Friday, August 31, 2007

Readergirlz: October 1-31

There has been a lot of chatter recently about the big project coming up from Readergirlz. From October 1-31, Readergirlz will be having chats with 31 authors for 31 days. Authors include (and, oh is it a BIG list!): Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Sara Zarr, Lisa Yee and Holly Black, among others.

Blogs from Little Willow and YA Fresh have offered news about the huge event, so stay tuned to their blogs for the latest.

Are you going to check out the event?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Congrats to Sara Hantz!

A big, BIG congrats to Sara Hantz on the release of her YA novel, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green by Flux. Visit her blog party this week to read posts from Sara, Alyson Noel and other fav authors.

Yay, Sara! :)

Okay, I'm off and back to editing...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

I've got some cool news to share on this Wednesday morning! My dad's company partnered with ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition and they built a house in Minnesota over the past week. The episode will air during sweeps in November and you'll be able to see my dad's company (Eniva) and a bunch of the company employees and owners who signed on to help.

I was this close to flying to Minnesota to help rebuild and sneak a glance at the photo shoot with Ty Pennington and the gang, but my dad had to fly somewhere else for the week, so it was a no go.

I'm working on edits today and am getting ready for the holiday weekend. Anyone have any plans? I'll be writing, sifting through my pile of YA and MG must reads and grilling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blog at Lamar

I blogged about America's reading habits at Lamar today. Check it out here! I'll be blogging there every Tuesday for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Magazines and too many books

Anyone get their September issue of Romance Writers Report yet? If so, be sure to check out my article on increasing Website traffic. It's my first publication in RWR and it's a thrill to have a pub credit in a new (for me) magazine.

I've been taking a break from freelancing for a while and have been allowing editors to contact me when they need something, instead of sending queries. I do an occasional query when I can't pass up a story idea, but I turned to focus fully on fiction for right now.

Today, however, no writing has occured since we've been dealing with storms and it would be my luck for my surge protector to get hit. So, I've been watching movies (Spiderman, Ella Enchanted) with my brother and reading. Lots of reading. The local librarians gave me the evil eye on Friday because I practically cleaned out their teen/tween section and have an insanely large load of books. I'll take a pic sometime. Plus, the more I check out the more I struggle over what to read first! Pretty Little Liars, Shug or Girls on Film? Choices, choices.

Since I'm a little out of the loop on the magazine biz, what are your fav magazines? Teen or adult. Share them here!

Oh, and anyone else watching the Teen Choice Awards tonight? C'mon, you know you want to see Avril perform. ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Edits and more

(Excuse the crooked shot!)

I've been editing like crazy today--focusing on my first young adult novel, Blackheart Mountain. It's the first round of line edits and there's still the ending to write although I have it fully outlined. It's a fun book to write and how different it is writing for a sixteen-year-old than writing for Sasha, my thirteen-year-old in High Jumps.

I've also been getting caught up on my blog reading and wow, lots has been happening in the lit world especially with lots of new deals over at Verla Kay. Way to go, guys! :)

So, I thought I'd share a page from the August/September Tallahassee Woman. I didn't post the last one here and figured it was a nice way to help promote the mag, too.

If you're interested in talks about plots, head over to Diana's blog and get in on the conversation.

Tomorrow, I'll be blogging for the Lamar Write Site, so come join me there!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fall TV: What will you watch?

I'm a self-professed TV junkie and as such, I absolutely cannot wait to stop
watching summer reality TV (except for Big Brother) and get back to scripted shows. In addition to shows already on air, there are several new shows that caught my eye. Here’s the list of shows I can’t wait to see:

Cashmere Mafia

The title alone makes me want to try it.

Gossip Girl

Any book to TV is a must see.

Kid Nation

Kids with their own mini-city—how cool is that?!

Survivor: China

As the first show to have such access to filming a reality show in China, I’m curious to see how this season unfolds.

Dirty Sexy Money

Uber-talented Donald Sutherland and the return of Portia De Rossi in this ABC show has me hooked for the pilot.

Pushing Daisies

This one received some of the best early reviews and the previews are gorgeous.

Private Practice

Shonda Rimes, I am not worthy. :)

Lipstick Jungle

Loved the book and we’ll see about Brooke.

New or old, what are you looking forward to this season?

*Finally, something off topic.*

Major congratulations to Florida State University’s own WILL BIGHAM who won last night’s On the Lot. Will won a million dollar contract with Dreamworks and is now working for Mr. Steven Spielberg. Yay, Will and congrats to you and your lovely family!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Book Club

I just finished reading The Jane Austen Book Club (yes, it's in theaters now (with the ever lovely Emily Blunt), I believe) by Karen Joy Fowler. The book flew by in a gorgeous back and forth between the characters, all from different backgrounds, who come together over their love of Jane Austen novels.

The camaraderie and sense of unity in the book made me want a book club of my own! The characters found such interesting ways to connect their lives to the lives of Austen's characters and I learned more about Austen from the eyes of Fowler's characters than I did in school.

So, does anyone belong to a book club? Or ever belonged to one? If not, what kind of book club would you join?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Current WIP--share 'em!

This weekend, I made a master list of all of the projects I plan to outline and then eventually pitch to my agent.

The list is now made up of:

* 2 MGs
* 7 YAs
* 1 non-fiction for teens.

Seeing "the list" in print helps me visualize my goals much more clearly and I've gotten back to working on other pieces besides HJ. At first, I thought I should only work on HJ until the edits were done, but that actually doesn't have to happen. I can happily switch between two projects and that keeps things fresh and interesting. So, now I'm going back and forth between Blackheart Mountain (my tenatively titled YA) and HJ. Nice. Both are completely different in tone, voice, style and my writing zest has been renewed! :)

This weekend, during editing, I found something new, too.... watching sports while editing is actually FUN. Coming from someone who only watches horse racing, I never thought I'd say that. Yesterday, I watched the ah-dorable (Sorry, too many Clique novels) Little Leaguers and oh, my, were they playing like the men! Wow! Last night, I watched the 2007 Visa Championships in women's gymnastics and I cannot wait to see the rest tonight.

Ahem, sorry. Back from the side rant about sports.

Share your current WIP. What's it about? Are you switching around with multiple projects or focusing on one?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Published in Shriners Newsletter

Care & Share, the newsletter of Shriners Hospital for Children, was nice enough to publish an article about me in their summer 2007 issue. I've been working with Shriners for years after having a spinal fusion and I'm grateful to be featured in this issue.
A big thank you to Tammy Robbins for orchestrating everything! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chincoteague Island Library Needs Help

(Borrowing this pic from the Chincoteague Island Library Website)

I was reading Anne Marie Pace's LJ when I came across this post. Yes, that photo is of a library. Does your library look anything like that? I bet not.

With a poverty rate of 27% and Virginia's highest illiteracy rate, this library needs an extreme makeover. This tiny, struggling library is in the city where one of the most famous ponies, Misty, came to life through Marguerite Henry's series. I've been passionate about horses and reading since I was little and I feel an even tighter connection to this cause since Aladdin published the Misty series and they are also publishing my forthcoming horse series.

I've been thinking about Anne Marie's post for a few days and am trying to think of something we all can do to help.

If you'd like to donate to the library, they are accepting donations to rebuild and expand. I plan to contact them to ask if they accept book donations, too. I'm racking my brain to see if there's a way to help next year if I'm able to take a trip to VA.

If you want to visit the library's Website, visit

Monday, August 13, 2007

Teen Fiction Cafe

Thanks to the fab Sara Hantz, I will now be a regular blogger at Teen Fiction Cafe! I'll let everyone know when my first post in September goes up and if you haven't already, check it out!

I'm excited to finally join a group blog. I feel like the kid who got picked for the cool kids' soccer team. :)

Off to edit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Music in book trailers

I'm thinking ahead (not really too far since summer 2008 is only a year away!) to marketing tactics to reach tween readers.

Along with the class of 2k8, we're doing book trailers and I think it's a great idea! I started jotting down ideas and thinking about what I'd like to see in my trailer. We've found an amazing selection of book trailer creators and I'm thrilled to have any one of them work on the HJ trailer this winter.

I'm looking through photos, free online art and then there will be images that the designer also presents. But I still wanted newer pictures of horses that matched the tone of my book.

The timing with this turned out to be perfect because yesterday a local horse farm owner called me up after reading my article in the paper and asked if I wanted to come visit her farm. I haven't been around horses in so long and I jumped at the chance! I also explained to her about my need for new horse pics and perhaps video and she graciously told me to bring my camera and shoot away. Hopefully, I'll have good shots to share of the horses and moi when I get back from visiting sometime next week.

Okay, back to the music issue. Someone pointed out that if we used songs from our own CDs that it's illegal. Yup, after doing research that turns out to be true unless you want to pay thousands for the song rights. Yeah, I was sadly mistaken when I thought I could use Fergie's "Glamorous" in my movie. :)

I've been doing a little digging online and am compiling a list of Websites that have royalty free music available legally for a moderate fee. Some of the sites charge insane fees for music that's, well, not quite right for a tween trailer.

Have you done a book trailer? If so, what did you do about the music? If not, are you aware of any legal royalty free music sites?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Review: On Writing Romance by Leigh Michaels

Before you say "I don't write romance!" keep reading because this book is for any writer from teen to adult who writes any sort of relationship between two people.

Leigh Michaels has over 80 romance novels to her name and this book is for the beginning to middle-level writer with some sprinkles of good advice for the advanced writer.
Each chapter (from discussing the types of romance categories to plotting a sensual scene) is followed by a Q&A to determine if you grasped the important concepts in the book.
The final chapters offer advice on publishing and include sample queries.
The book isn't filled with graphics and it's a solid 275 pages of fairly tiny text. It's a great addition to any bookshelf and check it out here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Stephenie Meyer on GMA

Did anyone else catch Stephenie Meyer on Good Morning America today? She was on around 8:45am and she came with a following of fan girls crazed about the books. Stephenie was promoting today's release of Eclipse and she sounded as nice on TV as she does on her Website.

The fans were crazy! They filled the studio and were outside the windows with "I Love Edward Cullen!" t-shirts and posters. Imgine how it would feel to get teens fired up enough about your books to entice them into making t-shirts. That's a high level of stardom in the publishing biz, that's for sure.

I've only read Twilight, but I have the next two novels on order and can't wait to read them. If you've read Meyer, what's your take on the novels? Or the characters?

**PS** Thanks SO much to everyone who commented in my mean girls post! You all had fantastic ideas! :) I selected one and if it makes the final edits, I'll post the name and the person who suggested it!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mean girls in literature?

So, I'm editing now and am stumped on a character. I'm trying to come up with a name of a female villian (or bitchy girl) of sorts that's fairly well known to today's teens and tweens. I need this name to compare to my own mean female character. So, I'm thinking a Draco Malfoy type--but a girl. The character has to come from literature and not TV or movies. I would have loved to use Regina George, but alas she's from a movie.

I'm seriously stumped. I tried to think back on the books I've read recently, but can't think of any standout female who tortures the good girls.

Any suggestions? They could end up in print! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Books to movies

Lately, I've been reading books that have been made into movies such as Queen Bees and Wannabees (Mean Girls), Stardust, The Nanny Diaries, The Golden Compass and The Secret Garden.

Books to movies seems to be a growing trend in Hollywood. It does make sense, if you think about it. There is more potential box office bucks for a movie that has been a beloved book than perhaps a brand new film with no built in fan base.

On Yahoo!, a new trailer for Beowulf with Angelina Jolie is playing. Would you watch the Beowulf film?

What are some of your favorite books to movies?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Best of the Best 2007

The blog has been quiet lately because I've been in full out editing mode. I'm on a deadline for the editing of the first High Jumps (referred to from now on as HJ1 until the title changes). Over the past few days, I've been on a roll and haven't had a spare minute to blog.

For interested writers, The Atlantic published their 2007 list of the best schools for creative writers in grad programs. On the list? FSU (yay!), Boston U, NYU and Cornell, among others. The guide is fantastic and helpful in finding low residency programs and schools with notable alumni.

I'm not choosing MFA programs yet, but I do like to keep in the know about schools and their latest creative writing programs. Schools I like? Mmm...USC, NYU, Columbia and UNCW. Though I love fiction, I want a school that offers screenwriting, non-fiction and other areas that are accessible to writers of all genres.

Anyone in a graduate writing program? Or graduate from one? If so, share away!

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