Saturday, December 31, 2011

Coming Up in 2012

Oh my goodness!  I have some good news!  I FINALLY got a new computer!  It's so shiny and pretty and new and I just LOVE IT! Yay!

Anyway, can you believe it is going to be 2012 TOMORROW? I barely can.  It's so weird that another year is gone.  Although, I teach and have three kids, so to me, "year" is relative, and more related to the school year than the calendar year.  But anyway, I thought I would post about a couple of things that are coming up.


Just kidding. :D

Really, firstly, I've decided to participate in Frankie Diane Mallis's 3rd Annual NO KISS BLOGFEST!  What this means is that on Monday, January 2, I will post an almost kiss from one of my manuscripts.  If you'd like to participate, head on over to Frankie's blog and sign up on the linky.  Then come back on Monday and check out my post! Yay!

And then, around February 14, in honor of Valentine's Day, I will be participating in Oasis for YA's That's YA-more Blogfest, for which I will post an ACTUAL KISS from one of my manuscripts.

Yay, kissing!

I'm sure there will be posts in between, but I wanted to let you know about those two.  I can't wait!

So.  Are you making any goals or resolutions for 2012?  Let me know in the comments, and


Friday, December 23, 2011

Heads Up!

Hi Everyone!

I have two quick things and then I have to get back to Christmas preparations (before my kids drive me crazy). 

First, the group blog I'm part of, Oasis for YA, is co-hosting a super fun blog hop.  It's called the Mid-Winter's Eve Giveaway Hop, and it's all about giving away books!  Go here, and hop around to enter to win books.  So simple, and so awesome!

Also, I'd like to ask you a favor.  My husband is in a competition for Florida's Best Artist, and I would be so grateful if you'd follow the link and click LIKE on his profile.  You can see his art here (my background!), or here, or here.   (And please ignore the terrible writing in his profiles, the contest people wrote them, and they're cringe-worthy.) Thanks!

Have a super wonderful holiday and New Year, everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Crabby Crabmonster

(Crabby Bear by M.Hsu at Deviantart)

Do you ever feel like this?  I know I do.  Whether it's just a bad day, or sickness, or crazy kids, or your spouse/significant other/dog/goldfish being a butthead, the crabby crabmonster can sneak up on you and rain all over your day.

But then what do you do?  One of the great things about social media is that when the crabby crabmonster shows up, there are people around to help cheer you up, or make you laugh, or just give you a cyber hug.

However, I have run into a couple of problems.  First, my worlds are colliding.  Too many of my in-person friends are now on twitter or facebook.  I can't vent about someone if they'll see my vent!  And a semi-vague vent isn't as cathartic. :(  Plus, people ask what you're talking about, and you have to lie, or avoid the question, or private message them.  It's just annoying.

My second problem is that with so many things going on in my life (I write, teach preschool, direct the handbell choirs at my church, teach Sunday School, am a Creative Memories Consultant, have three children, and am married (and a partridge in a pear tree)), I have stretches where I'm stressed, and the crabby crabmonster visits more often.  But I don't want to flood my social media with negativity.

So, what do you do?  Do you avoid social media when the crabby crabmonster visits?

And, to end on a positive note, if you celebrate Christmas, what are you hoping to get for Christmas, or what present are you excited to give? :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Thanksgiving Gift To You

I had a different post planned out, but after spending THREE HOURS clicking around Cleolinda's HILARIOUS Twilight posts, I have decided to save my post for another day.

I found her posts especially amusing because my friend and critique partner J.A. Souders and I went to see Breaking Dawn yesterday.  There were lots of amusing moments in the movie, particularly any scene with Charlie in it (LOVE HIM), and Emmett's wedding speech to Bella and Edward (which was basically like, "Get used to not sleeping." *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*).  We also discovered the joy of scanning the credits for interesting names.  Two notable ones: Booboo Stewart (this is the kid who plays werewolf Seth!  For realz!), and Pharoah Barrett.  Which caused Jess to dare me to name a character in one of my novels "Pharoah."  I may take her up on this dare. :D

Anyway, go here and enjoy Cleolinda's recaps.  Both her recaps of the movies, and her recaps of the books are worth it.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

I Got What I Wanted, But...

Wow.  It's been a loooooooong time since I posted. *sheepish look*

My only excuse is that I have three part time jobs and three children, and I was finishing revisions on my manuscript.  And, really, those are pretty good excuses, I think.

Okay, maybe not.  But I have news!  (No, sadly not that kind of news YET.)  But it IS news I have been waiting 13 MONTHS to tell you.


I finally have internet at my house! *cue fanfare*

I can hardly believe I managed that long without internet at home. o.O

And, now that I have it, I ... don't want to use it that much.


I know. It's utterly weird.  I do enjoy being able to type emails on a normal keyboard instead of with my thumbs.  And it's nice to be able to click over to someone's blogpost from twitter and be able to actually read the blog, rather than having the right sidebar covering the words.


I'm so used to my emails on my phone.  And twitter on my phone.  And even the Blueboards on my phone.  I find the full sites overwhelming.

So. Weird.

I guess that means that I really could adapt to anything.  LOL.

In other news, I'd like to point you to a few things going on around the web.

First, my crit partner and friend, JA Souders is having a BOOK DEAL CELEBRATION EXTRAVAGANZA!  Head over and check it out.

Also, Jean Reidy is having an online auction to celebrate the release of her picture book, LIGHT UP THE NIGHT, and give books to a library in Uganda.  Check that out and bid!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday Whatnot

I only have a quick minute because I still don't have internet (it has now officially been a year.  WOAH), but I wanted to post about a couple of things.

First, I'm posting at the Oasis today, giving away Jaclyn Dolamore's Between the Sea and Sky!  You should go check it out!

Second, I'm a member of #WS4U (Writer's Support 4U), and many members do a weekly progress post.  Normally, I don't have much of an update, but today I can say YAY!  My manuscript is finished and with beta readers as I type!  (EEEEK!)  Cross your fingers that they LOVE it, and I can send that puppy out soon.

That's it!  Do you have any progress you'd like to share?  Tell me in the comments!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Help A Girl Out -- Twitter

I am a big fan of twitter (random question: Should twitter be capitalized?  It's not in the logo, but...).  I love being able to check in with people I think are awesome and sort of be in the beat of the kidlit industry.

But I’m having a concern, and I wanted to see how other people handle this. 

So, I don’t auto-follow.  But since I’m a bit of a people-pleaser, I have angst about it.  I feel bad.  I get all excited when someone follows me, and then I spend five to ten minutes (per person. O.o) trying to decide whether to follow them back or not. 

And I have gotten more stingy with my follows.  I’m currently following 877 people.  But often, when I only have ten or fifteen minutes to check twitter, I’m really interested in a select few.  My crit partners, agents I like, my favorite authors, etc.  Not that I don’t value everyone’s tweets, but the more people I add, the harder I have to work to check on my “regulars.” 

Now, I know that I can make lists, and that there are twitter clients what help organize feeds, etc.  But I still don’t have internet at home, and mostly check twitter on my phone, so those things don’t really help too much.

So, I really have two (multi-layered) questions for you.  First, do you auto-follow?  Why or why not?  If you do, how do you keep track of your “regulars”?  And second, if you use a twitter client (hoot suite, tweetdeck, etc.), which one do you use, and why do you like it?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

All About Me!

I know, the post title is lame, but I'm a preschool teacher, and this is something I do every year at school.  Since I'm being announced as the newest member of the OASIS FOR YA blog (YAYAYAYAYAY), I thought it would be a good time to give an Overview of Larissa for anyone new (or old and forgetful--lol).

Alrighty then.  First, and foremost for this blog, I am a writer.  I write YA Paranormal, and my current favorite books include (an exhaustive list would be ... uh, exhaustive): Rachel Hawkins' HEX HALL series (and I want to be Rachel when I grow up--she is awesomesauce), Rachel Vincent's SOUL SCREAMERS series (are we noticing I am a fan of series?), and JA Souders' ELYSIUM CHRONICLES (Ha!  I've read it and you have to wait until next year! Muahahaha!).

Of course, I have other jobs, too (too many JOBS! OMG.)  I also teach pre-k (that's the four-year-olds if you were wondering).  I have FIFTEEN kids in my class, so I am pretty much always either exhausted or hopped up on massive amounts of caffeine.  If you want to get on my good side, bring me Starbucks.  PLUS, I am the Handbell Choir Director and teach 1st-3rd grade Sunday School at my church.  Whee!

As if that weren't enough, I have THREE children, ages 8, 6, and 4.  So ... yeah.  O.o

Oh, and I haven't had internet at home for ELEVEN MONTHS because my wonderful husband didn't want to add another bill to the pile.  I have been told this will soon be remedied, but I am not holding my breath.  Again: O.o

If you want a taste of my sense of humor, check out this post, or this interview.

That's me!  I'll be doing my first post at the Oasis Thursday, so I hope you'll come visit me there, too!

Ooh, and I almost forgot, you should definitely check out the Oasis today, because there's a GIVEAWAY!!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Summer Vacation Part 2: South Dakota!

I have a lot more pictures for this post.  If you've never been to South Dakota, it is really just a different kind of place.  It's hard to describe, but I think some of these pictures will help.

Our traditional stop on the way into see my family at the ranch: AL'S OASIS. 

And look what you can buy! RATTLESNAKE EGGS.  Dude.
This is what the drive looks like pretty much all the way across the state. Along with the occasional herd of cattle and field of hay bales.
And when we arrived, we were invited to a wedding!  A distant relative's wedding.  In a bar. It was fun!
My uncle's cows.
I think this is the Little White River where it comes through my uncle's property.
Martin, SD. 'Nuff said.

This is an old truck on my uncle's farm.  My husband desperately wants to come get it someday and rebuild it. But anyway this is how they do things in SD. When you're down with your truck, you park it somewhere on your property and go get a new one.

Here's a picture of my uncle baling.  They cut the hay, then rake it into rows, and then bale it.
Here's my dad and one of the kids on a four-wheeler. My husband even got me to drive one. Wheeee!

We drove up to see Mt. Rushmore.

So that's South Dakota!  It's really fun, and a unique place to go.  I couldn't live there because of the weather 70% of the year (I hate snow), but I love to visit.  I forgot how much I loved my uncle's ranch (formerly my grandma's ranch) until I got there.  Even the smell was comforting and familiar.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Summer Vacation Part 1: Vegas!

What a crazy fun trip! First, being away for two weeks is just weird. Our house even smelled different when we got back.

Anyway, we began the trip in Las Vegas. My parents actually live in Henderson, which is a suburb.

Here’s the view from my parent’s backyard:

And here are some pictures from the window of the hotel my husband’s conference was at:

I tried to stop by the local high school from my parent’s, but no one was there. I did manage to take a few pics through the gates. As I thought, it’s a lot like some schools here in Florida—with open air hallways.

If you’ve never been to Vegas, it’s definitely an experience. The casinos are strange with flashing lights everywhere, but they feel like it’s night all the time. And you have no way of knowing what time it is, since there are no windows or clocks around the casino areas.

There are slot machines in the grocery stores.

It is crazy hot. And dry.

We also drove about an hour and a half into the mountains to visit a friend of my dad, who has horses, donkeys, and chickens:

That’s pretty much it. Let me know if I can answer any questions!

Next: South Dakota!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Carrie's Night of the Giving Dead Auction

Just a quick shout out to YA author Carrie Harris (who is awesomesauce and funny and amazing, and you should buy her super cool book BAD TASTE IN BOYS) is having an amazing auction to celebrate her book release!

GO HERE and check it out.  The auction ends soon, so GO!

In other news, I am in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota, and I am not getting my emails on my phone.  *cries*

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Music Muse

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 

I am enjoying my time in Vegas very much. I've seen a couple of things to help with setting in my novel, and will try to get to a high school tomorrow.  Tonight, I'm staying on the strip with the hubs, and I'll be trying to figure out a few scenes that happen there.  Before that, though, I have to go to a ranch that my dad's friend owns.  I know that sounds kind of neat, and my kids will love it, but ... ugh.  I'm not much of an outdoors person, and I'm allergic to most of the animals there.  *sigh* So wish me luck.

Anyway, today I wanted to post about music.  Do you listen to music when you write?  I used to not be able to, but I've figured out how to make it work, and it really helps me now. 

The songs below are on my playlist for my manuscript That Succs, which is the one set in and near Vegas.  Some of the songs go together really well, and some may seem strange, but it works for me. (I'm linking (titles are links) to You Tube videos of the songs, but if there are any you like, please purchase them from your favorite music seller.)

I have some songs I listen to just in general:
Imaginary by Evanescence
Weight of the World by Evanescence
Lithium by Evanescence
Insatiable by The Rise of Defiance
Play Called Life by The Rise of Defiance
Misery by  Maroon 5
Alice by Avril Lavigne

And I have some songs for specific characters:
Emmy (protagonist):
Good Enough by Evanescence
Hello by Evanescence
Bring  Me to Life by Evanescence
Sally's Song by Amy Lee
Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri
Smile by Avril Lavigne

Lily (Emmy's best friend):
Peacock by Katy Perry (yeah, she's like that)
What the Hell? by Avril Lavigne

Paul (Emmy's crush):
Rocketeer by Far East Movement and Ryan Tedder
Careless Whisper by Seether

So what do you listen to when you write? Do you make playlists?  Any music suggestions for me? :)

Larissa :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Setting (and WINNERS)

First, thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway and commented on the SCBWI FL post.  I love coming back and sharing tidbits with other writers.  :)

Okay, so helped me out, and the winner of the signed copy of Fancy White Trash is Rachel R, and the winner of the signed copy of Skin Hunger is Theresa Milstein!  I wish I could have gotten more books and stuff to give away!  Winners, please email me at lchardesty at yahoo dot com with your addresses.

Anyway, on to setting!

I’m on a family vacation. 
I’m both excited and annoyed.  I have three children, so it’s pretty exhausting.  Plus, the first stop is my parents’ house. 
I adore my parents, but my mom likes to go, go, go, and I’m really more of a homebody.  I don’t really like to go on outings, just to go somewhere.  Especially when I could be writing or something.  Plus, my kids tend to realize that my mom will be quicker to get them snacks or something they want, so they bug her.  If I do nothing but pay attention to them, I can nip that in the bud before she gives in, but if I’m, say, WRITING or READING and not paying attention, she will give in and then eventually get annoyed that I’m not doing anything.  *shakes head*  Needless to say, I don’t think I’m going to get much writing time on this trip.  *SIGH*
BUT, I am excited because I am visiting the places two of my novels are set in!  YAY!  My current WIP, That Succs, is set in and around Vegas, which is where my parents live (for two more weeks, and then they’re moving—lol).  Then we are all going to South Dakota to visit my grandmothers.  My completed novel, Lure, is set in Western South Dakota, basically where my mom’s mom lives (the middle of nowhere-ish).
I plan to do posts when I get back, highlighting both places, but I wanted some advice first.  What kinds of things do you think I should look for/at?  If you have a novel or novel idea set in either of these places, what information would you want about them?
Larissa :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop

First off, don't forget to enter the giveaway for signed books!

Second--Dude.  What happened to Blogger?  I hate it when sites I use and am used to change layout and look.  I get confused.  *sigh*

Okay, down to business.  Here are a few nuggets from the SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop.  I attended the Novel Intensive and the YA track, so my tidbits are all from Marjetta Geerling, Kathleen Duey, and Michele Burke (editor at Knopf BFYR).

  • Filter everything through your character. -KD
  • An editor can take a MS that's 70% of the way there and take it the rest of the way.  Editors can help you make your book better, but they can't do everything. -MB
  • Voice is innate. -MB
  • The reader shouldn't need to be told what the character is feeling--they should feel it with the character. -MB
  • After voice, setting is the #2 reason MB will put a MS down.  Readers need something familiar to cling to--a seed of familiarity. -MB
  • Don't throw the reader into the middle of the action at the expense of clarity. -MB
  • Don't be deliberately mysterious and vague. -MB
  • Be invitingly different and comfortably familiar.  Ground the reader in the familiar. -MB
  • You have to hook the reader right away, but there are 8 million kinds of bait. -KD
  • You need a striking and engaging beginning, but not action. - KD
  • Setting should do at least two things, and it's better if it's three or four. -MG (Not just establishing time/location/etc, but can add to characterization, pacing, mood, etc.)
  • Try to build your venue with an eyedropper, not a shovel. -KD
  • When revising, print out your story and read it without a pencil so you turn off your writer brain and turn on your reader brain. -KD

Finally, Marjetta did a mini-presentation based on research she did in her MFA program.  It had to do with using a character's world-view and experiences to create unique language for that character (voice).  It was a really fantastic presentation.  Kathleen even talked about how awesome it was and that it wasn't something she'd thought of before. 

Anyway, if you or someone you know is in charge of speakers for a writing group/conference, you should look into bringing Marjetta in.  She is fantastic.

So, which piece of advice above speaks to you the most?

Larissa :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Post-Conference Giveaway Time!

This is a couple of weeks late, since the SCBWI Florida Mid-Year Workshop was June 24 and 25, but I'm hoping you'll forgive me due to my Internet-Impaired status. (Yes, still.  Don't ask.)

Anyway, as usual, I purchased a couple of books by the presenters to give away here on my blog.

The Prizes:

A signed paperback of the amazing Kathleen Duey's Skin Hunger:

A signed hardcover of the brilliant Marjetta Geerling's Fancy White Trash:

The Rules:

1. Comment on this post:

-Current Followers (following before this is posted): 3 entries
-New Followers: 2 entries
-Non-Followers: 1 entry
2. Blog, tweet, or Facebook this contest: 2 entries per announcement (please leave links or @ me (@lchardesty) on twitter)
3. Add up your entries: 1 extra entry
4. Comment on my SCBWI Mid-Year Workshop post (posting Friday, July 8) for an extra entry per comment (I will count these, so you don't need to add them to your total on this post).
5. This contest will end at noon EST on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. I will announce winners on Friday, July 15.

Good luck, and thanks for reading! Be sure to come back this week Friday to read all about the amazing SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop!!!

Larissa :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sharing the SQUEE!

So, my bff and crit partner Jessica Souders got a BOOK DEAL!  Woo!  You can read her announcement here and her how I got my editor story here.

She also just returned from the SCBWI NJ conference, and is going to be posting tidbits and a signed book giveaway in the coming week or so, in addition to an upcoming Book Deal Celebration giveaway.

So, go congratulate her!

(In other news, still no internet.  I may go insane.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

1. Oh, wow.  It has been over a month since I blogged.  :(  I do have an excuse though, and it is

2. I still don't have internet at home.  It has been over eight months.  NO LIE. O.o  There's really nothing else to say about that.

3. I would like for some scientists to do a study on Morning People compared to Night Owls.  I'm particularly interested in whether either following or not following your natural bio-rhythms has an effect on health or life expectancy.  (Seriously, guys.  Getting up at 7am physically hurts me.  Why hasn't someone jumped on my Night Owl Town idea?  WHY?)

4. While I'm on the topic of weird-impossible-ideas-that-will-never-happen, I would like to have anonymous telepathy.  Meaning, I would like to be able to talk inside other people's heads without them knowing it's me. No particular reason...

5. I am once again going to the SCBWI FL Mid-Year Workshop at Disney!  There's still time to register if you want to come!  As usual, I will get a couple of the presenters to sign books and give them away right here after the conference, and I will make posts about all of the awesomeness I learn.  Okey-doke?

In the Comments: Tell me what you would do with Anonymous Telepathy.  Also, if you have any preferences for the books I giveaway, check out the faculty list for the conference and let me know.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Paranoid Writer's Guide to Being Home Alone

This weekend, I was alone. My bff’s husband was taking three of his kids down to their property in the Everglades, and he invited my husband to bring our three kids. (It’s okay to be jealous.) They left at 4:30am Saturday, and will return around 10pm Sunday. (I know, I kinda hate me, too.)

I’m glorying in the ability to do whatever I need or want to do without having to either a) consider how I was going to accomplish said need or want with three children in tow or b) feel guilty about leaving husband with said three children for extended periods of time. However, I have learned a few things, and I will share them with you now.

The Paranoid Writer’s Guide to Being Home Alone

• Take a shower before your family leaves.

Otherwise, your imagination will play with you while you’re in the shower, and your imagination is sadistic. You will be forced to tell yourself that raising your arm to shave your armpit will not result in showing the serial killer standing outside the shower where you are standing so he can stab you. You are no Janet Leigh. There is no serial killer standing outside your shower.

After you check (because maybe there is, and looking will save you in some magical way—you throw a mean shampoo bottle, and your razor is kinda dull, so you wouldn’t mind scraping it down his face, although that might just make him mad … let’s move on), you then have to tell yourself that there will not be some strange animal (it changes over the last ten minutes of your shower—first a dog, then a cat, then some mixture. See what I mean? Sadistic.) standing outside the tub when you turn off the water and pull the curtain back. And even if the animal is staring at you in a strangely sentient, creepy way, what’s it going to do? Bite you? Okay, that might hurt, but it doesn’t matter because there isn’t an animal sitting there (you checked again, of course).

• Play music or have the T.V. on.

Your imagination will take any opportunity to play its sick games with you, and that goes double for the creepy creaks and moans a building makes. It will even try to trick you, starting the thought as, “Ooh, that’d be a great story idea.” Then before you know it, you become the protagonist in the horror story your imagination just concocted. The creak that your imagination told you was a great short story about sentient rats hiding in the walls waiting for the perfect moment to burst forth through the air ducts now means that SENTIENT RATS ARE HIDING IN THE WALLS WAITING FOR THE PERFECT MOMENT TO BURST FORTH THROUGH THE AIR DUCTS AND EAT YOU. See? Your imagination is not just sadistic, but crafty. Be very careful.

• DO NOT work on that scary short story you are writing.

As above, it will take your imagination very little effort to make you the protagonist in your story, and you will be doomed to a sleepless night of ever-worsening vignettes from your dear friend Imagination. At some point, it may even turn to horrors being visited upon your traveling family, and since you can’t pull back the shower curtain to prove it wrong, you may end up curled in a ball in the corner, rocking back and forth and sucking your thumb.

• Turn on all the lights and never put your back to a dark corner or open door.

After all, maybe it's not your imagination.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I'm sure you've heard about this Contest O Awesome, but I wanted to share (and get extra entries, of course).

Clickety-click and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Contests around the internetz

Sorry I haven't been posting much...still no internet at home. BAH! I will probably start the heavy-duty nagging and complaining to DH soon. If I don't have home internet by Mother's Day, look for a giant explosion in the metro Orlando area. (Seriously. I think I have been MORE THAN PATIENT at this point.)

Anyhoo, there are some fun contests goign on around the blogosphere, and I thought I would share them with you. (Yes, I get extra entries for doing so, but that doesn't make them any less cool, right? Right.)

First, is this one:

This is a MEGA GIVEAWAY spanning MULTIPLE blogs. You definitely want to get in on this one.

Next, we have Cambria Dillon's ongoing contest here: New giveaways every day, and then a grand prize at the end of the week. SQUEE!

Third, Shelley Watters's epic followers contest: involving twitter pitches!

And last (for now), a first line contest:

Are there any I missed? Tell me in the comments!

Larissa :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Music Monday

I feel like I should apologize for my short blog post on Thursday.  I actually had more to say, and I was planning to add some lyrics from P!nk's song "F**kin' Perfect." Specifically, these lyrics:

"You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead"

Which made me think of writing the first time I heard them, just like the Katy Perry lyrics.

But then I went off in search of the lyrics.  And I went to P!nk's website where she had posted the video and blogged about why she made it.

"Its a problem, and its something we should talk about.

We can choose to ignore the problem, and therefore ignore this video, but that won't make it go away.

I don't support or encourage suicide or cutting.

I support the kids out there that feel so desperate/numb/powerless, that feel unseen and unheard, and can't see another way.. I want them to know I'm aware. I have been there. I see them.

Sometimes that's all it takes."
And I watched the video and sat there crying for at least five minutes after it ended.


Suddenly, using those lyrics to talk about having faith in my writing felt stupid and petty.  (I know it's really not, but I just couldn't do it after watching the video.)

So instead, I want to share this incredibly powerful video with you.  Be warned--there is sex, swearing, and cutting in this video, so it's not for the workplace, or where small children are present, or, I suppose, for the faint of heart.

But I think it's important.  And maybe one of you knows someone who needs to hear this message.  Pass it on.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Pick-Me-Up

Ever since I first heard Katy Perry's song Firework, it has made me think of writing.  In fact, I thought about posting it here, and in the trench on the Blueboards almost every time I heard it.  Of course, since I have to go to Starbucks or work (during non-work time) to use the computer, I never got around to it.

But the wonderful Elana Johnson did, and I LOVE her post about it:

What songs inspire you?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Giveaway WINNERS!!!

YAY!  Thanks to everyone who entered!  I know a lot of the entries came from Carrie Ryan tweeting about the ARC, and I know A LOT of you REALLY WANT that ARC.  I truly wish I had more than one to give away.  Especially because I just read it and it's FABULOUS.  Of course, all of these books are fabulous, or I wouldn't be giving them away... :)

So, without further ado, here are the WINNERS!

Winner of the signed copy of A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Jen Daiker!!!

Winner of the signed copy of Skinned by Robin Wasserman


Winner of the ARC of Shine by Lauren Myracle

Winner of the ARC of The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

YA Bibliophile!!!

Winners, if you included your email in your comment, look for an email from me soon.  If you did not include your email, please email me (you can find my email in my profile) with your mailing address! 

Congrats to the winners, and thanks again to everyone for entering!  I'm planning to attend the SCBWI FL Summer Workshop in June, and I'll have more books to give away then!

Larissa :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

SCBWI FL Conference Part 3 and one day left for the GIVEAWAY!

I hope I can do this post justice, as I'm running out of computer time...

I left off right before the Editor Panel about Fantasy (Fantasy Isn't Just For Wizards).  The editors (Kate Jacobs, Krista Marino, and Arianne Lewin) talked about what fantasy is (worlds not bound by our laws, fiction of the impossible) and about how there is a spectrum with realistic and fantasy on opposite ends.  They handed out a list of different fantasy genres and examples of each.  If you are curious about their examples for any category, let me know.  The panel also emphasized how much personal taste comes into publishing.  For example, Krista said she is pretty much over dystopian, but Arianne said she loves it. :)

The last presentation on Saturday was Robin Wasserman.  Her talk was called Two Truths and a Lie, and it was about using reality/truth to make your story believable.  She said all good fiction is realistic, and that the stories we love are ones we believe in.  She said when writing, bring in two truths: factual/concrete truth (can be from research) and emotional truth.  Then when you add the made up stuff, it feels real.  She also gave two resources to Google: "Slanguage: Teen Voices and Teen Vernaculars" by Scott Westerfeld and "Patricia Wrede Worldbuilding" (an exhaustive list of worldbuilding questions to ask yourself).

After that, it was time for critiques and then the Dragonslayers Ball!  Here are a few pictures from the Dragonslayers Ball.

This is me (as Toothless the dragon from How To Train Your Dragon), Christy Farley, and Jessica Souders

Karen Strong rocking the Viking look.

Christy taking a picture of me taking a picture--lol.  But look!  It's Harley May! :)

So, in other words, the Dragonslayers Ball was great fun. 

On Sunday, we had small workshops before the end of the conference.  My first workshop was with Arianne Lewin (Executive Editor at Putnam).  It was about self-revising, and it was fantastic!  First, she talked about how she revises with authors:
-She usually does at least three revisions before the book goes to copy-editing.
-She thinks pretty extensively about revisions before acquiring the novel.
-She said don't do revisions for someone, do them for the book.
-Her average editorial letter is 6-7 pages.
-And she said not to work on the book if you are waiting on an editorial letter.
Then she had us go through some of our own writing looking for things like exposition, non-said dialogue tags, etc.  She was using the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers for examples and such, and highly recommended it.  Since I have had others recommend it to me, I actually stopped on the way home and bought it.  LOL.

Overall, it was an amazing conference.  I obviously can't share everything with you, but I hope you picked up a helpful nugget or two, and I hope I've encouraged you to consider attending a local conference of your own!

Don't forget, my giveaway ends tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon EST, so make sure you've entered!

Larissa :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

SCBWI FL Conference Day 2

Saturday at the conference opened with an amazing presentation by Bruce Hale. It was called: Writer's Mind, Warrior's Mind - Toughing it out and getting published, and it was fantastic.
Here are a few takeaways from his talk:
-Writing is a game of head and heart.
-Writing is not for sissies.
-Art is war.
-Steps to take to get there:
1. Start a good habit habit: Look at things that are keeping you from writing and try to cut the time you spend on them.
2. Write like your hair was on fire: Write with passion.
3. Think it through, take the big view: Think strategically.
4. Teamwork makes the dream work: Cultivate support for your writing (family, friends, critique groups, etc.).
5. Face the iron tiger (fear): Fear is just resistance. Work on a small thing you're afraid of, and build up.
6. Beat resistance with persistance: Most people give up when they're just about to achieve success.

He finished by singing "You Gotta Be" and it was awesome! The conference was off to an amazing start!

Next, Rubin Pfeffer talked about the digital revolution. What I loved about this talk was how positive it was. Rather than the normal doom and gloom "books are dying" stuff that often accompanies discussions of digital publishing, he said "it's not instead of, it's in addition to." It was a great talk.

Then we had an agent panel with Erin Murphy, Michael Bourret, and Sarah Davies. Great takeaways from this panel were:
-There's no one measuring unit for measuring success.
-Be happy with your writing and keep growing.
-You are your own best advocate.
-Publishing is both bigger and smaller than you think. (This was where they mentioned Verla Kay's Blueboards multiple times. They said they go there, and they see what people say about them and about themselves.)
-Often, rewriting can be better than revising.
-Titles can be very important to what happens to your book.
-Take everything one step at a time.

Next was a First Pages Panel. The only thing I wrote down from this was "Make sure your descriptions are clear--especially in fantasy or non-contemporary."

The next presenter was Cinda Williams Chima. She was fantastic, and I must have been so captivated that I didn't write anything down. However, she has lots of great resources for writers on her website, so you should check it out:

Okay, I'm going to stop here, because I have three-four more presentations to talk about, plus the Dragonslayer's Ball pictures! I will try to post the rest tomorrow. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Larissa :)