Thursday, March 29, 2012

Whoseewhatsit Thursday - Authors Getting the Most Out of Pinterest

Pinterest is more than just a noun. It's a social media platform that many of us haven't fully figured out how to exploit yet. If you're still a little hazy on the concept, Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board for images on the web. I've found loads of practical applications for it.  For example, when I'm trying to decide which accent pillows I want to buy, instead of keeping open multiple windows and flipping back and forth, I just pin the choices to my "For the Home" board and can look at them all right next to each other. Then, once I decided on one, I click the image and it takes me right back to the original website so I can buy it. Totally handy!

For writers, however, you may not realize the ways that Pinterest can help you.  I've been using it primarily for brainstorming my stories and novels.  When I see an image that looks like my character, reminds me of something they would wear, or perfectly depicts a setting I want to capture, I pin to my "Writing Inspiration" board.  The next time I get suck in my writing, my virtual bulletin board is there waiting for me, waiting to give me a visual shot in the arm.

And then I saw our Oasis sister A.E. using Pinterest in an ingenuous way -- she's collecting images for her recently-sold novel to help her soon-to-be fans get a feel for the mood, tone and characters.  I can tell you, with some carefully selected images, A.E. already has me drooling to get my hands on a copy.

But that can't be the only ways to use this new tool. I'm sure the possibilities are many and I'm just not creative enough to think of them. So please tell me what you've done or seen that can help authors better use the next, most-visual, social media platform on the web.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Today I shall dance and squee and die of want in front of you all. I wantwantwant INSURGENT by Veronica Roth RIGHT NOW!! I read DIVERGENT a few times. I think it was on my third read through that I dropped my ARC into the bathtub. Sad, sad night let me tell you. I stood in front of the fan air dying that book for hours. I ordered a hardcover offline that night too. I'm nuts about the books I love and I lovelovelove DIVERGENT.

If you haven't read it...WHY NOT? It's a taut dystopian filled with action, riddled with tension and still squeezes romance in. It's not often a book comes along that totally and utterly rocks my socks off. DIVERGENT was one. The sequel, INSURGENT comes out in May and I might just camp out at my B & N to be the first there to buy a copy. I want it in my hands That. Bad. I will lose sleep, not eat right, might skip showering to devour that book!

Here's INSURGENT's blurb from Veronica's website:One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Writing Prompt!

It's time for another Whoseywhatsit writing prompt, from yours truly. This week's topic ...


Spring break? Spring cleaning? Rebirth? Budding flowers and trees?

You have up to 250 words to get your character in a spring state of mind - develop a flashback, write a poem, try something new, whatever you want. Post those words below and then comment on at least one other person's writing. (You don't need to necessarily critique it, this isn't polished writing people!)

Ready. Set. Go!

(And here's mine ...)

Mud. That's all March means to me. It's all I remember. Muddy shoes. Muddy tracks. Muddy smears. Brown. Dirt brown. Boring, dirty, a mix of every color until it's nothing but blah brown.

My eye color brown.

I stare at the tour bus, it's wheels caked in the dirty sludge. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't even know where the band is headed next. I do know that I'm supposed to be on the bus, waiting til our next stop so I can trail Jake.

But I don't want to. I'm suddenly tired, exhausted, my shoulders slumping so far down it's like my body wants to dissolve into the muddy puddle and disappear like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Would anyone miss me?

This answer I know.

And the answer is no.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Writers Anonymous

Since I'm on Spring Break this week (YAY), I thought it would be fun to hear from our lovely readers.  We all have writing tics that annoy us--our pet peeves.  And we all have writing tics of our own.

So, share in the comments! Tell us the writing tic that drives you nuts, and, if you know it, the writing tic you just can't get rid of no matter how hard you try.

Here's mine:

*This one doesn't drive me nuts so much as make me laugh because the result is usually humorous.  But I have been noticing a lot of incorrect modifiers lately. So much so that I wrote a blogpost about it.  An example:

Closing the door, my eyes tracked across the room.

LOL--those are some powerful eyes. :)

*I'm sure my critique partners could come up with more, but I know I have an over-fondness of the words "just" and "that."  *sigh*

Okay, let's hear yours!  And happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

TBR Tuesday: SLIDE by Jill Hathaway

This debut novel by Jill Hathaway - a high school teacher - is hitting the shelves in 1 week.  It's like a contemporary thriller and paranormal all rolled into one.  I, for one, cannot wait! And how about that cover?  

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister's friend Sophie didn't kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn't actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else's mind and experiences the world through that person's eyes. She's slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed "friend" when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie's slashed body.
Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can't bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting distant lately, especially now that she's been spending more time with Zane.

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Bonus -- you get to watch the trailer too!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Writer Wednesday: Little truths I've learned.

As writers, especially unagented or unpublished, we're working working working toward goals. "When I get an agent..." or "After I get published..." I think we labor under some myths that those are finite points in The End Game, and things will be all fluffy rainbows and sparkly unicorns. Well, I've been learning as I go, and I've learned they aren't. They are turning points on a rollercoaster that keeps going faster and faster, or to keep up with the damn Game metaphor I started myself on, they're the opening moments in The End Game of ALL GAMES.

When I landed my agent years ago, the type of writing work I did changed. I wasn't just creating stories, I was suddenly outlining more and discovery writing less, roughing up pitches, writing summaries and synopses, researching the market, AND writing. Signing with Gina was the start of a new and more focused event.

Since BROKEN's been picked up by Strange Chemistry for publication this upcoming January, I've been working on an author questionnaire, written a guest blog post, filled out an interview, discussed single sentence/paragraph synopses, thought up cover concepts, approached authors for cover quotes, and more. And I haven't received my edits yet! Then there will be revisions, proof reads, blog tours, contests, more interviews... Signing that publishing contract was kind of like jumping into a storm of BUSY, or throwing the first pass in the Super Bowl of End Games.

Yes, keep reaching for those goals. Don't ever quit if writing is what you love and cutting it out would be tantamount to digging your heart out of your chest. Getting an agent, selling a book are amazing goals to achieve. Just... be prepared to be BUSY.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I could have gone with a generic title. You know, the whole TBR list and all. But I could not resist using the title of the book I'm highlighting from the mountain of books I long to read.

UNTIL I DIE, by Author Amy Plum

Seriously? It gives me chills, makes me think, and gives me visions. Love it!!
Okay, so now I'm going to gush about the cover! 
It's gorgeous!!

I need to make a confession. I don't choose books for their cover art very often. I read the story blurb and about the author. I usually thumb through the book and then read a chunk of pages here and there. 

I did choose this book, initially, for its cover. TO DIE FOR. 


I wish there was only today, just right now, and no forever.
It seems fitting that I fell in love in Paris, the most beautiful city in the world. And if I pretend, I can almost believe that my life is normal and everyone I care about is safe.
But as long as I’m with Vincent, “normal” doesn’t exist. Gorgeous, charming, and witty, he’s everything you could ask for in a boyfriend—but his destiny is so much more.
Even more terrifying than his destiny are his dangerous enemies, enemies who will kill for immortality. How are Vincent and I supposed to be together forever if we’re always in danger?
I know I’ll do whatever it takes—even if it means lying to the people I love—to fight against a fate that is trying to tear us apart.

Yeah. Yummy, right? But you'll have to wait to get it on its Book Birthday, May 8th, 2012; publisher: HarperCollins

Take a better peek over at Barnes and Noble

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Whoseywhatsit Thursday: Crit Style

It's that time again!  Comment with your email address to be entered to win a 500-word critique from all six Oasis Sisters, including A.E. Rought who announced her debut YA book deal yesterday!

We'll randomly choose a winner next Thursday, and post our critiques the following Thursday.

Thanks for entering, and HAPPY THURSDAY!

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


PEOPLE! We've got some super-exciting, breaking news to share. We hope you'll join us in screaming like a fan-girl and putting the gif lady above to shame.

Another one of our Oasis Sisters is about to realize her dream of being a published YA author.  Congratulations to A.E. Rought, whose novel, BROKEN, will be published next year by Strange Chemistry.  Here's the official news snippet:

Strange Chemistry, the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books, is delighted to announce the signing of another wonderful author. A. E. Rought has been signed to Strange Chemistry in a two book deal with worldwide English rights negotiated between Amanda Rutter and Gina Panettieri, of the Talcott Notch Literary Agency.
The first of these two books will be called Broken and will be published by Strange Chemistry in early 2013.
Imagine a modern spin on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein where a young couple's undying love and the grief of a father pushed beyond sanity could spell the destruction of them all. A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.
When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.
The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows.

AE said: “When my agent told me Strange Chemistry was interested, I think I squealed out loud. Angry Robot has an amazing reputation, and to be welcomed into their YA imprint? Bliss. Nerdvana. I'm absolutely thrilled to be with Strange Chemistry and working with Amanda.”

Amanda Rutter says: “As soon as I received the email from Gina detailing the premise of Broken, I knew that I had to read this book. I was thrilled to discover that the writing was just as good as promised and I have no doubt Broken will prove to be a massive hit!”

We can't wait to share all the coming excitement with you, and like we did with J.A., we hope to be part of the big cover reveal when that time comes.  In the meantime, please give A.E. a big virtual ((HUG)) and help us spread the news.  (You can even toss some confetti if you want. Just be sure to clean up your office when you're done so your boss doesn't know you were reading blogs at work again...)

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

TBR Tuesday:

 I chose this one, because who doesn't love the Robin Hood story?  I just couldn't resist a modern day retelling of it. 

Willa’s secret plan seems all too simple: take from the rich kids at Valley Prep and give to the poor ones.

Yet Willa’s turn as Robin Hood at her ultra-exclusive high school is anything but. Bilking her “friends”—known to everyone as the Glitterati—without them suspecting a thing is far from easy. Learning how to pick pockets and break into lockers is as difficult as she’d thought it’d be. Delivering care packages to the scholarship girls, who are ostracized just for being from the “wrong” side of town, is way more fun than she’d expected.

The complication Willa didn’t expect, though, is Aidan Murphy, Valley Prep’s most notorious (and gorgeous) ace-degenerate. His mere existence is distracting Willa from what matters most to her: evening the social playing field between the haves and have-nots. There’s no time for crushes and flirting with boys, especially conceited and obnoxious trust-funders like Aidan.

But when the cops start investigating the string of thefts at Valley Prep and the Glitterati begin to seek revenge, could Aidan wind up being the person that Willa trusts most?

Thursday, March 01, 2012


borrowed from     
I'm between WIPs right now, waiting on news, researching to keep my mind busy... And on my ceaseless trolls of the Internet, I found this picture. I love the blues, the streaks in the sky and the way they echo the waves in the foreground, and the mysterious ship. So, I decided to make this week's Whoseywhatsit Thursday, a no more than 250 word writing prompt. If you play along, make sure to hit all the senses. Make us see, smell, hear, heck, maybe even taste what this picture makes you see. I'll take a wild stab at it:

Ship's log, 25th May.
We're stranded here, the shore in the distance, out of reach and mocking me. The salty air sits in my nose, parches my skin. Father had promised so much when he dragged me on board this ship--I know now those promises were hollow. How can he make good on the sunlit beaches, the sweet fresh fruit, the girl he said was waiting, when he's lying on his rack coughing blood? The mutinous crew took everything, even siphoned the fuel and then beat my father, the captain, near to death.
"Thomas," he rasps, a dry rattle knocking around in his chest, "water..."
"Of course, Father." My parched lips crack. Iron tickles my sinuses, red smears my sleeve when I drag it over my chin.
I dip the tin cup into the bucket, scraping the bottom to get the last drops--our last drops. Maybe it will rain tonight, the clouds look ready to weep. My hand shakes, the precious water splashing in the cup, but I won't spill.
A sick smell comes from his mouth, pushed out by a groan when I tilt his head. I touch his chin, let him know the cup is coming. Blood shines in the split skin of his lips when he sucks the water down. Then a wracking spasm of coughs grip him, and the water is lost in the mix of blood and spittle flying to stain his cheeks and bed clothes.
"Leave me," Father commands. He's so weak he can't even roll to the side to spit. How can I leave him? Would I want to die alone? No. I will stay with him these last moments, I vow. Father flails a limp, broken hand at me, his words hardly a whisper when he says, "Leave me."
"I can't, poppa. I can't."
Father eyes sag, matching his sunken cheeks. He has no strength left, still he lifts that shattered hand and places it on my cheek. His skin is cold. White clouds his eyes. "Love you, son."
"Love you, too."
One last breath escapes him, his chest sinks, and outside rain begins to fall.
I wish it would fall in here, and take the place of the tears my body can't produce.

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