Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Apparently It's Time to Torture Shannon

So...I have an agent--which I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now.

What you may NOT know is that a few months ago I caved into peer pressure and made a deal with the devil my followers that when I signed with my dream agent (and I still can't believe I really did sign with my DREAM agent) I would...*gulp*...VLOG.

And not just a normal vlog--cause no, that would've been too easy!
Instead, HERE'S what I agreed to do:

If/When I sign with my dream agent I will record my first vlog and post it for everyone to see. And I promise that in the vlog I will dress up and give a gooey, possibly tearful Academy Awards Style acceptance speech holding some sort of fake trophy.

AND--because I was having a SEVERE lapse in judgement, I added:

I will also let you guys have input into what I say/who I thank in the speech!

*Headdesk*

So...yeah. 

I have to VLOG
Dressed up like an idiot
Holding a stupid fake trophy of some sort
AND YOU GUYS GET INPUT INTO WHAT I SAY!

*resists the urge to jump into the bathtub with electrical objects*

Now, I made that deal about 3 months ago, and at the time everyone had a lot of fun in the comments giving me things to say. But...they were mostly inside jokes that have since run their course and really aren't funny anymore. So...

*cringes*

Let's try it again!

Leave a comment today and I will do my best to work it into the humiliating speech I have to give. I can only imagine what you guys are going to put me through.

BUT--I did make a few caveats, and I will reiterate them now:

1. No cussing/swearing
2. Keep it clean (I keep this blog PG rated)
3. I will not say anything controversial/political/religious/bound-to-get-me-into-heated-debates
4. I reserve the right to exclude something if I feel it falls into any of the above categories

I want you guys to have fun with this, but I also don't want this vlog to become the beginning and END of my career. And remember, I said you get to control what I SAY in the vlog--not what I do--so no singing/dancing suggestions will be taken. So there!

None-the-less, I have no doubt you evil geniuses will find PLENTY of ways to make this as humiliating as possible for me--and it's all my fault. 

I made the deal. 
I landed the dream agent. 
The time has come. 
I'll try to record the vlog this weekend...

*sighs*

So...have at it. 
*runs and hides*

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Agent Signing Celebration Contest!

First of all, thank you SO much for all the sweet comments and tweets and emails yesterday--you guys really are the best! I'm sorry I couldn't reply to the comments, but I did read each and every one, and they seriously made yesterday the best. day. ever!

Add that to the list of reasons why I wanted to hold an EPIC contest to reward you guys--and I think you will be VERY happy with what I've put together.

Since we're celebrating my signing with Laura Rennert--and I love to give away signed books--I thought it would only be fitting for me to give away books signed by my AMAZING Agent In-Laws. So I spent the last three weeks emailing authors and pooling every resource I had (seriously, one of these prizes I'm STILL not sure how I got my hands on it--there was an email to a friend who then made a call to a "book girl" and now a mysterious package is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. It's like I've tapped into the signed book mafia or something. But I got what I wanted so I'm not asking questions!)

I couldn't get books from all of Laura's clients, but I did get six amazing books from six amazing authors and I'll be giving them all away--even though they're all books that *I* don't have in my signed book collection. That's how much I like you guys! And yes, you read that right.

SIX books!
SIX winners!

Which makes for some pretty amazing odds if you think about it!

Here's what's up for grabs: 

Tricks, signed by Ellen Hopkins

"When all choice is taken from you, life becomes a game of survival."
Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two guys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is all that can happen when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons.
Five moving stories remain separate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story — a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up. A story about kids figuring out what sex and love are all about, at all costs, while asking themselves, "Can I ever feel okay about myself?"
A brilliant achievement from New York Times best-selling author Ellen Hopkins — who has been called "the bestselling living poet in the country" by mediabistro.com — Tricks is a book that turns you on and repels you at the same time. Just like so much of life.


The Body Finder, signed by Kimberly Derting

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat left for her. But now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.


The Emerald Tablet, signed by P.J. Hoover

Benjamin and his best friend Andy love being different from the other kids. They like being able to read each others minds and use their telekinesis to play tricks. In fact, they are getting set to spend their entire summer doing just that when Benjamin s mirror starts talking. Suddenly, he s looking at eight weeks of summer school someplace that can only be reached by a teleporter hidden in his hallway. And the summer only gets stranger.


At school, Benjamin discovers that he isn t really human but something called a telegen. It turns out that the powers he always thought made him special only make him normal. But then the mysterious Emerald Tablet chooses him as its champion, and all chances of a uneventful (well, as uneventful as summer school on a hidden, submerged continent can be) disappears.


Fat Cat, signed by Robin Brande

You are what you eat. . . .




Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.

As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .

This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.


Thirteen Reasons Why, signed by Jay Asher

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. 



On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. 

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.


Shiver, signed by Maggie Stiefvater

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl.


Now, I could go on and on and ON about how amazing these books are--but I don't really think I need to. I'm pretty sure their buzz and sales records and amazing reviews say it better than I can. Plus, I have a feeling what you REALLY want to know is how to win them. Which brings us to...

The contest rules! 



CONTEST NOW CLOSED--thank you to all who entered!


Monday, March 29, 2010

So...I HAVE AN AGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have a feeling some of you aren't surprised by this news. I have NOT done a very good job of keeping it secret--but it was HARD!  I had to wait almost three weeks from the time I got the email offering rep to the time I got the contract--do you know how long that is in Shannon years????

But yes--those of you who emailed me guessing what was going on (or those of you nodding your heads right now thinking, "I KNEW IT!")
Yes!
I have an agent!

It's all signed and official...see:
(Yes, I had to do the obligatory "signing my contract" picture--it's a MUST!)

*pauses to jump up and down*

AND--as if that weren't amazing enough--she happens to be the agent who was at the top of my Wish List from the very beginning. An agent I admire so much--especially after meeting her at the conference--I'm still having a hard time believing it's true. But the contract doesn't lie, so I can now happily announce that I am repped by the uber-fabulous:

Laura Rennert with Andrea Brown Lit.

*Jumps up and down again*

I'm not going to rave too much about how amazing Laura is (because, well, she might be reading this and I'm not sure I need her knowing *quite* how much of a Fangirl I secretly am)--BUT, if you're curious about her you can read more about her here.

And yes, I'm aware that this means I have a certain deal to fulfill--but I'm not going to get into that today! (Don't worry, it's coming. I am nothing, if not a girl of my word. *grumbles about vlogging*)

I also have to give a little shout out to my husband, who has been SO patient and supportive this year, especially through the insanity of these last few months with my crazy revision schedule. Not only did he bring me flowers to celebrate my signing, he also gave me this:

(I have him well trained, don't I?)

Which turned out to be a new charm for my charm bracelet to commemorate the milestone. Apparently there are no book related charms, so he picked the envelope, since my Agency Agreement came in the mail. (Here's hoping Tiffanys releases a book related charm by the time I finally sell my book. Maybe I should send them a letter suggesting it...) ;)

And, I want to finish by taking a minute to thank you guys: my loyal, amazing blog followers. You've listened to me whine, cheered me on in your comments and emails--shoot, a couple of you became my CPs. Not to mention a certain Twitter Campaign, which will forever live in infamy. I'm not sure I could've reached this point if it weren't for all your support. So thank you. As an expression of my gratitude, I've used the last couple of weeks to assemble a contest of EPIC proportions! (no really, this one blows my other contests away!) Stop by tomorrow for all the details. I promise--you won't be disappointed.

Okay...so...the news is FINALLY announced!

Now, I'm off to happy dance and squeal and generally make a complete fool out of myself for a few minutes (good thing there's no one around to witness it) and then it's time to get started on Laura's editorial notes, which are...um...thorough. But it's okay, she's spot on--and I'm the queen of revision anyway. Plus...THIS REVISION IS FOR MY AGENT!

SQUEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Profile Picture...*SIGH*

Okay, the dark deed is done.

My mom came over and took about 20 pictures of me, half of which looked, well, pretty much like the female version of Sheldon Cooper's creepy smile (LOVE the Big Bang Theory!)

But, as you can see--if you cheated and looked at my profile picture instead of scrolling down--I did still keep my promise and use the most salvageable ones I found. 

Which means, from now on my Profile picture will be this:
(and yes, I realize my face is small in it--that's the point!)

And my Twitter Avatar Photo will be this:

And for all of you who were speculating about what I was hiding behind those dark sunglasses--now you know. It wasn't an eye patch. It certainly wasn't red vampire eyes or gold vampire eyes (erm...I think the proper term is "liquid Topaz eyes")--and yes, there actually were people who asked me that. I *think* they were kidding. 

There's just two plain, dark brown eyes that could use a little more sleep. :)

And BTW, has anyone else ever noticed that when you get your picture taken you become very aware of your arms? It's like, what do I do with these things? They feel like they're completely in the way. Like in the Twitter picture above. There's two random fingers in the bottom center of the frame, because my hands were balanced on my knees. I had NO idea what to do with my appendages.

*sighs* 

Okay, enough about me and photos and the horror of me IN photos!

One quick reminder before I retreat into hiding: Today is the last day to enter to win Hush Hush signed by Becca Fitzpatrick. If you haven't already filled out the contest form, make sure you do so before midnight PST tonight or you'll miss your chance. Winner will be announced tomorrow.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd....

*runs away to hide her newly exposed face in shame*

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Facing My Worst Fear

Okay...maybe it's not my WORST fear. 
That would be spiders. 
Or maybe small spaces. 
Or...*shudders*...a  small space filled with spiders...

(and now I will never sleep again!)

But aside from those terrible, horrible things--which I am now doing everything in my power NOT to think about--I would have to say that this bad boy pretty much encompasses my deepest fear:

HAVING MY PICTURE TAKEN!

Trust me, the camera does NOT love me. 

Think Chandler's awkward smile, with an added dash of dark circles, courtesy of my insomnia, and well...it's not cute.

BUT...it has been brought to my attention quite a few times that my profile picture is not really up to par. (What--you guys don't want to see me hiding behind a coat and giant sunglasses in front of the Tower of London anymore? That's not good enough?) 

So FINE! I'm going to...*gulp*...face the camera--WITHOUT SUNGLASSES--and see if I can find something remotely salvageable to replace my profile picture with.

I make no promises that I'll be successful. For one thing, I'm still sick (yes--it's the sinus infection that won't quit) so even with extra blush I may look a little pale and pathetic. But either way, I'll post it, because frankly--I'm sick of your whining! ;)

So stop by tomorrow for the result. I have a feeling it'll be a heaping dose of Shannon Shame. 

*sighs*

The things I do for you guys...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I Have a "Serious" Problem!

So...I don't know how it happened, but somehow over the last year I picked up a very bad habit and I can't seem to kick it--no matter how hard I try. Let's see if you can guess what it is from this actual conversation I just had with my wonderful husband (MWH):

MWH 
Hey--did you know Miley Cyrus is mentoring everyone on Idol tonight?

Me
 Seriously?

MWH 
Yep. What's she going going to do, teach them how to sing pitchy and annoy everyone?

Me 
*rolls eyes* 
Seriously.

MWH
You're doing it again.

Me
 I am?

MWH
 *laughs* 
Yep. Seriously.

Me
*grits teeth* 
*Flings pillow at his head*
*misses completely*
*almost breaks picture frame*
*stomps off to write a blog post about it*

So...somehow I've started spewing out the word "seriously" 20 or 30 times a day without even realizing it. It's a noun. A verb. An adjective. An answer. A question. It's OUT. OF. CONTROL!!!! 

And the worst part is: I DON'T KNOW HOW TO STOP IT!!!! 

I've tried to kick dude, awesome, like, super, and all from my vocabulary for years--and it's not happening. (What? I'm a Californian--that's like, our accent. Totally.)

And now I have to add another one? 
Seriously?

AHHH--see it's a disease!

And it's especially bad, because, yanno, I'm trying to be taken seriously as a writer (I know, I KNOW--but that was a proper usage!) and, well, it probably won't help if I sound like my vocabulary is limited to a collection of Valley Girl-esque words. 

So I am begging you guys! Anyone have any tips for weeding out word abuse? Or do any of you have any words you can't help but overuse so I won't have to feel so alone in my issues? I can't be the only one, can I?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

I've read a few posts recently about doubt and fear, and as someone who is an EXPERT on self doubt, I thought it was time to throw my two cents into the conversation. Believe me--I know what it's like to have one of those days where you re-read some of your writing and want to delete everything, abandon writing, and maybe flee to Mexico and live off tacos and cheap tequila for the rest of your life. (see...I told you I'm an expert on self doubt). But here's what I try to remind myself:

Writing is a skill. 
It takes practice to perfect it. 

Yes, there's also talent involved. But not AS much as you might think. And before you feel insulted by that, let me explain.

Not sure how many of you know this, but once upon a time I was an art major. And my specialty was black and white portraits:



But the funny thing is, when I was first learning to draw, the thing I struggled with the most were faces.

No really. I can prove it. (I can't believe I'm going to post this--it's SO embarrassing)

This is a drawing I did when I was 14. 
It's supposed to be my kindergarten class picture, but...well... 
I mean, I wasn't the cutest kid on the planet--but I was cuter than THAT!!!

And I have hundreds of equally bad drawings I could show you (but I think that's enough humiliation for now). 

So what changed?

Well...I did.

I loved portraits. I wanted to be good at them. So when I was 15 I decided I was going to draw nothing but faces until I figured out how to get them right. And since I was 15--and totally, heartbreakingly in love with Gavin Rossdale--I decided practice on him (hey, if you have to stare at a face for hours at a time, why not a gorgeous one?)

At first, I still sucked:
I mean...this is really...REALLY bad.

But I got a little better...

There are quite a few more in this series...*blushes*...but I think I'd rather just skip to the end, when I finally figured out the basic proportions of the face:
Yay! It's not perfect, but at least he looks human!

It still took me a few more years to figure out how to make someone look like "them," and to learn how to shade and add detail and really perfect my style:

But I did it!
I went from making everyone look bug-eyed and scary, to being called a "master of the face" by my Professor (though believe me, I am *hardly* a master.)

So what's my point?

My point is, that art is something everyone thinks of as a talent you either have--or you don't. And yet, I did not naturally have the talent to draw faces. I had to train my hands to do it, and train my eyes to see it and THEN I could do it.

And in many ways, it's the same thing with writing. Sure, we'd all love to sit down and open a Word doc and effortlessly write the next Great American Novel, which will sell millions of copies and win literary awards and turn us into the most famous writer ever. But it doesn't work that way--at least not for 99.999% of us.  

Most of us have to practice. We have to write horrible first drafts that make us want to cry over how much they suck. But then we revise them and they suck a little less. We give them to our CPs and they point out some issues and get even better. And pretty soon...they're good. Good enough to get an agent. Then we do one or two more rounds of revision, and finally they're GREAT. And then they sell and we start the whole process all over again with our next book.

So what I'm trying to say is, don't doubt that you have the talent. You HAVE it. You have to just keep practicing on your draft until you finally get it right. 

And you will. 

So don't give into the fear and give up.

You can do it!

And if you need a cheerleader, let me know. I'll be happy to cheer you on!
*shakes pom poms*
:)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Becca Fitzpatrick at Mysterious Galaxy Books

*Hint--for those of you hoping to win Hush Hush, there's a chance for an extra contest entry*

Okay, so, a few weeks ago, I posted this picture when I talked about meeting the fabulous Lisa McMann
And now it's time to talk about the lovely lady sitting next to her--the amazing Becca Fitzpatrick.

Author of this book:

Like Lisa, Becca started her presentation with her cover story. She was actually the one who picked the model (she said she only had about ten minutes to scan through the headshots, so she was really worried at first because it had been such a rushed decision). She was also the one who picked the shot they ended up using. BUT--the shot was actually supposed to look like this:


Apparently some people felt that it looked better flipped the way we're all used to seeing it, and at first Becca was really unsure of the change, because to her it looked like he was falling UP, not down. But it did grow on her, and she decided that if anyone asked she'd just say he was struck by lightning. :)

Another interesting tidbit--the poor model had to spend two hours in make-up and SIX HOURS on a trampoline doing backflips, and apparently told her it was one of the toughest workouts he'd ever done--which says a lot, cause, well, the guy looks pretty stinking buff. *scrolls up to ogle Patch* *sighs*

Becca's also a girl after my own heart--she does A LOT of revision. I think we've all heard her talk about how many years she put into Hush Hush--so I won't repeat it--but I did find it very interesting to hear that she still revises heavily. She told us that there wasn't a single scene in the first draft of Crescendo that hasn't been re-written. So...I guess there's hope for us heavy revisers out there--though I'm not sure any of them are as bad as me, *coughs*

One last tidbit--that you may have already heard, but that's too cute not to share--is that she started writing because her husband paid for her to take a writing class as her 24th birthday present. And apparently he'd been torn between the writing class and a Japanese cooking class. So if you've ever read the dedication and wondered why it says: "And to Justin. Thanks for not choosing the Japanese cooking class--love you" now you know. Which I think is absolutely adorable.

Okay, that pretty much covers her whole presentation, but I do want to add that she was definitely one of the nicest, sweetest, friendliest writers I've met, so if you have a chance to meet her--go do it, you WON'T be disappointed. And if you're hoping to win Hush Hush and would like an extra entry, leave me a comment on this post (make sure you include the name you entered the contest under) and I'll be sure to add it to the entries.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Several Awesome Things...

Wow--there's so many amazing things going on right now I don't know where to start. So I guess I'll start with this:

Deep Freeze
In another major YA acquisition before the Bologna Book Fair, Ben Schrank at Razorbill pre-empted North American rights to the debut novel by high school teacher Beth RevisAcross the UniverseMerrilee Heifetz at Writers House brokered the deal, which is for three books, and Universe is scheduled for spring 2011. In the novel, set in the near future, a teenager is cryogenically frozen only to thaw too soon, before arriving at the new planet that's her destination. Set to wake 300 years in the future, She rouses 50 years too early, still on a spaceship in transit. Schrank said he thinks the book will do for popular sci-fi what The Hunger Games did for postapocalyptic fiction. Rights have been pre-empted in the U.K. (by Razorbill UK, which will do a joint publication with Penguin USA) and Germany, and sales have also closed in France and Greece.

Yes, that's right, Beth Revis--an awesome blogger who I HIGHLY recommend you all immediately go follow--has an INCREDIBLE book deal! 

*Tosses Confetti*

*Happy Dances for Beth*

So huge, HUGE congratulations to Beth and...um...I REALLY want an ARC so, Beth, if you're reading this...*bats eyelashes*

ALSO...um...not sure if you know this--though you SHOULD--but, today is a day I've been counting down to because Kimberly Derting's highly anticipated debut novel THE BODY FINDER hits stores! 
I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT to pick up my copy!

Lastly--I don't know if you guys noticed...but...I HIT 400 FOLLOWERS YESTERDAY!!!! So you know what that means:
CONTEST TIME!

Stop by tomorrow for all the details. And stay tuned these next couple weeks. Cool things are happening and I promise there will be news and Shannon Shame and contests galore!

And now I'm off to the bookstore!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Freakin' PG Love-Scene Blogfest!

Okay, here's the deal. 

In case you missed Simon's epic post a couple weeks ago, there were some major shenanigans that happened on Twitter about a month ago (seriously, why is it ALWAYS Twitter?) 

Basically, Simon and his minions decided I needed to post a love scene on my blog. 

To which I told them: I don't write love scenes. I write middle grade. My characters are 12. No love scenes, unless I want child protective services and maybe the FBI beating down my door.

To which they said: Branch out to another genre, write one, and post it. 

To which I said: Um, no, I keep my blog PG rated--and Idon'twritelovescenes!!!!

To which they said: Write a PG rated love scene!

To which I said: What part of Idon'twritelovescenes don't you understand???

At which point I realized no one was listening to me because somehow everyone had decided that writing a PG-Love Scene was the ultimate challenge and that there should be a blogfest forcing everyone to write one and before I could turn and flee I'd been roped into it. And--just to make sure I participated, Simon TOTALLY called me out on his blog (he had a picture of me and everything) and has even resorted to hounding me on Twitter over the weekend (along with a few of his minions). *sighs* 

So yeah...I'm taking part in a freakin' PG Love-Scene blogfest. 

*scowls*

*grumbles*

*scowls some more*

BUT--I did find a totally AWESOME loophole, and since I LOVE to annoy Simon (and it serves him right for forcing me into this in the first place) I'm taking it!

And just so no one can call shenanigans on me, here are Simon's rules

  • A short love scene between two characters (yes, two, ‘cause if it’s a threesome or better, it sure as hell ain’t PG!)
  • The reader needs to understand that the act of love is occurring, but the language must remain MG/PG.
  • You may not fade to black because that would be cheating. 
And here is my responding scene--written just for this blogfest with no time for revision, so I apologize if it's a little rough:

*hopes Simon's head explodes*

*snickers*

***

Cold Sweat soaked her nightgown as Phoebe untangled herself from the blankets and buried her face in her pillow. 
It was a dream, she reminded herself. It was only a dream.
But she couldn't erase the horrible face that had haunted her nightmare, and every time she closed her eyes she could see him.
Watching.
Waiting. 
A shiver rocked her body and she couldn’t take it anymore.
She didn’t care that she'd turned twelve last week, or that her brother would tease her and call her a baby in the morning. She wanted her mom to hold her and stroke her hair and tell her that everything was going to be okay.
The cold floor stung her feet as she padded down the hall to her parents' room.
The door was closed—which was unusual—but it wasn’t locked.
Strange sounds filled the air as she pulled the door open. Were her parents sick? There was so much heavy breathing.
“Mom?” she whispered, as her fingers found the light switch and flicked it on.
A tangle of limbs and skin and body parts burned her eyes as they adjusted to the light.
Her dad mumbled a string of words he’d told her never to use and her mom struggled to adjust the blankets.
But Phoebe was way ahead of them. She turned and fled, ignoring her mom’s calls as she raced to the safety of her bedroom, slamming the door.
She wasn’t scared of the man in her dream anymore. In fact, she hoped his face would greet her when she closed her eyes. Anything to erase the horrors she’d just witnessed.
She was never going to her parent’s room at night again.

***

Okay Simon--there you go!

The "love scene" part is between 2 characters--and you never said I wasn't allowed to have a third character in another part!

The act of love CLEARLY occurs--no fading to black--and I stuck with PG-MG appropriate language.

SO THERE!

*sticks out tongue*

And for those of you who think I cheated, well...tough. ;)
Plus, I did you a favor. 
Trust me, I don't write a good love scene. I'm an Epic-Kiss-And-Fade-To-Black kind of girl--which is why I write Middle Grade to begin with. We all have our specialties. Hot and Steamy is NOT one of mine. 

To read the rest of the blogfest entries, click here.

Okay, *phew!*

One embarrassing, stressful, furstrating blog challenge down. Now I just need to fulfill Frankie's latest #blogwar dare and I'm done. If only I had ANY idea how to make that stupid movie. *headdesk*

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Have you had a cupcake today?

It's here! It's here!

Lisa Schroeder's fabulous new middle grade novel, It's Raining Cupcakes hits stores today, and I have no doubt the story will be as delicious as the cover!


I've been waiting for this book for months, and in honor of its release I intend to treat myself to a cupcake or three. 

Anyone care to join me?

What's your favorite flavor--if you can pick a favorite? ;)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Query Wars!!!!

First of all, thank you so much for all the kind comments and emails last week while I was sick--I really enjoyed reading them. I'm not totally better yet, but my doctor has me on some pretty heavy antibiotics so I'm definitely on the mend. Which means...back to blogging! (*ominous music sounds*)

So, I thought I'd get back in the swing by announcing that I've officially entered Query Wars!!!!!!!!!!!

Well...actually...I entered 2 weeks ago. 

*Blushes* 

I know, I'm a horrible blogger for keeping you guys in the dark. 

But...I was a little afraid to post about it. I've heard querying can be a long and frustrating process and I was concerned the announcement would be a little anti-climactic. But it has been a VERY interesting two weeks, and some things are moving a lot quicker than I thought they would so it's time to let you guys know.

I can't tell you what response I've gotten yet--and I know that sounds coy--but I can say that I *might* have BIG news soon, and I promise to announce it the second I do.

BUT...in the meantime, I thought I'd share the story of how I ended up in the Query pool in the first place, since, as some of you might remember, I was more than a little reluctant to jump in.

Really, it came down to three things: 

Twitter
(have you noticed how all shenanigans seem to happen there?)

(spork wielding ninja who's NOT afraid to kick my butt)

and

(yes that's right. THE Bree Despain!)
Amazing author of The Dark Divine

Yeah...nothing in my life is ever normal. Especially when Twitter is involved.

Here's how it all went down:

Poor C.J. has been stuck with me since I took her query workshop (which is AWESOME, btw) and sometimes I email her for advice. So I bombed her with one of my ENDLESS emails asking her opinion of my general querying readiness, and the next thing I know, she hunts me down on Twitter with a new hashtag just for me: #hitsend.

So we're tweeting back and forth (mostly me whining and stressing and panicking and C.J. threatening me with Sporks of Doom and telling me to #hitsend) and--as so often happens on Twitter--our conversation acquired some Twitter Stalkers. (C.J. has some SERIOUS Twitter minions) Pretty soon I had 4 or 5 people hounding me to #hitsend and I'm trying to fend them all off with my insecure doubts, and they're tweeting back with various toilet and excrement related metaphors (it's amazing how many different ways a group of writers can say "crap or get off the pot") Which is when Bree Despain entered the fray.

Not gonna lie--having a writer I admire use her tweets to tell me to query had QUITE an impact. And, it brought the Twitter Stalkers in FORCE.  I was flooded with so many @replies I couldn't keep up with them all and #hitsend was coming dangerously close to trending. And right when I was considering signing off Twitter, dying my hair, and fleeing to Mexico to escape the pressure, Bree dropped the ultimate bomb and announced that she would not resume her work on The Dark Divine 2 until I #hitsend (I'm sure she was kidding, but it was enough to cause the @replies to double).

So...after a few more minutes of hemming and hawing (and gawking at how many new followers I was getting because of the #hitsend fiasco--I seriously jumped like 30 Twitter followers in one hour) I did the thing I thought I'd never have the courage to do. I proofread my queries one final time, and I #hitsend. And it's been a crazy, roller coaster two weeks ever since. 

Now, I can't be sure of course, but I *think* that might be one of the strangest "how I found the courage to query stories" out there--but you tell me. How did you scrape together the courage to #hitsend (or mail those envelopes if you're going the snail mail route)? And if you haven't gotten there yet, how do you think you'll find the confidence to do it? Or will you need me to sick the Twitter minions on you?  ;)

Friday, March 5, 2010

When Great Things Happen to Awesome People!

This stupid cold has kept me away from blogging all week, but I HAD to come back today to congratulate one of my absolute favorite people, Sarah Wylie, who just sold her book, ALL THESE LIVES at auction to Margaret Ferguson at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (Macmillan)! And as if that weren't squee-worthy enough, she scored a two book deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


*tosses confetti*

*happy dances all over the house*

*sends virtual Twizzlers Sarah's way!*

She's probably going to kill me for doing this, because she might just be the shyest, most modest, most humble person I've ever met, but I HAD to spread the word because this is a HUGE accomplishment and she needs to celebrate!  So in honor of Sarah's tremendous success, I ask everyone to eat a piece of their favorite candy and think happy thoughts. And if you're smart, you'll hop over to her awesome blog Sarah with a Chance and click the follow button so you can say you knew her BEFORE she took over the literary world!

Congratulations Sarah! I hope you're out celebrating right now and remember, you promised me an ARC--I will hold you to that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blerg!

So...I'm still sick--and I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise to ANYONE, since...well, when does a cold only last a day? 

*sighs*

And since this particular cold comes with  fairly wicked fever, I've been trying to stay away from the blogosphere, because who knows what shenanigans fever-blogging could get me into? (especially considering I get myself into PLENTY of shenanigans in my right mind. Blogwars anyone?)

But...I missed you guys. 

So I thought it might be safe to post a couple of my favorite "sick" clips to keep you entertained, and I promise I will be back to my regular blogging schedule as SOON as I kick this thing. 

Enjoy!


Monday, March 1, 2010

It was BOUND to happen...

Those of you who've been following my blog for a few weeks have probably heard me whine stress about the hectic revision schedule I've been maintaining--the primary features being a lack of sleep and proper nutrition. So it will come as NO surprise when I say--in the most pathetic voice I can muster--I'M SICK!

*coughs*

*grumbles about reaping what I sow*

It's just a cold--nothing major--but it's enough to knock me off my feet for the day. But before you go feeling too sorry for me (or, you know, laughing at me for getting EXACTLY what I deserve) here's what I will be doing with my day (according to my sick day traditions)

-Watching a Jane Austen movie marathon
(Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and Pride and Prejudice)

- Snuggling with my cats, who love nothing better than when I stay in bed all day

- Calling my husband every few hours to whine

- Reading the copy of Linger my awesome friend was kind enough to loan me
(and keeping my germs away from it, I promise) 

- Drinking Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup in bed from a Tinkerbell mug
(What? It's what I did when I was a kid!)

So in some ways, I'll be having a more relaxing, enjoyable day than I would if I were healthy. Funny how that works.And hopefully giving myself a day to rest and recover will help me kick this bug before it ruins my week. I have too many things going on to be sick!

Sorry for the weaksauce post though. I'm feeling too pathetic to compose anything more interesting--but I promise I will come up with something inspiring for my next post. Or at least another dose of Shannon Shame. ;)

Happy Monday Everyone!