Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I am so not one of them. I mean, even though they do apparently sparkle, I would never sink that low.
Not even in the face of massive homework piles and high school drama. Pft. I'm much cooler than that.
For example. Look at my perfectly reasonable conversations from just within the last hour.
Me: I hate school. I hate homework. I'm never going to get this done. Never. Not ever. I'm becoming a hobo and dropping out of school. I AM GOING TO DIE.
Maggie: .... Sam. Breathe. You'll be fine.
Ten minutes later....
Me: Mooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmm. I don't get my homework. It's not working. I'm dropping out of school and becoming a hobo.
Mother: *fixes problem in under five minutes*
Five minutes later...
Me: MAGGIE. It's not working again. I ruined it. I'm doomed. I am feeling horrified. Horror, I say. HORROR.
Yeah. Drama Queen? Me? No. Not at all.
Oddly enough, my English homework of Evil is still not done.
Funny how that works, huh?
Monday, March 29, 2010
I really wanted to do a quality post today, but I can't even think about dragons. Yes. That's how stressed I am. Even DRAGONS are beyond my emotional capacity.
Yeah. I look at that, and I think 'I could blog about that.'
Lie. Blatant lie.
I almost started talking about friendship, and then I almost started talking about stereotypes, and then I almost started whining about my English homework, and so now?
Now, I'm just going to tell you what's in my head.
Unfortunately for my GPA, that isn't much. I'm just really nervous.
If my story, Altered, can stay in the top five on the website inkpop.com until 11 at night on Wednesday, it will be going to the editors at HarperCollins.
(Cipherqueen made the cover. I'm hoping that if I use enough pictures, you'll be distracted from how boring I'm being.)
Even if it doesn't make it this month, it will next month. That's what I keep thinking. I haven't been promoting very well in March; my internet has been shoddy at times, and Inkpop kills the bandwith for some reason. To be on for one night will kill it for two days sometimes. So . . .yeah, promoting hasn't been really viable. I've done some on my phone, but it's not really the same.
On one hand, that's kinda cool. It means that Altered made it to the top through merit as well as promotion.
On the other, promotion is SO MUCH of this that, quite honestly, if my lack of it comes back and bites me, then I can't say I didn't deserve it.
That said . . .
I really hope that doesn't come back and bite me.
It's not that I'm expecting a contract. It's not that I'm even expecting a great review. I'm actually expecting my story to be shredded.
But hey; by real editors?
Please. Go ahead and shred my story. They've got to know more than I do, and that's the only one who's been doing editing so far. I want Altered to be the best I can be, because starting in May, I think I'm gonna try querying agents again. I did it stupidly last time. Not enough editing. Not enough confidence and definitely not enough grammatical fixes.
Anyway. Sorry. This was seriously boring, huh?
Well, I'm gonna go watch brainless, mind numbing television off of the DVR and do some read swaps on my phone. I might even do my homework.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
However, I did a dull version of philosophy in the form Miley Cyrus earlier this week, so I think I'm just going to talk about dragons.
Oh, and how much I want one.
(Anyone who knows me personally: You always ask what I want for my birthday, right? And I tell you I want Alex Pettyfer and you whine about how kidnapping is a crime and all that?)
...Sigh....British boys are cute....
But I do agree. Kidnapping is bad. So, here we are. A dragon would be a perfectly acceptable substitution.
Look how cute it is.
As you may have guessed, this dragon fandom had come to light because of the movie How To Train Your Dragon.
Well, I think it just needs to be said; we should not be training dragons. No. They are a special group of animals and should be left alone. If anything, dragons should be training us. I mean, they're the ones who can fly.
Just look at that little kid. You KNOW that he wants to be the one flying, but instead, he has to rely on poor Toothless. Plus, he also looks like he's about to lunge into the ocean if he doesn't pay close enough attention.
(By the by, I have yet to see this movie. I don't have a car or a license and my driver is in Chicago with her friend. Sigh.)
To sum this post up--Dragons are fantabulous.
However, I guess since this is primarily a blog about books and writing, I will add one philosphy tidbit, catered to you by a very wise, very philosophical fifteen year old and--
Hey. Stop laughing. I am mature. I am!
Well, there went the philosophy. I guess I can recommend a book.
Not only does is have a pretty cover, it was pretty dang good. I particularly liked the ending; it all just FIT.
Anyway. I'm going to go dream about dragons.
See? The dude with the sword? He's totally taking lessons.
Friday, March 26, 2010
You can read about Night Shade and Andrea here.
Without further chatter from me, here's the interview!
Okay, first off, it’s the question every author has had to answer ten zillion times; will you tell us about your book?
Of course! Nightshade is the story of Calla Tor - on her upcoming eighteenth birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves who have fought for centuries on the front lines of the Witches’ War. But her predestined path veers off course when she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a human boy. Startled by her own violation of the law she’s sworn to uphold, she hopes the stranger will soon be a distant memory. When the boy turns out to be a new student in her school, Calla’s random act of kindness spirals into a whirlwind of deceit, hidden histories, and forbidden love.
What was your road to publication like?
Surprising! I'd spent my whole life writing, but I never pursued publication. Then two summers ago I was in a horseback riding accident where I ended up with a broken foot. I couldn't walk for eight weeks, so I decided to finally go after my dream of writing a novel. I was hooked instantly and knew there was no going back. I wrote two "practice" novels that will live forever in my desk drawers and then I wrote Nightshade. I knew from the beginning it was "the one," and I began querying agents. Charlie Olsen, my phenomenal agent at InkWell, requested the full manuscript and called me to say he loved it in March 2009. I did more revisions with Charlie and we went on submission in the summer of 2009, receiving a pre-empt from Michael Green at Philomel shortly thereafter. It was amazing - and in the publishing world, it happened at record speed.
Did you ever feel like it wouldn’t happen? How did you cope?
Absolutely, though knowing what I know now I feel really silly saying that. As I mentioned above, my road to publication was abnormally fast. I didn't know anything about publishing going into the process and I am so grateful for the positive (and fast!!!) experience I've had. My publisher and editor are wonderful people who I consider my friends now. They love Nightshade just like I do and we make a great team! Having said that, when I began querying it was one of the scariest things I've ever done. I knew I wanted to pursue a writing career more than anything else, but I felt like I was jumping into the deep end of a pool without knowing how to swim. At times I was sure I'd never see my dream of being a novelist materialize. Fortunately I have a wonderful husband and family who were always cheering me on.
The general consensus is out; you have a FABULOUS cover. How involved were you in that process?
There’s something about publishing a trilogy that’s confusing to readers. How does an author get a deal for multiple books? You have three planned, as I saw on your blog; did you plan those from the start, or did your editor ask for more?
That's a great question. When I wrote Nightshade I knew it would be a trilogy, but I initially signed with Penguin for a two-book deal. Philomel was a great fit and everyone knew it was just the beginning of a great writing partnership. We inked the deal for the third book in the trilogy and a prequel last month!!
Sticking to planning vein, how do you map out a story when you write? (IE—planning the world to the tiniest detail, or do you just go along and write what you need?)
I'm terrible at planning - I know the answers to the big questions "how does it begin?" "how does it end?," but mostly I write about relationships. What's going on in terms of a character's relationship to his or her self and his or her world is what drives my stories. When I sit down to write I have only a general idea of what's going to happen. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is being surprised by something that happens. I have a lot of "whoa, where did that come from?" moments when I write!
How about family life? Is it hard to balance writing with the people you love?
It is. I work full time as a college professor so I'm not just balancing family life and writing, I pretty much have two jobs. I don't have any children and that helps with free time, but I have to remind myself not to ignore my husband and our dogs when I'm engrossed in a story.
From my limited experience, I know that writing takes a lot of time, plus tons of metaphorical sweat and tears—Well, and sometimes even literal tears. What makes writing worth it for you?
There are definitely literal tears sometimes! Two things make writing worth it for me. 1)Nothing makes me happier or more fulfilled as a human being than when I'm writing. 2) The thought of sharing characters and a world that I love so much with readers makes me want to jump up and down and cheer. I can't wait for everyone to meet Calla and her pack!!
What’s the scariest part of going through the editing process?
Every time I submit something to my editor I have the thought "but what if it's no good??" I think every writer goes through that moment of self-doubt. I have a wonderful editor who is brilliant at taking my strengths as a writer and really making them shine.
A question on the technical stuff; how does blogging affect your writing and reading habits?
I actually think blogging makes me a better writer; any type of writing is a form of practice and learning how to write blog posts that are short, but fun is a nice exercise in the craft. I don't think it's really affected my reading habits at all.
And the final question; like the first, it’s one that I suspect author’s get tired of answering. What would be the best advice you could give a teenager who wants to be an author?
Just keep writing. I'm sure you've heard it a million times before, but it's true. The only way to become a better writer is to write and write and write. Also, be patient. It takes time to find an agent and to find the right home for your writing. Don't take rejection personally. If you're writing for reasons other than love of writing, you should think twice about trying to be an author. At the end of the day it has to be about loving your story and being passionate about writing itself.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Andrea! I can't wait to read Nightshade!
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Back in October, I wrote about Miley Cyrus. Heard of her?
Oh, good. My readers are living, breathing people, then. I'm so glad.
I said back then that books should be like her; bubbly, and pretty, and something that inspires an opinion. Kind of like candy, in a way; fluffy, a little mindless, but occasionally can send you into a fit because of the horrible, incessant calories.
She was the sugary treat of television.
I have something to add to that now.
I grew up with Hannah Montana. Miley Cyrus isn't that much older than me. However, for a while, saying that you liked Miley Cyrus has been majorly taboo. I mean, come on; Hannah Montana? How vapid could you be?
But, like I said earlier; everyone has an opinion, just like the best books and the best characters. And millions of people loved the bubbly Miley Cyrus that we saw on Disney.
But what about now?
If you watch American Idol, you saw Miley as the mentor this week. A lot of people were slamming that decision, but it's kinda weird--she was actually one of my favorites to ever mentor.
Plus, there's this. That interview makes Miley look way more serious than I ever expected.
Suddenly, the girl in the wig looks like this;
and is talking about religion and politics.
How does that relate to writing?
Well, think about characters. The best characters change from the start to the end. Maybe, like Miley, they start out without much ground to stand on.
But slowly, they grow.
They evolve. You stop thinking candy and start thinking teenage girl. Yes, she's still gorgeous. Yes, she still is kinda bubbly. But she also comes across as smart and kind of down to earth.
My opinion of her has changed completely from just watching her speak and reading what she said. That's kind of hard to do, you know? Opinions tend to be set in stone.
So Miley Cyrus still epitomizes a good book. But now, instead of the sparkly, fluffy book, she epitomizes so much more.
She's the character you grow to like, and then respect. The one who literally grows up before your eyes and who makes you look at yourself and see more about you.
I mean, for me, looking at her at the start of Hannah Montana, I can see how young I was back then. I can see how much I've changed just from the memories that come with the show.
So what do you think?
Monday, March 22, 2010
No, not Miley Cyrus.
No, not Tamora Pierce.
No, not . . .
Okay, fine, I get it. I talk about a lot of chicks.
This one. Her name is Maggie.
She has an author interview with Tessa Gratton who's book, Blood Magic, will be out next summer.
So go ask Maggie questions to ask Tessa. Here is the link.
If you have ones for the fantabulous Andrea Cremer, ask those here. (Reminder note; Werewolves. Beautiful cover. Come on; you know you're interested in both of them.)
We all have questions. We all wonder them out loud and through emails. How often do we actually get to ask real, honest to goodness authors?
So come on. Ask away.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Hehe. I love saying that.
Andrea Cremer. Go check out her site, HERE. HERE is her blog.
Give me your questions. I know you have them.
It's YA. It's fantabulous. The cover is ASTOUNDING.
Come on. Don't be shy.
You know. The trees and all that fun stuff?
Sure, that's what it looked like . . . Yesterday. Trees. Green.
Wanna know what today looks like?
I'm not joking.
I might post pics of what my back yard looks like, but that seems to be a fair-ish bet.
Yes, Winter. I'm sorry that your time is over. I really am. You poor, poor little child.
But please, Winter.
Let us have Spring.
Pretty, pretty please?
Formspring--the thing in the corner of my blog--is weirdly entertaining. I'm getting questions about my story on inkpop, and some about the blog. It's kind of cool. I suggest you get one. :P
*Another added note*
There will be book blogging tomorrow. I just want to finish the one I'm reading right now; I'm on Spring Break, so I have time.
SPRING break. We already had a WINTER break. It was wonderful, really. There was peppermint and presents and this really awesome lip gloss in my stocking. Oh, and the new Word program.
I promise. I'll always remember you, Winter of 2009-10.
But don't be a bully. Let Spring have it's moment, too.
See? Isn't it pretty?
I promise; we'll be waiting for you next year.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Yeah. That's totally what Missouri looks like. *
Anyway, it was a cute little place. There were booths, and little tables, and a group of little kids that seemed to belong to the owner; they were EVERYWHERE. The waitress was young and insanely frazzled--the influx of business seemed to throw her off her game. However, the people inside? Yeah, they all knew eachother. There were old ladies gabbing in the corner, and there a couple of teenage kids were in the back that seemed pretty dang comfortable. Whenever the locals walked in, they would stand for a second, stare at the newcomers, sit down, and then crane around to stare a little more.
In a weird way, it was kind of cool.
It reminded me of so many places you read about. I mean, come on--how many books have you read that center around a small town? Can you name one?
How about this one?
For those of you who haven't read Twilight or who don't recognize this, this is the town that Stephanie Meyers picked to set Bella and Edward in. It's itty bitty.
Why are small towns so popular in novels?
Is it the charm? Is it that people are enthralled by them? (Hey, I know it sounds weird to us who do inhabit bits of Nowhere, but apparently we're hot commodities to city folk.) Is it that people who have lived in small towns like reading about what reminds them of home?
I'm not sure. It's just interesting to me. I mean, people really come alive in smaller settings. That pizza parlor, for instance--people were so friendly! (Except for the poor, frazzled waitress. She wasn't too friendly. Of course, we were playing cards...So yeah...)
Even the cranky people, though, seemed to have more of personality than those in cities. I guess it's because people don't really feel the need to keep to themselves. I mean, yesterday, I was walking home from a friend's, and four different people asked if I wanted a ride.
In a city? No. That wouldn't happen. In fact, I would be scared if someone did ask. Here, it's not so abnormal.
I just find it interesting. What about you?
*For those of you not familiar with Missouri, that was a joke. Missouri country looks more like this.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Evil math test. Evil science quiz. Inane gym.
However. It was also 'French' day at school, which means they serve coffee ALL DAY. I have yet to have a bad day when there is coffee in abundance.
Then, on bus today, which is normally a place of deep evil, I did not go into corner of emo. Indeed, the screaming children were not even that annoying.
Well. They were. Then this happened.
Me: Maggie. They are so annoying. Why are they so annoying? We were never that annoying.
Maggie: ....Sure, Sam. We were never that annoying. Of course not.
Me: *Turns to speak to friend a few seats back*
Annoying blonde creature: *Grabs my arm.* What's your name?
Me: *Exchanges long suffering look with Maggie.* ... I'm Sam....
Annoying blonde creature: *Blinks.* You're really pretty.
Me: *Blinks back. Turns to Maggie.* Awwww, I like her.
Yes. This is the life of a teenage girl. Call me pretty and I will suddenly approve of you...Unless you are a creeper. Then, you know, I'll pawn you off on my friends.
(Kidding. :P I shall take my friends and run.)
However, what really made the day?
An Amazon book with this stuff inside.
Yup. Today is officially a 'Good Day.'
Monday, March 15, 2010
I was one of the ones who loved the story, loved the writing, and was mildly annoyed by the character. However, that was kind of an interesting thing as a reader; how often do you not really like a character personally, but continue to read? It shows a lot of power as an author. Plus, there's a level of realism. It's like John Knowles, author of A Separate Peace. Many people hate the main character in that classic; but still, the book lives on. Obviously, a book about zombies and a book about boys in boarding school aren't the same.
There are some similarities, though.
They are both extremely well written. And, as for the sequel to this particular zombie book, The Dead Tossed Waves--
--just like A Separate Peace, I adored it.
The main character makes hard decisions. She sometimes messes up. She isn't perfect. On top of that, she has zombies chasing her. I mean, come on; the girl can't get a break.
Poor thing. Not only could she not get a break, but I sat there and read her struggles for a straight two hours--slower than I normally read, partly because I was enjoying the story so much--and then had to make light of what a wonderful book it made.
Plus, I mean . . . Just look at the covers.
How cool are they?
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Anyway. I'm just updating to say that I got tired of the winter background, and so now have a spring background. Also, it's three columns, which is hard to do but kind of fun to play with.
However. It's kind of interesting to me how we get to that point. Most novels don't deal with the actual happening that changes society. I mean, sure--an evil bug. An uprising. But what led to that point? Are we at that point now?
It's kind of a weird reason to blog, I guess, but it's something I've been wondering about lately because of a very stupid reason; cameras.
Now, in Missouri, we used to have Red Light Cameras. If you ran a red light, you got a ticket, no matter if there was a police man. The camera just took your picture.
Yup. It's the all seeing Traffic Light.
To me, that seems normal. I mean, if you don't do anything, what does it matter? That seems to be the overwhelming consensus of my generation.
People older than us FREAKED.
In fact, now, the cameras are gone.
On another side, my school is rigged with all sorts of cameras. Over a hundred, at least, and I think it might be closing in on two hundred. They're there to keep us safe. Again . . . That seems normal to me. But on another level, it is mildly creepy--we are monitored on every level. Sure, it keeps us safe. I've had several teachers who absolutely despise this practice, though, because it's ... Well, kind of creepy.
If you aren't doing anything wrong, logic says we shouldn't mind. It really doesn't bug me that much. I read a dystopian book the other day that follows this thread, though; a generational change.
(This is NOT a 'World is going to end' post. I'm just musing.)
So. What do you think? Do these-
Or, as in my case--does it seem weird that you aren't bothered?
Anyway, I'll have a book review up tomorrow.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Such as debate.
We had districts yesterday--the national qualifiers. My event requires a lot of research, and a capability to redistribute that research in a seven minute speech. It's called Extemp. You don't know what your topic will be until thirty minutes before.
I made it further than I thought.
And then I panicked.
It was nine at night, I was tired, cranky, and I got I topic I knew NOTHING about.
So. I lost. At something I'm usually relatively good at. I don't know that I've ever been this mad at myself. It wasn't that I did my best and lost; I could handle that.
I did my worst, and deserved to lose. I think that's so much more horrifying.
So. My pride is sorely beaten.
I guess it happens in writing, too, though? I mean, sending of manuscripts before they're ready, and then getting rejected. Typos in a query. Even publishing a book and then realizing there were parts you could have done better.
We've all got to go through it, I suppose. But dang, it sucks.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
I may look fifteen. I may act fifteen. In fact, I probably even act older. The truth, though?
I'm secretly six and a half.
I get the feeling you aren't believing me. Maybe it's my grammar, or my spelling. I've got too tight a handle on that, right? No. See, no fifteen year old could get as jumpy and squealy over a Disney cartoon as I did about ten seconds ago.
Yes. That is, indeed, Rapunzel.
And yes. I will, indeed, go to see that in theaters.
Hehe. I love Princess movies. (Shut up. I can be six if I wanna.)
Even if they have changed the name to 'Tangled' in hopes that more guys will watch the movie. Apparently, you see, Princess and the Frog didn't make enough. (222 million. I wish that were a paltry sum in my book.)
Still. I'm more excited for Rapunzel than I was Princess and the Frog--not that I wasn't excited for that too.
Sigh. I wanna be a Princess. I wanna have a pet Alligator. I'll pass on the creepy snake though.
Anyway. In order to fulfill my renewed childhood status, I'm off to play with my barbies and paint my nails with silvery sparkles.
Actually, I'm going to go watch American Idol.
...And yes. I'm going to watch American Idol while painting my nails with silvery sparkles.
Ahem. If it makes it better, I'll also be doing Honors Geometry homework. I do, after all, have a brain.
....I take it back. Lord, just let me be six again.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Me, oh my.
This book? Yeah. It was great.
In the world after Harry Potter, there have been a lot of boarding school books. House of the Night, even, is loosely a boarding school book. It's just vamps instead of witches.
In this story, though, they combine vamps, witches, fey, ghosts, and even shapeshifters. And let me just tell you--it works. I started the book with a tad bit of apprehension--I mean, like I said, there are a lot of books in this genre--and at the very start of the novel, I was a little worried this wouldn't be the one of the better ones.
Well, at least I can admit when I'm wrong.
The story built quite well, and there were twists all through out it. I guessed a couple of them--it left me with a quite pleasing 'Hah! I'm intelligent!' feeling. Then came more twists, and I sat there, looking at the page thinking . . . . Holy monkeys--this author is clever!
(These were meant to represent holy monkeys. Instead, I think I've just disturbed not only myself, but you, dear reader. I apologize.)
Anyway, back to the book. The author, Rachel Hawkins, has a blog. She's funny and seems to currently be on tour.
*Take a moment while I mourn my small town status. No authors come near here. It's a sad world.*
Moment over. Anyway, the book was amazing.
And there is a sequel! A sequel I really, really want. Now.
Actually, I think that was part of what I liked about the book. The curse of trilogies is pretty strong in YA, which is great, but I get quite sick of books that don't have a full story without their companions. This book made total sense at the end. Like a box of chocolates, I had total satisfaction and still totally wanted more.
(Dude, a chocolate keyboard. How awesome is that? Yummy.)
However, unlike the monstrosity above, Hex Hall has no calories. In my world, that makes it even better.
Anyway. It's late, and I'm in a rambling mood. G'night, and go read that book.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
It started with Disney, right? I mean, we all remember those. The Princess's, and the heroes, and the evil, evil bad guys.
Or girls, I guess. Evil doesn't discriminate.
The funny thing about that is, most of the Disney versions of fairy tales--arguably the most well known adaptations of classic tales--don't stick to the 'real' story. I mean, in the Grimm version of Cinderella (no pun intended) the step sisters mutilate their feet so they can fit into the glass slipper. In Beauty and the Beast, the dad is a jerk who gives up his daughter willingly.
Is it bad that they changed the story?
I don't think so. Disney's version of Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite. and as for Cinderella, I would have been one traumatized little kid to see cartoon characters start hacking off their feet.
Why do people get so angry, then, when stories are changed? I'm asking about this because of Alice in Wonderland; it's coming out tomorrow, right? Well, I was looking at reviews and stuff, and there are people who are ticked off that Tim Burton changed it so much.
Personally, I think it's kinda awesome.
People are mad that Alice is a 'champion' or a 'warrior.' Dude. Personally? How cool is that?!
I would much rather spend two hours and change of my life checking out a new version of an old story than seeing the same story twice.
(Plus, you know...It just kinda looks awesome.)
What about any of you? Does it make you mad when you see old stories changed?
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
You know. That one? Inkpop? Where the top five get reviewed by Harper Collins?
Guess who's in spot number two right now?
*Raises hand timidly.*
Yup. Me. Holy monkeys, pandas, and platypi.
(For those who do not know me personally, these are my three favorite animals and tend to take the place of curse words. I'm not sure why.)
Anyway. Top five. *Nerves!*
And, by the way, thank you Cipherqueen, for this. :D
I'm quite pleased right now.
Well, that and nervous. Mostly nervous. NERVES.