Quick: Three words!

I’ve been following mother/Australian/social-media-maven Fat Mum Slim (AKA Chantelle) for awhile now. Her Instagram feed is fantastic (she created #FMSPhotoADay) and her blog is an inspiration — full of tips on photography, entertaining, travel, and building a platform, as well as some very thoughtful reflections on parenting and life. I recommend following if you’re not already.

Anyway…

The other day, Chantelle posted the following question:

How would you describe your blog in just 3 words?

I’ve been blogging for over three years, and I love it. I’ve found my personal blogging style mostly through trial and error. While I’m sure I’ve made a few mistakes along the way, I’m very proud of what my blog has become. Through it, I’ve learned a lot and made some wonderful friends. I look forward to many more years of posting. Here’s how I’d describe my blog in 3 words:

Cheerful, conversational, bookish.

Tell me: What 3 words would you use to describe your blog?

Ready. Set. Write! {Sign-Ups}

ready set write button

By now you may have heard… Alison MillerElodie NowodazkijErin FunkJaime Morrow, and I are hosting a summer writing intensive called Ready. Set. WRITE! (detailed explanation HERE), and we’d LOVE for you to join us. We’re kicking off our summer of writing today, and we’ll write, write, write for two full months. We’ll update about what we’ve been writing and how we’re progressing, and we’ll share our goals for the coming days, all in weekly What’s Up Wednesday posts. Ready. Set. Write! is meant to be flexible and customizable — set goals that work for YOU, and we’ll be here to cheer you on!

The fun starts today, but the goal-setting officially starts tomorrow. Join us for What’s Up Wednesday and tell us what you plan to work on this summer (in the What I’m Writing section). Set your weekly goal (or monthly or overall goals — again, whatever works for you!), and we’ll keep the awesomeness going every Wednesday until August 28th. We’re SO excited to find out what everyone’s planning to work on!

Some Other Really Cool Stuff…

We’re going to try to host weekly Twitter writing/revising parties in which we “meet up” at a predetermined time to write, and then pop back in to Twitter later to recap our progress using the hashtag #ReadySetWrite. But to do all of that, we need to be twitter-connected. I’ve listed my Twitter handle below, as well as the handles of my fellow Ready. Set. Write! hosts. You’re invited to leave your Twitter handle in the comments so I can make sure I’m following you as well. 🙂

@katyupperman
@commutinggirl
@alisonmiller20
@MorrowJaime
@ErinLFunk

#ReadySetWrite

AND… Since Alison, Jaime, Erin, Elodie, and I LOVE giveaways, we’re including one as extra motivation! Mid-way through Ready. Set. Write! (halfway through July), one lucky writer will win a Writer´s Care Package. The package will include all kinds of fantastic writerly treats that will help you meet your word count goals. Want to be eligible for the giveaway? Keep track of your progress and be prepared to update on the Rafflecopter we post July. You’ll get points for setting goals and achieving them, following us on Twitter, and spreading the word about Ready. Set. WRITE!

Are you ready to commit to a summer of writing? Sign up for Ready. Set. Write! on the linky list below…


Don’t forget tomorrow’s What’s Up Wednesday post — share your goals and tell us about what you’ll be working on this summer. In the meantime, write a little. Or a lot. And don’t forget to grab our button and encourage others to join in!

ready set write button

TAG! A moment in time…

My friend (and Ready. Set. Write! participant) Juliana Haygert tagged me for a fun WiP post. (Hers is HERE and it’s fantastic.) The parameters are as follows:

Search for the words “moment,” “forever,” or “time,” in your work-in-progress, pick your favorite excerpt, post on your blog, and tag others!

Easy, right? Here’s a bit from the contemporary young adult WiP I started a few months ago. I’ll be working on it this summer for Ready. Set. Write!, and I hope to finish the first draft by the end of August…

******

Though eye contact seemed to pain her, the girl managed a sympathetic smile. “Ms. Parnell is a hard ass when it comes to schedule switches after the start of the semester,” she said, her voice soft, wispy. “But I hear flattery goes a long way.”

“Yeah? Thanks for the tip.” Tyler thought about introducing himself with a handshake, but the girl was staring down at her feet again, nudging a rip in the carpet with the toe of her shoe. Were they done already?

“I’m Tyler,” he said in an attempt to recapture her attention. He kept his hands to himself. “New to Clayton City by way of Cleveland.”

She glanced up. Her cheeks were stained pink, and Tyler had the distinct impression that she was thrown by his continued attempts at conversation.

“Oh,” she said. “Well, welcome to Small Town, USA, I guess.” She hesitated, then, like an afterthought, added, “I’m Jenna.”

Jenna. A sweet name. An innocent name. After his time with Kendra, Tyler was starting to think sweet and innocent were the way to go. And it didn’t hurt that this Jenna was a surreal sort of hot. She made him think of the nymphs he’d read about last year in English, shapely and elemental and sort of hypnotic. He liked her hair, its color and its length; he could imagine her thick ponytail wrapped around his hand. He liked her eyes, too, the way she looked at him through her lashes like she was playing at demure. Or, maybe she actually was demure—an intriguing notion. She was wearing a long dress with little flowers scattered about the fabric, and a denim jacket that covered her from collarbone to wrist. She wasn’t baring an inch of inappropriate skin.

Tyler was equal parts fascinated and frustrated.

******

And… I’ll tag Temre Beltz, Tracey Neithercott, and Katharine Owens. I hope you girls play along too!

Books are TOTALLY the new black!

In case you haven’t heard, The Bookanistas are an eclectic group of YA and MG authors who review an eclectic assortment of YA and MG books. We only recommend books we truly enjoy, and we’re all about spreading kid lit love.

Ready for some amazing news?

The Bookanistas are in the midst of celebrating an epic relaunch! 

Our site has a fresh look, not to mention a new archive of past Bookanista recommendations. And some fabulous new reviewers have joined our ranks!

We thought it’d be fun to celebrate our relaunch with…

THE BOOKANISTA RELAUNCH GIVEAWAY OF AWESOME!

One lucky winner will score signed copies of these Bookanista-authored books…

IF I LIE and TOUCHED by Corrine Jackson (plus ARCs of JUST ONE DAY and SPEECHLESS)
LET THE SKY FALL by Shannon Messenger
BY BLOOD by Tracy Banghart
POSSESSIONSURRENDER and ABANDON by Elana Johnson
TOUCHING THE SURFACE by Kimberly Sabatini (plus a swag surprise!)
BAD TASTE IN BOYS by Carrie Harris
AUDITION by Stasia Ward Kehoe
THE GIRL GUIDE by Christine Fonseca (plus sweet swag!)
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Level Two by Lenore Appelhans

And a second winner will receive a box full of these Bookanista-loved novels…

JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta
TAKEN by Erin Bowman
CLOCKWORK ANGEL by Cassandra Clare
MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama
SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O’Connor
DITCHED by Robin Mellom
WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green & David Levithan

(Because WordPress hates me and won’t allow me to inbed, please click on the below link to enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter.)

A Rafflecopter giveaway!

You can find lots more Bookanista Relaunch Book Love at our sites around the interwebs: Carolina Valdez MillerCarrie HarrisChristine FonsecaCorrine JacksonDebra DrizaElana JohsonJessica LoveKimberly SabatiniLenore Appelhans,  Nikki KatzRebecca BehrensShannon Messenger , Shelli Johannes-WellsStasia Ward KehoeTracey Neithercott, and Tracy Banghart 

Bookanistas Badge FINAL

Feel free to grab our button and help us spread the word about the Bookanistas, and about the Relaunch Giveaway of Awesome! 

The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest

The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest is only

ONE WEEK AWAY!

In case you’ve forgotten, The Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 17th – Thursday, December 20th and will highlight our favorite books of 2012. This blogfest (hosted by Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and me) is all about promoting extraordinary young adult novels, so don’t worry if your 2012 reading list is on the short side. And don’t worry if you don’t have a book/character/cover/element for each of the categories. We just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

That said, there is an incentive to participating each and every day of the blogfest: Those who do (and who link to their posts via the daily linky lists so we can verify) will be entered to win a 2012 YA novel of their choice! Four winners will be randomly selected and announced December 21st on the hosts’ blogs. There will be a $20 limit, and the giveaway is open to anyone who lives where The Book Depository ships. (Just to be extra clear: It’s okay to skip a category here and there if you don’t have a book to fill it, but you must participate during all four days of the blogfest to be eligible for the giveaway.)

To refresh your memory, here are this year’s categories:

Monday, December 17th: Head of the Class
Favorite Dystopian
Favorite Science Fiction
Favorite Fantasy
Favorite Contemporary
Favorite Action/Adventure
Favorite Historical Fiction
Favorite Comedy
Favorite Mystery
Favorite Romance
Favorite Paranormal
Favorite Family Drama
Favorite Genre Bender

Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest
Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!
Class Clown
Most Likely to Become a Rock Star
Mostly Likely to Start a Riot
Biggest Flirt
Fashion King and/or Queen
Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF
Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School
Most Likely to Become President
Quirkiest Character
Villain You Love to Hate
Favorite Parental Figure
Coolest Nerd

Wednesday, December 19th: Elements of Fiction
Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)
Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)
Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily to.)
Loveliest Prose
Best First Line
Most Dynamic Main Character
Most Jaw-Dropping Ending
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Best Use of Theme

Thursday, December 20: Best in Show
Favorite Cover
Cutest Couple
Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)
Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)
Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)
Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel
Romance Most Worthy of an Ice
Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)
Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012.)
Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry
Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)
Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle
Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book)
Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

So, finish up those 2012 reads and start drafting your posts now! And please feel free to grab our banner and/or button (both designed by Tracey Neithercott) to post on your own blog to help us spread the word.

Questions? Ask away in the comments. 🙂

The Girl with the Green Pen

I’m so excited to welcome my friend Taryn Albright to the blog today! In addition to recently taking a job as Editorial Assistant at Spencer Hill Contemp, she’s just launched an independent editing venture called The Girl with the Green Pen, and she’s graciously dropped by to answer a few questions about it…

Hello, my lovely friend! To start, can you tell us a little about yourself — your writing background, your critiquing/editing experience, etc…

Hi, I’m Taryn 😀 I’ve spent a year and a half interning with 3 superstar agencies including Andrea Brown Literary. I’ve also spent sixteen months as a freelance editor, and during that time, I’ve worked with over 60 authors. Nine of my clients have signed with agents and five have signed book deals, four with major houses. I’ve been writing since I was young, but I really got serious about publishing my freshman year of college. My sophomore year, I signed with an agent, so I have plenty of experience in both the querying trenches and the submission process.

I’ll pause here to vouch for your utter brilliance, Taryn. –> (I’ve been lucky enough to have both my query AND manuscript critiqued by Taryn, and she’s so incredibly savvy. Here suggestions and feedback are fantastic, and her enthusiasm for publishing and young adult literature is unmatched!) Now, can you tell us what your mission statement for The Girl with the Green Pen is?  

My mission is to guide writers through the daunting task of revision. From idea development to editorial feedback to general publishing advice, I love working with stories and those who create them. As a nationally ranked swimmer, I know the value of time, so I believe in quick responses from the first email to the last.

I am not just another freelance editor. Beyond providing an experienced and thorough critique, my secondary goal is to establish a relationship with my clients. I want to support you throughout the stressful submission process and celebrate with you upon any and all good news. Writers may put pen to paper alone, but it is through a community that the book gets finished, polished, and submitted.

I can’t agree with the community bit more. 🙂 Will you describe the services The Girl with Green Pen will provide?

One of my main goals with starting The Girl with the Green Pen was to expand my editing services. I’ll still offer Evaluation services (a critique for big picture things, a critique for the details, and a critique for both big and small), but I also now offer Development services. Development means that I’ll be with you a little longer, for more than one pass of the manuscript. I also have a fun set of Other services, like Submission Packages, that can help prepare your query and opening pages for submission.

And why the GREEN pen?

Most edits are made with a red pen. If someone critiques your manuscript, they’re most likely going to cover it with red ink, right? Not so much here. I make all my notes in green because I like to reflect the idea of moving forward. Green means go, it means spring, it means new life. These are all ways to think of your revisions, and they’re how I like to think of the editing process.

I love that! When will you begin taking on clients? And what is your turn-around time for different services The Girl with the Green Pen will provide?

Now! I never stopped taking on clients for Teen Eyes, and I’m working with a handful of authors right now. My editing hasn’t change–only the banner above it. Like Teen Eyes, turn around times for The Girl with the Green Pen will be fast, usually within 7 days depending on the critique.

Where can interested writers find you? 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tarynalbright

Blog: http://www.tarynalbright.com/

Website: http://www.thegirlwiththegreenpen.com/

You’ve been successful at Teen Eyes. Why have you decided to branch out now? 

Well, it’s 3 months until I turn 20, and then the “teen” part won’t work. When I started brainstorming what I wanted to do without the teen label, I got the idea for The Girl with the Green Pen and got really impatient. I wanted to expand my services and do something bigger, and I didn’t want to wait!

B&B

Thanks so much for giving us the lowdown on The Girl with the Green Pen, Taryn. I wish you great success! 

(Guys, if you have any editing needs whatsoever, please do consider contacting Taryn. She’s a superstar!)

NaNo Update #7

Progress (word count or a general status update): 44,038

Current Mood: So, so hopeful! I think I might actually “win” this NaNo thing… Who would’ve thought?! The end is in sight, and therefor I am motivated. Even if I end up having to write out of order, I WILL finish this thing. And by the way…. Congrats to those of you who have already won! I am absolutely in awe, and your success have given me an extra boost of inspiration!

Inspiration: 

The hope of a writer is to create this kind of magic...

Goals as of Today: I hit my 40K by Friday goal from last week, so that’s exciting. As of today, my goal is to keep pace so I’ll see 50K on or before this Friday… YAY!

Recent Favorite NaNo WiP Bit: 

       There was nothing more than his hands gripping her waist and his mouth open against hers, the balmy autumn air heavy and damp against her skin. The kiss wasn’t unpleasant, exactly, but there was no emotion accompanying it, nothing that made Bree want to deepen it, or even prolong it.

       Still, she was patient. She let Henry draw back first. And when he did, he was grinning, obviously proud, like he’d just cleared an enormous hurdle while wearing weighted shoes. 

Non-NaNo News (because life DOES go on): Our Thanksgiving was awesome. We had potluck celebration with our local military friends and fun was had by all. Also, I made a Pecan Pie Cake, and ate WAY too much.

In other news, my husband, daughter, and I saw Rise of the Guardians this weekend and we LOVED it. The story is perfection, and the movie is visually stunning. I’m not a big 3D fan, but definitely see Rise of the Guardians in 3D. You won’t regret the inflated ticket price. 🙂

In my downtime I’m reading: Mini book review… I finished Saving June by Hannah Harrington over the weekend. Guys… I adored this book — it’s a new favorite! It’s a mash-up of Jandy Nelson’s lovely prose and Courtney Summers’ s bold storytelling, all wrapped up in an epic road trip. And the boy… Jake. He totally made me swoon. And if all that isn’t enough, the songs that are a part of the various mixed CDs mentioned throughout the story are compiled into playlists at the end. I want to download them all and relive the book while I listen!

Saving June

In an attempt to cure my Awesome Book Hangover, yesterday I started Reached by Ally Condie. I’m a fan of the first two books of the Matched trilogy, and I’m excited to see how the series wraps up.

You should read this blog post: Increasing Your Book’s Momentum By: Editor Laura Carlson Because: It’s full of awesome tips for getting your story up and running, and for infusing it with plenty of excitement and an unputdownable pace.

You should also read this blog post: The Fine Art of Story Resonance By: Author Susan Dennard  Because: Story resonance is so important, and Susan shares lots of hints for weaving subplots together to create a deep, complex, echoing plot (think Jellicoe Road and If You Reach Me).

Gratuitous Photos (Because I love ‘em!):

  
Autumn treasures, my favorite little face, and a lovely California sunset.

If you’re NaNoing, are you on track to win? And if you’re not NaNoing, what’s new in your writing world? 

Dear Teen Me…

We all have things we’d like to tell our teen selves (my list is miles long… Don’t worry about what other people think, Teen Katy!). Because of this, a group of young adult authors have compiled letters to their teen selves in a book called Dear Teen Me, published by Zest Books.

Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves

From Goodreads: DEAR TEEN ME includes advice from over 70 YA authors (Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends—and a lot of familiar faces—in the course of Dear Teen Me.

To celebrate the launch of Dear Teen Me, lots of people have started writing letters to their teen selves. Some have also coming up with Dear Teen Me videos. I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in one that my talented friend Erin L. Schneider put together. It’s full of familiar faces and seriously awesome six-word advice, and it’s so, so well done! Please do take a few minutes to check it out: DEAR TEEN ME

What six words of advice would you give to your teen self?

The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest

As you might remember, last year Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and I hosted The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest, a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. We had such a fantastic time promoting awesome 2011 books and getting to know new bloggers, this year we’re thrilled to host…

The Class of 2012: YA Superlative Blogfest will run Monday, December 17th – Thursday, December 20th and will highlight favorite books of 2012. We’re introducing a few new superlative categories (see them all below!), and we’re giving 2012 books away to lucky blogfest participants as just one more reason to join in on the fun (stay tuned for more giveaway information!).

Here are this year’s categories:

Monday, December 17th: Head of the Class 
Favorite Dystopian
Favorite Science Fiction
Favorite Fantasy
Favorite Contemporary
Favorite Action/Adventure
Favorite Historical Fiction
Favorite Comedy
Favorite Mystery
Favorite Romance
Favorite Paranormal
Favorite Family Drama
Favorite Genre Bender
 
Tuesday, December 18th: Popularity Contest
Choose characters who fit each topic from ANY YA book!
Class Clown
Most Likely to Become a Rock Star
Mostly Likely to Start a Riot
Biggest Flirt
Fashion King and/or Queen
Girl You’d Most Want For Your BFF
Boy You Wish You’d Dated in High School
Most Likely to Become President
Quirkiest Character
Villain You Love to Hate
Favorite Parental Figure
Coolest Nerd

Wednesday, December 19th: Elements of Fiction
Most Envy-Inducing Plot (Or, the plot you wish you’d thought of yourself.)
Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you definitely would NOT want to visit.)
Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you’d happily travel to.)
Loveliest Prose
Best First Line
Most Dynamic Main Character
Most Jaw-Dropping Ending
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Best Use of Theme

Thursday, December 20: Best in Show
Favorite Cover
Cutest Couple
Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz Winner.)
Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (Book you just couldn’t put down!)
Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.)
Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel
Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath 
Breakout Novel (Your favorite book by a debut author.)
Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2012.)
Book Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry
Most Pleasant Surprise (Best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did.)
Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle
Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more.)
Favorite Outlier (Your favorite middle grade or adult 2012 book) 
Your turn! Pick your own superlative category and post it at the end this day’s list. Blog hoppers will be able to drop by and vote for their pick in the comments of your blog!

Remember, The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest is all about promoting extraordinary novels! Don’t worry if your 2012 reading list is on the short side (incidentally, HERE‘s a comprehensive catalog of titles 2012  just in case you’d like to pad your list). And don’t worry if you don’t have a book/character/cover/element for each of the categories. We just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

Please do help us spread the word by grabbing our banner and/or button (both designed by Tracey Neithercott, who is brilliant and crazy-talented!).

We hope you’ll join in on the fun! 

I wasn’t going to blog today, but…

Oh my gosh… Have you guys seen this? It makes me so happy!

I love The Office!

And then there’s this…

…which is pretty much the cutest idea ever. I’ve already signed on to participate, and you should too! Here’s the form.

Finally, please do read this wonderful post about the author-character-reader relationship by my CP Temre Beltz, who writes brilliant middle grade stories and is lovely and gracious and kind.

Happy Thursday, friends!