Thursday, November 4, 2010
You're probably not going to see or hear much from me for the rest of the year. I'll try to stop in when I can and post reviews as I get books read. However, for the month of November I'm participating in NaNoWriMo - that's National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated. It's going to be writing madness for the rest of the month. :)
After November is the madness that is December, also known as the holiday shopping season for those of us in retail. Again, I'll try to swing by, but December will be full of work, finals, research papers, and most importantly sleep.
So I'm apologizing in advance for my potential absence. If you send me an email and I don't respond, I'm sorry. Tweet me at @heathermriley or find me on Facebook (also Heather M. Riley) if you really need to get in touch with me. I'm usually pretty good about checking those on a daily basis.
And lastly.... Good luck to all my fellow NaNoWriMo writers! Let's all hit that magical 50k!
Monday, October 25, 2010
I’ve been married for 25 years to my high school sweetheart. We have three grown daughters who are all off pursuing their dreams of being a college professor, writer, and nurse, respectively. During the school year, I teach 5th grade Language Arts in a bilingual education program in a small district in East Texas. I live in a house our family built several years ago, right on the edge of the Piney Woods of East Texas. I write books during the summer and whenever I can carve out the time. I love both my jobs!
I’ve been writing all my life. I wrote mostly poetry when I was a child and young adult. I really began writing short stories when I was going through recovery for childhood sexual abuse. It helped me process the excruciating pain I was in as I struggled to accept that people who were supposed to love and protect me had not chosen to do so. At the same time, I had also started working out (I used to weigh about 100 pounds more than I do now, and one of the first things I worked on in therapy was no longer stuffing myself with food to numb my feelings). I would read books while on the treadmill, and one day I went into my daughter’s room to check out her bookshelf to see if she had anything interesting to read. I saw a book called Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow, 2003).
Reading Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes was an epiphany for me! Here was something unlike anything else I’d ever read: a gritty, realistic story for teens, told in a way that spoke to my heart. One day my therapist suggested I try writing a novel. It took me about 4 months of being stuck inside my head, unable to pull myself out of my own feelings of grief, disbelief, and rage. One day, I decided to try imagining someone else’s story. What if the main character was a teen girl who got out of her abusive situation much earlier than I did? What if the story focused more on her first tenuous steps into recovery, and how she carved out a new life for herself with the father she’d never known until CPS removed her from her home? That’s how I met Ashley Nicole Asher, age 15, and ended up creating the fictional small town of Patience, Texas.
3. Tell us about your most recent/upcoming release?
Hope in Patience is coming from WestSide Books in late October, 2010. It’s already available for preorder on Amazon and Barnes & Noble! Hope in Patience is the story of 15 year old Ashley Nicole Asher, who has been sexually abused by her stepfather, Charlie, since the age of 9. At the point that Hope in Patience starts, Ashley’s been living with her dad, David, stepmom, Bev, and stepbrother, Ben, for about six months. Some readers may be aware that before Hope in Patience, I wrote Courage in Patience. It was published by a company that is now out of business, called Kunati Books. Courage in Patience is the story of Ashley’s first tenuous steps into recovery from childhood sexual abuse, right when she is removed from Charlie and Cheryl’s home. The book I wrote when my therapist first suggested it was Courage in Patience. It’s still available from private sellers on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but it’s officially out of print. Hopefully at some point WestSide will want to reissue it. You don’t have to have read Courage in Patience in order for Hope in Patience to be meaningful to you, however.
Hope in Patience finds Ashley at a crossroads. She’s recovering from Charlie breaking her arm when he and Ashley’s mom, Cheryl, tried to take Ashley from Patience back to Northside, the suburb of Dallas where they live. Ashley has to face Charlie and Cheryl in court because of him breaking Ashley’s arm. Ashley’s mom is very devoted to Charlie, and this is a very hard reality for Ashley to deal with. She’s working through the pain with her therapist, Scott “Dr. Matt Matthews”, and using cross-country running as a way to relax and cope. Another reason she likes cross country is Joshua Brandt, a cute guy on the team that she admires from afar, but she doesn’t know what she’d do if he asked her out.
Ashley’s friends include Zaquoiah “Z.Z.” Freeman, whose family is one of the few African-American families in Patience. Roxanne Blake is 4’6” tall, and she has scars on her face from a car accident that killed her parents when she was ten. Roxanne’s boyfriend is Kevin Cooper, who is a gentle giant. He’s not the brightest crayon in the box, but he’s crazy about Roxanne. T.W. Griffin quit the Patience Panthers football team, and his dad, the head football coach, is still angry about it. Krystle “K.C.” Williamson is newly arrived from Houston, and dealing with parents who think that K.C.’s being a lesbian can be cured by a quick trip to J.C. Penney’s to get some skirts for her instead of the jeans and Nirvana t-shirts she usually wears.
When a horrific accident occurs, Ashley is brought face-to-face with the reality of her situation, and she must decide whether to embrace the new life she has with her dad and his family, or retreat to hiding in the pine wardrobe dresser that is the closest thing to a closet she has in Patience. (When Ashley was a child, when she was scared or trying to keep Charlie from molesting her, she’d hide in her closet. She slept there most nights.) Hope in Patience is the story of hope triumphing over fear, and it is a story for everyone. It is a survival story.
4. Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
It’s a combination of both. I know what the ending will be, and I know the major plot points. I map out a basic idea of what is most important to me to communicate through the story. As I write, it may change, or I may drop some plot points if they do not contribute to the strength of the story. For example, with my current work in progress, the third Patience book called Truth in Patience, I intended to include a sub plot of church burnings, based loosely on a series of church burnings we had in the East Texas area last spring. However, once I began plotting out the book, I realized that the church burning story would take away from Ashley’s story—so out they went.
One thing I heard from readers about Courage in Patience was that anytime the story took them away from Ashley, they were mildly irritated—which is great because it means that they connected to her so strongly, they didn’t want to leave her storyline. I listened to them and kept that in mind when I wrote Hope in Patience. When I get stuck, I ask myself what happens next. Sometimes it’s quite surprising!
5. Many authors have told me that their characters talk to them, or sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
I do hear them in my mind; they usually sound like the people I had in mind when I crafted the character. My characters are usually combinations of people I’ve known, but not always. Marvella Brown, for example- the Patience High School secretary and mischief maker—I have no idea where she came from, but I know exactly what she looks and sounds like!
6. Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
Oh, gosh, that’s like asking a mom to say which of her children is her favorite! I love all of them , with the exception of Charlie, because of what he put Ashley through.
7. What hobbies do you have when you’re not writing?
I am traveling more and more, since all three of my kids are going to college out-of-state. Around the house, I like to garden. I have a flower garden every spring and summer. My husband and I planted a bunch of pine tree saplings a few years ago, and I nurture those. Because we live in the woods, we have a lot of wildlife come up to eat, and we enjoy watching them. We have two dogs that I like to walk, and I just enjoy nature. I also like doing things that support the East Texas Crisis Center, which provides services and shelter to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse, and I’m on the Advisory Board of Survivors in Action, which likewise provides help to abuse victims. I also support Lavender Power, a support organization for abuse victims and survivors, the Texas Freedom Network, and the Human Rights Campaign.
8. If you had not become a writer, what would you have done instead?
I’d have stayed a teacher, because I love it so much. I also really loved being a stay-at-home mom when my kids were small.
9. Where can authors find you online?
My website is http://www.bethfehlbaumya.com ; I’m on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ beth.fehlbaum ; and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bethfehlbaum
10. Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
What is most important to you when you read a novel? Is it characters? Voice? Whether its told in 1st or 3rd person?
Thanks so much for stopping by Want My YA today. It was great to be a part of your blog tour. :) I hope everyone takes a moment to check out Hope in Patience. It sounds like an inspiring read.
Have a great blog tour, and readers, don't forget to leave a comment and answer Beth's question.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
by Cinda Williams Chima
Release Date: September 28, 2010
Haunted by the loss of his mother and sister, hunted by the powerful Bayar family, Han Alister makes a devil’s bargain with the clans. If they sponsor his schooling at Mystwerk Academy at Oden’s Ford, he will become their magical sell-sword against the power-hungry Wizard Council.
Han and his clan friend Fire Dancer undertake the dangerous journey south through war-torn Arden. Once in Oden’s Ford, it doesn’t take long for the smoldering feud between Han and Micah Bayar to kindle into flame. After several attempts on his life, Han knows he has to find a way to defend himself.
In the magical dream world of Aediion, Han meets the mysterious Crow, a wizard with a long-standing grudge against the Bayars. Crow offers to tutor Han in wizardry in exchange for his help. Han agrees, once again forced into a bargain he hopes he won’t regret.
Meanwhile, Han’s friends Fire Dancer and Cat Tyburn struggle with their own demons. Dancer is determined to become a clan flashcrafter, despite his charmcaster status. Cat carries a load of guilt, as the only survivor of the slaughter of the gangs in Ragmarket and Southbridge.
Resuming her disguise as gently-born Rebecca Morley, Princess Raisa ana’Marianna travels with her friend Amon Byrne and his triple of cadets to Wien House, the military academy at Oden’s Ford. There she hopes she will find both temporary sanctuary from a forced marriage and the education she needs to succeed as the next Gray Wolf queen.
Much of Raisa’s education takes place outside of the classroom. As she mingles with students of all classes from throughout the Seven Realms, she forges the kind of friendships that don’t happen amid the cut-throat politics of the Gray Wolf Court. She also struggles to deal with her attraction to Amon—an attraction he seems determined to discourage.
When Han Alister asks the girl he knows as Rebecca to tutor him, she agrees. The streetlord turned wizard with the complicated past fascinates her, and he makes it clear the interest is mutual. But Han blames Queen Marianna and the Bayars for the loss of his family. As their relationship deepens, Raisa suspects that if Han knew her true identity, he wouldn’t want anything to do with her.
why it caught my eye:
Aside from the beautiful cover on this one, The Exiled Queen is a title I've been waiting for since I finished reading The Demon King. Cinda Williams Chima writes great fantasy so I can't wait to get my hands on this one. I swear my wishlist grows by the day. :)
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
by Ivy Devlin
Release Date: September 14, 2010
why it caught my eye:
That bright red cover acted like a beacon drawing me to the display table where Low Red Moon rested. I picked it up to check out the blurb and it sounded exactly like my kind of book. :) So yes, it's yet another title to add to my ever-growing wishlist.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
I'm 15 and live in northern Illinois. I've been reading almost my whole life. The other day I counted my books and I had about 230 but, I have gotten more since then. I have a younger sister, Alayna, and a kitten named Jerry. One of the only two older boy cousins I have just got married in a town in southern Illinois. I got my Learner's Permit in July so I can drive with a parent! Haha. I'm pretty bad at writing biography's of myself, so I'll stop now.
Who do you think would win in a fight – Edward Cullen or Batman? (Saundra Mitchell)
Edward Cullen. Duh! He could read Batman's mind and then outrun him or blind him with his cuteness. :)
What do you think about your own nose? Oh and for extra credit: where is the best chocolate in your hometown? (Sydney Salter)
I like my own nose most of the time! And in my hometown there's not a lot of chocolate shops... If you like dark chocolate then it's probably Chocolat by Daniel.
I'd usually ask the typical: Team Edward or Team Jacob (lol)...but I'd like to know what kinds of stories you enjoy reading the most (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical, Coming of Age, Romance, etc). (Leigh Brescia)
Team Edward! Haha. I enjoy reading stories that I can relate to.
What element in a book makes you most want to turn the page: Is it suspense, caring about what happens to the character, humor, romance, emotion, or something else? What makes you turn the page?(Cheryl Renee Herbsman)
What makes me turn the page is caring about what happens to the character, romance, emotion, and suspense!
I would love to know if teens want to read serious books or comedies. (Simone Elkeles)
Lots of teens that I know, want to read serious books that have humor in it so they aren't completely serious.
I would love to know what one quality about an author and/or their work turns you into full-fledged, card-carrying, lifetime fans! You know, the kind that makes you tell all your friends and really spread the word about a book and/or its author? (Michelle Zink)
I'm made into a lifetime fan when the books by the author are good and the author tries to connect with their readers.
Are you a fan of happy endings, suspenseful endings, surprise endings or bittersweet ones? And what is your favourite ending and why? (Samira Armin Hodges)
I'm a fan of happy endings. It's my favorite because I get so into my books that I feel what the characters do a lot of the time so if something sad happens I get sad and so on.
What book is at the top of your re-read list, the book that's a total classic for you, and why? (Rhonda Stapleton)
The book at the top of my re-read list is Dreamland by Sarah Dessen because it could happen to anyone.
I'd love to know whether your readers' reading habits are seasonal? I've often heard that lighter fare is great for the summer. Is that true for your readers? If so, what are some book fall/winter books that you enjoy reading? As for me, I prefer to read inside, so I'm partial to the rainy day reading mode and of course, I tend toward darker fare. (Swati Avasthi)
I read anything at anytime. If I see a book that I like I'll pick it up and read it whenever.
I'm curious about what attracts you to a book. Do you browse the bookstore or head in knowing what you want to read? (Shair Maurer)
I have a list currently. But I will go in and find a book that looks really good and get it even if it isn't on my list.
Thanks so much for your responses Abbey! It was great having you here this week. :)
Remember, if you want to be interviewed as a reader for Your Turn Thursday you just need to send an email to wantmyya at gmail dot com and I'll send you the questions.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I'm finally preparing to read Mockingjay. lol I was so impatient to get it and then it seemed like everything got in my way whenever I wanted to read it. I can't wait. :)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
by Yvonne Woon
Release Date: September 21, 2010
why it caught my eye:
I'm just loving YA covers these days. There are so many beautiful eye-catching covers that make me want to pick up a book and get lost in it. I think part of what makes Dead Beautiful's cover so appealing to me is that it reminds me a bit of my Senior pictures from high school. :) All I know is I've found yet one more book to add to my wishlist.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
Happy Monday lovely Readers! Today's guest is Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith. Denise is stopping by today as a part of her official blog tour. To see her other blog stops and find out about the contest Denise is hosting stop by Denise Jaden's website at http://www.denisejaden.com. What I can tell you is that leaving comments on today's post would be a very good idea. :)
1.Tell us a little about yourself.
I've been writing for close to six years. Aside from writing, I'm a professional Polynesian dancer and a homeschooling mom. I've held a wide variety of jobs over the years, including church secretary, fried chicken cook, and mushroom farmer.
2.What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
I started journaling just over six years ago, and somehow, accidentally, turned my journal into a story. Once the story and characters became fictional, I had so much fun I couldn't stop.
Even though my first novel was officially written for the adult market, I've come to realize that my writing voice has always leaned toward YA. The inner teen in me is very strong!
3.Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?
LOSING FAITH is about a teen, Brie Jenkins, who is on a quest to solve the mystery of her sister's death. Through her journey, clues about her late, so-called predictable sister lead Brie to some very unexpected places.
4.Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
I've been a plotter and a panster, but now I prefer plotting. Even though my outlines are very long and involved (the last one was 33,000 words), I'm not afraid to stray from them, even if it takes me in a brand new direction. I do like having the outline to come back to when I'm stuck though.
5.Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
I'm very close to my characters. I have a theatre background, and I'd say I "become" my characters more than "hear" them. I slip into character. This is one reason that I hate being interrupted while writing.
6.Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
Unfair question! I really, really love all my characters, but okay, if I HAD to name one, I'd say Tessa Lockbaum. Tessa was not in my very involved outline for LOSING FAITH, but just showed up in the writing and took over every scene she was in.
7.What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
As I mentioned, I'm a Polynesian dancer, which I love. Aside from that, parenting, and reading, there really isn't time for much else.
8.If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
I think I'd be living my life in quite a similar way. Except I'd have more free time.
9.Where can readers find you online?
My website is the best place to find me - www.denisejaden.com and readers can also find links to my Facebook, Blog, and Twitter on there.
10.Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
I love to hear about recent favorite books. I'm always on the lookout for great reads.
Thanks so much for the interview, Heather!
Thanks for visiting Denise! Remember readers stop by Denise's website to find out where else she'll be in the coming days. And leave those comments! :)
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
So tell me what are you reading these days?
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.
why it caught my eye:
What teenager hasn't gone through a Poe phase? I know I did. :) Heck my first pet rat was named Edgar. Thanks to my fascination with Poe (and I'm sure many others), I can't wait to get my hands on Nevermore. Plus you've just got to love that striking cover.
Friday, August 20, 2010
The Secret Year was a different kind of book for me. It was like getting just a little snippet of Colt's life. Jennifer R. Hubbard's writing is absolutely compelling. I read nearly the entire book in one sitting. I couldn't stop reading about Colt and what he was going through. How do you handle grief when you can't show it?
The Secret Year is a book to make you think. I'm glad I read it, and I recommend you do so too.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Monday, August 2, 2010
Another Monday, another author interview. :) This week our guest is Shari Maurer, author of Change of Heart.
Tell us a little about yourself.
What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
I've been writing in one form or another my whole life. Senior year of college, on a whim, I had applied to NYU film school to study dramatic writing. Even then, when given the choice I chose to write for children. I think I wound up writing YA in part because I wanted to write something my daughter would want to read and partially because it's what I like reading. What a great excuse I have to read all the wonderful YA books that are out there.
Change of Heart is about Emmi, a sixteen year old soccer player who struggles to maintain a normal life, while waiting for a heart transplant, and learns about life, loss and the meaning of true friendship in the process.
Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
My characters often talk to each other while I'm driving or in the shower. I'm not sure they address me directly, but they certainly chat amongst themselves plenty.
Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
Emmi. It's her story and her journey.
What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
Reading, playing tennis, rollerblading, watching Duke basketball and driving my kids around.
If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
Before my kids were born, I worked for the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) on international productions of Sesame Street and other children's programming. When I was home with my kids, I became the PTA guru (I even have a PTA Lifetime Membership) , Girl Scout Leader and charity event planner (my family has coordinated events benefiting the American Heart Association and Hoops 4 Hope). Somewhere in the middle of television production and all the volunteer work lies the perfect job for me--perhaps Event Planner of some sort?
Where can readers find you online?
Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
Thanks so much Shari! Your book sounds great, looks like another one to add to my ever expanding wishlist. :) I had to laugh when I read that your characters talk in the car and the shower, that's exactly when mine start talking too. My problem is I can't remember their conversations very well after...lol.
Personally I do a fair amount of browsing, but I also have my list that I buy from. I try to stick to the list so I don't accidentally double buy. I own so many books that sometimes it's difficult to remember if I've already bought something.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Kate is just as confused as her best friend, Lan, when she arrives at Cleary High to find the building's been "tagged" with a life-size graffiti mural. Could the culprit be one of their friends or classmates? And is the kind-of-amazing creation really vandalism, or a work of art? She's tempted to stay out of it—mostly because, as the police chief's daughter, she's worried about being labeled a snitch. But when the same mysterious graffiti starts appearing throughout the state, putting more pressure on the authorities to catch the vandal, her investigative instincts kick in.
Now Eli, Kate's favorite coworker at the local coffee shop, is MIA. With Lan preoccupied with her own boy troubles, Kate needs to figure out some things on her own. Like why she can't stop thinking about Eli. And what she will do when all the clues about the graffiti point to someone she's close to…
Reading Kate's story brought me right back to high school. I could relate to her desire to fade into the background and not be noticed. Tagged tackles some interesting questions regarding art. What is art? Who decides if something is art or vandalism? Not only does Kate come to terms with finding a definition for art, but she also realizes how to define herself.
Overall I think Mara Purnhagen's Tagged was a fun quick read that I easily immersed myself in. It's an enjoyable story of growth. Kate is a really nice girl, and even though she starts out as normal as she believes herself to be, by the end of the story she starts to come into her own.
I like Mara Purnhagen's writing and I'm already looking forward to her next book Past Midnight coming in September.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Why oh why did I wait so long to read this one? I was immediately sucked into Katniss' world. It was very easy to feel what Katniss felt; her emotions, along with everyone else's, leapt off the pages. The entire story was so visual it was difficult to put down.
Honestly I'm almost at a loss for words to describe how I feel about The Hunger Games. It is an intense reading experience and I'm already looking forward to finishing the next two books.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I'm finally reading the Hunger Games books (I'm behind, I know, but look for a review of The Hunger Games tomorrow), and I'm absolutely loving them. Can't wait for Mockingjay to release.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Once Devi gets over the shock and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do because she's already done the wrong ones! If freshman Devi takes her advice, she can hold on to her friends, get into a good no, incredible college, be an extracurricular superstar, and most importantly, spare herself the heartbreak of Bryan.
Fourteen-year-old Devi isn't so sure, though. She likes Bryan. She's happy. But who better to listen to than your future self. . . right?
why it caught my eye:
This one is another Twitter find. I first heard about it when Sarah Mylnowski asked people what they would tell their fourteen-year-old selves. I thought the whole idea sounded like a really interesting concept. I've heard nothing but great things about Gimme a Call so I can't wait to get started on it. Though I will have to wait since I haven't picked up my copy yet. :) Gonna have to remedy that soon.