Sunday, May 30, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Step 1. A dash of magic in the form of a crystal, a curse and a ghost.
Friday, May 28, 2010
With Memorial Day on Monday, we are dedicating this week's Flashback Friday to veterans. It is the greatest sacrifice someone gives when they serve in the military. Whether it's during times of war or peace, we owe a great debt to the men and women who wear the uniform. There are many ways you can personally help support that sacrifice by collecting items for donation.
Jamie's grandfather, James DeShon, served in the Navy on the USS Hilbert. Her other grandfather, John Marochino also served in the Navy. Her husband, Mike Blair, is veteran of Desert Storm.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Drumroll.... Here's the Top 25 Reads for 2009-2010
(5). The Perks of Being A Wallflower
(6). Betrayed: House of Night
(7). Lessons from a Dead Girl
(9). Vampire Kisses
(10). Chosen: House of Night
(11). Untamed: House of Night
(13). Someone Like You
(15). Beast of Noor
(16). The Lightning Thief
(17). Vampire Night # 5
(18). Vampire Night # 6
(19). Dear John
(21). Just Listen
(22). Time Travelers Wife
(24). Breaking Dawn
And we also have an AMAZING library at my school. It's called "The Unquiet Library". How awesome is that? I have to remind myself not to shush kids when I go inside! You can check it out HERE. There's great links to giveaways as well as a TON
of information about YA literature.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I've never been in a physical fight. Never. I would lose. Seriously, I'm a wimp. Verbal argument? I can hold my own very well, but physical? Nope. I'm a wuss and don't like pain.
There was only one time that my husband hit me, but it doesn't count. He was sleeping and in his dream was protecting himself. I just happened to be quite close to him in the bed as he slapped at the bad guy in his dream. It hurt, but didn't even leave a mark so there was nothing to give him grief over the next day. He still tells me I dreamed it. But I know the truth :)
Which brings me to the scene I was working on. I wrote this scene and wondered if it worked, so after dinner one night I asked my husband to help me. I simply asked him to be still and I balled up my fist and swung. I wasn't going to hit him, I swear it, but he didn't know that. Geez Jenn,ever think of telling someone what you're about to do? Anyway, he grabbed my arm and kept me from hitting him. Ow. After explaining myself, we continued in the "research" and my arm was a little sore. But I figured out where a girl's punch would land and what part of the hand would hurt.
Moving on, I needed to know what would happen next. Let me back up and explain why I asked my husband for help - he was a bad boy in college and won bar fights so I knew he was almost an expert in this area. See the good things that can come from a checkered past?? Back to the scene...after we discussed what a guy who was punched by a girl might do, we discussed what another guy would do to stop that guy from hitting the girl back. And then practiced it..on me..big mistake...huge mistake!
My right arm was twisted behind my back and his left arm was wrapped around my throat. I yelped in pain, not bad pain but still pain. Told you I'm a wuss. And I tried to get away. If he would not have released me and would've been trying to hurt me, I wouldn't have gotten away. Time for self-defense classes. Seriously, I realized how I could be over-powered but that is beside the point. Although, I must say I looked at my husband in a different light that day. I couldn't ever reconcile the man I knew to the man who got into fights, and won, even when he fought more than one. I just couldn't see it in him, still can't completely, but I have a clue.
Needless to say, I have the scene and am very happy with it. I can't say the research aspect of that scene left me feeling happy, my arm hurt, for days, since it wasn't made to be twisted like that, but knowing that the fictional character who not only got punched by the girl but had his arm twisted by the guy, that feeling is priceless.
Have you ever done anything not quite smart to research a scene?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org or @theGotYA on Twitter
Print the bookplate below and paste it into your favorite YA book(s) and drop them all over town. Then let us know about it via email or Twitter. We'll let your fellow GotYA readers know where they can find your dropped book! Really, who doesn't love free books, right?
Find a book? Let us know about it! We'd love pics of drops and finds too!
Let the GotYA Book Drop begin!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
There are few companies better at stirring (and capitalizing on) the spirit than Nike. Regardless of what you think of the company itself, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that their ads are almost always very good and are frequently just plain amazing.
The “If you let me play” ad aired in 1995. Fifteen years later, not only can still I remember it but watching it again (thanks YouTube) made me want to haul on my sneakers and dig out my tennis racquet (the only piece of sporting equipment I own, purchased when a friend and I foolishly thought that we’d actually take up tennis if we took the first step and bought racquets and bouncy green balls).
Yes, I do have a point. Please stop pointing at your watch. I’m a writer. We sometimes ramble. We occasionally like to set the scene with details from our own lives. I know my life isn’t that exciting but, if you’ll just humour me—what was that? Oh! Right! The point!
I went to a kid’s birthday party yesterday and books were a popular gift (even though said kid can’t yet say the word “book”). And I started thinking about that Nike ad. About how my life has been better because my parents encouraged me to read. About how early books like The Paper Bag Princess and The Velveteen Rabbit taught me that I don’t have to marry the handsome prince just because he has a nice castle and how real is more important than fake. And about how reading thousands of books has made me a better writer.
And I thought it’d be fantabulous if we made our own virtual “If you encourage me to read...” ad in the comments. If reading has changed you for the better, if you think it has the power to change others, please leave a comment telling us how. Or, even better, blog or tweet about it. All books. Any books. One book.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Welcome to Week Six of our fabulous segment Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. We'll be "flash-backing" on our own blogs, but most of all, we want YOUR participation as well. So, mark Fridays as your blog days to gaze into the past and smile!
First up, I busted out this picture of a Christmas morning from my kiddy days.
Yep, that's right. Not only am I modeling the fantabulous purple Members Only jacket I got, but in the midst of the Barbie van, dolls, and record player, I'm clutching my Mr. T doll from the A Team. I kinda love my expression in the picture as well, don't you? It's like I'm channeling the whole, "I pity the fool taking this Polaroid picture!" I was a HUGE fan of the A-Team, and I had all the dolls. I'm totally bummed I didn't hang on to this one, but you can find lots of A-Team memorabilia at Ebay.
Can we also say I'm super pumped about the A-Team movie coming out in June? I mean, Liam Neesom as Hannibal and Bradley Cooper as Face...AWESOME!!!
Ah, Exhibit B: Care Bears. If you grew up during the 80's, you probably had a Care Bear or two. I had several....and I think I might still have one in the attic. I ended up sleeping with this one for many years, and I still remember the moon on it's belly. Good times. (Pst, I knew you hadn't gotten enough of me rocking the fantabulous Members Only Jacket! LOL)
Need some reading material for 80's toys? Then check out:
And here it is....my first ever VLOG! I'm proud that I let my perfectionist side go and just record for the heck of it! And since we'd just done a post on body image, I'm kinda proud that I went au natural in the vlog! Well, it's me after a day of wrestling teenagers in those last, fleeting days of the school year. We have one week left! BOO YAH!I'm thrilled to have held on to these toys all these year--course, having a grammy who is big into antiques and once owned an antitque store, also helps. Everything has the potential to be an antique and shouldn't be thrown away!
As for the video, I have big plans for learning how to edit this summer as well as getting a laptop mic! So, here's the toys of my childhood.......
And just in case, here's the LINK just in case b/c I'm trying to upload this at school, and we have the websense of doom....no Youtube, Facebook, etc.
Jacuqeline C ---Wins Signed Melissa Marr Book *Fragile Eternity
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
TOP FIVE REASONS (THERE ARE MORE) WHY JANET AND HER AGENT-POSSE-FRIENDS TURNED YOU DOWN (proceed with caution. this post intended for funnies only.)
- YOUR QUERY LETTER IS TOO PERSONAL
- Don’t be a shmuck.
- You’re not best friends.
- Don’t personalize the email, you crazy stalker.
- Do you want them to get a restraining order??
- THE POINT: no more using first names, last names, surnames, or baby names. Just CC every agent in the industry. Keep it generic. They like that kind of thing. It makes them think you’re professional.
- YOUR BOOK IS TOO SHORT
- You really think you can tell a story in 50-100,000 words?
- You obviously know nothing about the literary industry. (Have you even SEEN the 7th Harry Potter book??) (Have you??)
- Good books dive into details. LOTS OF DETAILS.
- DON’T CUT WORDS. You have to
savor every saturated syllable in every silky sultry letter you use todescribe the 15 varying variations of the differentiated differences in the differentshades of silvery symmetry in the cascading currentsof the Caribbean sunset. Maybe note why each one is so unbelievably and unimaginably insignificant, and maybe throwing in a sonnet (iambic pentameter, lest we forget) wouldn’t hurt either.
- THE POINT: your book needs to be at least 200k. Any shorter and agents will laugh at your ignorance.
- YOUR FONT IS UNREADABLE (this is a real word)
- Times New Roman, guys? Seriously??
- You need to stand out. Be unique! Creative! Show off your personality! Try something new!
- Also: black is so BLAH. Font colors should be sharp and vibrant! The brighter the font, the easier it is to read. See?? <-----
- Papyrus! Lucida sans Unicode! Comic sans MS! Futura! Bell Gothic bold! (Maybe make your own handwriting!)
- THE POINT: with so many font colors and options available, why do what everyone else is doing?? Be MEMORABLE! (Fuchsia STENCIL STD is my fave.)
- YOU NEVER SPECIFIY WHAT TYPE OF NOVEL YOU’RE WRITING
- This one should be obvious, guys, SERIOUSLY.
- Is it a FICTION novel?
- Is it a non-fiction novel??
- Is it a memoir novel?
- THE POINT: be specific. Fiction novels are VERY different from non-fiction novels/memoir novels/photography novels/biography novels/picture-book novels/etc.
- IT DOESN’T RHYME
- Everyone knows that rhyming-things are more catchy, and consequently, less likely to be forgotten.
- If your query doesn’t rhyme, you’re not doing it right. Not really.
- It helps if you choose words that end in –end (more things rhyme with this.)
- Random example:
- THE POINT: see how much better rhyming-queries read? The query possibilities are endless!
Monday, May 17, 2010
My bookcases are an almost even split between books and DVDs. I love great writing—especially great dialogue—and that’s not something that’s always restricted to a few hundred bound pages. In fact (and I’m probably committing some sort of grievous offense by admitting this) I’d say one of the biggest influences on my own writing has been my love of well written, highly quotable movies and television series.
Hello, my name is Kath and I’m a dialogue junkie. (Blame my parents for letting me watch Neil Simon movies before I was old enough to speak in complete sentences.)
Because it’s 12:03 AM and my brain is feeling about as sharp as a hardboiled egg, I’m going to share a list of some of my favourite movies and television shows from a dialogue perspective. Please note that not all of these (heck, not most of these) are teen movies. I’m only pointing that out so that mobs with pitchforks don’t come after me when a teen rents Almost Famous, then leaves home to become a stewardess. Have you ever been chased by a mob with a pitchfork? It’s not a fun time.
Without further ado, the list (which is neither comprehensive nor complete – I did mention that it’s 12:03 AM, 12:11AM now):
All About Eve
The Goodbye Girl
When Harry Met Sally
The Princess Bride
The Television Shows
WKRP in Cincinnati
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
* Alright, so there's no actual dialogue in the above YouTube clip but it's PUPPET LLOYD. How can you not love a puppet tribute to Say Anything? I had to post it somewhere.
Alright guys, your turn. What shows and movies should be on the list. Battle it out in the comments!
Let me put it out there that I like repetition - when used right, the emphasis is fantastic. In dialog, it reveals a lot about a character, depending on context.
I love arguments where one person stubbornly repeats their position. Or conversation where Bob reiterates a point that Andrew just made thus revealing that he wasn't listening to Andrew in the first place.
"The line's going to be long, so we should go early."
"I don't really know what time we should show up, but the last time I went, there was a long line."
Doesn't that make you want to smack Bob and bless poor, patient Andrew for putting up with Bob?
Redundancy is different.
"He opened the hand painted door he was so proud of, and I walked into the apartment, sidling past the painted naked lady on the door, mentally promising myself to be quick, and hoping that he left the door open behind me."
Grrrrr. Sure, there are details, important details...because really? Never enter the apartment of someone who's painted a naked lady on their front door. But there's got to be a better way to say that.
I'm as guilty as the next person. It's actually pretty embarrassing. My two favorite tools for combating this are:
1) Find/Replace - I do searches on "thought that" and tell it to replace it with "thought" - It's faster than searching all the thats and looking at them one by one. "said that" "told me that" "assumed that" "grateful that" It's still a long list.
2) Beta Readers. - Some of the words I repeat are specific to one scene, betas can catch this - especially if I've done #1 already before they read it.
Lastly, if it's an action you keep repeating, say, rolling eyes, or cracking knuckles, you may want to head over to The Bookshelf Muse's Emotion Thesaurus. They have emotions listed followed by the many different ways people express them.
P.S. Congrats to Mel who won our awesome auction package and helped a great cause at the same time!
So tell us, what actions do you overuse?
Friday, May 14, 2010
What has more sparkles than Edward Cullen? Could it be the fantabulous auction package we've put together for Do the Write Thing for Nashville?
Highest bid will receive:
A summer guest spot on this blog consisting of blog posts in June, July, and August (posts must be YA or writing related and must be appropriate for a YA audience).
From agent Emmanuelle Alspaugh of Judith Ehrlich Literary Agency: A critique of your query letter and the first 15 pages of your manuscript.
From agent Taylor Martindale of Sandra Dijsktra Literary Agency: A full manuscript read and notes on your ms.
Manuscript critiques from at least 3 of our blog members.
A Query critique from at least 3 of our blog members.
Copy editing of mss from a former Sourcebooks proofreader.
One signature banner (for use on forums like Absolute Write or blogs) and coordinating bookmark design from one of our resident graphic designers (sorry guys, you're stuck with Kath). Winner has option of providing photographs which they would like used. If winner does not have photos, we will select stock photography (iStockphoto, excluding Vetta collection) for them based on a summery or query for their ms and using our own discretion and judgment.
And a YA-themed "I read banned books" bracelet.
Emmanuelle Alspaugh is a literary agent with Judith Ehrlich Literary Management LLC. She represents upmarket fiction, historical fiction, women's fiction and romance, urban fantasy, thrillers, young adult fiction, and select memoir, narrative nonfiction, and how-to projects. She also represents GotYA's Kathleen. For more information about Emmanuelle, please visit her agent profile at JELM (http://www.judithehrlichliterary.com/agents.html).
Taylor Martindale is a literary agent with the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. is interested in Young Adult fiction -- specifically contemporary, paranormal, urban fantasy, and any story with a captivating voice. Taylor is also interested in commercial fiction, women’s fiction, and multi-cultural fiction. She represents GotYA's Debra. For more information about Taylor, please visit her agent profile at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (http://www.dijkstraagency.com/meet-the-agents.html).
HUGE HUGE thanks to both Taylor and Emmanuelle!
Go forth and bid! Run to the auction site like a band of werewolves are nipping at your heels!
AND A HUGE THANKS TO ANY AND ALL BIDDERS (we'll put in a good word for you when the zombie apocalypse comes).
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Welcome to Week Five of our fabulous segment Flashback Fridays where the old and new collide on everything from books to movies to first loves to favorite vacations. We'll be "flash-backing" on our own blogs, but most of all, we want YOUR participation as well. So, mark Fridays as your blog days to gaze into the past and smile!
This week we're going retro and sauntering back through the fashion and fads of the decade when we grew up, which can be the 80's or 90's depending on our ages.
Krista: 80's and 90's Fashion Craziness
Jennifer: Focusing on 80's fashion.
Annie: Valley Girl Recap
First, I decided to bust out a picture from my family album....
Um, just kidding.
Here's a look at some of the 80's Fashion and Trends....the good, the bad, and the spandex!
One word: Jellies. Loved them, had a zillion pairs, were completely craptastic for my feet, but I didn't care!
Banana Clips, Swatch Watches, Friendship Bracelets.....they were the shizz!
The 90's introduced us to the Grunge & Urban looks as well as keeping in some of the crazy colors and fabrics of the 80's.
Nike Pumps....Pump up and air out!
Want some bedside reading to take you back? Check out the following books on 80's or 90's popculture.
Totally Awesome 80s: A Lexicon of the Music, Videos, Movies, TV Shows, Stars, and Trends of that Decadent Decade
The 80's (20th Century Pop Culture)
The 90's (Pop Culture
Are You the Master of Your Domain: 1990's Pop Culture Book
So, what are your favorite trends or fads? Good or bad?
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
(The boys pictured were Mr. Romance contestants...so yes, those are the guys you see on the covers. LOL)
Conferences are GREAT places to network. I cannot stress enough how important attending events are to your writing career. I mean, they talked about networking pretty much the whole conference.There were over 300 published authors at this event, as well as some big time agents. I spoke personally to tons of big time authors, and I'll admit there were times I was like PLEASE rub a smidgen of your talent on me. LOL
I met tons more authors, but couldn't fit them all in there like I wanted, but I will say this. All the ones pictured above signed books for me, and I'll even tell you a secret--some gave me goodies and free books, even ones that haven't hit shelves yet. Ahhhhh, I know, right?
Okay, sorry, I'll stop rubbing it in and get to the good news for you guys. I have a SIGNED YA novel, an unsigned YA novel, and a signed poster to give away today.
Now, your probably asking yourself, how do I win? So glad you asked that, and just because I HATE complicated giveaways, I'm going to make this one simple.
1. Follow Us
2. Leave a Comment
(Open to individuals within the continental US only. Sorry guys!)
Yep, that's it. I will use a number randomizer to pick three winners, so let's go over what they'll win. LOL
The 1st random comment post number picked will receive: