Monday, February 21, 2011

Push Yourself Out of the Nest


The majority of writers I know thoroughly enjoy being alone inside of their heads. There's a lot going on in there. World building. Character building. Scene building. Ideas forming. Re-writing. Editing. Plotting. Pacing.

It's a fun place to be. Comfortable and safe.

But today's post is dedicated to the idea of pushing yourself from the coziness of your writer's chair/nest and into potentially uncomfortable moments. Like networking.

Let me start by saying I am not shy. I could give a speech or a presentation in front of 10,000 people just fine. But meeting people for the first time in small groups isn't one of my most favorite things (If I'm with a friend or a sister or my husband, I'm good.) What can I say? I'm complicated. Most human beings are.

Despite "being alone when meeting people for the first time" not being super comfy for me, I still force myself to do it. The first two times I went to SCBWI's Winter Conference in NYC, I went completely alone. Didn't know a soul. Was I nail-biting-nervous multiple times per day? Heck yes.

But I still did it.

And I ended up meeting fellow writers, Ron Smith, Kimberly Sabatini, Alexandra Alger & Sandra Nickel - all of whom I have kept in touch with. I sat with strangers at lunch and sat with a woman who'd been querying for sixteen years. And she was still smiling. I heard other writers' stories. Asked questions. Exchanged business cards.

Talked with strangers. Networked. Even met industry people.

Lest you think this is a public pat on my own back, think again. I don't think I'm great, trust me. The whole point of me sharing my "out of the writer's nest" moment is to hopefully push any of you nesters from yours.

Get out there and meet people. Share your stories. Ask your questions. Listen in. People watch. Be present.

It'll make you a better writer.

P.S. The idea for my debut novel EVERYTHING'S NOT LOST came from a "lunch table conversation" I listened to at my second SCBWI conference. A couple of writers were talking about books written from two perspectives (something I had never considered writing before). I went back to my hotel room and made a T-chart of possible interesting characters. A bully and his victim.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly

I'm not sure I will be able to adequately gush over this book. It's that damn good. While in NYC at the SCBWI Winter Conference, Christina Lee and I talked "good books". REVOLUTION was at the top of her must-read list for me.

Thank you, Christina, for telling me about this masterpiece.

Masterpiece.

Andi is an emotionally broken American teenager. And for good reason. She pops pills to quiet her demons while life crumbles around her. Her family is in shambles. Her ex-boyfriend is a tool. And her father wants her to leave it all and come to France to get her act together. All she wants is to play her guitar so she can feel alive.

Jennifer Donnelly has written as authentic a character as A.S. King's Vera Dietz - and if you've followed my blog for a while, you know how much I love PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ. Seriously love that book too.

But I'm not finished gushing about REVOLUTION.

There is a very unique layer to REVOLUTION. The author has done obvious hours and hours of research on the French Revolution (wait till you see her bibliography). She's written a deeply compelling plot, mixing modern with the historically accurate. The book is genius.

I won't give anything away. But know this: This book has surprises. Jaw dropping, "I didn't see that one coming" surprises.

So.

Damn.

Good.

AND the MC is a huge Radiohead fan. Best/most genius band on the planet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Liar Society Giveaway

Jill Hathaway is having a CONTEST over on her blog - check it out.

And the prize is an ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa & Laura Roecker.

I am highly anticipating this book.

I want to win.

Badly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

WINNERS + KISSING = WIN-WIN

CONTEST WINNERS and KISSING BLOG FEST
First, contest details:

Thank you to every person who emailed, tweeted, FB'ed, spoke of, wore sandwich boards, blogged, re-tweeted and made announcements at Arby's about this contest. You all are just plain awesome.

Thank you to all my new blog followers. Hey, hope you continue to stop by.

Drum roll please...

Winners were randomly selected by "The Hat"

RUNNER UP WINNER = Loralie Hall
Loralie, you are now the proud owner of an Apocalypsies tote bag full o'books

GRAND PRIZE WINNER = Alicia (comment from February 2, 2011 12:40)
Alicia, you are the proud winner of a first chapter critique from Sarah Lapolla
*Since there were two contestants named Alicia, one went in with her first name - which is her actual screen name & the other "Alicia" contestant went in with her full name.

CONGRATULATIONS TO LORALIE HALL & ALICIA!

Winners, email me at kmwalton1 at verizon dot net and I'll give you more details.

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Now onto The Kissing Blogfest organized by Christina Lee and Stina Lindenblatt...

This excerpt is from my contemporary YA titled OUT OF ORDER. Ruby has fallen for her older brother's best friend, Trick.

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I lean up against the tree to steady myself and it helps, sort of. Trick’s standing in front of me dripping wet.

He leans in and says in my ear, “You are beautiful, Ruby.”

I feel my knees give a little and the tree bark scrapes my butt through my bikini bottom. I wince.

“You okay?” Trick asks.

I nod and grin.

Without taking his eyes off mine he nods along with me and then presses himself against me. Our wet bodies touch in all the right places.

A moan escapes, and I’m embarrassed.

But then Trick moans too.

“I want to kiss you. Can I kiss you, Ruby?” he whispers in my ear. I nod again because I’m incapable of forming words.

Trick gently puts his lips to mine and he tastes like the funnel cake he ate at the stand. His kiss is tender, almost too tender. I want to devour him. I daringly press my lips to his and he groans. My arms wrap around his neck, and he pulls me in even tighter against him.

His tongue softly explores my mouth, and I don’t want him to ever stop kissing me. But he does.

He pulls back enough to look at me and say, “Oh my god. Do you know how long I’ve wanted to do that?”

I nod again like a lovesick mute. I seriously can not speak – I don’t want to speak – I only want him to kiss me again.


*HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO EVERYONE!!*

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Contest Ends Sunday at Midnight EST

FIVE IMPORTANT THINGS:

#1 A special hello to all of my new followers. I didn't make following my blog a contest requirement, so it's extra cool that you chose to follow. Hope you continue to stop by to see what's doing.

# 2 I am blow away that I have over 100 comments. I didn't even break 50 when I shared the sale of my book on here. Goes to show you how many dedicated writers there are doing everything in their power to land an agent. Go determined writers, go.

# 3 I promised a photo of the tote bag full o'books runner up prize.


# 4 You still have time to enter. Read HERE on how to do so. It's ridiculously easy.

# 5 I will post the winners & details by noon EST on Monday, February 14th.

Good luck everyone and thanks for spreading the word.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My EASY & Fun Winter Contest...to beat the winter blues


Chances are that if you live anywhere in the U.S. , except perhaps Florida or Hawaii, you are ready for winter to end. I know I am. We're all home today -again - but this time it's not snow, it's ice.

Winter has effectively gone WILD! If Winter had a shirt it would indeed be lifted amidst hollers and hoots and whistles. I can't wait for Spring to come, all chaste and proper, and tell Winter to "Pull your shirt down and act like a lady!"

That groundhog said Spring will be early. We'll see.

In the meantime, to add a bit of fun to our winter doldrums, I thought an easy contest might be just the thing to lift our spirits.

Here's the deal:

It starts right now (Why the heck not? I was going to wait till mid February but we're desperate. Right? We need some sunny stuff now!).

To Enter - leave a comment telling me you've helped spread the word about the contest somewhere: your blog, Twitter, Facebook, your roof. I don't care. You can do all of those things if you're feeling uber saucy. Up to you. Just tell someone else. Some way.

And that's it.

The Winner - chosen randomly - by the program The Hat - on Valentine's Day in my dedicated effort to spread the love.

The Prizes - First Runner Up will win a custom made Apocalypsies tote bag filled with seven YA novels (pictures to follow in another post). And drum roll please...the Grand Prize is a First Chapter critique by my agent-extraordinaire Sarah LaPolla!!!

*If you are randomly chosen from The Hat and you are already agented, no worries, you will automatically win the tote bag o'books. See, I told you this was easy.

**Contest Ends midnight EST February 13th.

Thanks for joining in the fun.