YA Wednesday? Is this a Thing?

Ok. So I know that this is Wed which means it’s Wrap it up Wed, right? Weeeeell, the thing is after Hurricane Irma shook up my entire state….Ohhhh Florida….

I decided I was going to shake things up a little here on the blog….

Yup. There is no controlling me. Instead of wrapping up what went down in critique group yesterday, I’m going to talk about the YA books I’m excited about reading…I know. I KNOW! It’s insanity. It’s too much. It’s going to happen, so you may as well take a seat.

The thing is, Reading was my first boyfriend. And I still get giddy thinking about spending time with him.  So I’m going to let you all know what’s on my TBR pile. Right this minute. Then maybe, you can show me yours after I’ve shown you mine! Fun, right?

 

So this book has been on my radar for a long time! I love Cyn Balog’s work. She’s a Sourcebooks sibling (we both have books published at the same house) Have you read her book Unnatural Deeds yet? If not, why not? It is so so so good. This one is her newest. It releases Nov 1st. Here’s the blurb:

This must-read for lovers of Stephen King’s The Shining will leave readers breathless as Seda and her family find themselves at the mercy of a murderer in an isolated and snowbound hotel. Get ready for what Kirkus calls “A bloody, wonderfully creepy scare ride.”

OMG! The Shining for teens? So there! Add this to your list. We can read it together and compare notes. Kay? Kay.

My secret author crush right now is Anna-Marie McLemore. Weight of Feathers was her debut and I could not get how incredible and lush the writing was. And talk about all the feels! This one releases October 3. Already pre-ordered!

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

 

Finally, there’s this book I’ve been meaning to read since it came out last spring.

Here’s the log-line:

Every story needs a hero. 
Every story needs a villain. 
Every story needs a secret. 

Interesting, yes? That’s the intrigue of Wink Poppy Midnight. 

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

So that’s it. My picks for this week.

What are you guys excited about reading?

Using Isolation for your Novel Characters

Waiting out Hurricane Irma with no power, and no phone service got me thinking about isolation. Humans are inherently social creatures. We seek the company of others. I was fortunate to have my husband with me so there was plenty of conversation, but also time to contemplate. We as humans need conversation, we want to be included in groups, whether it’s a sports team or a religious group or even a fabulous critique group. I thought about the long term effects of isolation to a person and how it could affect one’s character.

Psychologists say that socialization is critical for the mental health of children and seniors. There are two types of isolation: social and physical. Social isolation occurs when someone feels they don’t fit in. Bullying is a prime example as is the archaic practice of shunning. Physical isolation occurs if someone is tangibly prevented from interacting with others like in a kidnapping. People can both mentally and physically isolate themselves from intense fear like a survivalist who lives in the woods.

Social isolation has been used as a tool in many thrillers. Children who are bullied can become serial killers as in The Wilderness of Ruin, a true crime novel about Jesse Pomeroy, a boy who at the age of fourteen became a serial killer.  Adults can be bullied at work, leading someone to ‘go postal’. The Shunning by B. Lewis is a story about a bride shunned by the Amish.

Think about how isolation would affect you. If you suddenly ended up alone in a desperate situation would you shrivel up and cry or organize your thoughts to figure out a necessary strategy? Would you become increasingly depressed until you couldn’t function, or would you be so anxious you’d have a heart attack?

 

Studying how isolation affects human nature can be useful in plotting or as backstory for one of your characters. The effects of isolation can enhance your characters actions and motivations. Use isolation to increase tension, and heighten suspense to keep your readers turning the pages as fast as a hurricane.

Hurricane Evacuation and New York Books!

Hello Tuesdays!

OMG, it’s been forever since I’ve posted! Actually, it’s been forever since any of The Tuesdays posted. You see, for those of you who don’t know, The Tuesdays all live in Florida, and we had this little thing called Hurricane Irma. You may have heard of it? I think the news might’ve mentioned it a couple of times.

But, anyway, this thing was forecast to be a MONSTER! And we Floridians were kind of busy with hurricane prep and then dealing with the aftermath! There was also the question of whether to stay and hunker down or flee elsewhere. I kind of wanted to stay and hunker, but my family wanted to flee. So, we compromised and did what they wanted. But, as far as fleeing goes, we picked a great spot to go to . . . New York!

Now, I’m originally from New York. A Brooklyn kid, to be exact. So, I love going back and visiting. Still have a ton of family and friends there, so this became somewhat of an evacuation vacation. I got together with a few friends, and what was really fun this trip, was being able to meet some new ones, who until this getaway, I’d only known virtually. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s amazing how through social media, you can feel like you know someone for real, and that’s how it felt for me. But, this trip it was really great to finally meet personally.

 

While I was there, I started getting nostalgic for all the stories I used to read as a kid, which featured New York. New York is such a vibrant place, that the city almost becomes another character in the story. So, I decided to make a small list of some of my favorite books which take place in NY.

And away we go!

  1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg

You CAN’T have a New York book list without this one! I used to love this book as a kid. Just the thought of staying overnight in a museum was thrilling. I wanted to be those kids! There’s a fun mystery to boot, but really, the appeal was staying in that museum overnight.

  1. The Night at the Museum, by Milan Trenc

This is the picture book which inspired the movies. A night guard at the Museum of Natural history, has to deal with the exhibits coming to life. Spending overnight in a museum? Are you sensing a theme in books which I like?

  1. Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

This is a fun mystery about a girl who discovers famous paintings which belonged to her late grandfather, and she worries that, since he used to be a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he might’ve stolen them.

  1. Stuart Little, by E.B. White

Always enjoyed this book about a mouse in a family of humans, who gets to have adventures in NY. Really sweet story.

  1. Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Another classic, which Harriet keeps notes about all her classmates, but then loses her notebook. Unfortunately for her, her friends find it and read the things she’s written about them. She has to fix things, before her life falls apart.

Of course, there are many, many more, as well as some great new books featuring New York City, which are coming out all the time. Be on the lookout for them!

Hurricane Irma Madness

The Tuesdays met yesterday before hurricane Irma headed our way. Melody is moving along with lots of emotion in her current WIP. Faran started a new story, sure to please all sports fans. I read a revised edition of the last two chapters of my WIP. Jonathan entertained us all with the wit in his next hilarious middle grade novel.

We are all in the midst of hurricane prep or driving out of the state to avoid Irma so the Tuesdays will not be postingfor a while. We hope those of you who live in Irma’s path stay safe and that your electricity returns quickly.

 

 

Tuesday Tips: Butt in Chair

Well, it’s my turn for Tuesday Tips, which means I get to share some tips for writing.

For those of you believe in the BIC (butt in chair) technique, raise your hand if you’ve sat in your chair for hours without advancing your story. (My hand is stretching toward the sky, by the way.)

If you’re like me, it happens about once a week, so here’s what I’ve learned: Once I’ve tried writing for at least an hour without producing much of anything (mostly writing and rewriting the same passage), I give myself permission to walk away. At first, when I started doing this, I felt guilty. I needed my BIC if I was ever going to finish this novel! But what I discovered is, I’m a lot less frustrated about writing if I don’t force myself to sit there when I’m clearly producing crap.

So…next time you get angry at yourself for not being a better writer—next time you feel bitter or frustrated about what you’re producing (or not producing)—do yourself a favor and walk away. If you’re anything like me, you’ll come back the next day fresher, more excited, and ultimately more productive.

Books You’ve Got to Read…or Listen To!

www.tuesdaywriters.comI’m nearly finished with Angie’s Thomas’ The Hate U Give read beautifully by Bahni Turpin. (Last year I listened to her read Everything Everything. She’s one of my favorite readers!) It’s a book right now that is timely and true and sad. The main character, Starr, was in a car driven by her best friend Khalil who is pulled over by the cops and shot in front of her. Starr had been straddling the inner-city neighborhood where she lives with the suburban prep school she starting attending years before after another of her best friends was killed in a gang drive-by. This is a must read. I was on the waiting list nearly all summer for this one, so it’s getting a lot of readers. You should be one, too.

 

 

 

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is on this years Florida Teens www.tuesdaywriters.comRead. It’s the kind of book where you root for the main character and hope she gets what she wants in the end. Jessie’s father surprise married someone she didn’t even know he was dating and moves her from her Chicago public school to Los Angeles. A Los Angeles filled with model-worthy class mates at an ultra prep school. When Jessie receives an anonymous email from someone offering her guidance on how to navigate her new world, she takes it.

 

 

 

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner is also on the Florida Teens Read list this year. Dill’s only solace in this world are his friends Travis and Lydia. Dill’s father, a Pentecostal preacher who encouraged his parishioners to let deadly snakes coil around them is in jail for child pornography. Dill’s mother would like him to drop out of school and start working full time to support the family. He’s also grieving the loss of Lydia in anticipation of her going away to college when he know’s he’ll be stuck home forever. When Dill learns that his mother blames him for his father’s imprisonment, it cracks his resolve to keep going.

 

 

 

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (author of another book I loved, Dumplin) is the story of Ramona who got the www.tuesdaywriters.comnickname Ramona Blue because she loves swimming so much. Ramona works in a restaurant/bar and is about to start her senior year of high school. There’s no way out for Ramona. She thought she and her older sister would move out of town once they both graduated, but now that her sister is pregnant, Ramona knows the money she’s been saving will all go to the baby. Ramona also just spent the summer in her first real relationship with a girl. A girl who has a boyfriend back home. She’s mixed up and sad when Freddie, a boy she was friends with years ago, moves to town. Could she be attracted to him, too? Julie Murphy is an author sensitive to addressing what’s important to teens with real, fleshed-out characters.

 

Whether you listen or read, you should check out these wonderful YA books!

Librarians and Author Visits

The Tuesdays welcome Diana Perri-Haneski, media specialist at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School.

 

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What do Librarians/Media Specialists want from authors and author visits? 

By Diana PerriHaneski 

 

Every day I connect Young Adults with Books they will want to read. Yes, kids of all ages are still reading books, the ones where you turn the paper pages and the ones that you swipe pages on a phone, iPad, or computer. Students want hardback, paperback, Kindle, Nook, or Overdrive e-books purchased and borrowed from the library. I’m always on the lookout for YA books and authors that will motivate our students to read and write. As the Media Specialists at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, I love the challenge of putting a book in the hands of a student that will intrigue them to open it up and read. Sometimes visitors see a novel placed on an eye catching promotional display, they pick up the book and start leafing through it while they are waiting, and later check it out. Often their friends recommend a book, or they see one at the book store and come to the library in search of it. Every day I am inspired to help students that can’t find a book they want to read or think they don’t like to read. I prepare and read many books so I can share that title or author that might get their attention. I will often excite curiosity in a library visitor after chatting with them a bit to find out their hobbies, and interests.  This time builds relationships and leads me to show them books that will appeal to them.

A question like: What was the last book you read that you loved? Helps me find the right book as does getting a published author to visit the students at school.  When an author comes to visit students in person or via Skype, it creates an interest in the author’s books. 

What do Media Specialists/Library Teachers want from writers? 

I purchase books that help students learn and complete assignments based on the curriculum, and I buy books for them to read for pleasure. My goal is to createa collection of books and materials that reflect the needs and interests of our school community. The YA books students look for, are books where they see themselves, see others, and take them places they have never been or would never want to be. Florida award winning author Adrian Fogelin agrees and says, “Authors who can write books that show the reader experiences they haven’t had by bringing experiences into stories, and take them to places they’ve never been, they also validate who they are when they connect with a story , and make sure that they see themselves in books. 

When authors visit schools they get a chance to be around the kids they write about. Guest authors have asked to eat in the cafeteria in order to have conversations with the students and hear how they talk, and get new, updated vocabulary. Fogelin adds, authors want to make sure are on target with their writing. They often write from their own childhood and that isn’t always the same. It’s also important to connect with teachers since they are allies. She adds,School visits help energize the authors, teachers and the students. 

What are the books that kids look for? 

Young Adult literature professor at USF, Dr. Joan Kaywell, believes “books can save lives.” She says “authors like Laurie Hale’s Anderson, Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, and Sharon Flake have published books that cover serious hard to talk about topics like bulimia, bullying and suicide.” 

After reading books by these important young adult authors, I am more alert to possible struggles, more understanding and better equipped with language to deal with the situation. When I read, Fogelins, “Crossing Jordan,” I was better prepared with vocabulary for speaking with young people about and dealing with prejudice.

I always saw the value in making sure my students can find themselves in a book now I realize a reader needs to see others as well. 

It’s a pleasure to performs as matchmaker between books and Reader’s.

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