Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Long time, no see

I can't believe I haven't posted in over a month and a half!  But I've noticed quite a few bloggers I follow have taken hiatuses (hiati? what is the plural of hiatus?), so I don't feel so bad. (No, I still feel bad.)

I have been working (working working working), and I still don't have internet at home (SIGH).  If I don't get internet for Christmas, I may hurt someone. 

Anyway, I have been spending my babysitter-time today trying to catch up on some blog reading (since I can't do that very well on my phone), and basically just playing around online.  I should be writing, but I've hit a blah.  I'm not blocked, per say, but I feel blah, and I just can't get into my writing.  I think it's a combination of too much going on (three jobs, three kids, NO INTERNET, etc.) and exhaustion and no real routine writing time.  I only have eight more school days before I have three weeks off, so I'm hoping to shake the blah off then.

So, I was wondering, what do you do when you hit a blah?  How do you get past it?

Also, I'm super excited to be going to the SCBWI FL Regional Conference in Miami again next month!  As usual, I will be giving away two or three of the conference faculty's books (signed!) here on the blog when I get back.  Since I'm hoping to get some bookstore gift cards for Christmas and use them to buy the books, now is your chance to tell me which books you'd like to have the opportunity to win!  Go here to see the faculty line up, and let me know in the comments which books you think I should give away.

Larissa :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Bit of a random drive-by post today, sorry.  I'm going a bit nutty getting ready for the Silent Auction, promoting the online auction (today and tomorrow! Critiques from agents and authors!  Go check it out! Pass it on to your friends!), and not having internet at home (I'll be getting it soon, though).

Anyway, I was thinking about acronyms the other day.  Sometimes, when I see an aconym, I think the actual words it stands for, and other times, I think the letters.  Do you do that?  Or do you always hear an acronym one way or the other?

For example, when I see LOL, I think "LOL."  I don't think "laughing out loud."  But when I see MG, I think "middle grade." 

When I see "FYI," I think "FYI," but if I see "BTW," I think "by the way."

Am I weird, or do any of you do that, too?

Hope to be back online soon, so I can catch up with all the blogs I missed!

Check out the online auction and spread the word!

Larissa :-)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Online Auction with CRITIQUES!

Hi everyone! Long time, no see!

Obviously, I don't have my beloved home internet access back yet, but I should have it soon! I also got a promotion this week, which is both good and bad. It's good, because I get a raise with it. It's bad because I lose the one day a week I had off, and I have added responsibilities (I'm now the VPK teacher at my preschool instead of the co-teacher for the Mother's Morning Out). *sigh* Hopefully I can adjust my schedule *again* and find writing time somewhere...

On top of that (which was a sort of, "you start tomorrow" kind of thing - yay), one of my crowns broke, and I now get to wear a retainer-ish thing all day. The dentist said I'd get used to it, but it's been almost a week, and I'm still hating it. We'll see....

Anyway, the actual point of this post was to let you know about the super-cool online auction starting on Saturday. As you may know, I am the Silent Auction Chairperson for the Florida Writers Foundation. The Conference where the Silent Auction will be held is next week (aaahhhh - I have about 100 items to prepare, print bid sheets for, etc. before then). But I wanted to do an online auction beforehand, so that everyone could participate!

So, if you go here: you will see the items available for online bidding. Bidding will open on Saturday, October 16 at 10am Est., and close on Tuesday, October 19 at 10pm Est. Please note that the FWF is a 501(c)3 charity benefitting literacy.

Critiques are available from Jaclyn Dolamore, J.A. Souders, Elana Johnson, Myra McEntire, Georgia McBride, Agent Elana Roth, Agent Natalie Fischer, Gwenda Bond, Shelli Johannes-Wells, and C.A. Marshall!!!

Head over and check it out, and get ready to get your bid on!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Linky Love for Elissa

My friend Elissa is having a Blogaversary contest!

So go over and say hi and tell her I sent you.  She 's been on sub for a long time and needs some love. (((((hugs to E)))))

As for me, the no internet thing sucks.  A lot.  I'm at work right now, but I have to go.  This is literally all I had time to do!  AAAHHHHH!

In happier news, there will be a super awesome online auction for some fantastic critiques in a few weeks, so start savin' up!

Talk to you all soon!  Miss ya!

Larissa :-)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Awesome Contest at The Bookshelf Muse

The amazing Angela Ackerman at The Bookshelf Muse is having an awesome contest!

Go check it out and enter!

Oh, and if you don't follow her, you totally should.  Her Emotion and Setting Thesauruses (Thesauri?) are AMAZING resources. :)

Still internetless here.  Not crazy yet, but getting close...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Warning: Sporadic Blogging Ahead

So ... remember when my laptop died? And then the replacement laptop had a virus?

Well guess what?

Now Replacement Laptop won't start.

Yes, I'm serious.

Oh, and I had spent at least two and a half hours revising the day before. I have been backing up, but not every day, and unfortunately, that was one of the days I skipped. *HEAVY SIGH*

So, between that and the fact that we're finally going to be moving into our house, blogging will be sporadic. I have also recently been informed that we will be cable and internetless for a while upon moving in (yay.), so that adds even more complications.

Anyway, I'm still collecting donations for the FWF Silent Auction. If you'd like to donate anything let me know!

And, to kill two birds with one stone, I give you The Broken House: A Story in Pictures AND my entry into Kiersten White's PARANORMALCY Contest!

June 2008

What's that? Oh, it's a tree. ON MY HOUSE.

They came to take the tree off the house. The guy took one look at the tree and said, "I'm gonna need the bigger crane. Be right back."

Sorry that one's sideways, but you get it, right?

About three months later, after much arguing with insurance company, the house smelled mildewy, so we decided to move out (October 1, 2008). After all, if the insurance company has to pay for a hotel and food, they'll get their butts in gear, right?

Our first Christmas out of the house (this is in the Residence Inn, our home for 4 1/2 months):

We had packed all of our Christmas stuff in the POD, so we had to make ornaments for the little tree we bought.

I don't know why that one's sideways...*shakes head*
Anyway, shortly after we moved out, my kids coined the term "the broken house" for our house. We still call it that, even though it's not so broken anymore...

So, in February, 2009, the insurance company decided we were wasting money living in the hotel. We needed a rental house! And they found one. Right next door to the broken house! YAY!

This was also the time my husband contacted the Insurance Commissioner about the lack of movement on our claim. Things finally got rolling in that regard in June 2009.

The roof came off.

The new trusses went up.

Oh, look! A new roof! And it's wrapped! Woo!

And there will eventually be an upstairs!

Second Christmas out of our house (this is in the rental house):

And now, finally, it is done enough that we can move in. Because we upgraded some things, the insurance company thought we should have been done in November 2009, so that's when they stopped paying for the rental house. So, even though it's not completely the way we want it (the upstairs won't be done for a while, so we'll be sharing two bedrooms between five of us) we're moving in, baby!

Look at my AMAZING new kitchen! The floor will eventually be tiled, but it's still awesome!
OOOOH! AAAAHHH! (Hubby is going to build columns around those supports in the front).
My soon-to-be dining room! Evie from Paranormalcy thought the accent wall should be pink, but my hubby disagreed. Sorry, Evie.
Evie is also super-impressed with my ginormic new refrigerator. I am, too, to be honest.

So there you have it! The Saga of the Broken House. Hope you enjoyed!

Larissa :-)

P.S. My hubby did most of the work himself, which was how we were able to afford the upgrading. And he's an artist, too. It's okay to be jealous--I would be. :P

Monday, August 23, 2010

Young At Heart

Do you ever feel like you can't possibly be as old as you are?

I often have a sort of flashback to high school feeling, where, even though I'm an adult, I feel like I'm not in control of my life.  Like I still have a bunch of people older than me telling me what to do.

Do any of you ever feel that way, or am I just weird? 

I'm not sure what it is.  It could just be normal, but I wonder if that feeling is part of why I write for teens.  In a way, I still kind of feel like one.

For example, the other day I had a friend telling me about problems she was having with her teen.  Now, this person is close to my age, and I'm a parent, too (though my kids aren't teens yet), so I should have sympathized with her.  I did, a little, but I mostly found myself feeling bad for the teen.  Now, I don't know this teen personally, and I don't know the whole story.  But it was weird.

So I wonder, is it just me, or is this normal, or is this what makes us successful at writing for teens/children?  A sort of eternally youthful outlook, or something.

Are you young at heart?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to School Monday: Whining edition

*Heavy sigh*

Today was the first day of school. The preschool I teach at goes 9-12 this first week, so it's not long ... except when you have a child who doesn't stop crying THE ENTIRE TIME.

Then, as of last Tuesday, I was going to be working Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I'd have three days to myself (for writing, mostly, but also keeping up with housework, grocery shopping alone, okay, so I'd probably only use it for writing). Anyway, by Wednesday, I was working Mondays, too, and today they added Friday. I have no doubt that Wednesdays will be added within the month.

What to do? I could do what my hubby suggested and tell them that I can only work three days. There is another teacher that could pick up Tues/Thurs, but then I might not be able to send youngest on Tues/Thurs, which sort of defeats the purpose of not teaching on those days. Plus, we need the money, pitiful as it is.

My other option is to try to regement my writing time. I could try to do all email/blog/twitter stuff between the end of preschool and picking the older two up from elementary, focus on the house and the kiddos from then until after dinner, and then forego my beloved tv shows for evening writing time.

So, what do you think? When do you find time for writing?

Also, prayers for this kid to get comfortable in school and stop screaming in my ear are greatly appreciated. ;)


P.S. Don't forget that I am in desperate need of donations for the FWF Silent Auction. See this post for details.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I need your help!

So, I got myself appointed the Florida Writers Foundation Silent Auction Chairperson.  The Silent Auction is an annual fundraiser for the FWF (which is the charity arm of the Florida Writers Association), a non profit 501 (c) 3 benefitting literacy.

The Silent Auction is held at the annual FWA Conference in Lake Mary, FL (October 22-24, 2010).  Because it's pretty close to Christmas, many attendees use the auction for Christmas shopping, so literally any donation is useful.  I will take some of the smaller donations to make larger baskets, and some will be used for a raffle.

However, I'd love to get a bunch of critiques and other writerly prizes and auction those online a couple of weeks before the conference so everyone can bid!  Yay!

So how can you help?  Spread the word!  Send me donations!

I plan to choose one critique or prize for the online auction and put it up for raffle. Anyone who spreads the word (blog post, tweet, message board post, etc.) will get a free ticket for that raffle.

Please help!

Here is the donation letter:

And the donation form:

Thanks! :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Winners! And other contests!

Thanks so much for all the love on my Blogaversary, everyone! You are all so so awesome!

The ever-useful has chosen winners! And guess what? Jackie gave me another ARC, so I decided to add it in the mix! (I am going to read it first, so it may ship out a few days later than the others - lol).

Without further ado, I give you the WINNERS!!!!

Winner of signed ARC of FIRELIGHT is...

Sarah Olutola!

Winner of ARC of Low Red Moon is...

Christina Farley!

Winner of 50-page critique by me is...


And NEW! Winner of ARC of Tyger, Tyger is...


Winners, email me at lchardesty at yahoo dot com with your address. Also, as a favor, ARC winners, please try to post a review of the book, or at least rate it on Goodreads, especially if you like it. That's the purpose of ARCs, after all.

Other contests! Woohoo!

The amazing Rose Cooper and Matthew Rush are having a query crit contest!

Casey is having a contest on her blog, too. You can win a critique, and we all know those are invaluable!

Amie is having a contest, too! Check out her pretty new blog!

And Jessie is having a contest for the ARC of Siren! Go follow her and tell her I sent you. ;-)

Know of any other awesome contests? Tell me about them in the comments!

Also, I'm trying to write my promised blog post about the Saga of the Broken House, but I'm having trouble with how in-depth to go. So, what would you like, lovely readers? The full version, which promises to be looong (this has been an ongoing saga for over two years - seriously), or the quick version told mostly in pictures? I'll take the majority vote, and post later this week.

Thanks for reading and congrats to the winners!

Larissa :)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last day for a great contest!

Thanks for entering my Blogaversary Giveaway, everyone!

I will count up the entries and let help me choose winners later today, and post them Monday.

Today, I'd like to point you to the lovely Candyland's super giveaway. It's for a great cause, and today is the last day to enter. The prizes are FANTASTIC! Check it out!

See you Monday! :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Tunes

Have you entered my giveaway?  What are you waiting for?

So today, I'd love to talk music.  Do you listen to music when you write?  What do you listen to?  Do you have a playlist per ms, per character, per scene?  Tell me in the comments!

As of right now, I have two playlists.  I do a playlist for each manuscript. 

The playlist for LURE is mostly by my brother's band, The Rise of Defiance.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  (These are just simple videos with a static image of their album cover.  They are working on making real videos.)

The only other songs on the LURE playlist are a few of my favorite Evanescence songs.

Happily, my new wip also called for Evanescence.  It's playlist consists of Evanescence's The Open Door, and Flyleaf's Memento Mori, with a few extras thrown in.  When I get some more money, I will probably add more Evanescence and some Paramore, because that's how this ms rolls.  Here are a couple of favorites.

Tell me about your favorites in the comments!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

WooHoo! Blogaversary and 100 Followers GIVEAWAY!!!

As I mentioned in my last post, today is my one-year blogaversary!  And, as luck would have it, I am also at 100 followers exactly!  SQUEE!

In celebration of those two awesomesauce events, I'm having a GIVEAWAY!

My amazing friend Jackie Dolamore recently went to BEA and ALA, and brought back a ton of ARCs.  She gave two to me, and now I will pass them on to you (of course I read them first - lol).

The first is FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan.

The second is LOW RED MOON by Ivy Devlin.

There's a third prize! I'm also giving away a 50-page critique by yours truly!

So, how to enter:
- You must comment on this post to enter and leave some way for me to contact you.  Please also tell me if you have a particular prize you are or are not interested in. +1
- Current followers: +5
- New followers: +2
- Spread the word (blog, twitter, facebook): +3 for each, please leave a link.  I'm @lchardesty on twitter.
- Total your points: +1

Maximum entries possible: 16
Giveaway ends Friday, July 30 at 10pm est.

Before I leave you to it, I'd like to give a shout out to two people:

Tara McClendon was my very first follower!  Hi Tara!  You should go check out her blog!

And, of course, my lovely 100th follower: The Brad.  Thanks so much for following, Brad! Check him out at, he's hilarious!

That's it!  Thanks so much for reading!  I love you guys!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Crazy Summer

Hi everyone!

I have been having the most insane time with computers this summer.  You may recall that my laptop crashed.  Then a lovely friend gave me an old laptop she doesn't use anymore, and I was super excited!

Then, that laptop had a virus on it.  A horribly icky bad, bad virus that required complete wiping of the computer. UGH.  So I was back to using my iPod Touch for email access for about two weeks.

The laptop is back now, but I have to reupload Office onto it if I want to use it for writing, it's okay for blogging and email checking, but not safe for any type of financial online activity, and (this isn't new, but it's annoying) the keyboard kinda sticks, and I've had to retype half of this post because of missing letters and particularly spaces.

Anyway, enough complaining. Maybe I'll sell a book and I'll be able to get a MacBook and a laser printer (my printer is broken, too - no, I'm not kidding). 

So, in the comments, please let me know if there were any amazing blog posts I missed in the last two weeks.  If something was tweeted, I may have seen it, but looking at things on that tiny screen is frustrating, so it had to sound super fascinating for me to click through.  LOL.

Coming up: I will share the amazingly crazy story of why I have been living out of my house for almost two years. Hint: my kids call it "The Broken House."

Also, my one-year-blogaversary is coming up.  I just checked, and I posted my first blog on July 25!  Wow.  I'm also very very close to 100 followers, so if I get to 100 followers by my blogaversary, I guess I'll have to do a contest, right? ;)  I do have a couple of signed ARCs...and I could probably do a critique, too...hmmmm...


Monday, July 5, 2010


I have good news and bad news. The good news is, I am not posting from my iPod! YAY! The bad news is that my laptop is completely dead. I've got my desktop computer, and an AWESOME, AMAZING friend gave me an old laptop. Another AWESOME, AMAZING friend's AWESOME, AMAZING husband retrieved everything from my old hard drive, too. I am really, really blessed.

But that isn't what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about sticking it out on this completely crazy road to representation/publication. Not the whole "Publishing takes forever and it takes the average writer ten years to get published" stuff, because as far as I'm concerned, that's just depressing. I mean, I get that, yes, this is hard work, and you have to have patience. But. I think that sometimes we get too caught up in "keeping it real" that we forget to be encouraging.

With that in mind, I'd like to point you to the lovely Tawna Fenske's post about drawer novels. Sure, most published authors have drawer novels (I guess the average is seven?), but that doesn't mean that the novel you're working on RIGHT NOW isn't the one for you, whether it's your sixth or your first. No one can tell you that without reading it (and you definitely need feedback from others, but you already knew that, right?).

And then, the always amazing Maggie Stiefvater posted about the odds of getting published vs. the odds of getting killed by a ham sandwich. It's a brilliant post.

Finally, I am a big fan of So You Think You Can Dance. If you watched last week, ballet dancer Alex got assigned a hip hop routine with one of the best hip hop dancers they've had on the show, Twitch. It should have been a train wreck, or at least mildly uncomfortable to watch. But it wasn't.   (Sorry, Embedding is disabled, but it's worth clicking, I promise).


If you saw the show, it kind of *was* a train wreck at first (they show some rehearsal footage before each performance). But Alex had PERSEVERANCE. He probably worked on it every spare second he had that week, and it paid off. Big time.

All that to say, don't give up. Like Maggie said, you're probably already ahead of the game – don't quit. You can move on, work on something else, but don't give up. Everyone's path to publication is different, so forge your own.

What do you think? Have you seen any inspiring posts lately? Share with me in the comments!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Public Service Announcement

Hello bloggy friends! You'll never guess where I'm posting this from.

Go ahead-guess.

Here's a hint: I am still in my house.

NO! I'm not posting from the bathroom! Ew!

Give up?

I'm posting from my iPod touch.


Because my beloved laptop died yesterday. *moment of silence*

The motherboard is fried, which costs $400 to fix. Or $500 plus $100 to transfer my hard drive to a new laptop. Thankfully, I have a desktop computer. It is slightly overloaded, though, so I am spending my day trying to clean it out to make room for my writing folders from poor laptop.

Then I'll have to move the computer to the living room to hook it up to the interwebz, which will make concentrating difficult. *sigh*

My point, dear friends, is:

FOR THE LOVE OF BLOGS (and other social media) BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER!!!!!

That is all.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy weekend, everyone! Can you believe it is mid-June already? Where is the time going?

I've won a blog award (yay!) from Jessie and Jessica! It's the Versatile Blogger award. Isn't it cute?

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order…)
4. Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

Without further ado, here are 7 things about me (which you may or may not already know).

  1. I lived in a hotel for four and a half months (including Christmas), and am still living in a rental house next door to my real house. We've been out of our house since October 1, 2008. With three small children. Oy.
  2. I have 11,000 pictures on my laptop and 15,000 pictures on my desktop computer. Very few are duplicates, and all are from 2003 and later. (Yikes!)
  3. Aside from YA and MG novels, I love to read paranormal romance.
  4. In college, I double-majored in elementary education and music. I studied vocal performance and viola, and ignored the one conducting class I took. I now direct two handbell choirs at my church.
  5. I am a night owl, and want to start a new town where nothing starts earlier than 10am. I named this (imaginary) place Strigifor.
  6. I took my avatar picture myself.
  7. I hate seafood.

Okay, 15 blogs I love (some you may have heard of, and some not, but they are all awesome)!

  1. Kiersten White
  2. Carrie Harris
  3. Lisa and Laura Roecker
  4. Elana Johnson
  5. Marcia Hoehne
  6. Stephanie Theban
  7. Jaclyn Dolamore
  8. Maggie Stiefvater
  9. Valerie Kemp
  10. Hilary Wagner
  11. Denise Jaden
  12. Myra McEntire
  13. Kasie West
  14. Shelli Johannes-Wells
  15. Heather Kelly

Before I go, here are two things I think you should check out.

  1. Maggie Stiefvater's awesome series on revising. I'm linking you to the third post, because it has links to the first two. Come back and tell me your favorite part!

  1. I've seen this too many places around the blogosphere not to share it. If you haven't seen it, you are in for a treat. If you have, watch it again!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Mayhem (AND WINNERS)

Happy Monday, everyone!!!

First, I would like to point you to an interview of yours truly by the lovely Dorothy Dreyer. Please stop by and say hi!

Second, have you heard the amazing news? Some fantastic authors are throwing a FREE online kidlit conference. With TONS of agents and everything. I know! So you should go here or here or here or here or here or here to find out about it. I mention all of those places because most of the organizers are having giveaways on their blogs to celebrate the announcement! SQUEE!

Okay, here's the moment you've all been waiting for. THE WINNERS!

Winner of Cynthia Leitich Smith's ETERNAL is

Karen Strong!

Winner of Terri Farley's THE WILD ONE is

D.M. Cunningham!

Winner of Tammi Sauer
and Dan Santat's CHICKEN DANCE is

Aimee Bussard!

Congrats to the winners! Email me your physical address at lchardesty at yahoo dot com.

Thanks to everyone for all the entries, shoutouts, and blogs. I really appreciate it.

Talk to you soon!


Friday, June 11, 2010

SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop Part 3

Saturday was the last day for the conference. It started with a general assembly, which is where I got all the books signed for my GIVEAWAY! (Did you enter yet?)

Then I headed to the Picture Book Track. There was some great information in this session, some even applicable to novel writing!

First up was Alexandra Cooper from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. She talked about getting out of the slush, and her first point was to know who you're pitching to. Then she went through all the imprints at S&S, talking about what they focus on. She also said they recently had a visit from the head buyer for Borders. The buyer said that they are not looking for anymore bedtime books or "it's okay to be me" books. They are interested in good read alouds with big illustrations. (Alexandra emphasized that since Borders isn't interested in something, an editor is unlikely to acquire it). Alexandra said she loves funny books, and she's always looking for a book that has a new way of looking at things.

Important point – Picture books being acquired now are 500 words and under, even as low as 250-100 words. So cut, cut, cut!

Finally, Alexandra said that they sometimes will reject a perfectly good manuscript that just isn't a good fit (which goes back to the "know who you're pitching to" comment).

Tammi Sauer was up next, and she had some great lists of things she makes sure are in her manuscript before she sends it out. She had three lists, and here they are:

Does my manuscript:

  • offer a variety of scenes?
  • have a rhythmic feel?
  • have a read it again quality?
  • rely on pictures to tell the story?
  • cut to the chase (not bogged down by description.dialogue)?
  • have a universal theme?
  • warrant someone spending ~$20 per copy?
10 Must-Have Ingredients:

  • Emotion
  • Characters people can relate to
  • Plot
  • Words that sing
  • Good pacing
  • Page turn-ability
  • Humor
  • Low word count
  • Plenty of illustration possibilities
  • Originality
Tammi's Top Ten Secrets (I'm not going to give all of these, since they're SEKRIT, but I'll give my four favorites):

  • The right character is ARF: Active, Relatable, and Flawed
  • The problem or conflict has to be a BIG DEAL to the main character.
  • Up the tension: Follow the story arc: Problem, Obstacle 1, Obstacle 2, Obstacle 3, BLACK MOMENT, Climax, Resolution (with change/growth)
  • Amp up the humor – but realize that sometimes too funny is less funny.
Tammi also said, Ask yourself, "What could go wrong?" and then "How can I make it worse?"

  • Try to tell as much as possible in as little as possible.
  • (One of my favorites for the day) If you're thinking about writing a rhyming picture book: "Try it in prose to see where it goes." (Awesome)
Finally, Dan Santat gave us a mini book trailer training! Yay!

  • He started by saying that no book trailer will make someone buy a book, but it will make them AWARE of the book.
  • If you're confused or having trouble, look for tutorials on You Tube.
  • You can find some hints on his website:
  • Always end the trailer with the release date, cover of the book, and website (if applicable).
  • Step 1: Insert raw footage.
  • Step 2: Trim out useless bits. Also, if using stills, it's always better to have a still move (called the Ken Burns effect).
  • Step 3: Add text.
  • Step 4: Add sound (voice-overs add a nice touch).
After the group closing, it was time for the critiques. I had two.

My picture book was with Alex Flinn, who's book Beastly has been made into a movie coming soon! Woo! After the picture book day, I knew my PB wasn't ready, but Alex did like the premise and the main character. So, yay! Not a total throwaway. LOL.

Then came my critique with the amazing Cynthia Leitich Smith. I was sooooo nervous about this one. Happily, she LOVED the first 10 pages of LURE. YAY! She had a couple of minor suggestions, but mostly thought it was great. She even asked if I had an agent yet. I was so excited! She is so super nice. If you have a chance to attend a conference where she's speaking, you should GO!

So there are my notes from Saturday. I hope you find some of that helpful. Tell me in the comments what your favorite nugget is!

And don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY! It ends at midnight TOMORROW!

Here are a couple of friends' blog posts from the conference. You should follow them! J

Karen Strong (her first page summary)


Cynthia Leitich Smith
Harley May

See you on Monday with GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop Part 2

As promised, here are my notes from the Novel Intensive, featuring Kathleen Duey, Alvina Ling from Little, Brown, and Stephanie Owens Lurie from Disney/Hyperion.

It was amazing and inspiring. Hopefully, I can convey some of that to you, but I would like to encourage you to attend a writer's conference near you if you can at all afford to. Even just being around other writers is inspiring and freeing. No one at a writers conference will think you're weird when you talk about your characters like they're real people. ;)

The first topic the Thrilling Three covered was Character.

Alvina Ling – Character is Voice, Beliefs, and Experiences. You need to know these things about your character.

Kathleen Duey – To get a character to talk to you, try interviewing him/her. Not one of those questionnaires, but a conversation. Type a question and let the character answer you. She said it feels strange, but if it works for you, it will change your world. J

  • Try to get out of your character's way.
  • Get to your art and your craft will take you the rest of the way.
  • There are no rules except you want to write your book in such a way that people can't put it down.
  • Get out of your writing cave and observe children. She recommends mall food courts. You can hear kids talking when they don't think anyone is listening.
  • Character is the spine of everything.
  • (When talking about characters talking to the writer and doing unexpected things) All writing is paranormal. (I love this.)
  • Try writing from your secondary characters' POVs to get to know them and their motivation better.

Then we had a writing exercise to introduce a character in half a page or less. Both Alvina and Stephanie read examples of strong character introductions aloud. Then some volunteers read their introductions (written on the spot). What I got from this exercise is that a great character is distinct and interesting. The more the reader is pulled into the character's head, the better. Stephanie said she wants to either feel she IS the character or that she COULD BE the character.

*They liked my character introduction, which was a new story I've been thinking about. I guess I should start that one, huh?*

Next was Setting.

Kathleen Duey – Be careful to stay in viewpoint when describing setting (if you're in first person, the character isn't going to describe his room when he enters it. He already knows what his room looks like.)

  • Tiny details can be more interesting and telling.
  • Spend time on things the reader will not assume.
  • Magic has to be flawed in and of itself. There has to be a kryptonite (Superman wouldn't have been interesting if he could conquer everything).
Stephanie Lurie – Avoid vampires or werewolves.

  • Right now, apocalyptic/dystopian is hot.
  • Next is angels (mostly fallen).
  • She sees a lot of girls who died and are coming back.
  • She needs more MG (standalone or series). *yay*
Alvina Ling – Would love a sci fi (more space opera than dystopian).

Regarding Plot – Kathleen Duey – There is no magic formula (or if it exists, you don't want it).

The Thrilling Three also read first pages and queries.

Kathleen Duey – In queries and synopses, try not to name anyone but the MC because you'll be compelled to describe them. Do that with two or three side characters, and you've added an unnecessary paragraph. She recommended leaving other names off completely at first (use BFF or the like), and then add names if they are necessary. She also said in a synopsis, to tell both plot and emotional arcs.

Alvina Ling and Stephanie Lurie said that in a query, social networking is of interest (blog, twitter, etc), but conference attendance not necessary. They like "Readers of _____ will enjoy my book." But make sure the titles are current, in the same genre, and not blockbusters.

Alvina said she's looking for something familiar but fresh.

Stephanie said if you can give her the one-sentence pitch, the query summary (like jacket copy), and a great synopsis, she'll love it. She needs all three to acquire your book.

As a final note, Kathleen said that it's the subtle things that make a book believable or not.

So there are my notes from Friday. I hope you find some of that helpful. Tell me in the comments what your favorite nugget is!

And don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Here are a couple of friends' blog posts from the conference. You should follow them! J

Karen Strong


See you on Friday with my notes from the Picture Book Track and my critiques!


Monday, June 7, 2010

SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop Part 1 + GIVEAWAY!

This conference was AMAZING. Words cannot express how amazing, but I shall humbly try.

My conference experience started with picking up Kathleen Duey from the airport (I KNOW, right?). I have said before that she is the single most inspiring person I have ever met, and she is even more so now. She is so genuinely nice, helpful, and just fun to be around. You can tell she's really listening to you when you talk to her, and that she truly cares about everyone.

I brought the fabulous Jackie Dolamore with me to pick Kathleen up, since they had wanted to get together while she was in town. At the hotel, we joined the other speakers and volunteers for dinner, where I got to sit next to the lovely Terri Farley, whose book I am giving away shortly. She is really a wonderful person. Very sweet and fun to talk to.

The next day was the unbelievably awesome Novel Intensive.

But I'm going to make you wait to hear about it. I know, I'm mean. *evil grin*

Actually, I'm trying to be nice. I'm going to start the giveaway today (see rules below), and it will continue through Friday. On Wednesday, I will post about the Novel Intensive, and on Friday I will post about the Picture Book track and my critiques AND I WILL GIVE YOU EXTRA ENTRIES FOR COMMENTING ON THOSE POSTS. That's right. I'm giving you easy extra entries. *waits for applause and squeeing to die down*

Here are the awesome books you can win!

Eternal SIGNED by Cynthia Leitich Smith

The Wild One (Phantom Stallion #1) SIGNED by Terri Farley

(I am having trouble getting a picture of this book to work on here. Sorry!)

AND (I know, I said only two, but I'm too generous)

Chicken Dance SIGNED by Tammi Sauer AND Dan Santat

Here are the rulez:

1. You must comment here to be entered in the drawing (1 entry).

2. Old followers (following before June 6) get two additional entries.

3. New followers get one additional entry.

4. Tweeting/facebooking/blogging this giveaway earns you 2 additional entries for each instance (please include link in your comment, and if tweeting, use @lchardesty).

5. Follow me on twitter! One additional entry

6. You will get one additional entry each for commenting on Wednesday and Friday's posts.

6. Include your email in your comment.

7. Please add up your entries in your comment.

8. Giveaway ends at midnight EST on Saturday, June 12, and winners will be posted by Monday, June 14.


Ready, set, go! And thanks for reading. It really means a lot.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting Ready!

Hello my lovelies!

I am getting ready for the conference this weekend. Sooooo excited! I've polished my first pages until they shine. :) I've purchased my books for myself and for YOU! Yay!

And just so I stay grounded, some pipes at my house are clogged, so we have no toilets or other water (dishes and laundry - not that I do them like I should, but, uh, running out of clean clothes over here), and my youngest dd has bronchitis and won't take her meds. Woohoo!

I also would like to point you to the fun new badge I added at the top right. This is a new blog by some fabulous authors, and they are starting off with a GIVEAWAY! Check it out by clicking the badge.

So, while I get ready to have a fabulous time (and deal with awesome real life), I thought I'd leave you with this fantastic video by Jackson Pearce. Enjoy!

I'll be back with notes from the conference, and signed BOOKS FOR YOU! Stay tuned!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Mayhem (and vote now!)

While perusing my blogroll, I came across an absolute GEM from the amazing Carrie Harris, and I just HAD to share. This is so hilarious, I have no words.

I give you the Sleep Talkin' Man. (Sorry, embedding is disabled).

You can thank me later.

You should follow Carrie if you aren't already. She comes up with genius like this all the time. (For further info on awesome people you should follow, see my fun interview with Heather Kelly).

Finally, I'm going to another conference! Squee! The SCBWI FL Summer Workshop is June 4-5. I'm soooooo excited. I'm going to the Novel intensive with Kathleen Duey (the genius) and Alvina Ling (HELLLOOOOOO), and the Picture Book track with Tammi Sauer and Dan Santat (no, I'm not kidding). Can you feel the awesome? Oh, yeah.

So, if you recall, last time I went to a conference I brought back books for you! Yay! I've decided to make this a habit. Every time I go to a conference, I will bring back books for you. Because I'm so nice (and awesome). :)

This time, I'm going to let you vote! So. Look at the line up here and tell me in the comments which author and book you'd like to see me giveaway. I will pick the top two. (I know I gave away three last time, but summer is coming and three of my four jobs stop over the summer).

Okay, go! :)

ETA: I'm entering Maggie's contest for Linger stuff. If you haven't seen the new trailer for Linger, you must watch it now. It is AMAZING. She also did four making-of posts on her blog. Super cool!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Do The Write Thing For Nashville (or where have you been, under a rock?!?)

Okay, so unless you've been hiding under a rock, you probably already know about the Do the Write Thing for Nashville blog auction. It is going EXTREMELY well, and there are some FANTASTIC items up for bidding. Critiques, phone calls with agents, signed books, and more.

Last night, I went a little crazy and bid on a bunch of stuff. In case you missed it, I have FOUR PART-TIME JOBS. Yeah, so not rolling in the money around here. One item I bid on was a 30-minute phone call with agent Michelle Wolfson. She added a query or 10-page critique if the bidding got to $375, so I bid it. I figured someone would certainly outbid me, since the bidding was close to $375 already.

Ha. The bidding on that item ends tonight at midnight CDT, and no one has outbid me yet. Now, if I win, I will gladly take the crit and phone call. Woohoo! However, my marriage might be better off if someone else wins. LOL. (Hubby actually said he'd rather spend the $ on a babysitter for me to have writing time this summer, which I could DEFINITELY use).

Anyway, go. Bid. But be careful what you bid just might win it! Hahahahaha. :)

Speaking of critiques, head over to Stephanie Theban's blog. She's giving away a 5-page critique for free! :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

I've been interviewed!

Hooray! I've been interviewed by the super awesome Heather Kelly!

Stop by and say hi! :)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to tell you that you should check out Jackson Pearce's Sisters Red when it comes out in June.

Seriously. Check her out:

And also (one of my favorites):

How could you not want to read her books?!? Look how funny and cute she is! Plus, look at Sisters Red!:

Just sayin'.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Flashback

(What? It's totally still Friday ... for 1 and a half more hours ... and more than that where some of you live ... shut up.)

This post is inspired by Jessie Harrell's Friday Flashback post. Jessie is awesome, and you should check out her blog. :)

Anyway, Jessie posted about high school heartbreak and using it to fuel your YA writing. I thought I would share my response here.

Ah. Young love. I fell in love with a guy on an overnight orchestra trip. We just clicked, even though we'd been in orchestra together for three + years at that point. Anyway, I remember the tingly, excited feeling of cuddling with him on the bus, and desperately wanting him to kiss me (if only we had been alone!).

When we arrived back at school, I asked him what the deal was with us (did he want to "go out" with me?!?). He told me he did want to go out with me, but he had asked someone else out right before the trip. *stab* He felt he had to try it with her since he had asked her first. The hardest part was that I could see he wanted me, too (I think he even had tears in his eyes - for reals).

Oh, I was sooooo heartbroken. I couldn't even eat for a week. I remember this freshman boy from orchestra would buy me lunch and try to make me eat (I think he had a crush on me, himself). I pined for him for about a month. I remember he told me that he wasn't sure things were working out with the other girl right before prom, and that he was considering breaking up with her after prom. I later found out that was because she wasn't putting out. Well, she did put out for prom, and he didn't break up with her...she got pregnant.

I still look back on that whole thing as a dodged bomb. What if he had chosen me, and *I* had ended up pg? I met my current (only) husband less than a year later. It would have changed *everything.*

So, how about you? Did you have a high school heartbreak moment that still stays with you?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Interested in moving?

Ah. Spring Break. A whole week of not having to get up. A whole week of staying up until 2am and sleeping in until 10 or 11am.

:( Now Spring Break is over and I had to get up at 7am. Boo. I realized over Spring Break that I feel better when I follow my natural daily rhythm (the sleeping from 2am to 10am thing). I drink less coffee. I'm happier. I'm more creative. I have heard from many people who feel this way.

So why the ^&*% does the world start its day so blankety-blank early?!?

In light of my Spring Break epiphany, I plan to found a new town. I will find some land somewhere in FL, or at least on the East Coast (but no further north than North Carolina - I hate snow). This town will be called Strigifor (bonus points if you can figure out the reason for the name), and it will operate on West Coast time. So instead of school starting at 8:30am, it will start at 11:30am and end at 6:30pm. Nothing will have to open before 10am and everything will be open until midnight.

I predict a huge increase in productivity and school achievement. Who's with me?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Sorry for the shouting, but this is BIG NEWS!!! Go on over to Moonrat's Blog and enter. And, if you haven't been following Moonie's blog, SHAME ON YOU!! :P

Monday, March 29, 2010


So, I changed my template. What do you think? Too bright? Too busy? Like? Tell me in the comments!

I am plain old DYING right now with lack of time. I think I have mentioned before that I lost my writing time after being hired two extra days at the preschool. I realized today that I haven't really written or done a good revision since that happened. ARGH! Of course, my husband is completely unhelpful - "Just tell them no." Right.

Anyway, Spring Break is coming up, and I think I am going to try to hire a babysitter for at least one day so I can work. I have decided to take a day off in mid-April, as well. Here's hoping I can get LOTS of work done! Oh, and if you see me online between the hours of 9am and 3pm est. on April 23, please feel free to yell at me. Profusely.

Here are a couple of fun posts I found today. You should check them out.

Carrie Harris posts an interview with Kody Keplinger and some links to more interviews.

Jenny Bent posts on rejection.

Jim at Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency Blog will tell you what to read next if you tell him the last five books you read.

Enjoy those!

Also, my brother's band, The Rise of Defiance, released their CD last weekend. They are working on getting it on iTunes this week. My middle child sings on the first track and it is AWESOME! If you like metal/rock you should check them out!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Guest Post! By Mike Jung!


Mike was the winner of GONE by Michael Grant in my recent contest. When I mailed him the book, I asked if he'd like to do a guest post here, and HE SAID YES!

I am excited to present you with Mike's guest post -- via vlog!!! **applause**

So, what do you think about series? I love reading series, but I'm not sure I'd love writing them. I can see my current ms having series potential, but I'm not sure if I'd like, you know, HAVING to come up with a new storyline for this character.

Thanks so much, Mike! You are awesome!!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Future is NOW

Compare. This GE Commercial:

With this:

I can't wait to get some Tribbles! LOL.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Kids are funny

Well, I wanted to post something all writerly, but, then this happened, and I had to share it instead.

DD1 (5yo): If you don't wear green on Leprechaun Day, the leprechaun will sneak up and pinch you.

DS (7yo): Well I will *squish* that leprechaun!


What funny things do your kids (or kids you know) say?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Contests! Contests!

Hooray for more contests!

Suzette and Bethany are having a followers giveaway with a prize from agent Suzie Townsend of FinePrintLit! ZOMG!

Elana Johnson is having a followers giveaway, too! Squee!

Go enter! :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

"That was my idea!"

CKHB just posted this fun video (there is an f-bomb, just fyi) and linked to a blog post by Aprilynne Pike. We've all heard agents and other say it: There are no new ideas.

I had previously seen this video (mild language) of the same idea, which is hilarious.

What are some examples of overused plot devices you've seen used in a unique way? What do you think of the "there are no new ideas" mantra?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Hive Mind

Isn't it interesting how some topics seem to pop up all over the place at the same time? Here I was, having a down kinda week, and I come across a bunch of blog posts about rejection and/or bumming. I liked them, so I thought I'd share.

At The Merry Sisters of Fate blog, we learn that even published authors get that slimy feeling. (You mean a book deal doesn't solve all of your problems?!? Crap.)

In a guest post on Kate Schafer Testerman's Ask Daphne blog, author Sara Beitia blogs about her publishing journey. This is one of my favorite "how I got published" stories of all time.

Finally, a funny one. The Rejectionist posted an email from a friend about an envelope he received from an agency. I laughed until my sides hurt. For real.

Have you seen any other posts on rejection lately? How do you perk yourself up when you're feeling down?

ETA - A few more links I forgot I had saved:

Yasmine Galenorn

Laurell K. Hamilton

R.K. Charron

Myra McEntire

and one from Lisa Green in the comments

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Agency Blog

Hi Everyone!

The McVeigh Agency is starting a blog and they want lots of new followers! They are doing a 15 minute phone or skype chat with anyone who brings in 10 new followers! Cool, right? So, please go follow the blog here, and then comment on this blog post to tell me so.

If you follow The McVeigh Agency Blog and come back to tell me, I will enter you in a drawing for a 2 chapter critique. Don't get excited - it's by me, but I have been told that I give good, helpful critiques...

Happy Friday! :)


Monday, February 15, 2010

Giveaway Awesomeness by Maggie

Linger Cover LargeIn Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Comes out in stores everywhere July 20th. Pre-order here.

Enter to win an advanced review copies of LINGER, Sisters Red, The Dead-Tossed Waves, and The Replacement on Maggie's blog.