Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bookanistas: Monster High

My dear friend Elana once told me something very profound. Good writing always makes a good book. That sums up Monster High beautifully. I read the back of the book and wasn't sure if I'd like the story. It isn't my usual cup of tea. But the instant I read the first paragraph, I was hooked.

Monster High by Lisi Harrison
release date: September 2010

The monster community has kept a low profile at the local high school, but when two new girls enroll, the town will never be the same. Created just fifteen days ago, Frankie Stein is psyched to trade her father's formaldehyde-smelling basement lab for parties and prom.

But with a student body totally freaked out by rumors of monsters stalking the halls, Frankie learns that high school can be rough for a chic freak like her. She thinks she finds a friend in fellow new student Melody Carver-but can a "normie" be trusted with her big secret?

What I liked about this book: The characters. They were hilarious! Lisi Harrison made each one so individual, I felt like I knew them.

What I liked about the characters: Specifically, the mean big sister, Candace. She's so superficial, she's named her breasts after her two favorite designers, Chloe and Coco. And she always has the most hilarious comebacks.

The best part of this book: The writing and the humor. Lisi is a word ninja. Seriously. She's awesome. Also, there are Monster High DOLLS for sale. No joke. So you gotta check this book out, come September!

For more fabulous Bookanista reviews, check out these blogs:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I Write ::Reason #33:: by Bethany Wiggins

Because when I write a novel, it feels as if I am living in the space and time encompassed in the words put down on paper. The story is in my blood, my cuticles, my hair follicles, the words splayed on my skin. I am living in another world, consumed by my characters' emotions--sometimes to distraction.

On the other hand... reason #18 why I don't like being a writer::

Because when I write a novel, it feels as if I am living in the space and time encompassed in the words put down on paper. The story is in my blood, my cuticles, my hair follicles, the words splayed on my skin. I am living in another world, consumed by my characters' emotions--sometimes to distraction.

LOL. Why do you write?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tell Me a Secret Contest @ Christine's

Dudes, a contest. Closes in a couple of hours so hurry! Follow the link and have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bookanista Review: The Body Finder

The black is back, guys, as I write my second post for the Bookanistas, a fabulous group of some of the most awesome fellow bloggers/writers in the universe. (See below for the links.)

My Bookinista book review for today is... (insert Walt Griswold drumroll) ...

The Body Finder

by: Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose can feel the echoes dead people leave behind in the world, but when a serial killer starts terrorizing her town, Violet is haunted by the deaths he leaves behind. With help from her best friend/secret crush, Jay, she decides to find the killer and put a stop to his violence.

What I liked about this book: The relationship between Violet and her childhood best friend. They've been friends for, like, forever, and yet she falls in love with him. It is sweet and beautiful and innocent, the perfect high school romance.

What I liked about the characters: Violet and her dad have an awesome relationship, something lacking in many YA books. And then there's Jay. He made me melt... a modern-day knight in shining armor who risks his own life to protect Violet.

The best part of this book: It is freaky, the kind of book that makes you leave the lamp on when you go to sleep. And there's a twist. A big one. And it has to do with the bad guy.

Over all, a terrific debut novel, one you goatta put on your to-read-list!

For more Bookanista awesomeness, check out these blogs:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crap and Burning Keys

You know when some people experience crap, they go straight to the cookie jar? Well, I experienced some crap today.

Nothing serious, mind you... no one died, my husband is still employed, kids are all healthy. But it was crap none the less, the kind that makes you sick to your stomach, where you stare off into space and dwell on, well, the crap.

Here's the whole reason for this post. Did my crap make me run to the cookie jar? Despite the fact that it was empty, no. I didn't devour ice cream sandwiches, either, or binge on gummy bears. I found a different (thankfully fat free) outlet.


It was like one of those psychological breakthroughs you hear about. I...

sat down...

opened a manuscript...

and put words down on paper.

It was like eating something that made me sick, really sick, and then vomiting it all back up. I felt BETTER! And seriously, there was no vomit involved.

What compels you to run to the computer and type so fast your fingers run the risk of lighting the keys on fire?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Makes You Happy?

I've been thinking about this one a lot lately. What truly makes you happy?

For me, it's the simple things. Writing and reading, of course. But what about those other activities that fill the well when it runs dry?

For me, it's:

  • Swimming
  • Riding really fast on a bike
  • Really old houses (at least 100 years)
  • Sunsets
  • Earthy smells (like pine needles and such.)
What do you do when your well runs dry?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black! Nightshade City

Today is launch day for a new team of book review bloggers - The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black!

We are a group of writers in various stages of the publishing process, and we've decided to band together and review books. We--as fellow writers--will only post positive reviews, because The Bookanistas are all about spreading the love!

Starting today, we will post every Thursday covering various topics: upcoming ARCs, books we love, little known diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews. The awesome badge (at left) reps our faboo group. (Thanks, Shelli!)

So join us, along with
Christina Fonseca, Elana Johnson, Jamie Harrington, Michelle Hodkin, Kirsten Hubbard, Shelli Johannes-Wells, Myra McEntire, Shannon Messenger, Beth Revis, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Sarah Frances Hardy and Katie Anderson, Scott Tracey, and Carolina Miller, as we look at books in a whole new way -- as the best accessory!

I had the opportunity to delve into the advanced reader's copy of Hilary Wagner's Nightshade City, coming out October 1, 2010.

What I loved about this book:

First off, it is a book about rats. And Hilary Wagner weaves so much depth and humanity into each and every one of them, they felt like dear friends by the time I turned the last page.

The writing is flawless, told in a third person voice that stays true to the feel of the book throughout. No extra words, the perfect amount of description.

Lastly, the way Hilary incorporates past events into the plot gives the Nightshade world such a dose of reality, I felt like I was there.

This book is superb.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Agent-judged Contest for Adult Fiction

In case you haven't heard...


Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management has graciously agreed to judge an adult fiction contest on the Query Tracker blog. (For completed manuscripts only!)

What to enter: A Twitter-style pitch (140 characters or less, including spaces.)

Entries WILL NOT be capped. (Yay!)

Entry period will be 24 hours: From noon Tuesday, July 6 - noon Wednesday, July 7.

These are the genres Ms. Townsend will be judging:

  • Adult Science Fiction
  • Adult Fantasy
  • Adult Urban Fantasy
  • All subgenres of Adult Romance
  • Adult Thriller

To enter this contest:

1. You must have a free QueryTracker membership
2. You must be a follower of the QueryTracker blog
3. Your submission will be accepted onthe submission form (won't be available until the contest opens)
4. DO NOT EMAIL YOUR SUBMISSION DIRECTLY TO THE AGENT. You will be disqualified if you do.

Helpful links on pitching:

At Elana Johnson's blog
From literary agent Laura Rennert, on building your pitch.
Literary agent Rachelle Gardner reveals secrets of a great pitch.
Literary agent Chris Richman has a word about pitches and what makes them work.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Healing Spell by Kimberly Griffiths Little

Today Suzette and I are thrilled to post an interview with a dear friend and fellow writer. Kimberly Griffiths Little's book The Healing Spell was just released. I had the pleasure of reading this book and must say Kimberly has a magical way with words. She is a prose ninja... reading her book was like reading a piece of art. Seriously.

Here's a bit more about the book and author.

1) How long have you been writing?

I started writing very bad stories when I was about nine or ten years old. I was such an obsessive reading maniac and it didn’t take long before I knew I wanted to create that same kind of magic that books were to me.

As an adult, I took two courses—a short story course and a book writing course—through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut and my first sold short story was Assignment #6, a fictionalized account of a very strange episode that happened to Mozart before he died. I sold a couple dozen magazine stories, but I really wanted to publish novels for kids because they were such an enormous influence on my life.

2) What is the hardest aspect of being a writer?

Slow learner warning!

1. Revising and getting the words right is MAJOR brain work. Harder than studying for a Biology Final. I revise dozens of times and often for years.

2. Rejections are pretty tough, too, especially when you’ve worked so hard or when you know you’re getting closer to that publication level and yet there might be years of work still ahead of you as you perfect your story structure skills and prose on a sentence by sentence level.

3. Staying motivated. See #2!

3) What inspired THE HEALING SPELL?

Four words: A Family Road Trip. About twelve years ago, my family and I drove the corridor of Highway 10 through the southern states, stopping in Louisiana and New Orleans for several days to explore. We met with a Cajun tour guide whose enthusiasm and knowledge and fascinating stories immediately captivated me. We also took a boat into the bayous and swamps with another guide who showed us where he lived along the banks and hunted and fished and even took us to his crawfish traps. He even fed chicken to the alligators that swam up to our boat to say hello. Well, maybe they were just hungry!

4) Are any of the characters like you? Like anyone else?

Livie Mouton, my main character, is probably similar to me when I was eleven-years-old and full of angst over everything that happened in my life. Actually, I’m STILL like that! Just like Livie in The Healing Spell, we all have our guilt and secrets and have to figure out how to fix the things we’ve done wrong - and seek forgiveness and redemption.

5) Your book takes place in the Louisiana bayou country, yet you're from the south-west. How did you manage to capture the Cajun magic?

I was born and raised in San Francisco and the Bay Area so I’m actually a California girl. I’ve lived in Utah and Oklahoma as well, and have now been in a small town along the banks of the Rio Grande for twenty years. Amazingly enough, the Rio Grande is similar in some ways to the Louisiana bayous, for example, the brown, muddy water, crawfish in the irrigation ditches, the towering cottonwood trees which remind me of the bayou cypress groves.

Four more words: I fell in love with Louisiana. Hard. I couldn’t stop thinking about my experiences in Louisiana and the magic I felt there and the people of the bayous. I started reading dozens of books—everything I could get my hands on—gobbling it all up.

I returned again and again, staying in a cabin on the bayou, eating crawfish and dirty rice—yes, an actual dish!—dancing to live Cajun bands, visiting all the museums, watching documentaries. Last year I did a two week road trip with a friend from the South and we met with seven different traiteurs in their homes to hear about their experiences and practices as a traiteur (a Cajun religious folk healer tradition that goes back three hundred years).

Unusual settings have always been a springboard for my work.

6) You talk a lot about Cajun food. Have you tasted everything you wrote about?

Yep! I’ve eaten in people’s homes as well as small, local restaurants and I have my own Cajun Cookbook that I bought in New Iberia at Books on the Teche. Boiled shrimps and cold potatoes, crawfish etoufee, fried catfish, gumbo, dirty rice, pralines, beignets – it’s all really yummy!

7) What can you share about any future projects?

I’m working on a companion book to The Healing Spell, which is already under contract with Scholastic and will be published late 2011 or 2012 – if I can get it written this summer! Miz Mirage Allemond, the traiteur that Livie meets in the story, is such an intriguing character and only gets one real chapter. I wanted to know more about her so the new novel is from the viewpoint of Miz Mirage’s eleven-year-old daughter, Shelby Jayne. Plus it has a ghost! And secrets!

I also write YA and I’ve got a contract with Scholastic for my first YA Fall 2011 (I hope!) called SECRET RITES OF THE GODDESS. It’s about the roots of belly dance in the Middle East and the sexual rites of the goddess temples of Ashtoreth in 1700 BC. Delicious, sexy, romantic, and dangerous. There are tribal raids and camels and evil sheiks and handsome strangers in the deserts of Arabia.

Thank you so much for having me, Bethany and Suzette! This has been a blast!

There’s a HUGE party happening at Kimberley’s blog, too. If you want a chance to win her Awesome Prize Package, go here to visit, eat a beignet, and leave a comment!

Don’t forget to check out The Healing Spell on Amazon or your favorite bookstore.

Enjoy Kimberley’s new Southern-styled website and don’t forget to download the Teacher’s Guide and the brand new Mother/Daughter Book Club Guide, with discussion questions, activities for moms and girls and a fun Louisiana dessert!