Archive for March, 2010
March 30th, 2010
When I was first getting started in writing, I entered a couple of contests for unpublished writers. These kinds of contests (the kind from reputable organizations, I mean) can be a great way to get feedback on your writing from someone who doesn’t know you or have a vested interest in your writing.
The Indiana Golden Opportunity contest is one such contest. It gives detailed feedback on your work from multiple trained judges (other writers and/or published authors) and has a category for YA novels. Keep in mind… judges’ comments are always subjective – they have their own ideas of what makes a good story just like an agent or editor does – but it can be a nice way to get detailed feedback on what’s working and what’s potentially not in the beginning of your manuscript from someone who isn’t your family or a friend. The four-page score sheet covers various aspects of conflict, character, etc. to help you hone in on the areas that need attention. (You can view the score sheet on the contest site.)
And if you’re a finalist, your entry will go in front of agent Holly Root (who happens to be my own Agent Extraordinaire) for final judging. Holly has generously donated her time to be the final judge for this particular contest.
** DISCLAIMER: I am not coordinating or sponsoring this contest personally. This is just a public service announcement.
Check out the official contest information for full details if you’re interested. Good luck to anyone who enters!
March 29th, 2010
Hooray!!! I’m thrilled to report that The Cinderella Society has sold in Poland! My maternal grandmother is Polish so there’s actually a small shout-out to Poland in the book as a nod to her. How totally fun that my very first foreign rights sale was to a country from my grandmother’s ancestry.
Here’s the full announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
Polish rights to Kay Cassidy’s THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY, to Nasza Ksiegarnia, by Prava I Prevodi on behalf of Holly Root and Farley Chase at the Waxman Literary Agency.
March 28th, 2010
Well, it’s nearly the end of March and I vowed to read 100 books in 2010. I should have read 25 by now (or by Wednesday, anyway). How many have I read?
Now, this is not chump change. And some of them were pretty long books. But if I want to make my goal this year, I need to get reading! Who’s with me???
On that note, here’s another sneak peek at my TBR shelves:
** AS YOU WISH by Jackson Pearce
** NATION by Terry Pratchett
** THE ESPRESSOLOGIST by Kristina Springer
** SWITCH by Carol Snow
** HEAVEN LOOKS A LOT LIKE A MALL by Wendy Mass
** CINDY ELLA by Robin Palmer
Do you see any of your favorites here?
AND… IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!!!
Be sure to click over and enter the giveaway of one of the very last signed ARCs of The Cinderella Society *plus* a TCS “glass slipper” bookmark over at The Story Siren!
March 23rd, 2010
Thanks for playing in the Bundle o’ Bookmarks giveaway yesterday! The winner of this final batch of bookmarks is:
Congratulations, Lena! Contact me here to claim your bookmark swag pack.
NOTE: I’ll have a new batch of bookmarks starting with the next giveaway, so stay tuned to the blog for your chance to win that one!
A Sneak Peek at Jen Nadol’s Author Cave
This is probably my favorite feature on the blog! I’m delighted to be bringing you a sneak peek into the author caves of some of my fellow author buds.
What’s an author cave? It’s wherever a particular author happens to write, be it a corner of a bedroom, a fancy schmancy office, or even an outdoor locale or coffee shop barstool. As my friend Wendy Toliver‘s agent simply puts it, an author cave is “Where the magic happens.”
I’m delighted to welcome my fellow Tenner and all around fabulous person…
Author cave guests will not only be sharing a picture of their cave, but they’ll be talking about why and how it inspires them to write. Are you ready to see where the magic happens?
Please join me in welcoming the lovely Jen!
I grew up in PA, went to school in DC, lived in MA, NYC and now, in an old farmhouse north of the city with my husband and three little boys. Want more? www.jennadolbooks.com
Sixteen-year old Cassie Renfield has seen the mark forever: a glow around certain people as if a candle were held behind their back.
She learned early to keep it to herself, considering its rare appearances odd, but insignificant. Until the day she watches a man die. Mining her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.
Cassie searches her past, her philosophy lessons, even her new boyfriend for answers, always careful to hide her secret. How does the mark work? Why her?
And: if you know today is someone’s last, should you tell?
A Sneak Peek Inside the Cave
1. Tell us a little about your cave. How did it come about? Have you had this version of your cave as long as you’ve been writing or have you had many caves over the years?
My cave is the smallest room in the house. The bathrooms might be smaller, but I don’t think they count as “rooms” unless you’re selling real estate in New York City.
I picked it when we moved in eight years ago and it looks exactly the same as it did then. Except the ceiling doesn’t leak anymore. It’s the only cave I’ve ever had.
2. How does your author cave help you get organized/get inspired/get working?
It’s completely my space so my things – notes, pens, reference materials – stay where I put them. During writing time, I can just come in and get down to business.
ETA: when downloading photos of my cave, there were about 20 random close-ups of the wall, my trash can, the tissue box, so clearly the preceding statement is totally false.
As far as inspiration, it adjoins the library. When I look left, I see shelves and shelves of books. What could be more inspiring than that?
3. Do you write anywhere other than your cave?
No. Not in earnest. Sometimes a line or a conversation will come to me when I’m somewhere else and I scribble it on whatever I can find. But all my real writing is done at my desk, on my computer.
4. Did you incorporate specific sensory things into your cave to inspire you? Music, candles, water, color, textures, pictures, etc.?
Nothing. Quiet isolation allows me to slip into a bubble where I can see and hear the story best.
5. What are your favorite things about your cave?
Everything I’ve said, plus it has an awesome view of the yard which is totally peaceful. You can’t see any people or houses, only grass, trees, deer, rabbits (do I sound like Snow White yet?) and our veggie garden.
6. Is there anything that is forbidden in your cave?
Forbidden? Well, I could forbid my kids, but that wouldn’t be very nice. Or effective. Tho’ I do keep threatening to put on a door. A glass one so I can still see all the books.
7. If you could design your dream writing cave, what would it look like?
Just like this one, but with different wallpaper, a real desk and my husband’s old handmade-CD case not in it. And a whole wall of framed book covers with my name on them and the words “National Bestseller”.
8. And just for fun… if you could invite three people (living, dead or fictional characters) to hang out with you in your cave for the day, who would you invite?
Stephen King and John Irving because I think they’re amazing writers. My sister Cait because I’d probably be speechless and she can talk to a brick wall.
Thanks so much for giving us a peek into where the magic happens, Jen!
March 22nd, 2010
It’s Bundle o’ Bookmarks time!
This is a fun giveway I host periodically throughout the year. Sometimes I tell you it’s an official Bundle o’ Bookmarks day, but other times I just pick someone who commented in the last few weeks to be a spontaneous BoB winner.
So… what is Bundle o’ Bookmarks? It’s a collection of awesome bookmarks from some of your favorite authors! Here’s the current Bundle o’ Bookmarks swag pack:
It includes bookmarks from:
– Alyson Noel (Blue Moon/Evermore)
– Becca Fitzpatrick (Hush, Hush)
– Lindsey Leavitt (Princess for Hire) *signed*
– Bree Despain (The Dark Divine)
– Lindsay Eland (Scones and Sensibility) *signed*
– Stephanie Kuehnert (Ballads of Suburbia)
– Stephanie Kuehnert (I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone)
– Jennifer Hubbard (The Secret Year)
– A.S. King (The Dust of 100 Dogs)
– Julie Kagawa (The Iron King) *signed*
– Taylor Morris (Total Knockout)
– And, of course, me (a bunch of The Cinderella Society and Great Scavenger Hunt Contest stuff!) *signed*
Today is an official BoB entry day! For your chance to win today’s Bundle o’ Bookmarks, simply comment below. And just for fun… friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and you’ll get an extra entry for each. (If you’re already with me on Facebook and Twitter, note that in your comment and you’ll net the extra entries that way.) Good luck!
PS – This is the last giveaway for this batch of BoB bookmarks. The next BoB giveaway will be a new collection of fab bookmarks to win!
March 19th, 2010
As some of you know, I got to hold a finished copy of The Cinderella Society in my hands this week. I wasn’t expecting to see it so soon, since it doesn’t officially hit shelves until April 13th, so it was a HUGE thrill to get my copy early!
How did I celebrate? Why, with pink cupcakes, of course!
Now, authors receive finished copies of their book as part of their contract. And while most people may think this is so we can give them away to our family and friends, this is generally not the case.
Especially for debut authors who are gearing up for signings. Like yours truly.
One of the first things the store manager for one of my signings asked me was “Will you have author copies with you just in case?” See, the thing is… as a new author, no one (including you) has any inkling about how many books you might potentially sell at a signing because you have no track record whatsoever. Ordering books for signings is always a crapshoot, but at your very first signing? It’s pretty much grasping at straws.
So rather than overordering to the extreme, they’ll usually order a respectable amount plus a little extra and then use author copies if the signing exceeds everyone’s expectations. Then they replenish your supply by ordering more after the fact. So my author copies? Yep, they’re going in my trunk and traveling around with me to the various signings I’ll be doing this spring.
And besides, we kind of hope our family and friends will support us by buying the book (I think my family has pre-ordered a dozen!).
But here’s the other thing most people don’t realize. Holding your book in your hands is a little bit like holding a newborn baby. You know it’s coming, but until it gets there, you really can’t anticipate how you’re going to feel. The range of emotions may be different, but let me assure you… they’re probably going to cover a wi-i-ide range.
To give you just one author’s example, here is how my own experience went.
“Finished copies are here! OMG!!!”
Intermittent giggling and joyful eating of celebratory pink cupcakes
“Here you go, The Cinderella Society. Meet the keeper shelf. These are your new buddies. Go have fun, Pookie.”
Gazing happily at keeper shelf and thinking how lovely it is that TCS has friends to play with
“Wow. It’s amazing how much TCS looks like a real live normal book up there on my shelf. How cool is that?”
“Erm, does TCS have to look *so* normal up there? I mean, it looks like ‘Ho hum, another book on the shelf’. But I *wrote* this book! And… and… it was HARD and stuff!”
And so it went. What I’ve gleaned from this is that I don’t think I’ll ever look at a book the same way again. In all the times I’ve ever browsed in a bookstore (and this is many much times), I’ve never really stopped to think about the fact that the book I’m reading back cover copy for was something another author slaved over for months, years, or even decades. I mean, how often do you look at a painting and think “I wonder what the artist went through to bring this painting into the world”, right? You just consider the end result and decide whether it appeals to you. Or at least I do.
Not anymore, Monty.
I’ve always appreciated good books, but the next time I’m in a bookstore, I’ll be appreciating them on a whole different level. Because I’ll be taking a moment to think about all the authors who worked so hard to create stories to entertain us and let us escape from our own troubles for a while. And blowing them a little air kiss for good measure.
Long live fiction! Huzzah!
March 18th, 2010
It’s GCC time! This week, I’m delighted to bring you the awesome and wonderful…
Elizabeth Scott grew up in a town so small it didn’t even have a post office, though it did boast an impressive cattle population. She’s sold hardware and panty hose and had a memorable three-day stint in the dot-com industry, where she learned that she really didn’t want a career burning CDs. She lives just outside Washington, DC, with her husband; firmly believes you can never own too many books; and would love it if you visited her website, www.elizabethwrites.com.
The Unwritten Rule
March 15, 2010
**On shelves now!**
Everyone knows the unwritten rule: You don’t like your best friend’s boyfriend.
Sarah has had a crush on Ryan for years. He’s easy to talk to, supersmart, and totally gets her. Lately it even seems like he’s paying extra attention to her. Everything would be perfect except for two things: Ryan is Brianna’s boyfriend, and Brianna is Sarah’s best friend.
Sarah forces herself to avoid Ryan and tries to convince herself not to like him. She feels so guilty for wanting him, and the last thing she wants is to hurt her best friend. But when she’s thrown together with Ryan one night, something happens. It’s wonderful…and awful.
Sarah is torn apart by guilt, but what she feels is nothing short of addiction, and she can’t stop herself from wanting more…
Up Close and Personal
1. PURSUING YOUR DREAMS: Everyone has the ability to be extraordinary, they just have to embrace what makes them unique and special and pursue their dreams with passion and confidence! Was being a published author a dream of yours? If so, how does it feel to have achieved your dream?
Being published was never a dream of mine–I actually didn’t start writing until I was 27 (!) and if wasn’t for my friends who nagged–er, I mean, gently suggested–that I try actually submitting things instead of just writing them and leaving them on my hard drive I’d still be… well, I’d still be doing just that!
Having said that, being published is pretty amazing–not just because you have books out there, but because of the best part of all–connecting with readers! I never even thought about that happening, but it is, hands down, the best part of being published.
2. CHANGING YOUR WORLD: Changing the world doesn’t have to mean finding a cure for cancer or creating lasting world peace (though it definitely can!). It just means finding a way that you can make the world a little better off for having lived here, whether it’s making a difference to one person or a million, to the earth, to animals… whatever is important to you. What is one way you would personally like to make the world a better place?
I would love if it people took the time to say something–anything!–to someone when they see/hear someone that seems to be in pain or trouble.
3. GRATITUDE: Gratitude is a huge part of the You 2.0 life. Taking a moment to count our blessings is the best way to remember what’s truly important (especially when life is hectic and crazy!). What are you grateful for?
My family, my friends, and all the amazing people who read my books!
4. SECRET SQUEE MOMENT: What is the coolest thing that’s happened to you since becoming a published author?
Hands down, hearing from readers! I still have the first note I ever got from someone about my first novel, Bloom, in fact.
5. ALL-TIME MOST MEMORABLE BOOK: What book had the greatest impact on you growing up?
I don’t know. I read a lot (A LOT) when I was growing up, but I do have a huge place in my heart for Judy Blume.
6. THE REAL DEAL: If you could go back in time and give your teen/tween self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t take Math Analysis–take Typing instead! Yes, I know your mother swears you’ll need it, but you won’t and you won’t even remember the class when you’re in it. Plus, not learning to type–let’s just say when it comes time for you to write your first college paper and you realize write means type….ugh!
Thanks to Elizabeth for a terrific interview. Be sure to pick up your copy of The Unwritten Rule today!
March 17th, 2010
So, I started this post over a month ago and just now realized I never posted it. LOL Such is the way of things in the months leading up to release. So without further ado, let me just say…
I love books.
Shocking, no? Granted, this isn’t a surprise to anyone who knows me, or knows that I’m an author, but books are a big part of my life. Over the last year, I’ve been on something of a book buying binge. At last count, I think I’ve purchased 250+ books since the first of last year.
Unfortunately, the last year has been one of the busiest of recent memory so actually reading those books has been a bit of a challenge. As a result, my shelves are overflowing with books I can’t wait to read!
I was going to take a picture of the shelves themselves, but I thought it would be fun to do a little blog series showing some of the books on my TBR shelves. They’re quite a mix! YA, MG, and children’s. Comedies, mysteries, chick lit, paranormals, and even some edgy books outside my normal reading scope.
Here’s the first pic of my TBR book collection. Do you see any of your favorites?
DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS* by C.J. Omololu
ALL UNQUIET THINGS by Anna Jarzab
HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo
THE MAGICIAN’S ELEPHANT** by Kate DiCamillo
THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE** by Kate DiCamillo
* I started DLS (it is AWESOME) but had to set it aside to read a couple of Tenner Tour ARCs that arrived. I can’t wait to get back to this one.
** Confession time: I’ve actually read both of these since I took this picture last month. They were both lovely.
So what do you think of the first TBR peek? Are any of these on your TBR shelf?
March 16th, 2010
Join us for the March teen chick lit chat tonight at 8pm EST with guest author Julia DeVillers (author of one of my all-time fave YAs, HOW MY PRIVATE PERSONAL JOURNAL BECAME A BESTSELLER).
We’ll be chatting with Julia about all things chick lit (including her newest release, Lynn Visible) and talking about the great books we’ve read lately. Come one, come all!
See you in chat at 8pm EST!
March 15th, 2010
This month in the 10 in ’10 Teen Chick Lit Challenge, Jessica and I are delighted to bring you the fabulous Julia DeVillers as our guest author! Julia will be joining us tomorrow night at 8pm EST. I’ll be posting the link to the chat tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Julia DeVillers is the author of books for kids, tweens and teens. Her book, How My Private Personal Journal became the Disney Channel Original Movie, Read it and Weep. Julia appears in a cameo as “Grossed-out customer being served pizza with real chicken feet sticking out of it.”
Her books have been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and all the major teen magazines. She lives in Columbus, Ohio and is about to live abroad for a year in Tbilisi, Georgia. She grew up in Albany, NY where many of her books are set.
March 4, 2010
Lynn Vincent knows all the latest trends and isn’t afraid to flaunt her funky style. The problem is, in small-town Pennsylvania, being fashion forward makes Lynn socially backward. And the queen bees at her high school won’t let her forget it, especially when her dream of making the IT panel for GlITter Girl—the coolest fashion magazine in teendom—is crushed. But when one of Lynn’s unique creations makes it into the hands of a famous designer and onto the runway, it seems that Lynn might finally get her moment in the spotlight.
The Teen Chick Lit Interview
1. As an author, what appeals to you about the teen chick lit genre? Why do you love to write it?
Teen chick lit is a genre that gifts us with books we can relate to, live vicariously through–or be glad that the things that happen to the main characters don’t happen to us!
The books can be entertaining, fun, and funny- but also can be smart and enlightening. And empowering. I love to write it because it seems to be a natural fit with my voice and style as a writer. When I first started writing fiction I sat down and that’s immediately what came out naturally: my first novel HOW MY PRIVATE PERSONAL JOURNAL BECAME A BESTSELLER. I also enjoy connecting with teen and tween writers and keeping up with what’s happening with them. I’m lucky this is my job!
2. Do you love to read teen chick lit as much as you love to write it?
One reason I love to write chick lit is because I love to read it! I read them voraciously. When I read them, I feel like I’m hanging out with friends.
3. What were some of the early teen chick lit books you remember reading?
Well, Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries started my personal revolution as well as kicking off the recent success of the genre (Thanks, Meg!). SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS, anything E Lockhart. Ooh, and my all-time favorite series by Megan McCafferty was an early love. And of course back in the day- Judy Blume. Stop me now.
Thanks for sharing the teen chick lit love, Julia! See you all in chat tomorrow night at 8pm EST. Check back tomorrow for the official chat link!