Thursday, March 31, 2011

BOOKANISTAS: RIVAL by Sara Bennett Wealer

Plot without spoilers...Kathryn and Brooke are both talented singers with dreams of winning the coveted Blackmore music prize.  That seems to be where the similarities end: Brooke is rich; Kathryn is poor.  Brooke is popular; Kathryn is shy.  For a moment in time, it seems they can be friends until, near the end of their high school junior year, they become bitter rivals.

Of literary interest...Wealer's understanding of the world of music--from her use of musical terms to begin chapters to the many wonderful tidbits about composers, operas, and care of the voice--enriches this piercing high school story.  Alternating chapters are narrated by Brooke and Kathryn whose voices, and characterizations are so spot-on that you  really feel compassion for boths points-of-view.

Finally, just gotta say...Though music is an important element of this story, I found it to be an incredibly realistic picture of the high school social scene, where power and popularity can be as difficult to hold onto as high note.  This is a story about dreams, the people with think we need to help us reach them, and the power of our own desire for success.

Wonder what the other Bookanistas are singing about this week?  Join our book club at The Reading Room or just click along...

Elana Johnson is mesmerized by Memento Nora
Christine Fonseca gives a Guestanista video review of 11 Birthdays
Jamie Harrington is giddy for Texas Gothic
Beth Revis features Between Shades of Gray all week--with giveaway!
Megan Miranda gushes over Blood Magic
Myra McEntire introduces "Bookanistas Give Back" - with prizes!
Jessi Kirby wants to be Like Mandarin
Bethany Wiggins Praises the Princess of the Midnight Ball
Gretchen McNeil sings about Spoiled
Carrie Harris loves The Lipstick Laws--with giveaway!
Rosemary Clement-Moore is ensnared by The Demon Trapper's Daughter
Sarah Frances Hardy delights in Divergent
Veronica Rossi marvels at Moonglass

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the Gleeks Among Us

I am one of the Gleeks in this picture:

To find out which one and watch some fun audition footage, click HERE.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Meet RIVAL author Sara Bennet Wealer

FIRST: If you like the beach and contemporary YA, swing by author Jessi Kirby's blog to WIN AWESOME SWAG!

NEXT:  As I've mentioned (okay, repeatedly, sorry), I'm a big fan of contemporary YA, especially stories about the arts.  So, I was thrilled to discover  RIVAL by Sara Bennet Wealer, and even more delighted when she offered to share some audition stories at my new companion blog A Year of Auditions.  Here's the beginning of her story...
One of the best ways to learn about yourself is to take some sort of test – put yourself out there and see how you fare. If you’re a performer, then you do that pretty much all the time; it’s called an audition. I’ve had my fair share of them, and each one taught me something, even if it was just that I should never, ever again attempt to sing hair metal.
More than just honest and fun, Sara's story offers insight into the writer-performer connection.  CLICK ON OVER to read the rest! 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Back-to-Business Monday: BOOKMARKS

I'm in a total quandary.  Or maybe a frenzy.  Or maybe a frendary...?  Here's why:

April 13 will be the 6-months-to-pub-date for Audition.  April 16-17 are the dates of SCBWI Western Washington annual's (and awesome) conference.  I've got a cover and jpegs of the front and back of the arc from the book designer.

I should make bookmarks.  But...

Should I wait to hear back about a blurb from an amazing author?  Should I order SOME bookmarks now and wait to print the rest (at higher cost) until I hear back.  Should I be okay with no bookmarks for SCBWI-WWa (I think not)?  How close can I cut this?

Clearly, this is not an informative post so much as a digressive panic.  You ever have those?

Friday, March 25, 2011

LIAR SOCIETY BLOG TOUR: An Interview with Lisa & Laura Roecker

Let me start your weekend off right by introducing the DYNAMIC WRITING DUO and SUPER SISTER ACT of LISA LAURA ROECKER, stopping by on their BLOG TOUR OF AWESOMENESS for...

I had the pleasure of interviewing Lisa & Laura about their novel, especially the whole prep school setting--on of my favorites!  Here's what the sisters had to say:

1.Did you go to a private high school?
Lisa: Um, no.
Laura: We went to a very boring and ordinary high school. It was all brick and tile and orange and lime green.

2.What were your inspirations for creating Pemberly Brown?
Lisa: We wanted Kate to go to a school that could hold its own as a character. I went to Miami of Ohio (the "Harvard" of the Midwest, I'm not kidding) and we drew a lot of inspiration from their crazy traditions and legends.
Laura: I live near a pretty exclusive boarding school. They have an open campus so I could often be found watching young students as they roamed around town. It's not nearly as creepy as it sounds. Wait, actually it kind of is.

3. The complex relationships between school siblings and families play an important role in The Liar Society.  How did you keep that all straight when you were writing?

Lisa: We wanted Pemberly Brown to be the type of school where generations of families attended--old money and lots of skeletons in the closets.
Laura: And this will really come into play in future books. We loved the idea of giving PB a rich history with fascinating interconnected alumni.

4. How did you come up with the Latin phrases that mark the stations on campus?
Lisa: First we identified the stations and then researched famous Latin quotations that could represent them.
Laura: Eventually we had to map out the entire campus so we could actually see where everything needed to be positioned. But the Latin was a way for us to tie it all together. Plus it's kind of a snobby, exclusive-sounding language.

5. What do you think Kate wrote about for her admissions essay to PB?
Lisa:  A dissertation on the impact of America's Next Top Model on teens.
Laura: Her friendship with Maddie and Grace.

6. As a high school student, which one of you sisters was the most like Kate and why?
Lisa: I was probably most like Kate because I was a little snarkier than Laura.
Laura: I've always been more introverted, but that doesn't mean I wasn't thinking bout snarky one-liners. I just never got the chance to say them out loud.

Psst...we have a secret. Click here, hit the Pemberly Brown Plaque. The password is GRACE.

And if you want to enter The Liar Society Blog Tour of Awesome contest, and really, who wouldn't want to enter!?! There's a $100 Amazon gift card up for grabs! Just click here and enter the super secret password, GRACE, for an entry. Remember you can enter one time for each stop on our blog tour, so be sure to click here and see where else we're visiting this month to maximize your chances of winning.

Audi, Vide, Tace,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bookanistas: STRINGS ATTACHED by Judy Blundell

Plot without spoilers…Seventeen-year-old Kit Corrigan leaves her poor home in Providence, RI, to try to make a name for herself onstage in New York. But Manhattan is not as welcoming as Kit anticipated. Soon, she meets up with Rhode Island boyfriend’s estranged father, Nate Benedict. Nate, a lawyer whose gang connections give him influence in many realms, provides Kit with a place to stay and a job as a showgirl. But what Nate wants from Kit in return turns her life beyond the spotlight to chaos.

Of literary interest…Like Blundell’s What I Saw and How I Lied (a great book!), this novel is rich with historical details about America’s post-WW II/Korean War era. Blundell moves gracefully from the Providence “before” of the story to the New York City “present,” gradually building a mystery, a love story, and a complex web of “strings” (love, loyalty, secrets, promises, debts, shared dreams) that bind people to each other.

Finally, just gotta say… With lines like “…I knew from dance how stillness could explode into movement” (page 301), you feel how Kit understands the world through her art. This is a historical read with a very modern feeling of passion. Kit’s connection to the stage—her desire to perform—and the sacrifices (and compromises) she is willing to make to pursue her dream keep you turning the pages.


Elana Johnson reveals the cover of The Eleventh Plague
LiLa Roecker wonders What Happened to Goodbye
Christine Fonseca wants to be Like Mandarin
Jamie Harrington falls for Falling Under
Shelli Johannes-Wells visits Dark and Hollow Places
Beth Revis discovers Lost and Found
Carolina Valdez Miller is wild about Wither
Megan Miranda swoons for Anna and the French Kiss
Bethany Wiggins commends Ketura and Lord Death
Shana Silver gushes over What Happened to Goodbye
Jen Hayley peers into Clarity
Carrie Harris is mesmerized by Memento Nora
Matt Blackstone visits The Ninth Ward

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

First Pass Pages of Audition!

So I guess it's no mystery what I'll be doing today.  First pass pages are the designed layout that's been reviewed by copyediting and production design.  Now, I'm supposed to review the pages and approve any new changes.  I'm on a tight deadline and have a phone call with my editor on Thursday.  This is scary...!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Well, the casting of Katniss Everdeen made the last week a pretty big one for the books-to-movies world. 

For Suzanne Collins' take on the big announcement, author Lisa McMann's thoughts on Miley Cyrus's attachment to the Wake movie, and more, hop on over to A Year of Auditions!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Back-to-Business: Facebook Fun and Twittequette for Dancers & Novelists

Seven months from my pub date, I'm trying to accomplish a virtual-marketing task each week.  Last week, I explored Amazon Author Central.  I even added my blog to my author page after learning how to find my blog's rss feed (a handy how-to for that can be found here) and was feeling pretty geektastic!

This week, inspired by this enlightening post by Nathan Bransford, I played around with my Facebook "like" page, "Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe" (you can find it here if you're curious).  I learned how to "like" things as my "like" page instead of my ordinary "me" page (how's that for an awful sentence?). Still alot to do here, but it's a start.

I am still loving Twitter and am amazed at the great writer and dancer folks with whom I've connected in forty characters or less.  Since my novelist hands pound the keyboard while my feet still often point toward the ballet world, I was fascinated to read this Wall Street Journal article discussing the New York City Ballet's concerns over its dancers' Twitter practices.  This reminds me of the ongoing discussions in the writer-blogosphere about reviewing versus critiquing, and respect for the power of the virtual pen. 

Do you think writer-tweeters and dancer-tweeters need to follow different guidelines?

For my part, I think that on Twitter, as in life, the Golden Rule still applies and, honestly, it works pretty well!