Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ARC Giveaway! Fated; Love and Other Perishable Items

Another round of giveaways from my TLA ARC haul! 
Up for grabs this week we have:

Fated - The Soul Seekers #1 ARC By Alyson Noel

Love and Other Perishable Items ARC By Laura Buzo
This one doesn't come out until December! I read it, it's heartbreaking. We all love a good tug on the heartstrings once in a while, don't we?

To enter:

Leave a comment below and indicate which ARC you want. 
Please make sure I have a way of contacting you!
(There will be one winner for each book! *US Only)

Giveaway closes Sunday June 3rd at midnight central time. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Five - Music for Your Ears

Here are some of the tunes currently gracing my playlist:

1. Phillip Phillips - Song: Home

2. Haley Reinhart - Album: Listen Up

3. Tyler Lyle - Song: Anyhow

4. The Fray - Song: Turn Me On

5. Birdy - Song: Just a Game

What have YOU been listening to lately?

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Story Spoiler

I've been going through season three of Castle (since last year when it was airing I was watching seasons one and two) and one episode got me thinking about THE STORY SPOILER. Here's a conversation between Castle and his daughter, Alexis:

C - "Wait a minute, what are you doing?"
A - "Narrowing down suspects."
C - "You can't do that. No!" :::stammers::: "You'll ruin the secret. No, it's like a mystery novel. You don't just go to the last page, do you?"
A - "Yes."
C - "You do?! Well you shouldn't! It's not--you can't--the joy doesn't come in knowing who did it. The joy comes in the journey. In allowing the ending to blossom like some magnificent, Himalayan blue poppy." 

I'll admit that sometimes I flip toward the end to see if a favorite character's name comes up (sometimes the suspense is just too much!), but usually, I resist the temptation and just read on like a good little reader.  What about you? Do you ever read the ending and spoil it for yourself?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Male POV in YA

It's not news that the majority of young adult stories are from the POV of a girl, just as the majority of people reading these stories are girls. Together, reader-girl and narrator-girl can swoon over the hot boys, cry over breakups, and squeal at that first kiss.

But sometimes a story just needs to be told from a guy's POV. Sometimes a story needs both sides, like my WIP. My plan is to alternate the chapters between the guy and girl. Now, I'm a girl (you didn't know??? gasp!), so trying to authentically portray a dude can be tricky. For research, I'm beefing up my reading list with books that feature a male POV.

Here's what's up first on my radar:

Candor by Pam Bachorz - I started reading this one yesterday and I'm only five chapters in, but already SO intrigued!  

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

Stupid Fast and Nothing Special by Geoff Herbach

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
I'm probably the last person left to read this book, and I bought it years ago (even met both of them and had my series signed!) but it's just SO HUGE! It's very intimidating. I'm sure I'll be seeing the movie when it comes out, so I must read it before that!

Some I've already read: 
Looking for Alaska by John Green, the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles has alternating POVs, as does Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Have you read any books with a male POV that you'd recommend?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Season Finales

I watch way too many television shows, I know this. DVR has made keeping up with all my favorites way too easy. An hour show is now a 40 minute show. A half hour show, 20 minutes. Without commercials, you can zip through several episodes in a fraction of the time.

While it's not entirely fun to be left on a cliffhanger all summer for the new season to resume, our schedule is now magically opened up for other things. Like writing! I'm going to try to finish another book this summer (I have a head start, since I wrote 12 chapters on this particular WIP in 2010). But I'm slow, so don't hold me to that goal. ;)

Shows, shows and more shows:

Castle - I admit, I've been only half paying attention to these episodes lately, as the cases are getting more far-fetched and Beckett and I haven't exactly been getting along. The season finale was this week. There were things I liked, things I didn't. . . things I may or may not have squealed over. What did you think about it (the spoiler-free version)?

Bones - The season finale is next week. They're calling it a SEASON finale, not series finale, and I've heard it's been picked up for an 8th season. Yet David Boreanaz has been tweeting things that sound like he's done with the series. This. Will. Not. Do. Upon investigation, the consensus on the interwebs seems to be that he's just talking mess. This. Better. Be. The. Case.

Glee - I stopped watching several months ago. o_O Sad day when the storyline got so out of hand I couldn't even laugh at it anymore. I'll miss you, Darren Criss. One day you must do a cheesy romantic movie where you get the girl. Until then, I'll be waiting (im)patiently.

Smash - I'm very very behind on this (6 episodes?). Is it worth continuing?? Anyone? Bueller?

The Vampire Diaries - This one continues to amaze me. I watch it every week, without fail. It's exciting, it's twisty, it's got me emotionally attached to just about everyone. I'm a little sad the season finale is this week, but they always do a good job with it, so I'm anxious to see how they leave us hanging this time.

The Secret Circle - I honestly don't know why I'm still watching this. Unless they really hook me with the season finale, I probs won't watch next season.

Hart of Dixie - See above. Let's be honest. The only thing that keeps us watching is Wade.

New Girl - This show CRACKS ME UP. <3 Nick. That is all.

Revenge - Holy. Heck. It's like watching a movie every week. So good. #teamjack

So what are you watching these days? Do you get sad around season finale time, or are you glad for the break?

Monday, May 7, 2012

What's been going on, and books for swap!

I started querying nearly two weeks ago. I'd heard it's a slow process, but hearing about it and experiencing it are two completely different things. I've been doing my best to keep a level head, but I may or may not check my email a little more often than usual. Okay, a lot more often. I don't want to be a whiner about it all, because it's just part of it. It's slow, it's nerve-racking, it's a way to burn calories with your constant accelerated heart rate. It's also the first book I've ever tried to query (thankfully I never queried the first book I completed. It was SO not ready), so realistically I understand this may not be my only query experience.

Inspired by a partial request by an actual agent (so the 25th version of my query DOES work! GOOD to know), I've been reading back through my entire MS with a fine toothed comb, straightening those extra italics, deleting the plethora of ellipses, finally admitting "yeah that line really is lame" on more than one ocassion. When you know someone with power is actually going to be reading your work, you're a LOT more critical and willing to change things your CP has been telling you all along (though I try to be good about listening to my CP gals anyway, because they're brilly).

So that's been the haps around here as far as writing goes. What's been going on with you?!

Book Swap

I still have some books up for swap. If you're interested, leave a comment with a way to get in touch with you, or use the Contact tab above to email me.

Whatever After - Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski (Signed ARC - Middle Grade)

Blessed (Tantalize #3) by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Signed paperback - YA)

Fated (Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noël (ARC - YA - NOT signed) 

Forget You by Jennifer Echols (Used paperback - YA - NOT signed)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Five - Signed Books for Swap

I have some books available for swap! Let me know in the comments or through the contact email form in the tab above if you're interested in swapping for any of these. What doesn't get swapped will probably show up in a giveaway sometime this summer!

1. Whatever After - Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski (Signed ARC - Middle Grade)

2. Shattered Dreams and Broken Illusions (Midnight Dragonfly books #1 and #2) by Ellie James (Signed paperbacks - YA) SWAPPED

3. Blessed (Tantalize #3) by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Signed paperback - YA)

4. Fated (Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noël (ARC - YA - NOT signed) 

5. Forget You by Jennifer Echols (Used paperback - YA - NOT signed)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Consistency, Critique Partners and Betas

Keeping a character consistent during the novel-writing process is a challenge, right? Especially if you take ten months on that first draft like I did. My MC changed in my mind throughout the year, as did my moods, and my inspirations. I had to be careful during revisions to make sure I kept my characters each true to themselves.

I think even if it's not intentional, what you're currently reading helps shape what you're writing. You get influenced by character traits, dialogue, themes, etc. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Just reminding you not to get offended when your critique partners or betas say, "THIS CHARACTER WOULD NEVER SAY THIS!"

Which brings us to critique partners. They're miracle workers. They have the ability to spot redundancies and stupid phrasing and to tell you you're using laying when it should be lying. They're the ones that pester you every day asking for another chapter ("What do you mean, you don't have anything else written yet? SNAP TO IT!" I owe these ladies my sanity. My story wouldn't be the same without them.

And betas. OH LOVELY BETAS! (The ones that had nothing to do with your writing process and read the whole story when it's "finished") For taking the time to read all forty-one chapters of my little contemporary YA story and loving it to pieces, I will be forever grateful. Your suggestions (and the catching of my inconsistencies!) were taken to heart, and it's because of you my story is that much shinier.

Cupcakes and sparkles to my home team: Kristi, KM, Amy, and Cari.

Do you have an amazing team of critique partners and betas helping you out? How much do you love them?!