Monday, January 31, 2011

Winner Announced

Remember last Monday, I hosted a contest?
And the prize was an almost-100-year-old book of Grimm's fairy tales?
Well, I have a winner to announce.

Using randomnumbergenerator,
Dawn Hullender
has been selected as the new owner of an ancient book!
Congrats Dawn!

Thanks so much, guys, for being awesome.
I sincerely wish I had an antique book for each of you.

And, just because so many of you asked about the book's origins, let me just say--I've only owned it for a few years, and the person who parted with it, parted with it for very little.

Friday, January 28, 2011

From Bookanista to Bestseller

We have an awesome reason to celebrate. Beth Revis, fellow Bookanista (you know--Bookanistas--the group of writers I review books with) and author of Across the Universe, made it to the New York Times bestselling list! So, to show our love and congrats, some of the Bookanistas whipped up a little video. Check it out, but be warned. Do not eat or drink while watching or you will run the risk of choking to death--that's how hard you'll be laughing.


And if you haven't heard about my contest, there are a few hours left to enter. The prize? A 100-year-old, 275 page book of Grimm's fairy tales. Here's the link (or you can scroll down a bit and find the post. Either way... you know).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Antique Grimm's Fairy Tales Giveaway (Because I Love You)

Dear blog followers,

Because I love and adore you, and you fill my dreary winter days with comments that warm my heart, I have a little giveaway planned for this week (and seriously, it has been a long, long, long time since we've given anything away on here!).

The prize?

A 1913
Rand McNally version of
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Illustrated by Hope Dunlap.
(Pictured above, with my lovely hand)

(Yeah, yeah, yeah. My Mac takes pictures of everything backwards, like you're looking at things in a mirror--hence the backward book.)

I hope you just screamed. Or got butterflies. Or started drooling. Because can I just say... 1913 is nearly one-freaking-hundred years old!

Best news of all, this is a totally easy contest to enter. If you're a follower and add a comment, you get a point. If you blog about the contest on your blog, or tweet it on Twitter, you get five more points (just make sure to tell me in the comments! I'll thank you in your blog/Twitter comments so you know I saw it.) Contest ends Friday at 5 p.m. MST.

So, thanks for all the love! Happy Monday!


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Funniest Nonfiction I Ever Read::A Book Review (Plus an Interview With the Author)

I think the title of this post sums it up pretty well. My dear friend Michelle McLean, the below pictured beauty, has written some awesome nonfiction--Homework Helpers Essays and Term Papers. I'm not kidding, guys. I read her book and was seriously ROFLOL! It's all about the do's and don't's of writing stuff like essays and term papers, but the way she writes, any teenager can pick up her book and totally understand it. Not just understand it, but ENJOY reading it. No joke. So if you have a teen, a college student, or want an awesome book, go check it out! And now, for the interview.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
It’s always been in the back of my head, even when I was little. I never really considered it a viable career option though :) But about 6 years ago, I sort of had a “why not” moment. It had always been more of a dream than an actual goal, but I had just reached the point where I was in the mood to make my dream come true. And I started working toward doing that.

Can you describe your journey to publication?
I’d queried an unsuccessful novel before (lots of requests but even more rejections), so I was prepared for a long, bumpy ride. But the journey for this book was surprisingly fast. I had to tackle the non-fiction proposal and getting a good query together, and then I picked my 15 top agents and queried. I received several requests and then I received an email from Krista Goering, my soon-to-be agent, letting me know she’d gotten my proposal and it would take about 6 weeks for her to get back to me. 45 minutes later, she emailed asking for a phone call. I knew she was the right agent for me, so I withdrew my proposals from the other agents who had it and signed with Krista (she’s been absolutely amazing!). We started subbing my proposal to publishers, a few months later I had an offer for the book from Career Press, and a year later, here we are :)

How does writing fiction differ from writing nonfiction?
I’m much more organized when it comes to NF. I always have a very detailed outline (though this is part of the non-fiction proposal, so it’s sort of a necessary step). NF tends to be a bit easier for me to write. It’s mostly a restatement of facts…taking the knowledge I already have, combining it with a ton of research, and presenting it in book form. I’m good at doing this and I’ve been doing it for a very long time so it comes pretty easily.

Fiction is much harder. It takes a lot more thought process throughout the whole project, a lot
more editing. There are more potential problems (plot holes, character problems, story arc issues) that just aren’t a part of NF. So for me at least, fiction takes a lot more work. But, it’s more fun. I enjoy writing NF, but it can feel more like “work”.

How did you come up with your Homework Helpers idea?
It started as a series of How To posts on poetry on my blog. They got a great response so I expanded into essays and other writing assignments. It just amazed me how many guidebooks
and websites out there present information in such a confusing, overly complicated and technical
manner. Why make it so hard? I kept complaining to my friends about it and they encouraged me to expand my blog posts into a book. It took a while, but I finally decided to go for it :)

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Work hard and never give up. For most writers, it’s going to be a very long, hard road, filled with lots of harsh critiques, disappointing rejections, and eons of waiting. But if this is something you truly want to do, then never give up. One of my favorite quotes is from Samuel Beckett who said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” :) You can’t succeed if you don’t try, and you’ll certainly never succeed if you give up.

Thank you Michelle! You are an inspiration. If you want to know more about Michelle, check out:

Annnnnnd... Check out the other Bookanistas' reviews. And remember, the Bookanistas are fellow writers (congrats to Bookanista Beth Revis, New York Times Bestselling author of Across the Universe) who only review books that they adore. So click on the links below to see what writers read.

And have a freaking awesome Thursday!

Scott Tracey acclaims DIVERGENT
Shana Silver cheers for HERE LIES BRIDGET
Megan Miranda gives some love to ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
Carolina Valdez Miller salutes XVI with Signed Book Giveaway
Shannon Messenger commends THE LIAR SOCIETY with an ARC Giveaway
Lisa and Laura Roecker happy dance for Beth Revis
Myra McEntire gives some cover love for THE LIAR SOCIETY
Jessi Kirby admires MATCHED
Elana Johnson recommends Michelle McLean's HOMEWORK HELPERS: TERM PAPERS AND ESSAYS with Giveaway
Shelli Johannes-Wells gives a shoutout to IN LOVE WITH HARLEQUIN
Jen Hayley lauds DELIRIUM
Carrie Harris celebrates THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE
Christine Fonseca applauds Michelle McLean's HOMEWORK HELPERS: TERM PAPERS AND ESSAYS with Signed Book Giveaway
Katie Anderson raves about THE LIAR SOCIETY

Monday, January 17, 2011

An Infant In the Twitterverse

Call me crazy (like I have time for a new computer obsession), but I made the Twitter plunge!

Want me to follow you? Post your info in the comments.

Want to follow me? @WiggB.

Any tips on how to survive? Post that in the comments, too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

To Twit or Not to Twit?

So, I've been blogging for more than a year now. And it rocks! Facebook's a pretty fun place to waste some time, too.

But TWITTER? Never tried it.

What do you guys think?

Is it worthwhile?

Or a waste of time?

Let me know! Maybe I'll give it a go.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Bookanistas Book Review::Three Quarters Dead

Socially invisible sophomore Kerry is grateful when she is chosen to hang with the most legendary trio in school: Natalie, Makenzie, and leader Tanya. Dazzled by their beauty, perfection, and the cool efficiency with which they control their peers’ social lives, Kerry allows the girls to manipulate her until she is completely under their spell. Not even death can stop them, as Kerry learns after the trio dies in a car crash but returns from the grave for one last party. Their reanimation doesn’t throw Kerry, who convinces herself that their deaths were a dream, but she confronts the truth when it becomes clear that their time is limited and that Tanya doesn’t intend to return to death peacefully.

Three Quarters Dead was different than what I normally read, but the way Peck wove suspense into the plot--very subtly--made it hard to put down. Peck is a master of suspense, and it is obvious in reading this book.

What's more, Richard Peck is a very well known writer, an older gentleman (see above photograph--I couldn't find a picture of the book cover!), but he totally got the modern teenage girl voice down!

What I liked about this book: I didn't know Three Quarters Dead was a thriller until I had these unexpected chills racing down my spine. Reading it was like dozing in the sun on a beautiful spring day, only to wake up to dark, totally unexpected thunder clouds brewing overhead.

The Main Character: Kerry could have been me in high school. At lunch, since she has no one to sit with, she pretends to talk on her cell phone the entire time. She's painfully shy, desperate to fit in, and shocked when the popular girls want her to be part of their group.

So, if you're looking for a good read, check it out!

For more reviews, check out these other Bookanistas! And BTW, fellow bookanista and writer, Beth Revis, just released her much anticipated YA novel, Across the Universe. Congrats Beth!

Michelle Hodkin, Carolina Valdez Miller and Shana Silver travel Across the Universe
Elana Johnson and LiLa Roecker celebrate Across the Universe with giveaways

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Am a Comma Idiot

Or, in other words, things I learned from my copyeditor.

Seriously, guys, to be a copyeditor, you probably have to have a masters degree in Where to Correctly Place A Comma.

So, I got to read over my copyedited manuscript (Shifting--September 2011/Walker Books) over the weekend (SQUEE!). And here's what I learned.

Always capitalize the T in T-shirt. (And my characters wear a LOT of T-shirts!)

What the freak are hyphens for? Because I know they can join a word divided by a line and all, but they join a whole heck of a lot more than that.

Commas are a complete MYSTERY! I thought I knew where to put them. Thought I was pretty suave at commas! N. O. T. Now I am more confused than ever (hangs head).

Muttered and mumbled are definitely NOT the same thing. Oops! My bad!

And, what I learned more than anything?


What is your punctuation faux pas?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Doting on Paranormalcy::A Bookanista Review

Sixteen-year-old Evie learns that she is not quite the person she thought she was. Possessing the unique ability to recognize paranormals beneath their glamour, Evie has lived most of her life under the protection of the International Paranormal Containment Agreement (IPCA), an organization dedicated to the cataloging and neutralizing of paranormal creatures. After a mysterious entity begins killing paranormals around the world, Evie discovers some startling truths about her own identity.

This book was great! It had all the right elements in all the right amounts.

Humor? CHECK
Romance? CHECK
Awesome Cover? CHECK
Originality? CHECK
Mystery? CHECK

And it is totally acceptable for kids twelve and up: no explicit sex (why would anyone put explicit sex in a book meant for twelve-year-olds anyway???), nothing overly gruesome, a lot of "bleeping" (seriously, bleeping. And it is hilarious) ... You know what I mean?

What I liked about this book: The humor. I was laughing. A lot! Especially when the main character asks a vampire if there are any vampires at the local high school. The vampire laughs her head off and says something like, "Why in the world would a vampire go to high school?"

What I liked about the main character: Her name is Evie and she's upbeat all the time. And hilarious. And she's cute but doesn't really know it. But there's something more to her, something even she doesn't know...

The other thing I liked: The male MC is something totally unique (I won't spoil your reading fun by giving it away)! And he's hot.

So if you need a good read, check it out!

For more amazing Bookanista reviews by some of my fellow writers, check out:

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New Dare

So I totally dare you.

I've posted about this before, but you know when you're watching reality TV and someone on Project Runway sends down a totally bland, totally boring outfit (Unlike the outfit on the left!)? Or on American Idol, someone sings a song exactly the same way the original performer sang it? The judges always have the same answer.

Too Safe!

And does safe ever win? Nope.

So this year my dare to you is:

Make a resolution to write a bold, brilliant ANYTHING. It can be a short story. A novel. A poem. Write something that's so audacious, when you tell people the premise they look at you like you just might be a little bit crazy (you probably already know that look, don't you. I sure do!). I dare you.

What is your writing resolution?