pumpkin, fall



I’m busy trying to finish up this first draft of the project I’m working on, but the nice crisp fall days are beckoning me into the kitchen. Weekends are typically for prepping the next week’s meals, doing laundry, and making a treat or two. But I want to plant myself on my couch and write. That isn’t a bad thing, I know, but I have deadlines, people! Christmas will be here before we know it, and I have sooooooooo much baking to do (November might be a write-off…with five Sundays of my Young Writers Group meetings). So, while I want to melt the chocolate chips and start stirring brown sugar into creamy butter, I’m torn between finding the time to do that, and not wanting to take away any extra minute from my WIP.



So, for inspiration, this weekend I bought some little pumpkins, and made a fun sign for work. Hopefully, it’ll give me incentive to find the time to do both…baking and writing.



chalkboard art, pies



But, I’m hitting my goals.  This week, I’d like to make it to the 55,000 word mark or higher. Can I do it? Only the pies know….





Posted in Fall Writing Bootcamp, My Life | Tagged , , Comment



What if Hitler had won World War II? That’s the premise for the upcoming debit release by one of the YA Buccaneers, Caroline Tung Richmond. It’s coming into the world on September 30/14, and we’re all so excited for her! Nothing like a good book by one of your Mateys!



Here’s what it’s all about:



It’s been nearly 80 years since the Allies lost WWII in a crushing defeat against Hitler’s genetically engineered super soldiers. America has been carved up by the victors, and 16-year-old Zara lives a life of oppression in the Eastern America Territories. Under the iron rule of the Nazis, the government strives to maintain a master race, controlling everything from jobs to genetics. Despite her mixed heritage and hopeless social standing, Zara dreams of the free America she’s only read about in banned books. A revolution is growing, and a rogue rebel group is plotting a deadly coup. Zara might hold the key to taking down the Führer for good, but it also might be the very thing that destroys her. Because what she has to offer the rebels is something she’s spent her entire life hiding, under threat of immediate execution by the Nazis. 



In this action-packed, heart-stopping novel of a terrifying reality that could have been, Zara must decide just how far she’ll go for freedom.


Wow.  Just…wow.  I can’t wait to read this!!  And now that you’ve heard a bit about it, I’m sure you feel the same way.  We’re hosting some fun events based around this release, and that means GIVEAWAYS!  A whopping SEVEN of them, to be exact.  All you have to do to get in on it is write up a response to one of the following questions:



#1.  THE ONLY THING TO FEAR takes place in an alternate-history version of the U.S., in which the Nazis won World War II. Imagine an alternate ending to a big event in your own life. How could things have turned out differently?


#2.  In THE ONLY THING TO FEAR, Zara has to decide whether to join a revolution. Was there ever a time in your life that you had to choose to break the rules for the greater good? Or are you currently writing a character who has to make this choice? What is his or her dilemma?



To win, just write a post on your blog and link it to the comment section of this post at the YA Buccaneers blog, or pop it right into the comments section there.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, or polished. We’re just excited to hear what you think!



And what would MY answer be? Not such a big event in my life, but when I first entered high school, I took part in something our school called “Reach for the Top”.  It was a knowledge-challenge series, where students from each grade formed teams and tried to earn the most points in a fast-paced trivia challenge. There were history questions, general knowledge, math, pop culture….you name it, we had to know about it.



It was only the first few weeks of school, but I joined my class team. I’m good at trivia (or at least, I was back then), and our team did pretty well. The whole challenge was run by one of the toughest history teachers in the school, and when I cleaned up on a difficult series of geography questions, he made a point of telling me afterward that he was looking forward to having me in his class.



Of course, I stunk at history.



And that history teacher–who had expected big things–was reeeeeeally disappointed. I’m sure he wondered if I’d been cheating on the challenge questions, or if I just wasn’t trying in his class. I think if I could have changed that part of my history, I probably wouldn’t have participated in Reach for the Top. That way, I’d have had a more level playing field upon entering his class. Were his expectations of me too high?  I’ll never know, but I always regretted that afternoon’s big win.



Will you participate in our challenge?  Are you looking forward to Caroline’s book as much as I am? Let me know!




Posted in YA Walkabout, Young Adult | Tagged , , Comment




I mentioned last week that I’ll be starting a fun new series this week on my blog. I’m calling it “Heidi’s YA Walkabout”! I visit so many great blogs each week, that I thought it would be a great idea to share some of the best ones with my readers. They’ll all be writing related, so get ready to bookmark some of your favourites in the upcoming months.






I’ll start on one blog, tell you lots of great things about it, and then the next time, I’ll choose a link from that blog and take you there. I’ll try to do this on a monthly basis so that there will always be some interesting new content to devour. Don’t worry if you miss a post–you can find all of the links on the sidebar under YA WALKABOUT.









I started reading this blog about four years ago. It’s hosted by the fabulous Casey McCormick and Natalie Aguirre. Not only does this blog announce new books, they specialize in providing information about agents you might want to query. There are links to agent blogs, excellent posts regarding the querying/submission/publishing process, superb resources for doing more research, and overall fun, fabulous posts.



I can’t even tell you how much I poured through this blog when I first began researching agents. The content is absolutely necessary. Plus, they interview authors and publishers periodically, and every post is informative and entertaining.  If you haven’t been to this site before (or if it’s been a while), go there and take a look around. I guarantee you’ll want to go back again and again.






Did you know they post the names of their top commenters in their sidebar? Isn’t that fun? So, if you’re a regular reader, but rarely post comments, get going! Maybe your name will soon zip to the top of the list.



Next month, I’ll follow a link from the Literary Rambles blog….and take you someplace new! Let’s do a walkabout!









(Walkabout photo by Amanda Sandlin)

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It’s fall.




No, not really. But it went from hot and humid here to chilly, rainy and fall-ish.  Means that I can finally break out the sweaters and tuck into Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It also means long weekends working in the kitchen, baking some treat or other. And because we’ve been staying away from stuff like this in our house lately, it’s been a while since I’ve baked anything. I must say, the house smelled like heaven this weekend.






For my Friday check-in with the YABuccaneers Fall Bootcamp, I’m working hard. I didn’t quite meet my goal last week of hitting the 40,000 word mark, but this week, I did better, even with having to work two nights in a row at the library. This thing is really happening! I’m writing everyday, and keeping up a solid word count while I’m at it. If you’re participating, tweet to let us know how YOU did this week!



Tonight, we’re visiting friends for dinner. A lovely way to end another busy week. Stay tuned next week for a fun new blog item!




Posted in Fall Writing Bootcamp, Friday Fried Eggs | Tagged Comment




Okay, why haven’t I read any books by Holly Black before??? Again, my sister suggested this one (B, you’re becoming my book guru!), and said, “It’s not a typical vampire novel”.  Wait…what?? THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN is a vampire novel?  Yeah, the whole pale, lifeless hand on the cover wasn’t even a little hint for me.  Anyway, I must admit I was skeptical, but started it anyway, and boy, was I surprised!



Holly Black is NOT afraid of writing dark, gritty moments, and her writing is as solid as her story. I was immediately caught up in the scariness of the plot, and as a writer, listening to how she crafts her sentences with great interest.



The premise to the book is that vampires have basically taken over the world in a kind of epidemic. Most either voluntarily go to a designated Coldtown, or end up there in various ways, along with some unlucky humans. Once you enter a Coldtown, however, you can’t leave. It’s easier to keep people inside the gates, than to risk infecting more people.



Black opens the book with a girl named Tana waking up after a night of partying. She finds herself in the bathtub, and is thoroughly embarrassed that she may have been in there without realizing other people were coming in and out. Did they know she was there? Were they all laughing at her? It’s a slightly comical opening…until she leaves the bathroom and realizes everyone at the party is dead, everyone except her ex-boyfriend (who has been bitten), and a fully-turned handsome vampire who helps them leave in an especially harrowing escape from the house.



I wasn’t expecting the depth of the writing here, and yet thoroughly enjoyed the plot and character development.  It’s a scary read—expect that and you’ll delight in it!


I’m definitely going to pick up more from Holly Black (Spiderwick Chronicles, anyone??).  Now I know why kids love her books!


What’s up next on my scary book reading list?  Seems like I’m in that kind of mood lately. *Spoiler….I hope this is rubbing off a little bit in my own new WIP, MANIAC.




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