Monday, October 31, 2011
I've got a lot to be thankful for--this year, the dream I've held dear for most of my life came true with the publication of my first novel. And in all honesty--it's been even better than I dreamed.
So this month, in honor of Thanksgiving and all that I've got to be thankful for, I want to thank you, the wonderful people who've been with me on this insanely glorious journey. And to do that, I've turned to some of the fantastic friends I've made along the way.
I tracked down every author I thanked in my acknowledgements--the ones who blurbed me, the ones who critiqued me, the ones who became my friends, and I got a signed copy of each of their books. Add that to a copy of Across the Universe and an ARC of A Million Suns, and this giveaway is...HUGE. 19-signed-books-plus-swag-and-more HUGE.
One winner. One giant prize.
(which you could use for the sequel, The Springsweet)
(Lost? I'll be doing an example of this tomorrow with my favorite book!)
If you'd like to share the post you've made with everyone else, please feel free to put it on the Mr. Linky widget below! (Don't feel obligated to do the "add a comment" thing; that's a default of the widget.
Friday, October 28, 2011
There are a lot out there, but this is the one I've been using. I like the simplicity, and that I can edit it to only show the percentage.
Now I just have to start the new goal!
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I first had the pleasure of meeting Anna Staiszewski (aka Anna Stan) online through her blog and I still remember the excitement I felt for her when she announced her first book deal, for the funny and magical middle grade MY VERY UNFAIRYTALE LIFE.
The book officially launches in November--but drop by your local bookstore and see if there are copies available, because a lot of them are showing up early! And Anna's here to tell us all about her charming book!
Your book, MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE, the main character, Jenny, works in a magical kingdom. Would you live in a magical kingdom if you could?
One of the great things about MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE is the way it turns ideas about fairy tale creatures on its head: the unicorns are bloodthirsty and the magical kingdom is falling apart. Can you tell us a little more about how you built the world of your novel?
Can you tell us a little bit about the process--particularly the timeline--of writing MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE?
If your reader could only take away one emotion, theme, or idea from MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE, what would you want it to be?
Beyond the typical--never give up, believe in yourself--what would be the single best advice you'd like to give another writer?
What do you think are your strongest and weakest points in writing?
Check Out What the Other Bookanistas Are Reading by Clicking the Links Below!
- Elana Johnson REVEALS something awesome!!!
- LiLa Roecker announces a winner - plus a Past Midnight series giveaway
- Christine Fonseca reveals books she cannot wait to read
- Beth Revis interviews My Very UnFairytale Life authorAnna Staniszewski
- Shannon Whitney Messenger interviews Skyship Academy-Pearl Wars author Nick James & agent Jennifer Rofe – with giveaway
- Jessi Kirby twirls for Audition
- Shana Silver burns for Circle of Fire
- Carrie Harris devours Deadly
- Stasia Ward Kehoe travels to The Day Before
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
10:04: Wake up. No shame.
10:05-12:55: Things happened. I dunno. I guess I was there, but I don't remember most of it.
12:55: Ban myself from Twitter, open up Scrivener.
1:06: Right. Now is GO TIME.
1:16: When I get 35% done, I can eat lunch. *chugs coffee* I have to force myself to get through this scene; I hate writing scenes where people are angry at each other. I have no idea how JK Rowling wrote Book 6.
1:19: Ha! Caught Steph on Twitter! ...except, to catch her on Twitter means I was on Twitter... *ignore that fact*
1:53: Kiersten White is totally conspiring to distract me. She blogged about Nathan Fillion today!
2:08: Woot! I earned lunch!
3:02: Quick lunch what?
3:19: You guys, I am so caught up with this whole Much Ado About Nothing thing. I mean--zomg! Nathan Fillion AND Sean Maher in a film by Joss Whedon based on a play by Shakespeare?!?! With original music?!?! I cannot focus with this much awesome pumping through the interwebs.
3:21: Joss Whedon, btw, is my hero. Like, for realsies.
3:45: Going strong.
5:16: I have been productive! I did the dishes! By which I mean: I put them in the dishwasher. SHUT UP IT STILL COUNTS.
8:05: I...don't wanna work..
9:33: I'm going to take a notebook and sketch out ideas for the next bit of the book--maybe that'll help me get a jump start tomorrow.
Monday, October 24, 2011
The winner of the October contest is:
PS: My story is called "The Pond in the Forest." Can you tell that, while writing that scene, I was I also working on another Across the Universe story dealing with Kayleigh and the pond and the goldfish?
the classic sci fi titles you should know as a lover of YA, go there and check it out!
And while you're at it, be sure to also check out Phoebe's YA sci fi review blog, a new venture called The Intergalactic Academy. Here I was, thinking I had a good handle on what YA sci fi is being released now, and I've already found two new titles to read through this awesome review site!
And speaking of review sites and finding good new books, I'd like to also point you in the direction of Destination Elsewhere. This is a ning that Penguin's made to feature all the fantasy and sci fi titles. Basically, if cool, strange stuff happens in the book, it's the perfect fit for Destination Elsewhere. The background is made of the cover art for Eona, one of the best fantasy novels on the market today, so check it out at least to see the beautiful cover art!
Visit Destination Elsewhere
(Also, for those of you who don't know--because I didn't!--a ning is basically an online community. This one is focused on fantasy and sci fi books in the YA market. There are forums, chats, photos, videos, and more. And if you'd like to friend me there, my page is located here.)
And finally....you might have noticed that Stephanie has already thrown down the gaultlet and started up a live blog today! Eeep! This means...I should probably get to work.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
5:53: Hrm. Not sure if I like this direction, either. Seems very talky-talky as I try to explain the point I'm trying to make...
Friday, October 21, 2011
Live-blogging really helps me stay focused. Mainly because when I record my times, I feel guilty when I look at how much time I just WASTE.
This won't strictly be a live-blog, because I'm not going to post at each stop...I'm just going to work all day and record my times.
So, right now:
So, this week was the week of Crazy Challenges. And while my challenge to myself WAS crazy (15k in a week!) I am so so so certain that I would never have written that many words if (a) Steph hadn't challenged me to it and (b) you guys hadn't cheered both of us on. After meeting with Steph yesterday, we decided to randomly select one person who had cheered us on--either in our blog comments, Twitter, or any other way--and send them a copy of both of our books. Sorry it took so long--there were a LOT of supporters out there!
And, for the record, I totally disqualified Kiersten White. She plays dirty.
(Please ignore the fact that I played dirty, too.)
(And that I started it.)
(And that she was playing dirty against us both, actually. An equal-opportunity-dirty-player.)
(Yeah. Ignore all that.)
So, without further ado...the winner of the random-selected cheerleader surprise contest is....
(PS: the winner of the October Password Contest will be revealed October 24th. If you're still struggled to figure out the password, you can get the answer on the Facebook Page, or, if you can't get there, you can consider this clue: What do you do with a leader?)
Thursday, October 20, 2011
I woke up this morning with trepidation in my heart. See, I had retired last night around 2am. And Steph...had not.
In the end, neither of us made out (crazy, ridiculous) goals. But! We did both make a noble effort and really got a ton of work done. For me, I've planted myself firmly in the murky middle...but quite a few scenes from last night were actually stuff I really really liked, so...I'm happy! And Steph wrote a ton in one night alone which is gobsmackingly amazing.
And the best part? You guys.
Dude, I cannot tell you how boring it is to stare at the screen and know that I need to work and want to bash my head onto my keyboard.
But last night? You guys were totally just cheering me on, and it was AMAZING and filled me with JOY and fueled my fingers towards SPURIOUS WRITING.
So, I texted Steph and said...what do you think about giving something to our cheerleaders?
And she said: YES.
Today, while we meet up at the coffee shop, we're going to give one person who commented or tweeted us or otherwise encouraged and/or harassed us LAST NIGHT during the writing session of DOOM will get a signed copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE and a signed copy of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (paperback editions) and I'm throwing in some new swag that I just got for AtU in the bucket, too (a poster, pin and brand-spanking-new rubber band bracelet that you can't see in the pic).
We'll announce the winner later today, after I force Steph to purchase all my coffee for me BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
I made a bet.
A crazy, crazy bet.
I bet another writer friend that I could finish 15,000 words and a short story in one week. That was last Thursday. I took the weekend to write the short story. Monday I wrote 5k words, and Tuesday I wrote 1,600 words. That leaves me with today, Wednesday, and I've got...8,400 more words to write.
Eight thousand four hundred more words to write.
Will I make that goal? I have no idea.
But I decided last night to try a live-blog. For you new kids, a live-blog is where I update a post (this post) regularly throughout the day with the status of what I'm doing. Typically, this helps me keep track of how much time I end up wasting (for example, online) and is also often hilarious as people watch me flounder around under the microscope.
SO: Come back throughout the day to see how far I get!
8:15am: Wake up. Stay in bed for another 15 minutes to avoid work.
8:30-9:15: Breakfast--leftover pasta from last night, a diet Sprite, and an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
9:16: Start working on this live-blog
9:16: Realize that working on this live-blog = working on the novel = I have to do some actual work.
9:26: Oh, look! The shiny internet has neato things!
9:30: Best. Kid. Halloween costume. EVER.
9:48: Crap. I should, actually...you know...work.
Current word count: 0.
10:18: Coffee made: an espresso shot with hot chocolate and three melty peppermint candies. Sweatshirt: on. This one. Thank goodness it's a cold, rainy day.
Current word count: 0. I know! I know! Quit pressuring me!!!
10:51: Finished up the chapter I was working on last night. The problem--and this is the reason why I've been stalling, and why I'm using this live-blog to kick my butt in gear--is that I know what needs to happen in, oh, fifty or so pages. I've got that, all the way to the end, nearly figured out. But to get to those fifty or so pages away...that's where I'm struggling. And I'm not the kind of writer that can just skip ahead fifty pages and write the scenes I know. I need to write the next fifty-ish pages to get there before I can really get swinging in this story...
Current word count: 571.
10:54: Oh, look, the internet's out! Which means I can't update...but I guess this means I can't goof off online, either....
11:17: I was right. No internet is preventing me from wasting time. I have noticed that after I hit a stopping point--the end of a scene, the end of dialog, heck, even the end of a paragraph--my default reaction is to click onto the still-open internet window. But my connection is completely dead, and so instead of spending five or ten minutes goofing off, I go right back to Scrivener.
Current word count: 1387
11:23: Of course, even without internet, I'm still opening up this window every five seconds. (Exaggeration.)
11:28: Five minutes. I went five minutes between checking online and writing and checking back online. Ugh. That's pathetic.
11:32: When I get 2000 words, I can break for lunch. That's the deal. Also, then I'll connect to the internet with my phone so I can actually post these updates...yeah, that's why...
11:48: Oh, coffee, I can feel you kicking in. *jittery legs while typing too fast and misspelling every other word*
12:05: I hit a bit of a roll there, rounding out a final chapter. Heh. Maybe a lack of internet + an increase in coffee = words. I'm pretty sure that's a solid foundation in a scientific theory. That discovery's as important as E = mc2, no?
Current word count: 2801
12:06: I earned lunch! Yay!
12:11: But before that...I sent a DM to the author I made the bet with. All it said was "Be afraid. Be very afraid." hehehehe...
1:25: That was...a rather long lunch. But the rain is holding, and my internet isn't, so that bodes well.
1:28: WHAT IS THIS FRESH HELL? I return from my leisurely lunch to discover that... STEPHANIE PERKINS HAS, INDEED, BROUGHT IT. Oh, it is ON NOW, PERKINS. You realize, of course, that this means WAR.
(I get irrationally pumped up about competition. Have I mentioned this? It's true.)
(Crap. The dog is being cute and demands scratches.)
1:34: I am bringing it.
1:52: I am so NOT bringing it. (a) Had to call my father. Then (b) Dog decided to play. Then (c) Kiersten White decided to TURN ON ME. Proof 1. Proof 2. WHY KIERSTEN WHY?!
1:55: That does it: going offline so I can TYPE LIKE THE WIND.
2:14: The siren song of the internet (and the Twitter War perpetuated by Kiersten) draws me back online. *shaking my fist at Al Gore* Why did you invent the internet?!
Current Word Count: 3047/8400 (which, for the weekly goal = 9647/15000)
Stephanie's Word Count: 212/15000
2:36: There was something I cut in A MILLION SUNS that I think I might be able to bring into Book 3. Off to search for it.
2:43: Found it. Also found this. *sigh* Internet, y u so addictive? *pets the shiny*
2:59: New coffee acquired. *cracks knuckles*
3:20: It's quiet around here. TOO QUIET. *stares at Steph's live-blog* *frets*
Current Word Count: 3626/8400
Stephanie's Word Count: probably a gazillion
3:40: Had to pause to do a little bit of research. This is unfair. All of Steph's research is kissing based. Mine's just boring ol' science...
4:15: You know what's not boring ol' science? Twitter. Twitter, twitter, twitter.
4:19: The Steph emerges! This fuels me even more. Because...the Steph never sleeps. She will probably start lapping me near the end of the night....
Current Word Count: 3964/8400 (10,664/15,000)
Steph's Word Count: Just Wait Until Tonight.
4:47: Supper's cooking in the CrockPot (Meals of Champions! ...also Meals-of-not-spending-much-time-cooking) but I still had a snack break. It was necessary. Fuel for writing!
4:51: I probably need more Sprite, too. Dang. Lookit the clock. I'm winding down, but I have a feeling Perkins is winding UP...
5:18: Just finished a rather difficult scene. I kind of want to show you all right now. I'll just say this: Amy has more balls than me.
Current Word Count: 4475/8400 (11,175/15,000)
Steph's Word Count: I FEAR HER.
5:28: Oh Tumblr, you so pretty.
5:35: Remember that time Steph took a nap? Smart move.
5:35-8:15: I don't even know. Stuff happened I guess. Mah belly's full.
8:16: I will admit: I'm a tad daunted by this. I'm a bit over 4k words of making my goal, but that 4k feels like Everest right now. And while I'm all run-down and the coffee's worn off....Perkins has woken from her slumber LIKE A BEAST.
*rolls up sleeves* Cover me. I'm going back in.
8:23: The husband walks into my office. "I don't hear the clackity-clack of your keyboard," he says.
"I'm looking at the competition," I says.
I show him THIS.
And then I show him THIS.
He says, "You do realize there's a chance she's going to pull an all-nighter for this."
He says, "You do realize that she might just win, right?"
He says, "You should consider fighting dirty."
He says, "Find out something she likes, and send her links to them."
But! But! But! I have words that I need to write. NOW! So I can win!! Especially because she's already beating me HERE. (the voting link for that is HERE)
So...*I* can't play dirty and send Stephanie pictures of Hot British Boys. Such as James McAvoy. Or Jim Sturgess. Or even, I suspect, Young Colin Firth. BUT YOU CAN, DEAR READERS, YOU CAN.
Here is Stephanie's twitter: @naturallysteph
Any Hot British Male will do. Your quest, should you choose to accept it, is to FIND PICTURES OF HOT BRITISH MEN. And then tweet them at Stephanie. ALL NIGHT LONG.
Is this cheating? ...maybe... But! But! But! It means that Stephanie will have a cadre of pictures of Hot British Men! HOW COULD THAT BE WRONG? IT CAN'T BE, THAT'S HOW.
Go forth! Track down the Hot British Men! And
distract give them to @naturallysteph!
8:49: Having spent the past 20 minutes coordinating an attack against Perkins, I, er, have no new words to show for it. And she's updating her liveblog in...11 minutes. MEEP!
8:58: I have been staring at the clock, waiting for Perkins update. Why is this psyching me out so much?!
9:21: Let it be known that this is the writing session in which I started killing characters off mercilessly. #desperate
9:39: And....there goes the first person. (Well, not the first. I killed three people off in the first three chapters. But that's just how I roll, yo.)
9:48: Finished chapter.
Current Word Count: 5448/8400 (daily goal). (Weekly goal: 11872/15000)
Stephanie's Word Count: 2190/15000
Do not be deceived, gentle readers. It may look as if I have more words than Steph, but I happen to know that she has pulled the rabbit out of the hat before. Also: she took a nap, and is therefore charged and ready for the long night ahead, whereas...I didn't.
10:03: Just finished a furious five minute run on the Gazelle (it's like an elliptical, but less fancy) while talking to the husband about a plot point. Basically, I figured out that I need to get more people injured and/or sick, then do this nasty thing to the characters, then have Amy do this thing...and basically, I can't tell you without ruining everything, but PLANS I HAS THEM.
10:14: Get totally distracted BY THIS.
10:23: CURSES! My plans...are foiled. (Not by Perkins--see comment below.) It's just that I realized...if I do THAT THING now, then the book will end too soon. I need something else before THAT THING happens...but...WHAT??
*frets* *pulls out hair*
Current Word Count: No change, dangit.
10:33: Five more furious minutes on the Gazelle. I might have an alternate plan. Problem: the husband will go to bed soon. Which means...I'm doomed.
10:42: So I wasn't working. I am still rather stuck.
Let me illustrate with .gifs:
In this one, the camel is my Muse.
In this one, the fish is my Grand Idea.
I am going to pour hot water on my head until I figure this scene out (read: shower).
Current Word Count: 5553/8400 (11997/15000)
Steph's Word Count: *too afraid to look*
11:41: Shower acquired. Ideas...cooking. I'm currently in my cupcake pajamas and wrapped in my Sailor Moon quilt and have a pile of peppermint candies by my side. I've also moved to the couch because my bum hurt. Did you know that this is the longest time I've ever continuously live-blogged in one day? And it's soon to be the next day...
Anyway: sally forth! Onto the next chapter!
12:38: For reasons entirely unrelated, the scene I'm working on now reminds me of a story I heard from a Holocaust survivor. It's making me quite sad to remind myself of the details of her story, but also determined to make that scene, at least, as beautiful as possible.
Current Word Count: 12943/15000 (let's just stick to the weekly goal for sanity's sake)
Steph's Word Count: 4010/15000 (but that was an hour ago, and she writes like the wind)
1:19: I have been writing pretty steadily for...almost twelve hours. Sure there've been breaks in there, but...almost twelve hours.
Steph's last update put her about 10k behind me, which...well, it makes me feel safe about going to bed right now. But she IS chugging espresso like mad, and that worries me...but if I wake up early enough tomorrow, maybe I can round out my word count and we'll at least tie...
Speaking of word count...
Total Word Count for Today: 7,174
Total Word Count for Weekly Goal: 13,598 words out of a goal of 15,000 words
Stephanie hasn't updated yet, so I'm not sure where she stands on this...*gulp*
But I know, for me, this is what I'm going to do now:
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I should just admit it:
On Twitter replies, Tumblr ask box replies, Facebook replies, and--worst of all--emails.
I am terribly, terribly, terribly behind.
I am trying to write Book 3. I mean, I've been trying to write it for some time, but I'm in the long sprint to the finish line right now (read: crazy focused and dedicated to finishing like whoa), and it's too easy to let (literally) hours go by when I venture online.
I know many of you are writers, and you understand. <3 And many of you are readers, and I'm sure you'd rather me write a book than an email. That, at least, is what my publisher must surely be thinking, lol!
So please forgive me, but for the next little bit, I'm going to be a tad incommunicado. I'll pop online between breaks and answer what I can, but it'll probably be a tad sporadic. And by "tad," I mean: very. If it's something urgent, please mark it as such in an email. I may miss Facebook or Twitter posts, but I will eventually get to every single thing in the inbox.
*opens up Scrivener* *hunches back over the manuscript* *stares blankly at the screen*
Monday, October 17, 2011
Whenever I start to get a big head, I think of one of my favorite poems by Robbie Burns (I've pasted it below) entitled "To a Louse." A louse being, of course, a singular of lice.
Burns can be a bit of a pain to read at times, but the story of the poem is, basically, that there's this high and mighty woman sitting in church, rather proud of herself, and the narrator of the poem sees a giant louse creeping up her bonnet. Which, basically sums up as: the bigger the head, the more room for the louse.
On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church
Ha! whare ye gaun' ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace,
Tho faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her--
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.
Swith! in some beggar's hauffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle;
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle;
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rils, snug an tight,
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it--
The vera tapmost, tow'rin height
O' Miss's bonnet.
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an grey as onie grozet:
O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
I wad na been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
But Miss's fine Lunardi! fye!
How daur ye do't?
O Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin!
Thae winks an finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!
O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion:
What airs in dress an gait wad lea'es us,
An ev'n devotion!
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Nya’s the one who brought it. And the people love her for it.
With Baseer in shambles and Geveg now an impenetrable military stronghold, Nya and the Underground have fled to a safer location—without Tali. Nya is guilt-ridden over leaving her sister behind and vows to find her, but with the rebellion in full swing and refugees flooding the Three Territories, she fears she never will.
The Duke, desperate to reclaim the throne as his own, has rallied his powerful army. And they are on the move, destroying anyone who gets in the way.
To save her sister, her family, and her people, Nya needs to stay ahead of the Duke’s army and find a way to build one of her own. Past hurts must be healed, past wrongs must be righted, and Nya must decide: Is she merely a pawn in the rebellion, a symbol of hope—or is she ready to be a hero?
To Find out What the Other Bookanistas are Reading, Click the Links below!
- Elana Johnson offers a preview of upcoming awesome!
- LiLa Roecker dances for Audition
- Christine Fonseca is wowed by Witch Eyes
- Beth Revis features a guest post by Darkfall author Janice Hardy
- Carolina Valdez Miller steps up to Audition – with giveaway
- Shana Silver contemplates The Future of Us
- Carrie Harris is dazzled by Don’t Stop Now
- Corrine Jackson celebrates the success of Epic Fail
- Shelli Johannes-Wells is psyched for some swell book launches!