May We Tell You Something About…Our AWESOME Contest Winners??

Reading Song of the Day: “Because I’m Awesome” by the Dollyrots


Throughout May (every now and then), we will be participating in the Blog Me MAYbe blogfest, which you can learn more about here 

Photo taken from:Gimme The Scoop

As promised, we’re here to announce the winners of the contest. First of all, thanks to those who took the time to enter and win one of TWO SIGNED copies of Jaime Reed’s Burning Emerald, the third book in the Cambion Chronicles. If you want to know more about Jaime check out last week’s contest post and an interview we did with her back in August here.


Okay, without further adieu, we are going to tell you about someone else! More precisely, TWO someone elses (yes we totally made that up). What are we going to tell you??? Well, here’e something….





JESS and MELANIE are now both winners of signed copies 

of

 Burning Emerald!


Photo Taken from VaBeachQuilter


Ladies, we will be in touch with more details soon!!! Congrats!


And for the rest of your lovelies, just to throw the question out there (and hopefully we’ll get a few responses) what kinds of contests do you all prefer?  A contest where you just comment, one that involves a form (with extra points for Twitter etc.), OR one with a creative writing assignment? Also, do you like to win free signed novels, writing utensils, candy/other edible goodies, etc? 


Thanks and your responses are greatly appreciated!

MAY We Tell You Something About…Jaime Reed (and a CONTEST!)!!

Reading Song of the Day: “People Are Strange” by The Doors

So we’ve been rather absent to our lovely blog. Instead of giving you a LONG boring list of excuses, we decided to treat you all with a CONTEST!

We’re giving away TWO copies of Jaime Reed’s Burning Emerald, Book Two of The Cambion Chronicles. If you haven’t checked out Living Violet (Book One)–umm, what are you waiting for?

Taken from dearteenme.com

As a special treat, Jaime wrote about a real life supernatural occurrence in her quaint town:

Strange Encounter by Jaime Reed




I can say that I’m a bit like the character, Sam in the respect that nothing much happens in my quiet town. With little to do, the imagination runs wild and we dream of cool stuff happening and if lucky, make a career of writing about it.


Williamsburg, VA is rich with history and everyone has at least one ghost story to share. Some of those stories have been passed down and have become a test of courage to explore on a dare. I personally don’t believe in ghosts, and I’ve never had any encounters of the paranormal except one.


When I was seventeen, a friend of mine whose father had died took me to the grave site to pay her respects. I agreed, under the assumption that this visitation would occur in the daytime, not at twelve o’clock at night. This made less sense at seventeen than it does now, but there I was, riding shotgun in her car, trekking through the more rural areas of Virginia with no streetlights or cell phone.


When we finally got to the cemetery, she kept the headlights on in the car so we could see our way through the maze of graves. She lit some candles and knelt in front of her father’s headstone. While I kept a look out for police and creepy groundskeepers, I noticed her talking to the grave. Not just a simple prayer or some fond farewell, but a full-on conversation, answering questions only she could hear and nodding her head in confirmation. Suffice to say I was thoroughly freaked out and was ready to leave. She lingered a few more minutes before we walked back to the car.


When I asked her who she was talking to, she just shrugged and said her dad. As she pulled out of the parking spot, the headlights hit the cemetery, outlining trees, grave stones and surrounding buildings. Then the lights fell on something black and almost flat against the scenery. This dark silhouette took the shape of a man and stood directly behind a headstone, the same one my friend was kneeling in front of moments ago. It didn’t move, but things that stand still can be just as frightening as things that don’t. The car turned and the headlights swept away from the grave toward the road leading out of the cemetery. Though I couldn’t see the shape any more or was even sure if what I saw had eyes, I knew beyond all logic that it was watching us leave.


I never told my friend what I saw nor did I ever return to the cemetery. It doesn’t take much to spook me, but that event was sufficient to where I now avoid cemeteries at all costs. And I sure as hell would never go there at night. Some people run toward the bazaar and crave the excitement that comes with the unexplained, but I’d rather write about it in the safety of my home…with the lights on.

 
Spooky stuff, Jaime!
 
On to the contest…all you have to do is leave your name and email address in the comments. That’s it. We’ll pick one winner at random.
 
BUT–
 
We’ll choose ANOTHER winner if you leave a comment with your own real life, spooky tale. The comment that creeps us out the most wins the other copy. Oh, yeah, AND BOTH COPIES WILL BE SIGNED!!! You have until Tuesday May 22nd at MIDNIGHT EST!
 
Again, TWO winners. Spooky comments. Let’s do this! 🙂 

Free Friday: No Name Calling Week and CRACKED by KM Walton

Reading Song of the Day: “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato

Confession: I feel guilty about two things. First, that I gave this post an incredibly wordy title. And second, that Quita and I failed to mention an important event last week. You see, January 23-27 was No Name-Calling Week, an event aimed at middle schoolers that encourages them to refrain from tossing insults at each other.

It’s rare that I collide my day job onto the blog, but I felt this one was worth mentioning. In honor of No Name-Calling Week, my students created their own inspiring poetry that I read over the morning announcements. Also, I asked them all to sign a No Name-Calling Week Pledge. Granted, not every student HAD to sign, so I was pretty impressed by the outcome:


During the week, I also finally read Cracked by KM Walton (which was on my 2012 Debut Author Challenge list), a story told in dual POVs–from the bully and his victim. Yes, KM’s my agent-sister (Team LaPolla rules!), but NO, I’m not recommending this book because I’m biased. I’m saying you should read this book:

Because it gives you an uncensored view of bullying and high school

Because it doesn’t condescend to the readers and stuff your face with morals

Because it makes you empathize for the victim AND the bully

Because despite all of the heartache, it’ll leave you with hope

And in perfect timing, I just won a grant in which I’ll be able to buy MORE books for my school that’ll take on bullying headfirst. In addition to Cracked, here are some other books that I’m considering:

What about you all? Read any powerful books about bullying? Has a book ever helped you out of a bad situation?

Say What?

Reading Song of the Day: “Say It To Me Now” by Glen Hansard

Wednesday. Middle of the week. Road Trip Wednesday with the ladies of YA Highway. All the best things. Today they want us to:

Write a dialogue between two of your favorite YA characters.


So. Hard.
This would have been fun if we had the energy to come up with this post in more time than one day. We’re running on fumes that are not quite creative…so, instead, we’re gonna show you what most dialogue in YA novels consists of:

First: Conflict

Second: Conflict solved…people are happy for awhile. Alas, not for long…
Third: More conflict and we’re left waiting for the next book OR dreaming up a happy ending. Unless, of course the book is by Stephanie Perkins or John Green AKA Masters of Delicious Dialogue!

 So, this is what happens when our brains can’t function. We promise to be more creative next time! What do you guys think dialogue in YA novels is like?

Guest Post: Susan Dennard Gets Messy

Writing Song of the Day: “A Beautiful Mess” by Jason Mraz

Today we welcome Susan Dennard, author of the 2012 debut,  Something Strange & Deadly.  This week the WOA girls are all promoting this awesome debut novel. And of course, giving YOU a chance to read the novel before it’s release date. So, read on and find out about Susan’s writing process!


My writing process is…well…messy.

Initially, I spew out complete and utter drivel, my fingers flying over the keyboard faster than my brain can even process. And then, after about 3-4 weeks of this, I crash. I’m usually halfway or three quarters of the way finished with the first draft when I  hit this metldown-point, and I’ve usually just reached the notorious MY-BOOK-IS-TOTAL-CRAP stage.

Yep. Sounds silly, but it’s true. I spend the next few days alternating between despair (This book is so, so, so bad needs a complete rewrite. WAAAAAH!) and determination (A rewrite never killed anyone, right? You can do it, Sooz! YOU CAN DO IT.).

Ultimately, determination wins (helped along iby its close frenemy: The Deadline). I print out the whole book, get my writing tools out, and then read the ENTIRE thing in one sitting. Actually, if you want a detailed look at how I revise, you can head here.

This reading/planning stage usually takes a few days. Once I’ve got the Book I Actually Wrote solidly analyzed and thePerfect Book (a.k.a. the Story I Actually Want To Tell) all figured out, I dig into rewriting.

Rewriting is a HUGE part of my process. As I talk about here, I don’t always know the whole story. I know the main plot, but I uncover all those delicious subplots and side threads while I’m writing the first draft (or second…or third…). I know the ending (roughly), but I have NO CLUE how all the subplots and side threads will weave together into a SMASH-BANG ending packed full of resonance.

For example, when I was writing the sequel to Something Strange & Deadly (titled A Darkness Strange & Lovely), I wrote the first two thirds of the book in 3 weeks. I spent the next few weeks revising (and researching in Paris!)…and then I reached the end of my revised two thirds and stopped again. I revised those first two thirds AGAIN…only to peter out and stop AGAIN.

My problem was that I had no idea how to get my character from Point A to Point B. I’d sold the book based on a synopsis, and it was easy enough to say, “Eleanor goes with the Spirit-Hunters into the Parisian catacombs.” But actually GETTING her there? Actually giving her a plausible reason to take that as the next step–and more importantly, to have her do so while keeping the tension and excitement high?

As I said here, I rewrote the beginning a few times…then revised it…then attempted an ending (that was TERRIBLE)…and then re-wrote said ending two more times.
Finally–FINALLY–I settled on an ending that was The One. It came out in a flurry of words that were mostly usable since I finally KNEW what needed to happen –since I was finally writing the Perfect Book.

I turned in A Darkness Strange & Lovely on December 15–a little less than 5 months after starting.  It went through two critique partners and my agent before I handed it over to my editor, and by golly, I’m PROUD of what I wrote!

The moral of the story is that ultimately, my “writing” process involves a heck of a lot of “rewriting” because I’m not a particularly good writer…but boy am I one helluva a good REwriter. 😉

So don’t despair when your own writing seems bad–you can always, ALWAYS revise it to perfection. DREAM BIG AND NEVER GIVE UP!


Susan’s Bio:


Susan is a reader, writer, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. She used to be a marine biologist, but now she writes novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (she really likes swoon-worthy rogues). She lives in Germany with her French husband and Irish setter, and you can learn more about her crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on twitterfacebook, or Goodreads. Her debut, Something Strange and Deadly, will be available from HarperCollins in July of 2012, and you will never believe how happy this makes her!



Check out Holly’s review.


Here’s Erinn’s review.


AND here’s an interview Kat had with Susan about what happens AFTER you get published.


Tomorrow’s your last chance! Be sure to check out Alicia’s blog for her post and to enter for your turn with this amazing ARC 😀 AND of course, don’t forget to sign up below!!! 


P.S.: If you can’t see the sign up thingy, click on Read More and then it pops up 🙂 Thanks!


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2012 Debut Author Challenge: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Reading Song of the Day: “A Cinderella Story” by Mudvayne

Will you look at that? I’ve completed my first book of the New Year! Not only that, but it’s the second book I’ve read for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge. And this is one that I’m sure many of you will enjoy. First, let’s see what Goodreads has to say about Marissa Meyer’s Cinder:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

Interested yet? Well, let’s see if this will do it for you:

The Top 3 Reasons You Should Read Cinder:

1. Not Your Average Fairy Tale Retelling: Let’s be honest. Fairy tale retellings are pretty hot right now. I’m surprised that I’ve been so into ABC’s Once Upon a Time. And the new Snow White and the Huntsman movie? Quita and I will be in theaters opening night (and not just so Quita can drool over Chris Hemsworth). But Cinder is MORE than just a retelling. Meyer creates new characters, new legends…hell, a new story. Sure, I saw traces of Cinderella a few times, but I’m impressed with how much Meyer didn’t rely on the tale we all know and love. You better believe there is no fairy godmother to save the day.

2. Cinder is no Disney princess. Nothing against Disney. I mean, I still try to sing like Ariel in the shower. But Cinder isn’t some damsel waiting for the prince to notice her. If anything, she has a goal beyond falling in love with the prince. In fact, the prince comes to her for help. How kick ass is that? As Destiny’s Child would say: All the woman who are independent…

3. Likewise, there’s no Disney ending. Now, I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say that I was relieved that no one was riding off into the sunset. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story…but only when it fits with the story. Meyer created a layered character with Cinder. Sure, she’s charmed by the prince, but there are bigger issues at hand…and I’m curious to see how she’ll tackle them in the future.

If you like…

Book: Girl Parts by John M. Cusick, or

Movie: Ever After

then you’ll like Cinder!!

Have you read Cinder yet? What kind of fairy tale retellings would you like to see or read?

Note: Ahem, a contest MAY occur at the end of the month…and commenting on this post can increase your chances to win. 🙂

YA Superlatives Blogfest: Best in Show

Reading Song of the Day: “Best For Last” by Adele

Here it is, folks. The LAST day of our YA Superlatives Blogfest. *sheds a tear* Don’t know what the Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest is all about yet? Still?? Okay, go here for more info. Also, please make sure to check out our posts from earlier this week to see our other choices.

Of course, we go out with a bang. We pick the cream of the crop, the big enchiladas, the…okay, we ran out of cheesy analogies. But, we ARE picking the Best in Show…so check out our choices below:

Favorite Cover:

Um, really?

Need we say more?

Cutest Couple:

Tie: Sam and Grace in Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and Lola and Cricket in Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. We almost wish we were characters in these authors’ next novels just to have these kind of romances. 🙂

Most Likely to Succeed (Or, pick a Printz winner!):

Tie: Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff and Recovery Road by Blake Nelson. Both male authors. Both kick major prose ass.

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime:

Tie: Divergent by Veronica Roth and Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts. We thought about calling into work to finish these books. Seriously.

Best Repeat Performance:

Tie (Hmm, noticing a trend?): Forever by Maggie Stiefvater and City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare. As you can see, Quita LOVED the Wolves of Mercy Falls series–and Pam wants to be best friends with Cassandra Clare.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath:

Tessa Gray and Will/Jem in Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. That’s right–homegirl got lucky twice. And the scenes were HAWT!

Pair Most Likely to Stay Best Friends Till They’re 80:

Clary and Simon from City of Fallen Angels. Okay, I know we’ve been showing a TON of love for Ms. Clare, but there’s also a TON of love between these two characters.

Breakout Novel (Fave Book by a Debut Author):

Divergent by Veronica Roth and Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts. Both dark, both intense…both we can’t stop raving about.

Best Old-Timer (Your fave read of the year, published BEFORE 2011):

Tie: Boy Toy by Barry Lyga and Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. Umm, why didn’t people tell us how incredible these books were?

Most Likely to Make a Grown Man Cry:

A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young. Because the story IS beautiful…and really makes you not take your life for granted.

Most Pleasant Surprise:

Possession by Elana Johnson. Usually not Quita’s reading fare, but now she can’t wait for the next one.

Most Creative Use of a Love Triangle:

Tessa, Will, and Jem in Clockwork Prince. Yes, Cassandra Clare again–but usually we can’t help but think the girl in the middle of a triangle is a…well, skank. It’s so easy to empathize with Tessa.

Sleeper Hit (Book You Wish Had Been Hyped More):

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson. Quita can’t stop loving on Mr. Nelson, and she wished more people would do the same.

And now we get to pick our own superlative category…

BOOK WE’RE MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2012:

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. Believe us, there are SO MANY books we want to gobble up next year…but we HAVE to find out where the talented Ms. Roth is taking her story next.

Well, that was fun. It was great to look back at the books we loved this year, and now we can’t wait to see what 2012 will have in store. Hopefully, you all know the drill by now. Did we leave any of your faves off our list?