Monday, November 24, 2014

A Writer's Life: Hitting that Wall?

Writer's Life: Hitting that Wall?

So if you're anything like me, I tend to get stuck on certain scenes fairly easily. One character confesses something to another, a wall comes down, and suddenly I don't know how to kick my protagonist into action. The usual. But hey- no worries! Us writers are prepared for word battle and come loaded with tons of tips to stave off that pesky writer's block. Here are a few, I hope they help! 

1. Take a Step Back


Sometimes taking a step back and not writing for a few hours is simply the easiest way to go. If you take a small break you won't be stressed to come up with the "perfect dialogue" that you need- and perhaps you might even draw some inspiration form the world around you. 

2. Ask a Friend

We all have that one hardcore reader-friend who loves to pick at ideas. Sit down with a couple cups of coffee and run your latest scene by them- perhaps they can help you sort of all of your thoughts. 

3. YA Method Acting



What better way to get into the mind of your character than to pretend to be them? Try speaking like your character for 15 minutes; to friends, family, the baristas at Starbucks. What would he/she say? Order? How would your character interact with others? All fun stuff, just don't get too carried away!

4. Just Keep Writing

Sometimes we are a little too hard on ourselves and think a little too much. Not to worry! Maybe the best dialogue isn't that difficult to master- just keep writing and something natural will come to you.


5. Go to Bed Thinking of your Scene


This is probably the best trick I've used to help myself through writer's block. If I'm stuck on a certain scene or can't get into the head of a certain character, I lay down that night and start off my own dream. I picture the setting, the dialogue, and the events, and just let my brain run wild. Sometimes I even wind up dreaming about my characters, and that can go in so many directions! 


So there you have it fellow writers, a few tips and tricks for getting past that sticky scene you just can't seem to find the words for. I'll close with a few blogs and lists with plenty of other good tips for letting your ideas flow!


* 27 Wacky Ways to Beat Writer's Block: http://boostblogtraffic.com/writers-block/

* The 10 Types of Writer's Block (and How to Overcome Them):http://io9.com/5844988/the-10-types-of-writers-block-and-how-to-overcome-them

* Writer's Block 911:http://www.webook.com/911writersblock


Monday, November 17, 2014

A Writer's Life: Fun Products


Writer's Block? Plot Stress? Have No Fear! 


So the second week of NaNoWriMo has come to a close, and I hope all of you participating didn't drink too much coffee or stay up too late, (but let's face it, you probably did). November is always a stressful month for us writers, and in order to alleviate a little bit of that stress, I went online and searched for some hilarious products we might love! So here you have it, five fantastic finds that only a stressed writer would appreciate:

1.  This superb mug - because let's all admit, it drives us crazy.


2. This great T-shirt - I mean come on, it's the truth right?


3. This necklace, because we can never say it enough...


4. This clock, because, like the mug, it's a very important concept.

5. This bag because it's so true.


Needless to say, these five products may just be the best things ever created. Not only will they lift your mood, but maybe they'll even be a little bit helpful in helping you reach your word count goal! (Mug for coffee, bag for notes, clock for keeping time while you sit in your office and brainstorm...just some ideas). 

So, to leave you all on a positive note and a little inspiration, here are some top notch opening lines from stellar YA novels: 



Best and good luck to all writers this week! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Writer's Life: Inspiration


It's almost halfway through November and I thought I'd share some of my favorite writer-ly finds from around the web to (hopefully) inspire those of you who are NaNoWriMo-ing. And maybe some of you who aren't too!

Well said, Michael Connelly...well said...



If you're like me and sticky notes have taken over your desk, then you need Kate Forsyth's post about how to build a story out of scraps of ideas:



And every writer needs to get their inspiration from somewhere:



Now I'll leave you with this video by one of my favorite YA authors, Kami Garcia, who talks about how to start your novel:





Happy NaNoWriMo / No-Shave November . . . or whatever you happen to be into ;)


Thursday, October 2, 2014

We're Baaaaaack! The YA Scavenger Hunt, that is!!


I doubt I need to tell you about the Scavenger Hunt at this point. If you've made it this far, you know the drill: This is the biggest round-up of YA literature in town! The Scavenger Hunt runs from October 2nd through Sunday, October 5th, giving you THREE WHOLE DAYS to collect every author's favorite numbers and enter to win a ton of amazing books!

So here's THE DEAL:

Each author on the hunt is hosting another author's bonus material (mine is out there in the blogosphere somewhere, you just have to find it!), along with a link to the next step of the hunt.

At each step, you not only get access to that exclusive content, but you'll also collect another clue for hunt. Add up the clues and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive a signed book from every author on each team! But play fast--the contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) is only available for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt (and to see all the books you can win). There are SIX separate contests running simultaneously (no lie!), and you can enter ALL OF THEM, giving you a chance to win up to six different sets of books! I'm TEAM GOLD (aka. the best team around!). 


SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the gold team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only the entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, October 5th at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered. 


SCAVENGER HUNT POST

Today, I'm hosting Rebekah L. Purdy. Rebekah is the author of THE WINTER PEOPLE. Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. She's lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Phoenix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids) she likes to consider her family as the modern day Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.

About THE WINTER PEOPLE:


Salome Montgomery fears winter—the cold, the snow, the ice, but most of all, the frozen pond she fell through as a child. Haunted by the voices and images of the strange beings that pulled her to safety, she hasn’t forgotten their warning to “stay away.” For eleven years, she has avoided the winter woods, the pond, and the darkness that lurks nearby. But when failing health takes her grandparents to Arizona, she is left in charge of maintaining their estate. This includes the “special gifts” that must be left at the back of the property.

Salome discovers she’s a key player in a world she’s tried for years to avoid. At the center of this world is the strange and beautiful Nevin, who she finds trespassing on her family’s property. Cursed with dark secrets and knowledge of the creatures in the woods, his interactions with Salome take her life in a new direction. A direction where she’ll have to decide between her longtime crush Colton, who could cure her fear of winter. Or Nevin who, along with an appointed bodyguard, Gareth, protects her from the darkness that swirls in the snowy backdrop. An evil that, given the chance, will kill her.

Find out more about Rebekah and THE WINTER PEOPLE here!


EXCLUSIVE CONTENT (Excerpt from THE WINTER PEOPLE)

***This scene is from The Winter People, only it’s from the character Gareth’s point of view. This particular scene takes place outside Club Blade, after Kadie and Salome are driving away***

Screams erupted in the club as the lights went out. Shit. It was already midnight. Simeon and I pushed our way out into the crisp winter air, ignoring the cries for help as we went. With a sigh of relief, I watched Salome and Kadie pull out of the parking lot. Just in time. They never should’ve come to Club Blade. It was too dangerous. I didn’t know who I was more pissed at, Salome, for coming out tonight, or Kadie for bringing her here.
“Gareth? Are you listening to me?” Simeon nudged my arm.
“What?”
“Don’t you think you’re taking this ‘keeping an eye on Salome thing’ a bit too far?”
“No—if anything I’m not taking it far enough. Or did you miss the part where Caralina almost stabbed her?” I stalked over to my truck.
Simeon chuckled, shaking his head at me. “Do you hear yourself?”
My eyes narrowed. “How about you quit leading Kadie on—she’s the reason Salome’s out here tonight—because of you.”
Simeon frowned and took a step back. “So you’re the only one who can have fun with a girl?”
Something inside me snapped and I jerked him forward by his collar then slammed him against the hood of the car. “It’s not like that with Salome. She’s a nice girl and I plan to make sure she stays that way.”
He shoved me off, glaring. “Don’t pretend that you’re only watching after her for him. I know better.”
Without another word, I climbed into my vehicle.
“Where are you going now?” he said.
“To make sure she gets home safely.”
“Like I said…”

*chills*


Don't forget to enter the contest for your chance to win, but first you need to know that MY favorite number is 4. Add up all the other favorite numbers on TEAM GOLD and you'll have the secret code to enter for the grand prize!!!


CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going, you need to check out Sarah Beth Durst's website, the next author on the hunt!


And because I love giveaways, I've decided to host an ADDITIONAL giveaway (for an entirely separate prize!), giving you an extra chance to win :)

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below, and boom! you're entered for a signed copy of THE TAKING, along with a bunch of super-sweet Taking swag.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Title Reveal for The Taking #2...and a Giveaway!


I love new things...especially bookish new things. So a new title is big news in my little world. Plus, if you’ve followed me online at all, you know titles don’t always come easily for me, so having a title I love is pretty freaking cool.

The title for The Taking #2 wasn't a huge struggle, but when my editor and I finally landed on this one, the meaning fit on so many levels we knew we had a winner!

And for what it's worth...I’ve seen the early cover comps, and can I just say the Harper team is killing it? I can’t wait to show you guys what they've been working on!!!

So without further ado, I give you the title for book #2 in The Taking trilogy:


THE REPLACED


(Let me just give you a moment to let that sink in...)


And one more time, so you can savor it:


THE REPLACED


I can’t wait until April to share this book with you! You’ll get to know so many new characters, explore more of the world of the Returned, get the answers to some of the questions you all have been asking me. And maybe, just maybe, there will be some kissing...you know, because I can’t help myself...


In honor of this new title-y thing, I think we should have a giveaway, so how about this: A giveaway for the very first ARC I get of THE REPLACED!

The giveaway* will be easy to enter, just check out the Rafflecopter below.



And I'd love to hear what you think of the title in the comments section below!


*There will be three winners: one for the signed ARC of THE REPLACED, one for the signed hardcover of THE TAKING, and one for the $25 gift card. Giveaway ends on 9/10/14 and is open to international residents. Good luck, you guys!


Friday, June 27, 2014

What’s New...Blog Roll Style


In case you’re wondering what’s been up, I’ve got a couple of events planned, but summer is usually when I catch my breath and spend time with my family. Have I mentioned how much I love the summer?

But if you want to see me, you can find me in the following places:

This Sunday, June 29th, I’ll be at the Clackamas (Portland, OR) Barnes & Noble at 4PM with Suzanne Young. We’re being wrangled moderated by Sara at Novel Novice, so a good time will be had by all ;)

Then in July, I’ll be at the Pacific NW Writer’s Conference on Thursday, July 17th on a Young Adult panel with Richelle Mead and Margaret Stohl (two dazzling writerly ladies!).

And the following week I’m off to San Diego Comic Con, where I’ll be appearing on Friday, July 25th with a whole slew of awesome authors, doing an incredible panel on villains! You can get all the details on my Events Page.

But for now, the fantastically awesome Alyson Noel has tagged me in a blog roll to talk about writing, and the writing process. (She talks about hers here...and I loved her answers!).


1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON
I just finished revisions on the second book in THE TAKING series, and am planning to start the third (and final) book in the trilogy.
2. HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE?
I think one of the things I have a hard time doing is staying within the boundaries of any one particular genre. THE BODY FINDER was part mystery, part romance, and part supernatural. THE PLEDGE was dystopic, fantasy, and romance. And with THE TAKING it’s kind of a contemporary, grounded Sci-fi, with (what else?) a strong case of romance.  
3. WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO?
I’ve always been drawn toward teen protagonists, even before there was a YA section in the bookstore. I like the rawness of their emotions and experiences. Not just that they’re experiencing “firsts,” which they are, but that their emotions are so surface-level and ready to make an appearance at a moment’s notice. Having teens myself, I know that they can have “the best day of their lives” and “the worst day,” all within the span of five minutes. I love that kind of passion.
4. HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK?
Each book idea forms in a different way, but essentially it all plays out the same. I’m not an outliner, so I generally know the beginning, the ending, and several large scenes I want to hit along the way. Then I just sit down and write.
5. AND THE OTHER PART OF THIS QUESTION, HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS NOT WORK?
Because, like I said, I’m not an outliner, I often veer off my intended path along the way—the story will just...take an unexpected twist—and then I have to rework the story in my head before I can keep going.


So now I'm tagging three more authors!

Up next is Suzanne Young, because she's one of my favorite people. And she's adorable. And I heart her books, two of which, THE PROGRAM and A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL, I loved enough to blurb!

SR Johannes, whose book UNTRACEABLE I also blurbed, and who just happens to by my crit partner, and who I also <3 font="">

And CJ Omololu, who I also love, and who is also one of my favorite people (are you noticing a trend here?). 

These are all authors who, if you haven't read their books yet you definitely should!!!

Happy Summer, you guys. I hope you're all taking some time to enjoy the sun, a cold glass of lemonade, and family time!




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fancy Things Said By Fancy Folks!

                        
                      I love this so hard, you guys!!!

Get taken by THE TAKING