Monday, April 30, 2012

Hosted by the ladies at Escape in a Book, Memorable Monday asks us to share quotes we've collected.

I could have chosen a memorable quote from either of the books I read this week, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (YA) and A Clash of Kings (Not YA). But the quote that stuck with me was from an interview.

Bloggers love the Dinner Party Question. You know the one. If you could have any ten (fill in the blank... writers, characters, artists, etc.) over for a dinner party, who would you pick?  The interview I read this weekend was between two of my top ten Dinner Party writers. I doubt I'll ever have the chance to mingle with them in real life, but the interview gave a little glimpse of what it might be like if I did.

Neil Gaiman interviewed Stephen King for an article in the UK Sunday Times Magazine, and on Saturday he posted the full interview on his blog.  If you've read On Writing, you already know many of the biographical 'facts' they discuss. But the beauty of the interview is in Gaiman's easy style and King's voice, as rich and gruff and real as a character from his books. If you are a fan of either, I highly suggest reading it.

Here is my favorite quote, part of the response to a question about money:

King: “They pay me absurd amounts of money,” he observes, “For something that I would do for free.”

That idea dwells in my 'writer's heart.' Before the dream of being paid to write, or even having others read my words, comes the need.   The need strong enough to give writing priority over other things.

Music for today: Undisclosed Desires by Muse

Monday, April 23, 2012

I love collecting quotes, and the ladies over at Escape in a Book created Memorable Monday to share memorable quotes from books. I've read a little lately about the future of New Adult as a genre, and I couldn't help thinking of one of my favorite books. The Secret History by Donna Tartt is certainly literary, but it could easily fit into the New Adult category. Here are two quotes that stuck with me from The Secret History.

“Beauty is rarely soft or consolatory. Quite the contrary. Genuine beauty is always quite alarming.”

“If I had grown up in that house I couldn't have loved it more, couldn't have been more familiar with the creak of the swing, or the pattern of the clematis vines on the trellis, or the velvety swell of land as it faded to gray on the horizon . . . . The very colors of the place had seeped into my blood.” 

Music for today: Valerie, covered by Ra Ra Riot

Friday, April 20, 2012

Today I'm reviewing The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks.

This ARC came to me through a tour with the Southern Book Bloggers. Please check out their site here!

When prep-school student Wendy Geller is found dead in Central Park, classmate and former best friend Rain struggles to reconcile the girl she once knew with the party girl portrayed in the headlines. Rain faces her grief and digs through her school's secrets to uncover what really happened to Wendy.

The Girl in the Park is a contemporary YA mystery. I am generally not a big fan of mysteries, but I think the YA landscape needs more of them. Fredericks does an excellent job of using familiar elements to tell a fresh story, and The Girl in the Park has a well-woven plot with a satisfying conclusion. I suspected who the killer was very early on, but the hints are subtle, with acceptable red herrings along the way.

Rain is a complex, believable main character, and both her determination and insecurities ring true. The social hierarchy of the school and the parental relationships are also well played. My only real issue was with the opening chapter; the story begins with a dream sequence, then flip-flops between the present and flash backs to set up the plot. Once the action moved forward, the pace picked up and the flashbacks flowed more logically.

I would recommend this book fans of contemporary YA or mysteries. 4 out of 5 stars.

Music for this book: Midnight City by M83

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

For this week's Road Trip Wednesday, the topic is:


Oh, it's so funny to think back to that time. My school had plenty of semi-formal dances for underclassmen. I'd gone to most of those, sometimes with a boy I was dating and sometimes with friends. During my junior year, I hadn't really thought much about prom, until spring break.

When you grow up in Florida, the spring break tradition begins early. I had been spending spring break in Panama City since middle school (with parental supervision, of course). The only difference about junior year was that my friends and I could all DRIVE. This meant hours of cruising up and down the strip. On our last night there, we met up with some friends from a neighboring city. I'd known most of these guys for a year or so, except one. I distinctly remember asking one of my best friends, "Who is That?" She answered, "Oh, you know him. Everybody knows Charles."

But I'd never met him before. We hit it off immediately, and we talked for the rest of the night as the cruising continued. When it was time to leave, he promised he'd get my phone number from a friend and call me. After a few weeks back home, and a tiny bit of drama, he finally did.

On the night of our first date, I asked him to go to prom with me. (Trust me, for quiet, shy seventeen-year-old Laurie, this was a huge step out there.) He said yes. Then he asked me to go to prom with him. (We lived about 30 minutes away from each other, so we didn't go to the same school.)

Remember in Pretty in Pink, when Blaine says he asked someone else to prom, but forgot when he asked Andi? Well, that happened with my date. He already had a date to his prom when I asked him, and I felt awful later that he broke it off to go with me. We went to his prom with a group of his friends, and we ate at a lovely French restaurant, where I had a salad because I was a vegetarian. We went to mine with a group of my friends, and we ate at the Olive Garden. It was nice to get dressed up, and we had fun, but I don't really remember staying at prom for very long.

Of course I'm glad that we went. We went to my senior prom, too, after he graduated, which was a much smaller affair. But our first prom together is a really nice memory, because my date ended up becoming my husband. This year will be our 14th wedding anniversary.

Music for today: If You Leave, by OMD (In case you couldn't tell by my pink prom dress, I had a serious thing for Pretty in Pink back in the day.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It's Road Trip Wednesday again! Every Wednesday, YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question. This Week's Topic:

What images inspire/ represent your WIP or favorite book?

I love to have inspirational images open on the desktop while I'm writing. Here are a few of my favorites from my current manuscript.


I am very excited to see everyone else's inspiration!
Posting these images has given me the courage to finally embrace the Lucky 7 Meme. I was tagged by Traci Kenworth on her blog and Sara at Crow River Writer.
The Rules:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP.
2. Go to line 7.
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 authors.
5. Let them know.

Now that you have a mental image of the setting, here are my seven lines:

One by one, the men and boys dunked their faces into the water, rubbing their masks clean. Each called out a prayer when he emerged. They asked for favor in the new fall cycle. They asked for food and prosperity. They asked to be fearless. It was the first time he’d seen a religious ceremony end without spilling blood.

The cold stung like a thousand needles when he dipped his face into the tank, and he wished he could have seen the mask before washing it away.

A strange little scene out of context, and you don't even learn my main character's name! Instead of tagging seven writers, I'd like to open up the Lucky 7 Meme. If any of you would like to participate, please grab the button and let me know in the comments!

Music for today: Anna Sun by Walk the Moon

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's Road Trip Wednesday, and I'm glad to be back! Every Wednesday YA Highway's contributors post a writing- or reading-related question.

This Week's Topic: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey?

The one person who has helped me the most on my reading/writing journey is my husband.

Never once has my husband questioned the amount of money I spend on books. He's not really a fan of YA, so chances are slim that he's planning to read much from our bursting-at-the-seams bookshelves. He did jump on the Hunger Games bandwagon, (Yay!) but unfortunately now he's insisting that I read A Clash of Kings before I can watch Season 2 of Game of Thrones with him. I think he knew he was getting a reader when he married me, but I don't think he was prepared for this whole writing business.

He never complains when I'm absorbed in a scene and the laundry piles up or dinner isn't ready. He rarely gives me grief over the amount of time I spend at the keyboard, and he always stops what he's doing when I ask him to read something for me. He didn't even complain when I made him read three books in the same genre before he read my first manuscript. While I've fretted over the costs of writing conferences, he has encouraged me keep going and do whatever it takes to pursue my dream.

So for all those reasons, thank you Mr. Dennison!

Music for today: Santa Fe by Beirut