Monday, January 31, 2011

What's That? You Want to Know About My Trip to New York City?!

No, I did not take this picture.  I snatched it from

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin.  The whole experience was rather overwhelming.  I guess the best place is at the beginning!

It all started with Gorgeous asking the night before I was scheduled to leave if I was positive my flight wouldn't be cancelled.  Apparently, there's been some snow in the East Coast.  I actually live near Buffalo, NY so we've been getting this too, but I live near Buffalo, NY (i.e. we tend to be like "Snow?  Yeah, what about it?")

So, needless to say, I hadn't even considered the possibility my flight would be cancelled until Gorgeous put it into my head.  Thankfully, there were no problems.  However, I heard some pretty nasty horror stories from other writers who barely made it to the conference in time.

After arriving in NYC, I came to the conclusion that no business should have the amount of profit it earns dependent on how fast one drives.  Yeah, I'm talking to you, NYC taxi drivers!  You crazy bastards.  I thought I was going to die at least three times on my way to the hotel where the conference was held.  Seriously, what is wrong with you?!  I want to live!




After arriving at the Grand Hyatt and thanking God the moment my feet touched solid ground, I had to accept with some horror that I was totally and completely ill-prepared for what I was about to step into.

I started wondering if every person I passed was an agent or editor and if they would recognize immediately that I was this ill-prepared writer they could prey on.  For one, I had not memorized my pitch yet.  So unlike most writers there, I'm sure, I actually spent my first few hours there hoping and praying no agents would actually ask me about my book.  Thankfully, I arrived with my sister while the intensives were underway and didn't have an opportunity to humiliate myself.

We spent the afternoon walking around NYC, seeing sights and torturing my feet with high-heeled boots.  

(Note to self: Next time bring walking shoes)

That evening, we met up with a writer friend you all may know--Ishta Mercurio.  And that right there, dear readers, is one of the best things about going to a conference.  Yes, it's a wonderful opportunity to hear from industry professionals, but meeting other writers tops it all.  Especially when you get to meet writers you've been communicating with online.

Of course, do you want to know what's even better than all of that?  Meeting other writers while also chatting with one of the most amazing literary agents for 1 1/2 hours in the hotel lobby!  

Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency (and author of was kind enough to invite all of her participating blog followers for a little meet-and-greet on Saturday evening.  We talked about movies, traveling, and (of course) the publishing industry.

Everyone throughout the conference was really nice, and though the entire experience remained overwhelming, I'm glad I did it and I'm sure I'll do it again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SCBWI Winter Conference is Just Two Days Away?!

Are you kidding me??  I signed up for this months ago!  I had plenty of time to prepare!  Now it's days away and I'm freaking out.  

Am I ready? tell me...

Business cards? Check!

Notebook for taking notes? Check!

Wardrobe picked out?  Eh, still deciding

Completed novel?  Check!  Oh, wait a minute...I just want to tweak this one thing...

Pitch in case I find myself in a situation where agent asks for one? Check, but not loving it.

Synopsis in case said agent likes the pitch? Not even remotely close.

So, do you think I'm ready?  No?  Neither do I!

And that's one of the reasons I've been kind of missing in action in the blogosphere lately.  I've been working on my synopsis for months, and I have one sentence written.  Months.  MONTHS!  And here I am two days away where I better have one available or I'll look like the most unprofessional writer there.

I need chocolate.  Oh, who am I kidding?  I need a glass of wine!

Any tips out there for a desperate lady? 

UPDATE: Thanks to a hard kick in the pants from Brad and words and encouragement from others, I sat down and found the words to write my synopsis!  Yay!  Thanks, everyone!  

Monday, January 24, 2011


I just noticed this today, but I just HAD to participate!

Rules of the blogfest:

"Music moves us. It inspires us! Now, tell the world YOUR ten favorite songs of all time. The Song, the band – why does it move you?"

To see a list of all the other participants in Alex J. Cavenaugh's Music Blogfest, click here

So, just to warn you, my taste tends to be a tad eclectic.  As you're listening, you might wonder how the same person could like all these different songs, but I assure you, I have my reasons!  :)

1. Favorite Romance Song: In This Life, by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole
This song is one of my favorites because it's the song my husband picked for our first dance together at our reception.  He completely surprised me with it, too!

2. Favorite Battle Scene song: O Fortuna
I've literally looked for this song for years.  Every time I heard it in a movie, I always wished I knew the name.  Well, I found out just a few weeks ago and my battle scenes thank me! (by the way, this one is the shortened version)

3. Favorite Kick-butt song (and yes, this is different from battle scene song because this is appropriate for non-battle type situations that are equally kick-butt): The Beautiful People, by Marilyn Manson
This one has become a favorite since I started writing MORCAH.  If you are trying to write dark, this is the song to listen to.

Warning:  I didn't realize this before actually reading the lyrics, but there are some swear words in this.  So if there are kiddos who read this blog, or even anyone who might be offended, I suggest you not hit the play button on this song.

4. Favorite '80s song: Sweet Dreams, by Eurythmics
Okay, how can you not love this??  It's got a great beat and,'s got a great beat!  Okay, yes the lyrics are cool, too.

5. Favorite Party Song: Celebration, by Kool & The Gang
Again, how could you not love this? Every time I hear this, I just HAVE to dance. :)

6. Favorite bring-you-almost-to-tears Song: House of the Rising Sun, by The Animals
My parents were hippies (the real kind, not the drugged-out stereotypical kind portrayed by the media), so I grew up loving a lot of this kind of music.

7. Favorite Song From a Movie: The Last March of the Ents from LOTR
There's just so much hope portrayed in this song.  I love it!

8. Other Favorite Romance Song: I Need a Hero (from Shrek 2)
This is my song to Gorgeous because, well, he's my hero.  :)

9. Favorite Techno Remix Song: Phantom of the Opera
This needs no explanation.  Just listen. :)


10. ANOTHER Favorite Song From a Movie: Dancing in the Streets All Night, by Robbi Rob (from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures
When I took ballet in college, my partner and I choreographed a song to this.  I've always loved this song.  It's so beautiful, and it's in my favorite movie of all time.

Well, I hope you guys enjoyed my selections!  Now I'm off to see all the other posts in the blogfest!  Have fun!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Review--American Screenwriters

Normally, Fridays are for book reviews, but after some thinking, I decided screenwriters needed some love too!

From, The Office:

Michael: (to Meridith) What are you going to do when you come into work tomorrow, and you're dead?

Dwight: I'll shove a wooden stick through her brain.

(cuts to Dwight talking to the camera)

Dwight:  There are many ways to kill a zombie...

AHAHAHAHA!  This is brilliant!  And yes, the actors delivered these lines wonderfully, but it's the screenwriters who came up with these lines in the first place.

In the movie and television industry, actors and directors tend to get all the love.  A brilliant storyline is accentuated by good acting, while that same brilliant storyline could potentially fall flat with bad acting.

But the writing remains brilliant!  So, today I'm celebrating all the screenwriters out there who don't always get the recognition they deserve.  And to do that, I share with you some priceless Office moments:

And because we can't ignore the classics:

Seriously, Mel Gibson gets the credit for this speech, but we should really honor the writer. :)

Any other lines you'd like to share?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Accidental Allegory

I loved all the great comments from Monday's post on happy endings!  You guys have put a lot of thought into this.  I'm sorry I didn't get back to everyone.  Yesterday was my birthday and I decided to take the day off from the internet.  But I'm going to answer here!

I'm not against happy endings.  In fact, I'd have to say I like them as much as the next person.  The thing is this: I think human beings are very impressionable, and when we start putting happy endings on everything no matter the content, we can start to think that that's how the world works.  And when we try to write something that represents reality, we should try to stay as true to that reality as possible.

I recently read a book that, though very well written, it just didn't jive with me.  The MC kept on making bad, life-altering decisions that, if done in the real world, might have potentially (and most likely would have) destroyed her.  But instead of destroying her, these bad decisions ultimately worked out in her favor.  When you write a story like that, you risk convincing your readers that bad decisions don't have consequences.

We as writers can try to convince ourselves that we write to entertain, not educate or sway, but it's not as simple as that.

And here's the tie-in to the title of this post!

Despite all our intents to simply write an entertaining story, we usually end up with an accidental allegory.  Whatever we write, we put our own life views, morals, and (sometimes) even politics into it.  These things are so ingrained into who we are that it's almost impossible to keep them OUT of our stories.

Perhaps it's not as obvious or clear-cut as works that are intended allegory, such as C.S. Lewis's THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series, which was written with the intent to teach children the Gospel.  However, despite our ideas otherwise, our readers will ingest our words and be affected by them.  If most books that are published feature a group of people who are portrayed as bad, chances are people will start to think that group of people really is bad.  If most books end happily despite the severity of the content, readers can start to think that Human Will can overcome all the bad in life.

Sadly, I've known people whose lives have been ruined or they've actually died because of bad choices made when  they were teenagers.  Unfortunately, they didn't get the happy endings so many things teach us they should have had.

Now, I know the argument that there's so much pain in this world already, we should write stories to give people a release from that.  And I agree with that argument.  The problem isn't that there are happy endings out there, it's that ALL (if not the vast majority of) stories out there seem to end happily.  Sometimes we need an escape, but sometimes we also need a wake-up call.

So, what do you dear readers think?  Can you think of something you've read recently that really made you think?  How about a book where the author's views on the world were more obvious than other books you've read?

Monday, January 17, 2011

You Tell Me: How do you feel about happy endings?

It seems that with today's literature, no matter how bleak the outcome looks, there's always a light at the end of the tunnel; the MC always gets what he/she was after.  

This had not always been the case with books.  Some of them didn't have feel-good endings that made the reader smile and/or shut the book with satisfaction.

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, by Jonathan Swift was one of those books that ended rather sour.  Sure, the MC got home, but by the end that WASN'T what he wanted.  He had wanted to stay with the Houyhnhnms.  So when he got back, he spent the rest of his life estranged from his family.  The only happiness he found was when he talked to his horses.  This was not a happy ending.

And though most literature a few decades ago could go either way (happy or sad), dystopians ALWAYS ended badly.  That was the point of them.  More than just entertaining, they were warnings to readers that if we go down a particular path, we WON'T be able to dig ourselves out.

Today, though, it seems all the books I've read have happy endings, even the dystopians.  Now, I'll be honest and admit most of my reading material has been YA, but I'm kind of surprised that ALL of them end happily.

Even THE HUNGER GAMES trilogy had a happy ending in its own twisted way.

But do you want to know what entertainment medium doesn't always have a happy ending?


And a few decades ago, that was almost unheard of!

It seems books and movies have switched places.  Now why is that?  I have my own theory.

When movies first came out, they were fresh and exciting sure, but more than that, they were NEW.  People needed to be convinced to spend their money to watch something for an hour or two out of their day.  So they had to be, ultimately, happy (or end happily).  As the years went by, and an audience became more dependable, movies started becoming more experimental, trusting they'd get the viewers.  Now, a good portion of movies end rather badly with the MC dead or otherwise ruined.

Books, on the other hand, had been around for thousands of years and had already earned their place in the ranks of education and entertainment.  And more often than not, books were both educational AND entertaining.  They'd earned their audience and could afford to be written in a way to make readers think.

Nowadays, though, readers have become harder to come by.  Books are being run through the happy meal conveyor belt, and though they're still high quality, they've lost that educational finesse they used to have.  If dystopians don't end badly anymore, was the story world really hopeless?

I'm afraid not.

Though I do enjoy a satisfying ending as much as the next reader, I'd love to read a new book written in the same style as 1984 or BRAVE NEW WORLD, and leaves me terrified of what we as humans can do to ourselves.

What do you, dear readers, think?  Do you like all the happy endings?  Have you read anything new lately that DIDN'T have a happy ending?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dezzy's Party!

It's that time of year and you're very own Emily has glammed up for the occasion!  To have a good time and hobnob with celebrities, stop by Dezz's place for The Glamorous Hollywood Spy's Annual Awards!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Neverwhere, by Niel Gaiman

Back of the book blurb

"Richard Mayhew is a young man with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he stops to help a girl he finds bleeding on a London sidewalk.  His small act of kindness propels him into a world he never dreamed existed.  There are people who fall through the cracks, and Richard has become one of them.  And he must learn to survive in this city of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels, if he is ever to return to the London that he knew."

The best way I can describe this book to you is this:

It is a dark and twisted story with elements that reminded me of PETER PAN and THE WIZARD OF OZ, but written for adults.  Neil Gaiman broke practically every rule that has ever been beaten into writers as unbreakable, and it was beautiful.

In essence, the book follows the story of Richard Mayhew, though there are plenty of other pov characters, around London Below in his quest to get home.  And in order to get home, he has to help Door, a girl with a particular knack for opening anything and even creating a door where there wasn't one before.  Gaiman skips around from pov to pov in a very who-dunnit-mystery kind of way.  

About halfway through, you'll be positive you know who the mastermind behind everything is, but when you get to the last few chapters, you'll realize you were totally wrong.  And THEN you'll be positive you finally know everything, and you'll STILL be wrong.  

NEVERWHERE is one of those books that will keep you entertained all-around.  Between a fantastic premise that has you constantly guessing and beautiful prose that's quite simply a pleasure to digest, you won't be able to put it down, but you won't be able to read it in a day, either.  Though it's not particularly long, it IS one of those books you have to keep going back and rereading because the writing is so beautiful and intense, you'll want to keep reading the same paragraph over and over before moving on.

Out of a rating system that goes like this:

1 star: don't bother
2 stars: It may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine
3 stars: pick it up at the library some time
4 stars:  go ahead and buy it.  You might like it
5 stars: What are you doing still reading this post?? Go out and buy this NOW!


5 stars! 

If this review has piqued your interest, I give this link for your purchasing convenience. :)

Have any of you dear readers read this already?  If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


So I mentioned on Monday that I'm going to the fabulously awesome SCBWI Winter Conference in NY.  Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.

But I have to admit something...

I have no idea what to expect.  Sadly, I couldn't afford the Intensive, so no super awesome critique of my first chapter by equally super awesome agents.  :(  But what about the rest of it?

Have any of you, dear readers, ever been to a writer's conference?  How does it work exactly?  What should I do to prepare?  What should I bring?

Please help me!  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

SCBWI Conference in New York

I'm taking the plunge!  And I'm a bit terrified about it, too.

Talking to authors and agents online through the protective filter of my computer is a LOT easier than facing them in person.  No, I'm not talking terrifying in a giggly fan-girl way.  Believe it or not, dear readers, I'm actually a VERY shy person.  Talking to anyone in person gives me the fluttery butterflies in my tummy.


I'm also very excited.  One of my favorite authors ever, R.L. Stine, will be there, as well as this pretty spectacular list of agents and editors:

Ginger Clark

Dan Lazar

Jim McCarthy

Alessandra Balzer

Jennifer Besser

Alexandra Cooper

Jeannette Larson

Lisa Ann Sandell

How exciting!

So is anyone else taking the plunge with me?

Friday, January 7, 2011

XVI, by Julia Karr


Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world - even the most predatory of men - that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past - one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?  

Well, it seems like Nina is pretty much alone when it comes to her sex-teens (cute little nickname society has given to the momentous occasion).  She doesn't want them to happen.  She doesn't want sex and she certainly  doesn't want to get a tattoo telling everyone she's open for business.  Her friend, Sandy, on the other hand is bordering on obsession over it.  Wait.  Who am I kidding?  She's not bordering anything.  Sandy's walking around in the skimpiest clothes she can find and tossing her hair at any guy who passes by.

It's a very disturbing story, when you get down to it, but for a dystopian, it actually reads light-hearted.  Though the topic itself is disturbing (and even a few things that happen are quite chilling), the tone of the writing doesn't match the darkness I've read in most dystopian novels.  Maybe this is a good thing.  It's actually quite nice to not be depressed throughout an entire novel.  And the ending?  Despite being the first book in a series, XVI actually stands alone!  All the little details wrap themselves up quite nicely.  And let me tell you, dear readers, I appreciated that little courtesy from Julia Karr.  

While most of the story and characters gripped me in their authenticity and scope (all the extra details she put into how society worked and the technology was astounding), there were some parts that bordered dangerously close to cheesy romance.  I may have yelled once or twice, "No! No teenage boy would EVER say that!"  But you know what?  I'm a 27 year old woman.  The target audience of teenage girls will eat that stuff up.  So good job, Ms. Karr!  

Out of a rating system that goes like this:

1 star: Don't even bother
2 stars: It may be your cup of tea, but it ain't mine
3 stars: Pick it up at the library some time
4 stars: Go ahead and buy it!  You might like it!
5 stars: What are you doing still looking at this post?  Go out and buy it NOW!

I'm going to give this book...

4 stars!

Go ahead and stop by Amazon today. :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Goober Writers Anonymous--Victoria Caswell

And Merry Christmas!  Today is officially the last day of Christmas here in the western Christian church world.  Though most people think the twelve days of Christmas come BEFORE Christmas, they actually come AFTER, and run all the way up to Epiphany (which is today!).  So, Merry Christmas!  :)

Today's goober writer is Victoria Caswell from Hairnets and Hopes!  Vic is one of the most amazing bloggers I've ever met.  She is so sweet and all her posts are fun to read!  Even on my busiest days, I make sure I take a looksie at what she's posted.  So go over there and join today!  You will NOT be disappointed.

The Goober mistake I'm going to write about today has to do with the craft of writing. :)
This mistake is one of the (many) reasons I've been stuck in rewrites for so long. It is:

dum dum duuuummmmm....

When I started on my first real WIP, I knew that there were other stories I wanted to write. So when I was pecking away at my first draft, ideas would occur to me- ideas that could enrich the world, add layers to the backstory, add depth to the characters...


I was scared to write those ideas.

I thought that if I poured all those beneficial ideas into that first WIP, I would have no ideas left for the other stories I knew I wanted to write.

And therein lies the mistake.

Because the imagination is like a muscle. It grows the more you use it.

Each time we sit down and outline, plot, and write: we're exercising. And it makes our imagination muscles grow. It isn't like there is only a finite amount of ideas you will come up with. As you mature, learn, research, and are inspired- ideas upon ideas pile upon you.

Now, I'm going back and enriching my fictional world with all those details that I once denied it.(and new ones that have occured to me since then!) And I have to say, I enjoy it much more this way- less stark, more tactile. And guess what!!?!? I haven't run out of ideas yet!

In fact, I'm overrun by ideas! :)

Ooh!  Such a good point!  I did this ALL the time when I first started writing.  In fact, I still have to remind myself that my current WIPs CAN have all those details.  I don't have to wait for another story at all!  

Thanks for sharing, Vic!

How about you, dear readers.  Can you relate?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goober Writers Anonymous

Repost from a few months ago because I am DESPERATELY looking for more submissions and MORE members!


According to the Urban Dictionary--a kindhearted, oblivious goofball.

We've all made mistakes hundreds of times during our lives.  Some of them were huge, life changing mistakes.  Others were just kind of annoying or quirky.  Today, I am organizing a group where we can all come together and admit our writerly mistakes to each other.  After all, the most therapeutic way to get over our mistakes is to share them with friends.

How to Join:

Simply leave a comment below with your email address and I will contact you about sharing your mistakes in a blog post on this blog.  You can guest blog once if you only have one story to share, or you can guest blog numerous times if you have many stories.

Benefits of Joining GWA:

All members will have links to their blogs posted on the sidebar to the right.  Plus, the more guest blogs you do here, the more potential followers you can find.  And isn't it just nice to be a part of a group?

You also get to carry the GWA badge on your blog! 

Join today! :D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's Hear it for the Girls of 2010!

Obviously I didn't even touch upon all the boy awesomeness of 2010 yesterday.  The post was getting a tad long and I wanted to wrap it up, so today I'm going to showcase a few more boys for your pleasure!  Along with the girls, of course.

Boys first, though. :)

Peeta Mellark (THE HUNGER GAMES)
I'll go ahead and admit I was totally and completely team Peeta when reading THE HUNGER GAMES series.  His story is utterly heartbreaking.  **SPOILER ALERT**  If you don't want to see what happens in the end, stop reading... Yes, I felt bad for Katniss having to go through losing Peeta's love right when she was starting to grasp just how much she cared for him, but think about what happened to him.  He lost the love of his life.  She was stolen from him, and not in death--which is often considered the worst way to lose someone, but isn't really--but in the most horrific way possible.  They turned her into a monster in his eyes.  I don't think he ever got that pure love back for her even after they were married.  He had to constantly battle the false memories in his mind. Some may think Prim was the ultimate victim in the story, but I disagree.  She knew what she was getting into by going into a war zone, but Peeta suffered something worse than death.  His entire being was changed for the whims of the politicians and everything he'd been was stripped from him.

Tamani (WINGS)
Yup, I'm team Tamani, too.  David is all right and all, but I kind of feel like he's a usurper.  Laurel made promises to Tamani to try to remember him and be with him and the poor guy has had to just sit back and hope everything turns out all right.  Plus, he's a faerie.  Faeries ALWAYS win in my book.

Okay, a guy who can look like anyone??  That's pretty awesome.  Plus, he's super badass by breaking into possibly the most secured government facility in the world.  Sure he got caught eventually because Evie can see through glamours, but still.  He's very cool and sweet and I loved all the innocent flirting going on between him and Evie.

Xander (MATCHED)
Poor, poor Xander.  He had everything he wanted after the Match Ceremony, but the powers-that-be decided to make a little experiment out of his and Cassia's lives.  I felt like he didn't even get a chance to be the one Cassia chose.  She was ecstatic for the first few pages that they'd been matched, but as soon as the people in charge put another guy into her head, poor Xander was forgotten.  I liked the book and thought it was beautifully written, but I was team Xander from the beginning and couldn't get over the fact that he just kind of sat on the sidelines while other people ripped his life to shreds.

And finally...

He's just the kind of guy you hope to have around after something horrible like a date-rape happens (well, God willing, that never actually happens or has happened to any of us).  He's understanding, patient, protective, and has soft brown hair that makes a girl start thinking about getting close to a guy again. :)  Plus, he's a science geek, and science geeks are cool.

Time for the girls!  I know, you probably want to hear more about the boys (and there are plenty more), but this post is getting long again.

Alice Cullen (TWILIGHT)
Sure, Bella is the MC, but Alice was my favorite.  She was bubbly, sweet, and totally kickass.  She's exactly what I like to read in a strong female character.  She knew she was strong, but she didn't wave it in everyone's face.  She embraced her femininity and it made her stronger still.

ANOTHER girl who is completely kickass but has retained her femininity.  I fell instantly in love with her pov and wished I had a sparkly pink taser named Tasey.  The way she fights through her world crumbling to pieces around her with dignity (and not a false sense of pride) is encouraging.  She doesn't spout off for pages about how she's too strong to worry about the stuff around her or feel doubt.  She's real and heartbreakingly wonderful.

Nora Grey (HUSH, HUSH)
Kind of naive and very innocent, she keeps letting people into her life she probably shouldn't.  But it's great because it's real.  What teenage girl CAN'T relate to that?

Katniss Everdeen (THE HUNGER GAMES)
Oh, poor Katniss.  A tool for the whims of others.  Even at the end, she's manipulated into doing exactly what someone else wants (of course, it probably needed to be done, anyway).  You feel sorry for her the whole way through even though she doesn't look for your pity.  If ever there was a tragic heroine, she would be it.

She's a victim of date-rape and pretty much broken throughout the whole book.  She's like this terrified little mouse, hiding from her rapist as much as she can, but she struggles through her fear to see justice done.  In the end, she moves on in the best way possible.  She doesn't revel in her vengeance towards him.  She sees he's punished justly and then forgets about him.  She's heroic and mature.  Her story is something everyone should read.

The end!  Yes, there are certainly many more amazing female characters out there, but I want you guys to tell me your favorites and why.  I can't wait to hear what you have to say! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Golden Boys of 2010

Happy New Year!

Did everyone enjoy the last couple of weeks?  Perhaps gained a few pounds? (I did--eek!) 

Well, with all the celebrating and vacation-taking, I had a chance to look back on the past year and think about all the things that changed in my writerly life.  A lot changed, my dear readers.  A lot.

For one, I read my first YA book in over 18 years.  I know.  Pretty pathetic.  But I fell in love.  TWILIGHT quite literally changed my career.  I'd been plugging away for years on rough drafts thinking I HAD to write for adults.  There simply was no other option.  I was an adult and no one read anything but adult books anyway.

I actually had a reason for this train of thought.  I was ten when I stopped reading YA or MG.  My only YA experience was SWEET VALLEY HIGH.  And as cute as I thought that series was at the time, I knew I didn't want to write anything like it.  I grew up on the classics, and I wanted to write a classic.

But one day my friends, my husband, and I decided to go see a movie.  Any movie.  We picked Twilight.  I thought it was great.  Like knocked-my-socks-off great.  But everyone in the online writing community I belonged to scoffed daily at the book.  Garbage, they said.  Well, I needed to find out for myself.  


I finished the series in two weeks.  And read it again.  And again.  And again.  I lost track of how many times I read it.

But somewhere while reading the series I had some serious writerly soul-searching going on.  I knew, KNEW, that not only did I HAVE to write YA, but I'd been doing it all along.  It wasn't perfect, no.  You can't NOT know you're writing something and have it turn out a work of genius.  There were major flaws in my then current WIP I needed to address.  For one, it was YA trying to be adult.  I rewrote the whole thing in first person and found my voice--that elusive creature I'd hated up until that point.

I found some AMAZING betas along the way and started querying.  

Now, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with the title of the post.  Well, I didn't stop at TWILIGHT.  When I started paying attention to all the recommendations from bloggers I'd been following for a while, I realized there were other YA books out there!  I read everything I could find and ended the year with about 50 YA novels under my belt.  (Yes, I read very quickly)

So, today I'm going to highlight some of my favorite male characters from all the books I've read this year. (I'll do the girls tomorrow) 

Edward Cullen
Say what you will of his creepy stalking nature, I thought he epitomized sexy and the white knight persona.  And besides, what girl hasn't dreamed of her ultimate crush showing up outside her bedroom window to spend the night?  This boy fulfilled the kind of fantasy few girls are willing to say out loud.

Patch Cipriano
Bad boy extraordinaire.  He's everything every girl who ever wanted to find someone to fix could hope for.  He's sexy, he pretends his car is broken down so he can take a girl to a sleazy motel, he MIGHT be trying to kill said girl, but he also MIGHT be trying to save her.  Who doesn't love such a twisted, complex guy?

Oh sweet, kind-hearted, MAZE RUNNER Thomas.  The poor guy just wants to help his friends live through probably the most grueling science experiment in history, but he's forced to not only watch them die right in front of him, he loses the ones who actually stay alive, too.  You can't help but feel sorry for the poor lad, all while positive everything MUST work out in the end (though it hasn't yet).

Mackie Doyle
Who wouldn't grow up with a complex when you know you're a "mythological" being who replaced your parents' real child and you have a pretty severe allergy to iron?  In a world where people hang knives and scissors above cribs to protect their children from the kind of thing Mackie happens to be, he actually handles it fairly well.  Up until he's forced to enter his natural world and try to save another child from the most gruesome death you can imagine.  He's dark, twisted, and a refreshing MC to read if you're feeling a slight estrogen-overload.

These are, by far, not all of them, but they top my list.  Any favorites you want to share?