Sunday, January 30, 2011

Books that Made Me Forget to Blink

Tip of the Day: Check out the SCBWI blog roundup for this past weekend's New York conference. You can see an interview with my friend and critter Debbie Ridpath Ohi, hear about keynotes from Sarah Zarr and Linda Sue Park, and tons more.

Last week we talked about our favorite genres, and mine has been fantasy/sci fi for a while. I prefer the character driven fantasy to the plot driven novels, although I've read plenty of plot driven sci fi and fantasy that has kept me up late at night. Here are my book recommendations for YA Speculative writers:

FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta. It starts off as a very dark epic fantasy, but the ties to modern problems of refugee populations become evident early on. With two kick butt heroes, one male and one female, and a refusal to flinch from the worst people can do to each other, this is a must read. I forgot to sleep.

FEED by M.T. Anderson. Required reading! Teens in the future are systematically demoralized by capitalism gone mad ... is it that far from our own times? I only wish I could be smart enough to write something this relevant and also otherworldly. I recommend the audiobook for the full impact of listening to the omnipresent, commercialized feed.

WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead. Miranda's life seems remarkably average, except for the raving lunatic on her NYC street. The more she reads her favorite novel, A Wrinkle in Time, the more familiar the homeless person looks. Then mysterious notes appear just for her that seem to foretell the future. This Newbery winner definitely deserved the honor.

THE WEE FREE MEN (series) by Terry Pratchett. The fourth book is out, the fourth book is out! These improve as the main character, Tiffany Aching, gets older in each novel. Tiffany is a witch, and although she lives in a medieval world, her typical teen problems--unexpected attraction from the wrong men, peer pressure from the other witch apprentices, and the desire to solve her problems in private--twist her magic in chaotic ways. Plus the Wee Free Men (don't you dare call them pixies) push her to do things their way. Tiffany's rough navigation through these problems is a reminder of the heroism every young woman needs to exhibit to get through life.

Okay, I have to go and reserve the fourth Tiffany Aching book now. Talk about enjoyable inspiration.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Friday: Guest Post from YA Author SYDNEY SALTER

**Welcome Sydney Salter to Author2Author! Thanks for visiting Sydney!!!**

Before selling my first manuscript…

I wish I’d started blogging.

I created my blog only four months before my book hit the shelves. Oh, how I struggled to find my blogging voice. My original idea—focusing on nose stories and beauty issues to match the theme of my novel—just didn’t work. So I didn’t know what to write about!

Stick to a regular schedule; write about your creative process (don’t whine about rejections or discuss submissions); host contests to lure new followers; invite guests to post; share a little bit about your life (avoiding the dreaded over-share).

When your book is published you’ll already have fans who will want to read it!

I wish I’d figured out where I’m comfortable hanging-out online.

I panicked about my online presence and joined EVERYTHING. I ignored my kids and husband so I could friend strangers all over the internet. Quick! I need to look popular! Obviously, I couldn’t do it all. And my husband wasn’t too fond of the creepy emails from the site that didn’t have a place to list my “married” status.

I finally decided that Goodreads works for me because I love to read. I also like Facebook—I can link my blog and chat with everyone from long-distance relatives, elementary school friends, fans, fellow writers, and my own teenage daughter. I also contribute to group blogs.

Don’t try to do it all, choose a few places that fit your personality. And if you start now, steadily accumulating friends, you won’t freak out about your new publisher thinking you’re the online equivalent of the kid who eats his own scabs.

I wish I’d made more non-virtual friends.

I wasn’t prepared for the upheaval my novel sale would create in my long-time critique group. Things got awkward quick: I felt guilty talking about publishing milestones, knowing my friends felt jealous. I suffered through a few lonely weeks as the dynamic in our group shifted. I wish I’d had a broader base of support, including a published mentor.

Reach out to other serious writers, published and pre-published, in your community. Seeking publication is a roller coaster of mixed emotions and we all need support. Just this morning I met with a writer frustrated with the submission process. I was happy to take a short break, sip a latte with my new friend, and commiserate about writing, revising, close-calls, and re-submitting.

We write alone, but no one should seek publication without the support of real and virtual friendships!

Sydney Salter’s novels include My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, Jungle Crossing, and Swoon At Your Own Risk. Sydney lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, three cats, two fish, a pair of quiet tortoises, and a bearded dragon. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, hiking, skiing, traveling, and searching for the ultimate cupcake. Sydney is a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm a YA Chicklit Kinda Girl

Tips of the Day: 1) Go to my blog and comment why you love chicklit too for an entry to win a paperback of The Espressologist. 2) If you're anywhere near Winnetka, IL I'll be reading/discussing/signing books with Elizabeth Eulberg (Prom & Prejudice) and Kristin Walker (A Match Made in High School) at 2pm at The Book Stall.

I LOVE Chicklit! I always have. So when I started writing YA Chicklit I knew from the start it would be something I'd love. Now, people are resistant to label things "Chicklit" or "YA Chicklit". Which I think is pretty silly. It's like saying, no, no, I can't like funny, entertaining books. Must. Be. Serious. All. The. Time. I only read works of great literary merit. No escapist fun stuff for me.


Have you turned on the TV lately? If Jersey Shore isn't people wanting to escape reality I don't know what is.

Note: Jersey Shore is NOT Chicklit. Just saying. So what is Chicklit? It stars a strong young woman (in the case of YA, a teen) trying to navigate the world and all the crazy problems thrown at her. It's often funny and lighthearted. And there can be romance too but it's not a straight up romance book because friends are often important in the book too. It's written for women (and girls!) who often can relate to the problems the heroine is going through with boys, jobs (school), family, and friends. You can often spot chicklit by the fun girly covers (used to tend to be pink but the cover designs are broadening now) and the often used first person present tense.

It basically rocks.

I don't know if other people would call what I write YA Chicklit (would you?) and I don't know what my publisher categorizes it as but my books tend to be light, funny, and sweet and that's YA Chicklit to me.

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why I write mysteries…

Tip of the Day: Deena and I switched it up a bit this week and posted on opposite case anyone wondered what's going on :)

I’d like to think there’s a big, great explanation for why I write YA and MG mysteries. Most TV cops always seem to have a compelling story as to why they entered law enforcement, usually because of the murder of a loved one. Luckily, that never happened to me as a child. Instead, my bookshelves were always filled with Nancy Drew and The Boxcar Children books.

My inquisitive nature probably started from reading many of those books.
Now, mysteries are pretty much the only story ideas that I get, which is why I write them (easy enough reason, right?). Primarily because for the life of me I wouldn’t know how to fill an entire book of just romance, even though I’m insanely jealous of authors that can make it work. And sometimes you just have to stick with what feels right as a writer.

For research, sometimes it’s hard for me to find YA mysteries that are light enough for me in tone, which is why I’m always looking for a good read. In the next few weeks, I’ll share some of my favorite teen mysteries and upcoming ones I’m looking forward to.

Up first is one of my favorite YA mysteries:
Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe- I know probably everyone has read this already, but I still had to mention it. I love this book. It made me laugh out loud and had a great light-hearted mystery.

But I loved it so much, I'm amazed I haven't already rushed to read Michele's latest YA Mystery, Rosebush. But it's on my to be read list and this blog post might have prompted me to move it up the list. I'll have to let you know how it is.


You Are What You Read (or You Read What You Are?)

Tip of the Day: It's time to take the Christmas decorations down (note to self).

Blog readers who follow my LiveJournal book reivews may see that my favorite books tend to be, in no particular order:
1. realistic contemporary
2. super well done historical fiction, especially based on true events,
3. some creepy ghost stories, and
4. funny books

That doesn't mean that I don't enjoy the occassional paranormal, dystopian, or historical fantasy, but it is kind of interesting that the books I've written (those that are WIPs and those from my past days of learning) are:
1. realistic fiction (6)
2. historical (1, but not super well done or based on true events)
3. creepy ghost stories (1)
4. funny (hopefully 2)

Only one of my 8 manuscripts has been paranormal, and that one I actually rewrote into realistic historical (see above), removing the paranormal aspects. I've never attempted a dystopian and don't have any ideas for one.

Dare I mention that what is selling right now is paranormal and dystopian? :-p

Still, I love realistic books and always have, from Lurlene McDaniel as a teen; to Sarah Dessen, Ellen Wittlinger, and Laurie Halse Anderson in my learning-to-write days; to C. K. Kelly Martin, April Henry, and Eric Luper today.

I'll continue to write realistic YAs and MGs, no matter what the market, until overwhelming ideas drawn me otherwise. I hope you all will get to read my next YA!

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Like the Real World, But It's Not

Tip of the Day: Check your local Barnes and Noble to see Tina's THE ESPRESSOLOGIST (now in paperback) on the Valentine's Day display!

You know what should be a simple question to ask a writer? "What genre do you write in?" I don't think the answer should be "I don't know," but I'm having a hard time answering that question.

I write contemporary fantasy, mostly, except when I don't. Sometimes I try to write straight contemporary, but it tends to make me feel like I'm missing a plot. I love to write contemporary settings, though. I read a lot of historical fiction, and I would like to try to write more of it someday, but it's easy for me to let an unfamiliar setting overwhelm the characters and plot. This is something I need to work on: seamless explanations of strange customs.

Some of the books that have influenced me the most are LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeiffer and THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary E. Pearson. These are science fiction books that totally focus on contemporary teen characters, what they want, and how they act. Despite being science fiction, they're not plot based or world based novels: they're character based novels. I want to write a book like those novels.

So I've written contemporary horror, paranormal, and soft science fiction. I just tried writing a contemporary mystery, but I wasn't very good at following the mystery structure, and I wanted things to happen to the characters that just weren't all that believable outside of a fantasy setting. I don't read a lot of mysteries. I read contemporary novels and light fantasy/sci fi, so it's natural that I want to write both those genres.

Any book recommendations for me that qualify as contemporary speculative?

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun Friday: Interview with First-Time YA Author, Shawn Goodman!

Readers, please welcome Shawn Goodman to A2A!

Not only is he the second winner from upstate NY (in a row!) of the Delacorte Press Contest for a First YA Novel, but he's a great guy to dish with about great YA books (especially for boys!).

His novel, SOMETHING LIKE HOPE, came out on December 28th, 2010, and I just read it and loved it (see my review here). Isn't the cover beautiful?

Here's a blurb on the book and on Shawn from his Authors Now page:
Shavonne is a fierce and desperate seventeen year-old who finds herself in a large juvenile lockup hundreds of miles from home. She wants to turn her life around before her eighteenth birthday, but her problems seem too big, and time is running out. Amidst corrupt guards, out-of-control girls, and shadows from her past, Shavonne must find the courage to fight for a redemption she’s not sure she deserves.

Shawn Goodman based SOMETHING LIKE HOPE on his experiences working as a psychologist in a girls’ juvenile justice facility. He has been an outspoken advocate for juvenile justice reform, and has lectured around the country on issues related to special education, foster care, and literacy. Shawn lives in Ithaca, NY with his wife and two daughters.

Take it away, Shawn!

1. When did you start writing novels with the hopes of one day having one published?
Shawn: About six years ago, I started writing SOMETHING LIKE HOPE with a vague idea about publication. But mostly it was a very private way to process what I was experiencing at work (in the juvenile detention centers).

2. What was your first paid writing gig?
S: I wrote a column called Frank's Wild Years for the local alternative paper. I think it paid forty-five dollars per column, which was just enough for drinks and a couple dozen oysters at Maxie's in Ithaca. I wrote forty or fifty of them, all under a pseudonym. The experience taught me how to write every day and stick to a deadline. It also taught me how to develop characters quickly and tell a complete story in seven hundred words.

3. Did you have an agent when you sold your novel?
S: I still haven't sold a novel. My first book won the Delacorte Prize, which came with a publishing contract. I signed with Seth Fishman shortly after I got the call from Delacorte. He's since changed houses (from Sterling Lord to The Gernert Company), and I very happily moved with him. He's been a terrific agent.

3a. Can you tell us a little about how the sale went down?
S: Even though it didn't sell in the true sense, I'd say it all went down slowly. For most of us who have been writing and working hard for so long, we're ready to hit the group running. We've revised, attended conferences, participated in critique groups, read writing books and writing blogs, etc. But the publishing industry moves at its own pace, and it's a slow one. First of all, there are so many steps from initial editing, to second rounds, and then copyediting, and, finally, pass pages. There's cover design and jacket copy considerations, obtaining blurbs, marketing plans. And each of these things takes time. It's hard to wait, because of our excitement, our impatience.

4. How has your writing/writing process changed since selling your first novel?
S: Not much, except I've been reading more, which is actually great for the writing. I still work full-time as a school psychologist, so a lot of my thinking energy still goes into work. Sometimes, if I can get moving early enough, I'll write before work in my office or at a breakfast joint. Or during lunch. Or at home with my wife and kids. I might sit in the evening with my daughters watching a movie, but I'll have a notebook on my lap and I'll write a chapter or two longhand. Ditching the laptop was a great thing for me because a notebook is so much easier to take out and use (or close and put away if life is happening around me and I need to tune in). There's no decision about whether or not it's worth my time to fire up a laptop, carve out a suitable space, charge batteries, etc. Plus there's something nice about using a good pen and a quality notebook to write the old fashioned way. I type it all in later on my computer, but it feels good to write by hand, and anything I can do to make the act of writing pleasant and enjoyable in and of itself... well, it's a good thing.

4a. How about since it hit the shelves?
S: It's only been a couple of weeks, but I've felt self-imposed pressure to do more marketing stuff than actual writing. I write and answer emails, work on setting up appearances, etc. And then I start feeling negligent, or even like a fraud, and so I pull out my notebook and write. Then I feel a little better.

5. How do you work to keep your books on the shelves?
S: I'm not sure if I have a right to answer this one, especially since my one book has only been on the shelves for a few weeks. But here goes. First is to write books that are completely engaging and accessible to kids. There are so many reasons to not read. If I am expecting kids to put down their ipods and cell phones, to turn away from their friends and activities and part-time jobs and homework and social lives to read my book, it's got to be completely engaging and accessible to them. That's exactly my job as a YA writer, and I have to take it seriously. Which is why I write short, emotionally laden chapters that end with some kind of a question, idea, or punch. I want enough dialogue and action to carry the story and to make the arc feel natural. I want a certain rhythm of speech and thought so that the voices resonate in the readers' heads. If I do a good job with some of these things, then all that is left is to connect as much as possible (in thereal world) with readers, teachers, librarians, parents, and booksellers. It's still surprising to me how enthusiastic adults can be about YA fiction. If a parent or teacher reads a good YA book, they feel compelled to share it. They will put it in the hands of their kids, and their friends' kids. And, if the kids read it, then new connections are formed between them and the adult who recommended the book. They now have something exciting in common - it breaks down the all-powerful barrier of "you don't understand." But I may not have answered the original question, which has to do with sales. Short answer - I haven't a clue!

Bonus: What are you working on next?
S: My second book is a boys' road trip adventure, kind of a cross between Pulp Fiction and The Motorcycle Diaries. It's the book that would have gotten me excited about reading when I was sixteen.

Thanks so much, Shawn! I especially like being reminded to sometimes write longhand (I used to when I snatched writing moments at my old job), and that hopefully a Pulp Fiction-Motorcycle Diaries book will hit the shelves. :)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A2A Teen Years: First time behind the wheel

Tip of the Day: The 2009 Debutantes are giving away FORTY SETS of L.K. Madigan's books (Flash Burnout and Mermaid's Mirror). Click here for details.

I will never ever ever forget the first time I got behind a wheel of a car. Or in this case, a very very large truck. It was my Dad's 1980 something Ford truck that he used for work. It was big and brown but looked a little like this one:

I had just gotten my driving permit and I was nagging my dad to take me out driving. He tossed me his truck keys and said here, just go practice in the driveway for awhile. Sounds weird but if you'd seen our place we had a really long driveway. Our property used to be a farm so there was four acres of land and my dad had poured a long concrete driveway that went to the main road. The driveway also went down to the barn--this big stone and brick building that use to be used for farming but now housed my dad's trucks, trailers, and tractors etc. for his construction business. I, of course, took his keys and raced outside to start driving.

I climbed into the driver's seat of that big truck and sat there. I knew the keys went into the ignition but I wasn't sure how to make the truck start. I saw my brother outside so I rolled down the window and yelled:

Me: Hey, how do you turn this thing on?
Him: Huh? Seriously?
Me: (eye roll). Yeah, just tell me!
Him: Turn the key clockwise.

I did and the truck started right up. Whee! Then, um, now what. So I yell out the window again.

Me: Hey, what do I do?
Him: What are you doing exactly?
Me: Shut up, Dad said I could drive in the driveway.
Him: Press the gas.
Me: Which one is the gas?
Him: Ok, get out of the truck...
Me: No!!!! Dad said I could! Just tell me where the gas is!
Him: (hesitant) Push down the one on the right.
Me: I can't reach it.
Him: Get out of the car.
Me: No, I'll just scoot all the way forward.

I press on the gas and I was off. And it was awesome! For about twenty seconds until I decided to go do a loop around the barn. And crashed right into it on my left. And kept going. The scraping must have been loud because my dad came running out. I made it back up the driveway and turned the truck off. My dad and brother started yelling at me and I gave my dad the keys while he checked the damage (the whole left side of the truck was dented in). My brother stopped me on my way back to the house.

Him: I don't understand why you didn't stop when you hit. Why did you keep going?
Me: You didn't tell me where the brake was!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A2A: The Teen Years (or When I Drove All Niiiight*)

*with apologies to Cyndi Lauper

Tip of the Day: If you watch GREMLINS on Blu-Ray, it's not any better than it was 25 years ago in non-high-def -- but I still groove to that theme song!

As I navigate the snowy winter weather of western NY in my Corolla, complete with studded snow tires, I am reminded of my first driving accident as a teen. Let me set the stage:

I'm a Page at the small town library where my mother also works, and at 5PM when the library closes, I wait in my car for her to close up so I can drive us both home.

*Note the hotness of my 1980s Ford Tempo.

**OK, so I borrowed this pic from, and my car was white with a black bottom, but you get the idea. HOT.

While waiting for Mom, I notice a small group of people standing in the middle of the parking lot sort of to the left of my car. At the same time, I get the great idea to turn my car around and pull up right next to the library door so Mom can hop right into the car. I'm a good daughter, right?

I put my car in reverse, keeping my eye on the people to make sure I don't mow them down with my vehicle....CRUNCH.

Oh wait, one of the people standing nearby had parked their TRUCK BEHIND ME? Um, ooops...guess I forgot to look there....

Mom and the owner of the truck made it to my Tempo at about the same time. And can I just say I can't remember a time I've felt like a bigger idiot? (Remind me of this if I claim to feel uber dumb in the future.)

The truck's bumper pad had a lame little scratch on it. But my Tempo lost some rear lights and gained a crinkled rear bumper. And the truck owner charged me like $80 for a new bumper. When you're making $5 an hour, man that SUCKS.

But let me tell you, I haven't backed into a vehicle since!

Ah yes, these are the perfect moments to channel in order to torture the characters in my books....

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A2A Teen Years: My true first car

Tip of the Day: if you have a flat roof and are meaning to take care of the ice and snow, make sure to get too it sooner rather than later. Trust me!

Love it when we have A2A the Teen Years, but talking about cars is hard for me. If you asked me to pick a Corvette or a Maserati out of a picture line up, I probably wouldn't be able to. Cars have never really interested me, which is probably why I never viewed driving as a rite of passage. Being the youngest child, my siblings always drove me around and I was perfectly content being chauffeured everywhere.

But eventually I did take driver's training and luckily passed, while only managing to hit the curb a few times while driving the wonderful "Student Driver" cars. After I got my license, my mom handed down an old gray Ford Taurus to me. Since it only lasted a few months before I got into my first and only (to this day) accident, I don’t really consider that car my first car.

It was a rainy day and the roads were slick. Not being that great of a driver, I had no idea what anti-lock brakes were or the fact that my car had none. So when a newspaper delivery woman was delivering papers on the wrong side of the road, it was pretty much inevitable that I reacted too quickly, locked my brakes, and slammed into her vehicle. My car was totaled, but luckily my two friends and I weren’t badly injured.

But trying to explain the accident to the police when they showed up got tricky, especially because we were second to give our statements and the women failed to mention she was on the wrong side of the road. Instead, she tried to blame me since I was young, and said I was driving too fast.

Also, trying to get the police to understand that we were teen girls and all three sat in the front seat (as young girls tended to do when front middle seats used to be more popular back in the day) was hard. They just couldn’t understand where everyone was seated, or whey we would cram in the front seat if the entire back seat was open. We had to keep repeating it over and over.

Luckily, we must have made some sense, since the police didn’t believe the other women’s finger pointing and her company ended up paying all the damages.

As a result, I ended up getting to pick out (kind-of) a used Toyota Corolla with my insurance money. The car already had a good 120,000+ miles on it when I got it, but it still lasted about another 12 years. My husband inherited it later and we just got rid of it last year. It still ran, even though it had its issues. But it was just time for a new car, so we took it to a salvage yard so it's parts could go into other vehicles.

And I’m going to be totally dorky and admit that even not being a car person, I was really sad to say goodbye to my trusted teen car. I had to take pictures to remember the day. Here's my husband ceremonially removing the license plate for the final time. ::Wipe. Wipe::

*Note: bumper stickers and dents are all my husband's doing, not my own!


Monday, January 17, 2011

A2A Teen Years: Kate Drives a Very Cool 1969 Dodge Charger, Once

Tip of the Day: Today isn't just Martin Luther King, Jr. day, it's Benjamin Franklin's birthday. Both men have gifted our country with greatness, and their inspirational words are wonderful when you need some motivation.

Welcome to one of our favorite weeks around here: A2A the Teen Years, where we relive our experiences as young adults--the experiences and emotions that should make it in to our writing someday. This week we're talking about that American rite of passage: learning to drive.

Wow, driving looked so easy, didn't it? Just turn that steering wheel, preset the radio stations ... what else could I possibly need to know?

My parents were reluctant to teach me to drive. I was hard to teach in general, one of those "let me do it my way" people. My mother was nervous and my father had a quick temper, so they kept procrastinating my lessons. Finally, my boyfriend relented and let me drive his car in a supermarket parking lot.

His car was awesome: a restored 1969 Dodge Charger. It also wasn't the easiest car to drive. It probably didn't have power breaks or power steering. It may not have had seatbelts. It was very fast, though. Perfect first driving experience, right?

Also, my boyfriend was obsessed with his car. Did I need to say that, or was it kind of obvious being that it was a restored Dodge Charger?

But he made the sacrifice and let me get behind the wheel. I don't remember exactly how it went, but it was something like this:

Him: "Okay, be very careful with my baby. Both hands on the wheel."
Me: "You don't drive with both hands on the wheel. Which one's the gas pedal?"
Him: "Tap it very, very gently. Like barely touch it. Like just breathe on it."
Me: "Can I change the radio station? I don't think I can learn to drive to Black Sabbath."
Him: "Just watch where you're going!"
Me: "Duh, I'm in a parking lot."
Him: "That's a wall! Hit the brakes!"
Him: "You are never, ever, ever driving my car again. I have doubts about allowing you to be in the passenger seat, that's how bad that was. I think you stopped my heart."
Me: "I blame Black Sabbath."

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun Friday: Sarah Dessen Giveaway WINNER!

Thanks for all the entries guys! We have a winner!

Congratulations Sara!!! I will message you for your mailing address and pop your prize in the mail.

In the meantime, check out this fun blog dedicated to Sarah Dessen. A year and a half ago she hosted a SARAH DESSEN CELEBRATION in honor of Sarah's birthday and 31 young adult authors and bloggers wrote tributes to Sarah. It was really cool! Here's a list of who contributed (I'm in there too!):

YA Authors - Melissa Walker, Elizabeth Scott, Leavitt Lindsey,Gayle Forman, Laurie Halse Anderson, Micol Ostow, amanda ashby, Sarah Ockler, Sarah Cross, Sara Zarr, Kristina Springer, Natalie Hatch, The Readergirlz, Emily Gale, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Holly Cupala, Sherryl Clark, Simmone Howell, Justine Chen Headley, Michelle Zink and Jennifer Jabley
YA Bloggers – Khy, Hope, Ally, Liz, Hannah, Jenny, Alea, Janssen, Jordyn, Shalonda, Kristi, YoungMomma, Sarah, Liv, Erika Lynn, Chelsea, Adele

…and more.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

2011 Must Reads!

Tip of the Day: My third book, Just Your Average Princess, comes out October 11, 2011! Also, one day left to enter the Sarah Dessen Giftset Giveaway!

2011 is going to be a great year for books! Here's my must read list:

MAD LOVE by Suzanne Selfors (1/4/11)
Daughter of bestselling Queen of Romance has to write an overdue book for her mentally ill/recently hospitalized mom. She meets a boy who claims to be Cupid and has to find out if she's inherited her mom's illness or if he's the real thing. Looks so sweet!

FLIRT CLUB by Cathleen Daly (1/4/11)
Two middle school drama geeks with failed romances form an after school support group for the flirt challenged. Sounds adorable and like something I'd love in middle school.

PROM & PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg (1/1/11)
Girls at a prestigious academy are obsessed with prom but Lizzie isn't. She meets her friend's boyfriend's who really irks her but she's drawn to him anyway. Looks cute and I'm signing with Elizabeth at the end of the month.

THE LAST LITTLE BLUE ENVELOPE by Maureen Johnson (5/1/11)
The follow up to 13 Little Blue Envelopes. A boy from England contacts Ginny and tells her he found the 13th envelope and she has to come to London to get it. Loved the first book, can't wait to read this one!

THE VESPERTINE by Saundra Mitchell (3/7/11)
Young girl in 1889 has visions of the future daily at sunset. When one of her darker visions comes true people wonder if she's not the seer of the visions but the cause. Oh my gosh, this sounds so freaking cool!

Here's to another great year of reading!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

TBR ASAP (or OMG, I Have to Have These Books!)

Tip of the Day: You can now get The Espressologist in paperback!

If you saw me when my book orders came in at the library, you wouldn't believe that any books were NOT on my OMG I WANT TO READ THIS NOW list. Ditto if you saw me in the book store. But if I listed them all, this post would be neverending. are the books I can't wait for this year that are on the top of my head right now:

OK, so I actually already read this as an ARC, but I want it to hit the shelves so I can tell everyone to buy it and read it! *Historical, WWII, Siberian exile survival story, March 2011.

His book FOOD, GIRLS, AND OTHER THINGS I CAN'T HAVE is hilarious, and I look foward to laughing at this book too. *Realistic, humor, May 2011.

4. I'M NOT HER by Janet Gurtler
A YA response to MY SISTER'S KEEPER. *Realistic, drama, April 2011

The third in this creepy series! I call them the book versions of the movie "The Village" except good. *Zombies, March 2011.

OK, I'll stop here. Which of these four do you most want to read this year?

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Awesome looking books of 2011

Tip of the Day: Don’t forget to comment here to be entered into our Sarah Dessen giveaway. Lots of awesome books to win, all by one of my favorite authors!

I have to admit that I'm not really on the up-and-up with what's new this year. Luckily someone on goodreads made a list of upcoming YA books. Here's what looks good to me (and I have to say there is an awful lot of supernatural books. It was like trying to play hide and seek to find anything else.):

Abandon by Meg Cabot (April 2011):
Not only am I a sucker for a book with filigree on the cover I also enjoy all of Meg’s books (which should be well documented in this blog). This one I’m particularly excited about, since it’s a supernatural YA. One of my favorite series by her is the Mediator series. This new trilogy sounds similar in tone and appeal and may have even more darkness and edge. Whoo hoo. Plus, it involves the Myth of Persephone. Pretty much sounds like a winner!

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (May 2011):
Continuing on with the theme of some of my favorite authors and delightful book covers, I’m really looking forward to Sarah Dessen’s new book. It also has an adorable cover with an awesome yellow suitcase that I’d love to have a replica of. Sounds like traditional Dessen at its best with the main character finding herself and falling in love along the way. The main character’s name is Mclean, which has to be one of my favorite Dessen names.

Timeless by Alexandra Monir (January 2011):
Since I haven’t really been keeping up with what’s new, I don’t really know much about this book. But it’s about a high school student who discovers a diary that takes her back in time to 1910. Sounds very interesting, involving an old mansion and family secrets.

Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman (February 2011):
Mainly looking forward to this book, since the title makes me laugh, and it’s about a girl going undercover at an all-boys boarding school. Sounds interesting.

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt (March 2011):
Love Lindsey’s blog and always thought this book sounded really interesting and funny, with a girl concentrating on a guy’s head to harness her emotions when she discovers her dad has multiple sclerosis. Very excited it’s available soon!

And of course I’m looking forward to The Day Before (June 2011) by Lisa Schroeder and Just Your Average Princess (fall 2011) by Kristina Springer (which doesn't have a finalized cover yet, but I'm super excited to see)! We really do have wonderful talent, past and present, here at A2A. Keep up the good work ladies!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Can't Wait to Read You!

Tip of the Day: Go Jets! Celebrate your favorite occasions (like the Jets winning the playoffs) with a Bellini: champagne and peach nectar.

2011 looks to be a fantastic year for novels, and I love to get recommendations. There are a few novels I'm especially anticipating:

THE WATERLOO PLOT by Marissa Doyle. I stayed up all night reading THE BEWITCHING SEASON and then stayed up another night reading THE BETRAYING SEASON. THE WATERLOO PLOT takes place in the same world, and I'll be running out to read it as soon as it's released. These Victorian historicals are packed with romance and magic.

THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder. I love Lisa's books and I love novels in verse. The description for THE DAY BEFORE sounds like a novel I'll devour: Amber and Cade set out to spend the perfect day together, but as Amber falls for Cade, she realizes he's living like each moment is his last.

SOMETHING LIKE HOPE by Shawn Goodman. I met Shawn at a SCBWI retreat and was privileged to hear some of this novel while it was a work in progress. Then it won the Delacorte YA award! In this novel, Shavonne struggles to redeem herself in a large juvenile lockup hundreds of miles from home. And we have an interview with Shawn coming up here at Author2Author later this month!

Speaking of novels I want to read, don't forget there's still time to enter our Sarah Dessen giveaway. Click here to enter to win three Sarah Dessen novels. Awesome.

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun Friday: Sarah Dessen Giveaway!

It’s our first Fun Friday and we’re celebrating by giving away the Sarah Dessen Deluxe Gift Set! It retails for $29.99 and includes three highly acclaimed novels by Sarah: Lock and Key, Someone Like You, and Keeping the Moon. It also includes a key pendant inspired by Lock and Key and a special message from Sarah herself. And it comes in a collectible jewelry box with hinged top! So freaking cute!

Comment on this post for a shot to win this awesome gift set. Mention that you became an A2A follower for an extra entry. Blog, facebook, and/or tweet about this giveaway (and tell us where) for bonus entries. Please note, we can only ship to the US and entries must be received by midnight EST, Thursday, January 13th. Winner will be posted next Friday the 14th.

And remember to check in each Friday for various fun posts! Lots of guest bloggers, interviews, giveaways, and fun to come in 2011!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy 2011!

Tip of the day: Want to check out my 2010 overview of my writing year? Click here.

Happy New Year! So far mine has been off to a great start and I hope yours has too. I'm determined to have an awesome year and to begin with there will be no resolutions! I'm giving myself the year off. Oh sure, I've got stuff to do. But I'm not going to outline it in a list so I can beat myself up next New Year's Eve. I know some of you drink champagne and watch the ball drop on New Years. Me, I look at the list from the previous year and tick off what I got done and what I didn't. And then I'm annoyed because the didn't list is always longer. So nope, no list this year! This year I'm just going to keep trucking on ahead and do what I can.

I like how Kate has a word and Em has a motto for the year. Mine is going to be "Don't Give Up." A lot of times I want to give up on things when they seem way too hard. Like trying to get an agent or get published was but then I did those things. And even now, when I look at what I have to do and the deadlines for various projects I sometimes feel so overwhelmed that I just want to do nothing. So I need to stop that. I'm going to work on knocking off the deer in headlights approach and just give each project my best.

Look at the 2000 glasses creators. You know the ones that had those nifty New Year's Eve glasses from 2000-2009.

Brilliant how to 00s were always perfect to look through right? And then when 2010 was about to hit I fretted, what will they do? There are no 00s to look through! But they pulled it off.

Clever right? Then here comes 2011 and I think ok, this is it. They're definitely done with the NYE glasses. You couldn't possibly look out of a 2011. I wondered what people would wear on their faces at NYE parties and how many NYE party glasses companies would be going out of business. But did they give up? Nope. They came up with the glasses AGAIN!

Ok, yeah. They're ugly. I agree. But people wore them and that's what's counts. And the companies that make these silly things make it another year. So see? If they can keep making these stupid glasses then we can all do anything we put our minds to! And I WILL get all of my writing projects done in 2011. Books will get written, revised, edited, and polished! Whoo hoo! Happy 2011!

Kristina, Miss Author in Action

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Visions of Success For 2011 (or "Is This a Vision in My Mind?"*)

*With apologies to Stevie Wonder

Tip of the Day: I read 177 books this year. Want to see my favorite three? Click on my LiveJournal link.

Happy 2011, Readers! Hope your New Year has kicked off right. I'm glad to have survived the shortest day of the year and am happy to be back posting on A2A! It also means that the publishing peeps in NYC are coming back to work!

We're talking about our writerly visions for 2011. Some of you may recall my completely failed and derailed goals from last year. Um, yeah, new approach this year:

1. First, to be literal, I am envisioning myself:

a. writing with excitement and enjoyment every time I sit down in front of Word, and
b. being able to write harder books with new skills (for the YA with alternating time period chaps, and the YA with two first-person povs I've got percolating).

2. I'm visualizing my YA PfF going out into editor world, and I'm hoping that editors will love reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

3. I'd like my labor of love YA, SDT, that I worked on at the Falling Leaves Retreat in November, to reach the point where it's ready for the light of editor world.

(Hey, I can't be Miss Subbing for Pubbing without putting it out there for this (3.) and (2.) above!)

4. I have a vision of preparing two YA book proposals for my agent (the ones alluded to in (1.a.) above).

5. For A2A, I see weeks of fun post, collaboration with my writing peeps, and all new interviews and guest posts -- another great year!

6. I'd like to read 200 books in 2011, but with an impending wedding and honeymoon to plan and attend, I won't be too sad if I don't reach it again this year. :)

Anyone else planning a wedding on top of writing and working this year? ;-)

Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Emily decides to go with the flow

Tip of the Day: hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!

For the past two years the new year has felt like a new beginning. Big things seemed to be in store; so much so that I could almost feel it in my bones. The anticipation of the year kicked off in January with a bang. At the time, I had thought some of it might be writing related. But in actuality much of it had to do with changes in my personal life, two big moves, a new job, turning the big 3-0, and lots of other fun stuff.

But this year? To be honest, I kind of didn’t realize it was the New Year. Sure I watched the ball drop in Time Square on TV like I do every year, but this year hasn’t really felt different at all yet. It is only January 4. So maybe this year has just been slow to start. We’ll see.

I’ve never been one to make formal New Year’s resolutions, mainly because in my personal life I’m not much of a planner. Instead, I’ve had things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year and a general game plan in the back of my head of how to get there. Writing-wise I might even have a general to-do list, but not really formal resolutions. This year is no exception.

I love Kate’s idea of having a word for the year. Going off of the only word I can think of for the year is to go with the flow. So I guess that’s four words for me this year.

I’d love to finally finish one of the books I’ve been working on and actually submit it. I don’t even want to look at the calendar and try to figure out how long it’s been since I’ve submitting anything to agents (definitely haven’t lived up to my Miss Querylicious name in the past two years). Writing has definitely taken a back seat in my life while I’m pursuing other hobbies and furthering my other career. However, it’s still important to me, and for that reason I would like to move forward a little this year. Continue to grow in my writing and continue to find enjoyment out of it.

I also wish for world peace and a wonderful vacation this year, but somehow I don’t think resolutions are supposed to work like wishes (or are they?).

But I guess that’s the fun part of starting a new year, in that you have the choice to do whatever you want and put the work in to make your dreams become a reality.

I love that with life you often aren’t finished with anything and how often the journey is just as important as the destination. When I started writing five years ago (wow, has it been that long?), I never imagined I would still be writing just for the fun of it, with no book contract or anything. It’s not how I would have planned it, but it’s been a fun journey nonetheless and I wouldn’t change it. Otherwise it wouldn’t be my journey.

Good luck in the new year to all of those with resolutions, goals to accomplish, books to write, and for those of us just going with the flow and trying to find enjoyment out of life.

Emily, Miss "To Be Determined"