Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cover Love

There are a few covers I've recently uncovered that I just had to share. Tell me what you think and whether you've had any cover love lately.

1. Miles From Ordinary by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Lacey hopes that this summer day will be a new start. She has gotten her mother a job at Winn-Dixie because they desperately need the money, and Lacey will be following in her aunt Linda's footsteps by working at the public library. Lacey craves an opportunity to be normal, to flirt with her neighbor Aaron and not have to watch over Momma, who seems so much better these days. But the day quickly spins out of control when Momma disappears. Seeing things afresh through Aaron's eyes as they search for her together, Lacey comes to realize that it's impossible for her to help her mother on her own. This gripping story by the author of The Chosen One (2009) is as suspenseful as it is painful. Lacey's love for her mother, mixed with resentment and frustration over Momma's mental illness, is thoroughly believable (if a little sophisticated). Provocatively dark and at times downright scary, this novel will have readers rushing to the unforeseen, achingly authentic conclusion.

2. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.

3. Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday (expected publication Oct. 2011)

DEADLY COOL, in which a sixteen-year-old finds out that her boyfriend was cheating on her with the president of the chastity club; when she goes to confront the cheaters, she finds the girl dead instead and now must solve the murder.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I have REALLY written out of order in my current WIP. Sure there were a couple, maybe even a few scenes or chapters I had written out of order in other work but I'm at a whole new level now.

I don't know what's spurred it. Maybe it's because I've had less time to write lately, both in days and duration of time in a given day. I tried to force-write a scene the other day and I couldn't do it. It was the next chronological chapter, I know what's supposed to happen because I have an outline of the story's structure, but I just wasn't feeling it.

On the drive home earlier that day, however, I had heard "Never Say Never" by The Fray and something about it struck a chord with how my character is feeling at a particular moment in his journey and so I gave myself permission to jump ahead to that scene, and it was great! The words poured out of me.

Maybe it's the music, maybe it's how I'm feeling on a certain day, or what's on my mind at a particular moment but sometimes I can tap into my character in different ways.

I know I should try to be more mindful to write in order and I know that by not writing in order I'm causing a lot more editing for myself but I think giving yourself permission to jump around on occasion isn't necessarily a bad thing. For me, it helps me write in the zone, to transport myself into that moment rather than just observe it.

What's your confession? Do you ever break any writing rules on purpose?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Morning Moment of Zen

One of my favorite movies is 500 Days of Summer. I love, love, love it. The flash forwards and flashbacks create a unique narrative that's perfectly executed because as viewers we aren't in the least confused. It's a very literary narrative arch. It's also an honest portrayal of the roller coaster of emotions attached to falling in love with both the shiny newness of romance as well as its eventual unraveling. As viewers we get to see two interpretations of particular scenes: those when the main character is still incredibly infatuated with his paramour and those when he's recognizing the relationship's flaws (in hindsight, of course).

One of the scenes I love the most is the dance sequence, aka the morning after the main character finally has his first real connection with his crush. It's hilarious and accurate too. I'm sure we've all had days too, no matter how far apart, where we've felt a little something like this:

So if you're sad it's Monday and you're back to the work day grind, hopefully this will cheer you up, at least for a couple of minutes.

What are some of your favorite "pick-me-up" movie scenes?

Friday, March 18, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered the Before I Fall giveaway.

Keep an eye out as I'll be doing an 100 follower contest hopefully very soon with lots of great reads and lots of winners.

For this contest, however, there could only be one winner and that person is *drum roll* Laura Howard! Congratulations.

Be sure to email me your mailing address so I can send it out. I loved this book as evident from my review. I'd love to hear what you think once you're done.

Thanks again for everyone who entered and welcome new followers!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Agree to Disagree

I've read on more posts than I can count that you should not include close friends and family members as readers of your manuscript. Well...

I disagree. When you're getting ready to show your manuscript to someone for the first time, I think these are exactly the people that should read it. Why? Because as writers we're feeling anxious, self conscious, and excited but more than anything we're feeling insecure.

Friends and family are the readers most likely to over-compliment. They'll bloat your ego when you're feeling most vulnerable. They'll help raise you up before your beta readers come in for the execution, er, edit.

Friends and family are, in my opinion, the "alpha readers" (ie. the first readers) and are helpful in letting you know if you're onto a good idea. But...good ideas don't equate to good writing let along great, publish-worthy writing or a tight storyline. All of these things, of course, need to play together for a novel's success. And it's your fellow beta readers who help identify how close--or far away--you are to these things.


Feeling confident that you're idea, you're foundation is at least striking a chord, resonating in some way, is helpful and a niche I think the alpha reader can help fulfill. Hopefully the "I don't get what's going on here" kind of comments more apt to come from these alpha readers will help you further tighten your plot line prior to a beta read.

So go on, I say. Let your biggest cheerleaders take a look. They'll give you the confidence you need to turn your manuscript--your baby--over to someone who might tear it apart.

And as you built it back together, your alpha readers will be there along the way to yank that wine glass out of your hand and supplant it with a laptop.

This doesn't mean a great writing network and support system of fellow authors or aspiring authors isn't necessary (They are!); it's simply to say that there are a lot of roles people can play in helping get your manuscript into submission ready shape so take advantage of them but be realistic too!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I Can't Say it Any Better

If you're not familiar with Harvey Klinger literary agent Sara Crowe and her blog on the writing industry then let this be an introduction because it's great--and very valuable.

You all know the adage about not reinventing the wheel and while I was thinking about an answer to the question all writers get at one time or another, "Where do your ideas come from?" All I could think of was, everywhere!

That's probably why I have a million little Post-It notes and text messages to myself because ideas spring up all the time. Sometimes I'm courting them and sometimes they just appear out of nowhere and take me by surprise and, as I love in Sara's post, or rather, Brian's post on Sara's blog, "Sometimes you see a hint of one and you have to chase it down."

But instead of me telling you about where ideas come from for writers, let me direct you to this fabulous post because not only do I think it summarizes the answer to the infamous "idea/inspiration" question but I swear I couldn't have said it any better.

Here's the link. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cover Love

I saw this book and my first thought was, "I've been there." I'm not proud of it. I don't advise it. But I do know how she's feeling. It's that morning after, face down in a pillow, world is spinning and it simply won't stop hangover.

I unfortunately have a small Rolodex of those mornings to choose from during my college years and the capstone, of course, the morning after my bachelorette party. (Kids don't drink! This is not a happy place!)

What I love about the cover for Spin by Catherine McKenzie is that one glimpse of it and you have at the very least a window into the story and know a little something about its protagonist. Plus I just love the beautiful contrast of white sheets, mint green dress, and jet black hair. It's gorgeous...and it makes me never want to drink again!

Here's a little what it's about. It sounds like classic chick lit meets Bridget Jones and it's definitely going on my TBR list as a very good contender for one of my vacation reads.

Katie Sandford has just gotten an interview at her favorite music magazine, The Line. It's the chance of a lifetime. So what does she do? Goes out to celebrate -- and shows up still drunk at the interview. No surprise, she doesn't get the job, but the folks at The Line think she might be perfect for another assignment for their sister gossip rag. All Katie has to do is follow It Girl Amber Sheppard into rehab. If she can get the inside scoop (and complete the 30-day program without getting kicked out), they'll reconsider her for the job at The Line.

Katie takes the job. But things get complicated when real friendships develop, a cute celebrity handler named Henry gets involved, and Katie begins to realize she may be in rehab for a reason. Katie has to make a decision -- is publishing the article worth everything she has to lose?

Have you seen any good covers lately? And more importantly, am I the only one who sees this picture and feels Katie's pain?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Title Love

I recently came across a couple of these books and laughed out loud at the titles and had to turn them around and see what the stories were about.

The last title love book is one I'm in the process of devouring now for my book club (review forthcoming) and just adore. The name aptly depicts the story and works magically with the drawn cover art.


1. My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

Welcome to the summer of passion. For seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels, that means three sun-and-fun filled months of spending time with her best friends, obsessing over her crush, trying to find something she is passionate about, and…saving for a nose job. Jory is determined to lose the big, honking, bumpy monstrosity she calls the Super Schnozz—the one thing standing between her and happiness.

So accident-prone Jory takes a job delivering wedding cakes to save up for surgery; she even keeps a book filled with magazine cutouts of perfect noses to show the doctor. To find her passion, she tries yoga; she tries becoming a foreign film buff; but nothing is quite as interesting as finding a boyfriend. And that can’t happen until Super Schnozz disappears…right?

2. Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It's supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold's head. They've been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it's an alphabetical order thing), but she's never really known him.

The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father's newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it's working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He's cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.

3. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Colum McCann has worked some exquisite magic with Let the Great World Spin, conjuring a novel of electromagnetic force that defies gravity. It's August of 1974, a summer "hot and serious and full of death and betrayal," and Watergate and the Vietnam War make the world feel precarious. A stunned hush pauses the cacophonous universe of New York City as a man on a cable walks (repeatedly) between World Trade Center towers. This extraordinary, real-life feat by French funambulist Philippe Petit becomes the touchstone for stories that briefly submerge you in ten varied and intense lives--a street priest, heroin-addicted hookers, mothers mourning sons lost in war, young artists, a Park Avenue judge. All their lives are ordinary and unforgettable, overlapping at the edges, occasionally converging. And when they coalesce in the final pages, the moment hums with such grace that its memory might tighten your throat weeks later. You might find yourself paused, considering the universe of lives one city contains in any slice of time, each of us a singular world, sometimes passing close enough to touch or collide, to birth a new generation or kill it, sending out ripples, leaving residue, an imprint, marking each other, our city, the very air--compassionately or callously, unable to see all the damage we do or heal. And most of us stumbling, just trying not to trip, or step in something awful.

Great reviews on this one here.

What great titles have you seen lately or can recommend?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

WTF Wednesday

I saw a book on Amazon and my thoughts were (in order)

1. WTF, seriously?
2. Wait, is this a parody or is this actually for real?
3. How did this come up when I was searching feminist texts?

The book that inspired today's WTF Wednesday installment? The Ethical Slut

Have you had any WTF moments lately?