Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

I want to post today to wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season! Hope you get to spend time drinking hot cocoa with the ones you love.

Oh, and one more thing I hope you'll do:

Prepare for a freaking AMAZING 2013! :)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dear Mayans, Let's Reschedule

Today I'm making a request of the Mayans, the Universe, and all Powers that Be. We've kind of got a lot going on right now. I have presents to wrap, cookies to frost and preparations for a vacation in January. Basically, I'm swamped. 

Anyone else think we should consider putting off this whole end of the world thing to a more convenient time? 

Good! Me too! :) So glad we're all in agreement.

Since we're all planning to be here awhile longer. Why don't you stop by this Cover Madness Giveaway over on Xpresso Reads. They're featuring INSOMNIA with a bunch of other awesome covers and giving some books away. 

And on a sincere note -- I probably won't be posting much over the holidays, and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. Thank you for reading my nonsense and celebrating my victories. I like sharing my journey and it sure wouldn't be fun without awesome people like you to share it with.

Happy Holidays! :)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Teen Author Boot Camp!

In March, I'm teaching a class at a writing conference, but it's not just any conference...it's a conference exclusively for TEEN writers!

And I can't wait!

Plus, there are some freaking cool people participating. Some of the other Drill Sergeants (as they call us) are: Kiersten White, Aprilynne Pike, Janette Rallison, Marion Jensen, Tyler Whitesides, J. Scott Savage--I could go on and on with other Sergeants, and this list would never cease to be awesome.

On top of all that, the keynote speaker is Shannon Hale...Face it, this list just crossed the line into epic.

Here are a few more details on the conference.

When: Saturday, March 16, 2013
From: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (registration begins at 8 a.m.)
Where: Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah
Who: Teens ages 13-19, no adults allowed :)
Cost: $49 before February 16th, 2013, $59 after
Includes: tuition, lunch, t-shirt, backpack, unlimited drinks, snacks, entrance to the writing contest, and more.

In conjunction with the conference is a first-chapter writing contest for attending teens. A prize ($100 value) will be awarded to first prize in both the Jr. High and High School categories. And really, who doesn't like winning?

Anyway, I just wanted to help spread the word. If you have any teen writers in your lives, I'm thinking: SWEET Christmas present! :)

You can find more details here.

And don't forget to submit your query for my Forging Fridays to get a critique!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 Books I Love for 12-12-12

Since today is 12-12-12, I thought it would be fun to do a list of the twelve books that pop to the top of my head when I think of (mostly)YA & MG that I loved.

Note:(I disqualified any books that aren't out yet. Including 13's would make this WAY too hard!)

And so, in no particular order:

1 - Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
2 - Elliot and the Goblin War by Jennifer A. Nielsen
3 - Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
4 - Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
5 - Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
6 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
7 - The Kill Order by James Dashner
8 - Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - not to be confused with French Kiss Anna, fyi--very different ;-)
9 - Ten by Gretchen McNeil
10 - Everneath by Brodi Ashton
11 - I Am Not A Serial Killer - Dan Wells
12 - Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

What about you? What are the first 12 books-you-loved that pop in your head today?

P.S. Did you miss my post on Monday? Will you (or someone you know) be querying anytime in the next 6 months? I'll be posting query critiques every Friday starting in January! More info here.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Forging Fridays: Want a Query Critique?

This last Saturday marked 6 months exactly before the release of Insomnia.

I'm feeling excited, happy, and extremely lucky.

So, in the spirit of the season and giving, I wanted to do something useful for aspiring authors.

One very difficult step along the way to becoming traditionally published is querying. It can suck, hardcore. I know how hard it can be. Between the rejection, frustration and all the waiting, it's tempting to wave the white flag.

Querying is one of the many steps that forge a writer and prepare them for what they eventually want to become.

Some of you may know that my background is in marketing. This seems to have given me an advantage. Understanding both stories and hooks is crucial to writing a good query.

So, I'm starting a new event on my blog: Forging Fridays. I am open to receive queries starting today. I will post one query critique on my blog every Friday starting January 4th, 2013 and (as long as I have queries to critique--counting on you guys for that part) I'll keep it going at least through the Friday before my Insomnia release, June 7th, 2013.

It won't be easy to volunteer. It's scary to have your work publicly critiqued, believe me, I know this. I promise to be gentle but honest. And to be clear, if you aren't willing to have things you write critiqued online, you really shouldn't be pursuing traditional publication anyway.

What do you say? Are you ready to go all in? You can find info on how/where to send your query at the tab up top labelled Forging Fridays ~or~ you can click here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Great Dr. Mario Epiphany of 2012!

I love Dr. Mario.

And I am very, very good at it.

My favorite part is the planning. I carefully construct multiple towers so that at some point down the line I can find the perfect circumstances to make everything explode and rain down chaos on my opponent.


While pounding my sister and mom into Nintendo despair last weekend, I realized something. If I substitute a couple of words, this is also exactly what I love about writing. Observe:

My favorite part is the planning. I carefully construct multiple plot-lines so that at some point down the line I can find the perfect circumstances to make everything explode and rain down chaos on my main character/reader.

Aha! Now you see.

Why yes, I am an evil genius. Thank you for noticing.

So what about you? What is your favorite aspect of writing/playing Dr. Mario? ;-)

Monday, December 3, 2012

To Follow or Not to Follow (Trends) -- That is the Question

I'm going to start off this post by giving some well-known and very wise advice that all writers should know. Are you ready? Ahem...

Do not follow trends.
It will not do you any good.
By the time you finish your book there will be a new trend.
Write what you love instead.

There. I've done my good deed for the day. Everyone gets a cookie. :)

Now comes the other advice...

Don't ignore the trends.

How is that for contradictory?

Here is an example. Let's say that you have two ideas you love equally, but one of them is dystopian and dystopian is extremely hard to sell right now. In that case, leaning toward the other is a smarter decision.

I guess what I'm saying is...both follow your gut and be smart about the business aspect at the same time. Make sense?

What about you? Any good advice to give me on this brisk winter Monday?