Monday, August 31, 2009
Thank you so much for inviting me to share my title/cover story with you, Kelsey!
I'll be the first to admit that I've always been epically horrible at writing titles. To make it worse, I've grown accustomed to writing for the newspaper, where my editor routinely changes my title for me anyway, which is another way of saying I'm now horrible and lazy with title-writing. I tend to just "stick on" a working title while I'm writing a project, and then by the end of the writing, I've gotten so used to the working title, I don't want to do anything to change it so I just go with it.
That said, my "working title" while I was writing "Hate List" was "To Kill a Year," which is so far off the Stink-o Title Scale, you really can't even see it from the ground. It sounds like some combination of a Harper Lee novel with a 007 movie, don't you think? So even I could see that, as soon as the book was finished, that title had to go. I decided to re-title it "Hero."
Now, in all honesty, I loved "Hero" and was really married to it. Thought it really nutshelled the book, and had this metaphorical quality to it. But my agent quite accurately pointed out that the title made sense if you'd already read the story, but didn't really do much to tell you what kind of book you were picking up off the shelf. Good point.
I brainstormed a little. But remember me? Rotten title-r? Yeah, I didn't get far. I came up with something totally different, and not at all inspired: "Wallpaper Horses." Nobody -- including me -- was in love with that one.
Fortunately, my editor at Little, Brown did some brainstorming as well and came up with a few much better titles. For a time, I considered sticking with a "Hero" twist -- maybe "Not a Hero" or "Nobody's Hero" -- but after chatting some, we decided that "Hate List" really fit the best. After all, it is a "Hate List" that is central to the story. So I wish I could take credit for the title of my book, but in reality... yeah, it was an editor saving my title-challenged butt once again.
While writing "Hate List," I definitely had a clear image of what I thought the cover art would look like. In my head, it was a spiral-bound notebook, filled with names, scratch-outs, doodles. Maybe tear-stained. Maybe covered with eraser-shavings, a pencil having erased some of the previously-written names.
But I wanted to be open to anything and everything Little, Brown had in mind, so I just waited to see what they came up with before I expressed any of my own ideas.
I was actually on vacation (Disney World) the day my cover art came through. I woke up to a text from my agent and spent half the morning scrambling to find Internet access so I could view the cover of my book. What I found was so different from what I'd been imagining... and so much better!... it just took my breath away.
Probably what works best for me about the cover is that it sets the tone so well for the story that's inside. As someone who writes in two genres, I was a little afraid that fans of my humor work would pick up "Hate List" expecting something funny. I think the cover art makes it clear that "Hate List" is a serious story.
I asked for no changes on the cover art. I love the design, I love the colors, I love how original and striking it is. I love everything about it.
Thanks again! This was fun!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
- I got this one back from Ashley who borrowed it.
- I got this one for review. It was my first David Levithan book. I've already read it, it was a bit disappointing from all the high praise it's been getting I think.
- I got this one for review, it was a bit of surprise, actually because I didn't know if I was getting it for review or not. I'm going to read it tonight (I wrote this at 11:53 on Saturday) and am really excited for it!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
CREATE YOUR DEBUT YA COVER
1 – Go to “Fake Name Generator” or clickhttp://www.fakenamegenerator.com/
The name that appears is your author name.
2 – Go to “Random Word Generator” or clickhttp://www.websitestyle.com/parser/randomword.shtml
The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.
3 – Go to “FlickrCC” or clickhttp://flickrcc.bluemountains.net/index.php
Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.
4 – Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.
5 – Post it to your site along with this text.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Eron De Marchelle isn’t supposed to feel a connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce human charges to sleep. While he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn’t encouraged to–after all, getting too involved in one human’s life would prevent him helping his other charges get their needed rest.
But he can’t deny that he feels something for Julia. Julia, with her fiery red hair and her sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. Eron has always felt protective of Julia . . . but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can’t seem to reach her . . .
Sandmen are forbidden from communicating with humans outside their dreams. But will Eron be willing to risk everything for a chance to be with the person he loves?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
This book has been through so many titles! Probably because I worked on it for such a long time before even thinking about publication. At that point, I just needed a word that I could use when talking about what I was writing. (Because of course I couldn't say "my book"--in my mind, that was only something that REAL writers could say. I was worried that people would think I was a big old poser if I referred to it that way.)
So I called it "Lost", and I called it "Gone", for a while, and I called it "Preoccupied," which I knew immediately was wrong, so I just typed "PRE" when I saved the document. Then, after a while, I settled on "The Homecoming," which fits the story in a number of ways. When I contacted an old colleague in publishing to ask if he'd look at the book, his first bit of advice was to change the name, because Cynthia Voigt's "Homecoming" is a classic in the YA category.
I had to think fast, and I settled on "The Girl Least Likely," which was actually from a line that was cut from the book. Alexis, standing in the bedroom of a girl she never thought she could relate to, reflects that in contrast to the girl MOST likely to succeed and win awards and be voted most popular and best dressed, etc., she, Alexis, is the girl LEAST likely.
That title made it all the way through the sale of the book. Even though I hadn't been wild about it when I first pulled it out of thin air, by the time we had to think of a new title, I found myself attached to the old one. But the folks at Hyperion thought there might be something out there that not only gave the attitude (like TGLL did), but also hinted at the ghost story. My agent, editor, and I made list after list after list.
I sat around thinking of scary words and arranging and rearranging them to come up with phrases. I can't even remember the early favorites, but nothing clicked. Finally, on yet another list, I was weary enough to make a joke. I wrote "Bad Girls Don't Die (sung to the tune of...)"--referring to the oldies song "Big Girls Don't Cry." I sent off the list.
Soon after, my editor called and said, "There's one title EVERYBODY loves!" And she told me which one. And I seriously almost fell out of my chair! I was like, "Um... okay... are you sure?" But of course she was sure.
So I hung up and called my agent and was like, "Holy cow, what did I do?" and he was like, "Well, hmm." But we decided that we'd all wear the decision around for a while and see if it grew on us. It took a little time, but it did grow on us. And now I can't imagine a different title.
Probably a big part of what made it easier to envision was my beautiful cover, designed by Beth Clark of Hyperion. The morning my editor sent it over, I sat down and clicked the file, not sure what to expect. But when I saw the file, I was just blown away. They had tapped into the gothic side of the story, the spookiness and menace and the sense that things aren't right in this old house. And of course, the icily elegant typeface makes the title, which could have been played as "in your face" and punky, just a part of the mystery and menace. So that's the story of Bad Girls Don't Die.
And I guess what I'd like to leave you with is, if you're writing a book--devoting all of that time and energy--never be embarrassed to say that's what you're doing. I mean, you don't have to run through the streets yelling, "I'm writing a book! I'm a writer!" But don't be afraid to take credit for your effort and your work in progress. You're a writer, and it's a book!
Thanks for having me as your guest, Kelsey!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
Check back soon, we should be having another cover up. I'm just waiting to see if I could get a higher resolution jpeg of it.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens-both named Will Grayson-are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.
Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan's collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Reading Level: YA, 14+
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
My Edition: ARC
Plot - 18/20
Characters - 20/20
Writing - 20/20
Originality - 18/20
Entertainment - 7/10
Recommendation - 7/10
Five teenagers from different parts of the country. Three girls. Two boys. Four straight. One gay. Some rich. Some poor. Some from great families. Some with no one at all. All living their lives as best they can, but all searching...for freedom, safety, community, family, love. What they don't expect, though, is that they can have all of these things when those powerful little words "I love you" are said for all the wrong reasons. Five moving stories remain seperate at first, then interweave to tell a larger, powerful story- a story about making choices, taking leaps of faith, falling down, and growing up.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
(no cover yet)
When Brie’s sister Faith falls tragically from a cliff, sixteen-year-old Brie is left devastated and convinced it isn’t an accident. In her grief, she becomes friends with another girl at her school, Tessa, whose sister has also passed away. Tessa and Brie join forces to seek out the truth of what happened the night of Faith’s death and discover, among other things, a religious cult in which Faith was a rebellious member. Brie falls out of the popular crowd into a band of misfit teens who help her learn the truth about Faith, the sister she hated and loved.
LOSING FAITH won RWA’S 2008 Launching A Star Contest for the YA category and will be released Summer/Fall 2010 from Simon Pulse.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Reading Level: YA, 13+
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
My Edition: ARC
Plot - 17/20
Characters - 19/20
Writing - 19/20
Originality - 19/20
Entertainment - 10/10
Recommendation - 10/10
Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.
Monday, August 3, 2009
But anyhow, let's talk about San Francisco! What I did:
- Went to the German Embassy because my grandma wanted to get her German Passport. She didn't make an appointment so they didn't allow her in.
- Went to the Books, Inc. on Van Ness and bought Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart.
- Went to Chevy's for lunch on Van Ness and had really good fajita nachos.
- Rode around town until we found Columbus Ave which is right next to Chinatown, so we parked up a few blocks and walked down to Columbus to go to the City Lights Bookstore, which is that might seem familiar it is. It was the bookstore mentioned in Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Sarah: I have pictures! Sadly they had a very poor YA section there. But I did buy The Other Side of The Island by Allegra Goodman, which I heard about once and it is a dystopian novel so it looked pretty good.
- Then my grandma and I walked around Chinatown for a bit. We walked in stores and looked at stuff and we did buy a little bamboo plant which I will mention later.
- Then we got the car, and to get on the freeway we went through the financial district! I just loved being by all those skyscrapers! I took pictures!
- We went to the hotel in South San Francisco and checked in and we called my BFF who lives in the San Francico Bay Area and we went down to her house for dinner which we gave her family the little bamboo plant and had a great dinner.
- I got up earlier then my grandma (unheard of!) and we got ready and went down for the complimentary breakfast, which was very good.
- We were out of the hotel by around eight. We planned to go to the SFMOMA (Museum of Modern Art a.k.a. the MoMA.) But when we got there it wasn't open until 11 am and it was only nine so we decided to walk around for a bit.
- The MoMA was right near the heart of San Francisco, meaning the area where all the skyscrapers are. So we walked down there on Polk, Market, New Montgomery, etc. It was so amazing. You could definitely tell the locals from the tourists. There were so many designer stores which weren't even opened yet.
- We decided to walk down to Union Square. They were having like a gallery thing going on there. But we looked around and we saw a BORDERS! We went in and asked where the YA section was and he said the third floor! I just can't get over how big it was. I ended up getting Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog ang Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols.
- When we went by Union Square again we saw the (what we learned later) second largest Macy's. They even had a Cheesecake Factory on the top. We went up the 7 (or 8?) floors to the top of Macy's and I took a lot of pictures of Union Square.
- We saw a lot of people wearing scarfs. We weren't sure why but my grandma thought we should know. Most of the scarves we saw were like 50-100 bucks. But my grandma found one that was 10 bucks so she got one and realized why everyone wore then. They kept you much warmer in the wind there. :)
- Then we went to the MoMA and spent a few hours there. They had two special exhibits, Georgia O'Keeffe and Richard Avedon. I really liked the Richard Avedon one. That was neat.
- We then had lunch and walked around a bit more. We found a bookstore called Alexander's Book Co. It was a three story bookstore and on the top floor they had the YA section. There was a lady there, I think it might've been the owner, and we got talking and I told her about my blog and showed her my blurb in Blue Moon and she went to get something and when she came back she had three ARC's with her and said I could have them! I couldn't believe it! I think that was one of the most awesome moments. I got The Well by someone. I can't remember the author. But I also got Tangled by Carolyn Mackler which I already read and it was really good. I also got Tricks by Ellen Hopkins which I am in the middle of right now. But I also bought Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I think I'm getting a ARC of Fire so I thought I might get this one, plus I've heard fantastic things of it.
- Then we went back to the hotel and I started Tangled and we had dinner and went to sleep.
- We got out about an hour later then the day before and we planned to head to the Golden Gate Park for a museum they had there and then go to Fishermen's Wharf.
- We went to the Golden Gate Bridge and even though I've done it before, we crossed it and took pictures. It was a very foggy day though.
- Well, it took us a while, but we got to the museum and we remembered that the De Young building was there and they had the King Tut exhibit. So we did that, which was very interesting.
- Then we saw the galleries they had there, which was a lot. Gorgeous art though.
- Before we left we went on the elevator to go to the top of the building and OMG it was just a panoramic view. I could see everywhere! I took lots of pictures.
- We then left and traveled through the Golden Gate Park. It was amazing! There were ponds and a waterfall and just everything. I couldn't believe it.
- We traveled through the Golden Gate Recreation Area and the Presidio. It was gorgeous. We found lots of areas to take pictures.
- We were riding around and we found another Books, Inc on California Ave. So we went in there, and guess what I found? A autographed copy of Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. So I had to get it. :)
- Grandma and I decided to go to the Coit Tower then. So we went on Lombard street but then we realized that on Lombard street was the "Crookedest Street in the World" but they had a huge line so we ended up going around it to get to the Coit Tower.
- When we got to the Coit Tower I took some incredible pictures! And when I went up to the top I took even more incredible pictures, even though it was very windy and foggy, the pictures turned out pretty well I think.
- After the Coit Tower it was around six at night I think and we didn't feel like going to the hotel just yet. So we ended up going to Ghiradelli Square, which was pretty disappointing. Though we had dinner at a dinner all the made it Ghiradelli Square was the two Ghiradelli shops. My grandma and I had a really yummy Ghiradelli hot chocolate though.
- Then we went back to the hotel and went to bed.
- We planned to hit the Ferry Building and Pier 39/Fishermen's Wharf today. When we got out of the highway we had a little trouble finding parking but we found some and we got to the Ferry Building. It was totally different then what I thought it would be. But they had a bookstore there that we looked at but I did NOT BUY ANYTHING. I was afraid I wouldn't have room in my suitcases. Haha.
- They had a Farmers Market that day. And Across the street at the Embarcadero Center they had a little crafts things. So we looked at that for awhile and then walked all the way from the Ferry Building to pier 39/Fishermen's Wharf. It was a long walk.
- When we got to Pier 39 we came across the Garyline Tour station and my grandma and I ended up do the 2.5 hour Trolley tour. It was fantastic! I had a terrific time and saw some great places that my grandma and I didn't go to in the other three days. I took TONS of pictures on the tour.
- After the tour was over we walked over to Fishermen's Wharf and went to have an early dinner at the best seafood place on the Wharf: Scoma's. It was yummy! Go there!
- Then, instead walking all the way back to the car, we took the bus, or in San Francisco, The Muni. Believe it or not, it was my first time in public transportation. At least of what I can remember. There was an accident or something because we sat in front of Pier 39 for like 20 minutes. And as much as it was strange and the smell of body odor, it was pretty convenient. Better then walking in the cold.
- Then we went to the hotel and I packed and read Going Too Far until 11 pm and woke up at 3 am to go to the airport.
Anyways, I'm home and when I get all of my books here (I had to ship most of them in a big box that weighed 30 pounds!) I'll take a pictures for you all. It's a LOT of books. Plus all the books I have for review. I don't know what to read first!