Friday Fun: Neville and Writing Communities

I spent last night at a Harry Potter double feature: Deathly Hallows I at 9pm, and then the Deathly Hallows II midnight premier. Holy hell… it was amazing! Even more awesome than I’d anticipated… a perfect end to the series, in my humble opinion.

Now, thanks to last night’s 4am bedtime (well worth it!), I’m in the process of recovering my wits and my sleep, but let’s take a moment to appreciate this…

When, might I ask, did Neville Longbottom get so hot?

And now a Friday Five from Paper Hangover, a fantastic group blog offering writing tips and advice, book reviews, weekly blog topics, and teen interviews. Here’s today’s prompt:

1) Savvy Authors – Can’t say enough about this one. Fantastic resources, forums, workshops, chat rooms, boot camps, and more… My CPs are members too, and I pretty much live in Savvy Chat while I’m drafting. I can always use the support and the sanity boost great writing friends bring.

2) YAHighway – Who doesn’t love YA Highway? These girls write posts that are super informative and often a little cheeky, which makes them all kinds of fun to read. There are interviews and book reviews that I’m always excited to check out, plus, YA Highway hosts the weekly Road Trip Wednesday. I’ve met some pretty amazing writers through this “blog carnival.”

3) YALITCHAT – Not to get too cheesy on you, but for me, this is where it all began. About eighteen months ago I had a complete manuscript that had never seen the light of day. Seriously. I had never heard of betas or CPs or gotten any thoughtful, unbiased feedback. Then I stumbled into the First Pages forum at YALitChat and lucked upon one of the greatest CPs ever (Heather Howland). Of course, YALitChat offers much more, so definitely check it out if you haven’t all ready.

4) SCBWI – Not just an online community, of course, but an opportunity for writers to meet up with and get to know others in their area. SCBWI offers mail out bulletins as well as zillions of resources on their website, at their conferences and their more casual social events. I’ve been a member for two years and plan to keep it that way.

5) Oasis for YA – I like the kind of chill, positive atmosphere the girls at Oasis offer. As well as writing tips, book recommendations and interviews, Oasis host a Thankful Thursday meme that’s always fun to reflect on and participate in. Oasis for YA is taking a summer hiatus, but do check it out in the coming months.

*And a big honorable mention for Paper Hangover! While I’m still getting to know this community, I love what I’ve seen so far and fully intend to continue following!

Three cheers for the weekend! Tell me, what are your favorite writing communities? Also, did you see Harry at midnight? Did you love it?

Countdown to Harry…

It’s Harry Potter Week, unofficially, and I’m celebrating! First, let’s all watch and sob together:

So heartfelt and inspirational. I am so not a crier but jeez… You’d think I’ve been a part of the cast for the last ten years.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not grow up reading Harry. I was introduced to him back in college when I was forced to read The Sorcerer’s Stone for my Children’s Lit class. And when I say forced, I’m serious. I mean, what twenty-one-year old girl wants to read about a boy wizard and his adventures at a magical boarding school?

Um, me, apparently, because after that first book, I was totally and completely enamored. Luckily, books 2, 3, and 4 had already been released. I read them immediately and consecutively, passing up nights out on the town–ahem–socializing so I could spend more time with Harry and his crazy cast of characters.

I remember exactly where I was in life when following books were released (5: working 40 hours a week at a coffee shop and living with my in-laws, 6: teaching full-time and living in Tennessee, 7: nearly nine months pregnant during an Arizona summer) and I remember how I felt reading each installment (varying degrees of awe, surprise, swoon, anxiety, and fear). I’ve watched and loved each movie, and I’ve recommended the series to countless people.

And now the release of the final movie is fast approaching…

I’m going to the midnight showing with a good friend who knows and accepts my fanaticism, and I can’t wait. Also, I can wait. Because once I see this movie, the Harry Potter series really will be over. Done. Nothing more to look forward to, and that’s depressing. Still, I’ll try to keep in mind what JK Rowling said so eloquently in her premier night speech:  The stories we love best do live in us forever, so whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

In that spirit, I’m curious. What is your favorite book in the Harry Potter series? (Mine are The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Half Blood Prince – love the rich back story in both.) What about your favorite film adaptation? (Mine, so far, are The Goblet of Fire – so perfectly cinematic and Deathly Hallows I – that dancing scene with Harry and Hermione–LOVE.)

My husband and I at Hogwarts. I already want to go back. 🙂

Thankful Thursday: FLY AWAY!

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.)

So much to be thankful for today!

As you read this, I’m headed to Atlanta with my daughter and in-laws to watch my husband graduate from Ranger School at Ft. Benning, GA. This is a big deal for several reasons:

A) Ranger School is no joke. The failure rate is somewhere around 45%. My husband is old by Ranger School standards (thirty, while most of the participants are in their early twenties) and he STILL rocked it.
B) Not only have my daughter and I not seen my husband since February 9th, we’ve only talked to him a few times over the last three months. Needless to say, that sucks. We canNOT wait to see him!
C) After the graduation ceremony, we’re loading into a van and driving to Orlando. My parents are meeting us there, and we’ll spend a few days visiting Mickey, Minnie and a gaggle of Princess. Trust me: There is nothing better than seeing the joy on your child’s face when immersed in the world of Disney. 
D) I’m going to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Yay, yay, YAY!!! I cannot properly express how badly I’ve wanted to visit the home of The Boy Who Lived since I learned of its conception. I fear I’ll be one of those crazy fanatic adults guzzling butter beer and snatching up magic wands, scaring the younger tourists. But you know what? I’m over it.

Yep, I’m very thankful, and SO looking forward to the next several days!

What are you thankful for today? 

RTW: Howdy, Neighbor!

Road Trip Wednesday is a “Blog Carnival,” where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic: Which book character would you like most as a next door neighbor?

When I read this question, an immediate answer popped into my head. Then I spent a few hours trying to think of something different, because I figured I wouldn’t be the only one with this answer. But, I couldn’t come up with better. Really, I couldn’t come up with anything else at all, which tells me that going with my first instinct, original or not, is the way to go today. 🙂

My dream next door neighbors would be the entire Weasley clan, which means I’d get to live adjacent to the fantastic Burrow! The Weasleys’ house is one of my favorite settings from Harry Potter. It’s just so quirky. So magical, and full of warmth and love. While some might say its curb appeal is a little… shoddy, I think there’s a lot to love about the unique (um, crooked?) architecture, the wide open spaces, the orchard and the corn fields, not to mention the population of garden gnomes who reside on the property.

How cool would it be to live next door to whole family of wizards and witches? Quirky Arthur, maternal Molly, brave Bill, the outlandish twins, bumbling Ron, and Ginny, who I still can’t quite peg. And Harry, Hermione and the many members of The Order of the Phoenix are constant visitors. Plus, there’s the delicious food, the owl post, the Quidditch and the magic wands… too much awesome to list!

Who would you choose for literary next door neighbors?