Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Angels are Falling...WTF


Okay, I'm seriously freaking out right now. Seriously. And not in that, OMG I just won a free taco at Rico's Taco Shack way. So, I'm scrolling down my blog roll and I come across a post titled, "Caution: falling angels," which at first I saw as fallen angles and wondered why someone would write about geometry, and then snapped out of my LSD-like haze to realize that this is a message sent down from above. Okay, actually it was sent by Jade at Jade Hears Voices (Jade, by the way, is awesome).

Of course, I click on the link because I have a manuscript about fallen angels (not fallen angles, if you're wondering), and "Caution" has just caused my heart to plummet into my stomach. I'm reading, reading, my eyes widening, and my brain screaming, "YES YES!! I totally get this." And my spirits have sunk anew. And I.am.afraid.

In short, it seems everyone (except maybe Peter and Jude who are totally been there done that) is writing a book about fallen angels, and I'm now screwed*.

So, you should read Jade's article, yeah? Go ahead, take a moment. You'll see that Jade is touching upon one of the most basic human fears--that someone else will come up with your idea first**. And then you will have to read about it. And know that all of your efforts have been wasted. And that you suck as a human being.

You should know, I wrote about this same sort of topic not long ago. You can check it out HERE, too. This blog post was an obvious effort to talk myself out of my doldrums at having just written a book that paralleled others on a topic that EVERONE (except Peter and Jude) is writing about. And you know, I did a pretty banging job of it for a while, even convinced myself that I was still an almostcool Immortal sans Im***.

So, why the sudden return to doldrums, you ask? Just because of one blog post? Actually, I don't know that it's so sudden. Even last night, as I finished up The Hunger Games (at 2 AM and totally worth it), I thought, OMG AETERNUS sucks I'mabigfataccidentalcopycat. And seeing Jade's message from above sort of drove it home. But it isn't just the fallen angel premise that concerns me. I'm also seeing all sorts of other parallels with other story ideas, and this is effing killing me. I feel like the world's most unoriginal turdhead. I mean, come on, Ron Popeil did better than this with his Ronco Rotisserie, and let me tell ya, chicken's been done before.

So yeah, I'm freaking out a little bit. But you know what is really weird? When I'm actually reading AETERNUS, I don't feel like this. While reading/editing it, I'm reminded how incredibly awesome I am. It's only when I'm away from it that I remember, once again, that I'm still just a turdhead wannabe. The real kicker is that I thought I was soooo clever with my deviation from vampires. So what can I do? What? I mean, do you beat yourself up like this? Or (gulp) is this just a sign that I should quit? I'm thinking Stephen King doesn't walk away from his manuscripts calling himself a turdhead, seeing his stories as a reflection of what's already been done.

Dang it...I want to be the copied, not the copier.

Sobby sob sob. Sniff.

*Deep breath*

Sometimes, I wish it didn't matter to me so much.



*Hyperbole: Obvious and intentional exaggeration that implies the great depth of human experience such as, "Good God, that melon head is bigger than Oprah's wallet."
**This fear runs just behind starvation, drowning, and clowns.
***Writing sentences like this is what keeps me in the almostcool category.

43 comments:

  1. It. Is. Okay.

    I feel this way, too. I feel this way before I even write my ideas down. I worry and worry that someone has already written it, and then what will I do? It's still my idea, right?

    And it's still your idea, too. And who knows? Maybe you did it better! Sounds like YOU like what you wrote.

    Remember, you were the first recipient of the Writer's Know Award. That should always cheer you up at times like these. :P

    Stick your story out there and let the critics go at it. Let the best Fallen Angle win.

    Michele
    SouthernCityMysteries

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  2. There will always be room for more. Just write the best story you can, with your unique take on it. Make it fresh. Make it you. There will always be room for an awesome new take on fallen angels/vampires/werewolves/fairies, even when editors say they've had enough. Don't lose the faith.

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  3. Walk away from the computer. Take a deep breath. And whatever you do, DON'T GIVE UP. Okay, come back to the computer. We have been reminded of this on more than one occasion--no idea is original. Somebody had the idea before you and they will have the idea after you. But it's the spin, your take on it, that sets it apart. I've stopped freaking out when I read about a similar idea or how a book that sounds kind of like the one we just wrote sold at auction *gasp*. I figure our take is totally unique and hope for the best. KEEP GOING.

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  4. Deeeeeep Breath Carol!! hoo hoo heee... remember from pregnancy? you can do it :-) *hands a brown paper lunch bag to breath into*

    I said this on Jade's post and I'll say it here too! Similarities are OKAY! It's not like you did it on purpose... AND there are only like 9 plots that actually exist anyway (supposedly)--so every story will have similarities to other stories. It's how YOU spin your story that makes it stands out. Different characters, different twists, different desires, different types of obstacles.

    I have NO doubt that Aeternus is phenomenal! And I think it's HIGH time you pass it on to your fabulous CPs so that we can reassure you that it's NOT too much like any other story!

    Plus, if you feel good about it when you read it--that may be the only sign you need! What writer doesn't have these huge fears when their WIP isn't in front of them?

    **^**^**^**Self-doubts BE GONE**^**^**^**
    (Sara's Voodoo should work every time...)

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  5. Carol, you are cracking me up. I know exactly how you feel! And superb use of the word "turdhead"...still laughing at that one.

    Just the fact that you are overanalyzing and worrying about it tells me you care deeply for your own story and the fact that when you are ignoring all other things, you still think you are awesome...is a GREAT sign! You are clearly just a perfectionist and these things will happen. I'm sure it rocks.

    Take a deep breath and focus on your writing and it will all be good. I have faith. Just think about it...vampires/angels/paranormal stories have been around for ages and those of us that are drawn to them will always be waiting for the next one that will move us...

    If you're a Stephen King fan and haven't read his book "On writing" I would highly recommend it. I loved it and wouldn't be suprised if he really does think himself a turdhead somedays...

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  6. I quote from Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel for your delectation and delight: "To break out with familiar subject matter--and, really, it has all been written about before--it is essential to find a fresh angle. There are certainly no new plots. Not a one. There are also no settings that have not been used, and no professions that have not been given to protagonists. That is disheartening, but it is also a challenge."

    I just read that, and it's apropos. So what if fallen angels have been done before? So have vampires, and they're still selling like hotcakes. Laurell K. Hamilton and Stephenie Meyer prove that, right?

    I'll tell you how fallen angels haven't been done before, though: Carol's way. No one else could write your book, m'dear. Yours is the only one written from your angle. So write your best and screw the rest. I'd say if the fallen angels thing stays popular for as long as vampires did, you could be hitting the craze at its crest, which is a pretty damn cool thing.

    No go have a shot of vodka or three and call me in the morning. :)

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  7. I have to echo what everyone just said, I read Jade's post too you have nothing to worry about. If your wrote a totally lame-o story that happened to have angels in it and you thought "Aha but my story has Angels in it!" you'd be screwed. But I know with 100% certainty that you wrote an amazing story that I can't wait to read and the angels part isn't what makes it unique or special or awesome-its the fact that you wrote it, the angels are just a part or a tool, your method of story telling. I seriously would not worry!!! Just focus on your story, especially now while your working on it--the only person you have to compete with at the end of the day is yourself.

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  8. Some people are saying angels, some people are saying fairies, some people are saying zombies are The Next Big Thing. Don't worry about it. New vampire books are STILL coming out. As long as your story is unique, you'll be fine.

    This coming from someone who literally hyperventilated when coming across a book coming out this summer called The Death Day Letter, when I've been considering The Death Day Machine as a title for my WIP. After minutes of hysterical searching for a synopsis, I realized the books actually didn't have that much in common. Except the other author TOTALLY stole my title. Lame.

    And I've definitely gotten the accidental copycat feeling (from The Hunger Games, even!) and from books I read before I wrote my first draft. I read something great somewhere about how it's not the idea, really, but how you tell the story that's new and interesting.

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  9. everybody here has given you great comments, so there's really nothing more to add (which makes me wonder why i decided to add a comment - just to hear myself talk?). maybe it's just to say i can really relate and i hope you get over it so you can keep writing. maybe i'll get over it and i'll keep writing. (anybody want to tell me where they come up with these words for human verification? weird.)

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  10. Carol honey, we all feel like that on occasion. Believe me...

    Sometimes I think my novel is so unique it should be bottled or at least framed in gold and placed on an agents wall. Other times, I want to bury my head under the pillow whilst waiting for the plagiarism police to arrest me!

    No one sets out deliberately to copy. It's just not part of a writers psyche.

    We all have common threads in our books. And that my friend, is all. Just common as muck threads!

    Now, get back to your writing :)

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  11. Carol, I feel your pain. Completely. I had this same problem with the first story I wrote, which I've now shelved becuase at the moment I have no idea what to do with it. Just remember, (I have to repeat this to myself almost every day) that no idea is original.

    Like Lisa and Laura said, someone, somewhere out there has probably had your idea and written about it. The key to unique ideas is to spin your idea in a completely different angle. (LOL, yes, I mean angle. ) : ) Because, when you put your unique spin on it that's when the idea becomes original.

    Just think, there were tons of books about vampires before Twilight came out and it still sold. And vampire books still sell now. Just like there are tons of books about angels out there and there will be many more.

    The key is to stick with your idea, becuase if you love it as much as it sounds like you do, then it won't matter if your angel story is the first or the millionth. : )

    Good Luck! And you should read Hush, Hush. It's a fantastic read!

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  12. Michele, you are right. Totally okay. It is. It is. I swear it. But...oh, how it hurts to discover you're not setting a new trend by bucking an old one. Ah well. Thank you for your encouragement...may the best fallen angle win indeed. Well put.

    Anissa, reining in the faith...thank you ;)

    Lisa and Laura, oh my how I adore you. I shall persevere. Now if only I had some beautiful pink Uggs to console myself.

    Sara, Holy cow, I do believe you've done it. I can feel the voodoo working its magic...yowza, that tingles. Thanks you, sweets.

    Kristi, thank you. I think that's what's most upsetting. You come to love these characters and this story and you just want it to work, you know? I'm not exactly known for confidence, but I will, for the sake of my little book-baby, suck it up and get some cajones. And thanks for the compliment. I didn't realize how much I liked turdhead until you made mention of it ;)

    Simon, you're a dear. And so right. Let's just hope Carol's Angle is something others want to read. But that' the point, yeah? To write something worth reading. But I think I may very well act on your suggestion and take a shot or two, although they may end up being one of those little dessert shots cuz I haven't been feeling well and vodka makes me about want to puke right now. Actually, just reading that I think I puked into my mouth a little. Still, many thanks.

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  13. Frankie, OMG, you're so right. You just reminded me of somtheing hugely significant. The point of my story isn't the fallen angel--it's really only a plot device. In fact, the whole notion sort of takes backseat to the heart of the story. Oh thank you thank you. You rock.

    Heather, oh my word, I thought I was the only one that held their breath when reading new books. I swear, I hadn't picked up a book to read in months for this reason, always afraid I'd find a version of my own book already published. I'm such a chicken. But I'm so glad that this Death Day book was not like yours. although I must say if your book is anything like The Hunger Games, it's probably pretty kicking awesome. Just the title of your book makes me want to read it, so I'd say you settled on a good title (is this the final one then?)

    Michelle, sometimes all a person needs is someone else to tell them they understand and they've been there. I know in writing this I actually became a little frantic thinking that maybe I was the only one who felt like this (or maybe just one of those turkeys who can't write worth a darn). I find myself feeling loads better knowingI'm in such good company. And the word verification thing? Bizarre, no? Coudln't they just use real words? Or maybe they are in some strange language.

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  14. Wendy, I have the distinct feeling that your novel should be framed in gold and deposited on an agent's wall--or maybe tucked under a pillow so they can dream about it. But your'e right...common as muck threads (oh how I love that). I'm hanging tight to that phrase. ;) Thank you, hon.

    Kimberly, haha! Yes, An Angel with a new Angle. Very good! And you're right of course. Nothing new under the sun. I'm just prone to freaking, I think. It's a terrible disorder, I'm pretty sure. Oh, and I do have Hush, Hush, but have not yet had the cajones to read it. But I will. As soon as I've finished editing Aeternus. Or maybe I should do it before so I can make sure not to copy anything. Hmmm...

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  15. Fallen angels have been around since the Bible, well, probably even before that, and people can't seem to get enough of them. You will add your voice, which rocks, if your blog is an indication. With so much good advice and Sara's voodoo, I think you can tell the doubts to take a hike. And you are so not alone to experience them.

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  16. Tricia, how right you are!! Doubts be gone! Be gone, I said!! And thank you. I'm loving all this positive encouragement. You guys are the best.

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  17. It's ok. Really...you can write about WHATEVER you want. You just have to make sure to do it in a different way. That is all that matters.

    Never forget how awesome you are!

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  18. Marybeth, you are so kind. So sweet. Thank you for my spoonful of sugar.

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  19. I say, listen to Simon. Have you seen how many vampire books are out there? The fact that fallen angel books are selling is a marketing plus. You just tell "them", look, the readers want MORE.

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  20. I'm with Lisa and Laura and Simon all the way. Not because I want to cop-out on my comment and be brief, but because they are totally right! :)

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  21. You are NOT a turdhead copying wannabe! Not at all. Long e-mail full of hugs and fuzzy kittens coming your way soon, but for now, even though this is that kind of advice that's easy to dispense and impossible to follow, try not to think about it. I highly highly doubt that Aeternus has any more similarities between it and something else than ANY other book does. There will always be similarities--it's the twist that's entirely unique to you that will make it awesome.

    Don't worry about the flood of angels in the market. I'm in the same boat with steampunk, and 10 months ago I was there as well with faeries. I think we're all there, almost all the time, because something always comes out that seems like a better version of what we're working on. I completely understand where your fears are coming from, but you're not alone! :)

    p.s. you're hi-larious with your asterisks and almostcool stuff :-P

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  22. You know, it doesn't even matter. There are about 1000 vampire books out there right now and they're all doing really well.

    There are only a few basic plots out there. But we all make the stories different because of our individual experiences and backgrounds.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

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  23. Carol - I probably shouldn't be laughing - but darling, you crack me up!!

    And that's a good thing! Shakespeare covered all the storylines anyway, so don't worry about it :) It's all about the voice and you've got that in spades!!!

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  24. Elle, I see the strategist in you. I shall hire you to write my query letter. You're awesome.

    Shannon, absolutely. I wish I could miniaturize Simon and Lisa and Laura and prop them up on my shoulders s they could guide me all the time. They always know what to say ;)

    Alexandra, I love your huggy fuzzy kitteny e-mails. They make my day. ut I'm hoping you'll be able to help me make Aeternus perfect. Hopefully, I'll have it ready for you sooner than later. Although, just discovered a minor plot hole today which really irked me. And you know when it happened. Well let this be a clue: My 3yr old said today: "Mommy, let's not get ticked off at the red light." My poor steering wheel took the brunt of my realization. Doh! But thank you for your encouragement. You're amazing.

    Elizabeth, too true, m'dear. I'm counting on you being right ;)

    Jemi, you are toooooo kind. Thank you. Hopefully the voice translates to my fiction...although, I'm gonna have to work on making my narrative voices different or all my characters will be like Carols with different names and hair color. But my most recent MC was like a younger version of me, only spiced up a bit. Now THAT was fun to write.

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  25. There's tons of great advice here, Carol. The only thing I can think of to add is to make sure your characters really shine. So what if one is an angel and there's tons of other angel stories out there? It's the personality that you give to YOURS that matters. And nobody can do that except for you. That is what will make yours so much better than the rest:)

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  26. Like others have said, it's the unique beauty you bring to your work that will set it apart. Don't despair! There's room in the publishing world for talent like yours. :D

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  27. I am deeply sorry for the pain my post caused but at the same time totally stoked to have found someone as a neurotic and paranoid as I am.

    I console myself with the thought that nothing is original and perhaps my insanity will give my writing a new depth. Plus, there's always room for some more hot angels. I mean, there can never be any too many hot angels. Can there? CAN THERE?

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  28. not every book about fallen angels is good. the ones that are are very intriguing. And you've got an edge. You've got one ready to go. You need to get that sucker out to agents and be at the forefront of this wave.

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  29. Carol. Stop freaking out. We love you and all of us will buy your book, and you know what? We will love it, and we will tell everyone we know to buy a copy, too.

    To echo Sara, there are only a handful of "original" plotlines out there, so if you think about it, EVERYONE copies EVERYONE ELSE in some way.

    My book centers around time travel. Can we please talk about how many times that's been done? Granted, I've thrown in this whole Druid element for a bit of a twist, but even that has been done before. There's really no way to come up with something TOTALLY unheard of.

    Your book rocks. Stop all this silliness about being a turdhead.

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  30. Melissa, you've got that right! As I go trough my manuscript one last time, I will make sure my characters are sparkly bright. I really really hope that they do stand out though. That what makes them special to me makes them special to readers.

    Kristin, thank you for the encouragement. I'm feeling a little better about it today (a little little bit). But all this great support from other writers helps a lot.

    Jade, no worries, hon. Reading your post simply put into words what I'd already been feeling, and in some ways, helped me feel better about it as I realized I was not the only one who freaks out like this. I think it takes a special kind of neurotic to write well anyway ;)

    Scathing Reviewer, You are so right. One ready to go. Now if I can just sell it well...gotta find that angle. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Anne, I just adore you. Thank you many times over. You are too kind and sweet and all the good things in this world wrapped in one package. By the way, it so happens I love time travel books, and can't get enough of them. So, that was probably one of the best comparisons you could have used to snap me out of my fallen angel funk. I just hope everyone else likes fallen angel stories as much as I like time tavel books ;)

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  31. Carol, all has been said that needs to be said about your fear by the wonderful people above. My only addition is that with zero knowledge of a plot and no clue what Dream State was about, you made me want to read it, and I wrote the damn thing.

    Buck up sister, and go kick some literary ass.

    Robert E

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  32. Write your story the way you live your life: Your way. Enjoy what you do and the rest of us will love it because we can see the love you put into it. :)

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  33. Bob, you are such a dear. An quite clearly an amazing writer. Your encouraging words mean a lot to me. Thank you, good man.

    Ana, that is such a kind, sweet thing to say. Thank you. I treasure such encouragement.

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  34. I've been having the same freakout. When I started my fallen angel book, people weren't doing angels. Then I had a three-year depression and woke up to write it as a trilogy...and then looked up from the final page to see the glut of fallen angels all around me. :o I'm fairly confident that I have a unique enough twist on the concept, but I feel like it will be an uphill battle to convince an agent to even read it.

    (Speaking of which, I'd love to read Aeturnus if you need any more crit partners. I have rather a dearth of CPs myself.)

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  35. Ah man, I totally feel your angst on this. Have you seen whatshername's book that just came out.... "Lit?" Yeah, totally my book, but BETTER.

    But you know, your voice is unique (this is what I am telling myself) although most ideas are, well, not. It's like that quote from "Pump Up The Volume" -- "All the great themes have been used up, turned into theme parks."

    Wow, this comment blows. I'm sorry. Um, I rove you?

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  36. Just popping back in to see if you're OK?

    Keep your chin up honey :)

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  37. Betty Blue, I know. It's heartwrneching and terrifying all at the same time. Let's talk. e-mail me at cvaldezmiller AT gmail DOT com.

    misadventuresofmommy, haha! You always say the right things. Always. and I rove you too.

    Wendy, you are the sweetest. Thanks for checking up on me. I'm doing MUCH better than I was. You're the best.

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  38. Ok, I'm going to say this in hopes it doesn't send you over the edge. I'm writing a Fallen Angel novel too... editing actually. There, I said it, hopefully you're still with me.

    Anyway, I don't say that to make you run in fear, I say it because I wanted you to know I feel your pain. Even reading your post almost sent me into a crazy tangent! I haven't read any of the Fallen Angel books out there because, one, I don't want it to influence mine. And two, I might cry and think 'Ahh, it's so much better than mine."

    Just wanted to share the pain with you for the moment. Good luck with your novel :)

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  39. Ah well, thank you fo sharing the pain, Eva. It's a conundrum, to be sure. But what more can you do aside from just keep going? And hope that your ms is just different enough, special enough to warrant attention. I haven't been reading any other ones either. I will, though. When I'm done with mine. Ultimately, I like the concept, so I look forward to seeing other takes on it. But not until mine is out there in the world beincg consumed in one way or another ;) Good luck with your manuscript!

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  40. O.k so I am behind in commenting on this blog topic and I can relate. I have killed myself over and over again reading other books and relating pieces of their story to mine. I think --and I will still be guilty for killing myself in my constant need to be different--write what you believe in no matter what is out there.
    Thanks for visiting my blog and check out the award I gave you.

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  41. Christine, I think that's wonderful advice. It's so easy to get caught up in all the worries involved with publishing. But that's just it--there are sooooo many concerns. So, all you can do is just be smart about your writing and hope for the best. By the way, thank you for the blog award! That's so kind and generous of you! I will be sure to blog about it soon. I had intended to publish a new post on awards today, but just haven't gotten to it. Tomorrow, hopefully. And thank you for your follow. I'm looking forward to connecting in the blogosphere.

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  42. I just finished up Hunger Games and the sequel the other day and put a review up on my site... I thought it was fantastic.

    Best of luck with your YA. Are you also a member of SCBWI? I am pretty active with the group.

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  43. Yes, I also loved Hunger Games. I'll be going to the SCBWI conference in July. Perhaps I'll see you there?

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