Category Archives: young adult

What makes a great book club

Last week, I had the honor of doing my first book club visit as a published author, thanks to my friend Connie, one of my biggest cheerleaders. Though not technically young adults, Connie’s book club branched out from their typical reading fare in order to include my YA novel, REUNITED.  The afternoon started with a fun speaking event at the Westfield, MA Athenaeum,  followed by a lovely dinner with the book club gals.

Having never been to a book club other than my own, it was exciting to get a glimpse of another group’s unique combination of literature, food and friends–this special recipe being the heart and soul of the book club experience.  Plus, a good book club exposes us to ideas, authors, and cuisines that we might not have discovered to on our own.  Just like the Westfield ladies probably wouldn’t have have found my book, had it not been for Connie’s gentle prodding. ;)  Right now, my book club’s reading THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz.  What are you reading in your book club?

Books, food, and friends–a hat-trick of awesomeness.

 

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, friends, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, young adult

Toilet Papering the Yard – from the pranksters at The YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes

Welcome to “Toilet papering the Yard,” which, in addition to being an obnoxious yet biodegradable Halloween prank, is also the name of my group in  the YAmazing Race with MGnificent prizes.  If you’ve never hopped with us before, the YAmazing Race is the coolest blog hop ever featuring over 50 YA & MG authors and tons of excellent prizes including: books, gift certificates, swag, and a personalized make-over from Honey Boo Boo. 

Okay, I made up that last one. ;)

If you haven’t yet been to the Apocalypsies website, CLICK HERE to start from the beginning and read the complete rules.  Now, off to the races! (Official start time is Monday, 10/22 at noon EST.)

REUNITED  Synopsis

1 Concert.    2,000 Miles.     3 Ex-Best Friends

Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.  Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.  But when the band broke up, so did their friendship.  Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.  Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show. Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse.  And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town.  But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

 _______________________________________________________________________________________

Now tuck that away in your clever, little brain for the quiz at the end.

But before you go – here’s a bonus contest! Do any of the following and you’ll be entered to win a signed hardcover copy REUNITED!

And if you do all five you’ll be entered five times!

Ready to keep racing?  Then check  out the website for INNOCENT DARKNESS author & steampunk goddess Suzanne Lazear to move on to the next stop.  Good luck!

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Calling all Los Angeles Reader Girls! (and boys)

On October 25th at 7:00pm, I’ll be doing a reading/book signing at the Glendale Americana Barnes & Noble along with the fabulous Carmen Rodrigues (34 PIECES OF YOU) and Suzanne Lazear (INNOCENT DARKNESS).   We’ll also be talking about the process of of seeing a Young Adult novel into the world.  So, if you’re a YA fan and/or an aspiring writer, please join us for a night of books, fun, and giveaways!

Writing Young Adult

Date:  October 25th

Time:    7:00pm

Admission:  Free

Location:  Glendale Americana Barnes & Noble

The Americana at Brand 210 Americana Way

Glendale, CA

(818) 545-9146

Event website:  http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4005813

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Win Tons of Books & Stuff at TeamTEEN Author’s Dare Day Challenge

Guess what, teamTEEN author fans?  It’s Dare Day again!  I know I said that last week, but apparently I jumped the gun a bit.  Whoops.  But the good news is, this week, you can enter to win books & stuff!

To check out all of the fabulous PRIZES, just go to the TeamTEEN Author Dare Day Contest, read the rules, enter the contest, & you may just get lucky.

Dares for this week were concocted by the evil, young minds over at The Perfect 10.  Our choices were:

1) Covering your face with peanut butter & takign a picture (yum!)

2) Writing about your most embarrassing teen moment Shakespearean sonnet-style

3)  Revealing your biggest teen crush, complete with photos (see below)

And if you like seeing authors make fools of themselves, check out these Dare Day posts from other TeamTEEN Authors.

Julie Cross

Janci Patterson

Laura Ellen

Elizabeth Amisu

Eugene Meyers

Kim Sabatini

And now, I present to you, my biggest teen celebrity crush.

My Celebrity Crush Likes Richard Nixon!

I guess I’m a bit of a pragmatist when it comes to love.  Sure, I had my share of teen crushes, but always on boys I actually knew, boys who were, at least theoretically, within my grasp.  Unlike my pre-teen friends, I never understood the thrill in pressing my lips to the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine.  Probably because I had the good sense to realize that there was no way in hell Leif Garret or Shaun Cassidy would choose a nine-year-old as their girlfriend.  And except for one naughty dream about Van Halen front-man David Lee Roth (which I blame entirely on my subconscious) the boys of my fantasies were always just regular ol’ dudes.

And then I saw Michael J. Fox.

For the record, I also had a girl-crush on Justine Bateman.

Never mind that he was 5’2” and, in all likelihood, weighed less than me. Or that his character on FAMILY TIES was a rabid Republican.

Why, Alex, why???

Then BACK TO THE FUTURE came out, and my infatuation swelled to proportions not even a flux capacitor could measure.

Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

By the time I went to Japan for the summer as an exchange student, I’d created a well-worn collection of romantic MJF fantasies to keep me company whenever I felt lonely. Which was a lot.  These often played to the soundtrack of Paul Simon’s Graceland—one of the few cassette tapes I’d brought with me on my trip.

Thinking about that time in my life brings up fond memories. And as a tribute to my former crush, I’m going to go donate to his charity for Parkinson’s Disease right now.

https://www.michaeljfox.org

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What’s your blind spot?

In Laura Ellen’s debut YA thriller Blind Spot, 16-year-old Roz is obsessed with proving she’s ‘normal’ despite her visual impairment. This obsession makes her lose sight of everything else– including clues to a murder.

What’s your blind spot? Was it getting on the cheer squad? Losing weight? Getting that guy in calculus to notice you?

Have you ever wanted something so bad that, like Roz, you lost or almost lost something or someone important to you?

Share it and you could win a signed hardcover of Blind Spot and the chance to have your ‘blind spot’ story posted on October 26th during Laura Ellen’s blog tour. Some of your favorite authors will be sharing their stories too!

To enter go to Laura Ellen’s website www.lauraellenbooks.com and fill out the contest form any time between October 2nd and midnight EST October 16, 2012. Contest is open internationally.

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Dare Day: In Which I Reveal My Biggest Celebrity Crush

Guess what, teamTEEN author fans?  it’s Dare Day again!  Oh yes, I already completed my qualifying dare last March (see below).

But I’ve never been one to turn down a chance to humiliate myself on the interwebs.  And so, I present to you, my biggest celebrity crush.

My Celebrity Crush Likes Richard Nixon!

I guess I’m a bit of a pragmatist when it comes to love.  Sure, I had my share of teen crushes, but always on boys I actually knew, boys who were, at least theoretically, within my grasp.  Unlike my pre-teen friends, I never understood the thrill in pressing my lips to the pages of Tiger Beat Magazine.  Probably because I had the good sense to realize that there was no way in hell Leif Garret or Shaun Cassidy would choose a nine-year-old as their girlfriend.  And except for one naughty dream about Van Halen front-man David Lee Roth (which I blame entirely on my subconscious) the boys of my fantasies were always just regular ol’ dudes.

And then I saw Michael J. Fox.

For the record, I also had a girl-crush on Justine Bateman.

Never mind that he was 5’2” and, in all likelihood, weighed less than me. Or that his character on FAMILY TIES was a rabid Republican.

Why, Alex, why???

Then BACK TO THE FUTURE came out, and my infatuation swelled to proportions not even a flux capacitor could measure.

Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

By the time I went to Japan for the summer as an exchange student, I’d created a well-worn collection of romantic MJF fantasies to keep me company whenever I felt lonely. Which was a lot.  These often played to the soundtrack of Paul Simon’s Graceland—one of the few cassette tapes I’d brought with me on my trip.

Thinking about that time in my life brings up fond memories. And as a tribute to my former crush, I’m going to go donate to his charity for Parkinson’s Disease right now.

https://www.michaeljfox.org

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Hello, I am Extra Credit

As a kid, I lived for extra credit.  If making a pinhole camera out of a shoebox, or fashioning a shrunken apple head version of George Washington Carver could boost my A to an A+, I was all over it.   Teachers pets of the world unite!  (Sorry, I get overexcited just thinking about pinhole cameras.)  So, it seems only  fitting that 30-odd years later, I actually had the opportunity to be a Human Extra Credit Project — a real live writer, brought in to to talk to my  friend Bridget’s eighth grade English class.  A hearty thank you, to Mrs. Hopgood for having me, and to Bridget, for making my geeky world complete.  And happy 13th birthday!!!

Bridget, the 13-year-old, introducing me.

My visit to South Meadow School. At 7:25 a.m. this morning. Gulp.

 

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A Good and Bad Writing Day, and Other Questions for Author Rachele McAlpine

This week, I’m featuring an interview I did with Rachele Alpine, author of the YA novel CANARY (Medallion Press) due out next August.  
Rachele is also a member of the Lucky 13’s,a group of YA & MG authors debuting in 2013.  Here’s a synopsis.
CANARY
If she stays quiet, it will destroy her. If she speaks out, it will destroy everyone.

Kate Franklin’s life changes for the better when her dad lands a job at Beacon Prep, an elite private school with one of the best basketball teams in the state. She begins to date a player on the team and quickly gets caught up in a world of idolatry and entitlement, learning that there are perks to being an athlete.

But those perks also come with a price. Another player takes his power too far and Kate is assaulted at a party. She knows she should speak out, but her dad tries to silence her in order to protect the team. The world that Kate was once welcomed into is now her worst enemy, and she must decide whether to stay silent or expose the corruption, destroying her father’s career and bringing down a town’s heroes.

 1. What’s your biggest piece of advice for new writers.
Write, write, write and read, read, read.  Seriously. Find the time every single day to do both.  They go hand in hand.
2. What was your favorite scene to write in CANARY and why?
This is a great question (and one I never thought of before!).  I think some of my favorite parts were the non-narrative parts that my main character, Kate, creates.  She chronicles her time at her new school with blog posts told in poems, lyrics, quotes, and free-writes that don’t follow the traditional writing structure.  She writes these as letters to her former self, giving words of advice.  Each of these entries starts with a rule that she wish she would have known and then she reacts to the event in an artistic way.  I really liked the idea of stepping outside the traditional way of writing a novel and playing around with how I present information to the reader.  As we get closer to the book book’s publication date, we’re going to publish Kate’s post on a blog, as if she were released them in real time.  I’m pretty excited about that.
3. Describe a bad writing day.  Now, describe a great one!
A bad writing day to me would be a day when I can’t sit down and write as much as I want to.  I’m a high school English teacher and MFA fiction candidate, so my life is pretty busy.  I try to fit some time in for writing each day, but in the perfect world, I’d have endless amounts of time for everything in my life.
A perfect writing day would include my weekend/summer vacation routine.  I wake up, make a big pot of coffee and write in my pajamas for a few hours.  My dog sleeps by my feet, I play my favorite music, and if I’m lucky, the stories flow.  When the words don’t come as easily, I’ll take a break and go on a walk with my dog.  It’s just so easy and relaxed, and I love the possibilities that a whole new day of writing brings.
4. What surprised you most about the publishing process?
I love how I have been able to connect to so many readers and writers.  It’s amazing to talk with people who are already excited about your book, to connect to people who love YA literature as much as I do, and experience the amazing support YA writers give to each other.  The YA community is incredible, and I love being a part of it.
5. What are the best books you’ve read in the past year?
That’s a hard one…I’ve read so many great ones!
Right now I’m head over heels in love with Carol Rifka Brunt’s TELL THE WOLVES I’M HOME.  I want to devour every word, but I’m reading it slowly to make it last.  In the last few months, I’ve also raved about WONDER (R. J. Palacio), WHAT HAPPENS NEXT (Colleen Clayton), and IF I LIE (Corrine Jackson).
If  you’d like to enter to win an ARC of CANARY, go here:

For more info. about Rachele or CANARY, here are some other links.
 
 
Author Bio:
Rachele Alpine is a lover of sushi, fake mustaches, and Michael Jackson. One of her first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. By day she’s a high school English teacher, and by night she writes with the companionship of the world’s cutest dog, Radley, a big cup of coffee, and a full bag of gummy peaches. Rachele lives with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio, but dreams of moving back to Boston, the city she fell in love with while attending graduate school there.

One half-caf, soy mlik cappuccino, extra mustache, please.

Blogger’s Note:  Rachele also crafted the wonderful REUNITED Teacher’s Guide (available for Book groups as well!) which can be downloaded FOR FREE, right here.

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Emily Bronte & Me

So, I finally got a copy of Glitter Magazine & took a good, long look at their Books That Rock spread that features REUNITED, which just so happens to be right next to WUTHERING HEIGHTS.  I realize it doesn’t actually mean anything, but to see my book next to WUTHERING FREAKING HEIGHTS delights me way too much not to share. ;)

REUNITED, in very good company.

REUNITED & WUTHERING HEIGHTS: literary soul-mates, or mere cooincidence? You be the judge.

Thanks so much to the book-reading gals over at Glitter Magazine. And big shout-outs to all of the other wonderful books & authors included here!

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Last Stop: Blue Bunny

I’m still riding the high from last night’s excellent reading/book-signing at Blue Bunny Books & Toys.  Or maybe it was all those cupcakes I ate. ;)

Store Owner/Cupcake Maker, Janet Reynolds

So happy I got the chance to meet some local tweens & teens as well as some lovely and enthusiastic booksellers.

Books & vanilla frosting. Two of life’s greatest pleasures.

 

And how often do you get a photo op with Babar and a life-size stuffed sheep?

Of course, no Road Trip Book Tour stop would be complete without the obligatory Pea Pod photos.

Kids: don’t read & drive.

Booksellers extraordinaire: Cheryl, Margie & Janet

Overall, I’d say Kristen-Paige and I had a very successful (albeit slightly exhausting) week.  Thanks to all the booksellers, friends, and readers who came out to join us!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under books, movies, YA, writing, favorite books, Reunited by Hilary Weisman Graham, Uncategorized, writing, writing advice, young adult