Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stay Safe

If you're in the course of Hurricane Sandy, please stay safe!

We're supposed to get very high winds, flooding rains, and super high waves up here in Cleveland.   I'm hoping the power doesn't go out (which I don't think is the same wish as my students!).

Weather like this translates into cozying up with some hot coffee, a fire, a snuggly pup, and a good book!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Literary Tattoos

There is a rumor that seems to have been going around my school for the last two years.  Once it gets cold outside, I wear tights pretty often.  As in, almost every day.  I think it's the private school education in me...I'm used to uniform skirts with tights!  Whatever the reason is, my students seem to think that I wear tights because I'm trying to cover up all my tattoos.

No really.  A bunch of them "got up the nerve" and asked me about it last year.  And now that I've brought them out again this year, the rumors are swirling again.  Never mind the fact that I do come to school with bare legs in August/September.  The kids claim this isn't true and everyone loves a good rumor, so the next time they asked me I told them I did have tattoos.

Five to be exact:

*A stack of books on my leg

*A heart on my bicep that has the word "books" in the middle of it

*A tattoo on my lower back that says, "I love to read"

*A tattoo that goes down my side that says, "Too many books, so little time"

*And my personal favorite, a big huge spine of a book going all the way down my spine.  The book is then open across either side of my entire back

I tell them about these tattoos with a straight face whenever they ask.

The truth is, I'm too much of a wimp with needles to get a tattoo, but if I ever did, I'd totally get the last lines of The Great Gatsby somewhere on me or CANARY's ISBN number.

What about you?  Do you have any tattoos?  Are there any you would want?

Here's a site of some good literary tattoos.

And a site of some crazy Twillight tattos!

Monday, October 22, 2012

2013 Debut Author Challenge

I know we still have a few months before 2013 starts, but the 2013 Debut Author Challenge is ready to go!

Have you ever done it before?  It's a great way to discover some new books and challenge yourself!  And there are some great books on the list (cough, cough...CANARY!).

Sign-up and read about it here.

You can check out some of them here and here!  I'd love to know...what 2013 debut books are you looking forward to?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Repost: Companions for Heroes and a Critique

*I'm posting this one more time because today is the last day to enter, and I really think Cassandra is doing a great thing helping both servicemen and shelter dogs (and writers...with a critique!).  Visit her blog right now and make sure you enter!*

As many of you know, I like...uhm...love...uhm...okay, okay, I am obsessed with dogs!

The wonderful Cassandra Marshall is having a contest where she will donate up to $1,000 dollars to a program called Companions for Heroes.  The organization rescues shelter dogs, trains, and then pairs them up with veterans suffering from PTSD.  How amazing is that?

But she's not just donating to that organization, she's also giving away a critique.  I've been a fan of her blog for over a year...she offers great writing advice.

If you have a moment, check it out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week 19: The Next Big Thing

I was asked by fellow Lucky 13s member, Liz Coley, to participate in The Next Big Thing.  

The rules are simple...I talk about my WIP progress and then tag five (or a few more in my case) people who will talk about their WIP next week!  Sounds fun, right?

Let's get started, shall we?

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea started from a short story that I wrote for my MFA program.  It was about 30 pages long and it pretty much wrote itself.  I was seriously a woman on fire when I was writing!  I workshopped it with my class, but I couldn't get the characters out of my head.  That's when I realized that this short story wasn't a short story at all, but a novel waiting to be told.
What genre does your book fall under?

Contemporary YA (my favorite!) with a few touches of magical realism

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I always have a hard time with questions like this, because I never have actors in my mind when I'm writing.  I kind of just "see" my characters.  Ugh!  Next question, please!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Okay, I'm cheating here...I stink at the one sentence elevator pitch.  How about a few more?

When Rhylee’s sister goes missing, Rhylee sees the loss as a way to step outside of her old life-one overshadowed by her big sister- and begin anew.  A life, she tells herself, she’s living to keep her sister’s memory alive.  But as she starts to change, Rhylee questions whether she wants to remember her sister or become her.   

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm represented by John Rudolph at Dystel and Goderich.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It took about a year to have a pretty strong first draft.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?


Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I have a certain setlist of songs that I write to when working on this book.  They are my biggest inspiration right now:
Coldplay "Back to the Start"
Mumford and Sons "Below My Feet"
Snow Patrol  "Chasing Cars"
Snow Patrol  "Run"
The Swell Season  "In These Arms"

I have these five songs on a playlist and just run it over and over again while I write.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The book starts with the first line, "The first time I betrayed my sister was two weeks before she disappeared."

I can't wait to share this book with all of you; I'm very much in love with it (fingers crossed it gets sold!). 

You can read all about Liz Coley's WIP here and make sure to visit the following blogs next Wednesday to see what other people are working on:
Amber June
Beth Pond

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Pup In The Mirror

"She's looking at the pup in the mirror.  She's asking if she'll change her ways..."

Hope you're having a great weekend!  It's cold here, so I've been snuggling with this fur ball!

Remember...there is still time to enter Cassandra Marshall's critique giveaway.  She's donating a dollar for every entry to an amazing program that pairs pound dogs with veterans.  Love it!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

DFTBA: Nerds Rule!

My new glasses have arrived and they are even bigger and clunkier than before!  Woo-hoo!  

I totally believe that when I put them on, magic writing superpowers ensue!  

Nerds Rule!  DFTBA!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Happy Book Birthday! Colleen Clayton's WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!

Today, fellow NEOMFA alum, Colleen Clayton's amazing book, What Happens Next, hits the book shelves!  I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of this book, and I'm so excited that she gets to finally share it with all of you today.

Here's the Goodreads' summary:

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still...), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect... or so she thinks.

And the review I wrote for it on Goodreads:

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of WHAT HAPPENS NEXT as part of an interview I’ll do of Colleen and the book for The Lucky 13s Debut 2013 Author blog. I am so excited that I got to read this book now instead of waiting until October (but trust me, it’s worth the wait). It’s one of my favorite reads in a long time, and I read a lot as a high school English teacher. A real lot! I pretty much eat, sleep and breath YA literature. It takes a lot for a book not only to grab my attention but for me to want to flag it as a multiple order for my school and classroom library. This is one of those books. It’s a book that I’ll make a point of pushing it into the hands of as many of my students as I can. The book is powerful, the writing is beautiful and Sid is one of the best characters I’ve met in a long time. It is a story that is important for teenagers to read, and one that I think will speak to them.

One of my favorite things about this book is the character of Sid. Because the thing is, unlike a lot of characters facing tragic events in YA literature, Sid is broken by a rape she doesn’t remember, but she doesn’t let it break her. She’s such a strong character and you understand why she’s dealing with the rape the way she is (even though I wanted to shout at her many many times to tell someone, I understood why she didn’t…why she couldn’t). I also love love love that she comes from a family that loves her. Her mom is a part of her life, her little brother adores her and Sid feels the same way back toward the two of them. It’s good to see a book with a strong family relationship, because it shows readers that bad things can happen to anyone, and even if you come from a family who loves and supports you, it still isn’t always easy to tell the truth. The story also has a sweet love story, Colleen Clayton’s sense of place transports you right to this town, and the antagonists are real. Oh…the antagonists. I totally bought how Sid fell prey to her Dax and the cheerleaders in this book are so so awful. But again, it speaks so truthful to high school and I think it’s in that honesty that teens will relate and connect to Sid’s journey.

There are novels out there that as a teacher, I MUST get into the hands of students. This is one of those important books.

And if you still can't get enough...an interview I did of Colleen for The Lucky 13s on our blog!

What are you waiting for?????  Go buy What Happens Next...you'll love it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Companions for Heroes and a Critique

As many of you know, I like...uhm...love...uhm...okay, okay, I am obsessed with dogs!

The wonderful Cassandra Marshall is having a contest where she will donate up to $1,000 dollars to a program called Companions for Heroes.  The organization rescues shelter dogs, trains, and then pairs them up with veterans suffering from PTSD.  How amazing is that?

But she's not just donating to that organization, she's also giving away a critique.  I've been a fan of her blog for over a year...she offers great writing advice.

If you have a moment, check it out!