Half Moon Book Tour

On September 2nd, 14 bloggers (including myself) will reveal the 'Half Moon' cover art. As an added bonus, we will all be posting an exclusive part of Chapter 2 of 'Half Moon'. You can read Chapter 1 by visiting Jordan's website here and clicking the Half Moon link to the left.

The contest is just like a scavenger hunt and you start and finish at Jordan's website here. Here are the rules:

1) You start and finish at Jordan's website. She will have a special post with all the bloggers hyperlinked in the order they need to be visited.

2) You go to each bloggers website, check out their post and their portion of Chapter 2 of Half Moon. Within their section there will be one word that stands out from the others. Collect that word. You must follow each of the blogs and comment on each in order to be officially entered.

3) Once you have all your words, you return to Jordan's blog and post a comment of what you thought about Chapter 2 of 'Half Moon'. Then, send an email to: info@JordanDeen.com with the sentence that the words formed from the thirteen websites.

That's all! Once you have commented, followed everyone, and emailed Jordan - you are done. If you want extra entries- you can tweet this contest, add it to your blog roll, or share it on facebook. The contest will go from early morning on September 2nd and conclude at midnight (California time)  September 9th.

As for the prizes, one person will win all of the following:

  • Half Moon Swag
  • $25 B&N Gift Card
  • Journal
  • Jewelry Box
  • USB Camera/Video recorder

OMG that is a huge prize pack and I would so be entering if I wasn't part of it! So spread the word people! The contest starts on 2nd September and remember to check Jordan's website THAT MORNING to see the 'map'. Let the fun begin!

Random, important things.

First off, I must say that I am excited to host by first book tour this week. It's for Jordan Deen's new book, Half Moon,  and it's going to be a fun blogging scavenger hunt. I'll post about it later but you can check out some the details here.

Since the book tour happens on Thursday, the Thirteen Interview will be happening on Wednesday.

And, there's a contest happening....a HUGE one over at YAtakeover. It runs until Sept 7 and you can win a 6 book ARC package. Check that out.

I'm starting to post reviews. The first was Paranormalcy (which comes out tomorrow!) and early next week I'm posting Mockingjay. Be ready.

I also wanted to say that while I am a blogger and I love hosting author interviews, book tours and book reviews, I'm a writer.  That is my priority and as much fun as all those other things are, I'm going to talk about writing. Not all the time, but sometimes and the point of my starting this blog was to have a place to post about writing and offer encouragement and journey with other people. And, for myself. I think I've lost sight of that a little.

Starting next week, there are going to be some changes to the way I post on the blog. A couple days that are book related and a couple that are writing related. It's important to find a balance. I hope you will still read and share your thoughts. They are important to me as well. And I love YA. I love everything about it--you do too, or you wouldn't be here.


My writing process is torture

Really.  If you are a writer then maybe you should stick around and share some knowledge with me. I need help because I think I'm some kind of crazy. On second thought, maybe not. I don't want anyone to be pick up bad habits from me. I'm realizing tonight that I have the WORST writing process in the world, and while it involves cupcakes, it also involves torture.

Endless. Inescapable. Torture.

What is it like? Ok. I'll tell you, even though it's hard to admit.

I get an idea and I write it down. I let it sit, stew in my mind. It develops, I play with it and write it down. The scenes are usually random and nothing that makes sense. I write when they (the characters) talk to me and write whenever something is there, pounding in my head. I eat a cupcake. I explore the characters, let their words come out on the paper. Sometimes, I sit and free write based off some of the scenes. I cry. I piece things together and seek out the missing links until it clicks into a storyline. I drink Mountain Dew. I plot, loosely of course because my characters need room to move. I write more and more. Mostly crap and sometimes something good that I keep and explore. Cry some more. Complain to my best friend who always listens even though she only half cares. I tweet. I eat another cupcake. I complain some more. And then, then, there is something to revise. (which will also probably involve cupcakes, Mountain Dew, crying and complaining. But there are always cupcakes.)

I think my characters plot against me: "I'll leave random lines strewn all about and you'll have to piece them together to figure out what happens." Like it's a game, a horrid, torturous game. 

Am I the only one who thinks that this is ridiculous?

I have tried other things. In college for my writing classes, I didn't do that much. I literally had an idea and wrote the whole thing--of course, they were short stories and not large manuscripts, not that it really matters. So, I have improved some. However, I have a long way to go I think.

I've tried tight plotting and micro plotting. I don't like it. I've tried interviewing my characters but I don't like either. I've tried writing in the same place, same time, same whatever and that doesn't really matter. Maybe this, in some crazy way, is what works for me. I sure hope not.  In the end, I guess it always works out. There's a story, which is the point. Characters and stories will be revealed in their own time and until then we are the tools they use to express themselves. I'm ok with that. I like it. I live for it.

I started a new project and I'm in the figuring out the characters and story part of the process. I was thinking that there had to be an easier way to do all of this but maybe there isn't. Ah well. I press on, in the company of my awesome pandora stations: Glee Cast station (for fun and character sketching) and Noah and the Whale station (for writing.) See? There are more good things to writing!

What is your process like? Am I the only one out there who feels crazy?!


Fragment Friday #2: Paranormalcy

My best friend told me tonight that I think every book is great. *blinks* I don't know why that's relevant but it felt important to address because I am guilty of saying that a lot. (I also say frustrated a lot when I mean mad or sad or disappointed. Why? I dunno...) All books are great because of the energy put into them. Some books are great because of characters or plot or voice or prose...There are many varying aspects. Now I will obsessed with this and never want to call a book great again! *sighs*


It's FRIDAY. Which means it's time for Fragment Friday! Fragment Friday, hosted by James of Book Chic, is where you read excerpts of your favorite books or what you are reading now.

Disclaimer: I...I had a lot of caffeine today. Blame anything random or messed-up--and definitely my crazy hair--on the caffeine.


Check out my review of Paranormalcy and the interview with Kiersten White.

There's a tab for YAtakeover at the top, too.

Buy Paranormalcy.


Thirteen Thursday with Kiersten White and Lauren Hammond

Today there's two authors visiting us again. First, we have Lauren Hammond, debut author of Love Sucks, which was released earlier this month. I love promoting new authors so without further delay, welcome Lauren!

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant, what you be and why?
Salsa, because I'm spicy!

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer that question?
Why did you choose to be a writer? Because if you are given the gift to be able to write, you might as well use it and I think creativity should be shared among everyone.

What’s your brain food? You know, the thing that you eat or drink to get the creative juices flowing…I like cupcakes and Mountain Dew.
Coffee and Cream of Wheat. Yup, I'm obsessed with lumpy Cream of Wheat.

I know that you’ve been writing since you were young and are also a poet and screenwriter. I love movies. What are some projects you have done that still stand out in your memory? Anything random or funny to share from behind the screen?
I wrote a screenplay called Remember Me My Love based on a true story about my grandparents and how they met and fell in love. Do you know they have been married for almost 60 years? They really only knew each other for a short time but, my grandfather wrote my grandmother beautifully scripted love letters while he was overseas during the war. Perhaps I get my writing skills from him. I like to think so.

What was the journey you went on to get Love Sucks published?
It wasn't any easy journey in the beginning. I first wrote Love Sucks as a screenplay actually. A year later I went back to it. There was so much more to the story that needed to be told. When I first completed it, some agents were interested in it. But alas, they thought it wasn't different enough. I mean I read A LOT and honestly I've never read a vampire book like it so I was a little puzzled by this. So I let Love Sucks sit on my desktop for about six months when I saw that Punkin House Press was taking manuscripts. I said what do I have to lose? So I sent it and THEY WANTED IT. Naturally I was over the moon excited and it makes me believe to this day, if you never give up on something you are meant to do, you will get there someday.

What would you say to the statement that this book is “another vampire story”?
No. It's not ! Read the reviews... It is not your typical vampire story. Most of all because it's told through a vampires eye's. It's written so you would know what it's like to be in her shoes, to feel her love, pain, and heartbreak. It also begins in the 1700's which most people question me about. Why a period piece, they ask? I think in any great novel, it needs to be established how the character came to be and for Cara, her journey begins in the early 1700's.

Cara is a strong female character, despite her confusion with her new self. Where did you pull the inspiration for her character?
Maybe a little from myself and a little from friends and family. I didn't want to create a weak, feeble, main character. I mean who wants to create a weak character and expect their readers to relate to her or him. I didn't. Strong, well developed characters are what pulls you into a great novel in my opinion.

This is only part one of the story. What can we expect to see Cara learn and do as move forward in the series?
Well, I haven't decided to go further than the sequel yet. So far there will only be two books, Love Sucks and A Sucker For Love. And I can't really spill too much about this because I don't want spoil it for the readers but, I will say, that in the back of Love Sucks is a little teaser on what a Sucker For Love is going to be like.
 Thanks Lauren!  We also have the hilarious Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy, which comes out on Tuesday. Welcome Kiersten! 
 If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Fried ice cream.  Sweet, different, and probably really bad for you, but you don't even care because it's yummy!

You recently went to Romania. What was your favorite place/thing there? 
Romania is definitely the most interesting place I have ever been! It was my first time out of North America.  I really enjoyed the history there.  It was traditionally three different countries, so every area we went had its own historical architecture and religious traditions.  It's interesting going to a country like that where they have a priceless, 550-year-old church/fortress in nearly every small town, so much so that they can't begin to afford to keep all of them up.  Quite a difference from the USA, where if something is 150 years old it's a tourist attraction!  The countryside was also amazingly beautiful.
Evie is a riot and from your blog & Twitter it seems like you share the same quick wit. What other characteristics do you think you share--and would a pink taser be your weapon of choice? 
You know, I've never been a fan of the color pink.  Which is odd, considering my MC is obsessed with it, but what can I say--to each her own!  So I'd probably go for a sparkly forest green, or sleek silver. Other than that, I would say Evie is far braver than I am, but we're both willing to speak our mind and stand up for the people we care about.

his whole story is so different and refreshing and funny. How did you come up with idea and with Lend's unusual power? 
You're going to hate this answer, but it really just came to me.  It started out as a question--what would you do with vampires if you didn't want to kill them?  That led to the International Paranormal Containment Agency, that led to a snarky sixteen-year-old girl working for them, that led to the question of why she would be working for them.  Once Evie's voice started going, I couldn't get her to shut up.

Lend--and I'm not going to spoil anything here--just came like that.  I knew why he could do the things he did, but when he showed up in the very beginning even I didn't know just what he was going to turn out to be like.  Evie and I got to know him together!

If someone asked you why they should read
Paranormalcy, what would you say?
Because I'll be your best friend?  Because it's not your average YA paranormal?  Because IPCA needs the funds to continue to protect average, innocent people from rampaging vampires and hags?

Nah.  Because I have a sneaking suspicion (and a very big hope) that it will make you laugh, that it will make you nervous, and that you will have fun for however long it takes you to read it. 

Thanks Kiersten. 

Come back next week for an interview with another awesome author AND a special book tour. :)


Mockingjay: Unspoiler-y quotes

I was going to write some grand review when I finished Mockingjay but I can't. Not yet. I'm processing. That....that was....sigh. I don't know. I can't even answer it. I can't sleep because of all these thoughts hanging out up there, replaying, analyzing. Since this has happened before, I anticipated this problem and I posted quotes that I loved as I was reading. As non-spoilery as possible of course...AND with page numbers. :)

"I stick to the road out of habit but it's a bad choice, because it's full of the remains of those who tried to flee. Some were incinerated entirely." (page 5, Katniss)

"A hush has fallen over the room, and I can feel it spreading across Panem. A nation leaning in toward its screens. Because no one has ever talked about what it's really like in the arena before." (page 23, Katniss)

"This is the one rule I think I will make an effort to abide." (page 52)

"Want me to lie about it?"
"No, I want you to rethink it & come up with the right opinion." (page 54)

"In other words, I step out of line and we're all dead." (page 58)

"Well don't expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear." (page 82)

"I feel sick. Heartsick." (page 118)

"I look at my little sister and think how she has inherited the best qualities in our family: my mother's healing hands, my father's level headedness and my fight. There's something else there, entirely her own. An ability to look into the confusing mess of life and see things for what they are."  (page 184, Katniss)

"Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!" (page 100, Katniss)

"It's gone. He's gone. Whatever existed between us is gone. All that's left is my promise to kill Snow. I tell myself this ten times a day."  (page 195, Katniss)

"Back in the old days...Gale said things like this and worse. But then they were just words. Here, put into practice, they become deeds that can never be reversed." (page 205, Katniss)

 "Once I feel his hand on my cheek and try to trap it, but it dissolves like mist through my fingers." (page 218, Katniss)

"I'm on a frosting sailboat, tossed around by blue-green waves, the deck shifting beneath my feet. My palms press into the wall to steady myself. This wasn't part of the plan." (page 229, Katniss)

"Finally he can see me for who I really am. Violent. Distrustful. Manipulative. Deadly.  And I hate him for it." (page 232, Katniss)

"Could you really hear him screaming?"
"That was only part of it," she says. "Like the jabberjays in the arena. Only it was real. And it didn't stop after an hour. Tick tock."
"Tick, tock," I whisper back. 
Roses. Wolf mutts. Tributes. Frosted dolphins. Friends. Mockingjays. Stylists. Me. Everything screams in my dreams tonight. " (page 245)

"Ladies and gentlemen...."
His voice is quiet, but mine rings through the room. "Let the Seventy-sixth Hunger Games begin!" (page 251)

"As a child, watching my mother, I learned that once a pool of blood has reached a certain size, there's no going back." (page 278, Katniss)

"Underground, where I dread dying, which is stupid because even if I die abovegroud, the next thing they'll do is bury me underground anyway." (page 296, Katniss)

"Thanks for the water," Peeta says.
"No problem," Gale replies. "I wake up ten times a night anyway."
"To make sure Katniss is still here?" asks Peeta.
"Something like that," Gale admits." (page 328) Great page!

"I was supposed to shoot him. That was my job." (page 344)

"I am Cinna's bird, ignited, flying frantically to escape something inescapable. The feathers of flame that grow from my body. Beating my wings only fans the blaze. I consume myself, but to no end." (page 348, Katniss)***

"Even in my deadened, drugged condition, this sends a stab of pain through me. Reminding me that there are no limits to his cruelty. And how he will go to his grave trying to destroy me." (page 356, Katniss)
"Although no one sees it, the Meadow turns green again." (page 388, Katniss)
The End

What about you? What are some lines that you liked? (Try not to be spoiler-y...)

***Chapter 25 (pages 348-the ending paragraph on 350 are my FAVORITE. Just, so you know.***


Skip A Starbucks Day...Bring a girl home from China.

I heard this incredible story on Myra McEntire's blog and then again on Rachel Hawkins and I had to share it. I mean, I am PRO adoption. This story made me cry.

Check out the full story on CJ Redwine's blog. I was going to recap it but it's her story....and it's incredible.

Basically, you pay $5 (which is the cost of one grande iced vanilla latte) and you help bring a girl, named Johanna Faith, home from China to her new family. And, as if that act was enough, you can win something. Lots of things. So, it's $5, a prize and a little girl who needs her family.

Skip a Starbucks. Or a Dunkin Donuts. Or McDonalds. Skip it & change a life. Seems pretty simple for just $5.

Also, if you donate at CJ's page, leave a comment here. I'll send someone a prize too. I have some ARCs lying around...

Here's what I need: Comment with the following information:
Did you donate money? y/n
Did you tweet this cause to help? y/n (Add link) +2
Did you facebook this cause? (add link) +4

Happy MockingJay week!!!!!

Let's all rejoice. MockingJay comes out Tuesday. 24 hours from now. If you are a fan of Hunger Games and Catching Fire (which you should be) then you have been counting down the days and guess what? Here we are. I'm writing you a letter, fans and not...

To those who have never read Hunger Games:

If you have never read Hunger Games or Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins then please, go do it right now. Seriously. You have 24 hours to read them both--and I assure you, it's possible. Maybe you've never heard of these books. Maybe you've walked by them a hundred times and never picked one up. Whatever your reason, I have developed this list for you of reasons that you should read and join the HG Pandemonium.

1. The world. The world of HG is amazing. Collins paints it vividly, perfectly, horridly. From the opening line you are sucked into Katniss' mind and world--and you stay there. I mean, here we are, somewhere in the future when America is destroyed and is now 12 districts called Panem, 12 districts ruled by a Capital. The Capital is so evil and domineering that it completely demolishes district 13 (the district that lead the uprising) and forces the other 12 to enter their children into The Hunger Games. What about that isn't appealing?

2. The characters. Katniss, the main character, is strong, fierce, witty, independent, solid and incredible. She's the ultimate in tough female leads and yet, you love her because she is human. No matter if you are Team Peeta or Team Gale, both of these males brings a lot to the table. They are different in almost every way except for one--Katniss. That, and one survives the HG while the other doesn't have to go. AND that's just the beginning. There's also Cinna, the other players of the HG (so many great ones!) and the mentors. There are so many great characters. I love them. I'm too excited to type.

3. The Hunger Games. What are the Hunger Games? It's the survival of the fittest. Each of the twelve districts have to provide a male and female tribute to compete in these games. Refusal is not an option. The officials in The Capitol create a terrain in which the "tributes" have to survive in, and fight for their lives. In the end, there can only be one winner. One person who lives. 

4. The story. I've pretty much broken down the main components of the story but there is so much that's not been said. The story is multi-dimensional, with twists and turns and questions around every corner. And some romance...but more everything else. It's incredible I tell you, incredible!

5. The prose. Suzanne Collins tells an amazing story with descriptions and characters. Sometimes, she makes words do things that leave me speechless.

6. The connection. You will love the characters, the stories, the prose, the everything. You will cry with this story, laugh with it, cringe with it, cheer, scream. You will connect in every possible way. It's that good.

7. The decisions. Katniss is faced, in each book, with more decisions than most people are given in a lifetime--and hers are gut-wrenching and literally life-changing.

8. The fans. Team Gale. Team Peeta. Team Katniss. Team Suzanne Collins. Whether we all agree on who she should be with or not, we all agree that this series is incredible.

9. The predictions. I've heard more predictions (and given more) about what could/will happen in MockingJay that I can'y even keep track. It's almost as much as Harry Potter. You should read it so you can make your own and see if you are right. Why? Because that's the fun of reading!

10. Because i said so.  I could list more I'm sure. But it's getting kind of long. You should really, really just go buy it.

To those who are HG fans: 

I'll start with this:


Take a moment, when you hold that book in your hands in just a few short hours, to look at it. Feel the cover. Smell it. (New books smell awesome!) Think about where we have gone with these characters and remember everything you can about those we've lost and those we've gained and those we've loved. Feel free to dance and cheer and be giddy like a schoolgirl with a crush on the teacher. Then, take it in as you read it. Feel it. Love it. And for goodness sakes: Don't post any spoilers!

And then, pass it on to all the people who just read that first part. Create new fans. Pass the love.

Finally, whether you are Team Gale or Team Peeta...whether you think a, b, c will die...whether you cry when you finish the last page or scream because you hated it...May the best team win. *insert MockingJay sound here*

Let the Hunger Games begin!!!!! And may the odds be ever in your favor...

*And come back in a few days for a review*


Book Talk: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen 
Date: August 31, 2010
Series or Standalone: Series, book 1
ISBN: 978-0061985843
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages

Evie’s always thought of herself as a normal teenager, even though she works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals’ glamours.

But Evie’s about to realize that she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

First line: "Wait--did you--you just yawned!"

What can I say? If you've heard anything about Paranormalcy by Kiersten White then you've probably heard how bleeping amazing it is. Everyone has said great things about it---and that's because it IS great. Bleeping great.

From the first page, Evie's voice is there. She's kicking paranormal butt, cracking jokes and getting mixed up in these unbelievable situations, all while trying to figure out who she is. And, let's face it, I love a good "who the bleep am I supposed to be" story. It's the one thing I think every person goes through--and when it's paired with hot boys, killer vamps and crazy fairies then what's not to love? But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The story is so unique. It's not your typical YA Paranormal. It's so much more. It is funny and refreshing. The characters are whoa-awesome, the jokes are witty, the drama is dramatic, the romance is awwwww and the story. Did I mention the story? Fun. Unique. Hilarious. I did? Sorry. It was worth repeating. I was trying to figure out what to write in this review that wouldn't be me saying "awesome" over and over again.

So, I decided to focus on the characters. I love a good character. They make the story for me, even more than the plot. And Kiersten does such a great job with the characters! Here's a look at just a few...

Evie is funny, intelligent, thoughtful, sarcastic, kind, sassy and pretty---and she loves pink and Tasey, who is also pink. What kind of girl can't be amazing if she likes pink and has a bedazzled taser? Don't mess with that. I love her journey. She's a teenager living an abnormal life but that's just the way it is; she doesn't really question it---at least not out loud. She has tantrums, loves her tv show (which reminds of one unnamed girl who watched Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill and Beverly Hills 90210 as a teen!) and has a best friend, who is a mermaid but hey, everyone needs a friend. She is strong and insecure yet secure and knows how to push buttons. I like that she doesn't hold back and that she speaks her mind.  She tries to see the good in those around her, and I like that too. Yet, under all of that, under all the work and the bag-and-tags, she longs for normalcy--even though part of her doesn't know what that even looks like. Evie is a win. A bleeping win.

He's perfect. Well, in the lead guy way and not in the stereotype that sometimes exists in YA. He's a simple character, yet that makes him more believable and more realistic. He's good and his ability is really unique. He's charming, down-to-earth way and he connects with Evie on a real level. Their relationship is top-notch. He's a fun character and I was so, so glad...well. You can just read it and then figure it out yourself. :)

Is it wrong that I loved him? He intrigued me. Reth is a fascinating character. He's a faerie, uniquely gorgeous and terrifying, and he's Evie's ex. Her very powerful, manipulative, secretive ex. Yet, he still has a hold on her and a mysterious past that keeps coming back. He's a mystery throughout the whole story, which kept me hanging on to find out more and it was never what I expected. He's very complex and very unreadable. Is he good? Is he bad? I won't tell you. But I do know that he's smoldering.

These are only three of the major players in the story. Even the minor characters were so vivid and developed. Every single one she wrote into the story was there for a reason, which really challenged me as a writer. Purpose is written all through this book, as well as humor. It was a fun read. I could, really, go on and on about these characters: Raquel, Lish, Jaques, Charlotte...Well, I won't ruin all the fun.

Paranormalcy comes out on August 31. Go buy it. OR, you can pre-order it. And as Kiersten would tweet, "everytimeyoupreorderparanormalcy supernatural teens who absolutely, no matter what on threat of death CANNOT be together,  make out anyway. How can that not make you pre-order it? For the love of supernatural teens everywhere...bleeping get Paranormalcy! :) 

PS. Check back on Thursday for an interview of Paranormal proportions with Kiersten White.


Fragment Friday #1: Beautiful Darkness

It's FRIDAY. Which means it's time for Fragment Friday! Fragment Friday, hosted by James of Book Chic, is where you read excerpts of your favorite books or what you are reading now. This is the first one I've ever done and after some coaxing, coaching and two hours, here we go. :) Today, I'm sharing a fragment of Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Maragret Stohl!!



Thirteen Thursday with Jackson Pearce and Jordan Deen

Today on Thirteen Thursday, we get to hear from TWO authors. Get excited.

First up is Jackson Pearce, who's amazing storytelling ability always leaves me breathless. Her most recent novel, Sisters Red, is a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood....only not because it's so much more. It's pretty brilliant and you should read it if you haven't. Check out her website for more information about her and all her books.

And as always, welcome to Thirteen Thursday! (or just for today fourteen...)

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant, what would you be and why?
The dessert. Because Mexican desserts are delicious. Now I want flan...

What are your 6 favorite books —and why?
Five classics always make my favorites list-- To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Little Women, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Fahrenheit 451. Of more modern books, I'd have to say the Harry Potter series is my favorite. I love all of these, I think, because they tell an excellent, powerful story-- yet still manage to drive home important, life-changing themes.

Let’s talk about Sisters Red. Which scene was the hardest one to write?
The hardest scene to write in SISTERS RED was one of Rosie's final scenes in the book (I hate to say what it is since it'll give the story away, but it involves Plato, for those of you who have read it!). I didn't have a CLUE how that scene would work out when I started the book. I wrote several different versions, asked dozens of people what to do there, and finally, out of nowhere, it all clicked together.
Rosie and Scarlett are two very different characters. How did you transition from one voice to the other while you were writing?
After a while, transitioning between the two became very second nature. I would sometimes have trouble the first few paragraphs into writing one's perspective after having just finished a chapter in the other, but they're so wildly different that it felt almost like I was simply working on a different book.

The companion, Sweetly, comes out soon. What are some things we can expect from that?
SWEETLY is a retelling of Hansel & Gretel, about a girl trying to overcome some lifelong fears in a South Carolina chocolatier-- where, unfortunately, her fears show up in full force. SWEETLY is set in the same world as SISTERS RED, but it's a companion book, not a direct sequel.

What has been the most memorable advice that you've heard in your career that you would want to pass on to other writers?
Don't give up. Ever. It seems almost trite to say that, but it's true-- if you want to be a writer, don't give up on yourself. Don't let yourself be convinced you have to give up (and by give up, I don't necessarily mean on writing-- if your dream is to be on the NYT list, don't give up until you're there!).

Thanks Jackson for taking the time to answer those questions!
 Next up we have some questions with Jordan Deen, author of The Cresent. Welcome Jordan!

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant, what you be and why?
This is an excellent question! I'd be the chips and salsa. Because it's a little spice with a few cracked and broken pieces thrown in.

What is your favorite childhood memory?
 I grew up in O'fallon Illinois (VERY small town). We had an A-frame house that had a basement and the roof went all the way to the ground. My brothers, who are 10 and 15 years older than me, used to slide down the sides of the house everytime it snowed. It was by far the coolest thing I'd ever seen. You never get to have that wonderment any other time of your life than when you are a kid. I was only six then and I still cherish those memories.

Everyone’s journey into writing is different. Tell us about yours. Was it something you’ve always wanted to do or did it just happen?
I think everyone wants to have that unique, different, I woke up one day and found myself story. Mine, isn't quiet like that. I've always loved telling stories and writing. However, I come from a traditional family and writing isn't a 9 to 5 job. So, it got pushed to the side and I only did it as a hobby. It wasn't until I turned 30 that I had this dream that would not stop haunting me about a small town girl that is uprooted by her family because their house burns down. When she arrives in their new place she starts trying to live the life she had in the small town-- but it doesn't work out so well for her. I ended up writing the first edition of Benches in a little under two weeks. It is the first full length novel I've written and first series as it's currently done. However, it's also in it's sixth round of edits and the story continues to grow and improve. I will never forget that story and those characters still live in my head.  One day, I will get that novel published to share with the world!

The Crescent was an International Book Award Finalist! What does that mean for those who don’t know and what does that experience mean to you? 
The International Book Awards (IBA) and Best Book Awards (BBA) are hosted by the JPX Media Group in Los Angeles. Their organization is focused on bringing gems from small, mid sized and medium sized presses into the spotlight. Like all awards, the IBA are beneficial in promotional opportunity, as well as exposure. The winners and finalists this year were represented at the International Book Convention.
When I found out that my debut novel was an IBA Finalist, my first thought was: It has to be a typo. :) Then, after I woke up and realized it really was a finalist, I was over the moon. It really helped me get exposure on a grander level and I've met a lot of fantastic people from that affiliation and organization. It's also (overall) a huge honor for someone to recognize and appreciate the hard work that goes into your story and your characters. I think that was the biggest reward for me.

There are some interesting questions was raised in The Crescent of fate, verses choice. How did that theme develop for this story and what do you want your readers to take away from this book? 
 I think overall the main point I wanted to get at with The Crescent is that we all have those life altering decisions that we make. We can let our heart lead us, or our head, and usually the two are not in concert with each other. With The Crescent, I wanted readers to feel the strong pull to both Alex and Brandon because I wanted them to really feel like that choice was theirs to make. I want readers to see Lacey's decision as near as their own and feel the heartbreaking pain that Lacey is faced with, but also feel the love and connection with her and be sympathetic towards her plight. Overall, I want readers to realize that all of us, no matter how young or old, are faced with questions of the mind and heart daily. No one is ever alone in that.

Do you have a writing process? If so, what does that look like for you?  
Yes, try to keep the five year olds (one human and one four legged) out of my hair and laptop wires long enough to get at least 1000 words down in one sitting. Sometimes, that is a tall order. But, in all seriousness, I write everyday. If I don't I feel like there is something missing. Even if I weren't working on something for publishing, I'd be writing. I thoroughly enjoy the overall craft of storytelling and make believe. It's nice to get off of my "day job" and come home to my computer and some old friends. Plus, it's nice having control over something exclusively. :)

What have you learned in all of this (writing, publishing, etc) that you wish you would’ve known before? What do you think has challenged you most personally and professionally?
 I think the biggest thing that I've learned is about myself and who I am as a person. Writing can be quiet empowering and quiet a let down. I've developed friendships through all of this that I never imagined I've had--and I've developed a large respect for the publishing world and other writers as a whole. In the beginning, I was so "green" to the whole process that I thought, "Ooooh I wrote this wonderful book- now BASK IN MY GLORY!" Yeah. I've definitely taken it down a notch since then, however, I still get that high when I read a great review and I still marvel at the tremendous (and plentiful) amount of reviewers and bloggers that reach out and talk to me everyday. I'm still just a human, but somedays I feel like Supergirl.

*Peeks around the corner * What are you working on now?  
Currently, I just finished the edits to Half Moon (releasing 1/13/11) the sequel to The Crescent. I've started on a new novel, Mystified that is being optioned through another publisher and I'm working on edits to Benches as it is on submission with agents for representation. I'm always working on something new, though. Tomorrow, the crazy characters in my head will be onto something else and I'll start a new novel. I love my characters, but sometimes they won't leave me alone! (Amen, from me.)

Jordan is going to give yall some swag, too!! All you have to do is comment and fill out the form to be entered into the contest. The contest will close at midnight on Friday. Then, sometime on Saturday, Random.com will help me pick a winner. Just follow these rules below.

1. You must comment AND fill out the entry form.
2. US or Canada address only
**For 2 extra entries, tweet this blog with @daniellebunner in the tweet**

See? Easy. Just do that and you will be entered to win a signed copy of The Cresent....or maybe a bookmark. ;)


Things that rock: Boston, Daisy Whitney, the Contemps

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon going all over Boston with Daisy Whitney.

At the Children's Bookshop in Brookline

She was full of smiles, wisdom, laughter, insight and yes, her shoes were adorable. We went to some local bookstores that were going to a pre-pub dinner for her upcoming book, The Mockingbird (Nov. 2). (And I've read that book. It's freaking awesome so make sure you go get it...and come back here for an interview and a review later.) I haven't really explored much of the city since I've only been here a month, but yesterday was fun and I'm super glad that Daisy wanted to spend time with me.

At Books on the Square (Porter Square!)

In summary....

Boston: fun.
Bookstores: *insert angel chorus singing sound of awe*
The Mockingbirds: Buy it November 2
Daisy Whitney: Love her.
Yesterday: Extreme win. :)

Here's a video!

ALSO, today is the launch of a new website for The Contemps. What is that? Well, let me tell you.

Take The Contemps Challenge!It's a group of 21 YA authors who write contemporary (here and now, real life issues with no vampires or werewolves or other things that want to kill you. Usually.) They are some great authors so you need to go check it out. They are also hosting a year-long challenge that if you read 18 of the 21 books, you can enter to win ALL of the books. (That's 21 if you are counting.) If you want more info, my friend  Irish breaks it all down really well on her site or you can straight to the source.

You should spread the word and join the movement.


Why write?

There's a question I get asked a lot by other people (and sometimes by myself) and when I hear it, I always cringe and want to hit him/her/self upside the head with a really big book. Nay, massive book. Now, let me paraphrase the conversation and you can tell me if it's similar to one you've had before.

Someone: What are you going to do with your life now? (Because being 23 and having a degree marks the beginning of the end and means I must know absolutely everything.)
Me: I want to write.
Someone: Write. *pause* What do you want to write? Like books or other stuff
Me: Books
Someone: Oh. *pause* What kind? 
Me: Young Adult paranormal. 
Someone: Ah. *pause* (note the change from "oh" to "ah" and the remaining pause) Like Twilight, vampires and stuff? 
Me: Well, there's a lot more to it than just Twilight and vampires, but yes...like that. 
(This is where he/she usually looks at me, head tilted slightly to the right or a shifting of the feet and one of the following statements occur...And yes, I have heard all of them.) 
Someone: Is there money in that?
Are books still going to be around?
Why would you want to do that? There's more opportunity in other kinds of writing.
(my favorite) That's ambitious. Do you think you are good enough to actually get published?
(the all encompassing response) You have to be really good to be successful and make any money. I wouldn't want to do that unless I had something to fall back on. It's hard to get published.
(Insert massive book against head here.) No, kidding. Usually, I don't respond because sometimes saying nothing is better than being horribly mean.

I share that not because I'm angry at anyone or because I'm upset by it. I share it because it happens all the time--and I have found that it is by people who think they know but haven't been in my life in five years. The people that really know me--my close friends, my community, my family--are typically more encouraging. Why? Because they know me. They've seen me have conversations with the voices in my head. They've heard me talk about books or writing or movies with passion. They've read something I've written or sat with me at 2 am while I cried about what I would do with my life. They see the change that has happened since I opened myself up to this and stopped running like a scared little girl. They are really the only ones that matter.

But it is hard when people point out all of the doubts that you already have. It is a tough industry. You do have to be good. It isn't a glamorous, here's buckets of money gig unless you are someone like Stephanie Meyer---and well, most of us probably won't be. If you think you're different than all these statements, I would encourage you to really, really think about why you are writing. Really. If not for me or for yourself, then for your readers and fellow writers. I've said before that writing is a community and if I was in something for the wrong reasons (like I was once in high school when I wanted to be the leader of something so badly but for the title and not for the right reasons), I would want someone to call me out on it. I would want someone to have it that wanted it for the right reasons.

Because if I was in this for money I would've quit a long time before I started because there's isn't money when you aren't published. There also isn't prestige or an easy ride to a publishing house. There are tears and words and revisions and characters yelling at you and encouragement and not much sleep and rejections. It's so hard that it's important to know why you want to do what you are doing. Life is too short to be passionless or moving purposelessly.

Why do I write?

Because I love it. There is nothing like creating something from nothing, nothing like mixing emotions with words and taking these snapshots of a life and putting them out there. It's something kinda beautiful.

Because not writing would kill me.

Because even if I'm never more than a blogger who reads books and tweets and writes for myself, I'll still love it. I'll still always write.

Because it's a part me. And we have a history. It's like that line in Wuthering Heights: "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." I'm talking about writing but the sentiment is the same.

Because there is this hope that I cling to that everything in life has a purpose--we just have to discover it and then pursue it fervently.

Because words are powerful. So powerful. And I have a story to tell and I want it to be the best story I can tell. The best.

Because I love stories. They have changed me, shaped me, challenged and taught me. I have laughed and cried and seen others do the same.

And because I have one goal that is two words: one person. For me, the blogging, the interviews, the lack of sleep, the discouragement and the encouragement, the failing, the discovery, the possible success has that one goal. If one person reads something and is helped or encouraged or challenged--if something changes them or relates to them or makes them see something in a new light--then I have achieved my life's goal to write something valuable for one person. Sometimes that one person may be myself--and I'm okay with that.

So please, for the sake of good stories and lives and powerful words, ask yourself this question and answer it honestly: why write?


Thursday Thirteen w/Kim Harrington and Sheela Chari

 In a trendy and chic Mexican restaurant in an undisclosed location filled with margaritas and loud music, sat five book-passionate women. They chatted. They laughed. They demanded the Enchiladas be released with powerful voices. They talked about books and writing. 

In the end, after handfuls of chips, one of them pulled out a little notebook and asked thirteen random questions to two of the women. These women? Kim Harrington and Sheela Chari, Elevensies (authors debuting in 2011, in case you wondered.)

Since we are in a Mexican restaurant, it's only fitting that I ask what item on the menu you would be and why?
Kim: Enchilada because I'm cheesy. (laughs)
Sheela: Nachos because I'm a bit of everything. 
(We ordered both of these items.) 

What were you listening to on the way here?
Kim: 101.7 WFNX. You can listen online, too.
Sheela: My GPS. 

Where is your favorite place to be?
Kim: Disneyworld. It's the happiest place on earth!
Sheela: San Diego. I like the beaches, California, the food--the avocados.

What is a something that always makes you laugh? 
Kim: Family Guy
Sheela: Laurel & Hardy 
(If you don't know what that is...click here.)
What do you eat when you are sick?
Sheela: Apples and toast.
Kim: Pasta
Sheela: Wait! Soup. I'm allergic to apples.
*blank stares all around*
Sheela: I forgot. I wasn't as a kid....

Tell us two truths and a lie...
Kim: I was a DJ in college. I'm in Mensa. I have one brother.
Sheela: I fell off a horse. I fell off a deck. I fell off a subway. 

Where is one place you want to go that you haven't been?
Kim: California
Sheela: Italy

Will you tell us a secret?
Kim: When I was little I was obsessed with sharks. You could name one and I'd list all the facts about that species. I even collected shark teeth...wait, don't put that on your blog.
Sheela: I wanted to marry Michael Jackson when I was little.

What is the first book you remember reading yourself?
Kim: Rocky and Bullwinkle
Sheela: Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

What is a book you want to read again for the first time? 
Sheela: A Wrinkle in Time
Kim: Hunger Games

What are 3 words you hate? 
Kim: Q-tip. Mucus. Moist.
Sheela: Fascinating. Secrete. Membrane.

How long have you been writing?
Kim: Since I had crayons! I used to write poems about my dog. (She also mentioned something about creepy houses but we missed it in the laughter.)
Sheela: I knew I wanted to be a writer in 3rd grade. My mother said, "No, why?"(kidding. ish.) 

What is your writing process?
Kim: Butt in chair.
Sheela: 500 words a day....on the days that I write. 

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Kim: Read and write a lot.
Sheela: Get off the internet. 
Kim: Don't be afraid to write crap. Go with that. Crap can be fixed. You can't fix a blank page. 
Sheela: Revise.

Also, as motivation, if you  comment on this, I'll give you something awesome. AND if you follow the blog, YOU can get something awesome next week. Really. Don't miss Thursday. :)

Kim's book Clarity will be released in March 2011. 

Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch an object and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case — but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother — who has supernatural gifts of his own — becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Sheela's book Vanished comes out July 2011. 
How does a beloved Indian instrument vanish from the hands of a late, renowned musician and end up in the possession of a potato-chip eating, perpetually tardy, eleven-year old girl?

This is what Neela Krishnan, Arlington's budding veena player, must figure out if she wants her instrument back after it vanishes one day from a church. What she soon discovers is that her veena's "vanishing" is no accident but part of a bizarre chain of disappearances involving a missing, retired minister, a kooky church sextant guarding a dragon teakettle, and Lynne, the new girl at school with a huge wad of cash and a mysterious connection to the dead musician. Hot on the trail of the lost veena, Neela winds up in India, where her success depends largely on her wits, her speed, and unlikeliest of all, a pack of baseball cards.


"I'm a reflection of the community."

I’m BIG on community. I love it. I love having people who know me, really know me, who like me for the crazy, lost, random, indecisive me that I am. I need encouragement, acceptance, love, freedom--and I need it from people who know me. M. Scott Peck once said, "There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community." If he was right, then community, literally, is a circle. In both definition and action.

I feel as if I have always been on the search for true community, even before I knew what it was I was looking for. I needed people who were the same yet different, who were bonded with me over something. I think that all of us, every single person, longs for some form of community. We search for it in clubs and friends, in jobs, in churches, in teams, on Facebook, in chat rooms. (I can continue but I wont. You get it.) There are some who find it in these places and some who don't. There are some, and I fall into this category, who have glimmers of it--but glimmers do not a whole picture make.

Eventually, after a couple long and trying years, I got tired of searching. When I did, something fantastic happened: I met Myra McEntire. We lived in the same city at the time and she came into my Borders. Through some random things, I started talking to her. I remember that I said to her, "I'm a writer. I just started working on a YA novel...I've been looking for people to connect with." She smiled, grabbed my arm and said something that I had no idea would impact my life as it has. Her words: "Are you on Twitter? Get on Twitter." I had Twitter but I didn't know what I had until she talked to me.

Apparently, there’s a world full of young adult authors and bloggers on twitter—and they will talk to you, answer questions, encourage, connect. What is the crazy world!???!? Now, it's August, my sixth month of YA life on Twitter, and I am blown away by it. Not Twitter itself but the people. Oh my gosh the people.

I have never seen a community like this. It is the most incredible group of people, people who genuinely care about each other, who pour out their lives, hearts, time, wisdom to help others learn and grow. I’m in it. I tell my best friend that it is my social life and, in a way, it is. I have developed relationships with amazing people who have changed me with their words, their laughter, their encouragement—and I haven’t even met most of them. I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes this community so incredible. Maybe it simply that you share something you are passionate about. Passion is easy to bond over. And when that passion is writing, or reading, that bond is remarkable.

The YA community is the most amazing thing I’ve ever been part of. I know that I have an immense purpose for being part of it (stumbling into it, really!) And my biggest advice to anyone pursing anything in writing (especially in the YA world) is to get on Twitter and connect. It sounds weird--and I get that--but I also know that I've had amazing coffees, dinners, cupcakes, conversations, encouragement and all-around support with amazing people, who are the authors and bloggers and readers on Twitter.

I was trying to figure out what to call this post. Then I found the title quote by...ahem...Tupac (2pac or Tupac Shakur, if you prefer). Random but fitting. Why?

Because I AM a reflection of the community.

I would've never made it this far without every single person who has reached out to me. I hope that I reflect them well. I also hope that you feel the same. I hope that the YA community on Twitter is your social life, your family, your friends. And if so, reflect them well. If we do, the next generation of YA writers will have something to believe in and they will pass it on because community is a circle.


Thirteen Thursday with Rebecca Maizel

How excited are you? Because I'm excited. Today is the first segment of Thirteen Thursday and debut author Rebecca Maizel is going answer thirteen questions! (If you have questions for future interviews, please share them. I'm always looking for good ones and there are some GREAT interviews coming up. I promise) Reecca's novel, Infinite Days, was released on Tuesday.

On sale NOW. Go, get it! It's awesome!
The book: After centuries of terrorizing Europe, Lenah Beaudonte, with the help of the handsome Rhode, has been able to realize the dream of all vampires--to be human again. Now, as a raven-haired sixteen-year-old, Lenah believes her greatest challenge is fitting in at her new school. But the challenges have only begun. The vicious coven Lenah once ruled is threatening the new-found pleasures of her human life, including the one guy who makes her feel most alive, Justin. Can this ex-vamp survive in an alien time and place or will her past come back to haunt her...forever?

Rebecca's Bio: Rebecca Maizel graduated from Boston University and the Rhode Island College master’s program. She teaches community college in Rhode Island and is studying to receive her MFA from Vermont College.

Now, time for Thirteen Thursday! 

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Oh boy. This is a fun question. I think I would be guacamole! It's paired well with a lot of things - chips, quesadillas...it takes a lot of ingredients to make guacamole really, really good. I like to think of myself as made up of a lot of ingredients. Am I putting too much thought into this? Probably. 

Everyone’s journey into writing is different. Tell us about yours. Was it something you always wanted to do or did it just happen?
Well, I think I was always a writer. As a kid I wrote stories in my free time. I loved it, I was a very creative kid. As I got older, I followed my instinct, I was a bartender at night for a decade so I could write during the day. I thought I wanted to be a screenwriter for a long time. But that's the thing, I've always had a love affair with words. You have to find your own path to writing but I think if language has always been a heartbeat in your world, it'll find a way to be a part of your every day life. 

What’s your favorite place to be and why?
Chatham, Cape Cod. One of the best places on earth. The water, the way it makes me feel. I can't explain it - it's a place that has a lot of sentimental meaning in my life. My family vacationed on the Cape, I fell in love a hundred times as a teenager on the cape. It means the world to me. 

What are your 6 favorite books —and why?
1. The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel - She is a genius. Pure freakin' genius.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling (duh). **Spoilers ahead*** Best ending ever. When I got to the time turner, I freaked out.
3. Beating Heart - AM Jenkins - A mix of verse and prose. UNREAL. You have to read it if you enjoy verse novels. It completely changed the way I look at verse.
4. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott - One of the best writing books ever written.
5. There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom - Louis Sachar. Meant a lot to me as a kid.
6. Looking For Alaska - John Green - He makes me wish I could write even better.

You are on a desert island and you stumble upon an unlocked chest. You open it. What three things do you want to see inside?
1. Sun Tan Lotion
2. 10,000 disposable toothbrushes with toothpaste
3. Solar powered lap top with internet (books, music)

Tell us a secret that you’ve never told anyone else.
I have a huge crush on James Van Der Beek.

What’s the worst or best advice you’ve been given? (Personally and/or professionally--you can choose!)
The best? "You have to have a drive...and it has to consume you." - Oliver Stone when I was in college and waited in line after a lecture he gave in Boston. I do not know him personally except for this 2 minute exchange.

What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Never ever ever give up. Believe in your writing, be humble, take criticism well and keep at it until you bleed through your fingers onto your keyboard. Never burn your bridges.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Interviewer: Can I get you a date with James Van Der Beek, Rebecca?
Me: Yes.

If you could work with any author who would it be?
Alice Hoffman. But I would be too busy freaking out.

Let’s talk about Infinite Days. How did you come up with that story, angle, idea? What were the best/hardest things about the story? What was your writing process for this novel?
People ask me this a lot and all I can tell you is that I started free writing one day, and BOOM there she was. I really wish I had lied when originally asked this question and said, I was walking down a flight of stairs, fell, hit my head, and BOOM there was this book, I HAD TO WRITE. No.

I was sitting in a library, free writing, drinking COFFFFEEEEE (I love coffee) and there was Lenah!

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Revision is key - let the characters drive the story. Don't let plot overtake your characters and their incredible desires.

What is one thing you want people to know about you and/or Infinite Days if that’s all they ever get to know?
This is a story about coming back to life - about coming out of the darkness. If you've ever done something in your past that you regret - you will understand Lenah. And hopefully, you'll fall a little bit in love with all the hot men in the book.

Thanks Rebecca for a great interview! You will, fall in love with the hot men. And the awesome, awesome book.

Now, comes the fun part. We have something to give away! Yay! What is it? A signed copy of Infinite Days! You have until 4 pm EST tomorrow (Friday) to enter the contest. I will announce the winner sometime tomorrow via email and a comment.  You MUST fill out the form below to be entered.

1. You must be a follower of my blog 
2. You must have a mailing address in the US or Canada
3. You must fill out the form below

- New followers who fill out the contest form will get one (1) entry.
- Old followers who fill out the contest form will get two (2) entries

For EXTRA entries:
- If you leave a comment on today's post you get one (1) extra entry 
- If you tweet a link to the contest you get two (2) additional entries.
- If you direct readers on your blog to this Thirteen Thursday entry you get four (4) additional entries.