Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I love meeting with the Mock Printz Club girls to discuss books (it's open to guys, but none have joined us), and always learn so much from them, too! Right now the frontrunners fr our Mock Printz award seem to be:
Some other tidbits I've garnered from our Printz meetings:
--They love J. K. Rowling. She essentially can do no wrong. And they don't mind what I called the "info dump chapters" in book #7 because they'd rather have that than stringing the reader along with tiny clues until the "big reveal." :)
--They don't like how in practically every current YA book they read with a girl MC, the girl *always* either a) ends up crushing on/hooking up with the first boy she meets in the book, or b) ends up crushing on/hooking up with her guy friend. They say it is so unrealistic and completely unnecessary.
--They don't like MCs who are seemingly invincible. While most like THE HUNGER GAMES, many don't like how Katniss, for example, is a little too unstoppable.
--They are getting tired of "the same" dystopian stories being told over and over, and find a lot of them similar to THE GIVER.
Our last Printz meeting was supposed to last 45-60 mins, and some of the girls hung around talking to the HS Librarian and I in the HS library for 90 minutes chatting about books! I love it!
What are your Printz picks so far?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I'm here, checking in on my November goal!
Goal recap: To revise my YA WIP and have it ready to sub by Dec. 1.
And as of today, I'm on page 165/206 and feeling totally on track!
It hasn't all been easy. During my lunch breaks at work I tried really hard to get in a solid 45 minutes of revision, but sitting at my desk in a cubicle -- even with my headphones on and personal laptop powered up -- doesn't always keep the coworkers away. I love them and all, but but but...NaNoREMo people! :)
I also got feedback from my wonderful Helper Monkeys critique group...and I learned that, uh, there were some "issues" with the chapters leading up the climax. And the climax itself. And oh yeah, the resolution chaps need some clarity. Oh boy. BUT! I was so inspired by them as well -- they helped me brainstorm "fixes" and I could feel what a better book these changes would make -- so when I sat down to write, the words came easily.
This book is different from anything else I've ever written: It has two 1st-person povs, a speculative story with a thriller feel, and a faster pace with bigger stakes. I'm really excited about this novel and hope my revisions are making it into the story I imagine.
How is everyone doing with their NaNo projects?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
My November Goal: complete edits on the current book I'm working on.
The Progress: not so great
After completely switching what the book I'm currently working on for the month, I had a bit of a slow start. The switch turned out to be wise, though, and edits with this book are going much better. I've gotten quite a bit done, though there are several chapters I need to update and about two chapters to add.
Since I haven't worked on this book in about three years, there's been much time spent getting into the heads of the characters again. But it's been fun, challenging, and progressing forward has been rewarding.
To celebrate, I'm definitely eating some pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving!
And then...it's right back to work. I still have eight days left in November to complete my goal!
Well at least right after I wipe my tears for the hundredth time today after watching X-factor tonight. Was I the only one that cried at like every story. I told my husband, I'd hate to be the singer without an inspirational story.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I find the page and oh man, it’s true! It’s totally Shaz A.M.! Nasty, nasty, nasty! Man, she had to be scraping his denture cream off the back of her tonsils after this make out session. I flip the page for more pics. “Ok, seriously,” I say to the cute guy in the desk next to me in class, “you’ve gotta see this.” I hold up the magazine for him to see. “She’s going to make ol’ dude break a hip in that position, right?”
The cute guy laughs and his hair shakes out of his eyes. “That’s just wrong.”
I take a longer look at him. Wow. Why haven’t I noticed him before? Serious hotness. He’s got these crazy dark eyes and even darker hair. If he wasn’t dressed so preppy he’d almost look kind of goth. Not that I’m into goth. I myself don’t have any super interesting style. I’m your average whatever looks cute yet is still comfy kind of girl. Hence the worn-out jeans, tee, and converse I’m sporting today. I really want to talk to this big cup of cuteness some more though. “What are you reading?” I ask.
He holds up a National Enquirer. “Botched plastic surgery,” he says. “See, this one’s bottom lip looks like it ate her top lip.” He points to a picture of a woman who looks more feline than female.
I lean over for a closer look. “Whoa! You’re right!” I say. “I bet she wishes she could hit undo on that.”
He smiles. “My name’s Chas Montgomery.”
“Cool name, Chas,” I say, sitting back in my seat. I bet on the weekends he likes to kick back with a nice cigar after a rousing polo match with his buddies, Thurston and Chadwick.
“And you are?” he asks, holding a hand out like he just pointed to a letter on Wheel of Fortune.
“Livvie Peterson,” I reply. “Livvie’s short for Olivia. But I’m sure you already guessed that. Not much else it could be short for, right? Maybe Olive. But who would name their kid Olive? Outside of Popeye’s girlfriend’s mom. About a million and a half years ago. ‘I yam what I yam’, right? But, I babble. Yeah, anyway, it’s Livvie.” Wow. I am all kinds of smoothness here. I don’t know how he’s keeping his hands off me right now.
Kristina, Miss Author in Action
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I am still plugging away at my revision to meet my goal this month. As I read through earlier chapters that have been in existence the longest, I find myself tweaking just words, so I know it is close! In the later chapters, I need to make some detail changes to the "science" part of the book, but I see how it is going to all come together.
My teaser is from the very beginning of the novel, BLACKOUT. The book is told in alternating povs, Leo and his younger sister Jenny. Chapter One starts with Leo's pov:
Dad and Jenny hugged goodbye. It was like they thought they’d never see each other again or something. I watched their silhouettes from the living room window. Like an outsider.
I never got that close to them. And they never got that close to me.
I shoved my duffle bag and portable amp into the back seat of the SUV, unzipped my guitar case, and strapped the Strat over my shoulder. I could compose an alt-rock hook in the time it’d take for my sister and Dad to say adios. The two of them could go on about solar cells or neutrons or whatever for days. They had gone on about it for days.
Leaning against the car’s door, I played around with a heavier riff. Dad had no neighbors to complain about the noise. Not for miles. For five days I’d been stuck with two people who didn’t know a bass guitar from a violin and didn’t care if they ever learned.
Mom’s side of the family had music going for it, but it also had an aunt who went nuts when she was 17. Like me. The age, not the crazy part. Not yet.
I didn’t fit in with Dad’s side of the family, and wasn’t sure I wanted to fit in with Mom’s.
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
After spending time working on a variety of books, this is the current one I've been editing lately. Not only is it getting polished...again, it's also getting a new title. But it was formerly named Con Girl. I'm sure you can imaging why :) The new title is a secret (mainly because it keeps changing :) ) Hope you enjoy!
“Whit,” he said, catching me off-guard before I could initiate the plan. “I think we should talk about this. I never meant to hurt you or lie to you.”
He released his arms from me, but the feeling of his touch remained as my skin tingled. I backed up closer to the tree, trying to shoo the feeling away. Knowing he still powered over my thoughts made it harder to curl my arms up and touch the edge of his jacket, but shear will-power forced me to continue on with my plan.
I couldn’t move the light, down-filled coat much, but I did enough that I could feel something heavier in his right pocket like I had suspected.
“It’s water under the bridge,” I answered, turning on the charm and smile. I even made my hair flip out and fall, so it could seductively brush up against his hands. “I was actually coming to apologize to you. I felt bad about the way I treated you at the airport. I realize now you were just doing the job your dad and my parents wanted.”
He touched my hand as I was going lower on the zippered edge of the jacket. “Nice try, Whitney, but you do realize I know who you are, don’t you?” He pulled a set of keys out of his right pocket, pinning me against the tree again with his left hand, and dangled the keys out of my reach. “Fishing for these?”
At the sound of his voice, I got mad for a variety of reasons. First, I couldn’t believe I almost stole something. Even if it was just keys. I had never stolen anything in my life. Sure I’d been given many things under false pretences, but never took something. Even if I was going to give it back. Second, I couldn’t believe I had gotten caught. Preston always fell for the feminine charm. That’s how Tasha and I got him to stock most of the displays for us.
“Actually, you knew Whitney Campbell. Whitney Brown is much more forgiving.” The tree bark felt like nails clawing into my skin as I pushed further into it, but I didn’t care. “Like I said, I just came to apologize to you. Besides, I think it’s best for both of us if we just forget we ever knew each other prior to Copper Town.”
“You want me to forget everything that’s happened in the past two months? Our entire friendship?”
Monday, November 14, 2011
The glider still must have me motion sick because the floor below us seems adrift. A gilt-edged mirror hangs on the wall across from the bed’s real wood headboard. I unpin my hair, sprinkle it with water, and comb it with my fingers. Carefully, I pull my hair back, pinning up the loose strands over my ears.
Friday, November 11, 2011
You never forget your first...
In THE FIRST TIME, 25 young adult authors contribute 25 stories all about firsts: first loves, first kisses, first zombie slayings, and more. Featuring New York Times bestselling authors Carrie Ryan and Jessica Verday, plus a host of others. From humor to horror, and everything in between, these stories will make you laugh, cry, cheer, (and maybe even scream) as you experience something brand new from the authors that you love.
Contributing authors include: Cyn Balog, Lauren Bjorkman, Leigh Brescia, Jennifer Brown, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Janet Gurtler, Teri Hall, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Stacey Jay, Heidi R. Kling, C. Lee McKenzie, Saundra Mitchell, Jenny Moss, Jackson Pearce, Shani Petroff, Carrie Ryan, Sydney Salter, Kurtis Scaletta, Jon Skovron, Kristina Springer, Rhonda Stapleton, Charity Tahmaseb, Jessica Verday, J. A. Yang, and Lara Zielin
Get it from Amazon
Get it from Barnes & Noble
If you don't have a Kindle, you can still read this eBook on your phone, computer, iPad, e-reader, etc. Just grab the Amazon Kindle app here.
If you prefer the Barnes & Noble Nook app, get it here.
My story is called CART PRINCESS. Let me know what you think of it!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
And this weekend is the 9 yr olds lego extravaganza party with, of course, lego building, lego board games, lego wii, lego movies, and lego goody bags.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I've been reading a lot of middle-grade novels lately, and something I've noticed that I've loved in them -- especially compared to recent YA novels -- is the Parent Involvement with the main characters.
For example, in THE AVIARY, even though Clara's father is missing, her mother notices when Clara sneaks around and she calls her out on it. The author could have easily let Clara get away with her secret curtain signal to her new friend, for example, and made Clara's mother be completely oblivious. But in reality most good parents, like Clara's mother, are *not* oblivious and I appreciate the way this was portrayed. It also ups the creativity that Clara -- and the author -- need to have in order for Clara to get what she wants.
In the middle-grade novel SPRINKLES AND SECRETS, Sophie lies to her best friend at one point, but her mom quickly finds out about the lie and confronts Sophie, telling her that she needs to correct her behavior. Again, life would've been a lot easier for Sophie if she was able to keep her secrets and lies to herself, but because her mom is an attentive parent, she corrects Sophie's behavior. Sophie is forced to deal with the truth and reality because it's the right thing to do, which adds more tension and conflict in the book.
Meanwhile, I'm 1/3 of the way through a YA novel that takes place in a boarding school. The MC's parents live a few hours away and when a serial killer leaves his victims in the vacinity of the boarding school, the MC's parents are casually mentioned as asking her to temporarily move back with them. The MC refuses and her parents apparently drop it, though they are said to call her frequently.
Now don't get me wrong; I am really enjoying this book. But it seems that the potential conflict that caring parents can add to a plot is abandoned. Overall I have seen this omitted more easily in YA novels; the parents just need to be removed from the MC's life/physical location so "things can happen." When the parents are cast as good parents, though, it is less believable and it lets the MC -- and author -- more easily find "solutions" to her problems that won't be checked by an adult. I find that this "absent parents" tactic only truly works in instances where the parents haven't been made out to be "good" parents to begin with.
I love how in MG novels, attentive parents can be good for the main characters' morals and family life, but bad for their ability to sneak around and behave "badly" or in a way that a good parent would not approve of. I love that parents are obstacles for kids in MG novels that they need to work on the up-and-up to get what they want.
What are your takes on parental involvement in YA and MG fiction?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
My trouble for the month is staying focused. I've always had a wandering mind, so it's no surprise that one of my hardest tasks as a writer is concentrating on what I'm supposed to be working on.
So far this month, I've been editing not one, but three different books. It seems like every time I get something completed, I'm called to a different book and lose focus on the task at hand.
I know it's the evil writing fairies trying to prevent me from finishing.
But they are so convincing with their promise of sunshine and roses on the other side of the fence (or I guess, book in this case).
I'm not so sure it's a bad thing, because I am making progress. Even if it is on three separate books. And progress is progress. So I'll take it.
But man, I think it's going to get to the point soon, where I'm going to have to tone out the evil fairies and plow through the bad stuff on the one book I'm supposed to be working on.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
In addition to the Mock Printz Club at my local high school, I am also attending the meetings for the Mock Newbery Club at the junior high. I've only read three of these so far, but have two others on hand that I can't wait to read. And the books selected by the committee of librarians and English teachers are:
(Yes, Gary Schmidt's book is on the Mock Printz AND Mock Newbery lists. It really straddles readerships, though I think it will resonate more with older teens.)
(The poems in this book are amazing! Multiply layered and brilliant.)
These two are "extras" since some of the selection committee thought MISS PEREGRINE could be too creepy for their 6th graders, and some thought EMERALD ATLAS was too commercial/not "literary" enough. But let me tell you, I can't wait to read MP!
What are your picks for the Newbery this January?
Deena, Miss Subbing for Pubbing
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
November...it's that time of year when all the crazy people gather in one location and commiserate with one another, while sipping on strong coffees and downing chocolate candies by the handful.
Nope. It's NaNoWriMo Time!
I've participated in the past, but I'm not officially joining the ranks of crazy this year. But I am participating in a mini NaNoWriMo-like challenge (just like Deena!) where I'm trying to get a final revision on one of my books done.
And just like I've started every NaNoWriMo challenge in the past: after one day, I've got completely nothing done! Yay for consistency.
But my goals have been set and since goals are to me like candy was to the trick-or-treaters at my house last night, I'm confident work will progress soon. Because there's nothing getting in between me and my candy!
--Emily, Miss Semi-Crazy NaNoWriMo Girl