Thankful Thursday

Oasis for YA knows that the surest way to get good things in life is to be thankful for what you have.  So why not encourage a group thankful-fest once a week in which we all send out good energy and hope to get some back in return? Plus, participating in Thankful Thursday is a great way to connect with other writers.

Here are the rules:
1.  Do your own blog post on what you’re thankful for today.  It doesn’t have to be book or publishing related (but it can be!).
2.  Be sure to grab our badge and include it in your post.
3.  Post a link to your blog in the comments here so that others can find you.
4.  Go forth and share your gratitude!  (And when friending new blogs, be sure to let them know you found them because of their participation in the meme.)This week I’ve lots to be thankful for. In the words of the fabulous Andy Cohen, Here’s What:

1) Last week I entered Brenda Drake’s Show Me the Voice! blogfest/contest. There were well over 100 entrants, yet somehow the first 250 words of my YA ghost story Where Poppies Bloom was awarded third place! I’m very thankful to the judges, especially lovely literary agent Natalie Fischer who’s going to critique my query letter. (Pardon me for tooting my own horn on this one, but yeah… I’m excited!)

2) My husband is at Ranger School. If you’re unfamiliar, Ranger school is an intense 2 month Army training school that is often referred to as a cross between boot camp and a concentration camp. I don’t use that comparison lightly. Ranger School is all about pushing participants to their physical and mental limits. Very little sleep (outdoors, in the rain), very little food (MREs), mind games, and miles and miles of walking with a hundred pound ruck sack. No fun! What, you might ask, does Ranger School have to do with being thankful? Well, I’ve been getting letters from my husband! Like, the old-fashioned paper and pen kind of letters. Plus, every night I get to write to him. It’s a little retro and a lot inconvenient, but there’s something so romantic about opening the mailbox and finding mail from someone you love.   

3. This POST from Hannah Moskowitz about making a playlist for your WIP. Rules to write by. 🙂 

4. Fellow writer/blogger Caroline Tung Richmond, and her recent mention of  the online indie clothing site ModCloth. Cute clothes alert! I placed an order yesterday, which included this adorable dress (I plan to wear it to my husband’s graduation from Ranger School):

5. If you follow me on Twitter you might know that my daughter (three-and-a-half) had one of her teeth knocked out the other day. She was climbing up the ladder of one of those inflatable bouncy slides, slipped, and somehow nailed her tooth at the perfect angle to take it out. Needless to say, I was SO sad! Her new tooth won’t grow in for about two years, plus she was bleeding and worried that our dogs wouldn’t love her anymore because her tooth was missing. Ugh… heartbreak! Still, I’m thankful. It could have been worse. There could have been broken bones or a neck injury or any other number of tragedies. Plus, she’s still cute as can be, even with a missing tooth.

What do you have to be thankful for today?

And the winner is…

Thanks so much to those who entered my Where She Went ARC giveaway. It was such fun to hear about your favorite contemporary YA picks. Without further ado, I’ve used Random.Org to determine that Katie Vincent is the winner! Congratulations, Katie! Please email me your mailing address at Katy.Upperman@live.com. I’ll have your Where She Went ARC in the mail as soon as I hear from you. I hope you love it as much as I do. 🙂

Thankful Thursday… And a Giveaway!

Oasis for YA knows that the surest way to get good things in life is to be thankful for what you have.  So why not encourage a group thankful-fest once a week in which we all send out good energy and hope to get some back in return? Plus, participating in Thankful Thursday is a great way to connect with other writers.

Here are the rules:
1.  Do your own blog post on what you’re thankful for today.  It doesn’t have to be book or publishing related (but it can be!).
2.  Be sure to grab our badge and include it in your post.
3.  Post a link to your blog in the comments here so that others can find you.
4.  Go forth and share your gratitude!  (And when friending new blogs, be sure to let them know you found them because of their participation in the meme.)

Today I’m thankful for this amazing, amazing, AMAZING book:

I’m thankful that Gayle Forman (immensely talented!) wrote If I Stay and this follow-up, Where She Went, out April 5th. I’m thankful that Kiersten White decided to give an ARC away on her blog. I’m thankful that luck was on my side (for once!) because I WON the ARC! Most of all, I’m thankful that this sequel lived up to (far surpassed, really) all of my expectations. The writing is gorgeous, the plot is compelling, honest and painful, and the story had my heart pounding and my nerves on edge constantly.  At the risk of spoiling anything, I’ll just say this: I LOVED Where She Went, and I think Gayle Forman is a genius.

You know what else I’m thankful for? The opportunity to pass my ARC of Where She Went on to another reader.

So, want to win an ARC of Where She Went? The rules are simple:

1. Leave a comment telling me what your favorite contemporary YA title is and why you love it. (I’m always looking for book recs. :))
2. For an extra entry, tweet about this contest, including a link to this post. Leave me a second comment letting me know about your tweet.
3. This contest is open internationally, now through Sunday, March 27 at 11:59pm PST. I will tally all of the entries and draw one winner randomly. 
4. Check in on Monday to find out if you’ve won.

Good luck!

SHOW ME THE VOICE Entry…

Today I’m posting my entry for Brenda Drake’s Show Me the Voice blogfest/contest. For more information (rules, prizes, etc…), check out my previous post, or visit Brenda’s site.

Here are the first 250 words from Where Poppies Bloom. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take a moment to critique it honestly in the comments after you read. 🙂 

TITLE: Where Poppies Bloom
GENRE: Contemporary Ghost Story, YA

            I never used to be the type of girl who hotboxes her bathroom.       

            Sitting perched on the countertop next to my sink, I slip a joint between my lips and lose myself in a haze of pungent smoke that distorts the flower patterns dancing across my shower curtain. My bare feet bounce against the cabinet below, drumming out a staccato beat. I zone in, a microscope focused crisp and clear, absorbing the irregular thudding until it permeates through flesh and muscle and organs, vibrating right into my bones.

            Joint to lips. Deep, deep inhale. Hold the smoke until my chest sizzles. Exhale.

             Smoking is a solitary thing for me. Something I started doing six months ago, the first time grief clenched my chest, squeezing air from my lungs the same way one might wring out a wet rag. Trapping blood in the chambers of my heart until I’m certain they’ll explode. Stinging my eyes with hot, salty tears, telltale tracks racing down my cheeks. It’s during these times, when the hurt becomes too much to bear, that I steal a moment to lock myself away in my bathroom. Only then can I truly breathe.

            The irony doesn’t escape me­­—polluting my lungs with illegal herbal smoke shouldn’t comfort me the way, say, a warm hug used to. But the smoke—the simple, methodical act of smoking—kneads otherwise suffocating thoughts from my brain and calms me like nothing else.    

            I’m drifting today—more so than usual. A wisp of cotton caught in an unpredictable summer breeze.
                      

Show Me the Voice!

Brenda Drake is hosting a blogfest/contest, and Natalie Fisher of The Bradford Literary Agency has agreed to judge the finalists. How cool is that?! Here’s how it works:

On March 20 and 21 (tomorrow!), post the first 250 words of your finished manuscript (any genre) on your blog to get critiques from your followers and then hop around to the other participants’ sites and give critiques. Polish those 250 words and email them to brenleedrake@gmail.com with CONTEST in the subject line by (12:00AM EST) on March 22. If your 250 words ends in the middle of a sentence, please go to the end of the sentence. All entries submitted before the cut off time will be considered. The first round will be judged by a chosen panel of your peers (agented and unagented). We’ll pick the best 20 entries and post them on my blog by March 24. The 20 entries we pick will be judged by Natalie. The winners will be announced on or before Monday, March 28.

Bet you’re wondering what prizes Natalie is offering, right? Well, here they are:
1st place – a critique of the first 20 pages
2nd place – a critique of the first 10 pages
3rd place – a query critique

For more information (or to sign up!) please visit: Brenda Drake Writes…