That Time I Signed With A Literary Agent

DA

I’m going to tell you a story about a girl.

Two years ago, she had a dream she was moving to London. She woke up from the dream the next morning in Texas. She had coffee. She told her husband the dream. She always forced him to listen to her dreams in case he could make any sense of them. Yes, she was one of those people. In the dream she had been nervous to go, she had been aware it was a big deal, and a part of something even bigger. Her husband played her the Third Eye Blind song “London” to irritate her. They daydreamed for a while about a reality in which they could move to London— what that would feel like, how that would ever happen.

The girl also decided to research London literary agents because she was a writer in search of a champion, and partner, for her books.

Two years ago that girl reached out to one of them.

I am telling you that story so you understand the rest. Two years ago, I — the girl — came downstairs again and told my husband the literary agent I’d queried wanted to read my book.

Today, that agent announced she’d signed me.

What happened in between?

I grew as a writer, to start. I worked hard. I learned more about craft and story. I wrote another book. I revised and revised, and then when I was done revising, I waited. I studied screenwriting and learned skills I needed to become a better writer still. I was angry, and then I was nothing for a long time, but still I believed it was worth it to keep trying.

I stayed in touch with the literary agent from London because I liked her, maybe even a little because she was from the UK and I love the UK, and also because she’d seen promise in me early on and it had helped me through the struggle.

I revised the book again.

And Clare Wallace, the literary agent from London, gave my book another look. And when she offered me representation, I knew even if I wasn’t moving to London (just yet), my book hopefully was.

I am telling you this because many of you are in the trenches. Many feel hopeless, are hearing no, are wondering when, if, that yes will ever come. If my own journey taught me anything it is this: yes comes unexpectedly, it comes in waves and it comes in whispers, and it comes when you keep going no matter what.

This is a long game. We play it as long as we have the courage to keep getting back up after we’ve been knocked down. So keep your courage, don’t be afraid to try the unusual thing on your path, or to listen to the wish your heart made when you were fast asleep. It might be the very thing you need to break out.

Ready. Set. Write! Update # 5

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Ready. Set. WRITE! is an online writing intensive to help stay accountable with your writing goals over the summer and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on whether planning, drafting, or revising! Your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin Funk, and Katy Upperman. Find the rest of the details HERE.

Last Weeks Goals:

1. Write 15 Screenplay pages.

~ I wrote 18 pages. Yes. 

2. Read 100 more beta pages.

~ Done! Phew!

A favorite line from my story or one word or phrase that sums up what I wrote or revised:

Kate looks annoyed and nearly stops in the aisle.

KATE
Since when does my flirting bother
you?

ABIGAIL
Since your husband still has a
pulse.

Kate’s face tightens. Abigail sits. Kate stands for a beat, waves once at Thor, and then sits.

Biggest Challenge:

About halfway through the week I really had to fight doubt, frustration, and general life fatigue. Time is always a big issue for me this summer, too.

Something I love about my WiP:

It’s not a fantasy, which is what my YA novels are, but it is about living in a fantasy world. And it’s a lot of fun to let my nerd flag fly.

This Weeks Goals:

1.  Put together a workable plan on how to revise based on some awesome feedback for one of my manuscripts.

2. Finish pages for my CP and get her notes.

3. Write 5 screenplay pages.

 

I am Not Ashamed to Read YA

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I interrupt an otherwise pleasant Friday morning, to rant for a few moments about an article from Slate. First, you should check it out.

Against YA: Adults should be embarrassed to read Young Adult books.

Are you back? If you are a reader of this blog, you likely also read Young Adult fiction. Maybe you are a young adult yourself, or maybe you are also a 29-year-old mom and wife living in Texas and taking her kid to swimming lessons.

There is nothing wrong with the article, unless you count everything she says after:

“Not because it is bad—it isn’t—but because it was written for teenagers.”

No doubt her statistics on the amount of adults that choose to read YA fiction over Adult fiction are accurate. On one hand, she speaks to the larger issue of prolonged adolescents among twenty-somethings, which is a topic we should absolutely examine and discuss. The breakdown for me comes a few paragraphs below all that:

Let’s set aside the transparently trashy stuff like Divergent and Twilight, which no one defends as serious literature. I’m talking about the genre the publishing industry calls “realistic fiction.”

The two novels she calls out as “trashy” are paranormal romance and dystopian, and she touts realistic YA as being the only sub-genre worth discussing (though, still berating) at all. She then acts as if there is something wrong with reading for escapism or enjoyment. That reading as an adult has to be about more than that.

Reading can be anything you want it to be. It can educate, inform, inspire. It can help you cope with reality, face hard questions, create a new world to push boundaries and challenge accepted truths. Reading can be a form of entertainment, and in a world where entertainment comes by streaming video and instantly downloadable music, the thought that a book can still capture the mind so effectively that it competes with film or music is something we should all support.

I was raised on genre fiction. The first book I remember reading, and loving, was C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, but before that my mother read-aloud Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time and all the Little House books. Genre fiction has shaped my mind and fueled my imagination well into my teens and twenties.

In fact, I still read mostly genre fiction. If it’s not YA then it will likely be science fiction or fantasy, magical realism or paranormal. And if that makes me an immature adult — still being a kid at heart, raising my own son to value his imagination, valuing my own imagination in a very pure way — then fabulous. Then yes.

Life is full of constant pressure to evolve, to suck-it-up, to make hard and fast choices. Reality is plagued by loss, by the reminder that the world we live in requires us to be brave, to work hard. Forgive me —or don’t — if I choose to read fiction for the sheer enjoyment of it. If I choose to write for teenagers, and to read extensively in the genre I write in, not just because I want to give young adults fantastic fiction they can relate to, but because I want fantastic fiction I can relate to.

I am 29-years-old and still honing my identity. I would argue that beyond the teenage experience young adult fiction is about the quest for identity. Who are we and how will we impact our world —whether our world is a small town in Texas or Middle Earth or Hogwarts — and what must we do to find out?

The author of that article goes on to say:

But even the myriad defenders of YA fiction admit that the enjoyment of reading this stuff has to do with escapism, instant gratification, and nostalgia.

Why is that not enough? It seems she, and those who support this idea, expect adults to read fiction for some higher purpose. Many adults do and can. I would argue that I read fiction for a higher purpose. I read for the passion of reading. To look inside the mind of someone unlike me, or to see pieces of myself reflected. That can happen no matter the genre or age category.

cslewis

 

 

Literary Agent Interview : Kirsten Carleton of Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.

Everyone join me in a warm blog welcome to, Kirsten! I hope you guys enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

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Q: Let’s get the basics out of the way. How long have you been an agent and what was it that first attracted you to this profession in the first place?

Kirsten: I started at Sobel Weber in 2009. I’ve always been a huge reader, and for a long time, I thought I wanted to be a writer. After taking tons of writing workshops, I gradually realized that the part I liked best was giving feedback on other writers’ work, which led me to publishing. As an agent, I get to be completely in the author’s corner – his/her success is my success, so we’re working together for the same thing.

Q: Many reading this interview will be writers looking to query you with their novel. Tell us what you represent and what tops your submission wish list?

Kirsten: Right now, I’m looking for both YA and Adult fiction, literary and speculative. I love when those things overlap: novels that are both literary and speculative, for example, like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell or The Magicians. Good writing is a must, and I look for strong storytelling, with a plot that moves.

Q: If there were one part of being an agent that made you want to happy dance under confetti, what would it be?

Kirsten: I love sharing a vision with a writer, and giving criticism that brings that vision to light. A lot of time, it’s just a matter of getting the author out of his/her own way. The best is when I send notes and the author responds by saying, “I knew this, I just didn’t know that I knew this.”

Q: What are a few things that will make you reject a query, hands down? What makes you jump for joy when you see it in a query?

Kirsten: Do your research. Make sure you’ve got the name of both the agency and the agent right, and that you’re querying a genre we represent. Follow the rules and treat it as professional correspondence. Tell me enough about your book that I have an idea of the story, but don’t give away the ending. Show me how well you write, but avoid gimmicks like writing the query as the main character. If you have blurbs or writing credits, include them, but I don’t need to know that God told you to write this book or that your mother really loves it. Please please please include contact information!

Q: What does a normal day look like in the life of a literary agent?

Kirsten: People always answer this by saying that there is no “normal” day, and that it varies depending on what’s on the docket. Unfortunately for the interview (but not for me), that’s basically the truth! A lot of the day is fielding email from authors and editors. I also report on and respond to submissions, and get in touch with writers whose short stories I’ve read. I don’t read or take notes at the office though – there’s no time!

Now, you’re not just a literary agent, but also a person with feelings and interests, a human being not a robot, a girl not yet a woman…you get the idea.

For some fun:

Q: If you could pick three literary, television, or film characters to travel with, who would they be and where would you go together?

Kirsten: Oh man, difficult. How about: Maddie from Code Name Verity for her sense of direction. Tyrion from Game of Thrones to talk us out of tricky situations and provide colorful commentary. And of course the Doctor, who can take us anywhere in time and space in his TARDIS.

Q: What’s a TV show you’re obsessed with? Book you wouldn’t put down even if Tom Hiddleston came in the room?

Kirsten: Right now, I’m reworking my way through Veronica Mars. I gave money to the Kickstarter, but lost track of the release date, so it’s a race to catch up before someone spoils the movie for me! I also just started Broken Harbor. I’m loving it, which is no surprise, since I’m a big fan of Tana French’s previous books.

Q: What do you do for fun that doesn’t involve books, movies, or the internet?

Kirsten: Since the weather’s finally nice today, I’m going to say hitting an outdoor happy hour with some friends. Dear weather: please stay nice!

Kirsten_Carleton_(full_size)

Bio:

As an agent, I get to be a champion for the author throughout the challenging publishing process. I love sharing an author’s vision for the book, working to help him or her uncover it, and finding a home for it with editors and readers who also feel that connection. Beyond the individual book, I want to develop satisfying and successful careers that celebrate great talent.

I’m currently seeking upmarket young adult, speculative, and literary fiction with strong characters and storytelling. I’m drawn to books that capture my attention early on with a dynamic plot, and innovative storytelling that blends or crosses genres.

Before joining Prospect Agency, I worked at Waxman Leavell and Sobel Weber Associates. I hold a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration from Amherst College, and a Graduate Certificate in Publishing from the Columbia Publishing Course.

Prospect Agency :: Twitter

kirsten [at] prospectagency [dot] com

A hearty thanks to Kirsten for chatting with me, and to you guys for reading! If you feel your work will connect with Kirsten, learn more about how to submit to her by visiting Waxman Leavell’s website. 

What’s Up Wednesday

whats up wednesdayWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime’s post. We really hope you will take part!

I am a little late today in posting, but there’s a reason…I didn’t have time this morning and I was sleepy last night. It was night, and I sometimes operate on the schedule of a three year old. I have a three year old, so this is valid.

What I’m Reading

Currently about halfway through Defiance by C.J. Redwine. I want to like this book more than I do. I’m beginning to wonder if there is something wrong with me, because books I would normally obsess over aren’t cutting it. I’m finishing the manuscript I’ve been beta reading and loving it, actually more than the published books I’ve been reading. This is a huge compliment to her, but also I think it speaks to the freshness of her idea. So…that’s exciting.

What I’m Writing

More blogging than normal. This week is the first week since sending my book to agents at the beginning of June that I have felt the itch to get back to work. Right now, my goal for writing revolves around plotting, but there is a story I think I’m going to begin working on — slowly as not to scare it away – that I will probably develop for a while. It’s a horse of a different color and will be a beast for me to write, I think. Also, I feel the sequel to my book has a beginning forming in my mind, and I’m kind of loving it —in theory. That will probably happen next week.

What Inspires Me

Taylor Swift songs. I am thoroughly embarrassed by this and turning an unflattering shade of pink right now. I can’t actually tell you why I began listening to her, but I would like to account for it with creative license. There is something deeply Young Adult about her music. Something that evokes the emotions of later adolescents so easily. Also —the catchiness. I mean, I’m not 22 but…sometimes I feel it.

Teens sitting on ratty carpet in a circle. There’s something about being cross legged on the floor surrounded by your friends that makes you forget you don’t want to talk. The acting/writing workshop today was all about the screen test and how you pull an idea out of your ass. When we opened the floor up for discussion, there was a noticeable sigh. But one kid started talking, and before we knew it, they had decided (almost unanimously) on a jumping off point for their miniseries. Plus, watching their faces, observing their mannerisms, the interactions they thought no one noticed, the excitement they poorly concealed, was fascinating and throughly educational.

What Else I’m Up To

My son is slightly high-maintenance. He’s smart as a whip, and that translates to him intensely and single-mindedly running the day. Right now, he is fascinated with math. Adding and subtracting on a basic level, counting from a random number until he can’t count any higher, puzzles.

I am not math person so much, this makes for interesting conversations. He gives me dirty looks. A LOT.

Trying to catch up with friends.

Painting walls in my house that looked like some dirty-palmed urchin came along and used the wall as a canvas for his filthy art.

So…what about you?

It’s a Reading thing, not a Girl or Boy thing.

During my normal rounds this AM of the interweb I discovered this post, by author  D.S. Cahr, about publishers marketing YA books largely to girls. This is not new news, but I thought I’d add my (brief) two-cents. Make sure to check out the link above, and learn more about the author’s book The Secret Root. (I am an admitted book whore, but this one sounds pretty dad-gum awesome.)

So, my thoughts, in a possibly random order. Books do not have gender. They are not Boy or Girl. (I believe Libba Bray said that, and she is a brilliant example of not writing for gender.) Some will inherently appeal more to one gender, but that shouldn’t stop the other from reading it.

As the author states, Divergent and The Hunger Games, both featuring female protagonists, have been universally loved by boy readers. Why? Katniss and Tris are both pretty kick ass. They are more plot driven (which is YA in general, not just YA for boys), and they do not shy away from violence and/or action. The romance is solid, but not the focus of the story.

Other books, with similar components, are being marketed as Girl books, even if boys would probably dig them. (I think any book written by Maggie Stiefvater will appeal to boys. Her boys rock.)

I am writing a YA book that is told in first person POV by a seventeen year old girl.  It is plot-driven. It has violence and action. The romance is important to the plot, but not the only thing in the plot. The Boy has an arc with super-high stakes and tons of drama, making him a very strong, conflicted masculine counterpart.

My book will likely be marketed to girls.

This irritates me. Girls are already more likely to read a book featuring a male protagonist than boys will for a female. The pressure to be masculine is greater than the pressure to be feminine. Girls who dress in baseball caps and cut-offs, or like sports and the outdoors, are considered cool and cute. Boys who pay attention to their clothes, like art or aren’t into sports, are considered pansies.

This may not be true everywhere. I remember in New York, one of my mom-friends said she got her son a make-up kit and let him play dress up in princess gear. Sam has never been inclined to wear make-up (although, he has quite literally painted his face), and dress up is reserved for superhero costumes, but if he were, I’d let him. Self-expression is important in developing identity. New York City is not the norm, and in many parts of the country, this double-standard is still an issue.

To say a romantic book cannot be for boys, or a violent book cannot target girls, is bullshit. Boys can like romance. They can be hopeless romantics as much as girls. I have a brother who fits into the category wholeheartedly. However, he is not a reader. Why? Because early on he wasn’t connecting with the books he was being told he should connect with.

I guess, what I’m trying to say (not so elegantly) is publishers shouldn’t decide a book is Boy or Girl, but should market it as a book. Teens are smart. They can decide if they like something without you telling them to like it. To pander to the lowest common denominator is just selling your audience short. Teens do not like to be talked down to.

Publishers are about making the most money. This is fact because books are also a business. Wouldn’t they make more money if girls and boys could feel comfortable reading whatever book they want?

Processes

Lady Writer

I’m doing this workshop with author Nova Ren Suma. If you don’t know her books yet, or haven’t found her blog, you can follow my links below. She is brilliant, as a writer, and supremely cool as a person.

Nova stuff:

Blog

Goodreads for her books Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone 

Twitter handle @novaren

Someone in the workshop, which is also full of talented budding writers, requested we share our specific writing process. I was formulating my response, and decided it would make a great blog post. Or, a decent one anyway.

The writing process is as subjective as reading can be. There is no ONE RIGHT WAY, just as there is no ONE RIGHT OPINION. By necessity, not desire, I am a very flexible writer. Which is why my process must be discussed in two parts.

New York:

We lived in Brooklyn for close to two years. I began writing my novel sometime in October of 2011. At that point I was writing during my son’s naps. I made my goal 1500 words a day. I usually achieved that, and if I didn’t, I tried to make up for it. (FYI this may have contributed to by first draft’s utter shittiness.) But I completed the first draft at 72,000 words in April of 2012. Then the revisions began, or the rewrites, or the slashings. Over the summer I got a college student friend of a very reliable friend to come keep my son five hours a day, three days a week. Then my son would nap, so I could write more.

That writing took place at a cafe. I wrote, tried to decipher the wonder of Twitter, and blogged, in the bustle. I have learned to tune everything out when writing. (Like, right now, my son is jumping up and down beside me on the couch. I DONT CARE.) Unfortunately, people in my life seem annoyed by my single-mindedness. I have a sibling who now thinks my only response to life-altering news is, “Umm-hmm, that’s interesting.” Followed by the tapping of keys.

We traveled a lot during our time in NYC. I wrote on airplanes, library’s, the obgyn. This meant that I also had to write through my exhaustion, or boredom, or desire to have some fun.

Texas:

(Current writing process, most of the time. Only been this way four weeks.)

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday my son attends Montessori school. I write pretty much the entire time he is there. Sometimes, I make my dear husband go get him from school to eek out a few more minutes. I have a dedicated workspace that may be my favorite place in the world. I have written about it before on my blog here. It’s up a ladder on the thrid floor of our house which overlooks an exspanse of oak trees budding out for spring.

My productivity is shocking in this environment. My husband has recently asked me, (to my standard self-absorbed response) if make-up and showering had gone out the window in the light grand inspiration.

I can honestly say, though, that I consider each incarnation of my writing process to be worthwhile. Being able to write no matter where you are and what is going on is really important. Certain kinds of writing are better in certain places. Certain foods and drink can encourage certain words and emotions, just like music can. I drank moonshine once for character development. (Not reccommended.) But all forms, all processes, are valid.

I don’t plot. I spend a lot of time revising and mulling because of this. At this stage in revision I do plan scenes and subsequent scenes when a rewrite is in order. I do a lot of jotting, and going, “Yeah, that’s better. I don’t want to punch that scene in the groin anymore.”

To each his own.

So, what’s your process? If you care to share.

Road Trip Wednesday #175: Kickstart

rtwRoad Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. We,the bloggers who love YA Highway, post our response and then link it in the comments of the YA Highway site. Pretty fun!

This weeks topic: The Veronica Mars Kickstarter success makes us wonder, what YA book would you raise $2 million to see a movie version of?

This is kind of a hard topic. It feels a bit like picking favorites. A couple of my favorites are already optioned and in the works, in varying degrees. Now, in Hollywood, things move at a weird pace. Until a project is filming, which usually means funding has been secured, the project can exist in a state of indefinite limbo. Even after production has wrapped, financing distribution can prevent the film from being seen by mass audiences.

Hollywood is a mess, but that’s not what this post is about. It’s about choosing favorites. No…it’s about a book I can see as a movie and would get behind.

Which is why I’m choosing Unspoken, by Sarah Rees Brennan.

Here’s the Goodreads:

unspokenKami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

I could see Tim Burton really making this book come to life with moody brilliance, but he’s expensive. I don’t know if a $2 million kickstarter goal would be enough. Our goal would have to be a bit more lofty, and we’d have to do it in conjunction with an online campaign aimed to hook Tim. He can secure his own funding, I imagine. I doubt he’s read the book. Maybe that should be out tack. Harass Tim Burton. As a rule, I think harassment of any celebrity is bad form, but if it’s for a good cause…

Happy Wednesday!

Top Five YA Crushes

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I’m borrowing this idea from another YA writers blog earlier this week. You can check out her post here.

We all read YA for different reasons. For me, a big draw to this genre is the feels. I love how romance plays into the plots of YA novels. I largely read fantasy and paranormal (and all off shoots of that, though I do occasionally throw in a Contemporary or Suspense for variety and intrigue), which means the romance is integral but not always focal to the story. That’s what I like.

Plus, boys. Boy, boys, boys.

Here are my boys I will never get enough of:

5. Connor Lassiter 

Connor fan art by just-one-more-freak.deviantart.com

Connor fan art by just-one-more-freak.deviantart.com

The evolution of Connor’s character from UnWind through UnWholly is remarkable, but what I love about Connor is how unwavering he is in the pursuit to bring an end to unwinding. He’s a character that never wanted to be a leader, but was actually born to be one, and when he’s forced to, he handles himself admirably.  I love how tender he is with Risa, especially after her injury, even if all she wants him to do is take her by force. Plus, he’s kind of a loose canon, which I find very appealing in concept, if not in execution.

4. The Darkling

The Darkling, Deviantart

The Darkling, Deviantart

If you haven’t read Shadow and Bone, then shame on you, and I hope I don’t spoil anything here. The Darkling is alluring in the way a den of lions or chasing a storm is alluring. His danger is not a mystery, it’s clear from the beginning, and yet pulling away from him is impossible. For me and Alina. I have a case of the I can fix hims with the Darkling, as well as the, But do I really want to’s. He’s the kind of guy that you would loose yourself in, forget friends, and goals, and follow behind hoping to be touched. I am not advocating this behavior in females, in fact, I strongly disagree with it. That doesn’t mean we don’t all have a guy in our past, or our imaginations, that we wouldn’t do that for.

3. Four (Tobias Eaton)

Four by cassandrajp

Four by cassandrajp

Four is the guy we all really should be with. He’s intelligent and strong, but he doesn’t take anything from you by being the full version of himself. He knows who he is, and what he believes, and because of that, you figure yourself out so you’re not a drain on him. Plus, the guy is hot. He’s powerful and vulnerable at the same time, without making you feel inadequate for not always having your shit together. He’s a good kisser with a bit of darkness in his past. What I love about Four is the way he encourages Tris to be her, not someone else, even if Tris doesn’t realize he’s doing that. That’s her problem. (In case you can’t tell, Tris is not my favorite chick. I tolerate her because of Four.)

2. Richard “Gansey” Campbell Gansey, III

Gansey, and the whole gang, fan art by tea-cigarette-go.tumblr.com

Gansey, and the whole gang, fan art by tea-cigarette-go.tumblr.com

Right off the bat, I loved Gansey. Maybe it’s because I know he’s gonna die. Maybe it’s because Maggie Stiefvater can write guys almost better than any other female author out there. I don’t know, but from the beginning, I was into Gansey. Hell, all the boys in The Raven Boys have something to offer, but Gansey is the leader.

(I am noticing a bit of a trend in the guys I pick. Apparently, I am attracted to power. Hmm…)

Gansey is a character I believe. He’s a guy I could really know, and spend a long time getting to know, and that’s what makes him so appealing to me. He’s the long-game. On the surface he’s clean-cut, classically handsome, and a little preppy. He’s wealthy, like old-money, oil tycoon type wealthy, which doesn’t usually attract me, but on Gansey I like it. But underneath, Gansey has a passion that’s unerring, and if turned on you, would probably take your breath away. Or your life, depending on what else is going on, because Gansey gets himself into some scrapes. I like this description of Gansey, from The Raven Boys:

There were two Gansey’s: the one who lived inside his skin, and the one Gansey put on in the morning when he slid his wallet into the back pocket of his chinos. The former was troubled and passionate, with no discernible accent to Adam’s ears, and the latter bristled with latent power as he greeted people with the slippery, handsome accent of old Virginia money. It was a mystery to Adam how he could not seem to see both versions of Gansey at the same time.

1. Jace Lightwood

It should be said that I think the casting of Jace is spot on.

It should be said that I think the casting of Jace is spot on.

The first description of Jace in Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, made my knees feel like jello. Something about his beauty and roughness, the scars all over his body, the sharpness in his cheekbones, his cunning, golden eyes made me fiercely interested in learning more about him. As the story progressed, and things happen that are seriously messed up, it only got worse for me. And Clary. Clary was really struggling there for a while.

Jace is powerful, he’s imposing, he takes up the whole room when he enters. Everything he does in purposeful, and everything he does is a little reckless. He’s not a saint, in fact, I got the distinct impression Jace had gotten around. Somehow, that doesn’t matter. Because when he falls in love with Clary, she’s like air to him, and the world had better get out of his way so he can be with her. Jace is flawed in ways that make him nearly fall apart, and that sort of brokenness is always sexy because it’s real and vulnerable.

Jace is also really witty and sly, with a devilish, mischievous side that makes him like a prowling cat. He’d be hard to keep up with, but then, that’s also what’s so appealing about him. His endurance. (That could be taken really, way wrong, sorry.) But, beyond all those features, the reason Jace is my number one has to do with his choices. He was abused, taught about darkness not light, and yet the choices he makes fall on the side of goodness. He strives to stay in the light, and that makes it possible for him to be saved.

Thank heaven, for boys in YA!

POISON Blog Tour

For my first blog tour, I am happy to be supporting a book as effervescently full of fun as Poison. When I heard about Bridget Zinn’s book — and the untimely passing of the author — I was moved by the groundswell support from the blogging and writing community. I did not know Bridget personally, as some of the other bloggers and authors on the tour did, but from what I can tell from her writing, she was someone I would have loved to grab coffee with. Or Pie. Kyra, the sixteen year old heroine of Poison, really seems to like pie.

As I began reading Poison, I was immediately transported by Bridget’s words and engaged by the thrilling concept of her story. There was a playfulness and zest in her storytelling that reminds me of the earlier Harry Potter books. In fact, that thought actually upset me a bit. As a fairly stingy reader, who can’t consume books fast enough to satisfy my appetite, I was throughly miffed that I won’t get to read more Bridget Zinn books.

Readers, we have been shorted.

It is a huge complement to a writer when readers want more of you. I would have wanted more books from Bridget. Many, many more. I would have bought them and shared them emphatically.

I’m glad we have Poison to enjoy, and I am sure you will enjoy it, but still…

Here is a bit about the book:

poison

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart…misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.

Pick up a copy using one of the handy links below, or by visiting your local bookstore/library.

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

iTunes

Powell’s Books 

If you are on Goodreads, add it to your To Be Read list pronto, friends. Here’s a link for that: Poison on Goodreads

Now, a bit of Bridget’s personal story:

bridget_zinn_photoBridget grew up in Wisconsin. She went to the county fair where she met the love of her life, Barrett Dowell. They got married right before she went in for exploratory surgery which revealed she had colon cancer. They christened that summer the “summer of love” and the two celebrated with several more weddings. Bridget continued to read and write until the day she died. Her last tweet was “Sunshine and a brand new book. Perfect.”

Bridget wanted to make people laugh and hoped readers would enjoy spending time with the characters she created. As a librarian/writer she loved books with strong young women with aspirations. She also felt teens needed more humorous reads. She really wanted to write a book with pockets of warmth and happiness and hoped that her readers’ copies would show the watermarks of many bath time reads. 

I actually, to be incredibly personal with you all and at the risk of TMI, read this in my bath. There are happy dried drops of sudsy water on a handful of the pages.

To Bridget! To first books, first blog tours, and pie!