Friday, December 21, 2012

Inspirational Quotes

I gave these quotes to members of my writing group, along with gift certificates to my favorite cupcake shop so each of them can celebrate a writing achievement in 2013, big or small.


Then the time came
when the risk it took
to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than
the risk it took to blossom.
--Anais Nin


No great
thing is
created
suddenly
There must
be time. Give
your best
and always
be kind.
--Epictetus


A small daily task,
if it really be daily,
will outdo the labours
of a spasmodic Hercules.
--Anthony Trollope


What's your favorite inspirational quote? (Can you tell that I collect them?)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advice & Giveaway with Laurie Faria Stolarz

Please welcome Laurie Faria Stolarz, author of Deadly Little Lessons. Here's her writing advice. Leave a comment to win a copy of her new book! 

What's your best advice for fellow writers?
My biggest advice is to persevere.  There are many talented writers who give up after 5, 10, or even 50 rejection letters.  Be open to learning and to getting better in your craft.  If more than one person criticizes the same point in your work – i.e. your main character whines too much – chances are you need to look at that point again.  Never pay reading fees while trying to get published – ever.  Do your homework.  Know to whom you’re sending your query letter, who that person’s clients are, what that person’s track record is (i.e. the details of his or her most recent acquisitions), and what that person is looking for.  Every letter should be personalized and reflect that you’ve done your research.  And, lastly, consider joining a writers group. There’s nothing better than being in a group of like-minded writers who can help inspire and cheer you on, and who can provide constructive feedback that can help to strengthen your work. 
What popular writing advice do you never follow?

Write what you know.
Where do you do most of your writing?

I'm lucky to have an office space in my home.  But I can really work anywhere - in the car, in a waiting room, at a coffee shop, or sitting at the kitchen island.  I carry around a notebook, ready for when inspiration strikes.
What's the best book you've read lately on the craft of writing?

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


About The Book:

Camelia Hammond's trying junior year of high school is finally over...but her troubles aren't. After she discovers a painful truth about her family, she escapes to a summer arts program in Rhode Island. Determined to put family - and boyfriend - drama behind her, she throws herself into her artwork.
At the arts school, she gets caught up in the case of Sasha Beckerman, a local girl who is missing. Even though all signs suggest that the teen ran away, Camelia senses otherwise. Eager to help the girl, she launches her own investigation. Meanwhile, Camelia realizes how much she misses Ben, despite being committed to Adam.
But time is running out for Sasha, and Camelia will have to trust her powers if she's to save her. Will the lessons Camelia has learned in the past give her the strength to do so?

Wanna sneak peek?  Go here:  http://www.lauriestolarz.com/dllessons.pdf                    

About The Author: 
Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series.  Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. Checkout her website for a fun contest:  www.lauriestolarz.com.

Leave a comment to win a copy of Deadly Little Lessons!

Contest Winner!

Congratulations! 




(Helen) Kiaya won a copy of Eileen Cook's THE ALMOST TRUTH.

Happy reading!!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blogging Elsewhere






Today I'm over at YA Outside The Lines discussing the end of world--and my birthday. Here's a link if you want to check it out.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Writing Advice & Giveaway with Eileen Cook


Here's some great writing advice from Eileen Cook. Leave a comment to win a copy of her new book, The Almost Truth

What's your best advice for fellow writers? 

Read! Books are the best teacher.

What popular writing advice do you never follow?  

Write what you know. For me part of the fun is learning something I don’t already know.

Where do you do most of your writing?   

My office is the old sun porch on our house. I do a fair bit of work in there, but I also like to lounge on our sofa and write. My dogs prefer when I sit on the sofa because then they can snuggle in.



What's the best book you've read lately on the craft of writing? 

I love books about writing!  I have stacks and stacks of them, which makes picking a favorite hard.  I love SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. It’s a screenwriting book, but the structure works great for novels and it’s full of practical examples. I also really like Stephen King’s ON WRITING for a kick of motivation. 

About The Book

From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head.

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose....

About The Author

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.  Her latest release, Unraveling Isobel came out in Jan 2012

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com.  Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Leave a comment to win a copy! 

Contest Winner!

Congratulations!!!





Deirdre has won a copy of Mindi Scott's Live Through This.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What I Learned in Cheryl Klein's Workshop (An Incomplete List)

I took 27 pages of notes during Cheryl Klein's plot workshop. Phew! All kinds of revision ideas popped into my head. Fix this! Do that! Don't forget X. What about Y? I jotted down ideas all over my notes, all over my homework, and book map. Wow!

And then I took a week off. Cheryl set aside our notes and rest for about a week. Good advice. That allowed the solid revision ideas to settle into place while the more frantic ideas floated away. So I ate Thanksgiving turkey, played lots of card games with my daughters, read a whole bunch, visited relatives--and let revision ideas simmer in my subconscious. The following week, I made a list of seventeen things to work on during revision. Here a few things on my list:

#4 Giving my character more active choices to make.

One thing that really struck me while making my book map was that I don't always let my main character make the big decisions. Too much simply happens to him--outside of his control. During the workshop, Cheryl talked about how active choices have consequences. And that sure makes for more interesting storytelling, doesn't it?

#5 Cut Subplot X

#6 Axing that character who rarely interacts with my main character. He pops into the story--twice--to deliver BIG NEWS.

Cheryl talked about reworking storytelling situations that are unnecessarily difficult, asking "are there facts that you've created that don't contribute to the plot? Or mechanical problems or issues that change the balance?" I have a character who rarely has access to my main character & that created huge mechanical problems for me. Too much unrealistic sneaking around just for a few bits of BIG NEWS. I also found myself pounding a particular subplot into my story like, um, devouring two desserts after eating second-helpings on Thanksgiving. Now I feel really good about simply leaving out that subplot. If only that would make my jeans fit better...

#12 Pinpoint main character's Moment of Emotional Truth.

Cheryl asked us to think about key emotional transformation of our protagonist. I realized that I've been so busy working out the kinks in all the action in my story that I'd forgotten to stop and really emphasize the emotional change in my character, so that the reader will pause for an AHA moment.

#2 Rewrite chapter one.

I loved that first chapter--it's so pretty and sounds so nice when I read it out loud. I pictured that scene the moment I committed myself to working on this idea. During Cheryl's workshop, I realized that it doesn't serve my overall story as well as it could. My well-honed first chapter actually flattens out some of the bigger themes explored later.

I really wrestled with making this change all during my week off. I skipped a writing day--just because I didn't want to mess with that beginning. But then I gave myself permission just to try out a new beginning. I'm still working on Chapter One, but it's so much stronger and much more effective. Even though it's not pretty yet--or quite finished.

So I'm only on Revision Item #2, but I'm more excited about my WIP than ever. Much thanks to Cheryl Klein for her wonderful workshop!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Making a Cheryl Klein Book Map

I'm attending Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein's Master Class this coming Saturday, so this week I'm doing homework (I secretly love homework). We have to make a map of our book. I spent too much time yesterday trying to make a chart using Word--but I couldn't get the little boxes big enough, yet small enough with margins large enough, and I know that some scenes are much shorter than others--I needed flexibility. So I went to the office supply store (I secretly love office supply stores) and bought legal sized paper and pens in fun colors.

Here's my blank map:



The categories are: scene#, pages, total number of pages (I combined these into one little box); when the scene occurs; the setting; characters (I assigned my main characters colors and listed them by name); what do they want in this scene; the action in the scene; change that occurs in the scene; revision notes.

I'm going to box my map after I write what is needed for each scene so I won't have to cramp complex scenes or take up too much space for short scenes.

Here are the first five scenes all mapped out:


Here's what I've done so far--it's one long document. Now I just have to finish writing those final few chapters. I'm SO close, but probably won't quite finish the whole manuscript by Saturday.

As the sticky notes indicate, I've already targeted several parts of my story to strengthen during revision.   I also realized that I suffered a bit of Middle Fatigue, writing too-short, underdeveloped chapters in the middle of the book. Time to lengthen those too!

Can't wait for the workshop. I've already learned a lot doing the homework.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rare 7th Grade Photo Sighting

Today I spoke to the fabulous students at Union Middle School in Sandy, Utah. I showed them this photo of me from 7th grade.



I felt all nose--100% NOSE! 

Many years, and a few more nosey experiences later, I was inspired to write My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters.

Thanks again to all the great students, teachers, and media specialists at Union Middle School.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

I'm Having An Affair...

A few weeks ago, I started sneaking around, peeking at my ex-WIP, leaving my current WIP to wonder where I'd been all day. Why hadn't I opened it's file? Am I seeing someone else? Is that--lipstick?!?!!?

I'm having an affair with my abandoned manuscript.

Is it because things got tough with my new manuscript--like the day I realized that I'd need to rewrite 20,000 words because I'd rambled off in the wrong direction, following a whim? Yeah, that's part of it. 80 pages is a lot of deleting. My ex-WIP is all mapped out, planned and plotted. Maybe it will be fun to write those last few chapters?

Also, my sixteen-year-old daughter keeps calling me a quitter for not finishing ex-WIP. She likes the story much more than I did while writing it. Because writing it was HARD for me. I eked out words, slowly, painfully. I doubted so much. But maybe it's not so bad...

And it isn't. I've never followed the writing advice, even when Stephen King said it in On Writing, of setting a manuscript aside before revising. Now I see the value of putting space between the emotion of drafting a challenging story (this is hard, so it must be bad) and reading it again months later (ooh, this part is good, but that part could be better).

I'm having fun, even sneaking off for a bit of revising on the weekends. I love my ex-WIP! Sorry, current WIP, you're going to have to sit in the drawer for a little while longer. Maybe you could talk to one of Stephen King's manuscripts and learn about being a bestseller?




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Learning From Other Genres

People often say that if you want to write in a particular genre, read 100 books in that genre, and I really like that advice. But I also think there are advantages to breaking free from your genre and learning what another has to offer. 

Last weekend I took a class about writing Collage Memoir from Paisley Rekdal who teaches in the MFA program at the University of Utah. While I do write in a journal every night, I'm not quite sure why, since my life is usually pretty dull. I read, I write, I cook, less often I clean...I watch soccer, drive carpool, chat with friends, watch TV, bad Reality TV...

ZZZZ.

So it was interesting to discover that I do have interesting things to say as Paisley guided us through a series of readings, followed by writing exercises. Collage writing combines personal writing, poems, photography, art, fiction--or even "found language" from news articles, etc. 

I actually came up with a few essay ideas that I'd like to pursue. And I added several unusual books to my ongoing To-Read list--books I never would've heard of otherwise--like Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud which provided the starting point for the class. Talk about a different genre! 

Best of all--I found myself jotting down note after note about ways I could use collage writing techniques to develop characters in my novel and move the story forward in unique ways. So, if you're looking for a way to pump some energy into your writing, try taking a class outside of your comfort zone. It'll spark your imagination for sure!  

Thanks Writers@Work for sponsoring the class! 



Friday, October 12, 2012

Summer Fun & Giveaway with Mindi Scott


Please welcome Mindi Scott, author of Live Through This, for one last installment of summer fun. Leave a comment to win a copy of the book! 

What's your favorite summer memory?
My summers were spent traveling with members of my dad’s side of the family. For a number of years, my aunt, cousins, and grandma, would stay for several weeks at my aunt’s vacation house in Ocean Shores, Washington. When I think of summer, that’s where my mind goes first.
Ice cream or popsicle? What's your favorite flavor?
I love Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream more than anything ever.
What did you read last summer? 
I read bunches of contemporary YA novels and even a couple of YA novels that fall more into the fantasy realm. 
About the book:
From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted fa├žade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.




About the author:
Mindi Scott is the author of Live Through This and Freefall. She lives near Seattle, Washington, with her drummer husband. Please visit her online at mindiscott.com.


Please leave a comment to win a copy of the book!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Contest Winner!

Congratulations!!!!




Karen is the winner of Ten by Gretchen McNeil. Please contact me with your mailing address! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Blogging Elsewhere

Today I'm over at YA Outside The Lines. Our monthly theme is fear!

http://yaoutsidethelines.blogspot.com/2012/10/things-requiring-fearlessness-sydney.html



Just for fun here are my three most irrational fears:

1. Jello



2. Grasshoppers



3. If I'm walking across a bridge, I worry that I will somehow dig my car keys out of my purse and throw them into the water below. How weird is that?


Friday, September 28, 2012

Summer Fun & Giveaway with Gretchen McNeil


Technically, summer ended a few days ago, but, hey, the weather is still warm, so we've got one more installation of Summer Fun with Gretchen McNeil. Please leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win your own copy of Ten!
What's your favorite summer memory?
Hot summer days at the beach in Clearlake with my cousins. As an only child, it was fun to feel like I was a part of a large family!
Ice cream or popsicle? What's your favorite flavor? 
Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Therapy.
What will you be reading this summer? 
I just finished DEMON EYES by Scott Tracey, then I'll be reading THE TURNING by Francine Prose and TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson!

ABOUT THE BOOK

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gretchen McNeil is an opera singer, writer and clown.  Her YA horror POSSESS debuted with Balzer + Bray for HarperCollins in 2011.  Her follow up TEN – YA horror/suspense about ten teens trapped on a remote island with a serial killer – will be released September 18, 2012, and her third novel 3:59, sci fi doppelganger horror is scheduled for Fall 2013.  Gretchen's new YA contemporary series Don't Get Mad (Revenge meets The Breakfast Club) begins Fall 2014 with GET EVEN, followed by the sequel GET DIRTY in 2015, also with Bazler + Bray.

Gretchen is a former coloratura soprano, the voice of Mary on G4's Code Monkeys and she sings with the LA-based circus troupe Cirque Berzerk.  Gretchen blogs with The Enchanted Inkpot and is a founding member of the vlog group the YARebels where she can be seen as "Monday."

 Please leave a comment if you'd like to win your own copy!
Contest ends on October 3, 2012.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Contest Winners!

The problem with summer fun is all the work that piles up and needs to be done. So here at long last are my contest winners from July & August:

Kate won POPULAZZI


Cialina won SUCH A RUSH


Niii won NEVER ENOUGH


YA Vampire Books won 52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER


Stella won TIMEPIECE



I've tried to contact each of you, but if you don't hear from me, please email me your mailing address & I'll get your book to you right away! Congratulations & thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Four

I survived camp NaNoWriMo & ended up having such a great time that I'm going to beg to go back next year!



Word Count: 50,404 words (a little more than halfway through my first draft)

Temptation: Now that I've completed my marathon to reach 50,000 words, I'm fighting the urge to go back to the beginning and make all the little repairs that have occurred to me as I've written. I could make that first part so nice, I think. But I know that I've got to push on through the middle to the end, even though I'm not sure exactly how it will all happen. Revision sounds so good right now.

November NaNo vs. Camp NaNo: People always bring up the Thanksgiving holiday when I mention doing NaNoWriMo in November. That's just one day, though. And if you're clever you can get someone else to invite you to dinner... If not, turkeys cook for a long time, enough time to hide and pound out a few words. If you're visiting family, taking a writing break is a great excuse to escape for a bit, one that everyone respects and supports. Plus, eavesdropping on everyone else's family drama at the Starbucks is fabulous fun!

Summer proved far more distracting. My kids were home, needing rides, school clothes, and entertainment. The sun was shining and sometimes just reading outside sounded so much nicer than writing something really rough. Plus, there was all that soccer. November is easier for me.

Final Care Packages:

40,000 words earned me a chocolate shake--one of those that come with the extra bit in the silver canister. So much chocolatey goodness!


50,000 words: Gummy Gators! Unfortunately, I had to settle for Gummy Hammerhead Sharks because my store no longer carries the gators... But they were delicious.


School started today, giving me back my quiet morning writing time. So I will press on finishing my WIP, without so many snacks... I'm going to miss Camp!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Three

The thing I love about NaNoWriMo writing is that the middle is the best part. No longer wishing for those lazy days of sitting with a book & simply thinking about my future WIP, I'm committed to the story, making stuff up, letting my characters get a little crazy sometimes--and it's fun.

Word Count: 41,015 at week's end. I'm still behind, but I know I can catch up. Heck, I just read this blog post about 10,000 words a day! I can do this!!! 

Aha Moment: I volunteered to drive both ways to soccer practice, thinking I'd bring my laptop and write. Well, my procrastinating teen happened to be catching up on her online class (PE!?!?!?), so I surrendered my laptop & took my paper notebook. Eeek! I was going to get further and further behind on my word count.

Lounging on a blanket I started scribbling little extra stuff. I wrote a fan letter to my character's favorite celebrity. I scrawled a note to her high school crush. In an hour I had nine notebook pages filled with various notes and letters. I loved the way my character's voice popped in some of these short pieces. Later that night I typed my words into my manuscript--shocked to find that I'd written 1,500 words in an hour. That's a record for this WIP! 

I really don't have any excuses for not writing since I can always bring a notebook along... 

Care Packages: I celebrated the halfway mark with a massage (what a treat!). The knots are worked out of my shoulders & my wrists are ready to hit the finish line. 



We also had a 30,000-word cupcake party! Yummy!!! 



Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Fortune I Always Wanted...

Last night we ordered Chinese takeout & my daughter got this fortune:



Oh, how I wish it had been mine!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Summer Fun & Giveaway with Elise Allen

Please welcome Elise Allen who's celebrating the paperback release of Populazzi. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy! 

What's your favorite summer memory?


I have a very distinct memory of being in the ocean at Atlantic City with my grandfather.  I held one of his hands; my sister held the other, and as each wave rolled towards us he’d holler, “JUMP!” and we’d ride it up and over.  I can see the smile on his face, his bathing shorts straining over his massive belly… it’s a snapshot moment that feels like love.  It always makes me achingly happy… “aching” because he died two weeks before my wedding.  That was almost 15 years ago, and I still miss him.


Ice cream or popsicle? What's your favorite flavor?


Ice cream, no contest.  Favorite flavor goes between Rocky Road and Pralines and Cream, depending on if I’m in the mood for chocolate or vanilla.


What will you be reading this summer? 

Right now I’m reading Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required.  I’m obsessed with Anne Lamott, not only because her fiction is pretty much my benchmark for great writing, but because her non-fiction is like holding a mirror to my own internal struggles with self-doubt, the search for spirituality, and the quest to live life to its fullest.

About Populazzi

WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be?  Would you grab it?  Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?

Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of  those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say.  One of the Populazzi. It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.

When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder.  Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.

The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted.  And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.



About The Author


After starting her career in television, Elise Allen has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction.  She is the co-author of Hilary Duff's New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True.  She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets.  She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons.  Visit her at www.eliseallen.com, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.

Would you like your own copy??? Leave a comment for a chance to win. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week Two

I tipped my canoe over this week--and fell way behind.

Word Count: 24,010 (I'm a few thousand short, but almost halfway)

Biggest Challenge: My twelve year old played in a soccer tournament this week, so my writing routine got lost. She's got a shiny medal to show off--YAY--but I've got a gaping gap in my word count goal.

Even Bigger Challenge: Another soccer tournament in Week Four.

Lesson of the Week: I wrote like crazy one morning, adding 2,500 words in only two hours. BUT... I erased more than a thousand previously written words. Those words took my plot in a stupid direction, but I wish I'd highlighted them in some ugly color and kept the word count.

My Care Package: A trip to the Farmer's Market! (Next Saturday because there won't be any soccer.) I'm going to buy bread and fancy tomatoes... maybe some cute earrings. Can't wait!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Camp NaNoWriMo: Week One

I did get a little homesick this week, missing those weeks of not needing to squeeze writing time into the day no matter what. But I did treat myself to a S'More cupcake--better than starting a fire on my desk, right?



Here's how my week went:

Word Count: 12,446 words (just a bit under finishing pace)

Worst Moment: My husband asked how it was going and I admitted that my structure was a huge mess. He said, as someone who works in a field of clear paths and evidence, "That's not good." No it isn't good!!! I freaked out a little bit.

Best Moment: (see above) But then I sat back down at my keyboard, determined to write 50,000 horrible words of this mess-of-a-novel, and the solution to my structural difficulties came to me. YAY!!!

How I Procrastinated: I actually stopped writing to make a dentist appointment. I also became an instant fan of Olympic kayaking one morning when I should've been writing.

My care package: My daughter created six little care packages that I chose at random and mail to myself every 10,000 words. This week I get to go out for a sushi lunch. Can't wait!





Thursday, August 2, 2012

Contest Winners!

Congratulations!!!

(And thanks for your patience waiting for me to draw winners.)



Jade is the winner of Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker



Kelley is the winner of Surrender by Elena Johnson



Taffy is the winner of Sophie's Mixed-Up Magic by Amanda Ashby.

Winners: email me your address & I'll pop the books into the mail. SydneySalter AT mac DOT com.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Silencing That Internal Editor (Blogging Elsewhere)

A few weeks ago, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, a fast-drafting novel challenge like the one in November, but during the more lazy days of August. A couple of weeks ago I started having doubts...maybe I should write the old-fashioned way, the more authentic way, the more author-ly way. You know, slow, painful, full of doubts and deleting. But then I read Jonas Lehrer's book Imagine. His chapter "Letting Go" convinced me that fast-drafting is a great way to get that first effort of a novel down on paper.

I blogged about it today on YA Outside The Lines.

So I'm off on another NaNo adventure--I figure with Camp NaNo that I'll get some care packages, make s'mores, and maybe do some arts and crafts. Watch for updates!



*** OOPS: So apparently, Lehrer used even more fiction techniques, faking some of his anecdotes, etc. Read about it here on NPR's blog. The publisher is offering refunds for people who purchased the book. I'm still going to let go while I write tomorrow, even if the Bob Dylan stuff is all bunk.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Fun & Giveaway with Jennifer Echols


Please welcome Jennifer Echols & her new novel Such A Rush. Leave a comment to win a copy! 

1. What's your favorite summer memory?
 
I grew up on a beautiful lake in Alabama and had such a great time that I recounted that setting in a YA romantic comedy called Endless Summer.
 
2. Ice cream or popsicle? What's your favorite flavor?
 
Chocolate ice cream! Though we have a local ice cream joint that makes a mean key lime pie ice cream with lots of graham cracker crust chunks.
 
3. What will you be reading this summer? 
 
At the moment I’m finishing an adult romantic comedy called Faking It by my favorite author, Jennifer Crusie, but I have lots of great YA in the TBR pile: Never Enough by Denise Jaden, The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt, and Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber.

About The Book:

High school senior Leah Jones loves nothing more than flying. While she’s in the air, it’s easy to forget life with her absentee mother at the low-rent end of a South Carolina beach town. When her flight instructor, Mr. Hall, hires her to fly for his banner advertising business, she sees it as her ticket out of the trailer park. And when he dies suddenly, she’s afraid her flying career is gone forever.

But Mr. Hall’s teenage sons, golden boy Alec and adrenaline junkie Grayson, are determined to keep the banner planes flying. Though Leah has crushed on Grayson for years, she’s leery of getting involved in what now seems like a doomed business--until Grayson betrays her by digging up her most damning secret. Holding it over her head, he forces her to fly for secret reasons of his own, reasons involving Alec. Now Leah finds herself drawn into a battle between brothers--and the consequences could be deadly. 

About The Author:

Jennifer Echols is the award-winning author of multiple romantic dramas and romantic comedies for teens. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama. 
www.jennifer-echols.com

Leave a comment to win a copy! 
Deadline is as flexible as an Olympic gymnast...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Fun & Giveaway with Denise Jaden


Please welcome Denise Jaden, author of Never Enough. Leave a comment to win a copy! 

You have been given your Dream Vacation. Where are you going & what are you doing?

Tahiti! Definitely. And I would be hanging out at the beach or the market by day, and with any dance group I could find at night (I am a Polynesian dancer myself.)

What if you could travel to a different time period?

I’d love to see maybe a hundred years into the future. I’ve always been intrigued by people’s predictions of what our future world will be like.

Are you a planner or a seat-of-the pants traveler?

Much to the frustration of my family, I’m the extreme planner. I try to temper my planning habits, but if I didn’t, I would have at least five things planned to do before breakfast.

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on vacation?

Our car broke down in San Francisco once. This is both the worst thing and one of the best things. It cost us some money we didn’t really have at the time, but it also forced us to stay in a hostel for a week extra. We met lots of wonderful people, and got to see a side of San Francisco that we probably otherwise never would have seen.



About The Book:


Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.
But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. And Loann is frightened she could lose the sister she’s always idolized.
As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?







 About The Author: 


Denise Jaden spent her high school lunch hours trying to tame her frizzy/curly hair in the bathroom, or playing freeze tag in the drama room. She attended the theatre program at college, and then enjoyed a variety of occupations, including stage production, mushroom farming, and Polynesian dancing. The first draft of her debut novel, Losing Faith, was written in 21 days during National Novel Writing Month. This is her second novel. She lives just outside Vancouver, Canada with her husband and son. Find out more online at http://www.denisejaden.comor on Twitter: @denisejaden


Leave a comment to win a copy! 
The deadline for the contest is, um, flexible--hey, it's summertime :) 

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