Guest Blog


Today, I have a great guest blogger (vlogger? Is that a word?), who has created my first-ever guest vlog. Book Chic talks about how he got started book blogging, and it’s great. Check it out:

You can also see his previous guest post for Teen Book Review here, and his video page here

 

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PS: Anyone else interested in guest blogging or vlogging, feel free to email me with ideas.

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Jennifer E. Smith’s The Comeback Season was one of my favorite books of 2008, and I’m very pleased to have Jennifer here today for a guest blog! Aside from being an author, she is also an editor, and she wrote about the craziness of her life. Enjoy!

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I’m one of the lucky ones.  Not only do I have one job I love…I actually have two.  Besides being a writer, I also work as an editor at a major publishing house.  So I spend my days working with amazing authors, helping them through the publication process, learning from their successes and mistakes, and then at the end of the day – after all the hours of reading, the pages of notes, the line edits and copyedits and art meetings – there’s this beautiful book to show for it all.  And afterwards?  I have my own writing too.  Being a writer is something I’ve wanted since I was ten, and now it seems almost impossible that I’m actually doing it.  I hope everyone can be this lucky.  I hope everyone gets to do what they love someday.  
 
Still, most people have a pretty romantic notion of what these kinds of jobs entail.  So I’m here to set the record straight.  Contrary to popular opinion, editors do not spend the majority of their days poring over manuscripts, or chewing on the end of a pencil in a book-lined room while consulting a thesaurus every now and again.  And the same goes for writers.  I know very few who pass the time sitting in front of a notebook with a cup of tea, staring off dreamily whenever a new idea comes to mind.  The truth, in both cases, is a little more hectic than that.  And so I thought I’d outline for you a typical day in the life of a writer/editor:
 
6:38am – Wake up.  Hit snooze.  Manage to wake dog while I’m at it.
6:46am – Hit snooze one more time.  Just a few more minutes.  
6:54am – Okay, okay, I’m up.  Put on coat to take dog out.  Stand in freezing cold hoping he’ll choose to do his business quickly. Think of a brilliant beyond brilliant way to fix current work in progress, but it’s already disappeared by the time I’m back inside.
7:08am – Remember idea but am in the shower.  Will remember later, I’m sure.
7:52am – Leave for work.  Remember idea on the way, but fingers are too cold to write.  Gone again by the time I make it to the elevator.  
8:08am – Check email.  Check voicemail.  Several authors need several things.  Scurry around.  Make photocopies.  Get paper cut. Return phone calls.  Start thinking perhaps authors are kind of a pain, then remind myself that I’m one too.  Revise thought immediately.  Authors rule.
12:12pm – Lunch break.  Jot down what’s left of the morning’s idea, but too much going on in the office to write anything coherent. Resolve to do it later.
1:45pm – Jacket meeting.  Check email.  Marketing meeting.  Check email.  Publicity meeting.  Check email.  Author meeting.  Check email.  Another paper cut.  Check clock.
6:00pm – Try to spend a few minutes coaxing out the morning’s brilliant idea, but am whisked off to a book party for another author. Spend much of it in the corner, looking on jealously as they make their speech.  Try not to blame them for finishing their book.  It’s nottheir fault they have more time than I do.  (Or have won way more awards.)  Start backing out the door.  Need to get home and begin writing immediately.  
8:00pm – Arrive home.  Say hello to dog (after all, must always be gracious to your fans).  Sit at computer.  Try to remember why that idea seemed so genius this morning.  Type some nonsense, just to fill the page.  Erase it immediately.  
8:08pm – Eat dinner.
8:32pm – Return to computer.  Check Facebook.  Check MySpace.  Check email. 
8:44pm – Get snack.  (Not remotely hungry, but better than sitting in front of blank page).
8:48pm – Stare at screen some more. 
8:52pm – Notice manuscript in work bag.  Begin editing instead of writing.  Seems silly to work on my own idea when I’ve got someone else’s right there…
9:55pm – Still happily editing when something clicks.  My idea!  It’s brilliant again!
9:56pm – Return to computer.  Write a few hundred words.  Feel proud of myself.  Dog looks proud too.  Switch off computer again. As long as my number one fan is happy, then I’m happy too.  
 
So there you have it.  Glamorous?  No.  Leisurely?  Definitely not.  Wonderful?  Absolutely.  

Thanks, Jennifer! 

Check out my review of The Comeback Season and the author’s page on Myspace. Her next book, You Are Here, will be out in May, and I can’t wait to read it. 

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Karen Mahoney is a writer who has also worked as a book buyer, and so is very knowledgeable about books in general. Read her guest blog about how she got into writing YA! 

First of all, a big Thank You to Jocelyn for letting me ‘borrow’ her corner of the internet. Teen Book Review is one of my favourite places to read about YA fiction, so it’s very cool to be here. 

As a writer of YA urban fantasy, I’m lucky enough to be represented by Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency in New York (despite the fact that I’m a Brit based in London). My first novel,The Iron Witch, is currently on submission to editors in the US, so any good vibes you want to send my way would be much appreciated. ;) Regardless of that, my debut publication is coming up later this year in an anthology of YA vampire stories, The Eternal Kiss (Running Press, Autumn 2009). My story is called ‘Falling to Ash’ and puts the spotlight on an important supporting character from The Iron Witch. Moth is a young vampire who returns to her hometown for a memorial service, one year after her mother’s death, but is reluctantly pulled back into the supernatural world while she’s there. What should be a routine job for her ‘boss’ turns into something with potentially deadly consequences. I’m excited to be a part of this anthology, and if you like vampire stories you’re in for a real treat with the amazing authors that are involved. 

I write YA fiction for so many reasons – and to be honest, I didn’t even know that I was a ‘YA writer’ until I first worked as a bookseller and realised how huge the Teenage Fiction section was. I never sat down and thought: “Okay then, I’m going to write for teenagers because that’s what sells!” I write for young adults simply because I happen to love writing about characters aged around 16-18. It’s an age where a lot happened in my life, and all of those experiences – the good and the bad – seem so much more powerful when you’re going through the inevitable changes that the teenage years bring. All those ‘first times’ that we go through at 17… It makes for wonderful drama and conflict in fiction. The potential for emotional writing is huge, and I love writing big emotional scenes. I remember how brave I could be at 17, while now I am much more cautious and (try to) think things through before acting. There’s a fearless quality to many teenagers I have known. 

My stories involve the fantastic existing alongside the ordinary – I love that combination! The possibilities are endless… My characters include vampires, shape-shifting elves, half-demons, witches, and a girl with iron tattoos that give her super-strength. How can you not want to get lost in a world that’s filled with darkness and excitement; romance and adventure; and huge life-or-death battles between good and evil – usually where the sides aren’t as clearly defined as you might like? 
 
I used to work with older teens as a student advisor, and I learned so much then. Not just about the young adults I worked with, but also about myself. I think it was then that I realised I wanted to focus on the teenage years in my fiction. Now that I’m writing YA contemporary fantasy I can truly allow my imagination to soar, while still keeping myself and the worlds I create firmly grounded in the very real issues of what it’s like to be a teenager. I remember 

that time pretty well (too well!), even though it sometimes seems very far away. To think that I’m writing books that might one day be read by young adults who experience things so passionately… That would be a dream-come-true. :) 

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Feel free to visit me at my blog – I update almost every day and ramble on about all sorts of things over there: http://kazdreamer.livejournal.com.

I am also part of a new website and group blog for nine urban fantasy and YA authors, which will launch on Monday.

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As an avid reader of all kinds of fiction – including YA urban fantasy, I’m giving away two books to one commenter: 

An ARC of Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (due for release in February), and

a signed copy of the new UK edition of Tithe by the brilliant Holly Black. 

Just leave a comment telling me what you’re reading at the moment – or what the last book you read was – and Jocelyn will pick a winner and forward me that person’s details. I’ll mail to any country.

This contest will be open until 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, January 24. Thanks, Karen!

Just a note: I haven’t read this book yet. It sounds interesting, and it got a good review on Teens Read Too, but I can’t say I’m officially endorsing the book yet–just the guest post by the authors! It’s a funny interview with one of their characters. I’m also recommending you enter their contests!  Who doesn’t love free stuff? For some of the contests, you do have to buy the book, but not for all of them.

After a millennium of imprisonment in his magic wand, an ancient wizard possesses the young boy who released him. When danger is nigh, he emerges from the frightened child to set things right. Both he and the boy try to grasp what has happened to them only to discover a deeper problem. Somehow the wizard’s bride from the ancient past has survived and become something evil.
C&E: Thank you for joining us today, Rowan.
Rowan: Well, since you created me, I pretty much have to do what you say.
Ethan: I guess that’s tr—
Christine: Wait a minute. You mean you’re under our complete command?
Rowan: Of course.
Christine: So I have this gorgeous, hunky Scotsman at my beck and call? Who will do whatever I say!
Rowan: Um.
Ethan: Honey, let’s stay focused.
Christine: Oh, sorry sweetie. Of course!
C&E: So Rowan, how does it feel to have your story told to the world?
Rowan: It is rather a tragic story, is it not? I mean, I am not thrilled that the entire world now knows my greatest mistake, am I?
C&E: What would be your greatest mistake?
Rowan: Hiding, of course. Fiana was right. It was cowardly.
C&E: But what choice did you have? It was hide or die.
Rowan: Yeah. Thanks for that. How can anyone make that kind of decision so quickly? All I could think is that I wanted to see my beautiful bride again.
C&E: Well, you did see her again.
Rowan: And we all know how that turned out.
C&E: Every relationship has its challenges!
Rowan: You’re not going to get a rise out of me.
Christine: Are you sure about that?
Ethan: Down girl.

—-{—-{@

Read interviews with their other main characters Cullen and Fiana.

Check out the Holiday Contests,/a> where you can win books, B&N gift cards, a digital camcoder, and more! Just leave a comment on this blog for a chance to win a limited edition signed print of Christine’s Green Man II painting.
The book is available
now via Amazon (Kindle, too) and wherever books are sold.

Christine and Ethan Rose are the authors of the new YA fantasy novel
Rowan of the Wood. They live in Austin, TX with their three dogs and Shadow the Cat.
www.christineandethanrose.com * www.rowanofthewood.com

Just a note: I haven’t read this book yet. It sounds interesting, and it got a good review on Teens Read Too, but I can’t say I’m officially endorsing the book yet–just the guest post by the authors! It’s a funny interview with one of their characters. I’m also recommending you enter their contests!  Who doesn’t love free stuff? For some of the contests, you do have to buy the book, but not for all of them. 

Teen Book Review is excited to host Christine and Ethan Rose, authors of the new, award-winning YA fantasy novel Rowan of the Wood during their Geekalicious Yuletide Blog Book Tour! The authors are stopping by here on Saturday, December 13. They’ll be interviewing their main character Rowan..

Rowan of the Wood:
An ancient wizard possesses a young boy after a millennium of imprisonment in a magic wand. He emerges from the child in the face of danger and discovers Fiana, his new bride from the past, has somehow survived time and become something evil.

The authors are also hosting a contest on YouTube and giving away a digital camcorder just for following four simple steps. Check it out!

Come back and visit on Saturday, read Rowan’s interview, and post questions/comments. The authors will be available all day Saturday and Sunday to answer your questions. Every comment on this blog is an entry to win a signed, limited edition print of Christine’s Green Man II painting. The authors are also giving away autographed books and over $600 in other prizes through their website.

As promised, this week is extra-special because we have a second guest blogger, Elizabeth Scott! Elizabeth is the author of three fantastic books, Bloom, Perfect You, and Stealing Heaven (there she is on the left with Perfect You). One lucky commenter on today’s post will win a signed copy of Stealing Heaven! This contest closes a week from today. Don’t forget to enter our other current contest, for an audiobook of The Opposite of Invisible, and stay tuned for more contests, including an extra-awesome contest sometime next week. And now, on to our guest blogger:

I’m writing this on May 2nd, and I have to tell you, I’m a little nervous. It’s my first ever “guest blog” and I feel as I should have something profound to say about writing. But you know, I don’t. I still have so much to learn about how to write–not just the mechanics of it, though I’m quite certain I’ll never know enough about grammar, but about the heart and soul of stories themselves.

And that, I think, is the beauty of writing. It’s always surprising you. You start a story, you think you know where it’s going–maybe you’ve even taken notes–and all of a sudden, BOOM! Your characters aren’t telling your story anymore–they’re telling *their* story, and that moment…it’s one of the most amazing feelings. I mean, how often do you get to peak into someone else’s life, to see what their heart truly desires?

It’s also terrifying, because a lot of writing is about learning to let go, to not force what you want and to just wait and see what happens. And it can be hard, and whenever you think you’re done, it almost always turns out that you’ve just gotten started.

That’s what keeps me writing, though. I love the rush of an idea, I love the moment when I sit down and start to type. I love it when the people I’m writing about do what they want, and let me come along for the ride.

This week’s guest blogger is Liz Gallagher! Thanks to Liz for doing this. I also have another special treat for you all this week–I’ll have another guest blog on Friday! So stay tuned for a double feature this week. Anyway, Liz has written a fantastic post which I have for you below, and one lucky random commenter will win an audio book of Liz’s fantastic book The Opposite of Invisible. Please be as awesome as last week’s commenters and weigh in on the very interesting questions Liz raises in her blog post! Last week’s winner of a signed copy of Song of the Sparrow is Megan. Megan, please email me your mailing address at teenbookreview@gmail.com And now, on to Liz’s blog post:

When I think about my work as a young adult author–a genre that I fell in love with as an adult–I keep coming back to the same food for thought. I call it food for thought because it’s not a thesis, an assertion, a lesson, or anything else that I’m sure about; it’s a question. Here it is: What makes a young adult book different from an adult book about a teenager? And are YA books only for teens?

To me, a novel is a novel. I think. There are books being pubbed as YA that I definitely think every human should read – MT Anderson’s Octavian Nothing, for example, or Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Those books are on the literary end of the YA spectrum, though, which raises another question. What are the categories of YA? And do some have more crossover appeal than others?

I used to think that we might find some kind of rule in this: lots of books about teens that are published as adult books have a tone of looking back at teenhood (such as Curtis Sittenfeld’s runaway hit of a few summers past, Prep, in which the narrator is a wise old twenty-three, if I remember correctly), while most books about teens that are published as YA have an immediate, in-the-moment tone. That idea sounded like a decent rule of thumb ’til I found lots of rule-breakers; a notable exception is Marc Acito’s How I Paid for College, an adult book told in the now of  eighties teendom.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about this food, but–to stick with the metaphor–I’m still hungry. I’ve nibbled extensively on the idea that where we classify and subsequently sell a book about a teen is largely a marketing decision (and, tied into that, obviously depends on who’s publishing it). The crux: Teens will find books in the adult section, but most adults won’t shop in the YA section. Therefore, a book with crossover appeal will find a larger audience (of both teens and adults) in the adult section.

But something interesting is going on right this moment! A trend! A new item on the menu, if you will. Last week’s Entertainment Weekly (May 16) included an interesting article, “Teen Nation” by Jennifer Armstrong. It’s starts like this: “Anyone who’s a teenager — or one of the many adults whose pop culture tastes lean in that direction — might want to blow off that summer job.” Teen entertainment out there that’s super-popular, and not just among teen audiences.

The article breaks it down into TV (Gossip Girl, THEWB.COM showing old faves, the forthcoming Juno-esque The Secret Life of the American Teenager, the re-envisioned Beverly Hills, 90210), Movies (American Teen, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants sequel, the forthcoming film adaptation of Nick and Norah’s Infinite  Playlist,and –hello?! — Juno) and Music. I’d argue that music is the last to bleed over (Do any adults out there actually listen to Miley Cyrus, Jesse McCartney, or the Jonas Brothers in the absence of young people? The article thinks so . . . I think they’d do better to point out how many of us watch American Idol.) In any case, the article points out that we’re in a new teen-entertainment boom and that it might not dry up any time soon, as past booms have been forced to say bye-bye-bye.

It’s odd to me that an article with mention of Gossip Girl, Nick and Norah (which they call “the Micahel Cera comedy,” with no mention of it’s basis in the Levithan & Cohn book), and Sisterhood doesn’t begin to examine how books play into this trend. Guess we’ll have to do that ourselves!

Here’s the most interesting quote in the article, from Leslie Morgenstien, who helped develop Gossip Girl from “the popular book series” (the only mention of books I remember in the whole article) into the tv show: “Thing have shifted. Children are better informed, more sophisticated. There used to be a trickle-down effect: Properties would start for adults and then trickle down to teens. I think now it’s reversed.”

That’s almost the equivalent of adults shopping in the YA section, isn’t it? Will this phenomenon spill over to the book world? And will it say in the pop culture — “properties”– arena? Or bleed over into less effusive books, too?

Let’s talk! Adults, how do you feel about the questions? Do your adult friends seem more open to teen entertainment than they once were? Or are only those of us who are already YA-minded watching Gossip Girl? Do you know anyone who’s read the books because of the tv show? And teens, what do you think? Will you stop shopping the YA section once you’re “grown up”? Where do you hear about books? Why do you read  YA? Who do you think it’s for?

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