Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Oh, and I love that it's set to an Evanescence song, because if I had to pick one band to set the mood of the book, they would totally be it!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Let me be crystal clear. I. Am. Not. A. Hiker! Honestly, I’m barely even a walker.
And then he started talking about the views, and spending time with the kids, and what great exercise it was. That last part fell on deaf ears, but the rest…it sounded, well, okay. I like views. And I like my kids. So whatever the reason, I decided we should do it.
So I made a list because although I’m not a hiker, I’m a list maker. We packed up: lunch, water, toilet paper (just in case), bug spray, sunscreen, binoculars, etc. Next, we mapped the trail we would take and even let our two older kids bail on us. Fine, whatever, we were left with the one kid who’s still young enough to admit that she loves us.
And you know what, I have to admit, it was spectacular! We hiked four miles on one of the trails at the base of Mount Rainier National Park, and because I am who I am, even our pictorial was seldom serious. But the views were…well, you can see:
The funniest thing we heard all day (from our daughter, of course): I think I wanna get some Nun-chucks. (Umm, I don’t think so.)
The funniest thing we saw all day (on the way home, on the side of the highway): One of those afro-rainbow clown wigs. Just lying there. Hmm, I can’t help but wonder what happened to the clown? If we stopped, would we have found his nose, maybe some floppy shoes, a clown corpse?
The most valuable lesson I learned (after leaving the mountain and calling my son to check in.) He didn’t answer so I left him a voicemail, and this was the text I got in return: I’m at home. And btw I’m a 17 yr old boy, I don’t check voicemail. (Good to know. Good to know. I’ll just chalk that one up to more YA research.)
Overall, I left the mountain with no fewer than a dozen bug bites, calf muscles that scream with every step I take, and a really cool sock-tan just in time for my trip to the SCBWI conference in LA (awesome!).
So would I do it again??? In a heartbeat!
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Misadventure's In Candyland is running a huge contest in support of Joy 2 the World, and the list of prizes is pretty darn incredible...and I'm not just saying that because I donated an autographed copy of The Body Finder and swag pack. I mean it, you don't want to miss out!
Besides, your entries help support this amazing organization.
Enter to win and save the world? Why wouldn't you???
Monday, July 19, 2010
If you happen to be attending the SCBWI conference in LA this year, I'll be signing at Friday night's wine and cheese reception. That's July 30th from 6:00 - 7:30 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.
I hope to see some of you there!!!
Saturday, July 17, 2010
(And in case there's any confusion about which "Julie!" I'm talkin' about, this "Julie!" left her comment on Andrew Auseon's post yesterday at 5:16PM. Yep, that "Julie!")
YAY!!! Congratulations, Julie! I'll be emailing you right away to get your mailing info, and I hope you enjoy all your goodies!
For the rest of you, don't worry, this isn't the end...I've got more guest bloggers coming up soon...and another super-hard-to-find ARC, that may or may not rhyme with SCHMARANORMALCY. (And, no, it's not CATCHING FIRE!)
Friday, July 16, 2010
So, here he is, Andrew Auseon:
First of all, I want to thank Kimberly for giving me some real estate on her blog, to pass through on my way to greener pastures. (This is very strange. I’m using present tense, even though I’m writing this post several weeks before it goes up the site. So, in a way, it’s kind of like time travel.) She is a very gracious hostess, and I only hope I can do her justice with this post.
I’m here to say a few words about my new novel, Freak Magnet, a romance about a boy and a girl who meet, say goodbye, meet again, say goodbye, meet again, and so on and so forth. (I think you get the idea. Will they end up together? I’m not at liberty to say. Maybe I don’t even know. Wouldn’t that be weird?) The main characters, Charlie and Gloria, have lost their way in life, mostly due to personal tragedies that have sucked the teens into their orbit. Only something unexpected has the potential to break them out of their downward spirals, only something a little… freaky.
When I started Freak Magnet five years ago, I set out to tell the story of two people who bump into each other by accident, and then go their separate ways, believing that’s the end of it. This happens to all of us: we have a sudden, unexpected encounter with a stranger that gives us pause. “Where did that person come from? Who are they? Where did they go after our meeting?” And most of the time, we never see them again. But what if you did? What would you do? Freak Magnet is about such strange coincidences, and about stepping outside yourself to get to know someone else, even when you’re unsure about the consequences. It’s about finding the courage to say, “What if?”
Charlie Wyatt is a talented amateur astronomer seeking a prestigious internship in Chile. Sadly, his social skills have suffered because of his dedication to his science, and because of his mother’s worsening Huntington’s disease. For several years, Charlie has worked hard to stay holed up in his family’s apartment, away from other people. You could say he’s out of practice when it comes to other human beings. Then there’s Gloria Aboud, a beautiful and creative poet who speaks her mind, even if it occasionally gets her into trouble. Unable to break free from the suffocating grief caused by the death of her older brother in Afghanistan, Gloria, too, seeks solace in her loneliness. Then a day comes when they bump into each other, by chance, by happenstance, by whatever you want to call it. And both, sensing something special, wonder, “What if?”
Despite being a realistic novel set in the very real (and very hot) Washington, D.C. area, Freak Magnet is a fantasy. Charlie and Gloria’s world is full of magic, but it’s the kind of magic we can believe in: an undiscovered comet that blazes across the summer sky, waiting to be named; a dead brother’s letters imparting wisdom long after his voice has fallen silent; or a stolen kiss on a rooftop in the eye of a thunderstorm. Life is made up of moments, and sometimes those moments suggest a greater purpose. Probably the most fun part of writing Freak Magnet was acting as the cosmos, leading two lost souls to find each other. I got to tell their amazing story.
Every day, each of us goes out into the world and brushes up against other people—strangers, mostly—and sometimes there are sparks. The story of Charlie and Gloria is about trying to catch some of those sparks to make lightning in a bottle. Magic does exist. It’s called freakiness. It’s called inspiration. It’s called love. It’s memorizing the names of all your date’s friends. It’s hearing a song you hate but singing along anyway, because it reminds you of her. It’s turning your car around and driving ten hours in the opposite direction to be with someone for just one more hour.
And the amazing thing is that I’m not an optimist, or an idealist, or even a romantic. I am a pretty sour realist, a real buzz kill; still, despite my point of view, I can’t deny that every single day I experience at least one “What if?” moment. In fact, my entire personal life is based on a series of insane “What if?” moments where I took a chance, didn’t fail too badly, and therefore decided to take another, and another, and another. Inspiration comes from the unlikeliest of places. In this case, it came from the time I drove nonstop from Columbus, Ohio to Washington, D.C. at three in the morning to tell a girl I loved her to her face for the first time. (And it’s a true story. In fact, I married the girl.) That was the book I wanted to write, but when I sat down to start my work, I instead found myself asking, “What if?” And Freak Magnet was born
I hope you enjoy the novel. Thanks again to Kimberly, for letting me post my shenanigans on her blog. It’s been a pleasure. It’s got a great view of the beach.
YAY! I loved that, Andrew!!! My favorite part: "Magic does exist. It’s called freakiness. It’s called inspiration. It’s called love."
Oh, and that you drove all night to tell a girl you loved her (and ended up marrying her)!!!
Okay, guys, now it's your turn...all you have to do is comment to be entered for the prize pack. And remember all entries close tonight at midnight Pacific time, so don't miss your chance to win!!!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Well now you can find out! I did a guest post over at Moonlight Book Reviews (complete with pics!), in which I dish about the real-life locales in TBF, including some little known secrets (like what was fact and what was fiction!).
You should totally check it out!
You have the sweet "Team Jay" T-shirt (kind of hard to see since I brilliantly decided to take the pic on a black background!), a signed hardcover of The Body Finder, 2 TBF rubber bracelets (also tough to see, but I promise they're there), TBF stickers (handprint and flower), assorted bookmarks, and...
The super-hard-to-find ARC of FIRELIGHT!!!!!
Okay, check out the bookmarks: I have signed Josh Berk-marks (The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin), signed Jenn Hubbard's The Secret Year, Saundra Mitchell's Shadowed Summer, and an awesome (tasseled) Prophecy of Days by Christy Raedeke.
And all you have to do is leave a comment in any (or all) of the following guest posts:
Lisa & Laura
Little Ms. J
Katie & Sarah Frances
On Friday you'll have your last chance to enter, when I host guest blogger Andrew Auseon (author of Freak Magnet).
Please don't try to enter on this post, your entry won't count. And also, just one entry per post please.
I will take the last comments at Midnight on Friday, July 16th and post the winner on Saturday, July 17th!!!
Today, we're welcoming LK Madigan, you might remember her, we've had her here before (Hint: Her book FLASH BURNOUT was the 2010 William C. Morris Award Winner!). Well, guess what???
That's right, peeps, she's back. And she brought Project Runway's Tim Gunn with her for her guest post! Check it out:
Tim enters the revision studio, dapper as always. “Good morning, everyone,” he says. “I’m here to check your progress.”
He approaches Lisa’s work space. “Tell me about this,” he says, eyeing the uneven pacing of the plot.
“Well,” says Lisa, “It’s a YA fantasy.”
Tim peers over his glasses at Lisa. “A fantasy? I thought you were planning to write another realistic YA contemporary."
“I did! I mean, I was. It … the spark is still there, but the premise was a little too edgy.”
“Too edgy?” Tim’s gaze is piercing. “So you just threw it away and started all over on something new?”
“No, no,” says Lisa, beginning to sweat. “I set it aside for now, but the characters are still very much alive in my head. I will finish it. But this —” She indicates the novel in question. “I love this story. I’ve worked on it sporadically for almost eight years.”
Tim studies the work-in-progress through his glasses. “Why is the pacing so uneven? And uh-oh. I see a loose plot thread.”
“Oh! I’m trying to clean that up,” says Lisa. “The pacing, that is. I didn’t notice the loose thread. Oops! Thanks for pointing it out to me.”
“And this scene concerns me. Isn’t the dialogue between the main character and her parents a little young-sounding?”
Lisa peers closer at the scene. “Hmm. I see what you mean.” She gives him an apologetic smile. “It started off as a middle grade novel. I rewrote it for a YA audience. Whew! What was I thinking? Pretty much every line had to change. I guess this scene didn’t change enough.”
Tim studies the project for another long moment. “I’m just worried,” he says finally.
Lisa is worried now, too.
“I’m concerned you may be taking on something too ambitious,” he says. “I see the contemporary realism here —” He points. “And I see the homage to classic fairy tales here —” He points again. “But the length of the narrative must increase to accommodate the new characters here.” He indicates the last third of the book. “Do you see what I mean?”
Lisa nods. “Yes. Yes! I’m planning to develop those relationships in more depth.”
“Good.” Tim continues to frown at the piece. “How comfortable are you with world-building? Because you realize this will fall apart under scrutiny, don’t you?”
“Not to mention the research still required to strengthen the base. Your details will unravel if the facts are incorrect. God is in the details,” he says with a smile.
“I have books,” says Lisa faintly.
“Books? Books are excellent, of course. But what about first-hand anecdotal information?”
“I have that, too. Three different sources.”
“Good.” He beams at her. “All right, then. Make it work.”
Ahaha! Awesome, right??? I love you, LK!!!
And when you get a chance, check out the book they were talking about, LK’s upcoming release, THE MERMAID’S MIRROR, the final product looks fabulous!!! (I’m sure Tim would agree!)
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
(Translation: We just forced our 17-year-old to leave his friends and spend four entire days with us.)
We travelled east of the mountains, which, in Washington State means leaving behind mountains, trees, and rain, in search of sun and sand and general desert-like conditions. It’s our version of Palm Springs, but without the uber-luxurious resorts and celebrity sightings. Instead we have places like "Kimmi D's":
I know, we’re dorks but c’mon, that’s pretty cool, right??? My son was convinced that if we’d gone inside, my doppelganger would have served us. I guess we’ll never know!!
So, our camping agenda called for a trip to the nearby waterpark so we could hit the 200-foot waterslides and more importantly, the Lazy River.
But when we got there, this was what we found instead:
Since I’m such a simpleton, I couldn’t resist taking pictures of these two boys who were using the fountains first as enemas and then to “pee” at each other. The funniest part: I don’t think anyone else even noticed them. Boys will definitely be boys!
But, overall, my favorite part of the trip (besides our son repeatedly telling us: “You guys are so lame.” which always cracks us up!) was this little conversational gem that I had while standing in line at the water slide with my daughter.
Little girl to my daughter: Is that your grandma?
My daughter (looking at me): No, that’s my mom.
Me (just standing there listening).
Little girl (to me now): How old are you?
Little girl looks at me for a minute, then: My mom’s 28.
Me (because what do you say to that?): Umm, that’s nice.
Really?! Am I her grandma?!?! I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.
Seriously, though, when I was telling my husband I thought he was going to pee his pants from laughing so hard. I’ve been asked if I was my oldest daughter’s sister, but never if I was someone’s GRANDMA! And I loved the fact that my daughter was so…whatever…about it. When I asked her later what she thought, she just shrugged and said: “Maybe it was because you weren’t wearing makeup. You don’t look very pretty without makeup.”
Nice, Abby. Nice!
Next time I go to a waterpark, I'm definitely wearing make-up. And pigtails. And maybe even some water wings.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Of course, those of you familiar with their blog will understand why, even as I type this post, I'm reading each word in a lovely Southern drawl. (I just wanna fit in…and these ladies make it sound so dang cool!)
Plus, just look at 'em, they're as precious as June bugs!
Did I do that right??? No?! Fine, here they are, Katie and SF:
TITLE: PLOT HEADS
Hey there Kim Derting Fans!
Today we are honored to be guest blogging about a subject we are currently wrestling with, and that is PLOT. Lately, we have been poring over websites and blogs looking for ways to effectively structure our novels and have discovered a few gems we'd like to pass along.
KATIE: My favorite way to plot a book remains to follow the guidelines of screenwriters. SF and I have this wonderful link to screenplay structure on the side of our blog that I frequently read. You can read it here. But just recently I discovered this blog and oh what a gem it is! I can't wait to really analyze all the ins and outs of her theory, which, as luck would have it, are related to screenplays as well!
SF: Okay, I do love the screenplay structure website (the first one mentioned), especially when I'm writing picture books. It helps me to divide up my 800 or so word manuscript into three parts and really work on where events occur in the narrative. I find that with a picture book, I can usually summarize the plot in a few phrases, and I write these onto a timeline like the one illustrated on the site. And, then I wiggle the words and pacing around so that it fits into the screenplay structure.
But, when I work on a novel, it's a totally different story (ha! literally!). My novels always start with character, never plot. I write, write, write about my characters and let them be whatever it is they want to be. Until . . . until I have to face the fact that in a novel, there must be some sort of structured plot--you know, stuff's gotta happen. So then, I let my characters act and fail and act again.
This fall, I discovered The Plot Whisperer. The Plot Whisperer's blog posts throughout the month of December 2009 outline a month long plotting exercise for writers with a completed first draft. Going through this thirty-one day process, I was able to nail down exactly what my book was about and where the action lulled. I identified subplots and themes, and I was able to see my novel as something whole and cohesive. One of my favorite things that the Plot Whisperer prescribed was to 1) divide up the book into three distinct parts (a fourth, a half and a fourth--a little different from the screenplay diagram) and 2) read the beginning and then immediately read the end. I think as writers, we often get lazy toward the end of the book and simply tie up loose ends. The end should echo back to the beginning and should be as strong as the beginning.
The Whisperer also believes that there should be a thematic plot as well as a plot full of action and character development. Figuring out what my theme was in my novel was tricky, to say the least, but once I figured it out, I was able to write with a stronger sense of purpose.
So, try these out, and you too can be a PlotHead . . . (ha!)
Great, great, great tips, ladies! I’m seriously checking these links out, because well, who couldn’t use a little help with plotting???
And now it’s your turn, leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the BIG GIVEAWAY!!! It ends July 16th, so don’t miss your chance!
Friday, July 9, 2010
And that's what I love most about her.
CASE IN POINT,this is the first line in one of her recent blog posts:
"My grandma can kick your grandma's ass."
Tell me you don't want to read the rest of the entry after an opening line like that!
She also writes heart-breaking, soul-bearing posts on her journey to becoming a mother. She can make me laugh and cry in the same thirty-second span. Now that's talent.
So, here she is, Little Ms. J:
When Kim first asked me to guest blog I jumped at the chance. After all, she is a published author and could be good for my career. I tried to think of things that would befit a YA readership. I do believe Kim’s exact words were, “Let’s *try* to keep it PG-13, lady.”
I laughed as I thought of this over the weekend. My dad sat at my favorite Mexican restaurant on Davis Island with me and my teenage co-conspirator, Rhena. We looked different, we sounded different, but as we started talking all the old memories came back. There was the time we were mistaken for prostitutes as we walked down a road in sun dresses, the time we sat in a hot tub with some fighter pilots until we pruned, the time we called my dad, a minister, and giggled into the phone, “So, how do we feel about oral sex? Godly? Deadly?”
After dad choked on whatever he was eating at that time and again over the weekend, I realized that trying too hard to be “teen-friendly” was not going to work well for me. Rhena leaned over and looked at my father, “You were the only adult we could ever go to and ask real questions. My parents would’ve grounded me.” She recounted her daughter’s recent curiosity after her first day of 7th grade, “Mom, we need to talk. What is this blow job thing I keep hearing about? Thank God she thought it was absolutely disgusting.”
Dad looked as if he needed another drink.
We giggled, reminisced and as the night wore down I hugged my friend, promising to come home more often.
I thought of the blog again today and it may or may not have been at Kim’s urging. I wondered what I would write about. I hobbled to my bed and tried to squish a pillow between my knees in the exact right way it would keep my back from spasm. Between a car accident and infertility I’ve realized that I’m just about ready to start using a S-M-T-W-T-F-S pill box to get organized. I only need a glass to put my teeth in to finish the picture that I never wanted to create. I stared at a table full of pill bottles and thought of how far I’d come from the days when Rhena and I were getting into trouble, making my dad shake his head, making boys crazy. At first I thought I was so far from those girls that read YA; those girls giggling in the Hollister stores, those girls picking Team Edward, Team Jacob, Team Jay.
But, I’m not.
Next to my pill bottles, next to it all sit the books that fill my head with all the things that sew me up, set me still, make me full of life and story. I may look a little different. I may have creams for the lines around my eyes, I may be able to afford a beautiful pair of shoes that I couldn’t when I was sixteen. I may choose vampires over Claudia, Stacey and the rest of the babysitters of my past. I may read Chelsea only because my dad will never find out.
But, when a girl, any girl, puts her nose between the pages of a book the rest fades away.
And, that in itself is better than Vicodin.
Author’s Note - THE BODY FINDER is only missing from the picture because it was loaned to my BFF, Amie, who has been threatened with dismemberment if she damages it before Kim gets to sign it in person.
(I like how somehow "keep it clean" translated into "you should totally talk about BJs!" LOL!)
AWESOME POST, LMJ!!!! I'm so glad you joined us!!!
And don't forget, this is another (your third!) opportunity to try to win the super-awesome prize giveaway…yes, the one that includes an ARC of Sophie Jordan's FIRELIGHT. All you have to do is leave a comment!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The Roecker girls are known for their snarky take on authorhood (to which they’ve joined the ranks with their upcoming release: LIAR SOCIETY), celebrity, and parenting. And they do it with the absolute right amount of self-deprecation and tongue-in-cheek good humor.
Let me just break that down for you: These. Ladies. Rock!
So, on your feet, people, as we welcome LiLa!!! *jazz-hands and rainbow sparkles*
How to Make Friends and (hopefully) NOT Alienate People On-Line (by LiLa)
A couple of years ago we decided to start writing books together. You know, to keep life interesting. The very first thing we did (after copious amounts of online research and cyberstalking) was start a blog. We figured every writer needed a blog. Plus we were absolutely, positively sure that our book would be selling at auction within a month or two, so we really needed to develop some kind of on-line presence.
That was the sound of the publishing industry laughing in our faces. Turns out our manuscript sucked, so instead of a million dollar book deal, we ended up with (what felt like) a million rejections.
But it turns out the blog was actually a good idea. Sure, no one commented on the thing except for our mom and our other sister, but writing random posts on a daily basis really helped us create a voice. And eventually we started connecting with other writers who actually knew what they were doing. And then a year later, we sold a book. Without the blog there almost certainly wouldn't be a book and here's why:
1. The blog holds you accountable. Sure we could have given up writing after the endless rejections, but then what the hell would we say on the blog? How could we admit to all of our amazing readers (all five of them) that we'd given up? So we kept writing. What choice did we have?
2. You usually end up meeting people who are smarter than you. This guy I used to work with always told me that the secret to success is surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you are. He was kind of a douche, but he was SO right. A lot of really amazing writers blog and usually if you comment on their blogs, they'll stop by and comment on yours. Pretty soon you're friends and if you're really lucky your new, crazy smart writer friend offers to read your manuscript or critique your query or whatever. We have met all of our genius beta readers via our blog and I can say with 100% certainty that we would never have gotten an agent or book deal without them.
3. Your blog helps you develop that all-important, ever elusive voice. A lot of agents were worried about our voice being inconsistent in our first doomed manuscript. We wrote together, but we hadn't developed a unified voice. Enter the blog. Posting our random thoughts on a daily basis helped us develop a unified voice. When we eventually started querying our second manuscript, agents were shocked that two people had written the book. Success!
4. It's easy to be a social butterfly on the interwebs. Commenting on blogs is easy. Replying to someone on Twitter is fun. And you can learn a lot from writers, agents and editors by simply making an effort to connect with them. The key is not to be afraid or intimidated by the publishing peeps who dominate the blogosphere. It took us a LONG time to learn that lesson which is probably why we averaged 0 comments on our blog posts for the first year or so. But once we stopped being the on-line equivalent of wall flowers, we met a TON of really cool people.
5. Rejections don't sting quite as much when someone comments on your blog. This sounds random, but it's totally true. Publishing is a tough business and we had (er...have) A LOT of really tough days. It's amazing how a fun comment from a new blog reader or a nice tweet from a fellow writer can make it all better. Okay, fine, maybe it doesn't make it ALL better, but it really does help. Blogs and Twitter provide writers with a way to "publish" their thoughts and get instant feedback from friends and peers. With all the waiting and e-mail refreshing we do it's really nice to get a little positive reinforcement every once in a while.
So, fellow writers and friends, don't be afraid to dive head first into social networking. The water might be a little cold in the beginning, but we promise you'll warm up in no time at all. Plus all the dicking around on the internet really DOES make you a better writer. At least that's what we keep telling ourselves...
Another great guest post, and now it’s your turn! Leave a comment (that’s all you have to do!) and you’ll be entered to win a bunch of really cool stuff (including an ARC of FIRELIGHT!).
Friday, July 2, 2010
THE MISSING DEAD CALL TO VIOLET.
THEY WANT TO BE FOUND.
Copy from the ARC (aka. the short version, because I tease like that!):
When Violet Ambrose's morbid ability to sense the echoes of those who've been murdered leads her to the body of a young boy, she draws the attention of the FBI. She is reluctantly pulled into an investigation that will endanger more than just her secret...but her relationship and possibly her life as well.
Violet slipped inside without notice. She was too preoccupied to care if anyone spotted her. The gentle sound of the harps grew stronger, until the vibrations were nearly painful and Violet found herself gritting her teeth. It was compelling, this echo . . . this death. And Violet was so close.
It was GO TIME! Finally, mom gets to be the big hero!!!
Armed with one tube of leftover white facepaint, some pink lipstick, an eyeliner pen, two hair elastics, and a gray sweatshirt, this was what we managed to pull off:
In case it's not totally obvious, she's a mouse! [insert applause here]
And, by the way, when we got to day camp this morning, most of the kids weren't even dressed up...a couple of cats with black whiskers (yet more moms willing to spare some eyeliner in the name of Animal Week!), and that's about it.
Seems I may have torn the garage apart over nothing.
EDITED: My oldest daughter saw this post and said she looks like a scary/creepy mouse. Looking at it again, I have to admit, she kinda does. So maybe I'm not quitting my day job to set up a face painting booth at the fair!