Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shatter Me

A few months ago I posted how much the trailer to "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi intrigued me, and how much I wanted to read it, which can be found in this post here. Well, now I have a chance to win an ARC over at A Fool's Golden Paradise, and you do, too, if you would like to enter. I'm so excited! I know I've already made this clear, but I'M DYING TO READ THIS BOOK! Wish me luck! And I, too, wish you luck if you are going to enter.

And the Blog Award Goes To...

I won an award?!

First and foremost I have to say a big thank you Francesca Zappia over at The Lobster Tank for giving me this award, and sorry it has taken me so long to express my thanks--I cannot express how I elated I am! :D

But now...
photo found here

It's my turn to give out the award! Eeep, I'm so excited!

This is why it has taken me so long to respond to the award. One of the main rules of the award is to give it to blogs with less than two hundred follows. That's been hard to find out, because, is it just me or do you have trouble getting people's followers to load? It took me days of constantly checking to load the followers boxes, but I finally got 'em! :)

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!

So here are my top 5 picks in alphabetical order:

1. A Fool's Golden Paradise - Taryn is writer who keeps up with upcoming books and writes great book reviews. She is also part of an editing service called Teen Eyes.
2. A Writer in Bloom - Lora is an aspiring author with great posts and an amazing book pitch--I can't wait til it's published to read it.
3. Books 4 Juliet - A girl crazy about books and coffee created this beautiful blog to discuss YA books. April will help you stay updated about upcoming books and gives great, helpful reviews. She has educated me about many novels and has influenced my decision many times about whether or not I want to read them.
4. Dystopian Divas - Love dystopian books like The Hunger Games and Divergent? Dystopian Divas offer everything dystopian. Go check them out!
5. Songs and Stories - I found this blog very recently. I find it beautiful, because of the art work and faded map background. The blog features books, music, travel, and fantastic artwork.
Now I have to go tell these people that have been awarded. Eeep!!

400 Hours to "Four Hundred Days" Drawing Contest

Four Hundred Days book cover
For those of you who like to draw, sketch, or create art electronically, I discovered a character/creature drawing contest going on over at Stuck In Books for "Four Hundred Days" by Lor Mandela. They are giving away prizes for first and second place, but you better hurry; it ends tonight at 11:59

It's been a while since I've drawn, but I gave it a shot.
The description given for Maggie is:
  • Seventeen years old
  • From Glenhill, Iowa
  • Long curly, black hair almost to her waist
  • Vivid blue eyes
  • Full peachy lips
  • Slightly freckled cheeks
  • Very beautiful

I hope I did all right. *Crosses fingers*

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dancing With The Monster

This week's YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday Topic:

What was the best book you read in July?

Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina--she's fearless.

Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul--her life.

Not only is Kristina a good girl, she is a good girl with a desperation for love, so when she meets an attractive, suave boy by the name Adam (a.k.a Buddy) and he takes an interest in her, an alter ego of Kristina comes out. You can call her Bree. She is nothing like Kristina--she is quick with the innuendos, attractive to guys, a party animal, and, ultimately, stronger than Kristina. When Adam introduces Kristina to the monster called "crank" Bree jumps at the chance, thirsting for a good time.

"Crank" is 544 pages of an anticipating, beautifully written story of a good girl's fall from grace. It took me only two days to read--calculating it farther, it probably only took me hours. I didn't want to put it down, and when I had the chance to pick it back up again--in between stirring breakfast included--I took advantage of it.

Sad to say, it was painful but enticing to watch Kristina fall into the grasps of addiction--it was explained so well. The objective and significance of the book is well addressed, slowly leading to the consequences of "dancing with the monster" crank. After leaving her father and Adam, Kristina goes home to Reno, Nevada, high and looking for a dealer. Easy enough she finds one, but not without consequences on her behalf.

"Crank" is a story loosely based off the author, Ellen Hopkin's, daughter and her addiction to crank. The idea of the book came from Hopkin's curiosity of why her daughter made the decisions she did, and what part Ellen played in her daughter's life. In the process of writing the book from her daughter's perspective, Ellen not only learned more about her daughter, she learned about herself.

The most interesting aspect of the book is that it is written in verse. Though some of the writing is short, it is perfectly balanced with description, phrasing, and beauty of the writing. Not only is it written in verse, some of the paragraphs take shapes such as arrows, V's, houses, and crosses.

For an excerpt, here is page one:

"Flirtin’ with the Monster

Life was good
before I
              the monster
               was great,

            for a little while."

For those who don't know what crank is, it the most addicting and consequential drug:  methamphetamine.

Here are some websites if you would like to learn more about the book and the author:
"Crank" at Amazon--You can peek into the book for more excerpts

And here are some websites if you would like to learn more about the mental and physical consequences of using crank:

What are some great books you've read this month?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Music Monday (#1)

Since music plays such an important part in my writing, I've decided to have a feature called Music Monday where I will post a song--or like today when I will feature multiple songs from an artist--that have inspired me in the past week or I just think are awesome.

So for Monday number one, the first person to make the list is the classic, rock and roll queen Joan Jett. I've been listening to her music all week, so much that it inspired a story--and possibly even a book. A few of my favorite songs by her are, of course, I Love Rock and Roll; Bad Reputation; I Hate Myself For Loving You; and Cherry Bomb.

Last year there was a movie made about Joan Jett's first band, the movie titled the same as the band, The Runaways, starring Kristin Stewart and Dakota Fanning. Here's the trailer.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Need A Great Revision Tool? Remember "The Backpack"

Photo taken by me; modeled by Courtney C.
I've been meaning to post this for a month or so, but something always seems to intervene, whether my photo shoot for the post was delayed or it was simply my procrastination. After posting When Writing Fails, Facepalm last week--saying how I was having trouble with an overloaded plot--I thought there was no better time than now to finally write this.

Photo by me; modeled by Courtney C.
About a month ago I watched a live streaming of "The Dark Days of Supernatural" book tour featuring authors Veronica Roth of "Divergent"; Tara Hudson of "Hereafter"; Amy Plum of "Die For Me"; Aprilynne Pike of "Illusions"; and Ellen Schreiber of "Vampire Kisses 8: Cryptic Cravings." There was one piece of advice Veronica Roth said that has stuck with me since--only recently have I discovered she has a blog post about it, as well. It was a great advice that I have taken to heart, especially since my book feels so overrun by ideas.

Attention Writers: When revising, remember "The Backpack"!

"I learned about The Backpack from my writing professor (the brilliant Shauna Seliy). And it goes like this: imagine that you are about to embark upon a twenty mile hike through the wilderness, and you have to fit everything you need into one backpack. Do you want to bring your hair dryer? Uh, no. First of all, because there aren't any plugs. Second of all, because no one's going to see you. And third, and most importantly, because it will take up space in your already cramped backpack, and it's completely unnecessary." 
  --Veronica Roth                     

The full content about "The Backpack" can be found here on Veronica Roth's blog.

Photo by me; modeled by Courtney C.
The purpose of the "The Backpack" is learning to cut out what scenes and subplots are not imperative to your characters or the plot of your story, no matter how painful it may be. There are many scenes currently in my book that I want to keep--I even find myself trying to convince myself that it IS essential to my book, other than being just a good scene. Finally, a few days ago, I told myself I'll worry about it when I'm done--throw all the stuff in "the backpack" and deal with the clutter later. This is a revising tool after all ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Grab Your Top Hats and Twirl Your Mustaches, We're Talkin' About Villains, Folks

This week the YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday topic is very fun.

Who are your favorite literary villains/antagonists, and why?

There are so many great options in the literary world, but I've always said one of my favorite female villains is the psychotic, cackling, wand wielding Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter.

I believe the reason why I'm so fascinated by Bellatrix is because she's so evil and psychotic. For those of you who do not know much about Bellatrix, she is one of Lord Voldemort's most passionate followers called a Death Eater. She hates muggles (humans) and mudbloods (half-blood breeds of wizards and humans, and wizards who are muggle born), loves to torture people, and she is deeply in love with Voldemort. But being incapable of love, Lord Voldemort does not love her back.

Before being thrown in the wizard prison called Azkaban for proudly being a follower of Voldemort, Bellatrix was beautiful, but time spent in such a horrible place, her face became more "gaunt and skull-like." She is described as having long, thick, and shiny black hair. Her lips are thin, eyes heavily lidded, a strong jaw, and is tall. Throughout the books she does many vicious things including murdering people--especially people close to Harry Potter-- helps in destroying Hogwarts, and tortures people such as Hermione--which is featured in the second video below, from YouTube. It is a clip from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, just to forewarn.

Though I like Bellatrix, you don't mess with Hermione >:(

Other than Bellatrix there are some great villains and antagonists out there, some still in the Harry Potter world such as Draco and Lucius Malfoy, Voldemort (of course), and Severus Snape.

A few of my other favorite villains are Sebastian in "City of Glass" who is featured on the cover of the book,

Damon Salvator from "The Vampire Diaries"--a very sexy antagonist, if I do add--
and Eric, the sneering, numerously peirced face Dauntless leader in "Divergent" by Veronica Roth.

Who are your favorite villains and antagonist?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Music Is My Inspiration

Or at least it's one of them.

98% of the time when I'm writing--or even when I'm not writing--I'm listening to music. So I thought for fun, I would post some music videos and songs that I've been obsessed with for a while. I hope you enjoy! If you know any good songs, feel free to suggest. I'd certainly love to know--no links though, please.

First off "The Pretender" by Cherri Bomb     (Love the band name!)

"Love You Like A Love Song" by Selena Gomez

"Make Me Wanna Die" by The Pretty Reckless  (Can you believe the lead singer is the girl who played Cindy Lou Hoo in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" Jim Carrey version? She's all grown up.)

Demi Lovato's new song "Skyscraper" (Go Demi!)

And to throw in some male vocals, here is Hot Chelle Rae with the song "Tonight, Tonight"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick Book Review

Hush, Hush

Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen -- and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life

Today I finished reading Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. I have heard many good things about this book, so I decided to check it out for myself. All I have to say is if you like fallen angels, bad boys, the heroine being stalked by someone in a ski mask who is obviously out to hurt her, and plot twists that make you go "Whoa!" then I definitely recommend you to read it. One of my favorite aspects of the book is, of course, the attractive, witty, bad boy with a grin named Patch Cipriano. I fell in love instantly.

The main story begins with the protagonist, Nora Grey, and her best friend, Vee, walking into biology class. They know right away what the new discussion is over by Barbie and Ken dolls propped against the chalkboard--the dreaded chapter of human reproduction. A few pages in, and a few minutes into class when they have to switch seats, Patch is introduced.

Nora is a rateable heroine to me. She is a normal girl with dreams of going to big colleges and writes for her schools magazine. Caring about her grades, when Patch doesn't put forth his effort to help her with their biology assignment, she hunts him down no matter how much she told herself she wouldn't. (That makes for an interesting scene as well.)

As if dealing with Patch isn't enough, a few other guys by the names Elliot and Jules pop into the picture. Vee is very interested in Jules, so Nora is pushed to Elliot. But who will she choose? Could the person in the ski mask possibly be either Elliot or Patch?

You'll have to read "Hush, Hush" to find out.

-About the Author-
Becca Fitzpatrick wrote "Hush, Hush" when her husband enrolled her into some writing classes. One of the scenes in the book was a topic given by her writing teacher:  write about an embarrassing moment, fictional or real. She wrote about a time while she was in biology class when her teacher was asking her embarrassing questions about what she would like in a mate.

Becca began writing "Hush, Hush" in 2003, but it wasn't until 2008--five years later--that it was sold to publishers. She sent out nearly one hundred query letters to agents before finally landing her agent, Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management.

Here are some interesting sites you might like to check out for "Hush, Hush":
Hush, Hush the Graphic Novel sketches
Becca Fitzpatrick's website
Becca Fitzpatrick's blog

Also, here are some excerpts I love from the book. I hope you enjoy!

"You possess other people's...bodies."
He accepted that statement with a nod.
"Do you want to possess my body?
"I want to do a lot of things to your body, but that's not one of them."

"Hang on, did you just call me Angel?" I asked.
"If I did?"
"I don't like it."
He grinned. "It stays, Angel."

"We don't have an address," I said, "but we know where he works."
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Vee asked, eyes brightening briefly through the haze of chemical sedation.
"Based on past experience, I hope not."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

When Writing Fails, Facepalm

Facepalm--to bring the palm to one's face as an expression of mixed humor and disbelief, embarassment, disgust, or shame. For example, when one is caught off-guard with a particularly bad pun. (definition found here)

"What's the biggest mistake you've made writing, querying, or publishing?"

This week, YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday topic is about mistakes in writing, and boy have I made some in the past! Even just remembering, I want to facepalm. In a previous post that can be found here, I talked about the first book I've ever written. I attempted it twice, the first time when I was about 12; it came out to be only 13 pages long. Well, at least I tried, right?

A few years later, when I was 15, I found the pages and remembered how much I loved the story, so I decided to give it another shot. First I wrote it out by hard copy using about eight notebooks and packets of pens--no exaggeration--and then I set out on the journey of typing it. All together it took me about a year and a half. I was proud of myself--I actually wrote a whole book! I stuck out the agony, hard work, and patience to finish it.

About the same time I was finishing the book, I done some research on a favorite  author of mine, Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight Saga. On her website, you can find her story of how she got published. I love that story, but as you scroll down, you see she nearly had problems publishing her book because of the word length being too long at 130K. My book was 240K. Uhm....FACEPALM!

After a while of thinking, I told myself that length might not matter if the agents like the story enough, so I queried away. Another bad idea. I still can't write a decent query letter, much less how bad it was a few years ago.

When I received nothing but rejections, I decided, "Well, maybe it is too big." So I did something else and hoped it would fix the problem:  I split the book into two. It certainly didn't help. Surprisingly enough, it didn't exactly leave the book plotless, but using the same old query letter didn't emphasize the book any. Eventually I realized that my writing needed a lot more work, so I have shoved that book in the back burner to rewrite later. I still love the story and the characters so much it hurt to have to tell them, "Not right now, guys. Sorry."

As of right now my WIP is going okay; my only problem is it is merely being run on scene ideas instead of a full plot, and I don't want to cut anything out even though  I know I have to. *Sigh* What's a girl to do?

Oh, yeah! Facepalm.

And here is this picture, just 'cause I thought it was humorous.


Have you had any facepalm moments with your writing, querying, or publishing? I certainly would love to hear them :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I've Been Inspired! By a Photo.

It's time for YA Highway's Road Trip Wednesday again, and I couldn't resist this week's topic.

What pictures inspire your writing and works in progress (WIP)?

Why can't I resist this topic? Well, here's a small story on why:
        One day, many moons ago--try about three or four years worth of moons--I was surfing I was bored, so I searched through pages and pages of photos, and I came upon one that really captured my attention. Instantly, I got an idea for a book, and then the next, and then the next. And wallah! My novel "Angel Wings" and its trilogy were born. All because of this photo...

I have no clue what it's from--if it's from a manga series or just a picture, but it's awfully beautiful and it certainly sparked inspiration.

Here are a few photo's focusing on setting and action in the book:

the forest packs den
Photo found here

Smoky Mountains Fall 2009
Photo found here

Alice In Wonderland - Alice's Sword
This is the Vorpal Sword from Tim Burton's version of "Alice in Wonderland." It reminds me of the swords used in my book.
"One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back."
 --Lewis Carrol,"Through the Looking Glass"

Wrapped In Chains.
Photo found here
Chains also play a role in my book. [Get your head outta the gutter! I don't mean it like that lol :)  ]

What photos inspire your writing? If not any photos, how about songs or other books?

Monday, July 4, 2011

It's Steampunk, Babeh.

In the Victorian era where technology operates by steam, where it is made of brass and cogs, of metal and oil, automations serve their masters and flying machines heed to adventurous souls. It is a time where people wear top hats, goggles, coattails, pocketwatches, and corsets,. Ladies and gentlemen envision a path not taken when it comes to technology, and being inventiors it is their priority to create such ingenious contraptions. This is the world of
Steampunk Banner
banner found here
A few weeks ago when I posted a book review of Cassandra Clare's "Clockwork Angel" I stated that I have been interested in the genre of steampunk for a few months. Finally, I decided I want to know more, so I delved deep into the sources offered on the Internet and now that I have a collection of information, I thought I would share that info incase you, like me, want to know more about the subject.

Steapunk Airship
airship photo found here
Being set in the Victorian era and focusing on technology, steampunk is subgenres of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative history. The name "Steampunk" was first established in the late 1980's to early 1990's, encompassing cyberpunk, though they don't have much in common due to the different time periods, level of technology, and steampunk plots tend to be less dystopian. While cyberpunk focuses on higher technology in the near future and most plots consist of hackers, artificial intelligence, and megacorporations, steampunk is known for "lighter-than-air" airships, automations, and analog and digital computers.

Captain Nemo's "Nautilus"
In literature, works by H. G. Wells, Jules Verne, Mark Twain, and Mary Shelley have influenced steampunk by scientific romance or have featured futuristic technologies. One of thee most well known examples of steampunk is Captain Nemo's submarine called Nautilus in the 1954 Walt Disney's film version of Jules Verne's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

Steampunk has become a famous subject in science fiction, so much that it has originated in art, today's culture, and, ultimately, fashion. The fashion is one of my favorite aspects. It can be whimsical with cogs and peices of metal, or it can be merely elegant and historical.

Steampunk ManSteampunk Girl

(Photos found here and here)

Before "Clockwork Angel" there was something else that brought my attention to steampunk. It was a music video by a favorite band of mine, Panic! at the Disco, for their song "The Ballad of Mona Lisa." If you like steampunk, there is a good chance you'll like the video, which is set at a wake, and the rules appearing through the video are mandatory at an Irish wake-- just FYI.

For fun, here is a website that will give you a Victorian and Steampunk name. I said I wanted to be a scientist, so the name they gave me was:  Professor Charity Hillard Hoult. It's really neat.
Also, here are the websites I found my information on if you would like to dive deeper into the world of Steampunk; they offer information thoroughly:

Also, here are some newer, young adult steampunk books you might like to check out:

What is your favorite aspect of steampunk? Is it the fashion and the Victorian era like mine? Or is it something else, such as the technology? Do you have any good steampunk books you would like to suggest?