Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Reflection on Reading and Coping

I have been open about the fact that I have been struggling with being sick, since before this blog was ever created. Part of the reason that I started this blog is that I needed not only an outlet talk to, but I had to transition from being whole to being cracked with an illness that was out of my control. Since I woke up in the most intense pain of my life, it has been over seven year and I can't remember what it was like to be pain free or healthy.
Reading helped me a lot, because I made decisions at sixteen that some people will never have to make. It made the darkness that cloaked me into a tiny ethereal aspect of my life. The reason that this post if being written is the If I Stay trailer came out and I can remember that time that I picked up that book. I was so afraid. I dropped out of high school in October 2008, because my migraines and pain were too much. Most of my body was stressed, which caused more pain to come. I was also starting the year long process of Physical Therapy to learn how to walk again.
I remember begging my mom to take me to Barnes and Noble to get Willow and If I Stay and both were not there. Luckily we went to the Liberty Bay Books and they had it. I devoured it in one sitting and Mia's pain took me away from the reality that I was facing. It allowed me to think about how I was isolating myself, because of the pain that I thought that I earned for not being a better person. Books have a power to bring me back to the moment of reading on the old fake leather couch that my mom gave away ages ago. I remember the tears as I turned the pages and how I slowly fell in love with Adam from Mia's point of view.
Now I don't think about the pain, but the words that I read and the places that they took me. Reading still helps me cope, even though the pain has become more of a dull reminder that I'm imperfect and I don't always feel as strong physically as I am mentally, but I am. This is just a long post to remind me that books stick with me and so that I can post the trailer.

Let me know what you think of the trailer in the comments, if you can type through the tears.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

AWP Day Two & Three

Day Two started at 9am for "Warning Extreme Content: Sex, Drugs, and Abuse as Themes in Young Adult Literature" with Ann Angel, Kekla Magoon and Carrie Jones. I honestly love Carrie as a human being. She is an amazing person, hence why I got there at 9 AM. Ann introduced the topic and how she had issue with publishing Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing, because of some of the content. For example, she talked about how she incorporated Janis' album art, which include nudity. She wanted it as an illustration that once a photo is released into the world, you lose the capability to control who sees it. She also talked about how books become challenged and she wanted to do the panel. She then introduced Kekla Magoon.
Kekla talked about the social and individual abuses that are talked about in Young Adult Literature. She used quotes from "Darkness Too Visible" by Meghan Cox Gurdon to show how problematic uninformed censorship is toward the marginalized population. She talked about self mutilation, drug abuse like in Crank by Ellen Hopkins, rape in Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson a , and kidnapping and abuse in Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott are censored for the concern of gateway behavior and want to use their naivety to protect them. The thing is that these are issues that people need to face especially as teens. Kekla talked about the social abuse that Homophobia presents in YA. For example, LeslĂ©a Newman's October Mourning and Lauren Myracle's Shine addresses similar issues. The fictional account was actually banned more, because it caused empathy. It is really important that we examine these issues, because otherwise the people are issolated and we aren't able to understand it.
Carrie Jones talked about sex and how it was introduced to teens with Judy Blume, Norma Fox Mazer, Fanfiction, and romance novel. She also talked about V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic and how it was one of the novels that teen encountered. There were 1577 complaints of sexually explicit material. She mentioned Safelibraries and how by censoring material, we limit the people that have access to it. When if we respect teens, censorship shouldn't happen. Ann Angel talked about how nonfiction is held to the same standards as fiction. Overall, I found their presentation to be very good and I enjoyed it. I was able to talk to Carrie afterwards. Lyn Miller-Lachmann came up and saw my name, which she recognized. It was really awesome that happened, because I reviewed her book back in 2009.
The next panel that I tried to go to was "Magic and Intellect", which was full.  I decided to go outside my comfort zone and went to "War Stories:Truth, Fiction, and Conflict." It was really interesting that it is often trauma vs. glory in war. Also that people are more distanced from war and as a result, they are unaware of it. I decided to get coffee after this, because I was tired. I stopped by the Seattle University booth and one of the creative writing professor was there. I talked to her about MFA stress and she assured me that she would help, which was good. I stopped by the Vermont College for Fine Arts and got the literature since Carrie and Lyn mentioned that I should go there.
I decided to go to "In Your Next Letter I Wish You'd Say: Epistolary Impulse and Innovation", because I use letters in my fiction and decided that it would be cool to hear about it, since it has several things different with what I usually do.
The next panel, that I went to, was "What I Wish I'd Known before I Started Writing for Kid and Young Adults." It featured Heather Bouwman, Kirstin Cronn-Mills, Sheila O'Connor, Shelley Tougas, and Rebecca Fjelland Davis. Kirstin came up and talked to me. She also signed my copy of Beautiful Music for Ugly Children. I actually livetweeted this one, so go to #f258 on Twitter, if you would like to read it. 
Then I went to another panel that I didn't enjoy, which annoyed me. I am writing why in the next  post. It wasn't the presenters, but someone in the audience.  I went to AWP with a Twist of YA, which was a drinks night with bloggers, authors, and booksellers. The bar had red walls and old furniture in a old hotel. Kevin Emerson tweeted me later with how it was right out of The Shining and I agree. I met this girl also named Sarah that goes to Vermont College for the Arts, and much of my evening was spent with them talking about how life changing it was for them. I got to talk to a lot of authors about writing, their projects, and life. I met Deb Caletti, which felt super surreal to me. Since I adore her books and all. It was just a very fun night that I enjoyed. 

Day Three:
The third day start with Sarah Mlynowski moderating "Never Grow Up: Building a Life in Children's and Young Adult Fiction with Adele Griffin, E. Lockhart, and Robin Wasserman. They talked about how they got started as writers, the sophomore slump, their fear of not being able to keep connected to YA/Children's, having crutches, or using cliches, ideal careers, literary agents, and review. Overall, it was a very critical and inspiring panel that showed that even what I consider to be secure and established authors have similar feelings that I have. It also felt like it was a conversation and not a panel, almost like you were invited to such intimate conversation about publishing. 
My university friend Chelsea was with me. We went and walked around the Book Fair. Then I went to "Pushing Boundaries in YA: Civil Disobedience, Violence, and War." It featured Ann Angel,  Zu Vincent,  Jessica Powers, and Lyn Miller-Lachmann. They said to go deeper in the historical, social, and cultural aspects of the story, because it helps the story be richer and more dimensional and realistic as a result. I went to "In Sickness and In Health: Writing about Illness and Loss for Young Adults." It featured Roberta Borger,  Megan Bostic,  Selene Castrovilla,  Jolene Perry, and Katherine Ayres. It was interesting, but I felt that it missed a critical part of illness, which is that the majority are chronic conditions. Most of their books talked about cancer. Megan is from around here and I have been following on Twitter for a while, so it was cool to meet her in person.
The next panel was "Crafting Heartbreak: Handling Grief Issues in Novels for Young Adults." It was in the same room, so that was convenient. The speakers were Joy Preble, Janet Fox, Rosanne Parry, and Denise Jaden. I loved Joy, Janet, and Denise's books and how they dealt with grief. It was a very realistic portrayal that showed grief in all of the aspects and in the entirety. Janet talked about the stages of grief and talked about books that related to the topic. Denise talked about the expressions of grief at different ages. She talked about how you can create conflict in the variance of their behaviors. Joy talked about hidden grief and how it serves a book. Lastly, Rosanne talked about death scenes. She talked about famous death scenes in famous children books and how some of them happen differently then she remembered. I experienced the same thing as she went over them and found it surprising that I didn't remember it. 

My last panel was "How Far Do You Go: Sex in YA Fiction". E. Lockhart moderated with Sarah Mlynowski, Robin Wasserman, and Adele Griffin. They all read from a piece of their fiction that had sex in it. Sarah and Robin talked about how they write around it. Sarah's writing is more sweet, while Robin talks about sexual assault and other aspects of sex. They also talked about how sex does not progress the plot, but a way to do it was talk about sexuality or consciousness.  They remarked that it is reason that some books become banned.  Sex can isolate the book by narrowing the audience, because school libraries and box stories won't carry it. They also talk about how a title can hurt the book. I found this to be really interesting panel and like before, it felt like a great panel and it was always funny and entertaining.
My experience at AWP was very inspiring. I was able to hear a lot about writing and I think that it will allow me to advance my craft. Overall, I would recommend AWP. It gave me a lot think about and showed that writers are just as anxious and worried as I am. I loved this experience. If you made it to the end, thanks. I know this is a rather long post.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

AWP 2014 Day One

Hey! It has been a while. I am still really busy with school, but I had an amazing day at AWP. First I went around and got information on MFA program in Creative Writing and/or Publishing. There are definitely a lot of schools that I want to go too, which makes the process even more difficult. So, if you are reading this and have a MFA, let me know where you went and if you would recommend it. 
Next I went to a panel on  Commercial Literary Fiction (Not an Oxymoron): The Place of Craft in Writing and Teaching Children's and Young Adult Literature. It had Micol Ostow moderating with Stephanie Kuehnert, Nova Ren Suma, Sara Zarr, and Laurel Snyder. It was a great panel on how being commercial doesn't mean that it is not Literary. That they like to push boundaries and challenge themselves into becoming better writers with each book. 
Here is Sara and I. 
Nova and I took amazing selfies together and this is the best one. 
After that I wandered around the bookfair more and collected more brochures. Then I went to a panel on  I’m Just Not That Into You: Unsympathetic Characters in Fiction. I found this panel to be very illuminating on character development and it presented a lot of great points.
Irina Reyn,  Hannah Tinti,  Lynne Sharon Schwartz,  Maud Newton, Erin Harris, Richard Nash, and Katie Crouch presented the panel. I found this whole thing to be very interesting. Next, I just hung around, since I was worried about the next panel filling up. I actually didn't enjoy the last panel. So, I am not even going to mention it. It honestly wasn't what I expected with the title and description. 
Next I went to the Seattle Public Library, because  E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Adele Griffin, and  Robin Wasserman were presenting their new and upcoming novels and also read from their juvenile attempts on fiction. It made me laugh so much and helped me not feel as embarrassed about the stories that I wrote when I was younger. They also talked about their journey into publication.Afterwards, I got books signed.
Here is Robin Wasserman and I.
Here is Sarah Mlynowski and I.
Here is E. Lockhart and I.
Here is Adele Griffin and I.
 I hope you enjoyed this recap of my Day One. I will try to make one for Day Two. Now I have to go write an essay for Ethics.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Five

Hey guys!
It has been a while. Sorry about that. I have been busy with school and life.
Anyways, here is my Friday Five.
1. I started a new quarter last Monday. I am enjoying it. I can't believe that I only have five quarter left till I am a college graduate. That feels insane to me.
2. I am doing Seattle U Dance Marathon. I probably won't be able to dance the whole time, but I am going to try. I am really excited about it.
3.  I am going to AWP Conference! It was significantly cheaper for students and located in Seattle. I am really excited about it. There are so many panels that I am excited for. It is also my first writing conference, so it seems daunting to me. Let me know if you are going.
4. I recently finished We Were Liars and pre-order it or read it now.
5. I am currently addicted to Lies by Chvrches.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Source: Publisher
Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.
Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

I related to Elise a lot.  Especially as a teen, I felt like an outsider and I didn't really have a place in a world. I have also been bullied. Elise's character was really good at portraying these issues in an impacting and intelligent way. I also enjoyed when it showed her DJing, because she found herself and was able to have fun. I liked all of the allusions to music and found it to be a good addition to the story. I think that it is also very true, because books and music both have aided me when I was in a very dark period of my life and allowed me to realize that there is still hope and love. I found the plot to be very engaging and I became sucked into this book quickly. This book is a lot different than the book that I have previously read from her, Mostly Good Girls. The writing is more intense and grabs you in certain places. Overall, I enjoyed this book and hope to find more like this book in the future. I also definitely need to check out Past Perfect!

Friday, September 20, 2013

YALLFest Interview: Sean Williams

For the next week, this is the second interviews for authors that are going to YALLFest this year. Sadly I will not be going, but it has an amazing line-up. I highly suggest that you check it out, if you have the chance and live in the south. Sean Williams wrote Twinmaker and here is the interview with him.
What one thing do you need to have when you write?
The right music. And chocolate as a reward when I finish.
Describe your book in 5 words
Jump meets Uglies. But different.
What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
The first line is often the hardest to write, but I like a good challenge. The line I like writing the least is the last because it means I have a whole load of rewriting ahead of me.
Best writing tip you ever received?
Give up. If you can do that, you’ll be happier and probably better off as a result. If you can’t, then you know writing is exactly the right thing for you!
Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
1) I live in Adelaide, South Australia, a place that’s home to about a million other people but somehow feels like a small town, which is why I love it.
2) I still think music from the 1980s is cool.
3) My stepson has situs invertus, which means his heart is on the wrong side of his body. That’s not really about me, but it is pretty random.
4) I’m a huge fan of Doctor Who.
5) I’m minding a pair of green tree frogs, Skipper and Jumpy, for a young friend while she’s overseas with her family. You can see pictures of them on my Facebook page:
Where's your favorite place to write?
In my study, a lovely upstairs nook containing all my favorite book-related things, but I’ve trained myself to write anywhere as long as I have my headphones and some music. I quite like writing in hotels, probably because someone else does all the household chores.
What are you working on now?
Crashland, the sequel to Twinmaker.

Monday, September 16, 2013

YALLFest Interview: CJ Lyons

For the next week, I will have two authors that are going to YALLFest this year. Sadly I will not be going, but it has an amazing line-up. I highly suggest that you check it out, if you have the chance and live in the south. 
Today, I have CJ Lyon as a promotion for YALLFest, . She is the author of Broken, which is a YA Thriller. Before writing YA, she was a pediatric emergency room doctor and wrote thrillers. Anyways, without further instructions, here is the interview.
Describe your book in 5 words:
CJ: Girl dying of broken heart (literally)
What is the hardest line to write- the first or the last?
CJ: The first. I’ll often return to it over and over again until I’ve sliced and diced and fine-honed it to that perfect combination of intrigue, visceral reaction, and emotional connection with the reader.
Best writing tip you ever received?
What one young adult novel do you wish you had when you were a teen? Why?
CJ: Code Name Verity because it is so emotionally honest and inspiring, empowering, not to mention gut-wrenching. Really brings the era to life as well as the sacrifices made in the name of freedom.
Tell us 5 random facts about yourself.
CJ: When I was a kid I worked summer stock theatre and was actually a theatre major undergrad before switching to pre-med. I’ve had two hard landings in helicopters while working as a flight doc. I survived rampaging Cape Horn Buffalo and a pack of wild baboons, not to mention a leopard (he’s already eaten) while hiking in Hells Gate Park in Kenya. I’m a Capricorn. I diagnosed my niece with the heart condition that’s at the center of my YA thriller, BROKEN.
What are you working on now?
CJ: DAMAGED, my next YA thriller, due out in 2014. It deals with the really tough topic of abuse and coercion and is the most difficult book I’ve ever tackled—there have been times while writing when I was literally in tears as I typed.
What is your favorite genre to write in? To Read?

CJ: I created my own genre of Thrillers with Heart—I love writing fast paced stories with raising stakes but centered on the emotional heart of an evolving relationship. As for reading, I read almost every genre but especially love YA, magical realism, and thrillers. As long as a story grabs me by the throat and won’t let me go because I’m too worried about what the characters are going through, I’ll read it and love it.
If you are interested in YALLFest, visit their website or Twitter for more information.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Five Years Later: Blogging

Today marks the fifth blogoversary.
I have changed so much in that time. I have finished high school and began college. I have learned so much about what I like to read and what I don't. I have found out that I want to work as a librarian in youth services. I have met many wonderful people from blogging, and some include my now closest friends. I went to NYC for BEA in 2010 and went to ALA Mid-Winter this year in my wonderful city of Seattle. Overall, this blog has brought so many wonderful things to my life and I am really glad that I started it. I am immensely proud of what I have done and hope to do many more wonderful things.
Thanks to anyone that has read this or followed my blog over the years. It means a lot to me that you have taken the time. Also, thank to the bloggers that inspired me like Chelsea, Tirzah, Khy, and many more. I would not be doing this without you guys.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Guest Post: Elisa Freilich

Silent Echo comes out September 10th from Diversion Books. It isn't your usual fantasy novel. It has sirens, music, prophecies, and of course, romance!
Elisa has come to the blog for a bit of a Q&A.
There is also a prize giveaway below for a chance to win a pack of awesome things including a book purse inspired by the book, an iPhone case and other trinkets featuring the beautiful illustrations of the upcoming trailer and a YA book of your choice. 

1. Describe your book in 5 words: Modernizing mythology through music & romance.  ( does the ampersand count as a word?  Ooops)
2. What surprised you the most as you were writing SILENT ECHO? How many of my metaphors seem to veer towards the food-related (i.e. "his voice was a block of milk chocolate wrapped in sandpaper")  I guess I'm also a die-hard foodie.
3. Are you a plotter or a panster? Do you plot your book or fly by the seat of your pants? I fly on a magic carpet woven loosely of plot driven threads.  I've got a vague idea where I'm headed but once in flight, it really solidifies.
4. Do you have any kind of writing rituals? I need silence or else white noise, a constant din.  I can't have music or a tv on - way too distracting. 
5. Who would you cast in a movie version of your book for Portia, Felix and Max? Young unknowns who resemble Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher and Rob Pattinson (in order as asked)
6. As a lover of mythology, what's your fave myth? I love the story of the Six Headed Scylla.  There are several explanations for how she came to have six heads and for Silent Echo's sequel, I have expounded and expanded on my favorite one.  (Scylla is an integral part of the next installment of my trilogy.)
7. Lightnight round:
Fave food - Truffle fries (ok, or any fries)
Fave book - Special Topics in Calamity Physics (most recently, that is)
Fave song - Closer to Fine by Indigo Girls
Fave vacation - Laguna Beach, CA w/my hubby (or pretty much anywhere w/my hubby)
Fave color - brown (chocolate, mocha - there's that food thing again...)
Beach or mountains - Pool with a view of the beach
Soda or Pop - soda
Coke or Pepsi - Coke (diet, of course)
Can't live without - Air conditioning
Can live without - bees ( even if it meant sacrificing honey - they terrify me)
Fave person -  Mark Darcy (can a fictitious character count?)
Person you want to meet most dead or alive - Marcus Mumford (His genius blows my mind)
Person you admire most - My husband - he wears his own skin with unyielding confidence and comfort
If you could be anyone, who? George RR Martin - can you imagine what must go on in that guy's head?!

Follow Elisa Freilich on: TWITTER  FACEBOOK  TUMBLR 
There is also a sneak peak on her Tumblr, that you should check out. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What's Raising Our Pulse Discussion and Giveaway: Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young

Today's post comes from What's Raising Our Pulse Book Club. I am going to answer a question that comes from the book and give you guys the chance to win a copy by answering below.
The question comes from Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young. Here is the summary: 
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline's been at Gram's bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape--both her family and the reality of Gram's failing health. So when Caroline's best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram's side, or go to the party and live her life.
The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline's fate into two separate paths--and she's about to live them both.
Friendships are tested and family drama hits an all-new high as Caroline attempts to rebuild old relationships, and even make a few new ones. If she stays, her longtime crush, Joel, might finally notice her, but if she goes, Chris, the charming college boy, might prove to be everything she's ever wanted.
Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending...

The book is told from two point of view and unfolds with what would happen with each decision.
The question is:  Have you ever looked back on a decision you made and wondered how your life would have changed if you had done something differently?
When I applied for colleges, I got into three different schools. I picked the one that was closest to home, because I was afraid to move away from my family, my friends, and also changing my doctors. I always wonder what would have happened, if I changed my mind and went to a school farther away. Overall, I like my university and have made some great friends that I care about. A part of my mind causing me to wonder what if...
Now it is your turn to answer for the question in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Just Like Fate and a mini magic eight ball. The contest will be open till the 19th at midnight and is US only. 


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