Monday, February 28, 2011

As Promised...

My review of Elana Johnson's dystopian debut, POSSESSION, is up over @ Operation Awesome!

And pretty please check out our Mystery Agent Contest tomorrow! 75 entrants will have a shot at winning a full manuscript request! See you there!

Now tell me: what did you read over the weekend??

Friday, February 25, 2011

One Huge Regret

I haven't read these books.

I haven't gotten the chance to experience L.K. Madigan's genius yet.

But I should, and I will. 

Not only was she loved by her fans, but her family and friends (including her uber-agent, Jennifer Laughran). With her (unfair) passing due to pancreatic cancer this week, I feel like crap.  So many people responded to her stories. FLASH BURNOUT won the William C. Morris Award last year, for Christ's sake.

And I haven't read her books yet.

That's going to change soon, though. 

Those babies are high on my to-read pile. Not just because Lisa was a genius with so many people who loved her.

Because I feel like I'll love her, too. 

And I never get tired of falling in love with YA authors.

Tell me: have you read FLASH BURNOUT or THE MERMAID'S MIRROR?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crap--The Snob Edition

*cracks knuckles*

So. I'm in grad school. Lit Master's student. 

With... people.

I'll let the awesome Veronica Roth explain what type of people. Because if I do it, it would go something like this:

"That EXPLETIVE EXPLETIVE keeps walking around the halls and talking EXPLETIVE about this EXPLETIVE book that I EXPLETIVE loved! He's a EXPLETIVE piece of EXPLETIVE!!!!!"

And that would be immature.

Instead, I've chosen to simply say the following:

"Snobs are people, too."

For reals.

They have beating hearts. They take bathroom breaks. Sometimes, the crap comes out of their mouths, but still. THEY ARE PEOPLE. 

Which means:

1) I can choose how I feel about what they say to me.

2) I can keep working as hard as I already am to be a better writer (and person) (yes, in that order...). 

3) I can embrace my love of things they hate and be a happy camper.

4) I can finally accept that when they call my favorite genre "crap", they're not calling me "crap".

Even though that's what I usually think. Because it's hard for me to separate what I love from who I am. 

Snob: "It's not you, it's your taste in EXPLETIVE bad genres"

Me: "..." 

Folks, love your genres. Love them so hard you'll want to write them forever.

Because when the snobs come along, that love is your greatest weapon.

Now tell me: do you face these kinds of... people... in your neck of the woods??

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Win A SIGNED COPY of Leah Clifford's A TOUCH MORTAL!

You know you want this. Don't pretend like you don't.

Le blurb:

Eden didn't expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.


So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.

And that's only the beginning of the end.

Wanna know how you can win a SIGNED COPY of Leah Clifford's debut??? Go to Operation Awesome and find out!! Best of luck to those who enter!!

Now tell me: which other books would you love to have signed???

Monday, February 21, 2011

I Want To Make Out With This Book

That is all.

Oh, and next week? I'll be reviewing it on Operation Awesome.

I'll try my best not to make out with it till then.

Now tell me: any books you're dying to make out with on this fine Monday morning???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Outlining With Robert Pattinson: The Inciting Incident

Last week, I discussed the Setup of your story. Today I'll tackle what comes next:


a.k.a. My favorite part to write *fist pump*

This is when you make things difficult for your main character. You throw him/her a curveball by forcing them to face a problem they must solve throughout the entire novel. Whenever I sit down to brainstorm possible inciting incidents, I ask myself this question: what makes my main character uncomfortable? What would totally freak them out and send them crying to their mommy? What would make readers stick around to find out if he/she beat his/her biggest fear?

There's also genre to think about. Is your story a mystery/sci-fi/contemporary? Genre will have an influence in the type of problem your MC will have to solve, as well as how he/she solves it (unfortunately, you can't have someone shoot laser beams out of their eyes in a contemporary... *pouts*). But to me, a great inciting incident does two things:

1) Propel the story forward in a new direction 

2) Boost your main character's internal conflict with an external one

Sure, #2 gets developed along the way with other parts of the story (which I'll discuss in later weeks), but you get the idea. Basically, during the inciting incident, your main character walks around with a pissy face because you pretty much ruined their life. Like this:

"Really, Inciting Incident? Really??? I HATE YOU!"--direct quote from your WIP.

There you have it, folks. The Inciting Incident makes Robert Pattinson very. Angry.

Stay tuned for next week's post: the Turning Points.

Now tell me: do you come up with the Inciting Incident as you go? Or is it the first thing you think of when brainstorming ideas for a new WIP?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's Here!!! Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend BLOGFEST!!

Yesterday's blogfest was a blast! Thanks to everyone who was INCREDIBLY KIND to me!! *hugs*

Today I'm keeping up with the Valentine's festivities by proclaiming my love in the Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend Blogfest

Original here

Le rules: Choose between an author crush and a celebrity crush, then write them a love letter on your blog. It can be from your POV, or the POV of the main character in your WIP.

Le love letter:

Dear Stephanie Perkins,

You complete me.

For reals.

When you wrote this book...

...I know you weren't specifically thinking of me. You didn't know I'd been to Paris at sixteen and felt everything Anna feels in your story. Well, sans that crush for a hot guy... *whimpers*

You didn't know I'd planned that trip to Europe for a whole year with my friends, or that the night before we were supposed to leave, the trip's coordinator pulled the plug. 9/11 had been a year and a half earlier. The war in Iraq had just started. People were scared of flying. We weren't going to Paris.

Except that I did. I left my friends behind with their scared parents and got on that plane. With my dad. Who is n-o-t-h-i-n-g like Anna's dad. He hates reading my mom's Post-It notes. Writing them would probably give him cooties. 

I didn't die on that plane. But I did die when I stood in front of Notre Dame. I died again when I read how Anna experiences it, what goes through her mind, how St. Clair shares his infinite knowledge with her (and flirts like crazy). It was like being there all over again.

Stephanie, my dear fake girlfriend, I want to thank you. For being searingly honest about change, love, and how we all find something special when we least expect it. For making Anna as confused as I was back then, and for making her as brave as I want to be. In case I haven't made myself clear, I love your book and gorgeous writing.

And your hair.

Forever your fan,


*fist pump*

So. Since this is my blogfest and I made the rules, I can break them! *evil grin* 

Dearest Jensen Ackles,

I. Want. You. Too.


Thanks to everyone who's participating on my VERY FIRST blogfest!!! Can't wait to read your entries!!! You can check them out on the Linky below!

Happy Post Valentine's Day :D

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Kiss Already BLOGFEST!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Today I'm celebrating the day of wuv with... what else?


Not just any blogfest, though. I'm part of Christina and Stina's JUST KISS ALREADY BLOGFEST! Woot!

Le rules: Post an excerpt from your work (or another author) no more than 250 words in length. It must include a makeout scene. *fist pump*

Le setup: This scene is from my YA horror, which is STILL in first draft mode. Leila, my main character, is eating an ice cream at a hospital cafeteria (don't ask...). Mike, her crush of a bazillion years (and her BFF's big brother), is with her. He's listening to her vent about a huge problem she's facing, and after seeing her look so defeated, he asks her to dance. Even though there's no music. And Leila hates dancing. 

Le scene:

“So? Did you ever want to dance with me?” asked Mike.
You can picture the most important moments of your life before they happen. You can build an image of the setting, the words exchanged, and the best outcome possible. But when the moment arrives, you realize your image could never compete with the real deal.
That’s what opening up to Mike felt like.
“Always.” As soon as it was out, the world’s weight lifted off my shoulders. Sixteen years of secrets… of broken hearts and broken bones… healed in one second.
“And would you like to dance with only me from now on?” asked Mike, then licked those thin lips I craved.
I froze. “Are you… asking me to… be your girlfriend?”
He nodded.
Once again, my image of this moment failed to be as precious--as perfect--as the real deal. I didn’t say anything. Words didn’t carry the same weight as actions.
I stood on my tiptoes, pushing myself up as his thin lips made their way down.
Darkness consumed me as I shut the world from view. The smell of spring rain, the way the sky folds in on itself at dawn, a baby’s laugh--none of those things held a candle to Mike’s kiss. The more his mouth stayed on mine, the more blood pumped down arteries I never knew I had. His skin, brimming with warmth and comfort, made me hate Constantine even more.
This was supposed to be my first kiss. These were the lips I was supposed to savor, tracing every inch of them with my own, for the rest of my life. His touch, so hungry yet careful as he pulled me closer, was the only way a guy should’ve ever laid hands on me.
I never thought kissing and dancing with no music inside a hospital cafeteria could be so amazing.
The kiss went on, just as I wanted it to, but that voice…
It wasn’t Mike’s.

There you go!! Thanks to Christina and Stina for holding this super awesome blogfest! 

Now I'm off to read the other entries...

Quick reminder: Be sure to come back tomorrow and check out my FAKE BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND BLOGFEST!! You can sign up here. Hope to see you tomorrow!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fess Up Friday: Romance In YA

So. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and I figured I'd share some lovey-dovey YA books I wuv.

I mean... love... *slaps baby self*

Trust me, this list is NOT COMPLETE. I am a sucker for all things wuv *cough* love, so yeah. There are tons more. But here's the CliffNotes version of romance-heavy YA books I wuv *cough* love (in no particular order, of course!):

Now fess up: what are your favorite romance-heavy YA books???

Oh, and quick reminder: my Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend Blogfest goes live February 15th!! You can sign up here. See you there!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Outlining With Robert Pattinson: The Setup

Ever since I've become a plotter, my life has been... weirder.

Why? Because of Robert Pattinson.

You see, whenever I sit down to work on my outline, his face is RIGHT THERE. Remember that post on how my writing stages mimic his hair? Same thing is happening with outlining, but not with his hair.

With his face.

So, for the next few weeks, I'll be starting a new series called Outlining With Robert Pattinson. Said series will go through my process of figuring out my manuscript in big picture terms (don't worry, no chapter/scene goals for this one. More like a map of the whole thing). For Part One, I'll start with...


This is where the story starts, which means your main character's boat has not yet been rocked. Or maybe it has, and you carefully blend in backstory with his/her current circumstances. Some authors love opening with character (voice), others with action and character. To me, this second option is what works best--revealing character through action. I don't mean having your MC kick someone's face and say, "Who's your daddy, biatch?!!!" I mean putting your character in a situation that makes him or her react as only they would. 

Basically, your MC is a rock star in the setup. Those first twenty/thirty pages show him/her at a really awesome/sort of okay place, depending on your story. You are quite literally setting him/her up to face something that spins their world out of control. 

During those opening pages, your main character walks around looking like this:

"Oh, hello, love. Have you heard I'm awesome? Because I totally am."--direct quote from your WIP.

So. That' the Setup, folks. 

Next week, I'll tackle... the Inciting Incident. *cue ominous music*

Now tell me: how do you like your manuscripts to open? Character? Or action and character? 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Everything Sounds Better In Spanish... Or Not

Confession: I speak Spanish. It is an awesome language.

It is also awesomely hard to deal with.

Why? Because... it's... hard?

My point is, English was much easier for me to learn. What's that? A second language easier than my native one??? *blushes* Why? Well, for many reasons. Which I will not discuss for fear of sounding like an English grad student. Which... I am...

Anyway! There's this cliche regarding Spanish. It's sexier. Sounds better. Makes some people look funny when they speak with an accent. The list goes on.

That cliche got me thinking about writing (I know, I know... what doesn't?). In particular, the different styles of writing. And I totally had an epiphany. Of sorts. You see, whatever story writers are working on dictates the style they use. Yes, they have their preferences, but it all comes back to the story. And the characters. Some writers love funny. Others are sucker for purple prose-infused drama. They make their characters and stories mirror that preference, and at times, they nail it. When they don't, they start over until they find the right voice.

The right language.

One is not better/more fun/sexier than the other. Perspective, folks. Everyone has it. Find yours in your writing and stick to it.

Oh, and this video below? It's the superbly awesome commercial that inspired this post:

What say you, blogging buddies? Is there a language you can't seem to master, but would love to???

Friday, February 4, 2011

What Writers Can Learn From Mark Wahlberg

There are boys. There are men. And then there's Mark Wahlberg.

No, I'm not saying that because of his charm. Or bad boy appeal. *blushes* I'm saying it because OMG, I want to be like him when I grow up. 


Well, there's this movie he's in...

... and it's a-m-a-z-i-n-g. 

Not only is it amazing, the story behind its creation blew my mind. You see, when Mark Wahlberg read the script, he fell in love with it. So much so that he jumped in to both star in and produce the film. 

That was in 2005.

After a bunch of issues with distribution and the script itself, the movie came out in 2010. 

Ever since awards season started, Mark's been saying the same thing to reporters: "This movie almost didn't get made, but I'm so happy it did."

Mark struggled to get The Fighter to audiences. He struggled to make the studio believe this story was worth sharing. He struggled to keep his faith after years of training without knowing if he'd ever use what he learned or not.

Bottom line? He struggled.

And he made it. 

Hard work pays off, folks. If an ex-rapper with swoonworthy abs can make his dreams come true, so can you. 

Now tell me: what makes you keep pushing on in your writing?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend BLOGFEST!!

So. Valentine's Day is upon us. Awesome, right?


Maybe. Maybe not. 

You see, some of you have your One and Only. Some of you don't. That's why I've chosen to let both teams celebrate with my very first blogfest. *fist pump*

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... 

The Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend Blogfest!!! 

Original here

What: Let's face it--we all get crushes. *nods* Doesn't matter if you're married or not. It happens. My goal with the Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend Blogfest is simple. All you have to do is choose between: 

a) An author crush 
(someone whose works you admire so much you'd make out with the pages!)


b) A celebrity crush 
(TV. Movies. Sports. Doesn't matter, as long as they're famous and (sadly) out of reach). 

and write him/her a love letter on your blog. It can be from your POV, or from the main character of your manuscript's--totally up to you.

When: Since the 14th of February is reserved for your real One and Only, I figured the 15th would be perfect for your Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend! That way, your real One and Only won't feel abandoned or anything. Plenty of love to spread around, right? ;)

Wanna gush about your Fake Other One? Sign up on the linky below!! 

Oh, and don't worry about having to comment on other participants' posts. Like Christina and Stina, I won't make you do that. Just post your love letter and you're done! 

So February 15th is Official Fake Boyfriend/Girlfriend Day

See you there!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mystery Agent CONTEST!

What are you waiting for?? Go nab one of the last spots on Operation Awesome's Mystery Agent Contest!!

Remember: winner gets a FULL manuscript request, and there's a little something for those who don't make the cut. Bottom line? It's worth it.

Good luck!! :)