Friday, August 31, 2012

Elsie Chapman Takes the Dare!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? So when I was in Tokyo recently for vacation, fellow Thirteener Ellen Oh dared me to vlog myself eating something a little...out of the norm. Which was pretty much the perfect dare, considering not only do I love eating (especially Japanese food!), but Japan does wacky well. So part 1 is me eating chicken sashimi, and part 2 is me drinking a selection of rather uniquely flavoured Japanese sodas. Enjoy!

Come back Tuesday for our next guest poster! 
Elsie grew up in Prince George, BC, before graduating from the University of British Columbia with a BA in English Literature. She currently lives in Vancouver with her husband and two kids, where she writes to either movies on a loop or music turned up way too loud (and sometimes both at the same time). She's repped by The Chudney Agency, and her debut novel, DUALED, will be published by Random House in February, 2013. A sequel, DIVIDED, will be published February, 2014. Find her online at at her blog or tweet with her on Twitter!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Jay Kristoff Takes the Dare!

Today we've got the fabulous Jay Kristoff, author of STORMDANCER (September 2012, US/UK/AUS), lined up for a guest post on the blog. First off, here's the official blurb for STORMDANCER:

The Shima Imperium verges on the brink of environmental collapse; an island nation once rich in tradition and myth, now decimated by clockwork industrialization and the machine-worshipers of the Lotus Guild. The skies are red as blood, the land is choked with toxic pollution, and the great spirit animals that once roamed its wilds have departed forever.
The hunters of Shima’s imperial court are charged by their Shōgun to capture a thunder tiger – a legendary creature, half-eagle, half-tiger. But any fool knows the beasts have been extinct for more than a century, and the price of failing the Shōgun is death.
Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company. Even though she can hear his thoughts, even though she saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her.
But together, the pair will form an indomitable friendship, and rise to challenge the might of an empire.

Sounds pretty damn epic, right? Now Jay being Jay, he did not disappoint. You guys, he did a vlog. It was stupendous and hilarious and all sorts of amazing. These few minutes will change your life forever, so sit back and enjoy. (Warning: Jay swears. Not too much, but he swears! Just so you guys know.) Thank you so much, Jay, and we hope STORMDANCER will be a huge success!

Jay Kristoff is a Perth-born, Melbourne-based author. His first trilogy, THE LOTUS WAR, was purchased in the three-way auction by US publishing houses in 2011. He is as surprised about it as you are. The first installment, STORMDANCER, is set to be published in September 2012 in the US, UK and Australia.

Jay is 6’7, has approximately 13870 days to live and does not believe in happy endings.

Check him out on his website, and you can preorder STORMDANCER at Amazon here or at Barnes and Noble here!

Up next on Friday the 31st is Elsie, so send her a truth or dare here! If you're an author or soon-to-be-pubbed author and want to play, go here (we're booked up for a while, but please feel free to still sign up)!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ellen Oh's First VLOG Ever! and dare...

The dare - Write a ridiculously bad poem and videotape yourself reciting it.
The foolish one - Ellen Oh aka Ello aka Speakswithbadcold
Unfortunately, this video transmission will NOT self-destruct in five seconds...

The poem - a really really bad burrito poem repeated here for your endless amusement:

I love you, she said,
with tears in her eyes.
But we can't be together,
we must say our goodbyes.

How can you do this?
he cried in agony and pain.
How can you leave me
standing in the rain?

You said that you'd love me forever,
but it was all untrue
All it took was one burrito.
What's a man to do?

Should I have gone to the bathroom?
Should I have held it in?
Was it really so bad?
Was it such a big sin?

She nodded quite sadly
as she said with a sigh.
It's pretty bad,
I nearly died!

My mascara has run
and my nose is still burning.
My contacts have melted,
and my stomach's still turning.

We can't be together,
this much is true.
You fart like an elephant.
You stink like a zoo.

With that she turned away
and quickly departed.
Leaving the boy and his burrito
completely brokenhearted.

Duh End

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Miriam Forster Takes the Dare!

Today's guest post comes from Miriam Forster, whose debut novel, CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS,  comes out from Harper Teen on Feb. 5, 2013.

Miriam was brave enough to take on the following dare, a dare that involves - dum, dum, DUM! - dancing. And not just any dancing, but interpretive dance.

Here's a little more about Miriam's book:
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.
Doesn't that sound amazing? I, for one, can't wait until February.

Check back with us this Friday, when our very own Ellen Oh returns to entertain and enlighten us. If you have a truth or dare for her, click here.


Miriam Forster learned to read at the age of five, wrote her first story at the age of seven and has been playing with words ever since. CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS, her debut novel, will be coming from HarperTeen on February 5th, 2013. 

In her daily life, Miriam is a wife, a terrible housekeeper and a dealer--and duster--of books. In her internal life, she imagines fight scenes, obsesses about anthropology, nature shows and British television, and reads far too much. She likes to wander the Internet and is usually in one of the following places. 


Friday, August 17, 2012

Brandy Colbert Takes the Dare

Elodie dared:

Tell us all about the first phone call you received from your agent.

I figured this was an appropriate dare, seeing as I recently celebrated my one-year agentversary (no, it’s not a word and no, I don’t care) with my fantastic agent, Tina Wexler of ICM Partners.

It was August 1, 2011. A Monday. About 3pm and I may or may not have still been in my pajamas but THAT IS NEITHER HERE NOR THERE. My phone rang in the other room and I remember thinking, I should be hearing back from Tina Wexler any day now about the manuscript I revised and resubmitted—what if it’s her? And then I looked at my phone and it totally was!

I was, true to nature, an awkward weirdo when she said she was calling to offer representation. I inexplicably responded with something like, “Oh, I was hoping you weren’t calling to tell me thanks but no thanks!” in this half-crazed, half-terrified voice. She then laughed and said, “Yup, I always call potential clients to personally reject their manuscripts!” And that is the moment I knew she was the agent for me.

Of course I learned over the next hour and a half that we were a great fit for a number of reasons. First of all, she had such wonderful things to say about my manuscript, including the revisions I’d implemented based upon her suggestions, which improved it so much more than I could’ve imagined. She was obviously well-read, suggesting contemporary titles that were comparable to A POINT SO DELICATE, and books I should read to help with the last round of revisions we’d be tackling before we went out on submission.

She asked me about myself, since I didn’t have much of a web presence beyond a locked-down Facebook account and a Twitter account I rarely used. Probably a mistake, in hindsight. I had no idea where to begin, but pretty sure it started with “I’ve been writing since I was seven . . .” I mean, come on. But, as usual, Tina humored me (reason number 5,698 I am thrilled to be her client), and I somehow managed to condense my life story/writing aspirations to considerably less time than the 12-hour phone saga it was shaping up to be.

I asked the usual agent questions you’re supposed to ask, but only because I felt obligated. I could have stayed on the phone talking books and writing with her forever! And she, of course, asked what I’d like to work on in the future—was I open to adult too, or would it be YA only? I have no immediate plans to write adult fiction, but never say never; I read much more YA, but I love adult fiction. The point is that she represents both, and that was good news for me in case I do decide to write adult fiction someday.

I then asked her about verse novels because one thing I know for certain is that I’d like to at least attempt one in the future. Also, I knew from my research that she had an MFA in Poetry; I mentioned this, then immediately blurted, “That probably makes me sound like a stalker, huh?” (Because when in doubt—and especially when on a business call—always bring up stalking.) But, once again, Tina assuaged my fears and said she found it reassuring because she knew it meant I had done my research and was not arbitrarily querying agents.

By the end of the call, I knew I would sign with her, so I accepted on the spot. Look, I don’t advocate this. You should always take time to think about how you’ll mesh with this person. You should also talk to their current clients to get their take on working with this agent. Your career is in their hands! You will have to trust them a lot when it comes to your book, from submitting to editors who will “get” your work to contract negotiations to handling paychecks from your publisher (which are typically routed through your agent, whose agency then cuts you a check minus their commission). Not to mention all of the post-sale support, which includes, among many things, reading the manuscript you revise with your editor, reading your future, unsold work, and calming your fears when the crazy won’t get out of the way.

But I knew that I was in good hands with Tina. I’d been querying for four years and hadn’t read or heard a bad word about her. In fact, all I kept hearing was that she’s one of the nicest agents in the business (it’s true) and how happy her clients are. So I accepted at the end of the call. I was happy. She was happy, despite my display of unbridled dorkitude. And a year later, I still think about the afternoon I received that call—how much my life changed in the matter of a few seconds (and when I wasn’t even wearing proper pants!).

One thing Tina failed to tell me on The Call was how much she talks about cats on social media. Luckily, I’m a virtual cat lady—none of my own, obsessed with everyone else’s—so this was just an additional perk to what I knew would be a wonderful working relationship. A year later, I’m happy to say my instincts from the first minute of that phone call were absolutely spot on.

And I leave you with the following gif because I'm quite sure this is how ICM's lit department would look if Tina (or I, for that matter) had anything to say about it:

Come back Tuesday to see our next guest poster and continue submitting your truths and dares here!

Brandy Colbert lives in Los Angeles where she works as a freelance magazine copyeditor, combining her Journalism degree and love of words and grammar. Her debut novel, A Point So Delicate, is forthcoming from G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers/Penguin in Fall 2013. She'd love to connect with you on Twitter, her blog, or Goodreads.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Amy Spalding Takes the Dare!

I am super excited for our guest post today because it's from none other than my good friend, Amy Spalding! She is also one of my critique partners, which means I am lucky enough to have read her debut THE REECE MALCOLM LIST, a novel I love with all of my heart. Because truly, what's not to love about books that tackle musical theater, complex family dynamics, and boys with good hair? Unfortunately, you have to wait until February 2013 to read this book, but in the meantime, why don't you add it here on Goodreads?

Speaking of boys with good hair, Amy kind of, sort of (totally) loves Zac Efron. And because I am evil, the list of dares I sent included publicly professing her love for him. Or, more specifically:

Compose an ode to Zac Efron

So she did:

Amazing, right? No, seriously. Guys. She did that. And here is the ode written out for posterity and your entertainment:
Ode to Zac Efron
 O ye of High School Musical fame
Whose ridiculous looks I tried to resist
With hair which no gel or mousse could tame
Who if others mock I will OH YES get pissed
He danced on a golf course and got all groovy
He had a ghost brother and also a ghost lay
He went to war and—oh never mind
You can excuse me for missing a Nicholas Sparks movie
Your taste might be lacking but, Zac Efron, it's OK
I'm in this for your hair, not for your mind!

I think he's okay with that.

Amy, you took on this dare like a champ. I'd bet money that this tops the odes to Zac Efron recited whilst holding a Zac Efron doll from High School Musical. So thank you.

Next up on the blog is . . . me! Send me your truths and dares here, please.

Amy Spalding grew up in St. Louis, but now lives in the better weather of Los Angeles. She received a B.A. in Advertising & Marketing Communications from Webster University, and currently works as the Digital Media Planner for an independent film advertising agency. Amy studied longform improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, and can be seen performing around L.A. Her debut novel, The Reece Malcolm List, will be published by Entangled Teen in 2013, and combines many of her favorite things in life, including Stephen Sondheim and boys with great hair. You can find out more about Amy at her website, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Crissa-Jean Chappell Takes the Dare

Today's guest post is from my fellow agent-mate and author Crissa-Jean Chappell, whose novel NARC is out tomorrow (!), from Flux. As a big fan of Crissa's first book, TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER, I know we're in store for another beautifully written story and I can't wait to learn more about Aaron and his world.

Crissa chose the following dare:

Draw a character from your upcoming book, NARC.

And she did:


Crissa says:

I was inspired by the Book Bird TV series from the 1970s. (Yes, I'm a dork and I loved all the educational shows on PBS. I'd stay home sick from school...camped out on the living room couch with Ritz crackers and tea. This TV show was my absolute favorite.)

Thanks so much for taking the dare and giving us a peek into NARC and your serious illustration skills, Crissa. And happy almost-pub day!

April's up next on the blog, so make sure to check back this Friday. (You still have time to leave her a truth or dare here!)


Crissa-Jean Chappell's debut novel, TOTAL CONSTANT ORDER, was published by HarperTeen. It is a Florida Book Award medalist, a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Starred review. Editor's Choice Book. Her new YA mystery, NARC, will be available August 8 from Flux. You can find out more about her and her books on her website.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Alexandra Duncan Takes the Truth

"How do you do it?"

Every writer gets this question at some point, and every writer's answer is going to be different. I thought this week might be a good time to take this truth, since my life is particularly hectic right now. Between relatives visiting, the height of the summer reading season at the library where I work, and car trouble, it hasn't been easy to squeeze in enough writing time lately. Want to know my deep, dark, dysfunctional secrets about time management, pets, and laundry? Watch on. . .

Check in again this coming Tuesday for guest post by Crissa-Jean Chappell. If you want to leave a truth or dare for her, click here.


Alexandra Duncan is a Young Adult writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, is due to be released by Greenwillow Books/Harper Collins in Fall 2013. You can find her online at Twitter, Goodreads, and her personal blog.