Tuesday, June 29, 2010

INCONSISTENCIES! and wednesday writing goals, too.

have you ever started editing a story, only to realize that your prose is peppered with inconsistencies?

this is happening to me a lot today.

example: my dragon is named Gillian or something in chapter 2, and by chapter three, it's Kirrian.

also: said dragon glows in chapter 2--and doesn't glow again afterward.

yet again: character is introduced as having dark skin. later, there is no mention of this....

some of the mistakes are embarrassing. some of them are stupid. some of them are downright funny (i am taking these particular examples with me to the grave.).

am i the only one that this happens to? please say no...

AND, on a completely-side-tracked-barely-related-not-really-relevant-at-all topic, it is wednesday!! which means...weekly writing goals! *gasp!*

deadline for last week's goal: anytime today. aren't i amazingly benevolent? i didn't even state a particular time....
*i will add an update today when i reach last week's goal. i have not yet as of this post's original publication... (BUT I AM NOT WORRIED, NO NOT ONE BIT)

and, my goal for next week: hm...let's say...7.5k words. not specifically fiction, but preferably fiction. that gives me some wiggle room ; )

as always, i encourage you to set your own goal as well! just mention it in the comments section below, and then come back next wednesday to congratulate/commiserate.

*UPDATE: i made my goal!! i even beat it! this week's new goal is a bit tougher--i should have my work cut out for me!!

not really a teaser tuesday...

i wanted to post something i'd written, but none of my stories are really at the point where i can post teasers for them. SO, i thought i'd post a character sketch i wrote last fall, only instead of inserting it in this post, i'm going to create a link to it over on the side (right under the friends box)--->

i've found character sketches to be very useful when i'm trying to figure out a new character for my story. i imagine a scene that that character might find him/herself in, and then i see how they react.

it's actually really fun--and not quite as hard as it sounds!

what about you? how do you develop YOUR characters?

Monday, June 28, 2010

the giveaway winner! oh, yeah, and an announcement


two announcements today:

FIRST: the book giveaway winner!!!! (because i know that's why you're really reading this!!!)

chosen in a completely RANDOM drawing (video is BELOW if you want verification), this person gets his/her choice of one fantasy friday feature.

so. without (much) further ado.

the winner of the fantasy book giveaway is: Molly!

CONGRATS, Molly!!! contact me at carrieaxtell@hotmail.com to tell me the book of your choice and the address where you want it mailed!

ALSO, if you did not win, DON'T DESPAIR! i will be hosting another contest from July 25th to August 5th.

here's how the contest will work:

i will choose 2 winners this time (yay!) who will each win 1 package:


PACKAGE ONE

1. A pre-ordered copy of one eligible book (see list below)

2. A box set of Shannon Hale's Goose Girl series

3. A surprise



PACKAGE TWO

1. A pre-ordered copy of one eligible book

2. A box set of Cinda Williams Chima's The Heir Chronicles


*eligible books for pre-order:

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Radiance by Alison Noel

Matched by Ally Condie

Linger
by Maggie Stiefvater

(also, if there is another book you would like me to consider adding to the pre-order list, feel free to mention it in the comment section below!)

so, once again, the contest will be held in August! requirements to enter will be posted then.

CONGRATS AGAIN TO OUR GIVEAWAY WINNER!!

video

i know, very sophisticated stuff, right? (my sister says she might write a program to pick the winners for the August contest, though! that would be much cooler!!)

Friday, June 25, 2010

my giveaway is now closed

thanks to everyone who participated! the winner will be announced monday!

fantasy friday! giveaway closes today!

the fantasy book giveaway closes in approximately eight hours! so, here is the last eligible choice for the winner!



The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

obviously, this is a re-telling of the Grimm Brothers' story, the Goose Girl. so, it has some similar plot elements, but only in the most GENERAL ways. Hale has done a remarkable job of taking a familiar fairytale and transforming it into a fresh fantasy. and who doesn't love YA fantasy???

basic plot (if you have not read the Grimm Brothers' story, this contains spoilers): a princess is sent to marry a prince whom she has never met. her lady-in-waiting is not content to let this happen and takes the princess's place. the true princess is forced to tend the king's sheep.

of course, the downside of fairytales is that when we get older, we realize that the characters are rather flat and the plot is often contrived to tell a moral. Hale solves this by giving the characters personalities, adding a little magic, and spicing up the plot. honestly, even though i knew this story well, i couldn't put the book down the first time i read it. at every step, the princess seems to fear for her life, and yet, she still hangs on and refuses to give up. i was rivetted and wondered how in the world the story could ever end well!

i loved this book. although there are two or three additional installments in Hale's series, this one was always my favorite.
SO, anyway! good luck to the giveaway entrants!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

just a reminder...

only 24 hours until the book giveaway closes!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

END OF DEADLINE

so! tonight my mom and sister were having this conversation in the kitchen:

mom relates funny part of book my sister lent to her.

my sister: i don't remember that.

mom: how many book are there in the series? (because, obviously, sister read the first book before all subsequent installments in the series and therefore has forgotten much of the early stuff. mom wants to know if forgetfulness is justified.)

my sister: like, 11.

mom: yikes! who has time to write all of these books?? (because books look like they are about 1000 pages long)

my sister: the author.

mom: thanks. you are a wealth of information.


OKAY, you caught me. YES. i am procrastinating by relating a completely random conversation (also, it was funnier when it happened).
so...you probably want to hear whether i made my goal yet or not.

i...did!!! i wrote at least 7k in various forms of fiction (blog not included) this week. YAY!!!

how about you? did you have a goal? did you make it?? are you ready for another wednesday goal??? : )

this week's wednesday goal (for me): to write 10 pages of a certain project and 5 pages of a different one.

yes. for the moment, i've given up making a specific word count. phew. i'm exhausted. nothing like last-minute dashes for the finish line.

thanks to those of you who participated, and to those of you who cheered me on! see?? doesn't goal setting sound like fun?? aren't you tempted to join in this week???? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LEAVE ONE LITTLE COMMENT BELOW.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I OFFICIALLY DECLARE 24 MORE HOURS UNTIL MY WEDNESDAY DEADLINE

i will be back in 24 hours, by which time i will MOST CERTAINLY have completely my 7k word goal. UNDOUBTABLY.

see you then. and good luck with your goal, too!!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

do you really need reminding that it's monday? no, didn't think so

hey! hope you all had weekends as fun as mine! (BOTH father's day and my sister's birthday--loads of fun, right??) i got Ouran High School Host Club for my sister, and we've been watching it and scaring my family with our hysterical laughter...

anyway, a couple of things that happened this weekend...

FIRST, i updated my blog! YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED. IT'S ABOUT AS SUBLTLE AS THIS SENTENCE. definitely take the poll to the right ---> and let me know what you think : )

ALSO, i read this incredibly helpful article by C (Cynthia) J Omololu about how to write a book. (SO many thanks to Kirsten for the link!!) unless you are a die-hard panster, this post probably equates to the holy grail of writing. it has saved me SO MUCH time and helped me get my story in order....Cynthia, i can't even being to tell you how grateful i am.

FINALLY, i have been working towards my wednesday goal! and, um, yes, i'll leave it at that! i still have two days to get that 7k in!! (and i never specified that they would be on the same project!! yes, i am cheating)

SO. happy monday. unless you would rather forget that today is monday, in which case i will stop reminding you.

HEARTS

Fantasy Friday


this week's fantasy friday feature: Uglies by Scott Westerfield

upfront, i'll admit that this book isn't exactly fantasy--it's more like YA science fiction. but it's still definitely worth reading!

Here's a little blurb from Westerfield's site:

Uglies is the first book of the trilogy. The second book is Pretties and the third is Specials. It's about a world in which everyone has an operation when they turn sixteen, making them supermodel beautiful. Big eyes, full lips, no one fat or skinny. This seems like a good thing, but it's not. Especially if you're one of the uglies, a bunch of radical teens who've decided they want to keep their own faces. (How anti-social of them.)

that's right--a world in which it's a crime to be ugly after you turn 16. most uglies can't wait for the operation, for a chance to be part of the pretties' exciting world. however, several uglies have decided that they don't want the operation or the much-envied pretty party life.

then, there's Tally Youngblood, an ugly who is almost old enough for the operation and who wants nothing but to finally be pretty. her taste for mischief, though, gets her in trouble with Special Circumstances. they inform her that she has a choice: remain ugly forever or try to retrieve the runaways and regain her chance to become pretty.

what's an ugly to do?


one piece of advice: don't read Amazon's summary unless you want to read spoilers. it gives a lot away.

so are you intrigued? don't forget, if you enter my contest, you could win a copy of Uglies or one of my other fantasy friday features!!

have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

weekly writing goal

this summer was supposed to be for writing. and i must admit that, shamefully, i have done very little of it.

(bad Kari)

BUT! now I HAVE A PLAN *maniacal laughter*

it's called weekly writing goal wednesday! and YOU can do it, too!!!!

what to do: each week set a goal to be completed by next wednesday*

my goal: write 7k words by next wednesday (1000 a day--that's do-able...i hope!)

*note: it doesn't count if you don't tell anyone about your goal!! i'm just sayin'...

don't be afraid of failure! jump in and set goals!!! um, i feel like i should quote someone motivational here, bit i have no idea who!!!! so, uh, GO!!!!


also! i have an announcement: TESSA GRATTON CASTS MAD SPELLS. (and she writes books, too!) Visit her at tessagratton.com.
(this is my cartoon entry for her fantabulous contest. i drew one but (ah!) i do not own a scanner. so i did one in microsoft paint!)


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

an extremelyshortbriefurgent announcement!

quick announcement!

Renae Mercado from The Siren's Song is holding a contest/giveaway! in her words...

"one lucky reader gets it all, the ARC of Immortal Beloved, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and the first installment of Pretty Little Liars!"

so head on over to her blog and enter for a chance to win these great books! hurry--entry deadline is this Friday!

also, the blog Books Complete Me is hosting a phenomenal giveaway! be sure to stop by and check it out as well!


*note: can't get enough books? don't forget to enter my book giveaway for a chance to win some great fantasy novels!

Monday, June 14, 2010

chapter titles

quick question today: does anyone actually read chapter titles?

is it worth puting in the extra effort for a clever chapter name? because (confession time) most of the time i don't even read chapter titles. i skim right past them because i'm so caught up in the story.

am i the only one who does this? or do you think that perhaps chapter titles are worth the extra effort on the writer's part?? that they do, indeed, add a little more to the story and the experience?

i'm very curious about this.

Friday, June 11, 2010

3(3) things you never knew about me

Kirsten (also known as Kirsty and Kiki, i just learned) from A Romantic Enters the World just tagged me! so now i have to (ie, get to) tell you random things about me in wonderful clusters of three! (at least, i think they get to be random...i might be breaking the rules. shhh... )

three colors i love
lilac, yellow, brown

three hobbies i do/have done: figure skating, horseback riding, hiking

three movies i love: The Notebook, The Lord of the Rings, Pride and Prejudice

three authors i love: Sarah Dessen, Dianna Wynne Jones, Stephenie Meyer

three bands i love: my chemical romance, evanescence, nickelback

three things i want to do: land a triple jump, get published, graduate college with a 4.0 (whether i actually ever do any of those things is irrelevant ; ) )

three pets i've had 3 of: beta fish, snakes, and hermit crabs

three famous people i am descended from: (according to ancestry.com) King Alfred the Great, John Alden (from Mayflower), Frank Vittor (a Pittsburg sculptor)

three people i am tagging: Molly (Olleymay), Lisa, and Kate


*also, visit Sandy Shin on her blog to possibly win a free copy of Matched!!!

fantasy friday: soulless

as i mentioned yesterday on the giveaway announcement, i'm reviewing Soulless by Gail Carriger

this book has a little of everything for everyone--and Carriger ties it all together beautifully. there's dangerous mystery, paranormal creatures, an alternate-England setting, abundant humor, romance...this is the ultimate cross-over-genre book. (fantasy, romance, historical fiction, and mystery!! what's not to love??) And Carriger pulls everything off so well!

In a world full of supernaturals (werewolves and vampires) and humans, Alexia Tarabotti doesn't quite fit in. She is a preternatural, which means she has no soul.

Alexia is doomed to remain on the fringes of good society anyway. She is a spinster with far too much spunk, and, worse, she is half Italian. What proper English family would want her?

But Alexia isn't content to sit back and passively let life slip by. When she is bizarrely attacked by a vampire, she throws herself into solving the case with little regard for ettiquete or safety. Especially when she's around the infuriating, stubborn, and sexy Lord Maccon--the werewolf who is actually in charge of the case.

no doubt about it: Alexia's life is about to get very interesting.

also, in case you haven't already and you missed that pretty pink announcement at the top of the page, be sure to check out my fantasy book giveaway! you never know--you might win your very own copy of Soulless!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

announcing a fantasy book giveaway

BOOK GIVEAWAY!!!

you read that right! i'm hosting my first book giveaway! YAY! here's how it's going to work:


Prize: winner's pick from any fantasy friday post (see list below)

Rules: 1. you must be a blog follower. this one is easy! the button is over that-a-way --->
2. you must leave a comment below telling me that you want to enter

Deadline: contest closes Friday June 25th at 10:00 PM GMT

Other details: there will be ONE winner who will be picked via a RANDOM DRAWING.

easy, right? and for an extra entry, you can mention my contest somewhere on your blog! just tell me that you blogged about/mentioned it in your comment : )

here's the list of eligible books:

*if you already own one of these books and want one of the subsequent installments in the series, feel free to ask!

good luck!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

wednesday wonderings..

first, an announcement:

Heather from the wonderful Heather's Odyssey is celebrating her first blog anniversary--and announcing a great contest!! (free books? what's not to love??) be sure to check it out if you haven't already!


okay. to my post now. i have a question.

drumroll. (or not...)

if you could go anywhere (for free, no strings attached) in the world (real or imaginary) where would you go?

mwahahaha i love asking people this question. it often confounds them

in the real world, i would go to the Pacific Northwest.

in an imaginary world, i would go to...Middle Earth (the answer to this question changes all the time, but this is my answer today). i could totally see myself hanging out with wood elves in Mirkwood : )

where would you go?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

you did not see this....

i'm a bit tired. really tired. in fact, i suspect i will be posting a new post the moment i wake up tomorrow morning so that this one will vanish to the uncharted depths of my list of past posts.

blip.

sleep deprivation does strange things. for instance, i am about to show a small excerpt from an anonymous story of mine. i need, uh, feedback (my English 102 teacher hated this word and i feel immensely guilty using it).


I barely glanced at the shop’s name as I pushed the door open and marched inside. The waft of cool air steeled me for the coming conversation.

The blonde behind the counter started talking before she looked up. “Can I help you?” She turned to flash me a smile, but her expression froze when she realized who I was.

“Yes. I need a job application,” I replied sweetly.

The smile dripped off her face like warm ice cream. “Of course.” Her frosty tone made me smile wickedly: so appropriate in Cold Stone Creamery.

“Thank you,” I purred.

She fished out some papers from behind the counter and slid them over to me. “Can I get you anything to eat while you fill those out?” she asked, clearly trying to salvage a sale.

“No thanks. I think I’ll fill these out at home and bring them in later.”

“Have a good day.” The words had never sounded less sincere.

“Thank you.” I beamed, readjusting my bag—which now held the application—and swept out of the little shop.

First item on my summer to do list: obtain a job at Cold Stone where Jenna Roberts worked. Check.


okay, so, first impressions? are you remotely intrigued/curious? would you read onward? or do i despereately need to read that copy of The First Five Pages that is sitting on my headboard?

Monday, June 7, 2010

larger than life

i am reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. something he said really struck me because i had never thought of it before.

he said that readers like "larger than life" characters. i, who have been striving for "realistic" characters, was taken aback. but then i started thinking about my favorite characters and how they can do things that none of my friends or family members can do. they say things i would never dare to say, just as Donald Maass explained.

and the really great characters, the ones who have that unshakable moral integrity and the desire to do right even at high personal cost, who nobly sacrifice themselves for the greater good--they are the best because we can always rely on them, even when people in our own lives let us down or fall short of our expectations.

these, and not "ordinary" characters, are the kinds of people i want living in my stories.

how about you?


*unrelated update: YA Highway is hosting yet another giveaway! be sure to stop by for your chance to win one of four awesome books!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

it's..fantasy friday!

this week, i'm reviewing a book i just finished, like, 10 seconds ago (as of when i wrote this).

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

confession time. in general, i don't like the vampire genre. i know. i'm a teenage girl. i love Twilight. i read. it should be a given that i like vamp books, right??

not so much--i just don't think most of them are very good.

Vampire Academy is different. Richelle Mead creates a full, three-dimensional world that draws the reader in.


Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a guardian. And Dhampir guard the "good" vampires from the bad ones. The compassionless, immortal Strigoi.

Rose and her royal vampire charge, Lissa, ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy two years ago. However, not even Rose can keep Lissa out of the Academy's clutches forever, and they are finally tracked down and returned to the school they wanted so badly to escape.

As long as Rose and Lissa are together, though, nothing can keep them down. Or can it?

Beset by malicious classmates and little-understood powers, Rose may finally have more on her plate than she can handle. And if Rose makes one wrong move, she and Lissa will be separated forever....

Which would almost certainly lead to Rose's destruction.


this book was a welcome page-turner. i truly cared about Rose and Lissa, felt what they felt, rooted for them. i already have several people that i need to give this book to!

my one complaint: i wouldn't recommend this book to younger teenagers. it did have more sexual content than it perhaps needed.

regardless, i cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!


*announcement: Tahereh is hosting a book give away on her blog--stop by and check it out! all you need is a good book recommendation! (although it would help if you also had a blog and a Twitter account...)
(Tahereh, does this count as my book recommendation???)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Favorite Book of the Month

^ look up ^ DO YOU SEE THE CAPITALS OMG MY GRAMMAR IS IMPROVING.

but don't get used to it : )

YA's question of the week: what is your favorite book of the month? (i read somewhere that they ask this every month? anyway...)

good question, but slightly ambiguous. if they mean June, i've only read one book, Hex Hall, so i'd have to pick that. (for the record, i liked Hex Hall, but i'm still mad that i have to wait a whole year for the sequel!!!)

instead, i'm going to assume the nice YA bloggers mean May.

hands down, i'd have to say To Kill A Mockingbird.


i didn't know what to expect starting this book. all i had to go on were some snippets from Amazon and obscure references in Beautiful Creatures. but i decided to buy and read it.

i'm SO GLAD I DID.


Set in a small Alabama town (Maycomb), To Kill A Mockingbird follows the story of Atticus Finch indirectly--that is, through his daughter, Scout's, eyes. Atticus Finch, a lawyer, decides to accept the commission to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. Atticus knows that there will be repercussions for defending a black man, but he also knows that defending an innocent man--whatever his skin color--is the right thing to do.

However, Atticus seems to be the only person in Maycomb who believes this.

Nearly everyone else assumes that Tom Robinson is guilty. Furthermore, they resent Atticus for daring to defend a black man.

Scout, oblivious to the coming storm, merely cares about making the local recluse, Boo Radley, "come out". She doesn't even realise at first why the other children start to shun and torment her: she doesn't realise that her father's actions have made her whole family a target.

And she certainly never anticipates the ultimate consequences of fighting injustice and prejudice.


despite the heavy moral premise, Scout's innocent outlook is entertaining. her funny commentary and childish detatchment keep the story from growing too morbid, even as the action unfolds.

this book is a worthwhile read for anyone--although i certainly wouldn't recommend it to younger audiences. i can't really do the book justice in a short summary--you simply have to read it for yourself. you won't be sorry you did!!


also, a special shout-out to Molly (of MBWcreates): her entry in Tahereh's contest just won FIRST PLACE!!!! YAY Molly! (YOU TOTALLY DESERVE IT YOUR STORY WAS THE BEST!!) check out Molly's hilarious story here.

reluctantly reaching a reasonable conclusion

unfortunately, i have been slowly coming to a definitive conclusion.

several blog posts have firmly stated their opinions on a matter that greatly affects the writing of nearly every author. grudgingly, i begin to mentally accept their words of warning, although i have not yet begun to actually implement their advice.

but here is the plain heart of the matter:

adverbs are not always necessary.

*fearfully gasps*

i am rather strongly attached to adverbs.

i think i may have liberally peppered certain manuscripts with them.

i may have to fix this. after all, i cannot argue convincingly with all of these posts:

Kristin Miller's

Jan Freeman's article (ouch)

Trent Lorcher's article (OUCH)

i could go on. easily. but i won't. too painful.

instead, i should probably get to thoroughly editing my manuscripts for adverbs--IMMEDIATELY!!

what think you? am i the only writer suffering horribly from this adverb affliction?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

100 books in 2010 challenge

Here's the link back to the page sponsoring the challenge for more information

and here's my (incomplete) list of books (combined with my 50 Stepping It Up YA challenge books!):

(already read) (not yet read)
1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
2. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
3. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
4. Heist Society by Ally Carter
5. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
6. Dreaming Anastasia, A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams by Joy Preble
7. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
8. Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein
9. Hexwood by Dianna Wynne Jones
10. The Key by Marianne Curley
11. Love, Meg, by C. Leigh Purtill
12. Stray by Stacy Goldblatt
13. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
14. Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson
15. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
16. Suite Scarlet by Maureen Johnson
17. The Named by Marianne Curley
18. The Dark by Marianne Curley
19. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey
20. First Truth by Dawn Cook
21. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain
22. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
23. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
24. The Year I Turned Sixteen by Diane Schwemm
25. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
26. Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery
27. Emily’s Quest by L. M. Montgomery
28. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
29. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
30. Illusion by Paula Volksy
31. Once Upon Stilettos by Shanna Swendson
32. The Misadventures of Maude March by Audrey Couloumbis
33. Into the Wild by Sarah Durst
34. Enchanted, Inc. by Shanna Swendson
35. Faith-Based Family Finances by Blue and White
36. Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine
37. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
38. Watership Down by Richard Adams
39. Marley and Me by John Grogan
40. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
41. Captain’s Fury by Jim Butcher
42. Princeps Fury by Jim Butcher
43. First Lord’s Fury by Jim Butcher
44. Princess at Sea by Dawn Cook
45. Mystic and Rider by Sharon Shinn
46. Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake by Sarah MacLean
47. Tigana by Guy Kay
48. Kitchen Princess Vol. 1
49. Kitchen Princess Vol. 2
50. Kitchen Princess Vol. 3
51. Kitchen Princess Vol. 4
52. Kitchen Princess Vol. 5
53. Kitchen Princess Vol. 6
54. Kitchen Princess Vol. 7
55. Kitchen Princess Vol. 8
56. Kitchen Princess Vol. 9
57. Kitchen Princess Vol. 10
58. Dengeki Daisy Vol. 1
59. Dengeki Daisy Vol. 2
60. Dengeki Daisy Vol. 3
61. Dengeki Daisy Vol. 4
62. Dengeki Daisy Vol. 5
63. Ouran High School Host Club Vol 1
64. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 2
65. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 3
66. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 4
67. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 5
68. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 6
69. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 7
70. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 8
71. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 9
72. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 10
73. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 11
74. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 12
75. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 13
76. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 14
77. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 15
78. Ouran High School Host Club Vol. 16
79. Millenium Snow Vol. 1
80. Millenium Snow Vol. 2
81. Heart no Kuni no Alice Vol. 1
82. Heart no Kuni no Alice Vol. 2
83. Heart no Kuni no Alice Vol. 3
84. Heart no Kuni no Alice Vol. 4
85. Gakuen Alice Vol. 1
86. Black Butler Vol. 1
87. Wanted
88. Poison Study by Maria Snyder
89. Damsel Under Stress by Shanna Swendson
90. Don’t Hex With Texas by Shanna Swendson
91. Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass
92. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
93. Soulless by Gail Carriger
94. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
95. Wind in the Willows by Grahame
96. Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin
97. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
98. Thirteen to Life by Shannon Delany
99. Dark Secrets Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Chandler
100. Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield
101. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
102. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
103. Wings by Aprilynne Pike
104. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
105. Vampire Diaries Vol 1 by Elizabeth Chandler
106. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Hieber
107. Fallen by Lauren Kate
108. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
109. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
110. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
111. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
112. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
113. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
114. Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
115. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
116. Radiance by Alison Noel
117. That Summer by Sarah Dessen
118. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
119. Changeless by Gail Carriger
120. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
121. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
122. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
123. The Angels Trilogy by Lurlene McDaniels
124.
The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody
125. DNAngel Vol. 1
126. Black Cat Vol. 1
127. Skate
128. City of Glass
129. City of Bones
130. City of Ashes
131. The Iliad
132. Nevermore
133. I am the Messenger
134. Wizard's First Rule
135.

2010 YA Reading Challenge

Link for more basic info...

i plan to do the Stepping It Up Challenge, and here's my list of YA books i have/plan to read. will update as i go!

YA books I’ve Read in 2010 (teal I’ve already read, blue I’m planning to read)

1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

2. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

3. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

4. Heist Society by Ally Carter

5. I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

6. Dreaming Anastasia, A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams by Joy Preble

7. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

8. Two Girls of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein

9. Hexwood by Dianna Wynne Jones

10. The Key by Marianne Curley

11. Love, Meg, by C. Leigh Purtill

12. Stray by Stacy Goldblatt

13. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

14. Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson

15. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

16. Suite Scarlet by Maureen Johnson

16. The Named by Marianne Curley

17. The Dark by Marianne Curley

18. Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

19. First Truth by Dawn Cook

20. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

21. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

22. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

23. The Year I Turned Sixteen by Diane Schwemm

24. Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery

25. Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery

26. Emily’s Quest by L. M. Montgomery

27. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

28. The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

29. Frostbite by Richelle Mead

30. Thirteen to Life by Shannon Delany

31. Dark Secrets Vol. 2 by Elizabeth Chandler

32. Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfield

33. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

34. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

35. Wings by Aprilynne Pike

37. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

38. Fallen by Lauren Kate

39. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

40. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

41. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

42. Radiance by Alison Noel

43. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

44. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard

45. Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

46. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

47. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

48. Nightshade

49. Nobody's Princess

50. Vampire Diaries Vol. 1


character sketch teaser

this is a teaser from a story i've been working on (as of posting this, i'm maybe 7% done with my rough draft...all stand in awe of my accomplishments!!! or not..)

it's actually the initial character sketch of the MC that i wrote to get to know/figure out her character a little more.

I barely glanced at the shop’s name as I pushed the door open and marched inside. The waft of cool air steeled me for the coming conversation.

The blonde behind the counter started talking before she looked up. “Can I help you?” She turned to flash me a smile, but her expression froze when she realized who I was.

“Yes. I need a job application,” I replied sweetly.

The smile dripped off her face like warm ice cream. “Of course.” Her frosty tone made me smile wickedly: so appropriate in Cold Stone Creamery.

“Thank you,” I purred.

She fished out some papers from behind the counter and slid them over to me. “Can I get you anything to eat while you fill those out?” she asked, clearly trying to salvage a sale.

“No thanks. I think I’ll fill these out at home and bring them in later.”

“Have a good day.” The words had never sounded less sincere.

“Thank you.” I beamed, readjusting my bag—which now held the application—and swept out of the little shop.

First item on my summer to do list: obtain a job at Cold Stone where Jenna Roberts worked. Check.

a curious question

does anyone ask questions without being curious?

regardless. i have a question.

how do you get to know your characters? when the idea for a story begins to unravel in your head, you begin to imagine what kinds of people inhabit your imaginary world, living out the fascinating sequence of events...characters are necessary. no story would exist without them (whether they be rabbits, elves, or fish).

but how do you get to know your charcters REALLY WELL? like, to the point:

where you think, "Oh, Ryan never would have done that--he's much too cautious," or "Lydia, what are you doing?? Can't you see that you're supposed to be doing THIS. You are so stubborn!!"

where they begin to take the story out of your hands and begin to carve their own little paths (characters REALLY DO have their own minds. non-writers laugh at me when i say this, but it's TRUE)

do you perhaps write up a list of the character's life history, likes and dislikes, catch phrases and personality?

i like to imagine a random situation that may never even occur in the story. then, i place the character in that situation and let them figure out how they want to react. it helps me round out the character before i've started the story and helps prevent unwelcome surprises later on.

what do you do?
perhaps you do not even know what i am talking about???

character sketch

On a crisp January afternoon, several close relatives gathered in a kitchen. A fifteen-year-old girl perched on her chair’s edge, giggling as a black standard poodle gazed up at her dolefully through the transparent kitchen table. His curly, afro-style hair flattened against the glass, and he wore a comically wounded expression as the girl snickered at him. The girl’s parents bustled around the kitchen, creating wonderful fresh, yeasty baking smells and chatting cheerfully with her plump grandmother.

The last figure, Dale, tilted his stocky frame back in the chair farthest from his granddaughter. His shrewd brown eyes observed the proverbial ‘picture perfect’ scene from behind wire-framed glasses. His ruddy cheeks testified to decades of drinking and sun exposure and remnants of stubble coated his chin. A permanently furrowed brow added wrinkles to an already-creased face. Extensive time fishing and hunting had bestowed upon him the long, bulky arms of an ape. Only a sprinkle of grey discolored his close-cut hair and bushy eyebrows. Despite these primitive features, Dale had neatly combed and parted his dark hair and wore a smart cotton polo and khaki culottes.

“So I guess you’re not gonna come up to Alaska and go fishin’ with me this summer, huh?” he demanded of his granddaughter. His voice resounded in the manner of the slightly deaf and he spoke with poor grammar despite his habit of reading extensively. He kept his tone light and casual, but his granddaughter could detect the challenge beneath the gleaming smile of synthetic teeth.

“I guess not,” she replied with forced airiness, grabbing the nearby card deck to avoid looking her grandpa in the eye.

“Kari, come and get Grandpa’s bread,” her mother chimed, smoothly ending the uncomfortable conversation.

Kari jumped up with a grateful “Okay!” As she flitted around the kitchen, Dale grunted in annoyance at being so neatly thwarted. He found a scapegoat for his feelings in the lanky dog shadowing Kari.

“Winston!” he barked loudly. “Git over here.”

With a look of suffering, the dog obeyed his master.

“Lie down,” Dale ordered gruffly, pointing at the ground with a gnarled and stubby finger.

Winston playfully batted at Dale with one bulky paw.

“I said git down,” Dale growled. Winston hit the floor obediently.

“Here you go,” Kari sang as she served a thick slice of hot, yeasty bread to Dale. He rubbed his hands together and sniffed the air appreciatively and as she also provided him with butter, a spoon, and a half-gallon jar of sweet wild-flower honey.

“Mmm, mmm, this looks pret-ty good!” he gloated by way of thanks, slathering on butter. Dale ignored the good-natured teasing from his daughter and son-in-law as he dumped a colossal glob of honey on his bread. As the honey oozed over the bread and pooled on the high-rimmed plate, he seized the spoon and enthusiastically devoured his creation.

“C’mon, let’s see if your luck holds up against me,” Dale dared Kari, slapping his hand down on the table by the abandoned cards.

“Sure,” she smirked. “But it’s only fair to warn you: I’ve won the last four or five games I’ve played….” Her voice trailed off suggestively.

“Oh, pretty cocky, eh? We’ll see if we can fix that,” Dale drawled.

Kari skillfully shuffled the well-worn Harrah’s cards. They buzzed and flapped furiously as Dale drummed his fingers impatiently on the table.

The rest of the crowd joined them for the game, but Dale and Kari barely noticed: each cared only about beating the other.

Dale took risks whenever possible, but Kari played conservatively. While reshuffling the cards, the nemeses engaged in silent staring contests.

Dale’s grin grew fiercer and wider as the game progressed and he continued to accumulate unwanted points—a sure sign of his displeasure, which he attempted to hide behind a ‘good sport’ face and compliments to his opponent. Kari openly celebrated, unable to restrain herself despite her grandpa’s smiling fury.

In the thirteenth and final round, Dale played first. He peered intently at his cards and locked gazes again with Kari. He wore his blandest poker face, and she quivered nervously. Then, he revealed his winning hand.

A triumphant smile spread across Dale’s face as Kari gasped in horror, frantically tallying the final scores.

“No! We both—249 points—a TIE!!” she fumed.

Dale began to chuckle, an earthy, rumbling sound that grew louder as Kari protested incoherently.

His red face darkened as he laughed, and his dark eyes crinkled into merry slits behind his glasses. Instantly, his wrath had evaporated and been replaced by humor.

“I guess—the joke’s on us!” he managed to choke out finally. “The joke’s on us!”