Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Fives: Tasting the Forbidden Fruit

Reading Song of the Day: "Forbidden Love" by Madonna

OMIGOD--it's finally FRIDAY--and it's finally the last day of September. This first month of school has dragged by soooooo slowly. But, we hit a highlight, today! Paper Hangover's Friday Fives, baby :D

To honor Banned Books Week, the gang wants to know:

What are you FIVE favorite "banned" books?

Like Pam mentioned yesterday in her post on the Banned Books we are adding to our TBR piles, we are always going to be those people who read/watch those books/movies that people try to get banned. We're just strange like that. So it wasn't surprising to find that we have read a good number of books that are on the 2010 and the classic's banned books lists. With that being said, here are our FIVE favorite books that have been banned in no particular order.

1.) Crank by Ellen Hopkins: A novel written in poems--and me and Pam loved it. Who would have thunk it? We're both not huge poetry fans, but Hopkins' effortless story telling and beautiful word choices made this one of our favorite books of all time.

2.) Lord of the Flies by William Golding: This was required reading for us in high school but neither of us felt like it was. The story is so unique and believable that we both couldn't stop turning the pages.

3.) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Once we decided we'd be writing YA, we didn't stop hearing about Laurie Halse Anderson and how she is one of the "mothers" of YA. And we weren't disappointed when we picked up Speak. It's real, it's raw, and it's a book that can help many teens deal.

4.) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This was another required school reading for us. And just like LOTF we fell in love. We loved the plot, the time period the book was written about and how REAL it all felt, and of course, we loved Scout :)

5.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: We first heard about this during a conference two years ago. Once we heard the premise, we knew it was a must read. Anyone can say what they want about the trilogy, but the overall plot is pure genius.

That's our five, what about you all? What are your favorite banned books?

OH YEAH! We were supposed to announce the winner of The Near Witch yesterday. Alas, life got in the way. So, without further adieu, the winner is....

Jamie Manning

Yay!!!! We'll be sending you an e-mail shortly :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tempted by the Book of Another

Reading Song of the Day: "Tempted" by Squeeze

First, sorry about the lame title of this post; I lack creativity this early in the morning. Second, as some of you may already know, it's Banned Books Week. My group blog, Paper Hangover, is having coverage on it all this week, and my lovely adopted sis, Racquel, is holding a contest.

So part of the reason why Quita and I love reading and writing YA is because we're eternal teenagers--which is why if someone tells us we can't read anything, we're DEFINITELY going to read it. Tomorrow, Quita and I will join Paper Hangover and share our five favorite banned books--but today, we want to share some of the banned books we haven't read yet, but is in our TBR pile:

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. As much as some people disapprove of it, there are kids out there with homosexual parents. Why can't these kids have a picture book that they can relate to? Furthermore, why can't other kids read it to learn about acceptance and differences? Whenever I'm blessed with a child, I know this will be on our bookshelf.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I first discovered Mr. Alexie when I read one of his short stories in a magazine. Needless to say, his voice hooked me--so I'm a little stunned I never got around to reading his YA novel. This will be mended soon.

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. Come on, the title alone is catchy. Quita and I saw Ms. Mackler speak at a conference last year and we wanted to become her best friends. Our admiration for her only grew when we found out she wrote about a girl who thought she was fat--something that Quita and I had issues with in high school, as well. Come on--teen girls with body issues (which is pretty much all of them) should be able to read this book.

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones. I first heard about this book from one of my former 8th grade students. She HATED school--even more than that, she HATED English class. But she couldn't stop swooning over this book. She said she read it in two days. If a book can convert one of my struggling students into an enthusiastic reader, I'm sold.

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. We know, we know. Where have we been? Quita actually had a chance to read the first book, but we both know that we need to eventually read the whole series. We have never met ANYONE who disliked this series. These books helped mold a new generation of readers--we were a little shocked that they are banned in some areas.

Okay, so that is just a mere sampling of "forbidden" books we're tossing into our TBR piles. What about you all? Which naughty book are you dying to read?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RTW: The Best Book of September

Reading Song of the Day: "Forever" by Chris Brown

It's WEDNESDAY! Another horrible week is almost over...atleast we got a one day break from our "baby" the puppy from hell early this week. Alas, the ladies of YA Highway are helping us think of happy things with Road Trip Wednesday! This week's topic is:

What was the best book you read in September?

We've done minimal reading with it being the start of the school year, but Pam did manage to beta read a WIP. I FINALLY read and finished the book that I would've chosen even if I read a hundred books this month:

Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

Okay, so I read Shiver on a whim. The cover was pretty, people were buzzing about it, and I had to see how exactly this author pulled off having a human girl fall in love with a wolf. But, Oh. My. God. When Linger came out, I was hooked. Especially by the introduction of Cole (I LOVE Cole!) and the way that Stiefvater shifted between four POVs with ease. And the third and final book of the trilogy, Forever didn't dissapoint. The story wraps up in a way that the reader is satisfied but is still itching for more. The characters are each given a purpose and the climax is breath stopping. Also, Stiefvater's writing is pure genius!

What was the best book you read this month??

Monday, September 26, 2011

How Fall Premiere TV Is A lot Like First Pages

Writing Song of the Day: "Idiot Box" by Incubus

Okay, so if you follow our blog you know how much we loves us some TV. Perhaps, too much. And that's why we realized we had to cut down on it in order to spend more time with our first love, writing. We talked a lot about that here, so we won't bore you with the deets again. Although we're limiting the shows we watch, there are still quite a few that are listed on a white piece of paper hanging on the fridge titled: "TV Watching Schedule". We've seen a few of the Fall premiers thus far and have gained some insight on how much premiere TV is like a novel's first few pages:

Make sure you have believable stakes. If your first pages don't set up a scenario where the stakes are high, than the reader is most likely going to ask a million questions. Like: why does she have to take on her sister's persona? Or: Why didn't she just stay in protective custody?

*From watching Ringer on The CW, Tuesdays at 9:00 PM

Introduce your characters with a bang. Each and every important character to your novel should have something about them that will make the reader want to learn more from the very beginning. If you do this, even with a supporting character who doesn't show up until say page 5, then it's quite possible you might hook that reader who was beginning to lose interest in the story.

*From watching Two and Half Men (for the FIRST TIME) on CBS, Mondays at 9:00 PM

Make sure your plot lines don't get tangled. You can start off with an awesome first chapter. Each character is fresh and unique, your story hooks the reader right from the first scene, and the new kid is pushed into a world that is so utterly different from his/her own that the reader feels empathy and can't wait to see what happens next...but if you forget about said new kid's drama and focus more on the overall theme in the next chapter, then the reader's gonna get a little confused. Set up the story a little bit more before throwing every single lead for a new plot in chapter two.

*From watching The Secret Circle on The CW, Thursdays at 9:00 PM

If you have a series keep the story lines fresh, dig deep for new ideas, and turn one of your characters into someone completely different. It's hard to continuously pull in a reader when you're regurgitating the same old plot line. So, if you have a series and it's based on witches, vampires, werewolves, selkies--whatever, look up some old myths and look up other creatures that might have something to do with your supe of choice. Oh, and it never hurts to make a character who was once a goody two shoes a bada** mo fo. That will definitely keep things fresh.

*From watching Supernatural on The CW, Fridays at 9:00 PM, and The Vampire Diaries on The CW, Thursdays at 8:00 PM.

What do you all think? Does watching premiere shows help you with writing your own beginnings?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Fives: Our Writing Nooks

Writing Song of the Day: "In My Place" by Coldplay

Friday is here, and Quita and I could not be more excited! Our week has been...hectic. But we're still taking the time to join Paper Hangover for the Friday Fives. This week they want to know:

And our choices are:

1. Our home office. It is a requirement now for both of us to have some kind of space at home to complete our writing. Of course, some times we're too lazy to make it there so we use our...

2. Living room. Yes, we have imprints of our butts on the couch. We each have our own side, and we sit like zombies in front of laptops--completely quiet, completely focused (well, sometimes...hence why I used the term "zombies").

3. Starbucks. We recently had to go there due to a power outage. I didn't think I would get much work done since I'm EASILY distracted (oh look...an airplane), but I loved the environment. Everyone there was so productive, which really rubbed off on me.

4. Our patio. The sunshine. The birds. The neighbors that provide endless amounts of writing material. Need I say more?

5. A writing retreat. Quita and I were lucky enough to attend two writing retreats--one with our Weekend of Awesome buds, and another organized by SCBWI. The amount of work we got done at both was truly outstanding. There's nothing like going away with the sole purpose of writing--we'll deal with life's drama when we return home.

What about you all? What are some of your fave writing locations?

P.S. Don't forget to enter our The Near Witch book giveaway!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Debut Author Challenge # 11: The Near Witch...And Yep, A Giveaway!!!!

Reading Song of the Day: "Witchy Woman" by The Eagles

And the countdown commences...we are now TWO books away from being finished with the Debut Author Challenge 2011. It's been so much fun, too--I think we might have to check out 2012 :)

This time, I've read Victoria Schwab's The Near Witch. Here is what Goodreads wants to tell ya:

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. And there are no strangers in the town of Near.
These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life.

But when an actual stranger—a boy who seems to fade like smoke—appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.
The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know—about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

If that's not enough to make you wanna read it, then maybe this will help:

The Top Four Things You Need to Know About The Near Witch:

1. Lexi is strong but not too rough: She can hunt and track b/c her father taught her how, she knows if you want to get a tough boy off your back just kick him in the family jewels, and she will do anything to protect her family. But she also is soft enough to open her heart to a stranger. She embodies the perfect balance of a female protag.

2. The town of Near comes alive: Schwab is a BEAUTIFUL writer. There is not one character, one house, one branch that doesn't pop out of the pages. When you're reading this novel you'll find yourself immersed in the moor, the wind, and the entire town of Near.

3. The characters are all distinct: There are no stereotypes in Near. Even witch sisters who might appear to be alike have their distinct ways of speaking and their own mannerisms. The children of Near have their own quirks, too. There is no way that you'll get any of the townspeople confused--not even the three old men who serve on The Council.

4. The plots are twistier than a pretzel: As the Goodreads plot suggests, The Near Witch is part fairy tale. The story of witches and children goes back to Hansel and Gretel, but this book ain't your normal fairy tale. You'll find yourself going "wha...?" or "wait, but I thought this was happening..." Even when you think you know what's coming--you don't.

You wanna win this book, don't cha? Well...keep reading and find out how!

If you like...

Books: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, Ash by Malinda Lo, or The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare... then you'll like The Near Witch.

Movies: The Brothers Grimm, Beastly, or Red Riding Hood ...then you'll like The Near Witch.

Okay, so you want to win a gently used copy of The Near Witch?? Well, all you have to do is leave a comment with your e-mail address, be a follower of this blog, and live in the U.S. (sorry but we're writers/educators which equals broke!) by Tuesday September 27th, 2011 at midnight EST. We'll announce the winner Thursday September 29th :) Hope you all enter!

Oh...and we have a winner to announce, don't we??? The winner of our last giveaway, Carrie Harris' Bad Taste in Boys , is...

Georgia Summers!!!

YAY!!! Look out for an e-mail from us today :D

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RTW: It Starts With a Cover

Reading Song of the Day: "Let's Get it Started" by Black Eyed Peas

It's that time again! Half way through the work week and Road Trip Wednesday:) This week the ladies of YA Highway are asking:

What are your all-time favorite book covers?

Book covers are essential. We all know that some people buy books mainly based on the cover. Some of the covers we feature here are ones that we are guilty of buying due to the cover art alone. Without further adieu enjoy some of these fantastic BEST book covers ever!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: As soon as we saw this cover--we HAD to have this book. It's mysterious and absolutely gorgeous. We can't wait to read it :D

hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick:
Who DOESN"T love this cover? It's intense
and enticing and breathtaking :D

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer: Unique and although it has
NOTHING to do with the story--it's lovely!

19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult: It's simple. Lovely, beautiful and it makes you want to know who these people are and why they're holding hands.

Your go! Tell us what book covers are your faves of all time :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Character Motivation w/ Alexander Skarsgard!

Writing Song of the Day: "Motivation" by Sum 41

So recently, Quita and I went to go see Straw Dogs. Now, were we expecting Oscar worthy performances and writing? No. But we expected to be more than a little creeped out, especially since the movie trailers promised this would be a story about a loving couple being terrorized by a pack of rednecks. However, our reaction both during and after the movie was more like this:

You see, we spent pretty much the whole time asking: "Why did she do that?" "Why did he do that?" "Why did they do that?" "Why didn't we see Contagion instead?"

Every question (aside from the last one) had something to do with character motivation. Quita and I were clueless about what these characters wanted, and why they reacted the way that they did. On the plus side, it helped us reflect on the characterization in our own writing. This movie proved to us that CHARACTER MOTIVATION is crucial in making your story believable...and if you want yours to shine, here's what you need to do:

1. Ask yourself what does your character want. Well, duh. But this does not always have to happen in your first draft. The first draft is for you to figure out everything--almost like a getting to know you phase with your characters. The revision process is when you really understand your characters. So help us, the readers, understand them through their thoughts, their dialogue, and their actions.

2. What is standing in your character's way? At some point in the movie, something really awful happens to the Kate Bosworth character--and then she makes a decision that completely baffled Quita and me. We didn't understand her obstacle because...well, her character was pretty muddled and lame. So once you've established what your characters want on the page, the obstacle should be just as clear. But it should also make sense. If your character has a terrifying fear of cats, don't make him just enter a room with a bunch of strays to create an obstacle. Why does he need to be in that room?

3. What would your character sacrifice to get what he wants? If you've seen the previews to Straw Dogs, you can safely assume that there is a LOT of sacrificing going on. But Quita and I still didn't get it. Again, this is because we were clueless about ANY of the characters' motivations. So, if tips #1 and #2 were done in a clear, yet creative, way--we're going to understand why your character sacrifices his safety and freedom to run his truck through a farmhouse (this may or may not have happened in Straw Dogs).

Quita and I aren't fans of being spoon fed information in stories, but we have to understand the point in order to enjoy it. Oh, and since I did mention Mr. Skarsgard in the title, I only think it's fair to include a small sample of him in the movie:

I've never been of fan of Eric from True Blood, but I'm telling you that scene had some serious eye candy.

Now where was I?? Oh yes--motivation! What are your thoughts on it, lovelies?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Debut Author Challenge #10: Bad Taste in Boys...and a Giveaway!

Reading Song of the Day: "Boys" by Britney Spears

Wow, can you believe that we're almost done with our 2011 Debut Author Challenge? We only have 3 more books to review...and you're in for a treat with this installment. Do you like getting your funny bone tickled while having the bejeezus scared out of you? Then Carrie Harris's Bad Taste in Boys is the book for you.

Here's what Goodreads has to say:

Someone's been a very bad zombie.

Kate Grable is horrified to find out that the football coach has given the team steroids. Worse yet, the steroids are having an unexpected effect, turning hot gridiron hunks into mindless flesh-eating zombies. No one is safe--not her cute crush Aaron, not her dorky brother, Jonah . . . not even Kate!

She's got to find an antidote--before her entire high school ends up eating each other. So Kate, her best girlfriend, Rocky, and Aaron stage a frantic battle to save their town. . . and stay hormonally human.

Doesn't this just sound awesome? Now, I give you...

The Top Four Things You Need to Know about Bad Taste in Boys:

1. The Heroine is a Brain, Not a Beauty. And not to say that Kate Grable isn't cute--it's just that she's MORE than cute. She's lanky, wears glasses and pigtails, and still nabs the hot guy at school. I'm so tired of reading about these insecure girls who aren't aware of how pretty they are. The hot guy falls for her because she's smart and has goals. I would love to see this become a trend in YA fiction. Speaking of which...

2. To Hell with Cliches. Not only is Kate not your stereotypical protagonist, but none of her friends fit into a certain mold, either. Her love interest is a jock, but he sucks at football. One of her closest friends is the prettiest, most popular girls in school--but she's nowhere near a bitch. The author steers away from archetypes, and I say more power to her!

3. It Has Some Funny Ha Ha Moments. Because of George Romero and the popularity of AMC's The Walking Dead, you would think a book about zombies would be a little...well, bleak. But Bad Taste knows how to make fun of itself. You'll find yourself snickering at Kate and her little brother as they try to defeat the zombies. But also...

4. It Has Some "Holy Sh*t!" Moments. Yeah, I had some good laughs...but there were also times I was a little scared to turn the page. Carrie Harris really knows how to amp up the creep factor, and she just may have you wanting to sleep with your light on at night.

Sounds pretty cool, huh? Keep reading and find out how you can win your own copy.

If You Like...

Books: Monster High by Lisi Harrison, The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade, Rash by Pete Hautman...then you'll like Bad Taste in Boys

Movies: Jennifer's Body, Fright Night, Shaun of the Dead...then you'll like Bad Taste in Boys

Want to win a copy of your own? Just leave a comment with your email address by Tuesday, September 20th at midnight, EST. We'll announce the winners on Thursday, September 22nd. Good luck!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

RTW: This Seems Familiar

Writing Song of the Day: "Deja Vu" by Beyonce

It's Wednesday which means road tripping with the ladies of YA Highway. This week they're asking us:

What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

I was a little lost on this one at first, but then Pam pointed out that we have discussed certain elements that continue to show themselves in ALL of our writing.

Pam's Answer:

Okay, my answer is really strange because:

A.) I'm a daddy's girl.

B.) My dad is pretty much awesome and

C.) Did I say I'm a daddy's girl??

With that being said, the recurring element that pops up in both Wants and Project J is daddy issues. My major characters either have a physical or emotionally MIA pop. Now that I think about it, this could stem from the fact that my dad was in the military for most of my childhood and he was gone for at least a year when he fought in Desert Storm.

Quita's Answer:

The recurring element that surfaces in my writing would be literally killing some of my darlings. For some reason I kill every single one of my character's best friends. Not just the associate they talk to in school sometimes--their best friends. In both In Limbo and The Blues the killing of the best friend serves major purposes, but still--I don't know why this keeps happening. It's not like I want to kill people--it just seems like the right thing to do. Wow. That sounds pretty creepy...

Your turn! Tell us what keeps popping up in your writing??

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing Through Grief

Writing Song of the Day: "Wake Me Up When September Ends" by Greenday

**Disclaimer: You may want to have Kleenex on hand ...**

We were debating whether or not we should do a post directly relating to yesterday's ten year anniversary of September 11th. It took us quite a few hours to decide if we would or if we'd just allow the numerous other blog posts (all very beautiful, thought provoking, and touching) to stand on their own and we'd take another approach. We'd like to discuss how writing can be a form of therapy when dealing with grief.

As writers, we all are guilty of putting ourselves in our material. Whether it be a character who loves cookie dough ice cream or hates football as much as we do. And me and Pam believe that as writers we also use our craft as a form of therapy.

When I was writing short stories to get into the MFA program at Fairleigh Dickinson University, I wrote an entire story based on a young girl who was losing her father to cancer. I wrote this story a little while after my own dad lost his battle with cancer. Writing it helped me to get out the things I couldn't say, like: "I'm sorry for not always being there when you needed me, Dad." All I can hope is that he was reading over my shoulder.

When Pam lost her grandmother she wrote an essay in high school that helped her to express how she felt. She never talked about her grandmother's death and this essay let out all her sadness and the guilt that she kept bottled inside.

The point is: writing is GREAT for getting out pint up emotion, anxiety, and even anger. And when you feel like no one will listen, will care or will understand what you have to say--write it down! OR you can also READ.

Writing takes on a new form of therapy for those who read. Think about Peter Negron. The thirteen year old read the poem "Stars" by children's writer Deborah Chandra two years after his father was killed in the 9/11 attacks. That poem helped the teen to relay how he was feeling after losing his father. It offered a form of release, of understanding that two years earlier, Peter did not possess.

What about you all? Does writing and/or reading serve as a form of therapy for you?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Fives: Best Summer Reads

Reading Song of the Day: "You're So Last Summer" by Taking Back Sunday

*sigh* The Summer has officially ended and we are wrapping up our first week of school. That means four days down, 176 to go! But we can still relish in the ah-may-zing books we read over the summer...

What? Paper Hangover wants us to do that???

Well, okay then...

This week's Friday Fives from that awesome blog group mentioned above is:

What are the FIVE best books you read this summer?

In no particular order, here are the five books we loved on over the summer:

Boy Toy by Barry Lyga : Pretty much any book about a child or a young student being molested by a teacher seems like it would come off "messagy". But according to Pam, this book doesn't. It helped her to make sense of why children/teens blame themselves and the healing they go through in order to move on.

Brooklyn, Burning by Steve Brezenoff: Pam gave love to Brezenoff's new masterpiece here (and also loved on him in other spots on our blog). This book made her feel. And she loved, loved, adored the imagery and mysteriousness of the MC and his/her love interest.

Recovery Road by Blake Nelson: I've already loved on this book enough here...but just in case you need to know MORE, know this--Nelson is a master at pacing. The story moves along fast, but not so fast that you're wondering what the *bleep* happened with that plot line or this conflict. MASTER, I say!

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa: Pam discussed before why she loved this book so much here, but she will add that it's one of the rare fantasy books that hooked her from the beginning and never let go.

Looking For Alaska by John Green: I am such a late passenger on the John Green train, but I ain't getting off! This book hooked me from the first page. The MC is likable, believable, and made me feel every single emotion that he was going through. LOVE!

What books did you love all up on this summer?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Tagged! We're It!

Miscellaneous Song of the Day: "Price Tag" by Jessie J

The lovely, funny, all around cool chica, Amparo Ortiz, tagged us last week, and we FINALLY got a chance to play the game--woo hoo!

Enough with the small talk. Here are 10 Random Facts about Quita and me:

1. We have an obsession with movies. Seriously. Our idea of relaxation is popping in a DVD or running to the cineplex. Some of our mutual faves include Inception, Mysterious Skin, and The Rules of Attraction.

2. To piggy-back off of #1, we quote movie lines in our day-to-day lives. From Interview With the Vampire ("Don't make me do this, I can NOT!), to The Departed ("I can investigate anyone I want!"--Boston accent included), to Juice ("Fat a** Still is stuck in school again, again")--we pretty much find some kind of way to show our love for the moving picture.

3. We both ordered travel information about New Orleans when we were in high school--and we didn't know the other one had done that until recently. Which proves everyone's theory that we're pretty much the same person.

4. Also when we were younger, Quita thought she was Left Eye, I thought I was Chilli, and Quita's older sister thought she was T-Boz. Yeah, we were just a little obsessed with TLC. So much so that we created our own music group, PMS. None of us are very vocally advanced, however.

5. When we sign our names on any present or card to each other, we write Mrs.--and then a string of last names of every possible hot guy, ever. Quita's signature is something like: "Mrs. Gyllenhaal-Mathers-Gordon-Levitt" and mine is usually: "Mrs. DiCaprio-Timberlake-Bloom."

6. We have a thing for hot white guys. (See #5).

7. When either of us try to do a British accent, we always sound Jamaican.

8. When we're anywhere in public and something embarrassing happens (to us or to anyone else), we know better than to look at each other because we'll burst into a fit of giggles. And once we get started, it's pretty hard to stop us.

9. I'm pretty good at picking up the dance moves in music videos (albeit, not very good), and Quita's pretty good at making fun of me for this weird habit.

10. If Crumbs Bakery was a person, we'd totally marry it. Click here to see why.

And that is probably as random as we can get. Now, here are the awesome folks that we're tagging (and our apologies if you've already done this--we promise to get back into the groove of the blogosphere again):

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

RTW: To Be Young Again

Writing Song of the Day: "When You Were Young" by The Killers

So it's the second day of the school year for Quita and me, but we still have time to take a little road trip with the lovely ladies of YA Highway. This week for Road Trip Wednesday they want to know:

What non-YA character would you love to see star in a YA book as themselves?

Ooh, good question! Probably our favorite one so far...but it also completely stumped us.

After much, MUCH thought, Quita came up with Ms. Sookie Stackhouse herself from the Charlaine Harris series. Why? Perhaps because she was Bella Swan before there was even a Bella Swan--not to mention she has some kick ass fairy powers. And pretty much every guy she meets, supernatural or otherwise, falls in love with her. That is one problem we'd LOVE to have.

We actually stole our other choice. I saw that the lovely Katy Upperman mentioned Dexter Morgan, star of one of our favorite TV shows evah. And Dexter would be awesome to see as a teen. We already have a vague idea of his background based on flashback, but to be there in the moment with him while he makes his first kill and discovers his dark passenger? Whoa. Okay, we realize that sounds a little demented, but hey--we're writers. That gives us a crazy pass.

What about you all? Who would you love to see as YA character?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Writers: Totally a Labor Organization

Writing Song of the Day: "Holiday" by Madonna

So, it's Labor Day. What does that mean for you?

A pool party?

A cook out??

A day of relaxation???

What about what the holiday was created for originally? The United States government made Labor Day a national holiday in recognition of various labor organizations. It's supposed to be a day for those labor groups to be revered and loved on. But what have we, Americans, turned the day into? A day to either lay around and do nothing, or a day to mourn the end of summer and the beginning of dun, dun, dun...the school year!

But what does labor day mean to us writers??? Well, if you are like me and Pam and you don't have children, it's our last full day to possibly get some writing done. If you do have school aged children it's the last day (besides the weekends) that you have to entertain your kids instead of sending them off to school. Either way, we are a labor organization, aren't we? And just like those groups that Labor Day was originally created for, we deserve to be recognized and celebrated.

So, in the spirit of Labor Day, here is what we think belongs at a celebration of what we have deemed the Labor Organization of Writers:

*Party Favor Pack: Consisting of pens, a Moleskin, a flash drive, and Post-It notes.

*Snacks: Of the sweet, chocolatey, and oh-so-bad-for-you variety

*Pictures of sexy celebs: We all need to look at our muses--whether it be Leo DiCaprio or Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

*Balloons: Because what's a celebration without balloons?

*Music: Moody, deep, and probably instrumental.

*Inspirational Items: Quotes, pics of their kids, or books from authors that we all aspire to be like.

What would you all add to our celebration??? Have a happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Friday Fives: Attention! Awesome Title Here!

Reading Song of the Day: "You Have My Attention" by Copeland

Friday's here! That means we have FOUR days until the kids come back to school and our jobs get even harder...but in the mean time, we can participate in some Friday Fives' fun with the Paper Hangover gang!

This week the peeps want to know:

What are FIVE book titles that got your attention?

If you know anything about me and Pam, you know we aren't huge fans of coming up with our own titles (evidenced by the clever title of this post). But we do love it when we come across titles that snatch our attention right away. With that being said, here are the top five books (in no particular order) with attention grabbing titles:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: The title is soooo mysterious. How can someone be a daughter of these two random objects?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: Pam noticed that she's enjoying titles that are more lengthy instead of the one word titles that she used to be fond of. She thinks this novel is a perfect embodiment of a wordy title that manages to give a concise overview of the novel.

Rock Star, Superstar by Blake Nelson: So, fell in love with Mr. Nelson while reading Paranoid Park. Then I realized: I needed more! I decided to read this book just by glancing at the title. And yeah, the book is just as bada** as the title.

The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler: This grabbed both of us when we attended SCBWI's LA conference in 2010. We've spent some time having round bodies (me, still have it...Pam, not so much--skinny bee-yatch), and seeing that there was a WHOLE novel about a character who had a round butt made us pretty much squeal!

This Is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell: This book is so new that there's no cover art for it over on Goodreads! But as soon as Pam saw the title, she knew she wanted to read this one...also, the summary is pretty interesting. Check it out!

Actually, check out all of those books! The kick butt titles are just a quick preview of all of the awesome-ness that the books have to offer. What about you all? What titles have grabbed your attention?