore,
Brought some in the house, then went back for more.
“This time,” he thought, “she’ll accept what I give…
She’s my Bella, my wife, for as long as we live.”
On the back porch, Nessie did what she oughta,
For the reindeer, she put a big bowl of water.
Next to the tree, on a cloth made of silk,
For Santa, some cookies and a tall glass of milk.

Candles were lit and the tables were set
For a Christmas morning none would forget.
The music was playing. There were lights on the trees.
The house would be found with the greatest of ease.
The guests were arriving. All Cullens were there
To greet their new friends and wish holiday cheer.
People were laughing and eating the food.
Even Leah was in a good mood.
If one looked at Jasper, they’d see a broad smile;
He’d keep Leah happy, at least for awhile!

Only one person seemed very sad.
Renesmee said, “Mama, I must have been bad.
Santa should be here, but where is his sled?
Has he gone to see other children instead?”
“Hey, Renesmee,” said Emmet, “what’s all that noise?
Could that be Santa Claus, bringing you toys?”
Nessie ran to the window. All talking did pause.
For there in the yard was dear old Santa Claus.
Instead of reindeer, eight wolves pulled the sled.
By a ninth wolf, in front, the others were led.
“It’s Rudolph, Mama!” and Bella smiled back.
For the wolf, with the red nose, was Jacob Black.
With tears in her eyes, she thought, “Oh, that boy!
He’d do just about anything to bring Nessie joy.”
Suddenly, Santa was gone…that was weird.
He was now in the house with red suit and beard.
His eyes, how they twinkled. He carried a sack.
If you looked very closely, you’d see Billy Black.
Then Paul and Embry and others were there.
Soon, Quil arrived, carrying Clare.

It was a time full of happiness…no one was sad.
A celebration that good triumphed bad.
A time to put old issues to rest,
As each saw the other for their very best.
Then, Carlisle and Billy looked very mysterious.
“We have something to say, and it’s really quite serious.
Loyalty proven…It wasn’t an act.
And the time is right for a brand new pact.
Quileutes and Cullens exist hand in hand,
Free to walk on the other’s land.
If ever we’re threatened, with death, by others,
We’ll all stand together…sisters and brothers.”

With emotion filled comments and tears in some eyes,
People were hugging and saying goodbyes.
Cars, loaded with gifts, food, and holiday cheer,
All promised to be on hand next year.
“Renesmee is snoring, so we’d better go;
But Carlisle and Esme, I want you to know
I love you so much.” Bella said, so sincere.
“Before we go, let me make this quite clear.
The decision to change was mine from the start,
No need for another…your son IS my heart.”

Hands clasped together, Bella and Ed
Carried Nessie home, and put her to bed
“She’s perfect,” he said, “but then, so are you.
Who would have guessed, after all I’ve been through,
That I would have love and a life filled with bliss.”
Then he hugged her and gave her the most tender kiss.
Of course, there was more…’twas a night full of passion.
But, I’ll tell you the rest in Stephenie fashion.
The love that they shared was honest and true.
Having said that, MERRY CHRISTMAS to you!

Sisters in Scribe: Micro-Managing Your Story - (don't do it!)

Sisters in Scribe: Micro-Managing Your Story - (don't do it!)

Wednesday's posts at Sisters in Scribe are brought to you by our own movie-maker, Valerie!

"Waiting on" Wednesday: Week 1

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. This is my first time participating but I'll be doing it from now on :)

My first week's pick is DEAD IN THE FAMILY by Charlaine Harris. Release date: May 4th 2010
(some sources say May 27th, but I'm going by Amazon)
I am a big Sookie Stackhouse fan and in many ways, Charlaine's Southern Vampire Mysteries were the books that kick-started my own writing venture.
Dead in the Family

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Hardcover (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018642

After careful searching (nobody seemed to have a synopsis), I came across True Blood Online, and snagged us the following:

Dead In The Family is the title of the 10th Sookie Stackhouse book by Charlaine Harris. On September 1 Mrs. Harris wrote on her blog:

I finished DEAD IN THE FAMILY Sunday, the last possible day I could finish it. My friend Toni is reading it now, and then I’ll send it to my editor, Ginjer. The concept of DITF was originally quite different from the book I ended up writing, but that often happens and doesn’t quite scare me like it used to. At first I thought DITF would be very episodic; it turned out to have a unifying theme and to have a crazy night of resolution. Of course, this may change once my editor has a read!

By the time I send a book in to New York, I hate it. Maybe I hate DITF a little less than others. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

Finishing a book is like coming up out of deep water. It’s a relief just to breathe and look around and return to the land of the living. I’ve had a long list of things that needed to be done, and now I have time to do them.

Let’s wait and see what the editor will say about it… in the meantime there is already a synopsis of Dead In The Family available on the internet.

Sookie Stackhouse has finally settled into a relationship with the Viking vampire Eric, and her errant brother Jason seems to have his life in order, too. But all the other people in Sookie’s life – Eric himself, her former lover Bill, her friend and boss Sam – are having family problems. Eric’s maker shows up with Eric’s ‘brother’ in tow, the ailing Bill can only be healed by a blood sibling, and Sam’s brother’s marriage is about to take place …or will it? The furor raised by the coming out of the two-natured has yet to settle; some people are just not ready to sit down to dinner with a man who turns into a dog. And Sookie herself is still recovering from her last ordeal. She’s definitely improving, physically and mentally, but she’s always going to have some dark moments now. The werewolves tell her that there have been strange and ominous passers-by in the Stackhouse woods; now Sookie is about to come face-to-face with one of her more distant relatives …


My Ruski baby

My daughter, who will be turning 3 in another month, telling her Grandfather some Russian nursery rhymes. She's just too cute not to share.

Query Writing

Nobody likes to write a query, but alas, it is inevitable in the writing world. Many agents and publishers require a query letter before they'll even consider looking at your writing, so it is imperative that you can make that thing rock!

So how do you do it? What makes a query stand out?

The first step is knowing who you're sending it to. Do your research. Be sure that the agent or editor you're submitting to would be remotely interested in your work. In other words, do not send erotica to an editor who publishes science fiction. The more you do your research and narrow down your choices, the better your chances of getting a partial or full request on your manuscript.

Second step, is to be sure you've understood the submission guidelines. They're all different. If that agent/editor requests the first ten pages along with that query, make sure you send it! If they don't request anything, do not send anything. Do not send bribes, head shots of yourself in your best literary pose, or gimmicks of any kind. If they do not specify format for your query letter, 12pt times new roman font is the norm, single spaced. One page. No more.

Now we get to the goods. What's in a query?
  • The hook
  • The mini synopsis
  • The credentials
  • The close
Those are the key elements that will make up your query. It isn't a resume or your life story, and telling the recipient that you've wanted to write since the 4th grade, is not relevant. It's one page, introducing your book and yourself (briefly).

You should be able to incorporate those elements in as little as three paragraphs. Learn more about the person you will be sending your letter to. Some agents like you to start out by telling them your name and why you chose them specifically(but try not to suck up too much). Others want you to get right to the point.

The hook, is a single line that does just that--hooks your reader. A hook can start with whensomething happened (When Harry met Sally), give the era or setting in which the story takes place (In Jacksonville North Carolina, at the start of the Civil War), or set up your main character(James can't seem to get his mind off that night when).
The synopsis is where you summarize your entire book in one paragraph. Woohoo! The best way I've found to do this, is expand on your main character, her goal and what's holding her back. One suggestion I've heard is to read the jacket flaps of some of your favorite novels and see how it's been done.
The credentials are all about you. What makes you the right person to write this book? Previous publications? Affiliations?
The close is where you politely thank the reader for his/her time and wrap it up.

And that pretty much sums it up! Agent Nathan Bransford offers up some sample winning queries on his blog from time to time. Be sure to check him out! I find his query mad-lib to be helpful.


**NOTE** If you are writing fiction (and if you're reading this, I assume you are), DO NOT refer to your novel as fiction. "Novel" is fiction by default.

If you've got anything to add, feel free to let us know in the comments section here or over at Sisters in Scribe, where I post every Thursday (starting now) and my fabulous critique partner, Kristi makes her posts on Tuesday.

Fallen



Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (December 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385738935
ISBN-13: 978-0385738934

All her life, seventeen year old Lucinda Price has feared the shadows; feared what they might do, what they meant. Was she crazy? Had the shadows done it? Was it her fault that that boy died?
After an unexplained fire kills a boy in front of Luce, she's sent away to Sword and Cross--a boarding school for society's rejects. A place where cellphones are forbidden and Luce's every move is being recorded by cameras. It's there that she sees him, Daniel Grigori. Luce is drawn to Daniel in a way she can't explain. Even after he is repeatedly rude to her, she still searches to find answers to his secrets, to know him. To love him. No matter the cost.
*************************************************************************************

The cover is beautiful. It may not mean much to some of you, but in my opinion, a pretty cover is a plus. It even feels pretty. I liked the pace and the tone of the book and I loved trying to figure out who was on what side of the fence. I must say, it surprised me! FALLEN is book one of a four part series, and so of course some of the mystery needs to be left unsolved by the books end, but to me it feels like too much was left unanswered. Definitely makes me want to buy book two! All in all, I give it four stars and I can't wait until September 2010 to find out what happens next.

About the Author
Lauren Kate recently finished her M.A. in Creative Writing at UC Davis, where she also teaches. She lives and writes in an old farm house in Winters, California. Her first novel, The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove goes on sale one month before Fallen.

Keep and Eye Out for this one!

I want to thank my bookish pal, Jess, over at book reviews by Jess for bringing this one to my attention! Shannon Delany's debut novel, 13 TO LIFE: A Werewolf's Tale, hits shelves June 22, 2010. I haven't read it yet, but it's near the top of my picks for the new year and I wanted to get the word out to you because it sounds too cool to miss. Who doesn't love Russian werewolves in a pretty book cover?

**If we're lucky, Ms. Delany may stop in for a visit so leave her some comments!!!**

13 to life

Product Details
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (June 22, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312609140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312609146

Summary fromShannon’s web site (I copied this from Jess's blog and stole her holly berries, mwahahahahah!)

Something strange is stalking the small town of Junction…
When junior Jess Gillmansen gets called out of class by Guidance, she can only presume it’s for one of two reasons. Either they’ve finally figured out who wrote the scathing anti-jock editorial in the school newspaper or they’re hosting yet another intervention for her about her mom. Although far from expecting it, she’s relieved to discover Guidance just wants her to show a new student around—but he comes with issues of his own including a police escort.
The newest member of Junction High, Pietr Rusakova has secrets to hide--secrets that will bring big trouble to the small town of Junction—secrets including dramatic changes he’s undergoing that will surely end his life early.
His name is pronounced as Peter. Some of you may be questioning his last name as I did (Shannon, don't hate me!) but rest assured, Ms. Delany assures us it was not a casual error. There is a reason for Peitr to have a feminine surname. Just as there is a reason I have a masculine one!




You can check out author Shannon Delany on goodreads, twitter and don't forget to stop by her website for an excerpt form the book!

FADE


Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416953582
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416953586


FADE, book 2 in the Dream Catcher Trilogy, is the continued story of Janie Hannagan-Dream Catcher. Janie is sucked in to the mind of the dreamer, an ability that has always haunted her, but now Janie is learning to control it. Not only can she pull out of the dreams, but she can help to change them. Janie's ability lands her a job with the police. The only other person outside of the police force who knows about her, or cares, is Cabel--her partner and the boy she loves. But Janie's newest assignment, to bait a suspected sexual predator, could push Cabel to far and Janie is learning that dream catching comes at a high price.

I love this series. It's fast paced and holds your attention from page one. Janie and Cabel have had such hard lives you can't help but want a happy ending for them, and with all the twists and turns they take, you have to keep reading to be sure it ends well. This book is a bit darker than WAKE. There's mention of sex, more graphic than in most of the YA I've read, but nothing over the top. If you've followed any of my previous book reviews and we have similar tastes, you'd probably enjoy this one.

Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song!

Because who doesn't love that song? And Adam Sandler is a babe. Don't argue.

Intro: this is a song, that uh, there's a lot of xmas songs out there, but not
Too many about hanukkah, so I wrote a song for all those nice little jewish
Kids who don't get to hear any hanukkah songs--here we go...

Put on your yalmulka, here comes hanukkah
Its so much fun-akkah to celebrate hanukkah,

Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

When you feel like the only kid in town without a x-mas tree, heres a list of
People who are jewish, just like you and me:

David lee roth lights the menorrah,
So do james caan, kirk douglas, and the late dinah shore-ah

Guess who eats together at the karnickey deli,
Bowzer from sha-na-na, and arthur fonzerrelli.

Paul newmans half jewish; goldie hawns half too,
Put them together--what a fine lookin' jew! [esus]

You don't need deck the halls or jingle bell rock
Cause you can spin the dreidl with captain kirk and mr. spock--both jewish!
[esus]

Put on your yalmulka, it's time for hanukkah,
The owner of the seattle super sonic-ahs celebrates hanukkah.

O.j. simpson-- not a jew!
But guess who is...hall of famer¡ºrod carew--(he converted!)

We got ann landers and her sister dear abby,
Harrison fords a quarter jewish--not too shabby!

Some people think that ebeneezer scrooge is,
Well, he's not, but guess who is:all three stooges. [esus]

So many jews are in show biz--
Tom cruise isn¹t, [tacit] but I heard his agent is. [esus]

Tell your friend veronica, it's time you celebrate hanukkah
I hope I get a harmonica, on this lovely, lovely hanukkah.

So drink your gin-and-tonic-ah, and smoke your mara-juanic-ah,
If you really, really wanna-kah, have a happy, happy, happy, happy
Hanukkah¡ ¡ . happy hanukka!

Gut Yontif!

*Happy Holiday!*

It's Friday, aren't we all glad for that? And this evening marks the first night of Hanukkah 2009--The Jewish Festival of Lights! I'll post a picture of our menorahs on the 8th night. Pretty when all lit up.

********Happy Hanukkah!********

I'm pressed for time (working my butt off on another draft of "FA") so I'm going to borrow from Wikipedia:

Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎, Tiberian: Ḥănukāh, nowadays usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [ˈχanuka]in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, and may occur from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar.

YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday

Yes, I know it is Thursday, but I am behind thanks to the awesomeness that was BLOOD PROMISE. I used all my spare time yesterday to read it.

The YA Highway, a blog comprised of several YA authors, is hosting a "Blog Carnival". They post the questions and you/we answer them on our own blogs and then link back to them via the comments section. So here I go:

1) What are the three best books you've read this year?
SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater, WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson, BLOOD PROMISE by Richelle Mead (whew, that was hard!)

2) If you could meet one author (living or dead), who would it be?
Charlaine Harris. I've met a number of authors already, but in the very beginning of my writing venture, Harris probably had the most influence on me with her Sookie Stackhouse novels.

3) What book are you most looking forward to in 2010?
Right now, I'd have to say SPIRIT BOUND by Richelle Mead because I just finished reading the 4th book in the Vampire Academy, BLOOD PROMISE, and I can not wait to see how it ends.

Blood Promise




(have no idea whats going on with this post)



















Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141987
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141989


***DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE READ THE FIRST THREE BOOKS***


When an unheard of number of Strigoi attacked the school, St. Vladimir's academy lost a number of lives, Moroi and Guardian alike... including Dimitri. But Dimitri isn't dead, not really. He'd told Rose that he'd rather die than be one of them. Rose promised not to let him be turned and she intends to keep that promise, even though it means risking her life and Lissa's friendship. Rose sets out to find him, but can she really kill the man she loves?

This book is amazing. I couldn't put it down, I just HAD to know what happened. As with the other three in the series, I am amazed at just how many sub plots that Mead can string together so perfectly. And subtlety isn't lost either! There were a number of small things I was shocked by, but in hindsight, I should have noticed them. Brilliant! Can not wait to see how the story continues! So Razor Bill, hurry up and bring us the final chapter! --May 18th 2010--

January 18-21 Richelle Mead will be in NYC. I'll try my best to get out to meet her and snap a photo!

My first SCBWI meeting!

I've been a member of SCBWI (scbwi.org) for over a year now, but I haven't been able to attend any events for one reason or another. Once a month the SCBWI Metro NY chapter holds meetings at the Anthroposophical Society in Manhattan and tonight I was finally able to attend. Hubby went along with me so we took the Harley--parking is easy when you can slip in between two cars. We had a very enjoyable time. Tonight's speakers were editors Krista Marino(Delacorte) and Lexa Hillyard(Razor Bill). Both ladies were very professional (of course) and courteous. They said what they had to say on characterization and manuscript makeovers and took the rest of the time to answer questions. I spoke briefly with Ms. Marino and she seemed more than happy to answer any questions I had for her, personally.

To anyone in the Metro NY area, these meetings are not limited to SCBWI members and they are extremely beneficial for children's book writers. Check the SCBWI metro NY website to see if any of the meetings would benefit you. The meetings are limited to the first 80 people so preregistration is recommended but not required. The limited seating provides for a more intimate setting. The speakers stay afterward to answer questions and mingle and coffee and pastries are served. A great time to be had by all! And it's affordable! So go go go!

Shadow Kiss


Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (November 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141979
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141972

The third book in the Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead continues the story of Dhampir Guardian (in training), Rose Hathaway. Rose is shadow-kissed. When the car accident that took Princess Vasilissa Dragomir's family also killed her best friend and guardian, Rose, Lissa unknowingly used her ability to wield spirit magic to bring her back. Lissa is learning more and more about spirit, and Rose is discovering the not-so-awesome side effects of being shadow-kissed.
Since Mason's tragic death at the hands of a Strigoi, Rose has been having dark flashbacks. She can't concentrate at practice and her temper is hotter than usual. Being so close to the man she loves and not being able to have him doesn't help her. Then the school is victim to one of the worst Strigoi attacks in history, and everything is at stake.

This book is, so far, my favorite. It's action packed, the romance between Rose and Dimitri thickens and Lissa takes on a whole new level of awesome (and scary). I am amazed and inspired by Mead's ability to weave so much into her books. There is always something going on, even when there isn't.

Snow!

The state of Pennsylvania has been hogging it until tonight. We've got our first flurries of the season in New York City!

Tis the season

For book give aways!
YA Highway is giving away a number of great books!
From the blog:

Books to be won include:

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta

HOW I LIVE NOW by Meg Rosoff

CRACKED UP TO BE by Courtney Summers

BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia

SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater

WONDROUS STRANGE by Lesley Livingston

Our first place winner gets a choice of bookcases (up to $40 value) from CSNstores.com and his/her choice of FOUR of our selected favorite YA books!

Our second place winner will receive the remaining THREE books from our selected favorite YAs!


Go to the link and enter for your chance to win. You can get at least one entry just by following the blog. You only have until December 17th to take advantage of this great offer!

Frostbite- A Vampire Academy Novel



Product Details

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill; First Edition edition (April 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595141758
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595141750
Frostbite
is the second book in the Vampire Academy series. In this book, we get a farther look into the challenging life of dhampir, and future guardian, Rose Hathaway. Rose is impulsive, crude and quick tempered, but her training sessions with Guardian Dimitri Belikov have started to rub off on her. Rose is becoming more responsible and she's finally starting to see that what he's been teaching her are valuable life lessons. Lessons that she will have to learn if she wants to graduate from the academy and be her best friend, Lissa Dragomir's guardian.

Rose has more than her attitude to worry her: she can't get Dimitri out of her head, even though he may be falling for someone else, she can't stop slipping into Lissa's mind at intense, personal moments and to top it all off, her mother is in town. But after a brutal attack on Moroi royals by the immortal vampires, Strigoi, Rose finds her problems to be less than important. After the disappearance of three of her peers, Rose has to test her strengths as a guardian and a friend.

In the first book, it took my a while to get in to all the new mythology-- I'm a stickler for tradition--but halfway through the first Vampire Academy Novel, I was hooked. I've bought all four books in the series and I'm impatiently waiting on the mail today so I can get reading #3, SHADOW KISS.

This is a great series for anyone who enjoys a little romance, adventure and vampires!


Another great contest for ya!

Not by me though. I haven't gotten into that yet. Maybe someday :)

Megan Crewe, author of GIVE UP THE GHOST is giving away two sets of prizes.

Prize #1: Books!
Fortune’s Folly by Deva Fagan, which combines fairy tale motifs with themes of storyteling, and fashion! :D

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston, revealing a magical side of Central Park and a young woman’s love for theater.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, full of faeries and music and difficult choices.

Prize #2: A three-chapter critique of a novel manuscript. Best for young adult speculative fiction (fantasy, paranormal, science fiction),


Go to her blog for more details, and check out her video trailer for GIVE UP THE GHOST!

http://www.megancrewe.com/blog/?p=635


Happy Holidays!

We are a multi-cultural family and so the holiday tree signifies a number of things for us. My husband is of Russian/Jewish heritage. In his former home country, they celebrate the New Year much like the Christian American Christmas, with a tree and gift-giving. My heritage is extremely diverse, but I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, an area heavily influenced by the German/Dutch culture and a large part of my ancestry stems from those people.

We are not religious (that does not mean we are atheist either) so I suppose our holiday celebrations are somewhat secular, but it's what we do. We celebrate Christmas (I know, how dare we partake in a celebration that we are not religiously involved in! *cough* Saturnalia *cough*) and we celebrate the New Year and we celebrate the Jewish festival of lights, Hanukkah. We leave our tree up until January 13th. It's usually falling apart by then, but we keep him, in honor of the old Russian New Year. Hanukkah starts at sundown on the 11th this year so I'll be sure to post Menorah pictures, but until then, this is our tree!

As a child, my sister, my mother and I would ride horseback out to the family Christmas tree field, and pick and cut our own tree and drag it back behind the horses. Living in NYC makes it a bit difficult to continue that tradition, so instead I take my kids down to the parking lot by the mall each year and we pick out and buy a tree there.

It's much more beautiful in person, of course, but we don't go all out with tinsel and ribbons and bows. I prefer it's more simple beauty :)

I won!

Remember that super awesome contest I posted that was for writers? I actually won, by luck-of-the-draw, a first chapter critique from the lovely Angela Ackerman of The Bookshelf Muse! Woot! I've gotten some excellent feedback on this story from my crit partners and trusted beta readers, and I'm sure anything Ms. Ackerman can offer will help me make it that much better. If you're a writer and you haven't yet seen Angela Ackerman's emotion thesaurus, check it out! http://thebookshelfmuse.blogspot.com/
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