Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Next Big Thing!

It's my anniversary today!!! A happy 15 years to the love of my life! Wow, look how young we were. Babies, I tell you.

Two of my CP's have some epic giveaways going on right now. Go and check them out:

Robin's 100 Follower giveaway
Taryn's Epic Guilt giveaway

I've been tagged by Taryn in The Next Big Thing blog game interview thingy where you answer questions about your WIP or a new piece you'd love to become the next big thing! I'm gonna go with my baby, the book that landed me an agent since that's all I seem to be working on these days.

1-What is the title of your book?


2-Where did the idea come from for the book?

I've managed to avoid this question thus far on my blog (because it's somewhat controversial) but I will finally divulge today. I saw this news clip (you might need to watch a short commercial first). And it just wouldn't leave me. Whew, there. That wasn't so bad.

3-What genre does your book fall under?

YA science fiction

4-Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I know my MC for sure. It would be Saoirse Ronan. 

I'm not familiar enough with young actors but know my supporting cast would have to consist of one blue-eyed, hot, fair-skinned guy that could pull off bald, and a brown-skinned teen boy and girl of ethnic ambiguity, also good looking. I know, my racial sensitivity astounds even myself. :)

5-What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

In a time when people choose their genders, sixteen-year-old Nine can't wait to ditch her weak girl body for a braver male one, but a crash en route to her Remake teaches her girls kick ass too.

6-Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am represented by Jennifer Skutelsky of Veritas Literary.

7-How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?

Less than four weeks. I lived and breathed this thing like it was nobody's business. Here's the opening:

Male or female?
My finger hesitates over the touch screen. 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. They’re longer than the hair on his head. I smile, knowing what little there is 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.

8-What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

Origin by Jessica Khoury. Thanks to some CP hook-ups, I got to read it as an arc and used it as a comparable in my queries. It was released earlier this month, and I still think it's the closest book I know to Remake. Here's a trailer if you haven't heard of it. Excellent book!

9-Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think the core of this book is about family. So obviously, my own family inspired it. Wha??? A story about a girl wanting to be a boy is about family? Um, yes it is. You'll have to read it to find out why. Ha!

10-What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

Ooh, what to give away? I'll just say someone has to give someone else the lowdown on the birds and the bees. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during that whole conversation. Hehe.

I'm gonna tag the last 5 people to leave a comment on my blog:

J.A. Bennett
Rachel McClellan
Kelley Lynn
Amy L. Sonnichsen
David P. King

To participate, just answer these ten questions on your own blog and tag 5 more. Be sure to let me know if you decide to play. Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Writing Retreat!

I cleaned, scraped walls, moved furniture, taped, painted, painted again, antique-glazed, decoupaged, decorated and finally, FINALLY finished my new writers retreat! It took me ALL weekend and every muscle in my body is screaming, but I can't tell you how excited I am to have a writing space of my own. Check it out:

The giant star that has followed me through three houses. Books. And my favorite picture: a five generation shot of me (baby), mom, grandpa, great-grandma and great-great grandma.

Teddy Roosevelt quote on the wall. So true.

A close-up of the desk I decoupaged with pages from Pride and Prejudice. 

Leather chaise for when sitting at the desk won't cut it. I might call it my nap chair.

Me, doing some serious writerly thinking and such. :)

More books and stuff.

I know, I am so spoiled. Hopefully my own writing room will result in utter brilliance on the page. Or at least put a smile on my face every day. So...where do you write?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cover Reveal for Elana Johnson's ABANDON!

So excited to participate in the cover reveal of the YA novel, ABANDON (Possession, #3), by the amazing Elana Johnson. Published by Simon Pulse, the expected release is June 2013. Thanks to AToMR Tours for hosting this event. Isn't it sooo pretty?

Here are the fun details:

Book description: 

seduced by power,
broken by control,
and consumed by love...

Vi has made her choice between Jag and Zenn, and the Resistance may have suffered for it. But with the Thinkers as strong as ever, the rebels still have a job to do. Vi knows better than anyone that there's more at stake than a few broken hearts. 

But there is a traitor among them...and the choices he makes could lead to the total destruction of everything Vi has fought for.

Vi, Jag, and Zenn must set their problems aside for the Resistance to have any hope of ending the Thinkers' reign. Their success means everything...and their failure means death.

ALSO: Elana is running a Pinterest contest for the cover. She wants to get 500 pins (or repins) over the next two days. If we can get that many, she'll pick someone who pinned the cover to win a $50 Amazon gift card.  It's so easy to do this. All you have to do is click this PIN IT button and select one of your boards to pin the cover to. Elana has done everything else! Don't have a Pinterest board yet? Put it on your Tumblr page. Your Facebook page. Your twitter stream. Elana will count those too! Just be sure to tag her (@ElanaJ on twitter, Possession by Elana Johnson on Facebook).

And Abandon can be found on Goodreads:

Congrats Elana!

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's GUTGAA Judging Week!

This week I'll be beta reading, online writing contest judging, and writing room decorating. I'm hoping to get some form of actual writing in, but at least my planned activities are writing related, right?

For the 200 lucky writers who managed to get into the GUTGAA agent contest, I will be reading and voting like a madwoman this week. The final 50 will have a chance to be bid on by a bazillion agents (slight exaggeration). So where will I be judging? One of these fabulous sites:

Deana Barnhart
Jaye Robin Brown
Cassie Mae
Robin Weeks
Falling for Fiction

But I'm not telling which. And I can't tell you my super secret judge name either. But I can say it will be one of these:

Missus Braidyhead
Princess Fluffypants
Sugar Magnolia
Molly Loo
The Rooster
The Revisionist
Lumpy Space Princess
Lady Luna
Lady Blingley
Miss Mary Mac

Just for fun, guess which one is my secret name and we'll see if anyone guessed right next week. 

If you haven't heard of GUTGAA, there's still time to sign up for the small press contest in a couple of weeks. And you are more than welcome to check out the entries on the blog links above and leave comments yourself. Good luck, everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

What I've been up to...

For the last couple of weeks, my life has been this:

Season tickets for the whole fam.

Hosting parties for the kids. Tess Hilmo lovingly called this one 8th grade soup. :)

Homeschooling the little rugrats.

No, I haven't been reading. I've been trading rooms in the house and this is the start of my new "writing retreat."

It takes a tank and a miracle to get anywhere near my house these days thanks to construction.

But mostly, I've been doing this:

I can't believe how spot on this video is. It is me and the husband EXACTLY. A special thanks to Emily Prusso for making me watch BSG and calling me out with this clip. But now that it's over (for me at least, my husband is already on episode 10 on his second round thanks to resting at home after lasik surgery...he is insane), I can finally get back to doing more of this:

House in desperate need of cleaning.

Which leaves a whole lot of NO TIME for actual writing. But that's okay. That's the beauty of life. Our priorities shift and change, often from day to day, and that's okay. Besides, I figure I could use all this "living" for story inspiration. I'm sure teen football homeschoolers obsessed with BSG in a world of dirty houses and construction thick neighborhoods is the next big thing in YA lit. Right?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cover Reveal for STRENGTH

I'm super excited to participate in the cover reveal for Carrie Butler's novel, STRENGTH. Here's a little about the book, set to come out in March 2013 from Sapphire Star publishing:

When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.

And for the cover, drumroll please...

Here's a look at the trailer...

Congrats Carrie!

Where to find Carrie:

Where to find Strength:

Friday, September 7, 2012

What I REALLY Did Last Summer--The Results

Having to wait all week to tell you the truth has been torture, but here it is...

FACT: I did go to Volterra, Italy for my tenth wedding anniversary! 

The trip was an epic one. We flew into Paris and all we knew is we had to be in Rome two weeks later. We completely winged the whole vacation and went from Paris to Germany (where we rented a Porsche for my husband to drive on the Autobahn) to Switzerland and over the Alps to Italy. 

I had convinced my husband before the trip that we should go to Volterra for a day and chickened out once there, thinking it would be much more responsible and logical to see the leaning tower of Pisa instead. But my amazing husband said, "No Way. How many people can say they've lived their favorite book?" and he insisted we go to Volterra. Is he amazing or what? We did rent a Harley at a shop in Florence. Here's the proof:

Here's the bike parked at the villa we stayed at just outside of Florence.

Collectable t-shirt. Yes, we spent an absurd amount of time at the Harley shop. 
(And the freakin' Porsche museum in Germany :)

I think it's hilarious that detail dissuaded so many readers. Yes, my butt was sore by the end of the day, but it was worth it. And Volterra was A-MAZING! So old and ancient and Italian. And since it was before Twilight *the movies*, no one had any idea about the books or Stephenie Meyer. (Believe me, I tried to tell a shop owner that it was kind of a big deal and he just nodded like I was a crazy person.) Vacation to remember!

My "Edward" in the shadows of the clock tower in Volterra, Italy.

The ancient streets of Volterra.

FICTION: No, Owen Wilson did not hit on me! 

I *did* see Wayne Brady at a Ross, and my parents saw Dominic Monaghan at Sears (and talked to him) and Matthew Fox at the airport (yes, with chains and all) but I wasn't with them. And one of my husband's employees did intern for a movie production company, but I never went to the set with her. She was the one who got hit on by Owen Wilson. He actually took her out and they ended up at his rental home (yes, it was Elvis' house) and he tried to kiss her. But she wouldn't let him. Good girl. Although if I *had* gone with her to the set and Owen got a look at me, well, then...

Thanks for playing. Now I'm heading to everyone else's blogs to see if I was right!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I Did Last Summer...Story #2

First off, my GUTGAA Meet and Greet post can be found here. And if you missed Story #1, go here

Also, today I am being interviewed by the Writerly Rejects. Go and check it out. While you're there, scroll down and take note of the awesome agent contest they have going on this Friday. Then pop on back to read my post.

Okay, you're back. I'm so excited to share with you my second story in the What I Did Last Summer Blog Hop. You have to decide, is it fact or fiction?

Among the many amazing things that go along with living in Hawaii, celebrity sightings happen more than you would think. It's not Hollywood, but thanks to TV shows like Baywatch, Lost, and Hawaii Five-O, and movies like Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Soul Surfer (my house was in that one!) being filmed there, we get our fair share of running-into-the-famous. 

I once saw Wayne Brady at a Ross Dress for Less store, and Dominic Monaghan at Sears (during the Lost years, of course). My dad is a HUGE fantasy fan and talked with Dominic in the electronics section of the department store FOREVER about his role as a hobbit in Lord of the Rings. And once at the airport, we were behind Matthew Fox (Lost) in the security line where he was taking forever removing a bunch of metal chains and such from his clothes and person. I know...airport security. Why would you even? Weird.

Well about ten years back I was living with the hubs and two kids on the north shore of Oahu, where I grew up. My husband had started a web design business and his employees were composed of students from the local university. One was a girl who was also interning for a movie production company. She had inside access to the set of a movie being filmed at Turtle Bay, a local hotel and resort that hosts movie crews quite often. She invited me to go with her one day for some celebrity gawking and I timidly agreed. The movie being filmed was The Big Bounce. Come on, I couldn't resist a chance to see Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinise, and oh yeah...this guy:

Not long after we arrived on scene, Owen Wilson himself came over to talk to us. I had no idea she was THAT close to the cast, and I could've died of sheer terror and shyness. He was super nice and all, asking me my name, how long I'd lived there, yada yada. Then he started telling us about a house he was renting during filming that once belonged to Elvis and then, AND THEN asked what we were doing later. And before you go deciding FICTION right there, I might add that after two kids, I still had it going on back then. Of course he wasn't singling me out, but I was terrified none the less. I ended up doing this lame flash of my left hand with wedding ring thing and saying something about meeting up with my husband. Totally not smooth and surely completely red in the face, but it's definitely a story to remember!

So what do you think? Did I really go to Volterra, Italy on the back of a Harley for my tenth wedding anniversary, or did Owen Wilson really hit on talk to me? Tell me which one is fact and which one is fiction, then come back on Friday to find out the truth. Mwahahaha!

Monday, September 3, 2012

What I Did Last Summer...Story #1

If you are here for the GUTGAA Meet and Greet, you can find my post here, or just scroll down.

This is my Monday post for the What I Did Last Summer: Fact or Fiction? Blog Hop hosted by Emily R. King and Melodie Wright. I'm sharing a summer story today (under 500 words) and another on Wednesday. It is up to you, the readers, to determine which story is true and which one is false. So here goes...

You may have heard about this book called Twilight. No? Well it's a YA paranormal romance series written by Stephenie Meyer and was kind of popular a few years back. :) Yeah, well. I was kind of a die-hard fan: in line at midnight at Borders *sigh* for each successive book, stalking all fan message boards for any forthcoming movie info, having to buy a second copy of every book because my original set was in tatters from lending it out to every living soul in the world (who am I kidding, I read those babies to death). And I want to hear a woot-woot from anyone who knows who Ilyana Kadushin is. ;)

Well, my obsession  had me convincing my husband that for our 10th wedding anniversary, we should make the trip to Volterra, Italy. You know, to retrace Bella's Porsche drive through Tuscany, push our way through the crowds to the clock tower, meet the Volturi, see if Edward was-a-lurking. And because my husband is the bestest in the whole world, he agreed. 

We drove miles and miles through gorgeous Italy and up to the ancient city on the back of a Harley that we rented for the day. I took pictures of the clock tower and tried to catch a glimpse of the underground vampire royalty without any luck. But I did end up with a lovely Volterra magnet for my fridge and a bruised butt from riding the Harley all day. And of course I ate some delicious, authentic, Italian, creamy pasta that was almost as yummy as Edward (book version, of course).

And that's my story. Be sure to stop by on Wednesday for Story #2 then let me know (in the comments of each post) which is fact and which is fiction. See you opening night for Breaking Dawn 2!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet

Hello. Nice to meet you. I'm Ilima Todd and though I'm not officially participating in GUTGAA, I am one of the first round judges and will shamelessly use any opportunity to meet new friends in the writer-blogger world. So, welcome. Here are my answers to the meet and greet questions. I can't wait to hop around and get to know you all a little better!

Where do you write?
I'm a writing nomad. It could be on our giant desktop in the library or my laptop on my bed. But my secret? I'm getting my very own writing room as soon as I have the time to clear out our playroom and move all those toys (my kids are getting way too old). So I'm THRILLED for that.

Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?
Um. Diet coke. I should seriously invest in an IV and just straight shoot the stuff. Don't judge me.

Favorite time to write?
Late night, after all the kids are tucked in bed. I can't write with distractions so this is the only way to go. And waking up early is SO not happening.

Drink of choice while writing?
Um. I think you know the answer to that one. :)

When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Music, definitely music. I am a devout listener of the M83 station on Pandora, but sometimes I have to play music that relates to what I'm writing. For example, a section of my last book took place in a futuristic, edgy city and I HAD to listen to techno/dance music.

What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The one I've just started (my fun book!) is from my family history. My fourth great grandfather served as a captain on one of James Cook's ships to Hawaii in the late 1700's. He helped King Kamehameha unite the islands by providing guns which gave the king an edge in battle. As a reward he was given the daughter of a chief in marriage. So it's a love story. What other kind of stories are there, really? :)

What's your most valuable writing tip?
Don't. Stop. Writing. It's a rough and many times lonely journey, but if you love it, don't give up.

And my mini bio?
Here's the one Deana posted on her 1st Round Judges Revealed post:

Ilima Todd is a homeschooling mom of four by day, writer by night (usually late late night) rep'd by Jennifer Skutelsky of Veritas Literary. She writes YA sci-fi and fantasy with lots of kissing while listening to the M83 station on Pandora. Sometimes she thinks her husband is a sleeper-cylon but doesn't think avocados are the greatest invention ever. She knows it.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck with GUTGAA!