Monday, May 28, 2012

Stylish Blogger Award

A huge thanks to Cassie Mae for giving me the Stylish Blogger Award. Word is, I'm to share seven random facts about moi, then pass the award along to five blogger buddies. So, here goes...

1. I have a waterfall in every book I've written (four books). There's also strong Polynesian ties in every book I've written. So far.

2. When I'm just sitting around reading or watching a movie, I drape an arm over my head until all the blood rushes out. And then I switch to the other arm. And I HAVE to sit cross-legged on my chair when I write at the computer or eat at the dinner table.

3. I think Brandon Flowers is a rock genius. I am eagerly stalking all Killers related news of their new album coming out this fall. Squee.

4. My favorite snack is a slice of brie over a Nature Valley granola bar, you know, the one in the green wrapper. Don't diss it 'til you've tried it. Yum. (And yes, do keep that moldy white stuff on the cheese as you eat it...that's the best part).

5. I can easily sing the alphabet song backwards. Also calculate things in my head at a mind-numbing rate.

6. I am an obsessed Firefly/Serenity fan-nerd. Best show in all the 'verse. Joss Whedon is a story-telling genius. Shiny.

7. It takes A LOT to get me to read past book one in a series. (HP and the Chamber of wha???) And I rarely read a book twice. There are a few treasures I reread every year, though: Pride and Prejudice, Impossible, Keturah and Lord Death, Speaker for the Dead, and Goose Girl. I guess it makes those my top five favs. Stephanie Perkins might be added to that list soon...have you read Anna and Lola yet? Brilliant stuff.

I am passing the Stylish Blogger Award along to:

Leslie Pugh
Cortney Pearson
Kate Coursey

Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

RTW: What faction are you?

This week's topic on Road Trip Wednesday is: What faction are you?

Let's forget for a minute that Insurgent is sitting on my bookshelf and I STILL haven't opened it. We'll pretend that I'm NOT putting other books ahead of it because they are "assigned reading" for a class I'm attending in a few weeks. Geez.

For those reasons alone, maybe I'm Erudite. Or even Abnegation. Since I'm not doing what I really want (ditching the assignment, eating lots of chocolate, reading more of Four...), I'm definitely not Dauntless.

I think I'm gonna go with Amity. I like peace. I don't like ruffling feathers. And I really do just want everyone around me to be happy. Typical mom behavior, I think.

How about you? Which faction are you? Have you read Insurgent yet? Without giving me ANY details (seriously, you will be punished if you spill anything), was it awesome?

Friday, May 18, 2012

My CP got an agent!

Just in case you missed my cyber screaming announcements on Twitter, my CP Kathryn Purdie just signed with agent Weronika Janczuk yesterday.

Me and Pretty Purdie :)

Yipeeeee! If you're a regular, you know I've posted about Kathryn and her amazing book several times on my blog. Head over here to read her version of how she got her agent and wish her well. So excited for you, Katie!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Storymakers 12

I'm finally getting around to posting about the LDStorymakers Conference I attended a couple weekends ago here in Utah. It was my first time there and was AMAZING! Join me next year because I know I'll be back.

I started with the Publication Primer in a small class with none other than Elana Johnson at the healm. We had a copy of everyone's first chapter ahead of time and were able to discuss them in class. I received such great positive feedback--it made me THAT much more excited for my current manuscript.

Donea, Katie, Deana, me, Elana, Erin

The next day I had my first pitch session ever with an agent. I was soooo nervous, but made it through with a full request. Woo-hoo.

The last day I was surprised with a second place prize for my first chapter. Got my picture taken, a big box of conference bling, and a lot of wonderful comments from the judges on my chapter.

After the amazing classes and meeting SO MANY fellow bloggers (how surreal to meet them in real life :) and with what seems like an endless waiting list of beta readers wanting to read my book, I felt like the conference queen.

What an amazing experience!

Speaking of conferences, I will be back at this one come June. I can't wait. (And how did THREE of my critique partners make it into the video and not me??? Hmm???)

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Loves Blogfest

Welcome to the First Loves Blogfest hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, where I post my first loves: first movie, first song/band, first book, and first person. Four loves, one blogfest!

My family has always been big movie junkies and we have many family "classics" I grew up on, most of them I remember from the mid-80's (Goonies, 16 Candles, Never Ending Story, Top Gun, etc.) But I'm choosing one from 1985 that I loved and still do to this day. Ladyhawke, starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. Forbidden love, high fantasy, Ferris could you go wrong? If you haven't seen this one, do it, like, now.

My first band was Menudo, I'm ashamed to admit. Yes, Ricky Martin days of Menudo. I even went to their concert as a little girl with my mom and aunt. Wowsa. Let's pretend that whole thing just never happened, shall we, and I'll share with you instead the first song that not only did I absolutely LOVE, but the music video (back when music videos on MTV were the thing) blew everyone's socks off. Take On Me, by a-ha. Still sooo good.

The first novel I remember reading was in elementary school and was required for class. Luckily for me, it was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, and it literally changed my life. Tesseracts, Calvin O'Keefe (swoon), kid brother genius, the trio of Mrs Question-names. Man, I was hooked. Because of this book I delved into the wonderful world of reading and never looked back. And now I read it to my kids and still love it.

Remember Bop and Tiger Beat magazines? Geez, do they still have those? Well, my bedroom wall was covered with swoon-worthy teen boys from those quality magazines. Whose pic did I drool over the most? It was probably a tie between Sean Astin and Corey Haim. Not very original, I know, but they were so adorable.

What are some of your first loves? Tell me in the comments. And go here to see who else is participating in the bloghop.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh! Those High School Dances! Blog Hop

Sorry I've been so MIA on responding to comments and visiting blogs. I was at a writers conference this weekend (which I'll post about soon) and am trying to catch up on life stuffs. I promise to get my butt in gear soon. :)

A big thank you to Kelley and Emily for hosting this fun blog hop!
Here are the rules:
1. Post pictures of your high school dances.
2. Share with us your funniest high school dance story.
3. That's it!
Fun, right? I have four pictures to share with you all:
These first two are from my junior prom.

If you can't tell by the "1993" date stamp at the bottom, I'm old. Do you like how I'm rockin' the choker? Hello 90's. This one was fun because his friends were dates with my friends and I got to hang with them the whole time--with the rented limo, parent's crazy pictures...the whole shebang.

This next one is from my senior prom. I went with one of my besties (witty, punny, sarcastic-had me laughing all night). Funniest part of this story happened weeks before the dance, though. My mom sewed my dress (isn't she amazing?) and had me trying it on at home while another one of my besties was there with me. She said she'd let me borrow her push-up bra for the dance. My mom's face turned beet red in horror and had me cracking up about it.

After the dance, we ended up at Bubbies ice cream shop in downtown Honolulu. If anyone's been there, you know what I'm talking about. I have a bonus picture of the menu in that place. Zoom in to see the names of the desserts, which I'm still too embarrassed to actually type in myself.

*picture removed*

Trust me, a goodie-goodie 16-year-old like myself thought having to order something called Multiple Orgasm (and actually say it out loud--gasp) was quite the adventure.

This last picture (wearing the same red velvet dress) was another interesting prom. A friend from school set me and another girl up with two guys from her home island of Molokai (teeny tiny place). We flew to the outer island for the weekend, had an amazing girls weekend at her home, culminating in a blind prom date. 

Good times--including trips to the beach, hiking at three in the morning, and getting pulled over by the cops with empty bottles of beer rattling at my feet. (Not mine...I don't drink...ever). Classic teen adventure.

Do you have any funny high school dance stories? Click here to read about other posts from the blog hop.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dust It Off Bloghop-What I Learned

If you are here for my Writer's Voice contest entry, click here.

Welcome to day three of the Dust It Off Bloghop, in which I post what I learned from writing what is now a shelved manuscript. I've chosen to use my 2011 NaNo that I haven't looked at it since typing the words The End. Feel free to leave a comment and visit the link above to see what others are dusting off to share with the world this week.


Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure

Word Count: 54,000

What I learned from writing this book:

10. NaNoWriMo is really hard that second week.

9. Having a main character talk only in iambic pentameter may not have been my greatest idea.

8. It's harder to throw a computer across the room as well as a paper and pen.

7. I will cry at some point while drafting every book, no matter what it's about.

6. I really missed writing something with romance in it.

5. Having to do research in the midst of drafting can get really annoying.

4. Poetry sucks...especially when I'm having to write entire chapters in verse.

3. Middle Grade voice is WAY harder than Young Adult voice.

2. I need support from my critique partners a lot more than I realized.

1. I can do hard things.

As you can tell, writing this book was a HUGE challenge for me. But guess what? I did it anyway--and that's the best part.

Thanks to Cortney and Theresa for hosting this bloghop. (And btw, after flipping through my MS specifically for this bloghop, a fire was rekindled and Koa's Passage may be making a reappearance in my to-do folder sooner more than later. So thanks again, ladies.)

I'll leave you with a bonus-thing-I-learned from writing this book: my husband designs awesome book covers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dust It Off Bloghop--The Excerpt

If you are here for my Writer's Voice contest entry, click here.

Welcome to day two of the Dust It Off Bloghop, in which I post a 300-350 word excerpt from a currently shelved manuscript. I've chosen to use my 2011 NaNo that I haven't looked at it since typing the words The End. Feel free to leave a comment and visit the link above to see what others are dusting off to share with the world this week. 

*In this scene, Koa is on his canoe and has just run into the shark king: the shark who killed Koa's mother two years before. He also just found out the shark king can talk and is surprised by this.*


Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure

Word Count: 54,000


            “I am the shark king, Koa,” he said. Then added, as though reading my mind, “Surely you know I am a creature of magic as much as your eonian owl.” The shark king’s voice was guttural with a desperate and wet rasp to it, as though he were screaming as he drowned in front of me. It was a disturbing sound. The smirk on his rough face showed he enjoyed instilling such fear into all those he came in contact with. Including the sharks he ruled over, I supposed, based on their hasty retreat before his arrival.
            “I don't care whether you hold any magic or not. It's no concern of mine. I would care more about a fly in my mashed taro than about a fish like you.” I looked at the nails on my hands, trying to portray indifference to my sworn enemy.
            “It should be a concern of yours, boy,” he said. “I have been following you for a long time.”
            “You followed me all the way from my island? What a waste of life.”
            “Not just these past weeks, Koa,” he said. “I have been following you for your entire life.”
            I dropped my hand but did not look at him. I froze my face to betray the confusion stirring within. “You must have been searching very hard then, since I’ve been in the same place all that time until now.” My sarcasm was an easy way to hide how afraid I was at that moment, learning the shark king had been looking for me for so long. I hadn’t even seen him in the water until that disastrous day, though now that I think about it, Grandfather seemed to know he was the shark king immediately.
            “You don’t understand, do you, boy?” The shark king gave a harsh and throaty laugh. “I have claim on you. You should have been mine that day in the water, over two years ago.”
            I didn’t say a word. He was right; I should have been his. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice Contest

I'm so excited to participate in the Writer's Voice Contest! Thanks to Cupid, Brenda, Monica and Krista for hosting this amazing opportunity. And please...pick me! Pick me!


With just three days left before she’s Remade on her seventeenth birthday, Nine must choose a name, a Trade, what she wants to look like, and most importantly—whether to be male or female.

Nine’s certain her Maker made a mistake when he gave her red hair and an overabundance of freckles, so unlike the flawless light skin and dark brown hair of the others in her Batch. As if that weren’t enough, Nine despises her cowardice and wishes to be brave like her best friend, Theron. Since there’s no courage option when being Remade, Nine chooses the next best thing, to become male.

After leaving the Freedom province, and on their way to the Remake facility, the Batch’s shuttle crashes into the ocean. Nine is the only survivor and struggles to understand the bronze-skinned people who find her stranded on their island. Kai, the boy assigned to keep watch over her, treats her like a prisoner and Nine wants nothing more than to return home and be Remade.

As Nine learns the meaning of words like marriage and family, she realizes the threat Freedom poses to Kai and his people. Nine must learn to become brave, as a girl, if she hopes to protect their way of life and return to Freedom in time to be Remade, if that is what she still wants.

Set in a world of gender selection and the absence of family, REMAKE is a YA dystopian complete at 67,000 words. Fans of Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES would sympathize with Nine’s struggle to be herself in an equalizing society. 

First 250:

Male or female?
My finger hesitates over the touch screen, unsure.
How can I decide which to be for the rest of my life? It’s so…permanent.
Theron puts his hand on the small of my back in encouragement. I glance at his blue eyes beneath long lashes. His dark eyebrows are longer than the hair on his head. I smile, knowing what little there is of it will be shaved off in a few minutes.
He returns my smile and rubs my own shaved head. Our lack of hair keeps those in our Batch equal—both the boys like Theron and the girls like me. Except the stubble that grows from my head is red while everyone else’s is dark brown. The Maker that designed me must’ve had a sick sense of humor.
Theron tilts his head toward the computer, reminding me why I’m there. I push my shoulders back and focus on the screen again.
Male or female?
My finger connects with the third option.
 “You know, Nine,” Theron says. “In three days, you won’t have that option anymore.”
“I know,” I say. “I’ll be ready.” In three days we will turn seventeen and be sent to the Remake facility. There we’ll be made into whomever we choose to be. Blonde or brunette. Tall or short. Full lips, broad shoulders, slender thighs, dark skin, tiny waist—whatever we wish. But the computer will not prompt me to decide anything else until I make that first choice: male or female?

Dust It Off Bloghop--The Pitch

First off, my query is getting critiqued (hacked to death) by the lovely ladies of Falling For Fiction today. So head over there, take a look, and feel free to add to the comments. I can use all the help I can get.

Now, onto the bloghop:

Welcome to day one of the Dust It Off Bloghop, in which I post a 1-2 sentence pitch for a currently shelved manuscript. I've chosen to use my 2011 NaNo that I haven't looked at it since typing the words The End. Feel free to leave a comment and visit the link above to see what others are dusting off to share with the world this week.


Genre: MG Fantasy Adventure

Word Count: 54,000

Pitch: Death Marchers have taken his grandfather, and it's all Koa's fault. He must find Hina, goddess of the moon, and make her tell him the Marchers' deadly secret, because without it, his grandfather will be gone--this time, forever.