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Monday, May 30, 2011

250 word contest on Is It Hot In Here

Shelly Waters over at Is It Hot In Here is having another contest of awesomeness. This one is a 250 word contest with new agent, Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates. From interviews I've read, Judith just sounds so awesome.  So, for this contest, I'll be posting my first 250 words for a bit of a critique before entering tomorrow (I'm a little late to the party, blame it on Memorial Day Holiday and relatives and kids). Anyway, here we go with the beginning of Nikki's Wish, my YA paranormal that currently sits at 87,000 words.

Nikki's Wish
Chapter 1

I plucked the wallet out of a crater-sized pothole and shook the mud off. Its owner was already halfway down the block. He looked tame enough - leather jacket, faded jeans, dark hair that played freeze tag with the wind. He sprinted across Nicollet Avenue, skipped up to the curb, and proceeded on his way without a sideways glance around him.

Forget about meeting Dad and catching a safe ride home. I had more important things to do. Like chase a stranger through downtown Minneapolis. On a Wednesday night. In the dark. Alone.

I could imagine what my sister would have said: You have no common sense, Nikki. He could be a drug dealer or... or a murderer. I mean, come on. Where's your head?

And I would have replied: Give it a break, Shani. The world is not full of freaks who are out to kill you. 

There was more to my carefree attitude than a need to show her wrong. I was like a wind-up toy springing back to life, and after so many months of feeling like shit, it was a welcome change. Besides, he looked pretty good in those jeans.

He entered the Foshay Tower, and I followed half a minute behind. I came to a full stop and blinked as the door shut behind me. Pink and blue neon lights shone off the walls and cascaded over a checkered floor. Sitting on a donut-shaped desk was a lighted “W”, and to the right was a lounge of sorts with black leather chairs, a wrap-around sofa, and a hot-pink beaded centerpiece that dropped straight from the ceiling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Would you rather???

The Would You Rather segment on my radio station this morning was really kind of dumb - would you rather have birds follow you around, dive bombing you all day (including excrement), pecking at your hair, OR would you rather get a full body bird tattoo that you could never remove? Not sure what the whole bird thing was with the morning crew, and I'm not sure if I even WANT to know. But I have a much better, writerly Would You Rather for you today:

Would You Rather:

1. Increase your reading speed about 3 times so that you could read more books, more often, while still enjoying the leisurely "feel" of reading at a normal pace?


2. Would you rather have a machine that would automatically type every word that pops into your head. So in other words, you could dictate your novel to the computer without having to touch a single key?

I honestly have no idea how to choose this one. My writerly gut tells me to go for number 2, but with my book addiction I could just as easily take number 1. What about you? Which would you rather have?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happiness is in an (e)book.

So I just need to share the joy. Yesterday I was browsing through the new books list at my digital library and found out they have The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta. I swear I was just about to buy this one on my next book buying shopping spree. THEN tonight, I noticed that they added even more and guess what I found? DARKNESS BE MY FRIEND!!! This is the 4th book in John Marsden's Tomorrow series, and I have been patiently waiting for it to be re-printed. Apparently even the Scholastic store is out of stock on this book and the only ones I'd been able to find cost 30$ - for a paperback! Or, I could have had it shipped from Australia - 30$ or so too. But now, now, I got it from my e-library! I so happy I could practically weep. Why didn't I just by the ebook version you ask? Well, I'm a bit of a crazed book collector in that I like to have all the books in a series look the same. And now I can because I can read the ePUB book and still buy the paperback when it goes back in stock. See this?  

Boing Boing Boing

This is me jumping up and down! 

Hehe... like I said, just had to share the joy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crits - next week!!

This weekend is going to be super busy for me. Going to visit the fam and hopefully get some writing done, so I won't be able to do any crits. BUT if you're interested in having me do a crit for you, I will be looking for more next week. So, polish up your first pages or direct your friends to my blog (details here). I'll start taking them on Thursday. I loved reading the first pages of all the stories I did last week - some really superb writing out there. Keep it up!! :)

I'll leave you with this awesome LOTR dialogue makeover that I just saw on YA highway:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What did you read in April? What are you planning to read for May?

What was up for April? Lots of vampires and angels, a few shadow hunters, kisses in Paris and some good ol' friendships Sarah Dessen style. Here's a run down:

1. The Glass House, The Morganville Vampires #1 by Rachel Caine. So-so. This was an enjoyable read, but the big scary vamps didn't really feel all that scary to me, and the main character fits the 'why the hell do you keep putting yourself in danger?' description. I may or may not move on to #2.

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins Easily a 2011 favorite!! I loved how sweet this book was, the setting was too perfect, and I loved how the romance was allowed to grow and need I say, Etienne!!!! OMG, I think I have a new literary crush. Stehpanie Perkins's debut novel deserves all the clout it's been getting, and I have no trouble telling people that they won't be disappointed with this one!

3. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld The second book in the Uglies series. Wasn't planning to read this as the first book left feeling kind of unsure. I'd heard a lot about how there was "cutting" in the second book that was made to look like it was a cool thing. In reality, those scenes were done really well and the main characters were as repulsed by it as I was. In fact, I actually really liked the second one better than the first as the MC seems to have grown a lot and become much stronger. I'll be picking up #3 at some point.

4. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen A quick read. I always like the uniqueness that Sarah Dessen gives her characters, but with this one I especially liked the friendship between the two older girls and how the younger girl discovered that she could have (and deserved) that too.

5. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare Much anticipated 4th book in TMI series. This one has a lot less action than the previous books, but there's more about Simon and the last 5 pages will literally blow you away!!

6. Saltwater Vampires by Kirsty Eager Gifted by a very good friend. If you're looking for vampires in a YA book who are kind of scary, this is the book for you!! It reminded me very much of The Lost Boys, and it has a wonderful male POV. And of course, surfing. And the ocean. Need I say more?

7. Fallen by Lauren Kate A bit on the "duh" side, as in, why does it take the MC so long to figure out what's going on when the reader has it figured out by page 50??? I was supposed to be swooning over the reincarnated lovers theme, but I wasn't. The coolest scene in the whole book was the ending with the two enemy angels shaking hands. Hard to want to keep going when it's only the last scene that resonates with you.

8. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen In short, the MC's best friend becomes pregnant while the MC deals with issues like whether or not to sleep with her boyfriend (who's kind of a dick).  Like Keeping the Moon, the strong female friendship in this one made me weep a little and wish that I'd kept in touch with my old high school buddies.

9. Vampire Academy (#1) by Richelle Mead I LOVED this one! Finally a vampire series with some truly kick ass characters! The main character reminds me of Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, complete with curvy curves, awesome one-liners and older men who can't keep their hands off her. Only, well, she's kind of nice whereas Faith was a pyschopath. So if you hated Faith, you're still cool :) And how awesome is it that the vampires are the weaker species in this series? Five by five!

And now for my list that I'm anticipating for May. You'll notice that I read a lot of paranormal last month, and well, I'm kind of overdone on it. So in May, I'm going to stick to contemporary (mostly).

1. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer - I actually finished this one last night, and I really liked it!! More on it next month.
2. Before I fall by Lauren Oliver - halfway done with this.
3. Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist
4. The Perks of being a Wallflower
5. Fixing Delilah
6. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty
7. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
8. Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
9. 2-4 others that I haven't quite decided on yet. Depends on what's available at the library and if I get that far.

What was your favorite read last month? What are you looking forward to this month? I love recommendations, so please comment!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Children's choice book awards - 2011 winners

Sponsored by the Childen's Book Council, the Children's Choice Book Awards is the only national awards program where the winners are chosen by the children themselves! The categories range from best K-2 to best illustrator to author of the year. Some of this year's finalist's were:

Teen Choice Book of the Year:

Burned (House of Night, Book 7) by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's Griffin/Macmillan)

Fang (A Maximum Ride Novel) by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic Press)

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5) by Richelle Mead (Razorbill/Penguin)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (Dutton/Penguin)

Author of the Year:

Cassandra Clare for Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, Book 1) (McElderry/Simon & Schuster)

Suzanne Collins for Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) (Scholastic Press)

Jeff Kinney for Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (Amulet/Abrams)

Stephenie Meyer for The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner (Megan Tingley/Little, Brown)

Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, Book 1) (Disney-Hyperion)

Winners were chosen last night during an awards ceremony in NYC and the winners for these categories were:

Best Teen book of the year: 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson 
by John Green and David Levithan

Best Author of the Year: 

Rick Riordan for The Lost Hero

Winners in other categories included:

Johanna Kerby's "Little Pink Pup" for kindergarten to second grade
Jarrett J. Krosoczka's "Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown" for third- to fourth-grade 
Rick Riordan's "The Red Pyramid" for best fifth- to sixth-grade 
David Wiesner as best illustrator for "Art & Max." 

My take on the winners: I really enjoyed Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I'll say that I'm rather surprised it won as it's probably not the most widely read teen book out there. I would have expected Mockingjay to take the prize. I'm not disappointed AT ALL though, and I think it really says something about our teen readers to pick a contemporary over the other choices (all of the other finalists were in the paranormal or dystopian category). As for best author, I'm not really surprised at all that it's Rick Riordan as kids of all ages love his Percy Jackson series. I've read The Lost Hero too and actually liked it more than Percy Jackson!

Finally, congrats to all the winners and finalists!



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