What to write?

My weekly post at Sisters in Scribe.

I'm working on a new YA novel and I'm doing a few firsts with it. Fun, refreshing, but also a challenge. I'm not big on outlines, but I plan out the basic plot points in a notebook. Right now, I'm struggling to find a good way to get my characters from one point to another and I'm wondering, how do you decide?

**pausing this blog post to make a "red heart-shaped cookie" on a piece of paper for my tiny human**

Do you let your characters choose the path, or do you lay it out for them before they "come to life" on the page? Have you ever found that they just don't want to do what you've laid out?

That's a big part of the adventure of novel writing. You can plan it all out, but your characters are people too, for all intensive purposes, and they have thoughts of their own. You can't force someone to do something that doesn't make sense to them.

Yes, I realize that makes me sound crazy. But we're all a little bit crazy, aren't we? We are, right?

I believe Valerie had a post on characters and the choices they make. So at least I know she's crazy too.

Anywho, this WIP has a bit of a mystery in it and mystery is HARD! Making my characters solve the mystery in a progressive way is a pain in the asterisk right now. The Edgars are tonight and I am cheering for Saundra Mitchell, author of SHADOWED SUMMER! Visit Saundra on twitter @saundramitchelle and cheer for her too!

New Love

"It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything."

~Virginia Woolf

I have new WIP love! Yay! I haven't abandoned FATED, but I have put ROCKABILLY ROMANCE on the back burner for now because I just can't decide where that story should start.

FATED is going to be sent to my crit partners, the Sisters in Scribe, in May. I'll finish up final polishing after I get their notes on that and probably start to query it to agents. But I'm a realistic person when it comes to the business end of writing. I know the chances of that story making it out there right now are very slim. It's got two critters in it that are seriously not wanted by anyone right now. Yes, the story is very unique and it has a lot of other things going for it, but you mention the "V" word and agents and publishers flee.

So I'll send FATED out to a few agents I think might like it, maybe. And see what happens. But I won't get discouraged if it's rejected by everyone I query. New project, on the other hand, I have hopes for! I've already written a rough draft of a query and in just three days, I've written almost 8k words on a first draft. Not bad, if I do say so myself. And I do. I just did.

Bid on a Query +5 pg Critique by Agent/Author Mandy Hubbard

Bid on a Query +5 pg Critique by Agent/Author Mandy Hubbard!!!! Money benefits Pennsylvania libraries! I am a Pennsylvania girl, so I give an extra round of applause to Mandy for doing this.
Click the following link to be directed to the post where you can bid. Do not bid here.


"Author/agent Mandy Hubbard is offering a critique for the first five pages of your manuscript, as well as your query letter. The critique can be redeemed any time this year and she guarantees a response within two weeks.

Mandy is the author of Prada and Prejudice as well as the upcoming novels You Wish and Shattered. She recently joined D4Eo Literary. For more information, please check out her site. "

The Dead Tossed Waves

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385736843

  • Shop Indie

Product Description

Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Last week, I recommended THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH, so of course I've got to recommend it's equally awesome companion novel this week. I think I may have enjoyed this one even more than FOHT. Lots of unexpected twists, thrilling action, great imagery. It's a big more *gross* than FOREST, but if you're like me you kind of like gross. I highly recommend this book.

Win a FREE YA or MG manuscript critique!

Deborah Halverson (Former Editor at Harcourt and now Author of Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth) is doing a critique giveaway on her site dear-editor.com !

Follow the link for the entry instructions and good luck!

Awesome Contest Op. for Aspiring writers!


To celebrate the pub date of her novel ALL THESE LIVES, author Sarah Wylie is hosting a contest on her blog with FABULOUS prizes for aspiring authors, including a partial MS critique! Follow the link above to enter and good luck!

SEA book trailer.

The official book trailer for Heidi R. Kling's SEA is out now! Great job, Vania, on another awesome book trailer!

What do you think? Head over to Heidi's blog to enter for your chance to win a mystery book!

Fated Wordle

Bored today and decided to do a wordle of my WIP FATED. Love these things.

Followers Contest: Beautiful Creatures


I recently hit 500 followers on twitter and I promised I'd do something special so here it is!

Fill out the form below to be entered to win a hardcover copy of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl!

Big thanks to Kami and Margaret for sending me the autographed sticker from the Gatlin County Library for inside the book!

And a mega thank you to all of my followers, friends, fellow writers and bookworms.

Because this contest is to thank those who follow me on twitter and here, you MUST be a follower in at least one location. If you do not follow, I won't accept your entry. Please understand. If you follow Sisters in Scribe (link in my linkbar) and you mention it in the comments, I will add another entry. +1 for new, +3 for old SIS followers.

  • Shop Indie
  • 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.

Contest IS international and will run from now until 12pm EST Friday, May 7th. Winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

+3 for being an old twitter follower
+1 for new twitter followers
+1 for tweet
+1 for each link to the contest (facebook, myspace, sidebar)
+1 for new blog followers, +3 for old
+5 for blogging about the contest

Contest is for the first book only, but keep a look out for the second book in the Caster Chronicles, BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS to be released October 26th 2010!

Some secrets are life-altering…
others are life-ENDING.

Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful supernaturals for generations.
And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back.

Visit Kami and Margaret on the web at http://beautifulcreaturesthebook.com/

$28.2 million cut from city libraries

Library branches on Staten Island face big cuts

By Howard W. Siner

May 31, 2009, 2:15PM
Public Library at St. George is among those facing cuts in hours and resources.

Drastic city budget cuts could slash hours at Staten Island's public libraries at a time when record numbers of residents are using them to borrow free books and movies and as an employment resource.

The mayor's budget, which needs City Council approval by June 30, includes a proposed 22 percent cut, or $28.2 million, to the city's libraries.

For the New York Public Library, six-day service -- only restored in 2007 following cuts made in the aftermath of Sept. 11 -- would be lost and 435 employees could be laid off.

This when attendance is up systemwide by 12 percent, much of that by the unemployed searching for jobs, according to Paul LeClerc, president and CEO of the NYPL, which also includes branches in Manhattan and the Bronx. Circulation is also up by more than 17 percent.

Traditionally, LeClerc said, Staten Island's 12 branch libraries have the highest use per capita among all branches. More than 2,000 have used them to look for work in the last year.

A similar uptick in attendance was seen during the Great Depression.

"We have opposing factors on a collision course," LeClerc said during an Advance Editorial Board meeting. "As the recession takes a hold on New Yorkers and Staten Islanders, the libraries are being used more and more.

"DVDS are flying off the shelves by people who can't afford to rent movies. People can't afford books. They are all coming to the library for our free services.

" At the same time, we've potentially got a huge, huge reduction coming that might limit how many hours these places can be open."

LeClerc pressed for a restoration of funding in testimony before the City Council last week and has met privately with several Council members.

"We are not unmindful of the difficulty the city faces, we're just asking for enough to keep us open six days a week," he said.

Many branches would revert to a four- or five-day schedule with average weekly hours reduced from 52 to 32. The cuts would result in 3.4 million fewer visits -- there were 17.5 million in the past year -- including 680,000 by children and young adults.

There would also be 5 million fewer circulated materials.

Also at stake on the Island is family programming, which has seen an increase of 78 percent, and the summer reading programming, up 20 percent last summer from 2007.

Visits by teens are also on the rise.

Attendance at summer programs is expected to spike as parents tell library staff members that they can no longer afford camp tuition, according to Marisa Parish, the library network manager for the Island's branches. They are asking about free activities for their children as an alternative.

"We're expecting more kids and a lot of families," she said.

An e-advocacy campaign prompts visitors to the NYPL Web site to send e-mails to their elected officials and to make donations -- $19,000 has been raised since the pop-up ad was created a little more than two weeks ago and 1,500 letters sent in its first three days.

Tables are set up in the branch libraries asking patrons to do the same.

And celebrity messages are being recorded and teens are creating YouTube videos pleading with the mayor to restore funding.

"The library is such an integral part of so many people's lives," said Deanna Lee, an NYPL spokeswoman. "The loss is great in so many different ways, but what you can't see on paper is the human element."

Contributed by Stephanie Slepian

Rejection: Don't Quit!

***My weekly post at Sisters in Scribe***


Since both of my sisters had inspirational posts this week, I'll try to be inspiring as well. Last night on #yalitchat, we discussed queries and when you're ready, how you handle rejection etc. When being faced with rejection, it can be hard to keep up your spirits and keep pushing onward.

Does every "no" get you closer to a yes? Not necessarily. Every "no" should make you sit back and think, okay, how can I do this better?

Stepping back to rethink your work or maybe just your query is an important part of the writing process. And critique groups are vital! Feedback is a necessity! So don't be afraid to connect with other writers. Don't be afraid to allow another professional to take a look at your query. Even better if they know your book!

I've just recently started working on a query letter for FATED, my YA historical (and I'm not even sure if I should classify it as a historical, that tells you how ready I am to query), and one of my "sisters" made the comment that it is easier for them to tell me what my book is about, than for me to sit and try to figure out what I should put in my query.

But this isn't another post where we yent about the importance of critique partners, this is meant to be inspiring.

So what do you do when you're starring at your first, or your fiftieth rejection letter? Keep on keepin' on! Take a look at your work, your letter, your approach. Research the agents you are querying a little better, make sure your book is the best that it can be! Each rejection letter is an opportunity for improvement, so don't get discouraged. Some editors/agents on #yalitchat noted that they may love a manuscript but reject it because they've bought one similar to it last week, or maybe the higher-ups weren't thrilled about it. It is not a personal rejection. It just means you haven't gotten the right book into the right hands at the right time. You've got to keep trying until you do!

From Mandy Hubbard's blog--A published author is an amateur who didn't quit. Don't quit!


William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES was rejected 20 times.

Quote from one publisher’s rejection letter:

…an absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.

C.S. Lewis, creator of The Chronicles of Narnia was rejected 800 times before he made his first sale! How is THAT for inspiration!

C.S. Lewis Quotes: courtesy ofInky Girl

What you want is practice, practice, practice. It doesn’t matter what we write (at least this is my view) at our age, so long as we write continually as well as we can. I feel that every time I write a page either of prose or of verse, with real effort, even if it’s thrown into the fire the next minute, I am so much further on.

I am sure that some are born to write as trees are born to bear leaves: for these, writing is a necessary mode of their own development. If the impulse to write survives the hope of success, then one is among these. If not, then the impulse was at best only pardonable vanity, and it will certainly disappear when the hope is withdrawn.

They didn't give up and neither should you.

Waiting on Wednesday: Week 12

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

To Be Released on August 1, 2010

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316034479
The ultimate battle between sisters is nearing, and its outcome could have catastrophic consequences. As sixteen year-old Lia Milthorpe searches for a way to end the prophecy, her twin sister Alice hones the skills she'll need to defeat Lia. Alice will stop at nothing to reclaim her sister's role in the prophecy, and that's not the only thing she wants: There's also Lia's boyfriend James.

Lia and Alice always knew the Prophecy would turn those closest to them against them. But they didn't know what betrayal could lead them to do. In the end, only one sister will be left standing. (from Little Brown)

About the Author

Michelle Zink lives in New York and has always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends. Never satisfied with simply reading them, she usually ends up asking, "What if?" Sometimes asking only leads to more questions, but every now and then, when everything falls into place just right, a story is born. Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those stories.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

  • Shop Indie
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385736827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385736824

An ALA Best Books for Young Adults
A New York Times Best Seller

In Mary's world, there are simple truths.
The Sisterhood always knows best.
The Guardians will protect and serve.
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village....

Mary has always lived in the village, protected by the fences that keep the undead from devouring her. She's dreamed of a life beyond the fences, of the ocean in the stories her mother told her about life before the Return. Her hope has all but faltered until the day Gabrielle wanders in from the forest. Until the day the fences are breached.

Heart-stopping, eye-popping. This books is incredible! One can't help but feel connected to Mary and her world. To feel her yearning for the ocean and to solve the mysteries surrounding the Sisterhood and the Guardians.

The ending does leave something to be desired but have no fear, THE DEAD TOSSED WAVES is here!

Part horror, part romance, this book is impossible to put down.

Visit Carrie on the web at http://www.carrieryan.com/
and check out the awesome trailer!

BEA and Class of 2010 Authors!

Got this lovely email from YA Author, Shannon Delany (13 TO LIFE), and I wanted to pass the information along.

Greetings book bloggers and Class of 2k10 members!

We have about 20 book bloggers currently interested in talking to members of the Class of 2k10 and, speaking for my classmates—we’re excited to chat with each and every one of you!

I'm sending these emails out in shifts (so my account doesn't totally freak out) so if you want to spread the word that's awesome but some bloggers won't get this until tomorrow.

Shari Maurer and Denise Jaden have been absolutely amazing getting things organized for the Class! At this moment the Class schedule looks like this (things with ** are possibilities I want your input on, folks).

Monday, May 24:

Some of our authors will be attending the Teen Author Carnival (list is still officially TBA)

Tuesday, May 25:

**Meet Shannon Delany & other assorted Class of 2k10 members at BEA between 10 am-12 pm at a table in the Javitts Center (precise location TBA)

**12:30 pm – Shannon Delany & any other bold adventurers will catch a subway and head to Central Park for photos and fun at the Alice in Wonderland statue and the John Lennon “Imagine” mosaic. Want to do a walking interview or something that’s photo-heavy for your blog? This might be fun for you to tag along on! Will there be a stop for coffee along the way? Possibly. And depending on timing and weather we may also hit Times Square.

Signing at Books of Wonder 6-8pm (some Class members will have books available, some will have swag and some will have chapbooks).

Wednesday, May 26:

Appearances at NYPL (10am-12pm) including:
Jame Richards (Three Rivers Rising), Janet Fox (Faithful), Jeri Smith-Ready (Shade), Swati Avasthi (Split), Bonnie Doerr (Island Sting), Irene Latham (Leaving Gee’s Bend), Alexandra Diaz (Of All the Stupid Things)

Book signing at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont, NY (4pm) http://www.thevoraciousreader.com

Thurs, May 27:

**10am-11:30 am Shannon will again be staking out a spot at BEA for herself and other members of Class of 2k10 to meet and chat with bloggers.

**12pm If you haven’t gotten to Times Square yet (and want to) Shannon will probably be headed that direction. But it’ll be a quick trip since Shannon’s gotta be at NYPL at 3!

Appearances at NYPL (3-5pm) including:
Leah Cypess (Mistwood), Shannon Delany (13 to Life), Judith Graves (Under My Skin), Kitty Keswick (Freaksville), Shari Maurer (Change of Heart), Denise Jaden (Losing Faith), Rhonda Hayter (The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams).

IF these times won’t work for you, let me know ASAP
and I’ll see what I can do to reconfigure stuff. I want as many bloggers to get a chance to chat with the Class of 2k10 as possible, so hit me with your ideas! I’m not big on being cooped up inside, so when there’s a chance to get out and see the sites, I try to—and I generally don’t mind folks tagging along, either.

Next week I'll send out a handy-dandy attachment that includes the authors attending, their books, sites, etc and the bloggers attending, your blogs, etc. so everyone can become a little better acquainted.

Looking forward to your input (and meeting you all in person at BEA)!





Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell

**Note: I am not a book reviewer, I just like to talk about the books I read and why I lovethem.**

  • Shop Indie
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385735715

2010 Edgar Nominee-Best YA Mystery
2009 Allan Pick
2009 Junior Library Guild Selection

Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared.

His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.

Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind "The Incident With the Landry Boy."

Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette's latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.

What she doesn't realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret.

I have to admit, I'm not crazy about the cover but I loved this book. The new cover is better and you can see it by following the link at the end of this post.

SHADOWED SUMMER brought back a lot of memories for me, personally. Being a half of a century old, I'd forgotten what it felt like to be fourteen. I grew up in a small town, riding my bike everywhere or depending on my older sister's friends for a ride, that usually meant forking over a few hard earned bucks. I remember riding my bike to a tiny convenience store much like The Red Stripe for a coke and penny candy.

I loved the realism of the book. Yes, I said realism even though it involves a haunting. I felt like I was inside Iris' head through the whole story and it was exciting all the way to the end. Great summer read I highly recommend.

And it smells awesome.

Find Saundra Mitchell on twitter @saundramitchell
And on the web at http://saundramitchell.com/

Magic as a free pass

Kristi and Valerie, my lovely critique partners, both got me thinking with their posts on our shared blog Sisters in Scribe. Kristi mentioned that it is human to act out of character, and Valerie talked about listening to your characters, and recognizing when something is too far out of character.

When you throw magic or paranormal elements into the story, does it change those things? Can your character do things without thinking, or do something totally out of character because magic makes her do it?


But how boring is that?

Look at Harry Potter. Sure, he uses his wand to get out of some pretty tight situations, but Harry's wand doesn't just do what he wants it to do. He has to learn how to use it. And he isn't always right and sometimes bad things happen as a result. But Harry learns from his mistakes and come mega showdown, Harry and his wand kick ass.

I'm guilty of doing this myself. Something awesome and scary happens to my MC, and yet she follows an awesome and scary guy into the woods anyway. As of right now, it's because A.) Awesome-scary guy used freaky-deaky powers on her and B.) she's got nowhere else to go.

Nowhere else to go is way more realistic, right? But if you had nowhere else to go, would you still go into the woods with awesome-scary guy? No. But maybe she would. It's up to you/me/the writer to decide. But, like Valerie said, whatever you/me/we decide, it has to make sense. It has to make the reader think "okay, that might be stupid, but I get why she did it."

If I would just have Awesome-scary guy use magic powers on her to make her forget everything and follow him like a drone, that's boring. And it makes me not like the MC because she's kind of pathetic.

Sure, you can just write something magic in there to make her do it. But would you want to read that?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...