Today I'm giving away another anthology--paranormal stories! Here's what contributer Jeri Smith-Ready has to say:
You have been given your Dream Vacation. Where are you going & what are you doing? Scotland! I would spend a week in Glasgow, then travel the highlands and islands. What if you could travel to a different time period? Ooh, I’d go to the 1940s, when men wore fedoras. They looked so cool. Are you a planner or a seat-of-the pants traveler? I’m a planner, but I like to leave a certain amount of wiggle room for spontaneity. Also, I forget to do things, so often the spontaneity is forced on me. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on vacation? Well, it didn’t happen to me directly, but my husband got the flu on our honeymoon. The only fortunate part was that our honeymoon was three months after our wedding. He missed the first couple of days while I went out on bus tours and stuff. He still gives me guilt trips, in a joking way, for leaving him behind in the hotel room.
ABOUT THE BOOK
ENTHRALLED: PARANORMAL DIVERSION, edited by Melissa Marr and
This collection of original paranormal YA short stories grew
out of the 2010 Smart Chicks Kick It Tour, a multiauthor, multicity,
author-organized tour of the US and Canada. With it, these 16 authors hoped to bring a little taste of
the Smart Chicks experience to readers everywhere.
Contributors to ENTHRALLED:
Sarah Rees Brennan
Mary E. Pearson
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
ABOUT THE STORY “BRIDGE”
In the world of the SHADE novels, everyone seventeen and
under can see and hear ghosts, but no one else can. So when Logan Keeley dies and his eighteen-year-old brother
Mickey blames himself, they can’t ease each other’s pain or reconcile their
rage. Over the course of SHADE and
SHIFT, Mickey sinks into a near-suicidal depression over Logan’s death.
“Bridge” is the story, told in free verse, of how two
brothers, with the help of a stranger, forge the chasm between them to find a
“A solid collection of stories...Sarah Rees Brennan's ‘Let's
Get This Undead Show on the Road’ follows a vampire in a boy-band and stands
out with its perfect blend of snark and sincerity. It's followed in a one-two
punch by Jeri Smith-Ready's intense and earnest ‘Bridge.’...This collection is
ideal as a sampler tray for paranormal readers looking to pick up new authors
to follow or to further explore the fictional worlds they already know. —Kirkus Reviews
A standout among the many paranormal-themed anthologies. -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeri Smith-Ready has been writing fiction since the night
she had her first double espresso. Her nine published books include two series
for adults and the SHADE trilogy for teens, about a world of ghosts only the
young can see, which concludes May 2012 with SHINE. Like many of her characters, Jeri enjoys music, movies, and
staying up very, very late. Visit
her at www.jerismithready.com, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/JeriSmithready)
or Twitter (http://twitter.com/jsmithready), where she spends way too much time. Logan himself can be found on Twitter
@keeley_logan, as can his rival/”brother-in-pulp,” Zachary Moore
(@moore_zachary). The boys love to
chat with each other and with their real-life fans.
To win a copy of Enthralled, please leave a comment by Tuesday, September 27th
In 4th grade my daughter watched a fellow classmate endure constant bullying--and it traumatized her. She didn't want to tell anyone because she worried the group of girls would turn against her too. When I stepped in to help, the school handled the problem in the worst way possible. The teacher never responded to me, but asked the principal to call both my daughter and the victim into her office. My daughter had no idea why she was in the principal's office. And the victim, a boy, had to tell the principal what had happened in front of my daughter. Talk about humiliating!
Despite efforts to end bullying, it's still a huge problem for so many kids. That's why I'm pleased there's a new anthology addressing this issue: Dear Bully.
Please leave a comment to win a copy.
THOUGHTS ON DEAR BULLY
WHY THEY DID IT
Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones formed the group YAAAB (Young Adult Authors
Against Bullying) in April 2010 when they both coincidentally blogged about the
Phoebe Prince case on the same day. Megan reached out to Carrie expressing her
frustration with this case and the fact that bullying that seemed to be growing
at a ridiculously fast rate. As a Massachusetts resident and having already
spoken about bullying in schools, Megan was horrified after hearing about the bullying
that took place in the Phoebe Prince case. While writing her books, SISTERS OF
MISERY and THE LOST SISTER, she had to dig deep to make “mean girls as evil as
she possibly could. When she heard about all the bullying and bullycide stories
in the news, she felt like the bullies had jumped off the pages of her book and
into real life. She was also disheartened by the numerous times she’d done book
signings and would say to readers, “I hope you never meet girls as mean as the
ones in my book.” Shockingly, they almost always said, “We already have.”
Carrie Jones was also moved to do something, as she was the target of bullying
as a young child due to a speech impediment. Together, they felt that they owed
it to teen readers to discourage bullying -- to make it "uncool." Megan
Kelley Hall started by creating a Facebook page that kicked off an entire
"movement" to end bullying. This was the day that Megan, Carrie
and other authors decided to use their platform as Young Adult authors to
actually facilitate change and to be a voice for those kids who cannot speak
out or are too afraid to be heard.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Right away, a large number of authors jumped on board of
this cause -- wanting to be involved in any way possible. The Facebook group
jumped from 5 to 1500 members in one weekend and is now closing in on nearly
5,000 members. Carrie and Megan were thrilled when HarperTeen offered to put
all of the stories into an anthology. The thought of having 70 authors –
well-known, highly successful writers – sharing their personal bullying stories
with their fans was something beyond what they had ever hoped for.
The stories in DEAR BULLY come from all angles: from the
point of view of the victim, the mother, the friend, the sibling, the classmate
– even a few from the actual bully. Some of the stories are light-hearted,
while others are raw and emotional. All of them drive home the point that
bullying is something that almost everyone has experienced. And while that is a
sad fact, they want to prove that it's not a rite of passage. It doesn't make
you stronger, wiser, or better. But it is something that can be overcome,
something that can be changed, something that is relatable, and something that
one should never be ashamed of. Through these stories, the authors want to show
that they understand what teens are going through today. It is important to
encourage bystanders to speak up and make bullying unacceptable. Parents and
adults must get involved. Bullying is something that people no longer have to
endure--at least, not by themselves.
Though quite a lofty mission, the goal of DEAR BULLY is to
help just one person get through a difficult time, and hopefully make bullying
a thing of the past.
Don't forget to join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dearbully, visit the website
at www.dearbully.com, or follow DEAR BULLY on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dearbully.
IN THE NEWS:
“FIGHT BACK WITH WORDS. Better Homes & Gardens
recommends DEAR BULLY: Remind youngsters heading back to school that getting
picked on is tough—but that words can also heal as much as they can hurt, as
one anthology proves.”– Better Homes & Gardens
“This anthology of personal essays provides empathetic and
heartfelt stories from each corner of the schoolyard: the bullied, the
bystander and the bully himself are all represented. Their words will be a
welcome palliative or a wise pre-emptive defense against the trials of adolescent
social dynamics.” --New York Times
“Two of them, both authors of novels for young adults (Megan
Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones), have drawn on the power of the written word to
focus attention on the problem and offer solace to the bullied.” – --The Boston Globe
“You’ll love it if… You know someone (or are someone)
who’s ever been involved in any type of bullying incident. There’s something in
it for everyone, on all sides of the spectrum. You’ll love it even more if you
can find a story that inspires you to help someone else.” – Seventeen.com
“With authority often turning a blind eye and cyber-bullying
rampant, this timely collection is an excellent resource, especially for group
discussion, and the appended, annotated list of websites and further reading
extends its usefulness.” – Booklist
“Powerful…All of these stories feel authentic and honest,
and readers will find a story or a person to identify with, to look to for
comfort or guidance.” School Library
“Bottom line is this anthology is a terrific tool for the
counselor who can customize the entries to the needs of the victimized student.”
-- Harriet Klausner
Leave a comment to win your own copy of Dear Bully
My task this week: plan and plot my new WIP. I know, I know, outlining is not cool, not artistic, it hampers inspiration... Tony Hillerman says, "Usually the book is finished long before the outline is. Go with the flow. Sometimes plots don't make sense, but it avoids that awful problem of outlining." Anne Lamott (Bird By Bird) is against outlining. So is Stephen King (On Writing).
But I still love it. I'm not talking about one of those big I, little i nightmares from school research papers, but rather creating a plan for the work I plan to write, or as Strunk and White say, "a suitable design." Having an outline gives me an advantage as I draft a new novel.
Advantage #1: Plot. Outlining allows me to work out the structure of the novel. I like to see everything visually and puzzle out questions. If this happens, then what will happen next? I can see the pacing, story arc, etc.
Advantage #2: Avoid Meandering, Wandering, Getting Lost. An outline helps me keep to the story I intended to tell. I won't write hundreds of unnecessary words, or pages, that don't actually contribute to my main character's journey. Sometimes it's hard to cut clever or pretty sentences that sound good--even if they don't belong.
A good outline also gives me a map through the middle. Knowing where I'm going prevents those panicky moments, "Eek! I've written 100 pages, but I don't know what happens next, and, maybe the whole thing is bad, bad, bad."
But--it is important to be flexible. I'm always adding and deleting things from my outline.
Advantage #3: Tracking Subplots, Minor Characters, Themes. To make outlining even more fun, I'll use color for each aspect of the story. At a glance I can see if I'm ignoring a subplot for too long, or leaving out a minor character who will confuse my readers if she all of a sudden pops back into the story 75 pages later.
Advantage #4: Remembering The Good Stuff. I do a lot of research before I write, and I'd probably forget about some of my most interesting tidbits if I simply dove into the story and started wandering about. Outlining forces me to really think about my story and figure out how to fit all of my ideas into my plot in an exciting, relevant manner.
Advantage #5: Fast, Smooth, Writing. I rarely sit and stare at my blank computer screen wondering what the &#*!@ happens next. I've been letting my subconscious mind go to work. I always look at which scene I'm going to work on the next day, and think about it while I'm cooking dinner, driving carpool, walking the dogs, etc. I'm not worried about what will happen next, I'm focused on how to make it happen.
Advantage #6: Cleaner First Draft. My outline serves as a first draft of sorts. And that makes revision easier. Oh, I still have things to fix, but I usually don't need a bulldozer during revision.
Today my goal is to create a pitch for my next YA novel idea--something so intriguing that people will say, "I've got to read that. Write fast!"
I've been researching my idea for months, reading like crazy, thinking like crazy, watching YouTube videos, picking up random bits on NPR, steering dinner party conversations in unusual directions... My brain is STUFFED with information. But now I have to explain it to people. Um...
I'm a rambling mess!
Lucky for me, I discovered Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. It's a book about screenwriting, but who better to teach me how to pitch than a Hollywood movie guy?
According to Snyder, a pitch answers this basic question: what is it?
(And it's not Snakes On A Plane meets Three Men And A Baby--although who wouldn't want to see that?!?!?)
A good pitch gives a clear sense of what the story promises to deliver (action, love, mystery). You want your audience to immediately form a compelling mental picture of your story. Better yet--you want to elicit an emotional response. A good pitch also includes a good title. Hunger Games? Yeah, I want to know what that's about!
People also want to know who the story is about. Short and sweet, a good pitch characterizes both the main character and the antagonist. Is your character's goal enthralling? The best way to hook someone with your pitch is to make sure that your character's mission involves primal needs: survival, love, protection. Snyder asks: would a caveman understand your character's needs?
Reducing all my research into a pitch only a few sentences long will probably be the hardest part to write. But I know that figuring out these basic elements will make the next 250 pages flow.
For my writing exercise today, I challenged myself to write a paragraph using Merriam-Webster's new dictionary entries:
Mom says she's hoping my life will turn into a walk-off homer in the 9th inning of my twenties, otherwise I'll have to revive her broken heart with CPAP.
"You can't treat life like a duathlon," she says, "if you're not even bothering to enter the race."
"I'm gonna apply for that robocall job, I swear."
"Not if you don't get off the couch." Mom picks up her smart phone and whips up some crowdsourcing for her m-commerce vitamin business. She's always attached to some sort of electronic device, so I don't get why she bugs me about wasting time on social media. She tweets more than I do, hoping to sell supplements to parkour participants. Talk about a boring job!
I mean, it's not like I'm fist-bumping my buddies about being a boomerang child. And Mom's wrong about me going after the cougars in her book club, but could she blame me? My only relationship is a bromance with an old high school classmate based on our shared fondness for Americana banjo music.
Maybe I'm not doing the most I could with my life. But it's totally Mom's fault for being such a helicopter parent!
One of my favorite neighborhood "characters" is a man who walks three little dogs every morning. With his dark shoulder-length hair, bushy beard, and old-fashioned coat, he looks like someone from another era. He should be wandering cobblestone streets in the mist, not dodging early morning sprinklers watering manicured lawns in a dry climate.
Seeing him, I sometimes wonder if there's a time travel portal hidden among the white vinyl fences in my neighborhood...
But today I saw him walking his three little dogs, wearing shorts--Richard Simmons shorts. Oh, no! It turns out he's a man from another era alright, but that time is 1980!
Well, at least he can still be a time-traveling nomad in my imagination.