Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Join the Word War!


  My friend Katie Doyle at Writing, Reading and Life and I are hosting a Word War to help jump start  our 2015 writing goals! We'd love to have you join us.
We will be starting out with a twitter chat from 9 p.m.(EST)  until midnight (PST) using #StartWrite where we will talk about books, writing and any other crazy thing we think of. The actually war will begin on Jan.1 and go until Jan. 3. It's a live blogging event so the energy and motivation will be high, perfect for writing all the words :)

For more information or to sign up click here. (sign up has been extended so there is still time!)

To read Katie's post on any other questions you might have click here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest Best in Show



How is it day four of the blogfest already!?!
Click here to learn more about this fun, bookish blogfest.



Favorite Cover


The dress, the clouds, the flowers in her hair. Love it.



Cutest Couple


Cress and Thorne
Perfectly lovable.


Most Likely to Succeed (Pick a Printz Winner)


This book has so much going for it and would appeal to fans of more than just fantasy. It has a Romanesque setting, political intrigue and romance. 


Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime


Heir of Fire had me reading until past 2a.m one night, but only for one night because I had to finish it that morning as soon as I woke up.


Best Repeat Performance (Favorite Sequel or Follow-Up)


I'm sure you know I love Heir of Fire by now but this book is also one of my favorite followups. 



Favorite Finale or End of Series Novel
None of my 2014 reads were series finales


Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath


Not sure that its ice bath worthy but I loved the tension between the characters in The Winner's Curse.
Broken Skies was pleasantly romantic too. 


Best Breakout Novel (Favorite Book by a Debut Author)



Both of these.


Best Old-Timer (Favorite Book Published BEFORE 2014)




Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry


One, Two, Three was packed with emotion.

Most Pleasant Surprise (Didn’t Think I’d Like It But Totally Did)


I won this one and I figured I'd like it ok but I saw it as a space filler while I waited for other books at the library. I dropped everything and devoured it and am now stalking the author's page while I wait for the sequel. 


Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle


It starts out predictable. Or so you think.


Sleeper Hit (Novel So Awesome I Wish It’d Been Hyped More)



 I just now realized this book is from 2014. I read a galley of it last year. I LOVED it but I've never seen it on any list, blogs or anywhere else. It wasn't a happily ever after sort of book, but was rich in history, culture and dance. Reading it gave me a similar feeling to the one I had when I was a child and read Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O' Dell.


Favorite Outlier (Best 2014 Picture Book, MG, NA, or Adult Novel)


This book is inspirational fiction and I love how it was different from the other's I've read in the genre. It was part contemporary, part historical, part mystery and had romance and humor.


Thanks for hosting:
• Tracey Neithercott
• Katy Upperman
• Alison Miller
• Jessica Love

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's Up Wednesday




It's time for What's Up Wednesday!


WHAT I'M READING
 Thanks to the YA Superlatives Blogfest (and the library trip it inspired) I am reading about 15 books. I will have to narrow that down I think but I keep picking up different ones and next thing I know, I'm reading. I'm slowly finishing Blue Lily Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. I always take her books slowly. The writing demands that I take the time to let it's beauty soak in. I purchased the Legend of Holly Claus by Brittany Ryan (thanks for the recommendation Erin and Jaime!) and I am going to start it as soon as school is out for the holidays. Hopefully it will help me transition from home school mode to Christmas mode.
Oh, I did finish Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas over the weekend and I read Jody Hedlund's latest, Unexpected Love. 

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ ONE WRITING GOAL) 

I didn't meet my goal the way I intended it to be. I wanted to write on my WIP every day, which I didn't, but I did write "something" most days. My goal this week is to write 15 minutes every morning before breakfast. Evenings aren't working as well with so many Christmas activities going on. 

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
I tend to be a social writer. I love blog hops and twitter chats and find it all to be very motivation. My friend Katie Doyle and I are hosting a "live blogging" event over the New Year. Please check it out. We'd love to have you join us!



What Else I'm Up To
I'm getting ready to pack up the school lessons and bring out the baking ingredients and craft supplies. The kids have friends coming over to make Christmas decorations later this week and we have company coming on the weekend to have a Polar Express/Hot Cocoa party! I love Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year


YA Superlatives Blogfest ELEMENTS OF FICTION




How is it already day three???


Most Envy-Inducing Plot
 We Were Liars
I didn't see the end coming but when it did my mind raced to all the hints, foreshadows and I stepped back in awe. 

Most Formidable World
Heir of Fire
I would seriously be terrified to live there. Is there anything or anyone their that wouldn't try to kill me? I'm not sure...
Most Wanderlust-Inducing
Broken Skies
I'm not sure why, maybe because there was lots of traveling in the story, but it made we want to travel (and seek out alien strongholds).

Loveliest Prose
Kiss of Deception
The whole book was beautifully written but the passages
 from the past were particularly striking. 
Most Dynamic Main Character
Kestrel for The Winner's Curse
This girl has some serious presence going on.

Most Jaw-Dropping Conclusion
We Were Liars
wins this one for me too.
Best Performance in a Supporting Role
Rowan from Heir of Fire
He's such a strong character and he added so much to the story.

Best Use of Theme 
Since You've Been Gone
The entire book was an inward journey as much as it was an outward one.


Thanks for hosting:
• Tracey Neithercott
• Katy Upperman
• Alison Miller
• Jessica Love

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest POPULARITY CONTEST


 I went through the books I've read this year and realized a huge percentage of them were written in 2013. I also read the first book or two in several series that had releases in 2014. Some of my choices will be from these slightly older books.

Villain I Love to Hate
Manon Blackbeak from Heir of Fire
Scary, nasty and somehow oddly human and intriguing. 


Most Likely to Become a Rock Star
Ronan from The Raven Cycle
He has the moodiness and attitude to pull it off.

Favorite Parental Figure
This is old, old old. Well, not that old. The movie came out in 2014 anyway...
I loved the parents in If I Stay.

Most Likely to Start a Riot
Thorne from Cress

Biggest Flirt
Aedion from Heir of Fire
I didn't read a lot of books with flirty characters but Aedion seems to fit.

Coolest Nerd
So this isn't YA or new... but my favorite nerd from a book I read this year is Lincoln from Attachments by Rainbow Rowell. I laughed so hard during that book and what's more nerdy then falling in love with a girl you haven't met because you read emails for a living?

Fashion King and/or Queen
Drawing a blank...

Character I’d Most Want For a BFF
Kestrel from The Winner's Curse.
Tough, smart and I think she'd still be fun to go shopping with.
And don't laugh but I'd take Rowan from Heir of Fire as a BFF too. I LOVED his character and who wouldn't want a seriously fierce and loyal fae warrior as a best friend?

Character I Wish I’d Dated in High School
Um, perhaps Chaol from Heir of Fire or Kaden from The Kiss of Deception. I like the fierce, protector type apparently (Can you tell I didn't read much contemporary this year?).

Most Likely to Become President
I saw someone else put Ganesy from The Raven Cycle and now I can't picture anyone else in the spot. He's perfect.

Quirkiest Character
Cress from, wait for it... Cress.
How can you not be gloriously quirky when you spent most of your life orbiting in a satellite?

• Tracey Neithercott
• Katy Upperman
• Alison Miller
• Jessica Love

Monday, December 15, 2014

Class of 2014: YA Superlatives Blogfest HEAD OF THE CLASS



I saw this blogfest last year but didn't join. This year I'm jumping in. It looks so fun!
Here is way Katy Upperman has to say about it:

The Class of 2014: YA Superlative Blogfest (hosted by Jessica LoveTracey NeithercottAlison Miller, and me) runs Monday, December 15th through Thursday, December 18th and will highlight favorite books published in 2014 using a variety of fun superlative categories. The Class of 2014: YA Superlative Blogfest is all about promoting the extraordinary young adult books published this year, so if you haven’t already, draft a post and sign up to participate at the end of this post. We can’t wait to see your favorite reads of 2014!


Head of Class

                                                
Favorite Dystopian
I read seven dystopian novels this year but some how not a single one was written in 2014. Out of the ones I read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken was my favorite (at least a book in the series was published this year).

Favorite Science Fiction
This is more on the NA end of things but I loved it so much I figured it deserved a mention. It's a novella and I'm reading it's sequel right now. 


Favorite Fantasy
Oh no. This says favorite fantasy, as in one. What if I had three favorite fantasy novels this year? I guess I'm  going to go with Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson. I loved the way the story unfolded, the varied view points, the whispers of magic that wove through the story without over taking it. 


But for the record it's a three way tie.


Favorite Contemporary 
Light and sweet. The perfect summer read. 


Favorite Action Adventure
Second Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn. Steampunk! Swashbuckling! I loved this Bollywood meets Steampunk book. 



Favorite Historical Fiction

      I apparently didn't read any Historical YA from 2014 either... 

Favorite Comedy
Nope. No comedy. I should remedy that. 


                                                                         
Favorite Mystery
Twists and turns, ocean and turbulent relationships and an ending I never saw coming. I'm going to have to go with We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.


Favorite Romance
See my favorite fantasy and contemporary picks. Oh, and my genre bender pick too..
                                                                  
                                                                      
Favorite Paranormal
Confession.... I am still reading this one but I already know it's my favorite. 


Favorite Genre Bender
One of the things I love about this series is that it incorporates my favorite elements of fairytale retellings and science fiction. 



Join in the fun!




Word Wars Sign Up



Back in June I co-hosted a Word War with  Katie Doyle at Writing, Reading and Life and it was so much fun that we to do it again. It should be the perfect way to get 2015 going on the "write" track! 

How it works
word war is when two or more writers set a goal of a certain number of words that has to be written. The first writer to reach the goal is the winner.
Live-blogging is when someone updates a particular blog post throughout some event, whatever the event.
For the Word Wars Blogfest, we aren't going to limit ourselves to a particular number. The goal is to write as many words as you can throughout the three-day event. Every once in a while, get on your blog and update your status. Kind of like this:
June 11, 8:05 AM - Just got up and ate breakfast. Let's get this party started!!
9:34 AM - Spilled my coffee all over my lap. Time to get dressed, or just change into different pajama pants? 1372 words.
11:56 AM - Mom called and had an emergency that wasn't an emergency. Spent the last two hours calming her down. Word count the same.
Update as much or as little as you like throughout the three days. It's totally up to you.
When it happens
The linky list will be up starting today (DATE) until December 30th at 11:55 PM EST (US). The actual Word War will take place from January 1st through 3rd. This gives you plenty of time to sign up and a day to get everything you might need ready before the live-blogging begins.
What you need
Most of this is completely up to you, but a blog would most certainly help. Even if you don't have a blog, you can use Facebook Notes and just link to that. Don't have either? See if a blogger friend will let you take over for a couple of days.
As for anything else: your favorite writing snack, some good music, a sign for your door so your family or friends know not to bother you, etc. Basically, whatever will make this fun for you!
Why you should sign up
The writing community is one of the best parts of being a writer. Even with a name like Word War, this is a great way to go out and support your fellow writers and allow your fellow writers to support you. You win by writing. You win by making new friends. You win by taking part in something fun and productive.
You might also come up with some great insights into your own writing schedule (when you're most productive, when you're least productive, and when you are more often distracted).
Okay, I've signed up. What now?
There are a few things you could do:
  1. Grab the badge at the top of this post. You'll want to display it somewhere prominent during the blogfest.
  2. Let others know you're taking part. A signal boost on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog post will get more people involved and create better opportunity to meet even more writers.
  3. Get rid of CAPTCHA. Because it's really annoying to anyone who wants to comment on your progress. Most blog platforms are really good at filtering spam or you could turn on comment moderation.
  4. Join in the Twitter Chat on December 31st. We'll be talking writing, reading, and everything in between using #writestart. (What better way is there to end one year and start another?)
Even if you can't participate all three days, that's okay. This isn't about who writes the most words, it's about sitting down with a group of like-minded people to get some words on paper (or screen) in a fun and supportive way.
Hope to see you there=)

PS - A special thanks to Carrie Butler for creating the amazing badge for the Word Wars Blogfest!







Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

It's time for What's Up Wednesday!




WHAT I'M READING

  I'm still working my way through Great Expectations. It's an enjoyable read but I'm glad I'm taking it a chapter at a time.  Heir of Fire finally came in to my local library so I'm devouring it. I love it just like I knew I would and I'm finding that I like Dorian much more than I did in the previous books. Until recently I have always preferred Chaol. 

  The children and I are reading The Princess and the Goblin. They like it but its easy to loose them in-between action scenes so I find myself adding as much drama to my voice as I can so they stay focused. I have never read it before and I am surprised at how much I am loving it. 

 Two weeks full of Christmas cards to write, presents to wrap and all the usual household chores sent me on an audio book binge. I listened to both The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson and The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski. Why aren't either of the sequels out yet?!? 
  The Kiss of Deception was my favorite. I loved the way it utilized multiple points of view and the depth and drama that technique added to the story. I also love pretty much anything with a princess in hiding and an assassin... so I was a goner from the start.  The Winner's Curse was excellent too but I wasn't "quite" as lost in it as I was the other one. 

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ ONE WRITING GOAL)*

  Addresses on Christmas cards? Yeah, that really doesn't count. My goal this week is to actually work on my WIP every day for at least 15 minutes. That seems to be the best sort of goal for me during this busy season. 
WHAT WORKS FOR ME**

Sigh. It's hard to fill this section in when I didn't get anything written this week. 

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

  My oldest son and I both had birthdays this  week so that made for the best sort of craziness.
We also attended a  musical production of The Shoemaker and the Elves at our library which was very fun and seemed to inspire my already theatrical and musical children.  Oh and I won signed copies of Counting to D and The Evolution of Emily by Kate Scott!!! They arrived yesterday. I may have skipped home form the mail box. Thank you Kate Scott :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

What's Up Wednesday



It's time for What's Up Wednesday!

WHAT I'M READING

  I almost feel like I should replace this title with "What I'm Cooking" as I am cooking Thanksgiving foods for the foreseeable future. I did manage to do some reading that wasn't cookbooks though! 
  I read a NA contemporary romance and it really wasn't my sort of book. It wasn't as original as I was hoping it would be. I finished reading the Creepy Hollow trilogy by Rachel Morgan. The first two books were so much fun but the third, while still good, felt rushed to me. I loved the series and did not want to be rushed along. My chapter a day classic is Great Expectations, which I am loving, and my kids and I are reading The Princess and the Goblin. This week I hope to read Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch. 

WHAT I'M WRITING (+ ONE WRITING GOAL) 

 The only writing I did this week was on my son's homeschool portfolio.  It is thick enough to be a novel but not nearly as fun to work on. Now that it is done I can get back to something more creative, like my fairytale novel :)

  My goal this week is to work on my revisions/rewrites for Mirrors and Ice every day for fifteen minutes. 


WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Coffee with cream and a tad of maple syrup with a dash of cinnamon on top. It is the perfect writer's brew. 

WHAT ELSE IS NEW

  I am attempting to make a pie out of this massive fairytale pumpkin that the lady at the fruit stand told me was the best pie pumpkin ever. I hope she's right... I have canned pumpkin on the pantry for back up, just in case I explode the pumpkin or something. 


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's Up Wednesday


Can you believe that it's time for What's Up Wednesday already?

WHAT I'M READING
    I feel that I have been reading more children's books than anything else this past week. My children and I finished reading Little House In The Big Woods and we are almost done with Paddington Abroad. During lunch we are reading Stories of the Pilgrim's by Margaret B Pumhpery and my youngest is still asking for The Gingerbread Man on a daily basis.
   As for myself, I have finished The Faerie Prince by Rachel Morgan and am trying, trying, trying to make myself wait until I've read some other books I've been putting off before I purchase the sequel. My chapter a day classic is Great Expectations and I've also taken to having a poetry book going at all times. This weeks choice is Hugs and Kisses by Fida Islaih. 
WHAT I'M WRITING
  I'm still trying to regain momentum on revising Mirrors and Ice. I have a friend expecting the first chapters next month so I best get to work!

WHAT WORKS FOR ME
  What seems to be working for me is for me to just sit down and work on my revisions without thinking about them, or my future as a writer, or the dishes or anything else that will stunt my progress. Once I start thinking about anything besides what is in front of me, I'm sunk. Any hints on not thinking??? It seems to be both my inspiration and my downfall.

WHAT ELSE IS NEW
 It's cold enough to wear my favorite hat!!! At least it is if I go out early enough in the day. I love the cooler weather. I was hoping that it would be cold enough for the snakes to hide away for the winter but no, they are out sunning. The librarian told me that they had one trying to get into peoples warm cars. Silly reptiles. My daughter jumped over one that was as thick as my forearm and over three feet long (insert spine tingles here).