Category Archives: young adult

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

Sandwich, a personal history.

1. A long time ago, I was in an all-girl band called Sandwich.  We only played one song, also called Sandwich.

Sandwich, at a Halloween party, circra 1998. We’re sitting because we can’t play standing up.

2. Once, I invented a sandwich. The ingredients were: Fluff, Nutella, and sliced bananas on white bread. I called it the “HW Yummy” (patent pending).

3.  Last night, I had the honor of doing a reading/book-signing at the lovely Sandwich Public Library with my fellow road-trip author, Kirsten-Paige Madonia (FINGERPRINTS OF YOU).  The event was sponsored by Titcomb’s Bookshop.

We started off our night with an interview for a local cable access show, hosted by Kathy & her #1 YA reader, Emma, a high school senior.

We’ll be back, after this message from our sponsor.

Then we moved downstairs for the reading & book discussion.  Boy, were we surprised to see how much work Kathy put into our event.  The room was decorate with maps and travel guides, and she even had a bevy of tasty road-trip themed snacks!

Mmmmm, sugar.

Afterwards, we chatted with fellow YA author Scott Blagden, author of Dear Life, You Suck (Harcourt, March ’13) and signed some books.  Of course, we ended the night with some pictures in the Pea Pod photo-booth.

Kids, do not try this at home.

Vicky & Kathy hit the road!

HUGE thanks to Kathy Johnson of the Sandwich Library and Vicky Uminowicz for making our night so special.  It really means a lot to know there are such devoted booksellers & librarians out there willing to go the extra mile to help out a couple of debut authors.  And kudos to the amazing Emma for being so darn literate & cool.

If you’re in the Dedham, MA area tonight, it’s you last chance to catch our Road Trip Books Hit the Road Tour at the Blue Bunny Bookstore at 6:30pm.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

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