Shana Silver: YA writer

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Get your typing fingers ready, writers. It’s that time of year again. Time for March Madness! No, not the boring basketball kind (okay, I actually do kind of like the basketball kind). The writing motivation kind!

march_mad

March Madness is an annual challenge started by Denise Jaden for writers, readers, bloggers, or anyone who has a goal they want to achieve. Set a goal and we’ll hold you accountable for it! It’s a great motivational tool because the daily check ins offer a way to keep yourself on track while also helping you win fabulous prizes!

So think about what goal you want to challenge yourself with during the month of March. Off-peak NaNo-style first draft? Tackle that massive revision to-do list? Write and pre-schedule a bunch of blogs? Finally read behemoths like The Goldfinch or Infinite Jest?

I’m plotting (quite literally) a big revision of one of my WIPs that I’d like to complete in March. So big I’m even creating a revision schedule. I’m converting my book from straight-up contemp to magical realism, which basically requires an all new Act 1 (amongst other big changes). So let’s make a deal, blog readers. You hold me accountable and I’ll hold you accountable!

Here is the #MarchMadness blog schedule. Don’t forget to check in on Carol’s blog on Saturday March 1st to announce your goals!

Mondays –  Laura – http://lstaylor.blogspot.com

Tuesdays – Shari – http://www.sharigreen.com

Wednesdays – Shana – http://www.shana-silver.com

Thursdays – Denise – http://denisejaden.blogspot.com

Fridays –  Tonette – http://www.tonettedelaluna.com

Saturdays – Carol - http://careann.wordpress.com

Sundays – Angelina – http://yascribe.blogspot.ca

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It’s time for my annual recap of Books Read this year! I had a goal of 50 books, which was more than I read in 2012, 2011, and 2010 but less than I read in 2009. I’m happy to say I not only reached my goal of 50 books but I surpassed it! A few of these were did-not-finish for me, but I gave each book at least 100 pages before I officially gave up on them. Out of respect for the authors, I won’t say which ones those were but it’s only 4.

top5

top52013

Yes, I know Gone Girl came out prior to 2013, but I’m counting it for my list since I personally read it in 2013.

stats

  • Contemporary: 18
  • Sci-fi: 13
  • Paranormal: 10
  • Dystopian: 7
  • Fantasy: 3
  • Ones I Wasn’t Sure How to Classify: 3
  • Young Adult: 48
  • Adult: 3
  • Middle Grade: 2
  • ARCs (acquired at ALA, BEA, Netgalley, or through friends): 29
  • Books Being Turned Into TV Shows Airing in Early 2014: 2
  • Books Being Turned Into Movies: 3 (including Allegiant)

booksread

And so, without further ado, here are the books I read in 2013 in the order I read them:

  1.  The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
  2.  The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  3.  Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
  4.  Fever (The Chemical Garden #2) by Lauren DeStefano
  5.  Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis
  6.  The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr
  7.  Pandemonium (Delirium #2) by Lauren Oliver
  8.  The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
  9.  Icons by Margaret Stohl
  10.  The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson
  11.  Also Known As by Robin Benway
  12.  Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
  13.  Endlessly (Paranormalcy #2) by Kiersten White
  14.  What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
  15.  The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  16.  Thumped (Bumped #2) by Megan McCafferty
  17.  Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  18.  Adorkable by Sarra Manning
  19.  This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
  20.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  21.  Then You Were Gone by Lauren Strasnick
  22.  These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
  23.  Half Bad by Sally Green
  24.  Jessica Darling’s It List #1 by Megan McCafferty
  25.  The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater
  26.  How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  27.  Mind Games by Kiersten White
  28.  False Memory by Dan Krokos
  29.  False Sight (False Memory #2) by Dan Krokos
  30.  Tandem by Anna Jarzab
  31.  Just Like Fat by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
  32.  The 100 by Kass Morgan
  33.  Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
  34.  The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  35.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  36.  The Planet Thieves by Dan Krokos
  37.  A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty
  38.  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maass
  39.  All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
  40.  Splintered by A.G. Howard
  41.  The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  42.  Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
  43.  Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
  44.  The Returned by Jason Mott
  45.  Teardrop by Lauren Kate
  46.  Speechless by Hannah Harrington
  47.  Pretenders by Lisi Harrison
  48.  Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone
  49.  The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
  50.  Unbreakable by Kami Garcia
  51.  Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld
  52.  Looking for Alaska by John Green (re-read, first read in 2007)
  53.  Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. My list is in no particular order.

Top Ten Tuesday banner

Books 1-3

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is in my Top 5 all time favorite books and Lola and the Boy Next Door isn’t far beyond. So of course I can’t wait for Isla–and to go back to Paris! And to reunite with Etienne St. Clair, who is my boyfriend, not Anna’s.

2. Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater

Cole is my other boyfriend. He was my favorite thing about the Shiver series even though he didn’t show up until the second book (much in the same way Finnick is my favorite part of the Hunger Games series). I can’t wait for a novel all about him! I hope he’s naked a lot.

3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Obviously I’m not the only one who caught the Rainbow Rowell bug this year. I loved Fangirl so much and I can’t wait to see what she does with a non-contemp premise.

Books 4-6

4. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Any time Laurie Halse Anderson releases a new book, I must devour it immediately. I love her writing voice so much, but not just her writing voice–I love her writing advice. She gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received at SCBWI LA in 2011. I had loved her before that but now I love her even more.

5. Panic by Lauren Oliver

I’m so glad Lauren Oliver is doing contemporary again. I love Before I Fall more than her dystopian series so I’m excited to read this.

6. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

E. Lockhart is another author where I must pick up her new book as soon as it comes out. This one sounds more in the vain of Frankie Landau-Banks than the Ruby Oliver series and I’m totally okay with that (even though the Ruby Oliver series was one of the influences to my daughter’s middle name Ruby).

Books 7-9

7. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

This one sounds amazing! I’ve played with the similar idea of a girl doing bad things to people and then having to face the consequences in my own writing so I’m super curious to see how Julie tackles this.

8. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

This one sounds swoony and romantic and everything I love in a contemporary.

9. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

You all know how much I adore retellings and this one sounds really different and unique. I love the idea of making a beloved literary character into a villain.

10. Raven Boys #3 by Maggie Stiefvater

Goodreads says this comes out in 2014 and I sincerely hope that’s the case because I cannot wait any longer than that for this book! Ronan is one of my fave characters ever, and I love Gansey too. The writing in these books is gorgeous. I must have this in my hands soon!

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Back my popular demand, here is my recap of Fall 2013 TV!

Here are all the shows I am DVRing that are currently airing, just wrapped, or will be airing before the end of 2013.

MONDAY
How I Met Your Mother I am so freaking bored with this season. The pace is slow and the dragged out wedding weekend is unnecessary. Ted’s quest for getting Robin back bores me when we know who we ends up with. Except we don’t know who he ends up with because we DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HER. And I’m still not convinced ANYONE would be willing to put up with Ted. Also, why is Marshall on a random road trip? Plus, I wish my baby would stay that quiet on that long of a road trip. If I had other shows to watch at 8pm on Mondays, I’d be inclined to give this one up.
2 Broke Girls  I generally enjoy watching this show but I always save it on my DVR until I’m done watching the shows I like better.
Sleepy Hollow  This is my biggest surprise of the season so far. I almost didn’t watch the first episode because gore is not my thing and headless people tends to fit into that category. But I absolutely love it! Abbie is great, Ichabod is super sexy, and I really love the supernatural twists they are giving history.
Teen Mom 3  I have like 8 episodes saved on my DVR. I’ll watch this as an absolute last resort when I run out of everything else. I’m still annoyed that Mackenzie had her son (illegally) forward-facing in the car at 9 months old.
TUESDAY
The Originals MmmmKlausmmmm. He is just so damn sexy. I don’t care if he kills a bajillion people, I’ll still watch as long as he speaks in that yummy accent and goes shirtless once in a while. I don’t really care about the battle for New Orleans but I don’t care that I don’t care. Not feeling Hayley (or even Elijah) but I like Rebekah still and the teenage witch storyline.
Ravenswood I don’t really get this show and how it can be clearly supernatural when the nearby town of Rosewood (Pretty Little Liars) is still in denial that there are no supernatural forces behind “A.” This show is trying to be separate but I can’t really separate it myself when there’s so much character crossover. Still, I do find this show intriguing. Maybe moreso than PLL, but that’s probably only because the mysteries on this haven’t been dragged out for seasons yet without going unanswered.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Oh Joss. You’re killing me here. I love all your stuff so so much but I am having such issues with this one. I don’t really get what this show is and I don’t think the writers do either. Not to mention I still don’t care about the characters and the character that is supposed to be our “eyes” into S.H.I.E.L.D. because she’s new is just so unlikable. I’m sticking it out because season 1 of Buffy wasn’t the greatest and look what that became. I have faith, Joss!
New Girl Hubs and I really love this show and one of our fave TV writers is now showrunners now. But this show really does not know what to do with the Winston character and they are turning him into a cartoon. Please stop. Actually, on second thought they don’t know what to do with any of the characters right now or even the Jess/Nick relationship.
Brooklyn 99 I think this show is hilarious! I consistently laugh out loud each week. And I don’t usually like cop shows.
Awkward I love the voice on this show and the supporting characters are still amazing as always. Tamara is awesome. Ming is awesome. Lissa and Sadie are awesome. But Jenna…is not. I know she’s supposed to be unlikable this season but she’s deserved to be unlikable for a lot longer than that.
The Goldbergs I’m not sure how I feel about this show. I was too young in the 80s to really get the inside jokes. I think the show is cute, but I don’t really feel invested.
Trophy Wife I watched the first episode and liked it. I watched the second episode and hated it. The rest are piling on my DVR and I’m not sure I want to continue.
The Mindy Project I watched all season 1 but I never reallllly liked it. I laughed a few times but that’s it. I’ve watched the first two episodes and the rest are piling on my DVR. Last year I only watched this when I ran out of everything else so I guess the same fate will apply here.
Pretty Little Liars I put this in Fall 2013 because of the Halloween episode. But all I want to say is I am SO GLAD the finally made Ezra evil. Because he’s been way too creepy for too long.
WEDNESDAY
The Middle I adore this show. So so much.
The Tomorrow People I’m watching and I like the premise and the sci-fi twist on paranormal powers but I don’t really care about the characters or their quest yet. Though it was nice seeing Logan Echolls on here.
Modern Family This show has gotten worse, IMO. But I’m still watching.
Super Fun Night This is cute but also kind of meh.
Survivor This is a show I keep watching but never really enjoy it. I mostly fast forward through everything but the challenges. Even the tribal council.
THURSDAY
Vampire Diaries Long time readers of this blog know this show is my guilty pleasure. Five seasons later and I still love love love it. My only complain is that sometimes Ian Somerhaulder wears shirts.
Parks and Recreation I’m really sad that Ann and Chris are leaving after 13 episodes. Leslie has been great as always but Ben has been kind of boring.
Once Upon a Time in Wonderland I think I’m the only one watching this show. You all know my love for all things Alice. Though the only thing this really resembles from the original is the characters’ names. I wish it aligned better or twisted up the original more.
Grey’s Anatomy Again, I’m still watching and never enjoying. I think I only watch for Jackson Avery’s pretty eyes.
Big Bang Theory This show is hilarious as always!
Glee I’ve been toying with giving up this one. The plotlines are ridiculous. WHY is Sue STILL trying to get rid of the Glee club? And how in the world is she Principal? It’s so ridiculous it’s beyond the realm of believability. But I like the song performances. Maybe I should just fast forward and watch those and ignore the plot.
The Crazy Ones I thought SMG was a terrible actress on Ringer but she’s much better here. I don’t really care for Robin William’s antics but I’m enjoying the show enough to stick with it.
Reign I’m not really all that into history but I am kind of liking this show.
The Millers I liked the first episode, hated the others. It’s now gone from my DVR.
White Collar I love the twisty way they solve mysteries and the constant blur of the line between Neil being good and evil. But I think he’s just a liiiiiitle too evil this season. I want to believe he’ll stay good, not the other way around.
Friday
The Neighbors I still find this show adorable.
Saturday
Saturday Night Live Hasn’t been as good as in years’ past. Probably because of all their good people left and the people who have replaced them are forgettable.
Sunday
Once Upon a Time I’m liking this show more this year. I adore the love triangle between Emma, Neal, and Hook. Though she should clearly be with Henry’s father, Hook IS pretty hot. So that’s a tough decision.
The Amazing Race I wish they would stop doing challenges that involve fish. Gross!
Revenge This show is much better this season. I love crazy Emily.
Witches of East End I am absolutely loving this show!
Masters of Sex I watched the first episode and liked it but haven’t had a chance to watch the rest yet. Will probably binge watch them in December.
Misc
Doctor Who Needless to say I am ridiculously excited about the DAY OF THE DOCTOR and the return of my beloved Ten. I am far less excited about Peter Capaldi.
Downton Abbey I am super excited to binge watch the most recent season soon, probably over Thanksgiving.

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So BEA. That happened.

Don't mind the "P" in the last name. I attended the convention as my real self, not my pen name alias.

Don’t mind the “P” in the last name. I attended the convention as my real self, not my pen name alias.

And aside from amazing books and writing motivation, the main thing I took away from it is: I’m old.

No seriously, no publishing parties for me each night. I’m lucky I made it to 5pm at the Javits center one of the days. I did not see 9pm. I was already asleep.

 

The worst signing line of all: the one for the bus home to NJ

The worst signing line of all: the one for the bus home to NJ

But I still had an amazing time. I got to hang out with my friend Laura, who is about to move all the way to Arizona. :-( I got to see NYC YA writing buddies Samantha and Michelle. I hung out with Rachel, who I haven’t seen since ALA Boston a few years ago. Talking books and writing with good friends always inspires me to be more productive and work harder on my books so I can realize my dream of one day signing at BEA. And since I’ve come home, I HAVE been productive. I’m nearing the end of my first draft of one book and already thinking ahead to plan a different one.

I spent most of the conference going from signing line to signing line. I love striking up conversations with those in line around me. And my fave part is seeing the same people on each line because we all have the same taste in books. These are all strangers yet we have so much in common already!

I got to meet some of my favorite authors or reconnect with other favorite authors. And I’m already almost done with my second BEA read and so far both books I’ve read (THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE by Leila Sales and FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell) have been utterly AMAZING. With both, I was desperate to know what happened at the end but I didn’t want to turn anymore pages because I didn’t want the books to end! That, of course, is the mark of a good book. And I have a whole bunch more to read that will surely follow in the footsteps!

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1.

As you may have guessed from my last post, I’ll be at BEA next week Thursday-Saturday. If you’re looking for a detailed schedule of YA signings and giveaways happening at BEA, I’ve created one and I’d be happy to share it with you. Please email me at shanasilver at gmail dot com. Since I’m a Project Manager in my day job, my schedules are pretty epic. I will also be carrying extra copies of the schedule with me at the Javits, so you can find me there as well. Or if you just want to say hello, that’s cool too! I love to meet new people, especially book-loving people! I look like this:

*Giant Hershey's bar not included at BEA

*Giant Hershey’s bar not included at BEA

 

2.

Since I work in publishing, my office is sending me to BEA, so technically I’ll be there under my real name. Luckily my real name includes “Shana” but my last name will begin with a “P” instead of “Silver.” It’s still me, you can still say hi! And I’ve got business cards that say Shana Silver to prove it. (I also have day job ones under my real name if you happen to be a vendor working in digital publishing.)

 

3.

Unless my achy feet have other plans, I’m hoping to attend some YA parties happening next week. I won’t be at the Teen Author Carnival but you may see me at other events happening Thursday and Friday evenings and maybe even Saturday afternoon.

 

4.

The good thing about BEA being next week, besides you know, all the bookselling and networking benefits, is TV is on hiatus for the summer. I can’t wait to fill my evenings with reading instead of gushing over shirtless vampires! Though I could still gush over shirtless vampires on Netflix…

 

5.

In other book/writing related news, I’ve surpassed 50k on my YA sci-fi WIP! I’m sooooo excited about this book. And I’m even more excited because getting to 50k means lots of kissing (for my characters, not for me). Also I’m almost at Act 3 and Act 3 will be epic!

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BEA (Book Expo America) is quickly approaching and if you’re a first time attendee, it can be overwhelming. This will be my fifth year attending the conference and over the past few years, I’ve developed a list of tips for surviving and enjoying BEA.

My tips are a little different than others that focus on NYC itself. I work in Manhattan so I’m here every day, which means I’m not a tourist and can’t really speak to things like hotels or places to sight see beyond the obvious or shipping books home (I’ll be lugging mine home every night in a suitcase dragged onto a NJ transit train). NYC IS lovely of course and while you’re here you should make the most of it. But since I’m here every day, my concern is only Book Expo.

 

1. Make a schedule.

Anyone who has gone with me to BEA in the past knows how much I love schedules. I include every possible thing I want to see–whether it’s an autographing session, a conference session, or a galley giveaway. I also include stuff I’m not interested in myself but I know my friends might be. I always carry extra copies because there’s always someone who never thought to bring a schedule. And yes, I schedule lunch too. (More on that in a bit.)

 

2. Don’t get to the Javits on time.

What I mean is, get there either really early so you’re first in line (like 7:30/8) or get there late so you miss the line entirely. Getting there on time means you’ll be stuck on a ridiculously long line.

 

3. Get coffee before you get to the Javits center.

Avoid the on site Starbucks! The line there is longer than any other autographing line in the entire conference!

 

4. Check a suitcase but carry a backpack plus tote bags.

Schedule in periodic drops to the suitcase to lighten your carrying load. I think checking a suitcase for the day is $3 and overnight is $10. I usually leave the suitcase overnight one night so I don’t have to lug it around to parties since I commute into the city from NJ and will not have a hotel room to drop books of to.

 

5. Eat lunch early or late.

The Javits is expensive (for non-NYC standards. If you’re from NYC, then the food there is reasonably priced!). And crowded. I suggest either eating lunch either at 11 or after 2pm. Avoid the lunch time at all costs. You won’t get a seat and you’ll spend an hour on line anyway. Alternatively, bring a power bar or a snack. There’s nothing around the Javits to eat at unless you walk several blocks away (or eat at the gross McDonald’s nearby). Also, leave a water bottle in your suitcase so you don’t have to purchase one at the convention center.

 

6. Be selective.

Don’t take every galley you see just because you can. Don’t be greedy. Take only the ones you know you will read, leave the rest for others. The conference is mainly for librarians and booksellers, not bloggers.

 

7. Get to autographing lines early.

And I mean EARLY. I often lined up an hour before certain authors I knew would have long wait times. I have never seen an autographing line without a long wait. If you want a book, plan in advance for it.

 

8. Dress to your standard of comfort but look professional.

I’ve seen other BEA tips lists suggest wearing sneakers. I’m not going to suggest that. I’ve never worn sneakers to the convention, even last year when I attended at 9-months pregnant. Yes, you will  be standing nearly all day. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear sneakers. Wear cute flats or sandals, something you can stand in all day. I always wear a dress. I never wear jeans.

 

9. Carry business cards

They don’t have to be super fancy or graphic designy, but you will want something to hang out to all the people you meet. Otherwise how will they find you? After all, you should be networking. Which brings me to…

 

10. Network, damn it!

You’re among your kind at BEA: other book lovers! Start a conversation with the people next to you on line. You clearly have the same interests. I’ve made great friends at BEA that I’ve kept in touch with.

 

11. Avoid twitter.

Otherwise you’ll drain your phone battery. Plus, you want to be present at the conference, not with your nose to your phone all day. (We’d all prefer you with your nose to a book you picked up!)

 

12. Get a Taxi on 10th ave or 9th ave, not in front of the Javits

You will be waiting forever if you try to snag a taxi in front of the Javits, but if you just walk a block or two, you’ll have your pick of taxis.

 

13. Don’t be afraid of the subway

Seriously, it won’t bite. It’s not that complicated to navigate with since most trains run straight up and down. Trust me, I take the subway every day to work and I’m still in one piece!

 

14. Enjoy the people as well as the books

My fave part of BEA is hanging out with my writing/book-loving friends who I don’t get to see the rest of the year. I always come back exhilarated about writing and reading thanks to our conversations and the general atmosphere of being in a place where everyone loves and appreciates books. Remember to have fun.

 

15. End the weekend with a pedicure.

Your feet will hurt. Treat yo’self!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. My list is in no particular order.

TOP TEN TUESDAY

  1. LOSING FAITH by Denise Jaden.
    I’m not just recommending this one because it’s dedicated to me, but because Denise does an amazing job capturing the grief that comes from losing a sister. My fave aspect of the book is how the main character, Brie, questions whether she ever really liked her sister. I think that’s one aspect of having a sibling that everyone can relate to–hating them when you’re supposed to love them–and I love how Denise takes it to a new level by showing what happens when you lose the person you’re supposed to love even when you hate.
  2. WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson.
    Laurie is a master of voice and there is no better demonstration of great voice than this book. And the voice in this book enhances the subject matter by showing just how fragile Lia’s mind is as she struggles with an eating disorder.
  3. LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green.
    Of course this book would be on my list. How could it not? I love how the chapters count backward, increasing the anticipation to the Incident. I fell in love with Alaska along with the main character and I grieved when he lost her.
  4. ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell.
    When I read this book, I expected a lighthearted swoony romance. What I got was so much more. And it’s the “so much more” that makes enters this book into my top ten tough subjects.
  5. GOOD GIRLS by Laura Ruby.
    This book is about sexting before sexting had an official (official slang?) term. It’s a great book that explores the aftermath of a single act that brands a girl a slut at school and what that really means.
  6. SWEETHEARTS by Sara Zarr.
    Child abuse from the eyes of someone who wants to help but can’t.
  7. SHADOW KISS by Richelle Mead.
    Yes, it’s about vampires but it’s also about a girl who thinks she might be going crazy. It’s a supernatural twist on mental disorders.
  8. THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher.
    No list could be complete without this entry. It’s a heart breaking look at how seemingly trivial things might be big enough to someone else to drive them to suicide.
  9. JELLICOE ROAD by Melina Marchetta.
    This book is about abandonment and grief. But of course that’s not all it’s about. There’s so much more.
  10. DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen.
    A heartbreaking look at why some people stay in a physically abusive relationship.

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My good friend and crit partner Chandler Baker has sold her debut YA novel ALIVE to Disney*Hyperion!!!

Xander does the Snoopy dance in celebration!

I’ve known Chandler a long time. Nearly as long as I’ve been writing. She keeps me sane while on submission and always gives me awesome, thoughtful comments on my novels. Not only that, we usually spend all day on gchat talking about writing, motivating each other, and brainstorming. This deal is well-deserved. I’m so happy for her and her book!  I know when you read it, you’ll be as blown away by her writing as I am.

How amazing does this sound?

Stella Cross’s heart is poisoned—and it’s finally given out. At seventeen, Stella has always been a rule follower, both analytical and cautious, and her body has done the rebelling.  She’s been sick for years, and as the book opens, she’s undergoing a major heart transplant.

With a new heart comes new beginnings: her relieved parents can finally tackle a mountain of medical bills; Stella can reconnect with her golden-child baby sister; and at school, her friends delight in reintroducing her to life outside a hospital bed. But Stella’s post-op days have also introduced strange side effects: flashbacks. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the same moment. Then Stella meets the Levi Zin, the new and exotic boy at school, and soon, Stella discovers the line between life and death is more fragile than even a girl with a replacement heart could imagine.

Head on over to her blog to congratulate her!

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Recently, I read a book that everyone raved about. Everyone loved. And I…didn’t. In fact, I had a really difficult time getting into it. Everyone talked about the amazing writing and I just wasn’t impressed.

I felt left out, like everyone I knew was invited to a party except me.

I started to wonder if I was missing something. Maybe the story had gone over my head. Maybe I was being too critical. Maybe I was too tired when I read and glossed over something vital that would have changed my mind. Maybe I didn’t really know what good looked like.

If I didn’t know what good was, how did that reflect in my own writing?

And the worst part…this was not the first time this had happened to me. I thought back and remembered other publicly beloved books that I had set back on my shelf after less than 100 pages without any desire to find out what happened next. Clearly, if this was a repeat occurrence, I couldn’t write it off as a fluke. There had to be something wrong with me, right?

No.

Books aren’t one size fits all. It’s okay to dislike something everyone else likes. It’s okay to be different! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

That’s why demographics and target audiences exist. Sure, I like YA. But that doesn’t mean I like ALL YA. To be honest, I’m just not that into zombies. High fantasy usually doesn’t hook me. I tend to stay away from sad books unless I’m in a particular mood for them. But give me a swoony contemporary romance or a funny voice and I’m instantly drawn in. Others may be prefer something darker to exclamation points.

So when I hate a book everyone else loves, it’s not because I missed something and it’s not because I don’t know what good really is. It’s because my definition of good is not the same as anyone else’s definition.

My point is, it’s me, not the book. And that’s okay.

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