Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson is dead?!?

... waiting to find out. Right now, they (NY Times, LA Times, MTV, CNN,, etc.) say that he's been rushed to the hospital. No official word that he's passed away.

This is just so sad.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sometimes when I type ...

I imagine that my fingers are flying across piano keys.

LOVE STORY (Taylor Swift) meets VIVA LA VIDA (Coldplay)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Link Salad, dressing on the side

What do you think of novels where the POV changes from one chapter to the next?

Anywho - just a couple of links for you today

-- Agent Rachelle Gardner talks about how important a platform is for an author

-- I am love with steampunk with a fiery, metalic passion and want to incorporate it as much as I can in my books ... don't know what steampunk is? Here's a great description:

-- A teen talks about what she likes to see when reading YA

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Look Ma! Two Posts in One Day!

I know ... sometimes I go for days without a single peep and I'm sorry. I promise I'm going to try to post MORE HELPFUL WRITELY things more often. And perhaps, even some non-writely ramblings as well.

I want to know what's in your To-Be-Read pile.

Do you read The Book Every Agent/Published Author is Talking About (HUNGER GAMES, CATCHING FIRE, GRACELING, THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH) or are you reading books that are similar to the book you're working on (for research)?

Are you reading THINGS THAT ARE POPULAR (yes, I'm talking about TWILIGHT) or reading books by successful YA authors to try and determine their sekret sauce (MAUREEN JOHNSON, MELISSA MARR)? Perhaps, you are doing it old-school and going the Classic route (PRIDE and PREJUDICE).

My problem is a global problem: that there isn't enough time in the day. I am still trying to figure out the magic to balancing writing and reading. I'm flying to Philly today and, dude, it was pretty difficult resisting Marr's FRAGILE ETERNITY (I'm half-way through), but I did it. I left it at home. Why? Because last week, I chose to gobble up Marr's WICKED LOVELY so today, I am choosing (forcing myself) to write. Six hours on a flight and no books for as far as the eye can see. Just me and my laptop. Gulp.

I hope my To-Be-Read pile won't miss me too much. I know I'll miss it.

To-Be-Read pile:

DEVILISH by Maureen Johnson (currently reading)
FRAGILE ETERNITY by Melissa Marr (currently reading)
STARDUST by Neil Gaiman (currently reading)
SILVER PHOENIX by Cindy Pon (currently reading)
GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
IF I STAY by Gayle Forman
2nd and 3rd book in the GALLAGHER GIRLS series by Ally Carter
DUST OF 100 DOGS by A.S. King

Um. That's all I can remember for now. Your turn!

Great Advice for Authors from Seth Godin

Smart, encouraging advice! Don't know who Seth Godin is? Bio, here.
"With more than 75,000 books published every year (not counting ebooks or blogs), the odds are actually pretty good that you've either written a book, are writing a book or want to write one.
Hence this short list:
* Lower your expectations. The happiest authors are the ones that don't expect much.
* The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you'll need later.
* Pay for an eidtor editor. Not just to fix the typos, but to actually make your ramblings into something that people will choose to read. I found someone I like working with at the EFA.
* One of the things traditional publishers used to do is provide really insightful, even brilliant editors (people like Fred Hills and Megan Casey), but alas, that doesn't happen very often. And hiring your own editor means you'll value the process more."
You can read all 19 advice points here!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quick! Stop What You're Doing!

Agent Rachelle Gardner is answering all agently, writerly, and publishly questions right this instant (only 30 minutes left)! Go to and sign up for an account.

Also, check out this amazingly precise and wacky new online dictionary called WORDNIK ... it's seriously pyschadelic and genius:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Two Very Different Words That Begin With The Letter "R"

I just received a request and a rejection. In the same hour.

The rejection makes me very blue (my insides feel like Violet Beauregarde's outsides, post Willy-Wonka-3-course-meal-bubblegum) because it's from one of my *dream* agents (ahh ... the elusive unicorn). Her emails have been super relaxed, straight-forward, and fun - qualities I really admire in a business person.

I hope I get another chance to work with her someday.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Always Want What You Can't Have

Now that I'm going back through FRIENDS WITH DEATH and changing my first-person to third, I'm kinda bummed. There were instances where first-person really worked - or at least, I tried really hard to make it work so 'lo and behold, it actually did!

I kept my copy of FWD - the first-person version - just in case I change my mind. Possibility of that happening? Very likely.

Anyway, I saw Star Trek tonight and I ... I wish there was an even better word than "loved" to use, but since there isn't ... I loved it. Bolded and italicized for emphasis!

I am a proud Trekkie. I grew up on Deep Space Nine and Voyager and spent most of my college years + after re-watching The Next Generation. There were some seriously funny one-liners sprinkled throughout the movie. I wish I was that clever. Here's a new wish: to someday have people quoting my book(s).

*not really a spoiler, but if you're sensitive about things like that, DO NOT CONTINUE READING*

What, are you from the future?
Kirk: He is. I'm not.
Scotty: Well that's brilliant. (pause) Do they still have sandwiches there?


Thursday, June 4, 2009


The enterasmanyfreebookscontests bug has bit me. He sort of looks like a mosquito. With glasses. And a cane.

Yesterday, I entered PartSixofThree's Eoin Colfer Twitter contest and ... whoa ... I actually won? Sweet! ARTEMIS FOWL for me! And today, I open up my trusty Google Reader and a deluge of bloggers are giving away exciting YA books (we can all probably thank BEA for all this)!

To make it super duper easy for you, I'm gonna tell you where you can find these contests!

* 3-book-package! You can win LIAR (Justine Larbalestier), SHIVER (Maggie Stiefvater), and CATCHING FIRE (Suzanne Collins) here.

* The fabulous Mary Kole (owner of is giving away CATCHING FIRE, SHIVER, and ALONG FOR THE RIDE (Sarah Dessen) here!

* What kind of tree are you? Comment on Kate Messner's blog and win THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z!

* And I'm a little behind on this, but SILVER PHOENIX has been set free! The lovely Cindy Pon is holding a monster contest on her blog. She's giving away a ton of amazing stuff: an original framed brushpainting (she's super talented) + a signed copy of her novel, and a $100 gift card to the book store of your choice + a signed copy of her novel. You can watch the beautiful video trailer here:

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Nice People Make the World Go Round

In the past couple months, I've made some significant changes to THE UNICORN TAMER that I'm really pleased about. I've also honed a new pitch and it's done pretty well on - Ms. Stampfel-Volpe requested a full from it and Mr. Deenan thought the pitch was semi-finalist worthy. So what does one do with a polished-er manuscript and an improved pitch? One queries.

With all the form rejections and the no-answer means no, it's easy to feel insecure about your work. For the majority of this process, it's probably going to be just doom and gloom. Writers have to have thick skin and they have to be completely mad (and madly in love with their story) to weather the seemingly (and quite possibly) never-ending gray clouds. However, even the maddest, thickest skin of the bunch needs a little ray of sunshine every now and again. Yesterday, my ray of sunshine came in the form of a rejection letter from Agent Laurie McLean.

I think she started with a form letter, but then personalized it. She made me feel like she was talking to me. She was kind and helpful, completely honest (about the market and how busy she was) and realistic. She was so sweet, I just had to write her a thank you - a "your rejection letter was so nice" thank you. Ms. McLean then wrote back, encouraging me to query THE UNICORN TAMER to a lot of agents. No promises, just hope.

And that's just what we mad, thick-skinned writing monsters feed on: hope.