Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 200 Follower Contest Winners!

Thanks to Google Docs and The Contest Winner Picker Here are the winners!

2nd PRIZE - Winner gets choice of one book!
Natalie at Mindful Musings

1st PRIZE - Winner gets a choice of two books is:
Jenn-ay at My Tea Time is Book Time

Congrats to the winners! I have emailed you both. If I don't hear back from you within the next 2 days I will choose another winner. I'll be doing another contest in February so be sure to check back.

And don't forget the contest my crit group is having at our blog Sisters In Scribe. You can win a signed hard cover copy of the Vampire Academy book Blood Promise by Richelle Mead. Go here to enter!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Massive TBR Pile

I'm one of those people who dives head first into something once she decides she wants to do it. So last year, when I decided I wanted to write YA, I went a little crazy with the idea that I needed to read as much YA as possible (and okay, I WANTED to read as much YA as possible). Hence my massive TBR pile.

I finally got around to semi-organizing my bookshelf (read: actually putting the books on the shelves the right way) and now I'm faced with this:

Isn't it beautiful?

I've counted somewhere around 137 books on those shelves that are just waiting to be read. (And that's fiction only, not research books.) My goal was to read at least 100 books this year (at 2 per week, I'm on track, go me!) but after seeing how many books I have, and how many books coming out this year that I want to get, I'm thinking I need to up that number.

Here's a closer look at what's in my pile. I actually get sort of giddy just looking at it!
Isn't it beautiful?

Any suggestions on must reads that I should move to the top?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


This is my weekly post for my crit group's blog Sisters In Scribe.

I don't know if you're familiar with them, but I subscribe to Notes From The Universe. Monday through Friday, The Universe (as in the one we live in) sends me messages of encouragement and hope. They're tailored to my own personal life goals, but since one of those is to be published, I thought I'd share a couple recent ones today.

The trick is learning to maintain an unwavering focus upon your desired end result, your completed dream, the "finish line," without insisting upon, or even contemplating, its means of attainment, no matter how logical, obvious, or tempting it may seem.

I love this. It's so true. As so many have pointed out before me (most recently, Kiersten White had a great post on this) there is no magic formula for the next bestseller. Don't waste your time wondering if you've got the "right" story for the market, or trying to figure out the "next big trend". Just write your book the way you see it. Write the story you want to read. If you let the joy of the process come through in your writing, and you write what you love, others will pick up on that energy and love it too.

I've found that "The Secret" really works. Visualize yourself where you want to be in your career. Don't worry if you can't figure out the details, logic, or any possible way that you'll get there. Just write your book as though it's already sold. Already getting rave reviews.

It's so much more fun to be writing the best book ever(!) than it is to write a worthless piece of crap that will never sell.

People who do all they can, with what they've got, from where they are, no matter how puny their actions, how tiny their steps, or how futile it may seem, simply have more fun. Way.

Of course, to the uninitiated it doesn't appear that way. To them it appears as if only those taking gigantic leaps, who drive cars with fancy wheels, have loads of friends, perfect bodies, and fly around the world in First Class Sleeper Seats, are having fun. But what they don't realize is that we're often talking about the very same folks, just at different points in their journey.

Like Kristi said last week, it's all about baby steps! As long as you're moving forward you're going somewhere. I like this because it reminds me that everyone successful started out clueless and uncertain, but they're successful because they kept going even when it was scary, or difficult, or they were exhausted or discouraged.

A "no" is not the end, it's just another step along your journey to success.

What are some of your favorite inspirational or encouraging messages? What keeps you going?

Waiting on Wednesday - 10

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking The Spine. This week's choice is:

The Line by Teri Hall - release date March 4, 2010

An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

The Line is Teri Hall's debut novel. I love a good dsytopian, and this one is on my Debut Authors Challenge List. I'm really looking forward to this one!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Win a Ton of ARCs - Awesome Contest!

Steph Su Reads is celebrating her blogoversary (and reaching over 700 followers!) with an amazing contest! Three winners (and possibly more if she gets more followers) get to pick from these awesome ARCs:

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink
Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien
Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (signed)
The Snowball Effect by Holly Hoxter

Plus they get to pick out some new releases of their choice! Contest ends 2/28. Check out her blog for all the details.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Award Season!

Wow! Over the weekend I won 3 blog awards!

Ianian at Bookworm On A White Cloud gave me the Over The Top Award!

Rules: Answer the following questions with Single Word answers then pass this along to 5 other bloggers. Make sure you let them know about it though.

Your Cell Phone? Blackberry
Your Hair? Long
Your Mother? Awesome
Your Father? Dead
Your Favourite Food? Yummy
Your Dream Last Night? Forgotten
Your Favourite Drink? Coffee
Your Dream/Goal? Soon
What Room Are You In? Kitchen
Your Hobby? Reading
Your Fear? Failure
Where Do You See Yourself In Six Years? Happy
Where Were You Last Night? Home
Something That You Aren't? Cruel
Muffins? okay
Wish List Item? Books!
Where Did You Grow Up? Haven't
Last Thing You Did? Blog
What Are You Wearing? Sweats
Your TV? Off
Your Pets? Loud
Friends? Awesome
Your Life? In-Progress
Your Mood? Eh
Missing Someone? Nope
Vehicle? Cute
Something You Aren't Wearing? Shoes
Your Favourite Store? Bookstore
Your Favourite Colour? Green
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Yesterday
Last Time You Cried? Haiti
Your Best Friend? Awesome
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Bed
Facebook? Unupdated
Favourite Place To Eat? Restaurant

5 Blogs I'm Giving The Over The Top Award To:
Rhiannon at Rhiannon Hart
Amber at Amber Lough
Jen at unedited
Kelly at Just Write
Nisa at Wordplay Swordplay

Courtney at Work In Progress gave me the Happy Award!

Rules:State 10 things that make me happy. Pass the award along.

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

  • Reading a good book.
  • Writing.
  • Filming a project.
  • Thunderstorms
  • My pets.
  • Going out for breakfast.
  • When someone likes something I wrote.
  • Sunshine.
  • Music.
  • Achieving a goal.

Blogs I'm giving the Happy Award to:
Patty at Yay Reads
Lacey at Skriver Fiksjon
Kristi at Funky Fruit Reviews
Sara at The Babbling Flow of a Fledgling Scribbler
Shannon at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe

Patty at Yay Reads gave me the Honest Scrap Award.
Rules: List 10 honest things about myself and then tag 10 other bloggers.

Ten Honest Things About Me

  • I'm a dork.
  • I'm messy.
  • I would rather read than do most things.
  • I drink way too much coffee.
  • I can say the alphabet backwards.
  • I'm a Gemini.
  • When I was little I wanted to be a magician.
  • I really really want to go to Amsterdam.
  • I still can't believe I actually finished writing a book.
  • I love anything to do with time travel.

Blogs I'm giving the Honest Scrap Award to:
Lacey at Skriver Fiksjon
Kristi at Funky Fruit Reviews
Carolina at Carol's Prints
Shannon at Book Dreaming
Nickles at Who, What, When, Where, Why
Frankie at Frankie Writes
Bethany at Aspirations
Elle at Elle Strauss
Maire at Monster of Books
Courtney at Work In Progress

Sunday, January 24, 2010

In My Mailbox - 10

In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

This week runs the gamut from trashy fun to deep thoughts!
I got the first six books of the Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard.
Pretty Little Liars Box Set Books 1-4
Wicked Book 5
Killer Book 6
Before I Die by Jenny Downham

What did you get?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

WIN a SIGNED copy of Blood Promise!

Sisters in Scribe - my crit group's blog - is having a contest!

We're giving away a SIGNED copy of the Vampire Academy book Blood Promise by Richelle Mead!

Check it out!

Richelle did a reading and signing at Barnes and Noble in Tribeca Monday night and Lacey was lucky enough to go.

What are you waiting for? Head on over and ENTER!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fear of Success and Self-Sabotage

This is my weekly writing post over at my crit group's blog Sisters in Scribe.

Now that I've moved from writing my first draft to revising it, I'm getting reacquainted with an old friend. You know the one. He reminds you that you really should get on organizing your Netflix queue (there's got to be something in there that would be great for research!) Insists you absolutely cannot do anything else until you remember the name of that book you liked when you were 12 (it's totally something that your MC would've loved too!) Begs you to join him in just a few hours of video games (because you know, teens play them a lot, it's good research!) Hints that the idea you had but didn't write is actually the better one (you don't want to be wasting your precious time on the wrong idea!) Tells you if you don't spend more time on Twitter and Facebook your friends will forget you and then no one will buy your book - wait, your what? Oh right, that thing you were supposed to be working on until your old friend Fear of Success stopped by to distract you with a little Self-Sabotage.

What is Fear of Success? It's that nagging fear that if you actually finish your book, you'll have to send it out and people will want to read it, and they'll expect it to be good! What if you can't live up to that? Plus, think of all the work you'll have to do if an agent likes it or an editor decides to buy it! What if you do everything right, and someone actually agrees to publish it, and then everyone reads it and discovers your secret - that you are a no-talent hack. Or worse, it's a success and now everyone expects you to write another book! And it will have to be great too!

Whoa! Getting a little ahead of yourself aren't you? That's usually where the self-sabotage comes in. We come up with another, better idea and abandon our current project. We take time off for "research" or to get some "perspective". We reward ourselves for 5 minutes of work with 2 days of relaxation. We rationalize.

When you find yourself doing these things, remind yourself that writers write. And every single successful writer has probably dealt with the same thing. Remind yourself that you deserve to have your dreams come true. The quickest way out is always through. Put your butt in that chair and write through the fear. It will look so silly from the other side.

Waiting on Wednesday - 9

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. This week's choice is:

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - Release date March 2, 2010

Description from

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Before I Fall is Lauren Oliver's debut novel. Is it on your Debut Authors Challenge list? It's on mine!I love the idea behind this! I think this has been on my wishlist since last spring. Can't wait to read it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In My Mailbox - 9

In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

I got some good stuff this week! Including two books from my Debut Authors Challenge list.

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
Waves by Sharon Dogar
The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith
Firespell by Chloe Neill

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Poetry Day! - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

So, as usual, I'm late to the party, but I just found out that Shannon is hosting Poetry Day! (Also, you can win ALL of Lisa Schroeder's YA verse books, so go check out her blog!)

Some of you may remember a while back I shared one of my totally amazing teenage poems. *cough*

I thought today I would share another, as well as one I wrote when I attended an SCBWI Conference workshop taught by the amazing Ellen Hopkins who walked us through the steps to creating a real live poem in 15 minutes, and then one of my all time favorite poems by one of my favorite poets e. e. cummings. It'll be the good, the bad and the ugly, in reverse!

The Ugly
This is a poem I wrote at 14, inexplicably, about narrowly losing out on getting NKOTB concert tickets in a radio station scavenger hunt. I remember it was sort of a joke, intentionally melodramatic, but I don't think I realized just HOW over the top it was at the time. Still, it's a true representation of the trauma I felt about hesitating when I had the chance to grab those tickets - thereby ruining my entire life!

Note the excessive use of punctuation. (!) This is quite possibly the worst poem in the history of the world. You've been warned.

My love for you is real!
Couldn't you tell?

My need for you is real!
Couldn't you feel it?

I've never found anything
more perfect than you.
My search for you was
long and hard.
I looked everywhere!
And then I saw you.

You were my beacon of hope.
A light in the hazy shades
of gray in which I live.
Pain. Grief.
If it weren't for my shyness,
my confusion you would be
I was so close, but in the
struggle someone took you
away. Never to be seen again.
And now my dreams will
never be fulfilled.

The Bad
This is the result of a series of exercises that culminated in spending about 5 minutes jotting down a poem. It's rough, but I kinda like it. (Also, Ellen liked it, which makes me squee every time I think about it!)

he lied
of all the people i
he was the last
i'd suspect

too easy
i was too easy
to trick
too willing

he sucked me in like quicksand

swallowing me whole
crushing my chest
until my stuttering heart
went still


he spit me out

no longer a girl
but ice
cracked and mangled
by his teeth

no longer solid
but in pieces

no longer stupid enough
to believe
in love

The Good
I'm actually not big on love poems, and most of my favorite things about e.e. cummings has to do with his formatting and unique world view, but this is a beautiful poem.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Also, I spent some time reading through my old high school journals while looking for poems and found this interesting line. "We went to a party at M's. It was cool but we left when that guy started chasing people around with an ax." Sadly, I don't remember this event, but I think that fact alone - that it wasn't so shocking that I'm haunted by it - says so much about my teen years and the kind of YA I write.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

In My Mailbox - 8

In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
A Circle of Blood by Alane Ferguson
A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson

Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I have officially entered Revisionland! Or is that I have officially entered Revisionland *insert creepy laughter here*?

Yesterday I decided to stop wasting time while I thought about what other scenes might be missing and what order the scenes should go in - aka procrastinating. I wrote out of order, which was very helpful because I think in scenes, but left me with quite a mess. So I stuck the scenes loosely in order and printed out all 186 pages of my first draft. I figured it was better to read what I had and see how it all fits together before writing additional stuff.

Now, I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is SO MUCH paper! And words! So many words! And somehow I'm supposed to make them all come together into a real live book? I have to say though, that looking at that huge stack of paper - like two inches, seriously - makes me feel accomplished. I wrote all those pages! It makes me feel that much closer to achieving my goal. If I can write that, surely I can shape into something worth reading right? Right?

I just need to scrape up some courage, grab my trusty hot pink pen, and curl up on the couch with my book. Because I wrote one. Like, for real. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - 8

Don't forget to check out my weekly post at my crit group's blog Sisters In Scribe! This week I talk about ways to up your productivity!

WOW is hosted by Breaking The Spine. This week's choice is:

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu - release date February 2, 2010

Everyone has secrets. Some are just bigger and dirtier than others.

For sixteen years, Lucy has kept her mother's hoarding a secret. She's had to -- nobody would understand the stacks of newspapers and mounds of garbage so high they touch the ceiling and the rotting smell that she's always worried would follow her out the house. After years of keeping people at a distance, she finally has a best friend and maybe even a boyfriend if she can play it right. As long as she can make them think she's normal.

When Lucy arrives home from a sleepover to find her mother dead under a stack of National Geographics, she starts to dial 911 in a panic, but pauses before she can connect. She barely notices the filth and trash anymore, but she knows the paramedics will. First the fire trucks, and then news cameras that will surely follow. No longer will they be remembered as the nice oncology nurse with the lovely children -- they'll turn into that garbage-hoarding freak family on Collier Avenue.

With a normal life finally within reach, Lucy has only minutes to make a critical decision. How far will she go to keep the family secrets safe?

Dirty Little Secrets is C.J. Omololu's debut YA novel. I'm dying to read it. I find that show Hoarders so fascinating and this book sounds so good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy 2010 and 200 Followers Contest!

It's 2010 and I'm stunned to have over 200 followers! I figure there's only one way to celebrate these two things, and that's by giving stuff away! I've got a ton of books stacked around my house, so I decided that this month's contest will be for readers. Next month I have something cool cooked up for writers!

Here's what you can win:

(One day I will stop taking pictures with my blackberry. That day is not today.)

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
Night Runner by Max Turner
When It Happens by Susan Colasanti
The Pace by Shelena Shorts
Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda
The Hollow by Jessica Verday


  • There will be TWO winners.
  • First place gets to choose any 2 books. Second place gets 1 book.
  • This contest is international.
  • You MUST be a follower to enter.
  • +5 if you blog about this contest.
  • +3 if you link to this contest in your sidebar.
  • +1 if you tweet about or post this contest on facebook.
  • Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on January 28, 2010.
  • I will announce the winner on January 31, 2010.

Fill out the form below to enter.
I'm going to give google forms a try for the first time ever. Wish me luck!

Contest has ended. Check back January 31st to see who won!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Awesome Contest at Shooting Stars!

The YA writing sisters Suzette and Bethany at Shooting Stars are having an awesome contest! They're giving away 5 prizes to 5 winners! Prizes include:

2 Query Critiques*
2 First Five Page Critiques*
1 Inscribed/Autographed The Dark Divine*

Be sure to check out their blog and enter here!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

In My Mailbox - 7

In My Mailbox comes from Kristi at The Story Siren.

(all links go to
Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson
The Angel of Death by Alane Ferguson
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
The Devil's Breath (Danger Zone) by David Gilman

Saturday, January 2, 2010

An Almost Kiss for No Kiss Blogfest!

It's No Kiss Blogfest today! Hosted by Frankie Diane Mills! I was so bummed I missed out on Kissing Day last week. Almost kisses are one of my favorite things to write, so even though I just found out about this today, I'm determined to participate.

Here's my almost kiss scene, from my WIP #1:
I don’t know how long I cry before my breathing finally returns to normal. When I’m calm again, he rubs my back but doesn’t let go. It’s like we both become aware of how close we’re standing at the same time. His chest pressed against mine. His hands under my jacket, in the small of my back. My heartbeat speeds up when his breathing turns shallow. I lean back just far enough to tilt my head and peer up at him.

“Thanks.” My voice is barely a whisper.

The look in his eyes stops time. All at once, every nerve in my body is straining to be closer to him.

He nods, his eyes moving to my lips. “Sure.” His voice sounds rough, deeper than usual.

I’m transfixed by his mouth - remembering the softness of his lips, the way they felt against mine. Wondering what it would feel like if the kiss was for real.

His hand tugs gently at the bottom of my shirt and he bends down, his lips hovering inches from mine. Hesitating.

My breath catches in my throat.
Oh God, please. I lean closer.

“Cody, didn’t you hear me call--”

The door to the house opens and with a gasp, we fly apart. Too late.

Cody’s mom stands in the doorway looking, if not stunned, then really, really surprised. “Oh,” she says, looking back and forth between Cody and me, a grin slowly forming.

I’m mortified, my face on fire, but Cody, as laid back as ever, just smiles. “Hey, mom.”

“Hi Caitlyn,” she says to me before shifting her eyes back to Cody. “I didn’t realize you were here.”

And that's that! Hope you enjoyed it, and I hope you ckeck out all the other writers that are participating! Happy New Year!
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