Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2 Days Left...Things I Learned in 2010



I can't believe there are only two more days left of 2010. What a year. Oh the ups and downs, the smiles and tears. Here are the top 5 things I learned - as a writer - in 2010...

#5 Determination is everything. After I landed my agent my father in law framed this quote for me and it sits on my desk. I read it every single day. "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common that unsuccessful men with talent...Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent." ~ Anonymous

In short, dear blog readers, agented and not, doggedly keep at it...no matter what stage of the journey you are in.

#4 Landing my agent *Hi, Sarah* is everything I ever dreamed of and worth every single drop of sweat and every tear. I truly believe the Universe made me want it and work for it so that when it all happened it would be that much sweeter. Just like in The Alchemist.

In short, dear unagented blog readers, keep at it. If you work for it...it will happen. By work it could mean query writing research, attending conferences, joining crit groups, re-writing/revising until your brain bleeds, posting your query publicly for critique, entering writing contests, researching agents. You know...work.

#3 The work doesn't end once you land an agent... or even have your agent sell your book. Oh no, it basically keeps right on going. Again, I know that's what the Universe wanted me to experience - the work of it all - so that when everything fell into place I wouldn't be overwhelmed - I'd just keep going in stride. All writers know that, while writing is exhilarating, it is hard. As in wickedly hard. But we write because we love it - even the hard parts.

In short...as I said in my Apocalypsies bio...there are a lot of hard parts.

#2 Making a parody video and putting it up on youtube apparently works while trying to land an agent. Video debuted on July 5th, right here on this very blog. And I got "the call" on August 2nd. That is a mere 27 days from one event to the next. 27 days, people. Now, I know Agent Sarah saw the video AFTER she offered representation - I don't want you to think making the video caused her to offer - it's 100% about the writing. What I'm saying is...I put it out there in the Universe...and the Universe answered. : ) Click HERE to watch the video & for a bit o'fun.

In short, when you are close to giving up...change your mindset and have some fun. It worked for me.

#1 The online community of writers = INCREDIBLE. I don't know if other professions have such strong and genuine online bonds, but we writers pretty much rock. We are quite a supportive bunch, eh? This past year has afforded me opportunity after opportunity to get to know some amazing fellow writers and even meet some in person.

In short, the beauty of the internet is that you can meet them too:

Crit Partners Extraordinaire: Christina Lee & Susan Mills

The Apocalypsies - a talented group of fellow YA/MG writers all with books coming out in 2012

The Dear Teen Me Project - a talented group of fellow YA writers who each write a letter to their teen self all in the hopes of showing today's teenagers that you can indeed survive being a teenager.

The YALitChat community is filled with so many resources it'll blow your mind.

Fellow YA authors I had the pleasure of meeting in person at the best indie bookstore in the nation - Chester County Book and Music Company - A.S. King and Josh Berk

And scroll to the bottom of this blog to see a list of every fine writer and industry professional that I follow.

2011...here we come...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

8 Days Left of 2010 - My Top 5 Songs of the Year

Have a listen to my top 5 songs of the year...
*I know the player is cut off - but I can't get it to go any smaller. Have no fear though, just click on the Pop-Out Player button below and the whole player comes up in a separate window. All is well.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Monday, December 20, 2010

10 Days Left of 2010...and my Top 5 Books of the Year

Since this is primarily a book about writing and writers I thought it fitting to start out my TOPS posts with my favorite 5 books of 2010.

*all 5 titles were released in 2010*

I read a ridiculous amount of books this year, and it felt so good. Just to give you an idea, I read close to 30 this summer alone. I was a bona fide reading machine.

The following books impacted me during and after reading. Lingered, if you will. Each would pass Libba Bray's "Is it true yet?" test with flying colors.

#5 Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsWHY: This book was intense with killer chapter endings and in my opinion, a well done ending to the series.


#4 The Magicians by Lev Grossman
WHY: I have already gushed about this book HERE. But let me add - if you are either a writer or a fan of spectacular writing, then this book is a must read. Regardless if you're a fantasy fan or not. It's that good.


#3 Room by Emma Donoghue
WHY: I have already gushed about this book HERE. But let me add - if you have a beating heart and you are a fan of incredible storytelling and character development then this book is a must read. It is simply amazing.


#2 Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King
WHY: Gushed HERE. And I'd like to add that I have had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ms. A.S. King at two book store events; she is simply put, one cool chick. So if you like spot on (and true) dialogue, then Vera Dietz is your girl. This book is just so damn good.


And...drum roll please...my #1 book of 2010 is...




wait for it...





wait...





still wait...





#1 THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson
WHY: Review HERE with much gushing. This book was stuffed with countless, "I wish I could write like that's" and "Wow, this writer is amazing's" - absolutely filled with glorious writing. It's so good I believe I may read it again.

Hope you enjoyed my Top 5 Books of 2010. Keep reading out there!!!!

*I also read an ARC of James Howe's ADDIE ON THE INSIDE - review coming after the New Year. I know it will make my 2011 top five because of both the writing and the impact it had on me. It releases in July of 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Brief Hello


Hello, blog friends; I've missed you. I know this is a harried time of year for all, regardless of what holiday you celebrate at home. I feel your pain.

So I'll keep this brief.

I have plans to do what I did last year and have a blog countdown of my top things from 2010.

Top Books

Top Songs

Top Writery Moments

Top Movies

Top Things I Learned

Top Spectacular Moments (duh, like ya'll can't figure out my top moment)

I know some of you may be thinking - yeah, so who cares? I hear you, you snarky little monkeys. And to you I say, whatever, I like recaps. They make me giddy. I suspect it's why I also adore lists and notes and such. Consider my upcoming posts pure, fluffy fun in recap form. Fabulous.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Across the Universe - Epic Contest


Just in case you haven't heard of Beth Revis' upcoming YA novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, I'm here to help spread the word.

It has a release date of 1.1.11 and it is one of the books I am highly anticipating getting my hands on.

Beth is having an Epic Contest over on her blog and you can win all sorts of awesome book related swag and you don't have to jump through any hoops to qualify.

Go on over and check it out...enter even.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I'm Taking a Blog Break...for a really good reason


Click HERE first. It'll only take a second to read but it is crucial for the rest of this post to make any sense whatsoever.

You're back? Great.

Okay, so first of all, how cool is Susan Mills? If you have a chance, read through her blog - she is witty and oh so clever with those shoes, and she gives tons of well thought out writing advice - things to consider - tips, etc... Her dedication to her writing craft is astounding and whoever snaps her up as a client will have one of the hardest working writers around. She puts everything into her writing.

I seriously hope my break from blogging - which comes at the perfect time actually - I have Federal Jury Duty for the next three days (I know, right?) - attracts exactly what Susan deserves.

A agent.

p.s. she doesn't know I'm doing this : )

p.s.s. I'm thinking I'll be back Monday...maybe

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear Teen Me Project

I'd like to introduce you to a really cool project called Dear Teen Me. I learned about it over on fellow Apocalypsie & YA author, Gretchen McNeil's blog.

Here's a blurb from the site:

About Dear Teen Me Project

Teenagers of the world, Dear Teen Me is for you.

For everyone who wishes they were on the football team. For everyone who would rather be in the glee club than ever run another lap. For the teens who dream of being far, far away from the small town or big city where they go to school. The prom queens, the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the good girls, the loners, the stoners, the class presidents, the juvenile delinquents, the jocks and the nerds.

The teens who have good days and bad days and sometimes really really really bad days.

This is for you.

Signed,
A group of authors. some famous – some up-and-comers, who care about you.

---------------------------------------------------

After checking out the site and oohing and ahhhing over the idea I emailed the organizer and asked if there was still space - and to my surprise, she said yes. My letter will appear in March; I'm pretty excited. Actually, that doesn't even matter.

What matters is that this site has the potential to reach teenagers across the globe who might need to read that everything will be okay...from adults who are living proof. Adults who made it through being a teenager. Adults who are willing to share personal stories and heartfelt advice.

If you have a blog or facebook or twitter, it would be really cool for you to spread the word about this. If you happen to know any high school teachers or high school kids, let them know too.

Thanks & check out the site for yourself too : )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pretty Much the Coolest Thing


Remember waaaaaaaay back when the wicked cool, Mercedes and I challenged each other to a NaNo write-off? Click HERE to refresh your memory. I'll wait, honest.

Okay, so now we're on the same page and back to the coolest thing ever. And FYI I totally won that challenge. My prize? The wicked cool Mercedes had to compose and sing a song about the winner...aka...ME. Being the good sport and good friend that she is, her song was great and she posted it on her blog. She is a brave woman.

Well, there's more to the coolest thing ever. Meet Mason Bundschuh - he's Mercedes' good friend. Any friend of hers is a friend of mine (she's that wicked cool, trust me). He's in a band called Atlas Takes Aim with his wife - how awesome is that? And he's a writer.

Here comes pretty much the coolest thing ever part. Well, it'll be easier if you just click HERE. Trust me. It's cool.

Thanks, Mason!