Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Priorities, Priorities...

This Week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday Topic:
The house is on fire and you've only got time to grab five things. What are they?

This is a great one, and it really makes you think hard about priorities. As long as my husband and I and the kitty got out safe, everything else is gravy. What would I take?

1. Bible
2. Laptop
3. Purse.
4  A favorite outfit or two
5  Kindle

Can't wait to hear what everyone else chose!

In other news, I've been working this past week on creating the query letter for The MirrorMasters. It's been fun, challenging, confusing and stressful all at the same time.  At least I have tons of time to get it ready. Hopefully I've made a good start on it.

Oh, and I have a cool announcement. My short story, "Unfinished," will be published tomorrow on Samantha Mabry's site, Flash Paranormal Fiction!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Elevator Pitch: Hook 'Em Quickly!

This week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday blog carnival writing prompt is a fun and challenging one.

You're re-reading one of your favs when someone asks the dreaded question: "What's that book about?" Give us your best off-the-cuff blurb of any book, any genre, and have your readers try to guess the title in the comments!

Coming up with a hook isn't easy. It's a challenge to convey in a sentence or two who the main character is, what they want and what the stakes are, and who or what stands in their way. Last Thursday, we had a hook workshop on Agent Query Connect's weekly chat, so this gives me a place to show off my shiny new hook for The MirrorMasters. Let me know what you think!

Fifteen-year-old Leah Ellis discovers that she is actually from another planet. Now she has a mission to save her homeworld--if the traitors responsible for unleashing the apocalypse don’t destroy her first. 

Here's the elevator pitch of one of my favorite books: A popular, self-centered teen dies in a car crash one cold February night after leaving a party. Now she relives her last day seven times, giving her seven chances to set her life right, and maybe save another's life in the process.

So, leave your guesses in the comments! I can't wait to see what everyone else has come up with this week :)

Friday, June 10, 2011


"We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
-from the Dauntless Manifesto

The end of Dauntless week in Debra Driza's Divergent Faction of the Week Challenge is here! Time to report on the results.  I managed to wear at least one black item of clothing on most days. To even better look the part, I got a tattoo.

Ok, it was a temporary one. But it was cute. I felt Dauntless displaying the band encircling my wrist, with a heart at the center. To me, it was a reminder of selfless love that often drives bravery.

I tried to be a little more assertive this week. I didn't take any major risks or manage anything really daring. I didn't have an occasion to really stand up for someone else who needed it, or finish any projects to fearlessly send out on submission. So, all in all, no great strides were made this week. But it was fun!

As a writer I intend to be Dauntless, whatever rejections or roadblocks get in the way. As writers, we are dauntless. We keep going no matter what,  keep sending out our work, and brave the waters of agent scrutiny and public critique.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are you a Plotter or Pantser? Tell us your Writing Approach!

It's another YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday!

This Week's Topic:
Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Do you like to make a detailed plan before you start a project? Or do you prefer to fly by the seat of your pants and make it up as you go along?

A great question! When I was younger, I never used to plan out my stories or use an outline. I was totally a pantser. Now, though,  I've found an outline really has helped me get through the story to where it is now--four chapters away from a complete first draft of my debut novel.  My approach has been really flexible. The ideas jotted down in my outline can change or evolve, and sometimes as I write, the story veers off where it initially was intended to go. New characters emerged that I hadn't planned for. Some discoveries and revelations happened earlier than I'd planned (note to self--when writing ahead because an idea for a future scene inspires you, the situation as it is when you write it initially may not end up being exactly the same by the time you write up to that scene).

So, you could say I'm both a plotter and a pantser.  I think it does help to be able to plot and brainstorm, using a flexible outline. It's a great way to start off a new project, and it can help to do additional work when you reach a place where you're stuck. Or when you're just not quite sure what really needs to happen in a chapter. It's helped me get going again by providing a guide and direction.

What's your Writing approach? Are you a plotter or a pantser?  If you write a blog post about it, leave a link here so we can all check out everyone's responses!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Erudite Week: Yes, learning is fun!

"Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure."
-Rowena Ravenclaw

So, we've come to the end of another Divergent Faction Challenge week. I'd have to say that this week went well. I made sure to wear at least something blue, as is the Erudite custom, even if that blue was only in a bracelet.

At work, I completed a data analysis in preparation for an important meeting, which served me in good stead when reporting on the results. There is a lot of knowledge to be gained in looking at trends and changes over time.

On Thursday,  I participated in the weekly Agent Query Connect chat, especially since I had suggested the topic of self-editing.  It was a topic I was keen to learn more about. Sometime in the next couple months, hopefully, a first draft of The MirrorMasters will be complete, and it'll be time to start on the first round of edits to get the manuscript ready for critique. After the chat, they've posted some useful links and resources on their site for anyone who wants to research more on editing.  It was a great, fun learning experience, and very timely.

Oh, and on Friday, I went to a book signing--my first one--to check out the experience and find out  more about what this part of the writing job is like. I got to meet Kate Bennett, author of Inevitable, a YA book with supernatural elements and a fantastic premise.  It was great to have the opportunity to chat with her briefly, and she gave me her card and signed the book for me. Look for a review here later!

So, all in all, it was a fun and productive week of learning.  I can't wait to hear how everyone else fared during Erudite week!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Amazing Giveaway!

In honor of YA Highway's second anniversary, the lovely ladies of this awesome group blog are holding a giveaway to celebrate.  Here's what they say about the prizes:


1. SHATTER ME by Tahereh Mafi and SMALL TOWN SINNERS by Melissa Walker

2. THE RIVALS by Daisy Whitney and THE PREDICTEDS by Christine Seifert

3. THE IRON WITCH by Karen Mahoney and WINTER TOWN by Stephen Emond

4. FRACTURE by Megan Miranda and THE IRON QUEEN by Julie Kagawa

5. THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy and AFTER OBSESSION by Carrie Jones and Steven E. Wedel

6. THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater and AU REVOIR CRAZY EUROPEAN CHICK by Joe Schreiber

7. THE SHATTERING by Karen Healey and a signed copy of SHUT OUT by our own Kody Keplinger

Our international prize:

A signed copy of CITY OF FALLEN ANGELS by Cassandra Clare and an accompanying rune necklace.

Pretty awesome! The deadline to enter is midnight EST on June 10th, so get on over there fast!