Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (11)

Got two books this week!

Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Ape House by Sara Gruen

What did everyone else get?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week I'm reading Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley!

"Senor Luis gives me a heartthrob smile. At my old school, he'd be T.M.F.G., Total Material For Gossip, and I'm sure some student would try to seduce him. Wait... that's one way to get myself kicked out of Texas, but I really don't want to be the subject of a Lifetime movie. At least not for that." - Page 54

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sam's Ramblings (2)

I go home for Thanksgiving break tomorrow! :) I'm so excited.

Today, I'm going to talk about REVISIONS.

This is in all capitals because I have never done serious revisions before. I'm a master at revising short stories, although I have yet to start in on my latest work that I finished in September, so approaching THE SHAPE THAT BREAKS is difficult. Usually when I'm dissatisfied with a draft, I rewrite it. But as I learned in NaNoWriMo this year, there isn't a point in rewriting the same thing if there will be the same things wrong with it. So I need to change them in this draft. But it's hard, opening up that document. It's like I don't know where to start. And it just brings about doubts that I've been having about it regardless.

It's also kind of heartbreaking to read through TSTB over and over again because I'm going through the same exact thing that Celeste was at the moment. It's funny - when I'd begun writing this draft, I'd never known heartbreak, but I nailed it. I've always been complimented on my ability to make things seem real, such as the issue of suicide in my a recent short story, so I guess I'm grateful for that. My former self must've known that this would be a kind of therapy for me.

But again, it's a daunting process. You'd think that writing the damn thing would be the hard part, and in many ways, it is. But revisions aren't nearly as fun as pondering plot points all day and being excited to get home, so you can work on the scene you've been playing with in your head for the past three hours you were supposed to be listening to your professor talk.

So, I'm diving headlong into this process. Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

This week I got a couple of AWESOME books:

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Ascendant by Diana Peterfreund

What did everyone else get this week?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
WHEN A VIRUS makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents must pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they search for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Sam's Ramblings (1)

So, I'm going to talk about The Shape that Breaks today.

For NaNo, I decided I wanted to rewrite TSTB once again, but about three days into it, I realized that it wasn't needed - the previous draft was a lot better than any crap I could crank out during NaNo. And even though I'd never experience heartbreak when I'd written that draft, I'd hit the nail on the head with how it feels. It's kind of funny, because I was just imagining it. Now that I've actually experienced it, I feel like I can relate to Celeste a lot better.

Anyways, last night I decided to finish the rewrite, which only had a few more pages to go when I'd stopped writing it. And even though the ending wasn't perfect, I really love how it turned out. Next step is to edit, edit, edit. I'm hoping I can get a bound copy to edit out of - there's a copy place down the street from me and it should only be like ten bucks (a lot less than a new black ink cartridge for my printer).

It's just a strange feeling. Finishing TSTB was always put off because, for two years, I was in my own little story. I didn't have to write to imagine my love story coming true because I had my own. I feel like finishing it was kind of a catharsis, though.

So, anyone have recommendations for a first-time novel editor? :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things I Don't Usually Talk About

So, I've failed NaNoWriMo, but, as people who follow my blog have probably seen, I've been under a super amount of stress anyway, so this doesn't come as a big surprise. I try not to talk about my personal life on here, just because I think a) no one really cares and b) I'd like to keep my blog as professional as possible. So no gory details. Sorry.

BUT, onto the good things:

I feel like Read Sam, Read! has lost some of its oomph. And I don't just mean in the sense that my reviews have slowed down or that my twittering has almost come to a halt. I've just felt a kind of lack of inspiration, of new things to write about. I don't like to have posts with me just blathering on because I think that gets boring, but I'm going to try to post at least once a week about something in the writing/blogging/YA book world that really interests me. Just word vomit, basically. I just want to see if this will help me get some of my oomph back.

I'm going to call this new feature: Sam's Ramblings! (This is where I would cue a graphic if I was artistically inclined to make one!)

Also, I know I've said this a million times, but I PROMISE my posts will get more regular. Right now, my life is still pretty hectic, but the crew season is over in about a week and then I have Thanksgiving break, finals, and then I'm done! And you can expect that between December 10th and January 4th (my winter break) I will be posting ridiculous amounts. Just FYI.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Author Guest Post: Denise Jaden

I'm super excited because today Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith, has agreed to do a guest post for her blog tour!

What was the process of getting Losing Faith published? 
I’ve been writing seriously for about seven years. Although I have had no formal training, I have devoured books on writing craft and attended workshops and conferences since the day I became interested in stories.
I queried two other books unsuccessfully prior to the writing of Losing Faith. In November 2007 I made my first attempt at NaNoWriMo (writing a novel in a month) and had a first (really crappy) draft of Losing Faith in 21 days. I revised and revised and then revised some more, getting feedback from all of my many critique partners along the way.
I began querying in July, 2008 (paused querying to revise after getting some great feedback at a conference in October). I queried again in November and had offers of representations later that month. Even though I had a few different offers (which I’m still blown away by – it doesn’t seem like it could be real after enduring so much rejection!), that first offer is still saved on my answering machine. There’s nothing better than the first moment an industry professional validates all your blood, sweat, and tears.
My new agent, Michelle Humphrey, did a line edit for me over Christmas and we sent LOSING FAITH out on submission in mid-January. We had an offer by early March. The offering editor was from Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster, and she was one of the editors I had met with in the conference back in October. We had a phone conversation, with my agent listening in, so she could explain her vision for changes in the manuscript. When I agreed, she made an offer, and the rest is history!
I sold in March of 2009 and my book hit the shelves in September, 2010, so about a year and a half from sale to publication. It felt like forever at first, waiting for revision letters, cover art, back text copy. But then the last six months flew by. I’m still pinching myself that this is actually happening and my book is really out in the wild. Every time I walk into a bookstore and see it on the shelves, my heart stops for a few seconds.
Thanks so much, Denise!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Review: Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

Title: Losing Faith
Author: Denise Jaden
Page Count: 400 pages
Summary: When Brie's sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie's world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don't line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night...a secret that puts her own life in danger.

What I Liked:

  • Mystery! I really liked the story - I'm not so into books that contain mystery, so it's weird that I was so enchanted by this one!
  • Crazy girl! I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just leave it at that!
  • Religion. I don't normally read books that have inspirational, religious messages, which originally would've made me put this book down, but it definitely wasn't what I expected! It didn't take any kind of stance on religion, which I thought was great - not that there's anything wrong with that! Those kind of books just generally aren't my kind of thing.

What I Didn't Like:
  • Pacing. This might just be a me thing, but I felt like the pacing of the novel was really off. I thought it moved too slow when I wanted to figure things out, but the mystery of what happened seemed to be prolonged for a huge amount of time.
  • Characters. I wasn't really into the love story that accompanied this book at all. It felt a little forced and because of this, I couldn't really connect with Brie the way that I wanted to.
Romance: 2/5 stars
Overall: 3.5/stars

Thursday, November 4, 2010


So, I'm sure you guys have noticed my absence as of late. While it has as much to do with school and crew practice (I'm going to Tennessee this weekend to see a race - wish the varsity good luck!) as anything else, the thing that has been preventing me from blogging is the specter we all like to call:
*cue the scary music*
This is my fourth year doing NaNoWriMo and I'm currently working on a rewrite of The Shape that Breaks. Hopefully, this will be the draft that I can get through revisions (since it is the second rewrite) and finally, maybe, get an agent with. I was originally going to work on something else, called Other, but I decided against it at the last minute. I have to say, I'm glad I did. TSTB is as close to my heart as anything can get - I started writing it as a fifteen-year-old, not knowing much about love or anything else, and now that I'm finally going to finish it, I've grown so much and so many things have happened to me.

I have a review coming up tomorrow as well as an author interview, so I'm not completely dead! I feel like my college is in the middle of nowhere, though - I have to order books instead of going to the bookstore all of the time, since the bookstore is so out of the way. 

I'm so excited to go to Tennessee - the bus leaves tonight at 2AM. Wish me luck on getting some sleep; the crew kids tend to be rowdy! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Winner of the Jumpstart the World Giveaway!

And the winner of the Jumpstart the World giveaway is:
I've emailed you and you have until this Friday to answer, then I'll pick another winner!