Friday, September 30, 2011

Adios...TTFN...Ciao...Later, dude!

I've been writing more and more e-mails as a young adult writer than ever before. E-mails to people who have found my book on Goodreads, bloggers and from writing websites.

The problem is, I don't know how to close the e-mails.

My agent always signs his with "Cheers." and another agent I know uses "Best."

I want something unique too. Preferably something fun and sassy (okay, I just wanted to use the word "sassy," it's my new favorite word!).

I'm at a loss. What do you think? Do you have any ideas? I'm thinking it doesn't even need to be something that says "bye" but maybe a fun phrase or short quote?

How do you sign your messages?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Borders is not going out without a fight...and I love it! Check out this list a group of employees made at their last "rage against the machine."

You can click on my picture to read it larger or go the this link....here!

California....errr....Cyprus Dreaming!

It's raining and pouring here and I think we're all going to wash away soon! It hasn't let up which is a pain when puppies need to go out! We have lots of wet paws around here! The news said that this has been the fourth rainiest year for Cleveland in history and we just need five inches more to break the record. Ugh!

I'm tucked away in my office working on my homework for the MFA program and wishing that I was back on my honeymoon in sunny (and dry!) Cyprus!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Winners!

Hello, hello!

We have our winners from the Blog Hop!

In total, there were 161 comments.

We had ten prices to give away! And here are the winners:

Blueeyedadri please contact Robyn Campbell (robyn at robyncampbell dot com) for your signed copy of "Across the Universe" by Beth Revis.

J.A. Bennet please contact Ali Cross (ali at alicross dot com) for your signed copy of Supernaturally by Kiersten White.

Mina Burrows please contact K.M. Walton (kmwalton1atverizondotnet) for your copy of "Crash Into Me" by Albert Borris.

Joanne Fritz please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for your coupon for William L. Hahn’s heroic fantasy "Fencing Reputation".

Small Town Shelly Brown please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for your eBook The Witches of Greenwitch.

Michael Di Gesu please contact Katharina Gerlach (katharina at katharinagerlach dot com) for your eBook-excerpt "Chasing the Grimm Reaper".

Rusty Webb please contact Stephanie (lizziebennet45 at yahoo dot com) for your 30 pg critique.

Kim please contact Rachele Alpine (ralpine at aol dot com) for your 25 pg critique.

Tina Moss please contact M.G. Higgins (info at mghiggins dot com) for your 20 page critique.

Alex J. Cavanaugh please contact Michele Helene (michelevhelene at gmail dot com) for your first 500 words intensive critique.

Congratulations to all winners!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Funny Thing Has Been Happening...

I teach American Literature. Usually that means the classics (Of Mice and Men, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Raisin in the Sun, The House on Mango Street, The Great Gatsby...).

Young Adult novels have always been meant for independent reading time (which I try to do each day for twenty minutes at the start of my 90 minute class). The kids love their independent reading books. They complain if I try to take away some of the 20 minutes. The English department have had other teachers bring up the issue of kids reading their independent books in their class (yay!). So while my students read and most often like the classic books, they are also clammering for YA fiction.

There has always been the idea that you teach the classics in school and read for fun outside of school. Many people believe that the two should be separate and the high school curriculum should only focus on the classics. In fact, my former agent didn't think YA should be the focus on a high school English classroom. While I understand the importance of having kids read from the literary canon, I also know how amazing YA books can be in helping to teach the course objectives.

That's why I'm a strong supporter for integrating both.

Last year was my department's review and revise year and we were able to discuss, analyze and consider new literature for the classroom. I chose three current YA novels for my course that can be taught in a whole group setting or in small reading circles based on student interests and abilities. They are The Absoluetly True Diary of a Part Time Indian (Alexie), Things a Brother Knows (Reinhardt) and Stolen(Christopher).

I introduced these books to my students at the start of the year because I always talk about what we'll be reading.

Well...I've noticed that a bunch of them (at least 8-10) have checked the copies of these books out from my school library. They are reading the books before they have to read them!

Really, how amazing is that!?! On one hand, I want to tell them to stop reading these books because they're class novels, but on the other hand, how can I tell them to stop reading! It's crazy, funny and exciting. I can't wait to teach them in the classroom.

What about you? What are your thoughts on teaching both YA literature and the classics in school? Should it be done? Or should teachers just stick to the classics?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Library Photoshoot!

I may have gushed from time to time how much I love F Scott Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books in the whole world, so it only seemed fitting that we not only get our formal wedding pictures taken in The Cleveland Public Library, but also bring a book along.

Because really, what girl doesn't carry a book at her wedding?

These pictures have a bit (okay, a lot) of the cheese factor, but they crack me up everytime I look at them.

Caption One: "I am going to creep up behind you to see what you're reading." ~Jason

Caption Two: "Oh hey, I didn't know you were creeping up behind me while I read." ~Rachele

Caption Three: "Here, let me show you some of my favorite parts." ~Rachele

Caption Four: "No one is looking. Quick! Kiss me across the library table!" ~Jason

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Different Genre...Who Woulda Thunk?!

I kept trying to remind myself to thank all of you for your words of encouragement the night of my MFA workshop.

The workshop went well...I got some GREAT feedback and left feeling inspired and ready to write again. Phew!

However, during the conversation a little word got thrown around quite a bit.

A word my agent also threw around when we were talking about my new novel.

A word that I have never dreamed would be associated with me.

Everyone thinks that the start of my book sets up and could easily have some paranormal elements to it.

Paranormal?

Me?

I never thought that I would say this, but....

Why not?!?

We'll see where this leads me. I think it will end up being more magical realism than paranormal, which is fine with me. There's some magical realism books that have come out lately that I adore. It may add a really cool element to my story. And if I don't like it, whose to say I can go back to making it a contemporary story?

So once again, wish me luck!

What about you? What's a genre that you could never see yourself writing in????

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Blog Hop: The One

Today I'm participating in my first blog hop! It's pretty simple...you read my post and click to the next! If you follow the hop, you'll get to meet some great new writers and win some AWESOME prizes (see the end of this e-mail for the goodies you can get!).

We're talking about our Inspirtations...those authors who started our dream of wanting to become writers ourselves.

I have always loved to read and write since I was little, but it was YA literature that I truly got hooked on and never let go.

I think the earliest influence on my YA writing would have to be Judy Blume. She didn't speak down to me or treat me like I wasn't mature enough to undertand the world, life and all the crazy things that happen to you when you're growing up. It was her books that I turned to and read over and over again when I needed a reminder that I wasn't alone. She showed me that a lot of the things I was going through happen to other (even many) people too. She was honest enough to write novels that didn't hide things, and I needed that then and appreciate it now. She was kind of like the friend I could ask my secrets too and didn't have to worry about everyone knowing them.

Today there a lot of YA writers who remind me of her. Writers who show teens life for what it is and often life isn't always perfect. Judy Blume might have been my first influence, but today John Green and Laurie Halse Anderson's fearless writing is what inspires me.

I love that there are so many authors out there now who with honesty for teens and tell the storie that need to be heard.

So who was "The One" for you? Make sure you'r a follower and leave a comment and let me know! ANY comment left on this post (and subsequent comments you may make if you do some bloghopping) qualifies for PRIZES.

-SIGNED COPY OF KIERSTEN WHITE'S SUPERNATURALLY from Ali

-A 25 PAGE CRITIQUE from Me (woo hoo!)

-QUERY CRITIQUE and SIGNED COPY OF BETH REVIS' ACROSS THE UNIVERSE from
Robyn Campbell

- 500 WORD CRITIQUE from Michele Helene

- COUPON CODE FOR AN EPIC FANTASY EBOOK BY WILLIAM L. HAHN from Katharina Gerlach

- A COPY OF CRASH INTO ME by ALBERT BORRIS K. M. Walton

- A 30 PAGE CRITIQUE from Stephanie

- A YA BOOK from Bonnie Ray

The last day to enter is Thursday, September 22. We'll choose winners through random.org (the more you read, the better chances you have!).

What are you waiting for? Go "hop" on over to Andrew Leon's blog!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sending My New Baby Out Into The World

I don't talk to often about my MFA program, but I'm currently in a program as a fiction writer. I'm working my way through it slowly because I have a full time job and am still paying off loans on my first graduate degree (only one and a half more years....yay!). I really like the program; it's great to be in classes where you talk about writing and being in a community of other writers is very encouraging.

A major component is the workshop. I'm required to take fifteen hours of workshop classes (5 semesters). I look forward to taking workshop classes. I find it interesting to sit around and discuss other people's writing (I often get good tips for my own writing from these discussions).

Tonight is my first night (we workshop our pieces twice). I sit silent for 45 minutes while the class discuses my work. Usually I don't mind this. I like the feedback, different views and ideas. I always leave my personal story workshop with a lot of new ideas. Except, tonight I'm somewhat terrified of workshopping my piece. You see, the story that I submitted is the first 30 pages of my new novel. The novel no one but my agent has seen. It's still my baby and I'm a little bit scared to show my baby to everyone. So wish me luck! I'm sure it will be fine, but you know how it goes when you're showing off your work for the first time.*

What about you? Do you get those first draft jitters? Who are the first people you usually share your work with?

*I set this to post right when my class starts....so if you're reading it tonight, chances are my work is also being talked about!

Watching Willow Watts Release!

Talli Roland's book WATCHING WILLOW WATTS comes out today and it looks adorable! I love the premise and I can't wait to read it.

Here's the summary of the book, which you can order on Amazon:

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.
But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's newfound fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

Sounds great, right? It reminds me of a fun girl movie like Bridget Jones or The Holiday.

Tallia is doing a web splash where we had to answer her question, "If I could be anyone, I'd be..."

I thought about this question a lot, and I think I'd choose Carrie Bradshaw. I know she's not real, but my gosh, her wardrobe is and I would love to wear some of it. And don't get me started on her shoes! I was a bit jealous of her life as a writer in NYC which allowed her to run all over the town meeting her friends for fabulous meals, which sounds amazin. Although if I was Carrie, I totally would have picked Aiden over Mr. Big!

What about you? Who would you be? You can check out the other blogger's answers at Tallia's blog!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why I Love My Job

Today I had my students reading The Crucible out loud. There is a stage direction that says, "Betty is lying on the bed inert."

One of my students asked me what it meant, so I explained that she's lying there stiff, motionless and unable to do anything.

"Oh, you mean she was planking," shouted another student.

Doh!

Yes, dear students, Betty Parris was planking.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

498...499...500!

I'm two people away from 500 followers....and I'd love to reach that number!

If you're a lurker, come out and say hello! Come hang out with all of us on Freckle Head!

And btw...I have an awesome contest planned for selling my book. I just need to get a few more things together/from the mailman. You'll have to be a follower to win, so why not get a head start?

Keep watching...I will post about it soon!

Will a picture of my cute puppy be incentive enough to follow? I believe cute puppies are always good incentives for thing!

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Like You! Do You Like Me?

Remember those notes you used to pass in grade school?

The ones that said, "Do you like me? Check yes or no?"

Well, I'm asking if you "like" me!

If so, and if you have a Facebook account, head on over to my new Facebook fan page and let me know!

I'll be posting updates on writing relating stuff and other random things over there.

Don't worry if you don't have Facebook, I just love that you read my blog!


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Balance Fail

I want to be honest on this blog. That's what it's all about, right?

I want to show you my journey to being published and not hold back.

That means you'll be a part of the good, the bad and the ugly.

Yesterday I blogged about balance and my new writing plan and how it had been going well for the first two and a half weeks of school. You left me such nice messages of encouragement.

Well, today...

I came home....

and crashed.

I took a two hour nap and didn't wake up until my puppy was whining in my ear to go out.

Balance FAIL.

Oh well. I learned a long time ago that writing doesn't always go smoothly. So I'll take the days where I'm super energized (like yesterday when I came home from my MFA fiction workshop class and wrote for two hours because I was excited to be back from taking the summer off and being surrounded by writers again) and days like today.

Because there is always tomorrow. A new day and a new balance!

What about you? Do you have any writing truths you want to spill?