Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Contest closed. Winner announced soon!
Yesterday was the first annual PAYA Festival… Bring YA to PA. I woke up at 5:30 AM to pick up my friend, Melissa of Surviving Writing a Book, and drive us both to West Chester, PA. We’re from the DC area, so the trip was almost 3 hours long. She had signed up for a writing workshop, which started at 10:00. I’m glad I’m paranoid about being early, because when I arrived at Melissa’s, she was still in bed. Apparently, she needs a louder alarm. We left her house around 7:00 and arrived at 9:40, which ended up being pretty good timing.
Melissa took the Listen and Critique Workshop, and I got to listen in. There were six authors (Amy Brecount White, Shannon Delany, Jeri Smith-Ready, Stephanie Kuehnert, Josh Berk, and Jon Skovron) who talked to us about different points of writing, all important. They gave tips on choosing a topic for your book, the rough draft and editing, working with your agent, editor, and the rest of your team and more. Listening to their stories was really helpful because it gave me an idea of what it’ll be like when I’m working on this. About halfway through, we broke up into groups to work on the first three pages of each members’ manuscript. Jon, Amy, and Shannon had some great advice, and even though I didn’t bring what I’m working on, I learned a lot that’ll help me. I also think I’ll be a better Beta-writer. Here I come with my red pen KNIGHTS OF AVALON.
If you're interested in hearing these author's amazing tips, check it out here.
We had a bit of time between the workshop and the signing. They broke the signing up into two hour-long blocks. The first hour had some great authors signing. I was excited to meet Shannon Delany. She signed my book, as well as Erin’s (who won a copy on my blog a few weeks ago). She had a great set-up with her buttons, bookmarks, and a stuffed werewolf standing guard. I moved down the line to Stephanie Kuehnert. I wish I had gotten a better picture. Her top was fantastic, and I want one like it. Anyway, she told me how much she appreciated my review of I WANNA BE YOUR JOEY RAMONE. I review books because I enjoy it, and I want others to enjoy the reviews as well. But it’s great to know when authors enjoy my reviews because it means I can give back a little bit.
Next up was Dianne Salerni. Her book, WE HEAR THE DEAD, is one of my new favorite books. It was great getting to talk with her in person. She had postcards, bookmarks, posters, and shirts. I told her how much I loved the cover. She said it had to grow on her because the dress that Maggie was wearing on the cover was definitely not accurate of the time period, which was important to her. She’s right, but I love it anyway. She also described the cover idea. You see Maggie’s back, as you stand behind her on stage. You see the curtains and her confident stance. The spooky writing is supposed to be indicative of the spookiness of communicating with the spirits. And because the view is from behind Maggie, you’re being let in on some of the secrets the general public doesn’t know. Is she talking with spirits… or pulling of a huge prank? The cover is stunning, if not 1850’s accurate. Look for an interview with Dianne Salerni to appear at Aine’s Realm, soon.
Stephanie Kuehnert and Jeri Smith-Ready
I also got STRUTS AND FRETS signed by Jon Skovron. He was very funny, both here and in the workshop. We chatted a bit. He talked about his next book, MISFIT, a book about demons to hit the shelves in a little more than a year. He’s working on the sequel to MISFIT. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to read his book, but I’ve heard nothing but good things and am greatly looking forward to it.
Sitting at the round table was Jennifer Murgia, Cyn Balog, and Shelena Shorts. I got some books signed and swag. Cyn Balog talked a bit about her upcoming book, STARSTRUCK, which will be released in 2011. My Jeri Smith-Ready and Jennifer Hubbard books were already signed, and they were lovely to talk to.
The room got so hot and crowded that we moved out to get some air and look at the art. The signing was in the Center for Performing and Fine Arts, and there was some interesting and amazing art covering every spot of are wall. There was one drawing so amazing, I wanted a copy. I should’ve taken a picture.
The next signing began, and a huge thanks goes to Amy Brecount White who procured a fan for the hot, stuffy room. She was pleasant to talk to, as always. She was seat by Josh Berk who wrote THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN. Melissa bought me a copy to get signed by him. We met his dad in the used book sale room. He plugged his son’s book because it was so fantastic. And “of course,” he told us, “I’m not just saying that because he’s my son.” Both were very funny and charismatic. Josh and I talked a bit about Scott Pilgrim.
I’m currently reading WATERSMEET by Ellen Jensen Abbott, and I tried not to gush about how much I was enjoying it. While I want authors to know when they’re books have been, or are being enjoyed, I don’t want to fall all over myself and fangirl around them. I also met Meg Medina, who was sitting nearby, signing copies of her book, MILAGROS: GIRL FROM AWAY, and promoting her new book that comes out next year, TIA ISA WANTS A CAR. Her books focus on characters of latin origin. She was quite lovely to talk to.
Next I met Holly Nicole Hoxter and got my brand new, shiny copy of THE SNOWBALL EFFECT signed. I’d seen it around, but never felt compelled to pick it up. But when I did, I knew I had to read it. Teen authors, Chelsea Swiggett and Kieryn Nicolas signed as well as Christine Marciniak. Andrew Auseon had some trouble getting to the event, but thankfully he arrived. To be honest, the place was hiding. It’s a center for the arts but it was in an industrial complex, which caused us a mild panic when we first arrived and thought I had typed the address in my GPS wrong. Anyway, I ordered FREAK MAGNET two weeks ago so I could get it signed at PAYA. It arrived in the mail around 2PM, while I was at the signing. Bad timing, USPS. When it wasn’t in the mail box on Friday, I knew it’d be here on Saturday.
I met two lovely women from Fallen Archangel, the HUSH, HUSH fansite, and many other book bloggers. There was a raffle for some awesome books. I didn’t win. Aww… but Melissa got a huge swag pack filled with signed bookmarks, postcards, a journal, and a few other goodies. I was allowed to stop in the librarian only room to grab a few books to donate to my work library. I work with autistic adults, and most of our guys love MG and YA novels. I think they’ll particularly like THEODOSIA AND THE EYES OF HORUS.
There was another writing workshop, this one for teen writers. But since Melissa and I are well out of our teens and three hours from home after being awake for over eight hours with no food, we decided it was time to roll. Lunch at Burger King at 4:00, coke slurpees from 7-eleven, and three hours later, we were safe at home and resting. Well, I was resting; I’m sure Melissa was walking her dogs and then playing with her many cats.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I began the deception when I was too young to know right from wrong. Only with the passing of time did I come to understand the consequences of my actions.
I do not believe that I have ever intentionally deceived anyone. Maggie has a different understanding of the events that have happened. To her the spirits were always a game. For me they were my life's calling. I have no regrets.
It starts as a harmless prank...then one lie quickly grows into another. Soon Kate and Maggie Fox are swept into a dizzying flurry of national attention for their abilities to communicate with the dead. But living a lie is sometimes too much to handle, even if you have the best intentions. Based on a true story, We Hear the Dead reveals how secrets and lies can sometimes lead you to what's real and what's right. And how sometimes talking with the dead is easier than talking with the people around you.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
I’ve been waiting a while for this one. I love the Jennifer Scales series!
RISE OF THE POISON MOON (Jennifer Scales book 5) by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi
Jennifer's ex-boyfriend, werarachnid Skip Wilson, is out of control. His powers have grown as strong as his hunger for revenge, leaving her little choice but to confront him-hopefully without giving in to her own dark side...
And this one was on clearance!
GOTH GIRL RISING by Barry Lyga
Time is a funny thing in the hospital. In the mental ward. You lose track of it easily.
After six months in the Maryland Mental Health Unit, Kyra Sellers, a.k.a. Goth Girl, is going home. Unfortunately, she's about to find out that while she was away, she lost track of more than time. Kyra is back in black, feeling good, and ready to make up with the only person who's ever appreciated her for who she really is. But then she sees him. Fanboy. Transcended from everything he was into someone she barely recognizes. And the anger and memories come rushing back.
There's so much to do to people when you're angry. Kyra's about to get very busy.
And because I'm going to a big book signing with these authors, I used it as an excuse to buy these books
ANGEL STAR by Jennifer Murgia
Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel.
But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel's malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows.
Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel's sacrifice collides with another angel's vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower.
WE HEAR THE DEAD by Dianne Salerni
In upstate New York in 1848, two young sisters, Maggie and Kate Fox, created a spiritual hoax to frighten a detested cousin. Through eerie rapping sounds produced by cracking joints, they convinced their family and then the whole town that they could communicate with ghosts. What began as a childhood prank turned into their adult livelihood, and the sisters became famous, even “rapping” for First Lady Jane Pierce. Alternating narration between Maggie and Kate, Salerni imagines the young adult years of these closely bonded, very different siblings: Maggie feels guilty for their trickery, while Kate believes that she has a sixth sense and has never “intentionally deceived anyone.” Salerni details the sisters' performances and their troubled family dynamics, but much of the book's later half focuses on a passionate, fraught romance between Maggie and a wealthy explorer, leaving Kate's story underdeveloped. Still, the events, based in fact, are inherently fascinating, and older readers may want to move on to the several adult books, listed in an appended bibliography, about the wily and tragic Foxes.
WATERSMEET by Ellen Jensen Abbott
From her birth, Abisina has been outcast--for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father. Only her mother's status as the village healer has kept her safe. But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina's life is ripped apart. She escapes alone to try to find the father and the home she has never known. In a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies.
STRUTS AND FRETS by Jon Skovron
Told in a voice that’s honest, urgent, and hilarious, Struts & Frets will resonate not only with teenage musicians but with anyone who ever sat up all night listening to a favorite album, wondering if they’d ever find their place in the world.
Music is in Sammy’s blood. His grandfather was a jazz musician, and Sammy’s indie rock band could be huge one day—if they don’t self-destruct first. Winning the upcoming Battle of the Bands would justify all the band’s compromises and reassure Sammy that his life’s dream could become a reality. But practices are hard to schedule when Sammy’s grandfather is sick and getting worse, his mother is too busy to help either of them, and his best friend may want to be his girlfriend.
When everything in Sammy’s life seems to be headed for major catastrophe, will his music be enough to keep him together?
Friday, August 13, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
TROLL FELL by Katherine Langrish
An exciting adventure-filled story of Peer Ulfsson and his dog, Loki, Peer's hideous uncles Baldur and Grim Grimsson, and their hideous dog, Grendel, and the trolls of Troll Fell. Peer Ulfsson stood miserably at his father's funeral pyre, watching the sparks whirl up like millions of shining spirits streaking away into the dark. But someone else is also at the funeral. Peer's half-uncle, Baldur Grimsson. Peer watches helplessly as Uncle Baldur sells his father's property and pockets the money. Peer is then forced to move away from the world he knows in Hammerhaven, and live with his two half-uncles at their mill near Troll Fell. Peer hopes his other uncle will be more welcoming and less ferocious than Baldur, but Baldur is an identical twin, and Grim Grimsson is just as mean-spirited and greedy as his brother. Peer lives a life of servitude, with only the company of his faithful dog, Loki, until he meets spirited Hilde, whose family farm on Troll Fell, and Nis, his uncles' house spirit. Between them, they must foil a plot by the Grimsson brothers to sell one boy and one girl to the trolls who live on Troll Fell.
TROLL MILL by Katherine Langrish
Fifteen-year-old Peer Ulfsson is haunted by his past. Forced to live with his evil uncles under the eerie shadows of Troll Fell, he nearly fell prey to their plan to sell children to the trolls. Now Peer lives with his friend Hilde's family, but can he ever truly belong? And will Hilde ever share his deeper feelings?
One rainy night, Peer watches in shock as his neighbor Kersten pushes her baby daughter into his arms and then disappears into the sea. Rumor says that Kersten is a seal woman who has returned to her ocean home, and the millpond witch, Granny Green-teeth, seems intent on taking the "seal baby." Peer also discovers that the mill, abandoned when his uncles joined the troll kingdom, is running again -- all on its own?
With angry trolls, mysterious seal people, a mischievous house spirit, and three unusual babies in the mix, Peer and Hilde have their hands full and more! Katherine Langrish returns to the magical world of her acclaimed debut, troll fell, in this second story set in an extraordinary land by the sea filled with Viking legends and lore.
SIXTEEN by Megan McCafferty
Dating! Drama! Driving!
Remember what it was like to be sixteen? Whether it was the year your teeth were finally free of braces or the year you were discovered by the opposite sex, that magical, mystical age is something you will never forget. A compilation of short stories inspired by all the angst, melodrama, and wonderment of being sixteen.
Sarah Dessen’s “Infinity” is about a girl confronting two major milestones: getting her driver’s license and losing her virginity. The Dead Girls in Jacqueline Woodson’s “Nebraska 99” have already decided to “do it” and must now cope with being teenage mothers. And Carolyn Mackler’s “Mona Lisa, Jesus, Chad, and Me” explores whether friendship can survive when partying and prayer clash. Also included is a new Jessica Darling story by Megan McCafferty about the last fifteen minutes Jessica spends—or rather, doesn’t spend—with her best friend, Hope, who is leaving Pineville.
Featuring stories by Steve Almond, M. T. Anderson, Julianna Baggott, Cat Bauer, Emma Forrest, Tanuja Desai Hidier, David Levithan, Sarah Mlynowski, Sonya Sones, Zoe Trope, Ned Vizzini, and Joseph Weisberg, these hilarious, poignant, and touching tales are perfect for both those who have yet to reach that milestone and those who want to reminisce about their “sweetest” year.
GRL 2 GRL by Julie Anne Peters
In this honest, emotionally captivating short story collection, renowned author and National Book Award finalist Julie Anne Peters offers a stunning portrayal of young women as they navigate the hurdles of relationships and sexual identity. From the young lesbian taking her first steps toward coming out to the two strangers who lock eyes across a crowded train, from the transgender teen longing for a sense of self to the girl whose abusive father has turned her to stone, Peters is the master of creating characters whose own vulnerability resonates with readers and stays with them long after the last page is turned. Grl2grl shows the rawness of teenage emotion as young girls become women and begin to discover the intricacies of love, dating and sexuality.
ART GEEKS AND PROM QUEENS by Alyson Noël
Being the new girl is toughjust ask sixteen-year-old Rio Jones. A New York transplant, Rio has no clue how shes going to fit in at her fancy new private school in Southern California. Plus, being late, overdressed, and named after a Duran Duran song doesnt help make the first day any easier. Then, Rio meets Kristi. Beautiful, rich, and a cheerleader, Kristi is the queen bee of Newport Beach. And, Kristi isnt friends with just anyone, so Rio is thrilled when shes invited to be part of the most exclusive, popular cliquea world of underage drinking, drug dabbling, and hooking-up. At first, Rio is having a great time. But, as she becomes more immersed in this jet set crowd, Rio figures out there is one unspoken rule that her new friends forgot to mention: dont cross Kristi.
THE BERMUDEZ TRIANGLE by Maureen Johnson
Nina, Mel and Avery have been best friends since they were tiny. But one summer can change everything. When Nina goes away for a month, she comes back to find the world has changed. Mel and Avery have their own secret: one Nina can't be part of.
ARTHUR AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY by Luc Besson
Arthur's quest takes him into the heart of the forbidden city ...
Arthur's backyard looks like a peaceful, ordinary garden -- if you are human-sized, that is. But if you're half an inch tall, like the Minimoys, this backyard is a vast world where fierce battles are fought, ferocious monsters are faced, and one evil wizard, Maltazard the Cursed, rules with cruel power from his terrifying stronghold: Necropolis, the forbidden city.
Now ten-year-old Arthur -- magically transformed into a Minimoy -- and his Minimoy companions, brave Princess Selenia and mischievous Prince Betameche, must somehow find a way into this forbidden city. Their mission: to rescue Arthur's grandfather, recover a stolen treasure, and save the land of the Minimoys once and for all, before it's too late.
But once you're inside the forbidden city .... can you ever get out again?
ROBIN’S COUNTRY by Monica Furlong
Dummy, a mute servant boy, flees his cruel master, stumbles upon Robin Hood's secret hideaway, proceeds to unravel the mysteries of his own origins, and finds the opportunity to prove his bravery and worth.
BURIED FIRE by Jonathan Stroud
Deep in the English countryside, the unearthing of an ancient Celtic cross awakens an imprisoned dragon and unleashes a smoldering evil. Less than a mile away, 13-year-old Michael McIntyre falls asleep on a lush green hill, and wakes up with frightening and sinister new abilities. Michael possesses the four gifts of the dragon-and he's not the only one, nor is he the most powerful. The others, whose identities will be slowly revealed, offer Michael powers beyond his wildest dreams if he will keep their secret safe. Now he must choose: give up these astonishing but devastating new abilities and help his family and friends banish the evil that lies beneath their fragile earth, or join the others in their crusade to protect their gifts and set the dragon free - a choice that may well destroy everyone Michael loves. Those with power will stop at nothing to keep its secret, while those without it need Michael's protection to survive. Buried Fire combines elements of fantasy and mythology in a spellbinding tale of good versus evil.
THE LEAP by Jonathan Stroud
After her best friend, Max, drowns, Charlie Fletcher is overwhelmed with shock and grief. When she attempts to explain what happened that day at the Mill Pond, no one believes her. The doctors and her mother think she may be hallucinating, or worse-crazy. Even her sympathetic brother can't understand what is happening to her. Charlie nearly died trying to save Max and as an aftermath to this terrifying experience, Charlie begins to have incredibly vivid dreams, where she sees Max walking far in the distance in a strange land. She tries to catch up, but she can never reach him. Sleep soon becomes her only passion. But one night, after waking up from a dream with cuts and bruises, she realizes that her nighttime excursions are real. She alone has the power to hunt for Max. And she knows he's out there somewhere. To save him, she'll follow his trail wherever it goes-even beyond the limits of this world.
DEEP SECRET by Diana Wynne Jones
Rupert Venables is a Magid.
It's a Magid's job to oversee what goes on in the vast Multiverse. Actually, Rupert is really only a junior Magid. But he's got a king-sized problem. Rupert's territory includes Earth and the Empire of Korfyros. When his mentor dies Rupert must find a replacement. But there are hundreds of candidates. How is he supposed to choose? And interviewing each one could take forever.
What if he could round them all up in one place?
THE BOY WITH THE THORN IN HIS SIDE by Pete Wentz