Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Another Contest!

This is a fun one! The Enchanted Inkpot is giving away a smorgasboard of books!

First row - Basket 1 - FAIRY TALES AND FOLKLORE
Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Fortune's Folly by Deva Fagen
The Runaway Dragon by Kate Coombs
The Runaway Princess by Kate Coombs
Shadow (ARC) by Jenny Moss
Faery Rebels by RJ Anderson
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Ash by Malinda Lo
Second row - Basket 2 - ADVENTURE AND WITCHCRAFT
The Emerald Tablet by PJ Hoover
The Navel of the World by PJ Hoover
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Unnameables by Ellen Booraem
Wicked 1 by Nancy Holder
Wicked 2 by Nancy Holder
Wicked : Resurrection by Nancy Holder
Betraying Season by Marissa Doyle
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Owl Keepers (ARC) by Christine Brodien-Jones
Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by RL Lafevers
Theodosia and the Staff of Osiris by RL Lafevers
Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus by RL Lafevers
There will be a grand prize winner and 2 runner ups. Winners will be based on the following criteria:
1. The Grand Prize winner will have first pick and choose one of the book gift baskets AND will also win a $25 gift card to Powell’s Books AND a copy of ICE by Sarah Beth Durst. The winner will be chosen based on who provides the most online promotion points for our contest, via blog, facebook, twitter, etc. One point is awarded for the type of promotion and the number of times such promotion is provided. For example, a person who tweets and blogs about it for all 14 days of the contest will earn 28 points. Honor system is in place so you will be required to tally up your points yourself and we’ll check’em. YOU MUST COMMENT ONLY ON THIS ORIGINAL CONTEST POST IN ORDER TO QUALIFY.
2. Second runner up will choose from the remaining 2 baskets. The winner will be the person who comes in second with the most online promotion points.
3. Third runner up will win the last remaining book gift basket and will be chosen from a lottery. Anyone can enter the third prize drawing. All you have to do is answer one of the following questions. What MG/YA fantasy would you like to read over the holiday break? What fantasy book most reminds you of the Holiday or New Year season?
Contest ends on December 9th, 2009. And our apologies, but due to the large size of the prizes, the contest is only open to US and Canadian residents. Don’t forget, all contest entries are accepted only in the comments section of this contest post. Comment as much as you like and help spread the word!

Go here:

Let’s Be Thankful

Again with the interrupting of my planned post, but yanno, things happen. Oh, and this may be a bit random, but that's how I roll.

So, it has been a bit of a depressing week in some circles I frequent. First, there was a post about quitting on the Blueboards. Then, another post about losing faith in your writing on the Blueboards. And, even Natalie Whipple is feeling it!

The nice thing about all of these is how we writers rally around each other. There is lots of morale-boosting in those posts. I had a bit of a rough week, myself. I got a rejection that was a little tough because I had high hopes for that query. *sigh* Amazingly, I checked my blog roll shortly after getting the R and found this post by Maggie Stiefvater. Who knew Maggie was psychic?

Anyway, one of the best ways to fight the blues is to concentrate on what we are thankful for. So, I am posting five things I am thankful for – one set for writing, and one set for just me. J

Things About Writing I Am Thankful For:

  1. The Blueboard Community: I have never seen a more supportive and helpful community anywhere. Someone on the BBs once mentioned that we are essentially each others' competition, and yet it doesn't feel like that at all. I don't think I would be writing if not for the Blueboards.
  2. A Creative Outlet: I am not one of those writers who has been writing my whole life. I am relatively new to it. But now that I've started, I don't think I could stop! It is such a great outlet for my creative energy (I have been told how creative I am my entire life). Plus, I have always had these random thoughts floating through my mind: imagined conversations, weird scenarios, etc. How awesome to discover a purpose for them!
  3. Learning: I literally learn something new everyday. Whether it is about my writing, writing in general, publishing, or even myself. I love to learn! (I actually went straight from graduating from college into classes for my Master's – over the summer - simply because I liked learning).
  4. Blogs: This kind of falls under learning, and it is a bit of a community itself. I love reading your blogs, and the ones on my sidebar, and lots more that don't fit over there (I think I follow over 100). It is fun, informative, and great to support and get support from others!
  5. Twitter: There is a fun community on twitter, as well. Many of these communities overlap, but my favorite thing about twitter is the speed of it. It's super great for when I am feeling stuck or frustrated with my writing. I can just click over to twitter, read my feed for a bit, and then jump back into my WIP.

Things About My Life I Am Thankful For:

  1. My husband: Of course. He is so loving and understanding. I am the world's worst housekeeper, and he comes from a family of OCD super cleaners, but he only complains about once a month. He works uber-hard to support us and give both me and the kids things that we want (not just things that we need). Amazing doesn't even begin to describe him.
  2. My children: Three energetic mini-tornados. They are almost always happy and cheerful. They play together more smoothly than I have ever seen siblings play. They have the best smiles and give the best hugs.
  3. My parents: They are so generous and supportive. They are really the best parents I have ever seen. I am so lucky to have had them raise me.
  4. My jobs: I grumble occasionally because they take me away from writing, but they also provide a break and the funds to allow me to attend conferences and buy new books.
  5. My laptop: (I had to be a little materialistic). As an example of #3, my laptop was a gift from my parents. I use it almost all day everyday. Whether going to the three places mentioned in my writing thanks, playing itunes, composing a new story, or allowing the kids to watch a DVD, I don't know what I would do without it.

So, I will leave you with those and ask you to leave 5 things you are thankful for.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Check back tomorrow for three funny videos poking fun at Twilight…

Monday, November 23, 2009


Okay - sorry to post twice in one day, but I have some fun contests I would like to share with you (although if you win, I will be mad - just kidding)!

First, the contest at The Bookshelf Muse. If you don't follow them, you should. They have some great resources on their blog! Here's a link to the contest:

Adding more contests in a sec...

'Kay - here's another - Number One Novels - a blog supporting debut novelists (how awesome is that?). They are giving away Kelly Meding's new novel THREE DAYS TO DEAD:

I may find more...

Shelli at Market My Words is having a fun contest, too! Go follow her and enter!

Found another! Agent Suzie Townsend is giving away a signed copy of PEACE, LOVE, AND BABY DUCKS by Lauren Myracle on her blog: Oh, and if you enter, tell her I told you about it, and we each get three extra entries! Woot!


I was planning to post something else, but title talk is all over the internets, so I thought I'd join in. J

Basically, the point of most of the talk is that your title is your first impression. Whether we're talking about a query to an agent, a submission to an editor, or even the book on the shelf, the Title is one of the first things people are going to notice about your book.

Jill Corcoran calls titles and covers "your book's billboard." There are some great links and great information (there's even a graph!) in this post. She also links to the Editorial Anonymous post on titles, in which Ed Anon breaks down what will happen to your manuscript based on the awesomeness (or lack thereof) of your title. What I love about Ed Anon is how she can cover an important topic in a humorous way.

Apparently I missed it, but back at the beginning of October, Jean Reidy posted about titles, too. I love her point that a title is "a promise of the story to come." She has a fun exercise and three more links in her post, as well!

I agree with the points made in the posts linked here, but I have also heard that many times titles are changed either by the agent or the editor. Agent Elana Roth commented in a kidlitchat on Twitter that she had changed the titles of almost every book she'd sold.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't try to find the best title possible for your story. Absolutely, you should. But – maybe try not to get super attached to it. LOL.

Okay, now I am going to ask for your help, readers. All this title talk has reminded me of title issues I have with my novel. When I started writing it, I had one title in mind. Then, a couple of writerly friends commented that it maybe wasn't a good title, so I changed it. Unfortunately, I cannot get the first title out of my mind. I still like it better than the current title. So, I am going to post my pitch and the two titles, and you can give me your opinion. (And I really appreciate it!)

Pitch (Upper MG):

Yet another idiotic book has taken over Mitch's hometown. Just another craze, he hopes, like last year's obsession with vampires, because Mitch would rather pound a nail through his thumb than read. He's got better things to do, like hang out with Jen, or work on the shelf he's building for her in his workshop.

But then, even the people he loves most get sucked into the book. His dad, for instance. Mitch has to pull him out from under a fallen truss while he--and everyone else on the construction site--continues to read. And even when Mitch and Jen realize people are reading themselves to death, Jen succumbs to the book's mysterious pull. With Jen now under its spell, Mitch is the only one left to find some way to break the obsession...before he loses everyone he loves.

Titles (The title of the book in the story and the novel itself are the same):

First title: THE BOOK

Current title: LURE

Thoughts? Opinions? Also, if you have any good links about titles, please share!



ETA - Found another link to share: Lisa Schroeder talks about Titles:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on Writing – Part Two

Today I want to share three interesting posts about Critique Groups. Now, we all know that having another person or persons read your writing before you send it out into the world is essential, right? We know this, and yet, it seems to be so hard to find the right people or the right combination or the right personalities…Oy!

Tara McClendon recently had a great post on her blog about this, and about what type of group one should be looking for. I love her distinction between a cheerleading group and a critique group. I have definitely met those people who are looking for a cheerleader rather than a critique.

But then, sometimes even when you are ready for a true critique, it is hard to find the right group or partner. You have to find someone who "gets" your writing (style, genre, voice, etc.) and who can give you helpful information in the critique. You have to find someone who is available for critique on the same or a similar schedule as you. It can really be overwhelming! Natalie Whipple recently posted some great tips on finding a critique group, and I think her tips on what to look for in a crit partner are spot-on.

What I have found amazing (although I probably shouldn't have been surprised by it), is how diverse opinions really are. I have an online critique group, and I was shocked that one member just really didn't like my main character, Mitch. He said he found the best friend, Jen, much more interesting. But then I had other members telling me they love Mitch. So, what to do?

Well, Tara McClendon had another great post on what to do when you get a critique. She had some great "What if?" questions to ask yourself after a critique. She also emphasizes looking at the comments objectively, which can sometimes take a day or so of "cooling off" to accomplish.

What I think is important to note is that you can learn something from just about every critique. Even if you disagree with the comments. A couple of great things can happen if you disagree with the comments a critique partner makes.

  1. You can gain renewed confidence in what you've written. Take my example above. I listened to what that one member said about Mitch, and I looked at Mitch again as a character and why he was the way he was. And I decided that I was happy with Mitch as he was, and that he needed to be that way for the story to work. I actually gained confidence in my character because the critique questioned him.


  2. You can disagree with the specific comment, but realize that something in your manuscript made the reader feel that way and perhaps make a different change that improves your manuscript. I had a critique once that said the reader felt that two of my characters were too similar – they seemed like the same person. Well, I super-duper disagreed with that! LOL. But, there had to be a reason that person felt that way, so I went back and looked deeper at the characterization of both and also scenes where they were together. I realized that while in my head I had been writing from one POV, in reality, I had slipped a little into another. When I fixed that, my story and my characters were able to shine through more clearly.


So, what kinds of "AHA" moments have you had from critiques? Have you ever felt you learned from a critique you disagreed with?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thoughts on Writing – Part One

Hello Readers! Sorry I haven't been a very good blogger lately. I'm really new to this, so I hope you'll cut me a little slack.

Anyway, I am going to try to be better about posting regularly, and hopefully not so randomly. (Seriously, though, if you look at my profile description, how could I possibly be anything other than random? I have four part-time jobs, plus writing, and THREE small children. My brain works in random, mysterious ways. I blame that on God, who also works in mysterious ways. Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, right…less randomness.)

Today I'd like to start with some great recent blog posts about writing. They aren't MY blog posts (obviously), but they are awesome, and I will add a thought or two with each link.

Now, you may be thinking, "Gee, Larissa, this is awesome! Thanks for all the great info!" OR you may be thinking, "Darn it, Larissa, I read all of these yesterday (or the day before)." If you're thinking the first, you're welcome. J If you're thinking the second, great! I would love to know your thoughts on those posts. Also, I am partially doing this out of selfishness. If I post all of these on my blog, I will have a great reference if I ever need it! ;)

So, to the blogs of awesome we go!

I'm going to start with this one by Natalie Whipple.

I found this post very interesting, because I have fallen prey to this "good enough" syndrome myself. Of course, I also found myself asking the obvious next question, which luckily Natalie answered over the next two days. First by addressing self esteem and then how you know you're ready. (Hint – it has a lot to do with your gut). I really feel like I needed to read all three of these posts together. And, together, they are super-duper awesome (yes, I really like the word awesome and I use it too much. No, I'm not going to stop).

Here is my favorite part of what Natalie wrote: "Don't tie your writing talent to your writing skill. Because talent is something innate inside of you that will never burn out. It's where your ideas come from, your voice, your passion. You can have confidence in that. Hold on to it and cherish it. And it is, though sometimes it might not feel like it, separate from your writing skill.

And therein lies the beauty of all this—you can always get more skill."

I really think that sums it up right there. Thanks, Natalie!

Well, I was going to include a few other posts about writing, but I think today's post is long enough! I will post more thoughts on writing tomorrow. Please leave YOUR thoughts on writing in the comments! Thanks for reading!