Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Talk & Giveaway: DRESS CODES FOR SMALL TOWNS by Courtney Stevens

As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods…and maybe with Janie Lee, too.

Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic. Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms—this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Thursday Thoughts

Thoughts lately...

1) I'm very grateful for the invention of Bluetooth technology. When I'm "writing" while I drive, (which includes gestures and speaking) people just think I'm swanky and up-to-date, not insane.

2) It's extremely difficult to hold your tongue perfectly still. Seriously. Go stand in front of mirror with your mouth hanging open and concentrate on your tongue. It moves. Even when you're telling it not to. Conclusion: your tongue is self-aware.

3) You cannot name the person you are in a relationship with on Facebook if they are not on Facebook. Isn't this an indicator of a cult? You shall not date someone outside of the group.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

GIVEN TO THE EARTH Cover Reveal & ARC Giveaway!

So excited to share the cover for GIVEN TO THE EARTH, the sequel to GIVEN TO THE SEA. Pop on over to Penguin Teen to see the cover and be sure to enter the giveaway below!

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Wednesday WOLF

I've got a collection of random information in my brain that makes me an awesome Trivial Pursuit partner, but is completely useless when it comes to real world application. Like say, job applications. I thought I'd share some of this random crap with you in the form of another acronym-ific series. I give you - Word Origins from Left Field - that's right, the WOLF. Er... ignore the fact that the "from" doesn't fit.

In the spirit of my editing hatchet, I found two fun wood-cutting idioms to play with today.

Ever see someone fly off the handle? I have, because I used to work in the public school systems, but even if you don't see temper tantrums on a daily basis you know what the phrase means. Someone in this state has lost control... and that's a fairly accurate description of what happens when the head of your axe flies off the handle. For those of you who aren't active wood-choppers, you can still appreciate the sudden loss of a counterweight, I'm sure. The first published use of "to fly off the handle" goes to Thomas Haliburton, in one of his Sam Slick shorts, The Attache: Or, Sam Slick In London, published 1844.

Writers - ever accomplished something in the nick of time? Sure you have. Any clue what that means? Again, this is a good old wood-chopping term. In case you don't know, if you ever want to hack your way through a particularly large piece of lumber it's smart to make a niche with your hatchet first, a small v-shaped groove that weakens that spot. The idea is to hit that niche again and again with your heavier implement, an axe or a maul. And while that makes sense, if you've ever tried to haul an axe or a maul over your head and then bring it down on a precise spot... well, it's not that easy. In fact, it's kind of a special skill reserved for farmer's daughters.

Ok, not really.

But in any case, that niche, or "nick," is a small area - or frame of time - to hit.

So good job if you manage it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Candace Ganger: Choosing Which Idea to Focus On And Write

Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come to us like a lightning bolt, through the lyrics of a song, or in the fog of a dream. Ask any writer where their stories come from and you’ll get a myriad of answers, and in that vein I created the WHAT (What the Hell Are you Thinking?) interview. Always including in the WHAT is one random question to really dig down into the interviewees mind, and probably supply some illumination into my own as well.

Today's guest for the WHAT is Candace Ganger, a mother, blogger, and contributing writer for sites like Teen Vogue, TWLOHA, Bustle, Romper, XO Jane & Hello Giggles. She’s also an obsessive marathoner and continual worrier (yay!). Her debut YA novel, THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH, will be out via St. Martin’s Griffin July 25th, 2017. Aside from having past lives as a singer, nanotechnology website editor, and world’s worst* vacuum sales rep, she’s also ghostwritten hundreds of projects for companies, best-selling fiction and award-winning nonfiction authors alike.

Ideas for our books can come from just about anywhere, and sometimes even we can’t pinpoint exactly how or why. Did you have a specific origin point for your book?

I did. The inciting incident is loosely based on a tragedy that struck my family in 1979. There’s a newspaper clipping of the accident that’s always haunted me so I knew I had to re-write this story in a way that honors those affected by the tragedy. There came a day the idea wouldn’t leave me alone so I started tracking the skeletal bits of information and finally, sat down and with the opening line and a clear visual of the person speaking it, I sat down and wrote. That line will be in the book.

Once the original concept existed, how did you build a plot around it?

Surprisingly, I had no trouble with this story even in the early draft. And though things changed a bit from that draft, the characters came to me fully developed in a flash. They already had these nuances I couldn’t ignore so really, I tried to listen to what they told me. I’ve never had this happen before or since with any other story. I attribute this to the core of the story burning a hole in my soul. Like if I didn’t write it in this way, my family could maybe never heal.

Have you ever had the plot firmly in place, only to find it changing as the story moved from your mind to paper?

Yes. In fact, I had to cut a whole thread after a reader (an agent, actually) pointed out some things to strengthen it. I revised the entire book in 3 days and have barely touched it since (aside from a few editorial fixes). The biggest thing for me to let go of, though, is the changing of my ending. I felt it should go one way, while the end result will have something different. Perhaps that will be released separately at some point ☺

Do story ideas come to you often, or is fresh material hard to come by?

Oh, gosh. This is a running joke with everyone who works with me. I always have a million ideas going on at once but because of my OCD and anxiety, I have difficulty making decisions so I need someone to step in and say “listen—you’re going to work on this now, and this next.” Otherwise, I’ll start several projects that may or may not make it to the end. Like right now, I have 5 projects happening. I like to stay busy to keep up with my brain and writing helps me calm the voices.

How do you choose which story to write next, if you’ve got more than one percolating?

Again, I basically have to have someone tell me which one to focus on. Sometimes there’s a story eating at me for some time. Maybe it’s only a general idea or a piece of the puzzle so I’ll stew about it for days, weeks, months even, until I feel it complete enough to sit down and devote my full attention to. I write a wide range of things so I’m never lacking for a subject (just the ability to commit)!

I always, always, always empty my bladder before I start writing. Nothing stops short a burst creativity like a burst of urine. Do you have any “musts” before you sit down to write? 

I like The Food Network on TV as background noise. A latte is preferred and my water. Other than that, if my youngest (4 yo) is napping or at pre-k and my eldest (9 yo) is keeping busy, I’m good to go.

Monday, July 24, 2017

This Week In My World & 23 Signed Books Giveaway!

I started a new jigsaw puzzle.

Honestly, there are actually a lot of really exciting things going on in my world but... I can't necessarily talk about them right now. I'll have news for you when I'm able to share!

And seriously, I did start a new jigsaw puzzle.

I've started to use Tumblr as a dream journal. People are always asking me what it's like inside my head. I always say it's the soundtrack to Beetlejuice in there, but if you'd like more insight, follow my Tumblr.

There's a new podcast episode for you to listen to. It's the roundup episode for the month of July, as well as an explanation of H.R. 1695 - the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act. If you're a writer, you should probably be aware of what it is, why it's happening, and what it means for you. As always, if you find the podcast or this blog helpful, please consider becoming a supporter.

The podcast will be taking a break for the month of August, but there are 21 episodes with writers from all walks and genres - YA, MG, memoir, historical, adult - there's an ep for you.

In the meantime, definitely checkout this humongous giveaway. Win a signed GIVEN TO THE SEA and A MADNESS SO DISCREET plus 21 other books!

And, because I have a few ARCs of THIS DARKNESS MINE that landed in my lap recently, I suppose I will do a giveaway. 

Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Book Talk & Giveaway: HOW TO DISAPPEAR by Sharon Huss Roat

My book talks are coming at you from a librarian, not a reviewer. You won't find me talking about style or craft, why I think this could've been better or what worked or didn't work. I only do book talks on books I liked and want other people to know about. So if it's here I probably think it won't injure your brain if you read it.

Vicky Decker has perfected the art of hiding in plain sight, quietly navigating the halls of her high school undetected except by her best (and only) friend, Jenna. But when Jenna moves away, Vicky’s isolation becomes unbearable.

So she decides to invent a social life by Photoshopping herself into other people’s pictures, posting them on Instagram under the screen name Vicurious. Instantly, she begins to get followers, so she adds herself to more photos from all over the world with all types of people. And as Vicurious’s online followers multiply, Vicky realizes she can make a whole life for herself without ever leaving her bedroom. But the more followers she finds online, the clearer it becomes that there are a lot of people out there who feel like her— #alone and #ignored in real life.

To help them, and herself, Vicky must find the courage to face her fear of being “seen,” because only then can she stop living vicariously and truly bring the magic of Vicurious to life.

Want to help me with mailing costs? I do giveaways at least once week, sometimes more. It can add up. If you feel so inclined as to donate a little to defray my mailing costs, it would be much appreciated! Donating has no impact on your chances of winning.


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