Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly winner + AUDITION arc contest + MOONGLASS more!!!


This week's National Poetry Month giveaway
who will receive a copy of Sharon Creech's HEARTBEAT
plus Audition bookmarks is...


Check out her blog The Hiding Spot!

Now for more Friday fun:

1. The weekly prizes are all done but you can still enter to win a signed arc of AUDITION HERE.

2. Before National Poetry Month draws to a close, I do want to point you to Shana Silver's awesome blog  for a great review of Lisa Schroeder's upcoming verse novel The Day Before.

3. Over at A Year of Auditions, author Liz Fichera shares a fun audition story--ah, second grade memories.

The AUDITION arc winner will be announced
here on Monday.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Bookanistas: Cover Love for PERFECT by Ellen Hopkins

I was so hoping to have the arc of this one so I could write a review for you today.  Happily, I've just found out the arc is on the way, though not in time. Still, in honor of the last Thursday of National Poetry Month, I thought I'd give it a little cover love.

Coming in September 2011
If you've never read an Ellen Hopkins verse novel, the amazing thing about them is their complex internal structure.  There are poems set, for example, so that reading the left-hand words only gives you another poem; shaped verses; poems with words trailing across pages like tears...I could go on. It's got to be challenging to typeset these babies! The designers do a wonderful job with her covers. They have a real brandedness--identifiable as Ellen Hopkins books right away--that is also so consistent with what's inside. Each cover is an artistic rendering of the book's title, in grains of meth, in jagged shards of glass, and so on. Raw and visually arresting, the covers highlight the plot AND the importance of language in verse novels. Here are a few more lovelies:

Don’t forget to stop by Myra McEntire's blog for more awesome info on our first Bookanistas Give Back project.   And, as for the rest of the Bookanistas…

Elana Johnson thrills over The Third
Veronica Rossi enthuses over Enclave

Christine Fonseca takes a shine to Demonglass
Shelli Johannes-Wells scribes about The Story Board
Shana Silver is rapturous about Moonglass
Carrie Harris revels in Divergent 
Rosemary Clement-Moore adores Enclave
Megan Miranda travels the pages of Blood Red Road 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: LITERARY LINGERIE (ooh, curious?)

I work from home, part-time doing marketing for a trade book publisher, part-time doing freelance writing projects, and the rest of the time writing my fiction, blogging, and getting ready for the publication of my debut novel.  In sum, I spend a lot of time in my house.  Alone.  I have a repertoire of outfits I wear to sit solo at my desk.  They involve non-form-fitting, fuzzy-warm garments.  Here is one of my writing ensembles:

Another fashion favorite is my Costco powder blue fleece pajama set--too big since they were all out of my size but the price was so good!  I also have the fuzzy jacket and sweats pictured above in, well, a dirt shade of brown.  My husband has special names for my writer outfits, none of which are appropriate to note here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why write a novel in verse?

One of the challenges of writing in verse is making sure the story NEEDS to be told in this literary form. Otherwise there is, I feel, a high risk of a book that seems arbitrary, flowery, or just not-quite-right. I think hard about using this form and actually write my verse novels in prose (or try to) to make sure that my story, its themes and images, couldn't be captured just as well using this more traditional structure.  Here are four examples of verse novels where it seems clear to me that the author was very thoughtful about his/her medium and got it so right!  BTW, I am obviously a Sharon Creech fan :)

an autobiography/memoir in verse by the inimitable Lee Bennett Hopkins

the somewhat controversial Newbery winner is an illustrated verse
"character study" (SLJ) about two 14-year-olds by Lynne Rae Perkins

a heartwarming homage to poetry and canines 
running, loss, and life captured in verse in this jewel-like novel

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Trouble with Tiny Notebooks

I know that I'm far from the only writer that never moves without a notebook.  I like 'em tiny so they can ride in my pocket or purse.  Here's the problem: Days or weeks later I'm not always sure of the meaning of the notes I've written, or even where in the manuscript I was thinking a particular notion or phrase might be worthwhile.

Let me show you...Here is one of my tiny notebooks.  I am holding it up against the dashboard of my car as I wait in the pick-up line for one of kids.

Here is the kind of thing I write in said tiny notebook, sadly without annotation.

Obviously, I scribbled this for an example, but you get the idea.

And the notebook situation is only worsened by the myriad backs of grocery store receipts, old homework papers, and so on upon which I tend to write paragraphs, verses or later incomprehensible ideas.

It's a bit frustrating.

Happy Monday anyway!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Another winner & a ballerina story

The second National Poetry Month giveaway winner, who will receive an arc of
Thalia Chaltas's DISPLACEMENT plus
rockin' Audition bookmarks is...


Check out her lovely blog here!

And now, for a ballerina story...

As writers, we often commiserate about our writing and revision struggles, the pressures of the journey to publication, the stresses of balancing a writing life with the commitments of family, job, and so on.  Today, I offer another "pointe" of view on the challenges of creative life from a wonderful Miami City Ballet dancer (and terrific blogger), Rebecca King.

Dancers spend a lot of effort preparing for, anticipating, and obsessing over auditions. Whether it’s for a summer course or a company audition, we all dwell over the subject. I had my share of obsessing over where I would go for the summers and if I would be able to get into a good year-round program. But for me, the obsessing was put on hold in February of 2006 when I was diagnosed with an os trigonum (that pesky extra bone in the back of the ankle that many dancers have removed). I decided to have the recommended surgery, but I had yet to secure a position in a year-round program. I had just graduated high school. What do I do now?

For the rest of the story, click here.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bookanistas: DISPLACEMENT by Thalia Chaltas

Quickly, for those who are curious, the hand-down winner for BEST BALLET MOVIE, with 43% of the vote, is...


Plot without spoilers…Devastated by a family tragedy of which she can barely speak, Vera runs away to Garrett, a tiny desert town where her secrets are her own. There, her evolving friendships with handsome Lon and soft-spoken Milo lead Vera to the realization that she needs to confront her own grief or she will forever feel displaced.

Of literary interest…. One of my favorite elements of the novel is the way the use of postcards as metaphor, as functional objects, and in the description of the illustrations that grace their fronts. A series of unsent postcards Vera writes to her sister, Carole, creates an evocative thread through the story.

Finally, just gotta say…This story immerses you in its arid, dusty landscape. Like heat waves rising off pavement, the novel has a slow, shimmering cadence all its own which results in a fascinating study of a young girl trying to run from grief—until she realizes she needs to run to something instead.

For more Bookanista fun, visit us at The Reading Room or click along via the links below:

Elana Johnson visits Dark and Hollow Places
LiLa Roecker gets silly over Spoiled
Christine Fonseca has a passion for Possession – with giveaway
Shannon Messenger marvels at Moonglass – with giveaway
Jamie Harrington adores Invincible Summer
Shelli Johannes-Wells is in the grip of Possession
Scott Tracey bathes in Blood MagicCarolina Valdez Miller interviews Invincible Summer author Hannah Moskowitz
Jessi Kirby praises Playing Hurt
Bethany Wiggins delves into DivergentShana Silver presents a Guestanista gushing over Between Here and Forever

Carrie Harris sings out about Shift
Rosemary Clement-Moore applauds AbandonSarah Frances Hardy enjoys Me Jane
Matt Blackstone loves Like MandarinCorrine Jackson delights in The Duff