Friday Fives: The BEST First Lines

Reading Song of the Day: “Where the Lines Overlap” by Paramore

It’s Friday! That means two things:

1.) It’s exactly one week until SCBWI in LA! Woo hoo!!!

2.) It’s time for Friday Fives with the Paper Hangover gang πŸ™‚

This week’s topic:
What are your FIVE favorite first lines?

We’ve answered this before for the lovely YA Highway ladies, so some of our answers may seem familiar. Hey, we don’t mind showing love to some great opening lines more than once!

Without further delay, here are our favorite first lines:

1.) “When I was little, my dad used to tell me, ‘Will, you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose.'”-Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Greene and David Levithan

The line sets the tone for the book. You know it’ll be a slightly humorous tale about friendship. And this intro just pops with voice.

2.) “Imagine four years. Four years, two suicides, one death, one rape, two pregnancies (one abortion), three overdoses, countless drunken antics, pantsings…But everything you do here counts. High School.”-Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers
Whoa! The conciseness, the listing…these brief images pretty much paints exactly what kind of school the narrator attends.

3.) “I was born with a light covering of fur. After three days it had all fallen off, but the damage was done.”-Liar by Justine Larbalestier

It’s a simple first line that doesn’t seem to make sense, but once you read the whole book it’ll mean so much more.

4.) Daddy said, “Let Mom go first.”- Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Go first? For what? When we read the first chapter preview months before the book’s release, we just knew we had to know more about this adventure.

5.) “They say that just before you die your whole life flashes before your eyes, but that’s not how it happened for me.”-Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Right away we know what to expect–the narrator has died. BUT, after reading that first line, we were dying to find out exactly how it happened for her.

Bam! There ya have it! So, what are some of your fave first lines???

***Today is the release day for Black Fox Literary Magazine Issue # 1!!! Please support us and check out the mag here (we will go LIVE later on this morning). Also, there are print issue for sale :)!***

AND, don’t forget about our contest to win Jo Treggiari’s Ashes, Ashes–deets here πŸ™‚


Debut Author Challenge # 9: Ashes, Ashes…And a GIVEAWAY!!

Reading Song of the Day: “Ashes” by Embrace

This has been such a cr-az-y summer thus far. And it’s nice to just be able to love on some books. That’s why we’re continuing on with the 2011 Debut Author Challenge. This week, I read Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari. Although the book had a lil’ bit of a slow start, it is one that I would still recommend…and why do I recommend it, you ask? Read on, loyal follower…read on.

Here is what Goodreads has to say about Ashes, Ashes:

A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl’s unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares. Epidemics, floods, droughts–for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she’s rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can’t continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There’s something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her.

Deep stuff. But if that ain’t enough for ya…

The Top Four Things you should know about Ashes, Ashes:

1. It’s written in Third Person: And written WELL in third person. That may not mean much to you, but for me it was like freakin’ magic. I struggle with third person, but plan to revise The Blues in 3rd *maybe* so I took a few pointers from this book.

2. Lucy pretty much rawks: I couldn’t imagine living on my own as a teenager out in the wild. Lucy does this with skill– I mean, the chick kills a turtle and makes herself some stew! Also, she holds her own against those evil sweepers.

3. Authentic Relationships: For example, the boy and girl do not love each other from the beginning. We get to see things build… and of course Aidan, the love interest for Lucy is quite swoon worthy πŸ™‚

4. Aidan has two girls after him!: This is something that me and Pam have discussed wanting to see more of in YA. There are enough love triangles where the girl has two boys fighting for her affections, but Ashes, Ashes is fresh because it has a boy caught between two girls.

If You Like…

Books: Plague by Jean Ure, Z is for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien, and Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer…then you will like Ashes, Ashes.

Movies: 12 Monkeys, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012…then you will like Ashes, Ashes.

Since we’ve been gone for so long, why not celebrate this week of our return with a giveaway? If you’d like to own a gently used copy of Ashes, Ashes, leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address by Midnight August 2nd, 2011. We keeps it simple! As always, we love to hear your book recommendations, too! Do you have any debut authors to tell us about???

RTW: Best Book of July

Reading Song of the Day: “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath

After a two-week hiatus, we are THRILLED to join the lovely ladies at YA Highway for another Road Trip Wednesday. This week they want to know:

What was the best book you read in July?
To which our response is: Gulp.

You see, we had to take that hiatus for a reason: to move, to work on our thesis presentations, and to help out our sis and co-editor, Racquel Henry, launch the first issue of Black Fox Literary Magazine (more info on that on the bottom of this post). Needless to say, we didn’t get to read as much as we wanted, but the ONE book I read was actually pretty awesome:

After reading so much hype about the Iron Fey series online, as well as wanting to read it for research for my own fairy WIP, I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Here’s what Goodreads has to say:

Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.
Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.
When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.
But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I say this quite a few times, but this book truly led me on a roller coaster of emotions. I swooned over Ash, felt bad for Meghan’s best friend, Puck, feared for Meghan’s safety, and literally cried from laughing at one of Meghan’s first encounters with some nasty fairies (just ask Quita–she thought I was dying). I truly would recommend this book for anyone who loves fantasy, adventure, and romance. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series now!
Side note: the very first issue of Black Fox Literary Magazine will be released THIS FRIDAY!!! If you can’t tell, we’re just a tad bit excited. To honor our launch, we have extended the Black Fox Twitter contest–more details to come on that. Just swing by our blog on Friday to celebrate with us!
And now–any book recommendations for us? We have A LOT of catching up to do.

Baby WIPs: Pam’s Edition!

Reminiscing Song of the Day: “For the First Time” by The Script

We’re baaaaaack!! And seriously, we’ve missed you guys. Never fear, though–over the next few weeks, we plan on giving you book reviews, recaps of our trip to this year’s LA SCBWI conference, and maybe even a giveaway or two.
But first…as some of you may know, Quita and I were in the middle of moving. And in the middle of moving, we came across a few hidden gems. For me, it was this:

This just happens to be one of my very 1st notebooks. At 7 years old, I already knew I wanted to be a writer. I thought it would be cute to type up one of my early stories for our lovely followers (Quita will dig up something from her archives next week). So, without further ado, here is:

Never Say Never by Pamela Harris (typos purposely left in so that you can tease me)
One Spring morning there lived a boy named Tootie. He was 6 years old. He lived with his big sister Mary, his mother Suzie and his daddy Niko. His sister always picks on him because she thinks he gots a girl name.
Why are you always picking on me, said Tootie.
Because you got a girl name, said Mary.
I never want to see you again! said Tootie.
Suits me! said Mary.
He told his friend Erica how mean his sister is. Well, said Erica, Sounds like you got a real bad sister.
Erica told her friend Sesly who told her friend Nick who told his friend Johnathan who told his friend Jenifer who told Marys boyfriend Mike.

I wish I could move in here and never see you again, Tootie! said Mary.
Then get out! said Tootie.
Shut up! said Niko. Your mother got an headache from yall and she had to take an aspirin!
Thats OK said Suzie. It’s gone now.
You just made all my friends think I’m not shiek! said Mary.
Humph, said Tootie. I don’t care!
Grrr! said Mary.
I want you to tell all of her friends that your sister is not bad at all! said Suzie.
So Tootie told all her friends that Marys not bad at all.
Thanks said Mary. Now I won’t tease on you any more.
Sure, said Tootie.
The End!
Such tension! Such conflict! Oh, and to cap it off, here is my drawing of the happy family:

I really must love you guys to share that “masterpiece.” What about you all? Come across any early stories that were as epic as “Never Say Never” (by the way–why in the world did I call it that?)?

Let Us Be Your Motivation!

Inspiring Song of the Day: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

Hey, all. We hope you had a great weekend. Us? We’ve been revising, revising, getting prepared to move, more revising, preparing to work on our thesis presentation, and revising some more. And, well…we’re overwhelmed. Like, totally. Because we’re feeling so down w/ the load of all of the aforementioned, we motivated ourselves by watching one of our favorite videos. Then we thought: Why not show it to our loyal and lovely followers?

Take a minute to watch this vid, and then try and tell us it doesn’t put a smile on your face…

Are you smiling, yet? We KNEW it!

Okay, now for the somewhat sad part of this post. Once again, we haz to go on a blogging hiatus, peeps. Why, you ask?? Well, let us illustrate:

Working on our thesis presentation (due in August *pulling our collars*).
Revising In Limbo and Faking It, AKA Project J (like scrapping major parts, line editing, re-working kinda revising).
Compiling our FIRST issue of Black Fox Literary Magazine with our co-editor and lil’ sis, Racquel.
Oh, yeah–and moving into a house in TWO WEEKS!

We’re deeply sad to say that something had to go, unfortunately that something is blogging. But, fear not we shall return July 25th, 2011. And we should be able to give you all our full attention πŸ™‚

So, make sure you come back and see us then! In the mean time, what are you guys up to??

Love ya all!!!!

Contest Alert: Elevator Pitch Agent Bree Ogden!!!

Paying it Forward Song of the Day: “Love In An Elevator” by Aerosmith

My lovely cuz/sis found another AWESOME contest today and brought it to my attention. Since I remain on the hunt for an agent she directed it my way. The awesome peeps at YAtopia are offering ANOTHER chance for unknown writers to get their work out there!

They are allowing us to enter a pitch to THE Bree Ogden from Martin Literary Management!

The last time I entered, I got a request to query from the agent (Ammi Joan Paquette–who does not accept unsolicited queries), so entering this time could lead to more!

All you have to do is:

A.) Creat a blog post, Tweet, or update status your status on Facebook about this fantabulous contest!

B.) Leave your name, e-mail address, manuscript title and word count, genre, and elevator pitch.
C.) Hold your breath and wait!

You have until July 13th, so click here to enter and learn more about this contest. DON’T MISS IT–or do miss it. Hell, that gives me a better chance πŸ˜‰

Friday Fives: Look It Up!

Researching Song of the Day: “Look Into My Eyes” by Bone Thugs N Harmony

We’ve reached the end of another week…this summer is going by a lil’ too fast for our tastes, actually. But, alas the end of the week brings good things, too. It means Friday Fives fun with the Paper Hangover gang!

This week, they wanna know: What are your Five Favorite Research Tools or Resources?

1.) Writing Magazines: Writer’s Digest & The Writer Magazine: If you don’t subscribe to either one of these mags…go do so, now. They both provide tips, writing exercises, and interviews with authors that are beyond helpful. Both of our recent issues give revisions tips, which is awesome, considering that we’re both revising right now!

2.) Publisher’s Marketplace: Pam has discussed this site at length numerous times, like here. This is a site that she visits daily (you have to have a subscription) to see what types of books editors are buying these days.

3.) Fill In The Blank Plotting by Linda George: This book was introduced to us by our buddy, Alicia. We like it so much that we even gave away a copy recently. The book will definitely be put to may-jah use once we start plotting our NaNo projects.

4.) Guide to Literary Agents Blog: C’mon…what can’t you learn on this blog? Not only do you learn about shiny new agents (I like that part a lot), but you also get tips on query letters, announcements for conferences and agent/editor appearances and seminars, and various articles like advice on how to promote your book or why you should keep your day job.

5.) QueryTracker: Yes, I am still quite addicted to this site. I stalk my favorite agents. My favorite part is looking at the percentages of queries/submissions accepted and rejected. I also like reading other writers’ comments.

And that’s it! What are some of your fave research or resource tools?