Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Bookanista Shout-out for Deborah Halverson's Latest - Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies (+ a giveaway)

HAPPY THURSDAY everyone! I'm so excited about today's interview with Deborah Halverson, celebrating the release of Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies. But, before I get to my Bookanista shout out and contest, check out what the other Bookanista's have on tap:

Elana Johnson adores A Need So Beautiful
Lisa and Laura Roecker is gaga for Are You Going to Kiss Me Now?
Carolina Valdez Miller is wowed by Wildfire - with a giveaway
Beth Revis interviews A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie Author Matt Blackstone
Shana Silver and Veronica Rossi gush over Hourglass
Jen Hayley delves into Divergent
Rosemary Clement-Moore thinks Chime is divine
Stasia Ward Kehoe has applause for Trauma Queen

On to my Bookanista Interview with Deborah Halverson. I first learned of Deborah through a co-worker. Turns out Deborah and my co-worker have been BFFs for ever. When my co-worker found out that I was attempting to write books for kids, she suggested that I talk with her friend. I am so glad I did! Deborah was kind and inspirational. I remember thinking "when I become "somebody" in this business, I want to be just as open and inspirational as Deborah.

Fast forward a few years. Deborah and I are on similar listservs and forums. When she asked for help promoting the Virtual Launch for her latest book for writers, WRITING YOUNG ADULT FICTION for DUMMIES, well, I just had to help!

So I emailed and asked her for an interview! Staying true to form, she graciously said yes. (be sure to read to the end to hear all about an amazing opportunity tied to her launch).

First, a little background from her bio:

Deborah Halverson is the author of Writing Young Adult Fiction For            Dummies and founder of the writer’s advice website Deborah edited young adult and children’s fiction with Harcourt Children's Books before picking up a pen to write the award-winning teen novels Honk If You Hate Me and Big Mouth.

And now - the interview:

CF: Tell me a bit about why you decided to write Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies.

DH: I’ve wanted to write a book on craft for a long time. I spent a decade on the editor’s side of the desk, and then I wrote novels from the other side, and I taught writing to writers’ groups and college students. I figured I had a few things to say about craft and the publishing business, but I didn’t know what form that book on craft would take. Then an agent contacted me about writing Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, and it seemed the final piece was fitting into place. The cherry on top was my hilarious editor and copyeditor team for WYAFFD. They encouraged my playfulness and threw in their own good humor, so the process of writing the book was great fun and I think that shows in the final book itself. I hope readers will smile as they move through the techniques, exercises, and publishing insights.
{{Personally, I can not wait to read this book.}} 
CF: I understand you are doing your FIRST virtual launch with this book, why did you decide to go that route?
DH: In Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies, one of the things I advise writers to do as they strategize their promotional efforts is to learn as much about the amazingly numerous opportunities available for self-promoting as they can—and then to pick just two or three options to focus on. Nobody can do it all. That means you may do different things for each book. How you promote a book depends on your skills, your time, and your finances—all things that change throughout a writing career. My triplets are now of school age so I have more time to self-promote than I’ve had in the past, and the online writing community has grown significantly, so I’m embracing the Internet in deeper way than ever before. For me, that means holding a virtual book launch—an efficient and fun way to reach out to many people from my own home, no travel involved. This way, Mommy can do a full day’s promoting and still be at the classroom door when the school bell rings. It’s perfect for this phase in my life.
 What I especially like about virtually launching my book is that it allows me to easily offer visitors some take-away to thank them for stopping by. There’s a warm fuzzy in that kind of self-promo. My Writing Young Adult Fiction For Dummies virtual launch is taking place on my writers’ advise site from June 29-July 5. My “take-away” is daily “Free First Chapter Critique” giveaways, free downloads, excerpts from the book, and profiles of the 13 amazing authors, editors, and agents who so generously contributed sidebars to the book. As a grand finale, I’m giving away a “Free Full Manuscript Edit” on the final day of the launch.
{{Ahhh!!! Such great things! GO check it out - um, after you finish reading this, of course.}}
CF: What is the most common mistake writers of YA make?
DH: Even the best writers have their weaknesses. One of the most common weaknesses I see in newer writers is the tendency to tell instead of show. “Show, not tell” is a common writer’s mantra, and with good reason. A writer who “shows” lets readers interpret characters’ actions and motivations based on their own observations of what the characters do and say. You shouldn’t interpret for readers. Don’t tell them how an action was done (“angrily”) or why it was done (“they’d always talked to each other like that”). Show the characters behaving angrily by speaking words that are harsh or abrupt. Show the characters talking to each other in a number of exchanges that demonstrate how they “always” talk to each other. You must lead readers to your desired interpretation, but you shouldn’t interpret for them.
{{I LOVE this so much! It is a great explanation and one I am going to remember!}}
CF: I know you are both a writer and an editor, how do you find these two careers different?
DH: For me, writing is about inventing and decision-making, while editing is about problem-spotting and problem-solving. They scratch different itches. My mood determines which itch I prefer to scratch on a given day. I combine my editing and writing sometimes—but it’s not a complete union. Even though I do edit my own work, I can only go so far with that. Like every other writer, I’m just too close to my writing to see every weakness and so I need an objective, knowledgeable, fresh set of eyes. That means I show my manuscripts to an editor friend when I think I’ve done all I can with self-editing.

CF: Randomness time:
  • ebook or book? I have yet to purchase an e-reader of any kind. It’s on my To Do list somewhere, but I’m juggling too many balls at the moment to reach out for an e-anything. Soon, I’m sure. They sure do sound like the bee’s knees.
  • Sweet or salty? Since there’s nothing salty about chocolate, I choose sweet. Then again, Starbucks served a salty hot chocolate during the Christmas season that was to die for. So perhaps I’m both. Or just indecisive. {{You should try their Salted Caramel Sweet Square...HEAVEN!}}
  • Europe or Hawaii? Easy one: Europe. Hawaii doesn’t interest me. I’ve seen enough Magnum PI episodes in my life to fulfill any urge for that rainy paradise. I’ll settle for rainy Europe instead. My husband did a teacher swap a couple of years ago that had us living in England for a year, and we traveled all over Europe during his vacations. Remembering our adventures abroad has us yearning to visit some places we missed, so Europe is still on my To Do list. Plus, our boys were only 3-going-on-4 at the time, and we want to take them back there before they lose all memory of that land mass.
  • Most inspirational writer and why? Can I pick two? I adore the quirky, magical real quality of Tom Robbins and the quirkiness of M.T. Anderson, who also has no fear of seriousness. I could read either man’s books all day, every day, and be totally, blissfully happy. No, wait, strike that. I couldn’t read them all day, every day, because reading them makes me want to run to my computer and write my own fiction. They truly inspire me. If you don’t know their novels, definitely check ‘em out.
See why I love her so much!! Now, be sure to go check out her Virtual Launch and get in on all the fun. And for more information about Writing Young Adult Fiction for Dummies - click here.

As a special bonus, I am giving away ONE copy of the book as well. Just complete the form, follow the blog and you're entered! You'll get even more entries if you help spread the word! 

WOO HOO!!! I just love giving stuff away! Contest closes Monday, 7/4 and I'll post the winner July 5th.

For more about the Bookanistas, our own upcoming books, and our reviews, check out our website - The Bookanistas. You can also find us on Facebook, and find our crazy celebration vlogs on YouTube.

Yea, we're crazy like that!

What are you reading these days?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

WiP Wednesday

Hey guys! Yep, it's Weds., and I thought I would share a little about my current project. I'm in that place in the story after word vomiting the first draft, but before I can do the sort of heavy edits I am DYING to start - an in-between place where I am changing scenes from one POV or tense, to another. Yea, not fun. Not fun at all.
So, to motivate myself, I thought I'd actual post a very small, very rough little snippet for you guys...

"There are so many things I should’ve been able remember about that night. The damp feel of the air thick with fog that blanketed my skin. The veins of mist as they hugged the ground and spiraled into smoke, choking the air from my lungs. The cackle of flames when they ignited the spaces around me, turning my skin to ash.

So many things I should've remembered.

But there's only one thing that converges on my thoughts now – silence. Cold, lonely, relentless silence. It lasts for mere seconds before the universe I know explodes around me, like the pause before a deep breath. Or the moment before sound begins. It’s that absence of noise that envelopes me in this place, sinking its cold tendrils into my heart, forcing everything else to slip away."

And there you go...a tiny snippet. Thoughts?

I "think" I will be finished with the tense, POV changing fiasco soon - at least I hope so. I am actually EXCITED to start the heavy edits in the next week or so.

What are you guys working on?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On the Blog Chain - Research Can Be Fun! REALLY!!!

It's Blog Chain time again, and this time the topic comes from Michelle M, who asked the following:

There are so many things we have to include in our storyworlds...characters, world details, settings, etc. No matter what genre you write, your stories are full of tiny details that help create your storyworld. I know that for me, at least, finding or creating all these details can sometimes be a bit tough.  

Where do you go for help? And what types of things are you more likely to research/search for as opposed to making up on your own? Do you have any favorite resource sites? Share links if you have them!!

Wow! What a tough question! As most of you guys know already, I am thinker. This means that yes, I tend to "think" out ever detail in a story. Let's take my current project. I am not ready to say much about it other than to say that I wanted to write a Gothic tale. So, what did I do...I read a LOT of Gothic stories. I also wanted it to have a strong lyrical, almost poetic, writing style. So, again, what did I do...I read a lot of that style so I could lock in the tone. And finally, I wanted it set in the Gilded Age of NY. So I read other works set in that time period. All of this before I ever drafted a single word.

Now, since I am currently in editing mode on this particular WiP, I have had some definite additional research areas come up. Things like when electricity replaced oil lamps, and the anatomy of the violin, and even how fire tends to burn - all of these are topics I have recently had to research.

For me, all the answers were found courtesy of Google. With videos, posts, and Google Earth, there is very little I can't find out if I'm willing to just spend a little time at it.

And you know what....

It's fun!

How do you go about researching? Or is research just a bad word in your mind?
For more on this topic, check out Margie's post from yesterday or hop on over and read Abby's tomorrow

Serious Tuesday Truths...Glee Style

Happy Tuesday everyone. It is no secret that I watch a little too much reality TV. Or that I love Glee. Well, when the reality TV show, the GLEE project, started this summer I just had to start watching it.

And MAN OH MAN!!! In each show, the contestants make a music video on a certain theme. This week' topic was vulnerability. All I can say


Here, watch for yourself -

See what I mean...AMAZING!

I think being vulnerable as an artist is essential to connecting with your audience. For me, this means being willing to "go there" 100%. - finding the courage to stand in front of the world fully exposed and vulnerable, going to that place I'm most afraid of and jumping off that cliff.

The payoff for that level of vulnerability -

Connections - to readers, to agents, to humanity. Isn't that why we write to begin with?

How do show your vulnerability as a writer or artist? How do you "go there"?

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm Here!!!

Hi everyone! I am finally done moving the blog. Not only did I move my blog over the past week. But I also redid my website and my twitter page . Next up, re-designing my old blog and FB page.

Whew... Can you say CHANGE???

So, tell me - do you like the new look? 

Now, part of redoing everything happened as a natural result of refining my online presence. And part of it was, quite frankly, a diversion to completing my WiP. I know, I know...I must finish this pass on my novel and move on to the next level of editing. But yea...I did this instead!

{{As a side note, my need for a little change is SO BIG this summer, I am seriously contemplating a major hair style change...that's right, bring on the scissors and get ready for SHORT, VERY BLOND HAIR....YIKES!}}

So, what about you you like to play around with your online personae? Or maybe even your RL personae??? Change is good, right?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Excuse the Mess

Excuse the mess as I slowly build this blog for it's official launch on Monday, June 27. See you then!!!