Wednesday, December 30, 2009

LOOKING BACK ON 2009 + *My Top Hot 5*

This year hasn't been particularly good for me. I can't say for the overall effect but I went through a really tough time when I lost my grandpa in June. Grandpa who was my confidant and the most awesome person ever. Losing him was something I never really contemplated...which I guess is silly because life's a flippant thing. I learnt that when an old friend of mine passed away at the beginning of the year. She suddenly fell ill one Thursday, was taken to the hospital on Friday where during a city scan the docs detected a tumour and on Saturday she was dead. Just like that. No symptom of any previous serious medical condition. Forever 18. 
Yeah, that's how flippant life is.

I'm not kidding about the tough thing. I've been through major, major upheavals this year. And each upheaval's left me numb each time. Numb and emotionally dead. Time passes, life goes on...and I found my escape in writing (lots of poems flowed out during this period). Writing and books. My santuary.

That's when reflection started trickling in, along with a sense of urgency. Urgency about doing it right now. About living in the moment. Carpe Dium.

That's why SW is so important to me. It helped me find my escape (and no, I don't think escapism is necessarily bad). My haven. I've never been the one draft in three-months-or -less-writer but I've never worked with such an urgency as I'm doing with SW. And, I've never held on to any work for so long.
I lost a lot this year but it has also given me SW, which is now a major part of my life.

The books, as always, have been awesome companions, comforters (that a word?). All these years and I can still count on them. This year there have been some great releases --fab debuts, fab non-debutes, shaken-not-stirred heroines, high calorie males. It's been a great year for the writing industry. So, I just thought I'd do Top 5s of my fave books, characters and such.


TOP 5 HOT BOOKS OF THE YEAR

TAKEN BY STORM. I've gushed and gushed and gushed about this book. My fave debut.

> HUSH HUSH. It kept me hyperventilating. I was ecstatic, thrilled, elated, frightened --I don't think any book's made me feel all the emotions at one go.

> WHEREVER NINA LIES. One of the best roadtrip books I've read. I don't know how accurate the portrayal of all those places was since I haven't been to any of them but I think this book had the mood just right. Breezy, then a leap right into thrilling.

> THE HUNGER GAMES/CATCHING FIRE. I don't know what to say about this. If you've read them you know what I mean. If you haven't, well, you're missing out.

> WINGS. This book is so sweet. It brought back magic (in a good way) since Harry Potter.


TOP 5 HOT FIC MALES OF THE YEAR

>PATCH (Hush Hush) *stops breathing* Move over, everyone! Patch makes you lust over a fic character like never before. The bad guy is here to stay.

>ADRIAN (Vampire Academy series). I don't want the popular guy, give me the outcast anyday! Twisted humour defines Adrian. Dream on.

>TAMANI (Wings). Charming. Witty. Gorgeous. Want more? He's a faerie.

> MICHAEL MOSCOVITZ (The Princess Diaries). Okay, Forever Princess came out last year, so technically he shouldn't be on this year's list, but, c'mon..who can get over Michael Moscovitz? He's perfect. He invented a robotic CardioArm. And he read Mia's 400 page romance. And said it was hot. Yeah, hot.

> PEETA (The Hunger Games). Good guys aren't done away with. Sweet Peeta's on the 'Most Wanted' list.


TOP 5 HOT FIC FEMALES OF THE YEAR

> LEESIE HUNT (Taken By Storm). Bogged down by rules of your faith --fight it or succumb? Hold your own. That's Leesie Hunt. Adorable. Strong. Someone you'd love to know. Oh, and she writes poems. Fab ones, too.

> KATNISS EVERDEEN (Hunger Games/Catching Fire). Equally capable of fierce love and fierce hatred. She hunts. She fights. And she can beat any boy any day. Absolutely K-I-C-K-A-S-S.

> NORA GREY (Hush Hush). Even with someone with as strong a presense as Patch, this girl knows what she wants. Being a mere human makes her no damsel in distress. And she's a fun person too.

> ELLIE (Wherever Nina Lies). No, she isn't paired opposite a hotter-than-hot male, nor does she have any significant talent. But Ellie is awesome. You can't help loving her. She is determined to track down her sister even when glaring, impossible-to-remove obstacles stand in her way. <33

> AISLINN (Fragile Eternity). The fifth was a difficult choice considering all the awesome female MCs and non-MCs we've got this year, but Aislinn it is. There's just something about her. Even when she wasn't Summer Queen she was special. And we should know how hard it must be to choose between Seth and Keenan.


BOOK(S) THAT SHOULD BE MADE INTO A MOVIE: (Tie!) HUSH HUSH & THE HUNGER GAMES

Really, there should be a Thank You Award sent to all the wonderful writers who have written such fantastic books this year (and, yes, over the years).
Anyway.
                                         THANK YOU!
From me.

And to all you lovely twifties, G'luck with all your WiPs and SNIs.
I, for one, can't wait to see them ALL in print! :D

                                           ~Wrapping up this year~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday Sundae: CONNECTION ~Jo Ramsey

I know it's Monday, but I'll still go ahead with a SUNDAY SUNDAE post. Bear with me.


At the start of high school, Shanna Bailey doesn’t imagine her life will change. She’s always been the one everyone else puts down, even her own mother. Shanna is positive high school will be no better. But when she meets Jonah Leighton, everything changes. Though most other kids make fun of and even fear Jonah, Shanna finds him to be kind and thoughtful, and he amazes her with the things he knows. Even more amazing, he wants to teach her what he’s learned, and he wants to be her friend.



When Kaylie Sturbridge, one of the popular crowd, starts acting strangely, flipping out in school and shouting about a dark thing following her, her friends shun her. Only Jonah seems to know what’s going on, and he persuades Shanna to work with him to help Kaylie. But can the two of them rid Kaylie of the entity that wants to take over? And can Shanna trust herself enough to do what Jonah needs her to?
 
This is the first book of The Reality Shift series. I came across this writer on AW where she posted an excerpt and decided that I had to post about it. Always glad to see a new YA writer on the block. CONNECTION comes out in Jan. 2010.
Oh, and you can find out more about the book here.
 
PS. Aren't the models on the cover hot?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

*~CHRISTMAS CHEER to/from Writer Buddies~*

It isn't the Christmas warmth that's spreading over me. It's the warmth from YOU.
Yes, You-- all of you guys.

I realised something. Not like one of those sudden "BAM!" realisations, but a slow, steady one.
I've been writing forever. Atleast as long as I can go back to un-fuzzy memories. Like about the time I was six years old and I caught chicken pox so I was quarantined to my grandma's. That was the first time I stayed away from my mum for such a long time so, I wrote a letter to her everyday. Funny thing is, I never posted them. Just wrote them in this diary she sent me. Talk about kiddy personal satisfaction. When I got back home, I still had a lotta pages from the diary left, so I started writing. Just like that --poems and stories and just about anything. That's how writing stuck with me. I'm emotionally, psychologically dependent on it.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is, even though I've been writing all my life, it's taken on a new meaning since I got this blog, joined AW and met all you wonderful people. Most of my friends aren't writers. Atleast no one is as stuck on YA as I am (mentally stunted takes on a whole new meaning with me). So writing and wanting to getting published was always my BIG SECRET.

Being a writer in solitude might have a lot of pros but I think having people to share your work with has more pros. As I've observed since November, when I really got this blog going. Having writer buddies has not only spurred me on to write more, but it's made me a better writer, I can tell. Or rather, I know. Or, okay, maybe I'm just delirious with all the cold I've caught.

Whatever it is, I wanna thank all you guys for being such great people. ALL OF YOU. You're all very special "snowflakes" in your own rights.
                                             *HUGS*

In the meantime, though it's still Christmas Eve Eve

And, oh yeah, don't forget to tell me all your Mistletoe Stories (you know what I mean, don't you-- you accidentally/intentionally step under the mistletoe, falling into/out of the arms of...?)


*Hohoho*!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

*TSK TSK* Teaser~#4

Sorry I'm not doing a Kissing Day/Belated kissing day post.
This is just the usual teaser but one I had great fun writing.


***

*snipped*

Monday, December 21, 2009

READERBUZZ: The Goddess Society ~ Kelly McKain

I'm back! After a hiatus (you missed me right? Oh, tell me you did anyway!). The blame goes back to my troublesome keyboard. It's been replaced so hopefully there won't be another obstacle in my blogging life any time soon, unless of course, the monitor conks out or something (yeah, my comp's ancient).
So, here I am. Back with a book after, yeah, ages. I've read so many books lately, dunno why I never ended up reviewing any. Will do, soon though.
Kelly McKain's THE GODDESS SOCIETY came out a few years ago but I only picked it up from the library a couple of days ago.





Sex isn't always about love.



And love isn't always about sex… When Jen, Lia and Shelley form a society to lose their virginity they each expect their first time to be perfect. But there are a few teeny problems. Friends, parents, kid brothers and drag queens all cause chaos - not to mention the boys themselves…


I was really tired after a long day out and had an assignment to work on, so I planned only on reading the first chapter before zoning out. Bad idea. Assignment forgotten, I read the book in a single sitting. THE GODDESS SOCIETY doesn't have kickass heroines or damsels in distress swooning into the arms of the hottest guy in class/town. These girls are real people, goddesses in their own rights, learning about themselves, finding themselves in a maze of confused feelings. This isn't a female version of Melvin Burgess' DOING IT. It's about love and heartbreak, living and dying. In short, it's about the world we build in and around ourselves..about life itself.
From what I know, this is Kelly McKain's only YA venture (Point rates it strictly for teenagers) but she has a gem in here. It hooked me in, especially with the multi-narrator thing (each chapter is narrated by a different character-- Jen, Shelley and Lia) and warmed me within.
I really liked THE GODDESS SOCIETY and yeah, I do want to read the sequel, THE LOST GODDESS.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

*TSK TSK* Teaser: #3

I had one of my 'Eureka' moments Sunday night, which resulted in me going all the way back to Chapter One to add a new scene. This new scene will set off significant changes throughout the book which I now have to add/edit along. At the pace I'm going it's gonna take an eternity before I have a polished draft.
Still, my new Dec 31st deadline to whip up the first draft stays. For now.

So, yes, the snippet.

*snipped*

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Sundae: SING ME TO SLEEP ~ Angela Morrison

I've been terrible lately, especially with the irratic blogging. Blame it on University. It's been eating up all my time, totally stressing me out. Plus, I'm trying to get SW done by the 31st of Dec. (Yeah, I know, I'm terrible with deadlines, but I'm hell bent on this one) so that's taking up the all the spare time I can manage. And, um, well, there's another tiny intrusion in the form of a *cough* Patch Cipriano *cough* (considering that HUSH HUSH arrived in my mailbox yesterday) but I'm trying to *cough* resist *cough* temptation *cough*.
So, a short post on 'Book To LOOK OUT For' but one I hope you won't mind.




THE TRANSFORMATION
Beth has always been “The Beast”—that’s what everyone at school calls her because of her awkward height, facial scars, and thick glasses. Beth’s only friend is geeky, golden-haired Scott. That is, until she’s selected to be her choir’s soprano soloist, and receives the makeover that will change her life forever.
THE LOVE AFFAIR
When Beth’s choir travels to Switzerland, she meets Derek: pale, brooding, totally dreamy. Derek’s untethered passion—for music, and for Beth—leaves her breathless. Because in Derek’s eyes? She’s not The Beast, she’s The Beauty.
THE IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE
When Beth comes home, Scott, her best friend in the world, makes a confession that leaves her completely torn. Should she stand by sweet, steady Scott or follow the dangerous, intense new feelings she has for Derek?
THE HEARTBREAK
The closer Beth gets to Derek, the further away he seems. Then Beth discovers that Derek’s been hiding a dark secret from her …one that could shatter everything.


I loved Angela Morrison's TAKEN BY STORM (you can read my review here). That was my first ever post (actually second, but the official first post doesn't really count). Infact, TBS was the book that inspired me to start a blog in the first place (not that it has anything to do with blogging but 'cos I so badly wanted to review it so that people read the book).
Just look at that cover. It's gorgeous! (yeah, I'm pretty much of a cover whore) Even the premise is so promising, it just draws me in. I'm certainly keeping an eye out for this one. It comes out in March 2010.
Sometime soon I'll try hosting Angela Morrison for CHATTERBUZZ, so keep a look out :D

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

*TSK TSK*....~Teaser~

I hope you'll allow me to ramble before I put up the teaser. 
Last week was awesome. I got tons written on Spirits Within *yay*..thanks to all the wonderful twifties and non-twifties on AW.
And the awesome Lauren Mechling I interviewed last week posted about the interview on her blog. Like I said, she's absolutely fab!
And, I won a giveaway on Marjolein's blog *punches the air*...
...yeah, it's been bliss.
Ahem, so back to the teaser. This is the rough, bare bones of it..which will need a lot of polishing, but I'll share it with all you awesome people anyway :-)
Plus, this one's kinda long. By the way, the Oliver guy mentioned here is a ghost.

 
*snipped*

Friday, December 4, 2009

CHATTERBUZZ: Welcomes...*LAUREN MECHLING*

STOP RIGHT HERE.

Welcome to the very first edition of CHATTERBUZZ which will feature interviews, writer tips and the usual chatter from writers far and wide, published, upcoming and soon-to-be-published.
Today, I'm really excited to present the fab...

*Drumroll*


....*LAUREN MECHLING*

She co-wrote the 10th Grade Social Climber Series and is the author of the upcoming DREAM GIRL series. DREAM LIFE comes out in January 2010.


So, hold your breath. Lets hear it straight from Lauren.


The Book we so HAVE to read...
"Dream Girl" is a delicious tale about a half-French girl detective who discovers that her dreams might be worth listening to. In the sequel "Dream Life," Claire gets tapped to join a very fabulous secret society.But it's not just clubhouse pajama parties and inexplicable traditions--thanks to her dreams she sniffs out that she and the club are both in quite a bit of trouble. It's all very action-packed, a la James Bond, except instead of a craggy-faced villain named Demetri or Nubius, the villains come in slightly more interesting--and slippery--forms.

And you are...
I am a newspaper editor by day, teen fiction writer by night. Well, early morning if you want to get technical about it.
What sparked off the inspiration for Dream Girl? 
"Dream Girl" is really a love letter to New York. I imagined what it would be like if all of my favorite places--the Waldorf hotel, the tea shops in the East Village, Green-Wood Cemetery, etc--were actually important places in somebody's daily life. I'm so jealous of Claire!
  
What has been your 'Eureka' moment so far?
I wrote Dream Girl when I was a full-time writer. Now that I have a day job, it's been fascinating to discover that I can write about half as much as I was as a "full-time writer"  in a fraction of the time. It's all about making the most of the tiny parcels of free time you do have.
Your website says that in fifth grade you whipped up a home-made pencil costume for Halloween. Was it any different in your teens?
Did I get my sexy on, you mean? Sadly, no. My 12th grade Halloween costume involved wearing an ET nightgown and elaborately teased hair.


Why write YA? You look very much like an adult.
It's true--I'm an old lady. I like to write YA because of all the roller coastery twists and turns it allows for. The stuff I've written for grown-ups tends to be slower and, well, not as good. Plus, I was a more passionate reader as a teen than I am now and I like to think I'm writing for people who love books harder than any other readers. I love love my readers.
If you were marooned on an uninhabited island and had the option of taking one book along (barring your own), which would it be?
Ooh! Can I say my Kindle, which has Edith Wharton's "Old New York," "Alice and Wonderland" and "Vampire Academy" on it? If not, I'd say my favorite book of all time: "Quartet in Autumn" by Barbara Pym. I should warn you, it's very weird.

The Golden tip for the writers. Okay, one that you feel aspiring writers should keep in mind.
As I said above, slow and steady wins the race. You don't have to despair if you can't write a book in a few months--however long it takes is fine. I take yoga classes, and the teachers are always talking about "my practice," meaning their daily commitment. I'm not sure I could handle pretzeling myself for 90 minutes every day, but I do like the idea of having "a practice" if it's writing. It centers me, to sit at my desk every morning. I'd recommend any aspiring writer try to write for ten minutes a day, just to see what it feels like to be committed to something for the long haul.

Five random things about yourself in the next thirty seconds.
I nervously twiddle my hair.
I always buy too much cheese at the supermarket even though I don't really like cheese.
I like the Twilight movies a lot more than the books.
I have dreams about people that change the way I feel about them.
I believe in wearing perfume at all times.
Okay, now spill a secret. *Grins*

Sometimes I go to the movies by myself and don't tell anybody.
Thanks, Lauren!
It's been great talking to you.
We wish you lots of bestsellers and a totally fab writing career.
To know more about Dream Girl or Lauren check out her website.
And go purchase the book on Amazon
~xoxo 
 
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