30.3.10

Teaser Tuesday

I haven't done a teaser Tuesday in what seems like forever, and I have been writing, but everything I have written so far sucks. Every time I read over it, I don't know, I cringe.

But I keep having dreams about people living underground, and toxic waste, and adventures into the unknown. Dreams that I can't stop thinking about, even when I wake up.

Krista has decided to write a dystopian and she has persuaded me to give writing mine a try. I don't know anything about dystopian. I have read the Uglies series (would be considered dystopian or utopian?) The Giver, parts of Gathering Blue, and most recently The Hunger Games, but that's it. So please bare with me as you read this attempt of my first dystopian novel called As the World Burns.

I wake up to screams. Loud, blood-curdling screams that rattle my bones. It takes me a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, but soon I am able to make out the sleeping bags that are gathered around me. All of them are empty. Usually, I am able to hear when someone wakes up, but this time, I slept soundly. There were no nightmares about death or dying. It was just me and an endless twilight.

I pulled my arms out from under the covers, and shivered. The air was surprisingly cold. It made me want to wrap up in all the sleeping bags and go back to sleep for another hour, another day. But I had my early morning chores to do, and whoever was screaming wasn't going to stop long enough for me to get some more rest.

Reaching up, I grabbed a hold of the lantern, and took the cap off. A bright light filled the room, spraying the walls a faint orange. None of the other lanterns were in the room I noticed, as I scrambled to my feet. They were gone just like the other girls who slept in this room with me.

This was strange. I was the early riser in the group. Everyone else cried and moaned when the waking bell rang, and for some reason it didn't ring this morning. If it had, I didn't hear it. Which didn't make sense because the the waking bell was impossible to drown out. Just like these screams, they were loud and obnoxious and went on for what seemed like forever.

I moved over towards the table, where a basin filled with water was left, and set the lantern down beside it. Pushing up the sleeves of my pajama shirt, I dipped one of my fingers in. The water was still warm, which meant that it was heated up not too long ago. I was washing the sleep out of my eyes, when I realized what was going on. Today was the day. I don't how I could have forgotten about it, because everyone has been talking about it for days.

Celia was giving birth.

This wasn't the first time a girl in Under had a baby, but it was the first time in a long time that the baby made it through the nine months.
25.3.10

Captivating Thursday

Captivating Thursday is a meme hosted by Choco over at In Which A Girl Reads. Her blog is amazing, so if you haven't checked it out yet, do so now. But Captivating Thursday is all about finding beautiful things and bringing them together in one post. It could be a picture, a poem, a video, a quote or anything you see that makes your heart flutter.



"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will."

~ Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre


"Everyone gets lost at one point. It's how they find themselves that counts."

~ Raven Ashley, Mirror, Mirror

I shall forget you presently, my dear,
So make the most of this, your little day,
Your little month, your little half a year,
Ere I forget, or die, or move away,
And we are done forever; by and by
I shall forget you, as I said, but now,
If you entreat me with your loveliest lie
I will protest you with my favorite vow.
I would indeed that love were longer-lived,
And vows were not so brittle as they are,
But so it is, and nature has contrived
To struggle on without a break thus far, --
Whether or not we find what we are seeking
Is idle, biologically speaking.

~ Edna St. Vincent Millay, I Shall Forget


"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."

~ Jane Austen, Persuasion

23.3.10

you and me can write a bad romance

First off, Lady Gaga rocks.

Second off, I totally stole this idea from Choco, who wrote an extremely awesome post, that would pawn mine any day. So you should, like, go read it. Now. Clicky.

Third off, I'm not even going to go into what I think about today's YA romances. Because seriously. Some of the romances out there are ridiculous. A lot of them out there are crazy good, but there are a handful of them that just makes you want to throw the book across the room.

But I won't get into that. Especially since not too long ago (four years to be exact) I thought that stalker-ish, sparkly, dark, brooding vampires were the ideal love interest. But I have seen the light, and though I am not an expert, I do know what kind of romance that I like to read.

If you are reading this post, and you happen to have love triangle, square, circle, whatever, then pay close attention. Please.

Because I'm only going to say this once.

Romance has nothing to do with how drop-dead gorgeous the girl is or how smexy the guy is. Romance has nothing to do with steamy kissing scenes or the cheesy promises like I'll wait for you or You are my life.

If you have that stuff in your novel, then TAKE IT OUT NOW.

Some people go for that type of stuff, but a lot of people don't. When I read a young adult novel with romance elements, I want to feel it. I want it to be real. I want it to make me cry, make me smile, not make me gag because the words are too glittery or the love interest is too perfect.

No, no, no.

Love is about the words left unsaid. It's about the arguments, the heartbreak, the differences that are later resolved. Before you can truly love someone you have to know them. Forget all that love at first sight stuff.

People, this is the twenty first century. I'm not putting the love-at-first-sight method down, but come on. We all know that that is not how it works in real life.

In real life.

Think about it.

Have you ever been in a relationship where the girl or guy: a) stalked you b) treated you like dirt or c) wanted to kill you.

Anyone?

Okay I know a lot of girls/guys who have been in a B type of relationship, but if you have been in an A or C type of relationship, then there is something wrong with you.

In order for a young adult romance to be good, it has to be believable. It has to feel like it could happen, you know?

Don't just throw together some pretty promises and a few kiss scenes and call it a day. Because those steamy moments when your characters lock lips or say I love you, don't mean a thing if they don't have chemistry.

You have to work for love. It's not handed to you on a silver platter.

I like the type of romances that have layers. You know, where there are reasons why you 'love' this person. Not just the usual: because he or she is gorgeous/sexy.

Whatever.

If there is no chemistry, then there is no romance. If you do have a romance, where the characters are just two big cliches, then I feel sorry for you, because people are getting tired of reading those type of novels.

That is all I'm going to say on the subject. Disagree with me if you'd like, but know that I do think that romance in YA needs to change.
22.3.10

Book Review: FALLEN by Lauren Kate




Summary

Luce must spend her senior year at reform school after her boyfriend dies in a mysterious fire. She suspects that the dark shadows that have tormented her all her life had something to do with it. When she meets supernaturally gorgeous Daniel, she feels a familiar longing, making her believe they have met before. Although Cam is clearly interested in her, Luce only wants Daniel, who runs both hot and cold. He tries to keep Luce at a distance, telling her that the truth would kill her as it has many times before
.


Review

I won't say that Fallen was a perfect book, because it wasn't. There were flaws. And when I say there were flaws, I mean that there were a lot of them.

The intro to this book, though not hooking, was so well-written, that I knew I had to read on. Only when I got to the first chapter, I found out that the characters in the intro were not the same as the ones in the first chapter.

Instead, we our introduced to a girl named Luce, who is at a reform school for a reason she doesn't like to talk to about, to anyone. The story starts off a bit slow, but the characters are interesting enough to hold your attention. One of those characters being Arriane, a seemingly crazy girl, who shows Luce the ropes of Sword & Cross.

Things don't seem to pick up until we meet Daniel, a boy who doesn't know Luce from Eve, and yet he flips her off, when she happens to catch his gaze.

Fallen was, I'll admit, a well-written novel. The descriptions were rich and vivid, but some characters and their relationships with others weren't as developed as they should have been.

There is a love triangle in this book.

If you don't know this by now, I love love triangles. I live for them, and I try to have a few of them in my novels, if it fits. But anyways, in my opinion, Miss Kate, did not do a good job with forming Luce's relationships with two seemingly gorgeous guys. Daniel, a boy who could care less about her, and Cam, a boy who likes her but whom she doesn't return the affection.

As I said, Daniel didn't care about her, sometimes he treated her like dirt, and yet she continued to like him. I mean COME ON. If a guy, treated me half as bad as Daniel treated her, I would not be attracted to him anymore.

And the author tried to explain that by saying that Luce felt like she knew him from somewhere. Forget that. Daniel didn't make sense as a love interest at first, and Cam, well I liked him. He seemed like a genuine bad boy, but he was also a little bit too nice for me, and after a while, I kinda figured out that he wasn't as nice as he appeared to be.

Some of the characters in this book were just THAT predictable.

All in all, Fallen was an okay book. There were a lot of flaws, and even though this book was well-written, it lacked in all the other areas. I will say that there was a good amount of romance, and that there were some scenes that took my breath away.

The minor characters, like Luce's parents could have been more concrete, because they were a little bland, and remember I said that Sword & Cross was a reform school? Well, it didn't feel like it. Sure there were the rules and regulations, but it didn't seem like there were other kids in the school, because Luce only ever talked about a certain group of people.

I liked the way the book ended, but the scenes before the ending were corny and rushed and you could really tell that it was planned out, but not executed as strong it should have been.

I give Fallen a 5/10 because it was a good read, but it just wasn't as good as I wanted it to be.
21.3.10

Girls Can Kick Butt Too


I've been noticing a trend in YA books.

Some girl characters, I am not saying any names, are weak. They depend fully on their love interest, and they can't stand to live one moment without them, because they are their life, and they would die if anything happened to them...and blah blah blah.

Goodness.

Girls are not like that in real life.

We are strong. We can hold our own, and if a dragon or two comes our way, we can slay it, with or without a hot guy on our arm.

It's the twenty-first century, people. The age of the damsel-in-distress is long gone.

Let the girl save the guy for once.

Hmm. Dude-in-distress. That has a certain ring to it, don't you think?
18.3.10

Authors I Appreciate

I really have been living under a rock, guys. I seriously did not know it was Author Appreciation week, and honestly, I have been waiting a long time for this kind of event, because authors rock. They are the people who make you fall head over heals for boys who you wish were real. They make you believe in things that others may not believe in. They make you laugh, cry, and squeal.

Authors are superheroes, and they deserve to be commended for their work. This is going to be a really long post, because I have A LOT of authors to appreciate.



CHARLOTTE BRONTE



I was eleven when my Aunt Mary handed me a copy of Jane Eyre. Ever since then, I have read the book at least one hundred times. The cover is falling off, and the pages are frayed, but Jane Eyre is possibly one of my favorite books, of all time.

I can honestly say that Miss Bronte was the woman who made me consider writing seriously. After reading Jane Eyre, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I knew I wanted to create characters that stuck with you, even after you finished the book.

Jane stuck with me even after I finished the last sentence. She was a character that I identified with, because she wasn't pretty or glamorous or blond or perfect, she was just a young woman, who was smart and timid and she seemed so real to me.

I haven't had a chance to read any more of Miss Bronte's work, but I wouldn't be surprised if all of them were just as great as Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte made me see that flaws are beautiful, and that characters who have them, are better than those that don't.

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

I have a huge literary crush on this man. I checked out a book of short stories written by him from the library, and I have been in love ever since.

The way he uses words, wow, it just blows me away. He makes them seem so beautiful, and he paints the pictures vividly in your head. Wow, wow, wow.

A lot of people say that they don't like his writer, but my goodness, this man could write. You can taste the Jazz Age in everything he wrote.

And not only is he an amazing writer, but he has some of the best quotes known to man. I could tell he was a very wise young man, and if you haven't read anything by Mr. Fitzgerald, go find something by him, to find out what I'm talking about, because I can't explain to you in enough words, why I love and appreciate him.

SARAH DESSEN

I really hadn't read a lot of YA Contemporary. Two summers ago, I picked up This Lullaby, and I fell in love with her characters, especially Dexter, who was fun and quirky and just so cute. I have read all of Miss Dessen's books except for two and I have loved every single one of them.

It amazes me how someone can write a story that has nothing to do with vampires or witches or ghost and yet, make it seem so magical.










HANNAH MOSKOWITZ


This girl is bad-ass. Seriously. She finished a novel in six days. Most importantly, she finished a novel in six days that was really kick-ass. Break was one of the best novels of 2009, in my opinion. I read it from cover to cover, and I am telling you, that book kept me up at night, because the way Jonah kept breaking things, the way his life was breaking all around him, just, I don't know, scared me.

And though it doesn't take a lot to scare me, I appreciate Hannah for showing the world that teens CAN write, and they can write pretty damn good stuff.








COURTNEY SUMMERS


I really want to be her. The way she writes is awesome. Short sentences that are really powerful and main characters that are so real you can touch them. Parker was a bitch, but she was a lovable, understandable bitch. Cracked Up To Be blew me away in more ways than one. I was crying at the end, and I appreciate Miss Summers because she wrote this book, and I still have to read Some Girls Are, but I know this woman is going to take the world by storm with her punch-in-the-face characters and novels that leave you speechless.








MAGGIE STIEFVATER


She has such a beautiful poetic way of writing, and not only is she a wonderful writer, but she can paint and play music. Really, that's so awesome. I appreciate her for the way she incorporates all of that into the novels that she writes. I also appreciate her for making Sam, who is sweet and cute and he writes songs, ohmigosh. Okay, okay. I'm calm. And lets not forget James, the sexy main character of Ballad. Thank you so much, Miss Stiefvater.










Other authors I appreciate are Melina Marchetta, who wrote Jellicoe Road, a novel I fangirl over constantly. Joan Lowery Nixon, a woman who wrote a lot of great thrillers and mysteries. Cassandra Clare, who wrote a series that had me on the edge of my seat. It was kick-ass and awesome and I can tell I'm going to be everything she writes, and last but not least, I appreciate Richelle Mead who created Rose, a girl who is not a damsel-in-distress.

There are probably a lot of other authors to appreciate, but I am tired, and I really need to get some sleep so that I don't be crabby in the morning.
17.3.10

Massive Book Giveaway

To celebrate her blogs 1st birthday, Steph Bowe is giving away a lot books and swag, including bookmarks and a hole bunch of cool stuff.

  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • Dreaming of Amelia by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • Blue Plate Special by Michelle Kwansey
  • The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey
  • The Pact by Jodi Picoult
  • World Shaker by Richard Harland
  • Exposure by Mal Peet
  • Sprout by Dale Peck
  • Panama by Shelby Hiatt

Those are the books that you can win and she's also giving out critiques, so if you want a chance at winning all these prizes, go enter. NOW.

Linkage

RTW: Happy St. Patty's Day



So I forgot that today was St. Patrick's Day. Really, it wasn't my fault. I thought it was on Saturday, because that was when the parade was, which doesn't make since. But to all those Irish and to those who just like this day HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY.

Road Trip Wednesday is a blog carnival created by the lovely ladies over at YA Highway. Today, in honor of St. Patty's day we are writing limericks about our favorite book or WIP(s).


SHATTERED


a girl with sorrow in her soul
goes to a town far away from Bristol
where death is all around
and where a boy that was once lost, is found
along with a dark secret, that threatens to be told

JELLICOE ROAD

Taylor ran away with a Cadet
A boy she can never forget
They are in the middle of a territory war
One that makes them want each other more
And then their lips met


So, the first one is for my newest WIP that I am plotting and writing and finding music for. The second one, of course, is from one of my favorite novels. If you haven't read Jellicoe Road, then I suggest you go find it and read it now, because it is A-MAZING. I know I said that before when I reviewed the book, but it's true. Okay, that's all for me today, folks.

15.3.10

Teaser Tuesday

Technically it's not Tuesday, but I'm not going to have time to post this tomorrow. This teaser is from SHATTERED, which you could read more about here.


"Wes is in town." I couldn't breathe. The air inside the car was growing thinner and thinner. My lungs were crashing into each other, and I felt like I was on a carousel, because there were a million thoughts spinning around in my head.
"What did you just say?" I tried to search my mother's eyes, but they were glued to the road. "What did you just say, mom?" The blood drained from my face, and I could feel my nails biting into my palms. I winced slightly at the pain, but it was nothing compared to what I was feeling right now.
"I saw his mother at the grocery store the other day. They moved into the old Windsor house. You know the one..." she started.
"Why didn't you tell me?" I looked at her. I really looked at her. There were creases in her lightly tanned forehead, and her raven-black hair was streaked with silver. She looked tired. As if, like me, she was carrying the world on her shoulders. Considering how I have been acting these past couple of years, I would believe her if she said she did.
10.3.10

Fantabulous Followers Giveaway

If you haven't already, go enter Elana Johnson's super-awesome contest. She is giving away seven books. That's right. SEVEN books.

Seven is my lucky number, so I am keeping my fingers crossed.

But anyways.

Some of the books that you can win are:

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young





Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves



Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink


Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


Gone by Lisa McMann (won't be personalized)


Captivate by Carrie Jones


The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard



Oh and I forgot to mention that these books WILL BE SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR, and they will be personalized. How awesome is that?

So get yourselves over to Elana's blog quick.

Linkage.


9.3.10

Teaser Tuesday

I know I'm a bit late, but I really wasn't planning on posting anything, because I haven't been writing. Well, I have been, but everything I have written in the past week, are fragments of different stories and ideas that I have in my head.

Here is the beginning of my ghost story SHATTERED. I don't want to give too much away, but it's about a girl who escaped death, and now has to pay the consequences. It's more contemporary than paranormal, but we'll see how his turns out.


The branches of the tree span out into the horizon, casting dark shadows on the ground. This is where my life changed forever. I pressed my hand against the aging bark, and remember all the things I have tried so hard to forget.
Back then, running away seemed like the easiest thing in the world. Especially if you had a car with a full tank of gas, like we had. With all of the things we didn't want to leave behind, the four of us got in the car, and drove away, promising never to look back.
"Never look back," I whispered, falling to my knees. Leaves danced around me in hopeless abandon, as the wind tugged at the ends of my hair. I could feel the cold, wet earth through my jeans.
For the first time in what seemed like a thousand years, I looked into their eyes, and I said what Wes said before my life faded to black: I'm sorry.
Deep down I knew that there was more I could have said, but those words were the only ones that felt right to say.
"Reese." A hand fell on my shoulder. It was the same hand that held mine during the funeral. The same hand that gave me back the world, when I really didn't want it. My mother was annoying at times, but she was what kept me alive.
"I'm ready," I said, getting to my feet. Brushing the dirt and the leaves off of my pants, I turned to meet her gaze, and sighed. "Let's go."
8.3.10

A Dose of Inspiration

If you haven't heard of the YA Rebels then I suggest that you go check them out, now. Every week, they have something new and exciting to talk about.

On Week 9, Victoria Schwab, talked about what made her a rebel, and at the end of the post, I cried, not because it was sad or anything, but because her reasons were beautiful.

Um, wow. This video is awesome and... just watch it and post it on your blog. Spread her words around because, really, all writers should watch this video.

And Miss Schwab is giving away a copy of Hex Hall so you might want to head over to her blog and enter her the contest. All you have to do is post this video up, and voila, you're entered.

Enjoy.

7.3.10

Writing What You Know

I don't know about sex. I don't know about abuse. I don't know about fighting dragons in a magical war. I don't know about escaping a small town, because I don't live in one. I don't know what beer taste like and I definitely don't know what it's like to be seventeen because I am only fifteen, and yet, I write about all those things, because I enjoy writing about all those things.

I like taking that one girl I saw on the street, bending over and tying her shoe, and turning her into a character who is far away from home. I like taking that greasy mechanic down the street, and turning him into a man who is just as sleazy as he looks.

I like taking life and making it my own. Warping it, molding it, until I see it the way it needs to be seen. I don't have to live in a world filled with romance and danger and anger and fear, but my characters can.

Write what you know, they say. But in reality I don't know anything.

As I eat breakfast, somewhere in the world, a girl is being abused by her father. As I get on the bus to go to school, somewhere in the world, a baby is being born. As I lay down to go to sleep, somewhere in the world, a bomb goes off. As I live, somewhere in the world, a life is lost.

I don't know that for sure, but I live in a world where everything happens. No I don't have to be there to know that a woman just spent thirteen hours bringing a life into this world. No I don't have to be in the truck that just got blown up by a bomb. No I don't have to be there to experience what really goes on in the world. No I don't have to write about being an only child whose father was never around, who was verbally abused in elementary school, who believes love is stronger than anything, just because I am that child.

Writing has nothing to do with knowing, because in reality, we don't know. We live the lives that we know, and all the other lives are the ones that we see, the ones that we hear about, from time to time.

Maybe you don't hear about a dragon walking through the streets of New York or maybe you don't see a unicorn running through the park everyday, but it doesn't mean it isn't possible.

Write what you want to know, and don't ever let anyone tell you differently.

It's your story, after-all.
4.3.10

Beginnings are not easy to write

Seriously, they aren't.

I am working on the rewrite of Mirror, Mirror and I can't seem to find a beginning that sticks. Maybe I'm just a perfectionist, but I really really do need to have a good opening in order for me to continue writing, because if I am not satisfied with the first paragraph or two, it will haunt me until I get it right.

To me, the beginning of the book is supposed to be dipped in the character's voice. It doesn't necessarily have to be shocking like the beginning of Jellicoe Road or Shiver but it has to have character, it has to fit.

It has to be able to hook the reader in any way possible.

Here is the latest beginning of MM:

Everyone is jumping, laughing, enjoying the sun-kissed day. Everyone, but me. As arms rise to the heavens, and clothes are lost, I lay back on the grass, and look up at the sky, wondering if my mother is looking back.

Already I see something that I need to change.

Ugh.

This is why I don't get things done. I am really really nit-picky.

What about you guys, do you obsess over the beginning as much as I do?