Whatever you believe in, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, whatever fortune or demons you face,
I wish you
AND A DREAM TO HOLD ONTO.
Thank you for being a part of my life.
See you next year.
Sometimes I’ll start to write a blog post I find particularly amusing—an anecdote, a dialogue, my thoughts, etc., and then I don’t publish it. I’ll even do something similar when I go to leave comments on your blogs—I get about fifteen sentences into my comment when I decide to scrap what I’ve just written and leave something a little smaller and less...lively. There’s a number of reasons for this. But more often than not, it’s because my comments/posts were too passionate. I figure if I’m that passionate about a topic, it’s worth blogging instead of commenting, but sometimes, my passionate thoughts don’t even make it to the blog.
There are a number of reasons for this. My opinion may be too controversial for the kind of blog I’ve set up or require more time than I have to do justice to the way I feel about it. But just as likely, I decide not to publish a blog post (or comment or tweet, etc.) because I’d rather sell the idea.
Okay, let me explain.
If I want to sell my writing, I must think about what it takes to sell my writing.
Sometimes I start to write (an anecdote, emotion, thought, etc.) about something I experienced, and then I think WTF am I doing? That little story is a gem worth saving for a
tweet Facebook status blog post book.
All writers who want to publish should be able to recognize the potential marketability of their words, right? Unfortunately, this has made me a bit skittish—not in leaving comments, but in leaving lengthy ones with substance (same goes for tweets and Facebook). There have been times where I thought, man that comment I left on Jane Smith’s blog was way clever—it would’ve been an awesome line for one of my characters. Is that vain? I don’t know. I don’t think so. It’s just…business thinking. As for blog posts, can’t tell you how many I’ve written up and not published. Sometimes it’s for the initial reasons I mentioned (or lame reasons, like it’s boring or too long), but other times…my writerly instincts kick in.
It’s kind of the sucky thing about being a writer. I mean, an actor can have a blog or Facebook without feeling like he’s giving away his acting for free when he could be using it in a movie. While it makes sense to give away some writing for free, if you want to make a career of writing, it’s in your interest to reserve your best ideas to sell, no?
So, yeah, sometimes I know I’m holding back on you guys. I like to think that someday you’ll read my stories and see a greater part of what’s in my head, but until then, what to do? I guess I’ll be as thoughtful and amusing and informative as possible without being, I don’t know, overly clever or marketable.
How do you draw the line between a blog post that will appeal to as many as possible and an idea/thought/anecdote/line you reserve to use in your writing? Do you draw a line?
So it’s no secret…things are insane right now for pretty much everyone. I know it’s been nuts for me as I try to finish up some projects while also trying to shop for the holidays and prepare for a party. On top of all that, I’ve been reading five books. Yeah, at the same time. Hopefully, I’ll have a pile of books to review soon. But this week, I thought I’d highlight a few books coming soon.
Make sure you stop and check out what some of the other Bookanistas are recommending today:
Kirsten Hubbard celebrates JOHN BELUSHI IS DEAD and THE MOCKINBIRDS
Elana Johnson gives a little love to JOEY FLY 2: PRIVATE EYE
Beth Revis chimes in on CHIME
Lisa and Laura Roecker rave about BOOKS THEY’RE DYING TO READ
Carolina Valdez Miller looks ahead to JANUARY RELEASES
Bethany Wiggins fawns over FIRELIGHT
And now, here are some of the January releases that I’m REALLY hoping to get my hands on soon. Click on the titles or book covers to go to their Goodreads pages. (None of the quick summaries were written by me—all were found either on the books’ Goodreads profiles or on the publisher’s website.)
Release date: January 6, 2011
Quick summary: Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world -- even the most predatory of men -- that she is ready for sex.
Release date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Quick Summary: From the popular author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising comes a novel bursting with robotic twists and turn.
Release date: January 4, 2011
Quick summary: Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what it is, though, isn't easy.
Release date: January 4, 2011
Publisher: Walker Books
Quick Summary: A compelling novel woven around the 1986 Challenger tragedy, in time for the 25th anniversary
Release date: January 11, 2011
Quick summary: Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Release date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Quick summary: When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist.
Release date: January 11, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Quick summary: Tessa doesn't believe in magic. Or Fate. But there's something weird about the dusty unicorn tapestry she discovers in a box of old books.
Release date: January 25, 2011
Publisher: Egmont USA
Quick summary: Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.
This next one isn’t out for a while, but I’ve been dying to read it and IT JUST ARRIVED!!!
Release date: March 8, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Press
I’m so excited to read this one too—and not just because Kirsten is a Bookanista. But also because it sounds amazing, and I’ve heard such great things about it. It doesn’t come out until March, though. But all the others? January!
Ya got any books you’re absolutely loving right now? Anything you’re really looking forward to?
Around noon yesterday, I was in the middle of reading a book to hopefully be able to review when I got a phone call from my dear friend, B. He tells me he’s in town on business and that he’ll have a few hours in the afternoon and can we get together for a bit. So I tell him of course of course I’d love to see you and I’ve got to pick up the Bigger Bean soon and then take her to piano later this evening how about we meet the few hours in between? So he says, sure sure give me a call when you’re ready. So I hang up the phone and my eyes do something that look sort of like this:
Because I was still in pajamas, wrapped snuggly in a bathrobe and torn up red slippers. And my house looked post-apocalyptic and four-year-old-terrorized and smelled a bit like boiling cabbages. I tossed a juice box and a bag of mini muffins at the Little Bean and raced into the shower. I was done in five minutes, which, okay, if you know me at ALL, you know that’s impressive. I brushed my teeth and did my hair and makeup, all at the same time, and then ran as fast as I could to do the dishes, and then ran back up the stairs immediately because I’d forgotten to put on a shirt. I threw on the shirt B had given me not long ago, and then got halfway through the dishes, on the verge of just throwing the rest away, when B called to say he was done with his task. Like, way before I expected him to be done.
Cue screeching tires, squealing brakes, and this face:
So, okay, here’s what happens when you surprise me with an unexpected visit: You have to spend an hour and a half at the mall waiting for me to clean my house.
You know, it’s not that I’m lazy. I actually get really anxious in messy, smelly spaces. It’s just that between my family and all of their various activities and needs, as well as volunteering and shopping and sometimes blogging and reading/reviewing and sometimes sleep and other obligations, the hours in a day get the life squeezed out of them. And somehow, the battle always falls between two options: writing or cleaning.
It’s a no-brainer. Cleaning is for unobsessive writer people.
But this means that unexpected visits are…unexpected. It’s not that they’re unwelcome. I loves me some people. It just means please give me at least a few hours notice so that I can bribe my husband to clean the house.*
I don’t know, I guess it could just be me. But as much as I hate clutter, my distaste for plates with caked-on fried egg is not as significant as my desire to keep writing. Call it a sacrifice. I can endure terrible things to keep writing. Sadly, poor B sort of had to sacrifice, too. Maybe that just comes with the territory of being friends with a writer.
Sorry, B. I hope the cookies make up for it.
*Bribery is legal and totally moral in marriage.
So, I realized that I probably left you with the impression yesterday that I am involved in some sort of illicit monkey smuggling ring.
That’s neither here nor there. Though it is exhausting.
The odd thing is that after telling you my posts would be scattered, here I am posting two days in a row. But for a good cause. Many of you know the super fab Talli Rolland, a writer-bloggie-friend who makes people smile on a daily basis. But just in case you don’t, let me tell you about her.
1. She’s a super fab writer-bloggie-friend. You should check out her super-writer-blog by going here.
2. She is preparing to release a book which promises to be a rockin read called THE HATING GAME. Love that title.
THE HATING GAME by Talli Roland
About: When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £200,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?
Such a fun book. Clever twist, yeah? Comedy. Romance. Talli. What’s not to love?
3. Talli has a brilliant plan for promoting her exciting debut novel, which I’m thrilled to be a part of today—and not just because I adore Talli. Now, I haven’t read THE HATING GAME, but most of you might know I only promote books I love or am excited about, and I’m stoked about THE HATING GAME . I’m hoping you’ll be excited about it, too. Here’s how you can get in on the fun:
Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers. Be sure to order a copy for yourself as well!
No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more. Coming soon in paperback.
Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com
Reviews & Tags
If you do buy The Hating Game and you like it, a review on Amazon would be greatly appreciated! If you don't have an Amazon account, you can also post reviews on Goodreads.
If you are on Amazon and in a clicking sort of mood, it would be fantastic if you could click on a few tags ('Tags Customers Associate with this Product' - located underneath the Product Description).
While you’re at it, feel free to post on Facebook or Twitter:
With the Amazon.com link (depending on your location):
Help debut author Talli Roland Take On Amazon today! http://amzn.to/hX2ieD #TheHatingGame
With the Amazon.co.uk link:
Help debut author Talli Roland Take On Amazon today! http://amzn.to/hNBkJk #TheHatingGame
Any RTs appreciated!
Finally, a word from Talli: Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to help me out! I couldn't have done it without you. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Roll on, December 1. Fingers Crossed!
Thanks for stopping by, lovelies!
*Ducks back out*
*Slips on a banana peel*
I’ve had to take an unexpected hiatus (or a continuation of the one I had sort of been trying to come out of), but I didn’t want you to think I’d forgotten about my Dark and Twisty and Rule Breaky Giveaway. So I’ve got winners for you today. Huge thank you to all who entered and promoted the giveaway. I’m grateful for all of you.
And the winners of the above books (plus ADDICTED TO HER, which is not pictured) from the Dark and Twisty and Rule Breaky Giveaway are:
1. Emilie of Emilie’s Book World
2. Autumn of From the TBR Pile
3. Janet Johnson
4. Caroline Starr Rose
5. Penelope Rose
6. Lisa Potts
7. Nicole Zoltack
8. Heather Kegler
(Listed in the order in which they were drawn)
Congratulations! Please email me a list with your prize preferences (with the book you want most at #1) and an address where I can ship your book! Go to the Official Giveaway Post to see the prizes. Big thank you to all who entered!! I appreciate every one of you. I will have another giveaway soon!
And now, for a little word from our sponsor.
Right now I’m in the midst of something incredibly exhausting. It’s not something I canshouldwant to talk about, so I won’t. But it’s not because I’m trying to be all stupid cryptic. I’m just a super private person, especially about things like this.
The thing is, until I know how this is going to turn out, I’d just as soon keep mum. I don’t like to feel vulnerable, you know? And talking about things like this, well…I don’t like to tell stories until they have endings either (one of the reasons I don’t have alphas).
Yeah, feeling vulnerable already. But I said it in size 8 font so it doesn’t seem like whining.
Unfortunately, this whole crypticosis requires a lot of time from me, which means less time to hang online. And while I miss it, I’m also fully invested in my crypticosis. So, I’m asking you to be patient with me.
I know you’re not hanging on my every word, dying for me to post/tweet/update, but I don’t want you to think I’m a total blog wiener, treating my bloggie/online friends like they don’t matter either. I treasure every one of you who stops by, whether it’s as followers or just to check things out. It still amazes me that anyone is interested in anything I have to say. My StatCounter blows me away nearly every time I check it. I’m always like, whoa…that person is returning for their ___th visit??? (Special shoutout to my friends in India and Australia—I seem to have a number of you.) And, okay, I’ll just be honest…when I see visitors from NYC, it makes me double back to make sure I didn’t come off sounding like a complete moron in my last few posts.
Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that I do care about you. I will be back to blogging and visiting blogs and making a general nuisance of myself online in no time at all. But until then, please understand that my crypticosis is necessary and good, but a bit all-consuming. If all goes well, it will be amazing. If not, well, it is what it is. But until I’m through with it, my posts might be a bit scattered. I’m planning some cool posts/vlogs/giveaways for the near future, so don’t give up on me, k?
Man, I sound like a turkey. I’m totally begging, aren’t I?
I heart you.
Not long ago, we had 71°F weather here in Indianapolis. It was an anomaly in November. So, of course, several of us decided that the world must surely be coming to an end. But before it did, we figured we should at least make the best of it.
So I took my four year old daughter for a bike ride. This is how it all went down.
Little Bean: [Jumping off bike] Mommy, look at this big stick! It’s HUGE!
Me: Darling, that’s not a stick. It’s a branch. It must have been knocked down in that storm a few days ago.
Little Bean: Oh. Well. Can I have it?
Me: What, the stick?
Little Bean: No, silly. It’s not a stick. It’s a branch.
Me: Yes yes. It’s a branch. But no, you can’t have it.
Little Bean: But it’s so HUGE! Please, Mommy, please. I will take good care of it.
Me: I’m sure you would. But it won’t take good care of you. A stick this big is just too dangerous.
Little Bean: It’s not a stick. It’s a branch.
Me: That’s what I meant.
Little Bean: How do you know?
Me: How do I know what?
Little Bean: That it won’t take good care of me? It’s HUGE!
Me: [blink blink blink]
Little Bean: So can I have it?
Me: No, dear. Move along now.
Little Bean: But it’s HUGE!
Little Bean: I bet Aunt Bean would let Boy Cousin Bean have it. [pouts]
Me: [blink blink blink] Fine. Get your stick.
Little Bean: Um.
Me: What? You don’t want it now?
Little Bean: Oh, I do! But…
Little Bean: [picks up one end of
stick branch with two hands and makes a face] It’s very heavy.
Me: Is that so?
Little Bean: Yes. I think you will have to carry it home.
Me: [blink blink blink]
Little Bean: It’s not that heavy, Mommy. But I’m little.
Me: Fine. Here. Take my phone.
Little Bean: Be careful with it. That stick is dangerous.
Because every girl deserves to
carry own a big stick…
You guys, I’m so lucky because today I get to have my friend Sara B. Larson guest post. Not only is she a freaking awesome human being, but she’s a talented writer with serious know-how and experience. AND I know it won’t be long before she sells her book, so. yeah. I’ll be one of the super ones who can say she was on my blog before she’s too busy on her world book tour to guest post any more.
Plus, this means I don’t have to write up a post for today. Score!
Check out what she has to say about writing to trends.
Writing to Trends
by Sara B. larson
You hear it all the time, what the next “BIG” trend is going to be. What you should be writing RIGHT NOW if you want to get a publishing deal. I see aspiring authors scrambling to drop their WIP about fallen angels to work on something about mermaids (because ‘you-know-who’ mentioned that’s what she was thinking about working on next), then drops the mermaid WIP, to go back to a dystopian they had shelved a year ago. Why? Because dystopian got hot again! Oh man, it’s enough to give anyone a massive migraine.
So, should you pay attention to the trends—should you tailor your writing to what’s “hot?” Or should you write what speaks to you, focus on the story that you truly love?
I can’t tell you for sure, but here’s my opinion (for what it’s worth, which may be nothing). You have to write the story you love or you may never land an agent and sell your book.
Harsh? Maybe. True? Usually. When you aren’t writing what you love, it shows. Or to put it the other way: when you are writing about characters you adore, and a plot that makes you breathless with anticipation of the words yet to come, that’s when you will do your best work. And it will show.
Besides, unless you have an “in” with editors and agents who can tell you what the publishing houses are looking for right now, you will most likely be behind the trends anyway. What’s on the shelves was the ‘hot ticket’ well over a year ago in the agenting/submissions world. And even if something is considered “done,” no sub-genre in YA is ever truly full. There is always room for something else if it is unique in some way and well-written.
Case in point: I have a friend who wrote a story because she had an amazing idea that reached out and grabbed her. Many people were saying dystopian was over, that the market was saturated, that no one would want it. When I read it though, I knew she had something special on her hands. When she started querying her book, a few agents even told her that dystopian was over. Not many though – most of them were fighting to represent her. She wrote something she loved, it showed, and she landed an agent and a deal very quickly. Wanna know who I’m talking about? Have you heard of a book called… MATCHED?
Write what you love and others will love it, too. Unless you want to write about a six-eyed octopus who transforms into a man on the new moon and falls in love with a half-faerie, half-cyclops who has some real self-esteem issues. In that case, you may want to take a look at the trends.
Now meet Sara, aka Sweetness (that’s my name for her, but feel free to borrow it).
I have been writing since I was in second grade, and have the notebooks full of misspelled stories to prove it. Over the intervening years, my love of writing has grown even stronger, and luckily my spelling has improved as well. I almost got a “marketable degree” as a nurse at BYU, but turned back to writing when that didn’t work out. I live in Utah with my husband, two young sons, and a Maltese named Charlie. I've learned to write during naptime and the hours when most people are sleeping. When I'm not writing, getting shot with nerf guns, or tripping over soccer balls, I can be found wakeboarding at the lake, hiking in the mountains, cooking, or working out at the gym. If all else fails, you can probably find me hiding in a bubble bath with a book and some Swedish Fish. I am represented by the fabulous Hannah Brown Gordon at Foundry Literary + Media.
Be sure to check out Sara’s blog!
Thanks so much for guest posting, Sara!
*runs off to go hide moon-man faerie-clops romantic comedy*
So excited to talk about CHICKEN BUTT! But, I swear, it’s not all about poultry arses. It’s actually hilarious and totally vegan friendly. I had to get it when I saw it because it looked so cute. It also made me think of a song that my friend Rachel and I made up in our Government class in high school—you know, a few years ago. It went like this:
na na na na na Na Na Na. NA-NA-NA.
na na na na na Na Na Na. NA-NA-NA.
I know. Creative genius.
We also used to do the whole guess-what-what?-guess-what-what?-guess-what-what?-CHICKEN-BUTT! game, but…duh. Cool people do that. Right?
Anyway, I saw CHICKEN BUTT! and immediately flashed back to happy feelings.
CHICKEN BUTT! by Erica S. Perl
Illustr. by Henry Cole
You know what?
The classic schoolyard joke has been recast as an irreverent picture book, with call-and-response parts for parent and child. The word repetition in Erica S. Perl’s text, and wonderfully comic illustrations by beloved artist Henry Cole, make this a particularly inviting book for new readers, as does the opportunity to “trick” a parent or other adult into participating in a very silly joke. The humor builds to a surprising and satisfying conclusion. Warning: Kids will want to read this one over and over and over again!
First of all, this book is not for lame-os.* If all you ever want at story time is for your kids to sit quietly while you listen to yourself speak, hoping they’ll fall asleep so you can go enjoy your Puccini and sardine puffs, then CHICKEN BUTT! is probably not for you. Go read them a dictionary or something. Your kids will fall asleep and have plenty of material for their therapist later.
If you love the sound of your child laughing until you think he just might pee his pants
If you love the feel of your little four year old’s pudgy fingers on your cheeks, while she shouts, “You know what!” into your face
If you love to see your kid running around the room, flailing his arms in the air, singing “monkey butt, duckie butt, elephant butt, any-animal-I-can-think-of butt”
Then, CHICKEN BUTT! is for you.
Clearly, this book can be exhausting. It’s a bit like giving kids noisy toys—you give them lots of material to make you crazy. But it’s a good kind of crazy, because every giggle and wiggle lights you up inside and makes you feel like you have fulfilled your purpose in life.
I have no idea what teachers would make of this book, though—maybe this is one to read at the end of the day right before Mom and Dad come to collect the rugrats, but I’d say it’s one to have in the library for sure. Your kids will LOVE you and think you’re the coolest teacher in the world. Because you don’t just teach them their letters and colors and numbers—you teach them laughter.
I’ve never had so much fun reading a book with my four year old. She has memorized every word in this book. And yeah, it’s simple. No major lessons to be learned in this. Wait. I take that back. Here’s what your child will learn:
It is OKAY for adults to romp and play and laugh and be silly so-yeah-that-means-that-someday-when-you’re-all-grown-up-you-can-too-kid. You enjoy the sound of their laughter sokeepitupkiddo. And you have the best, most bounciest reading lap in the whole world because no one can read this book sitting still. Oh, and one more: laughter makes every bump, bruise, and stolen toy seem far, far away.
So. Yeah. CHICKEN BUTT! is a keeper. You’ll get a lot of mileage with it, because they’ll ask you to read it over and over. And it’s crazy fun. I recommend reading it when you need a boost of energy.
Recommended for ages 4-8.
Caveat: If you read the book like a dry stick in the mud because the joke is completely lost on you and you can’t for even three minutes pretend like you totally get four year old humor, then the joke will likely be lost on your kid, too, and you will sap all the fun out of CHICKEN BUTT! and possibly life.
*Not trying to imply that if you don’t like the book you’re a lame-o. I’m merely saying it’s not for lame-os. But if you like reading the dictionary to your kid so you can get them to sleep so you can listen to Puccini and eat sardine puffs, I will worry about you.
Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are recommending today!
Christine Fonseca is amazed by DESIRES OF THE DEAD
Elana Johnson is in love with PERILOUS
Myra McEntire is wowed by A VISITOR'S GUIDE TO MYSTIC FALLS
Shannon Messenger is awestruck by THE MARBURY LENS and giving away a signed hardcover
Megan Miranda is captivated by MATCHED
Beth Revis is blown away by DEMONGLASS
Lisa and Laura Roecker share a YA review from an actual YA: a "Guestanista Review" on THE REPLACEMENT
Bethany Wiggins is stunned by STRANGE ANGELS