Saturday, November 10, 2012

YALSA and Ally Condie's Reached

Hi everyone!

 It has been forever since I have posted. Lame I know. Grad school is keeping me very busy, and this semester I have been learning about collection development. While doing some research I came across a couple of cool things from ALA's (American Library Association) YALSA (young adult library services association). I just downloaded the FREE app titled "YALSA's Teen Book Finder". Search for it in the app store if you use an apple product. It is awesome and so easy to use. Also, for free from YALSA's website, I downloaded their awesome "Ultimate YA Bookshelf List". You can access it here:

I don't know about ya'll but I am anxiously awaiting the release of Ally Condie's Reached next week (on the 13th!!). I am hoping my brother will be able to get the book signed for me at Ally's stop in the Chicago area (where he lives).  If you haven't heard of her, please check out her website here:

I highly recommend her books. I love anything set in a dystopian world, and I am excited to see how she ends the series. She uses poetry from our time in her novels, and I think that is pretty awesome.
Happy book hunting and reading. :)


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Writing Contest and (Non) Retreat

Harper/Teen is offering a contest for new authors--winners will appear in their "Defy the Dark" anthology. Here's a link: <

Also, here's some information about the Writer's (Un)workshop

By November, you will suddenly realize summer has gone and that fall is in full swing and about to lead into winter. So if you are like me, you will start thinking about New Year's resolution.

Maybe you neglected your writing lately. You'll think, "But life got in the way." Ever so many responsibilities crop up and put us behind in doing what we really want to do.

So I got this idea, which we have kicked around for a long time: Let's have people come and just write.

Well, to be honest, it's not my idea at all—a number of writers and illustrators who have come here for workshops have suggested it. I don't know if it's because cell phones don't ring all the time here (mostly it's pretty hard to get a signal, but we are working on that). Or, if it's because the food is spectacular, and our chef, Marcia Dunsmore, can meet every special diet need (well, except Kosher. She tried that once and it was just too hard). I could fill up this page with food reviews of our workshop programs, but you can take that for granted instead.

We have comfortable cabins. Nice walking and jogging trails. We even have started yoga down in our other barn—the horse barn—each morning. But it's a little early for some folks.

Here's some details. What we will do:

·         Give you a comfortable place to stay, with a writing table and other amenities (refrigerator, coffeepot, tea bags).

·         Offer three squares a day, where you can eat with like-minded people (or take the food back to your room on a tray if you are in the middle of a landslide of writing inspiration).

·         Ignore you when you are in your cabin (unless you need something).

·         Provide a place for group meals and chats and socialization all you want. Around the clock. With beverages, snacks, and at least five flavors of ice cream. You can hold critiques with other writers. YOU set the program.

·         Have printers and a couple extra computers on hand for your use.

·         Perhaps we will have an editor or so happening by for dinner most nights. And likely you will bond with some like-minded creative folks. But the focus is on your creating.

Would have been simpler to say we will pamper you while respecting the sanctity of your writing space.

Here is are the showing dates available. Arrive anytime after lunch, and leave before dinner on day of departure. Pick any set of days. I originally decided we would try one week, but then I decided to try the open days we have left this year. See what works for you.

And here's a mathematical challenge for you. The first-day rate for this Unworkshop, Unguided, Nonevent is $129 per day. Each day is 10% cheaper than the day before it. I won't give you any examples, but a good algebra problem would be this: If they had longer time periods, how long would I need to say till it became completely free? You must be present to get the deal. And you need to stay on contiguous days. If you leave and come back, you start over again.

Whew! Jo Lloyd will kill me. Or at least think I've lost my mind.

Let me know what you think. My e-mail address is below, or you can reach Jo at or call, toll-free, 1-877-512-8365.


Kent L. Brown Jr.
Executive Director
Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale PA 18431

Highlights Foundation, Inc.
814 Court Street
Honesdale, PA 18431
Phone: (570) 251-4500

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A few opportunities

I periodically receive emails about fiction contests, publishers wanting submissions, book lists, and the like. Here are a few:

The Tuscany Prize for Catholic Fiction:

Tu Books New Visions Award: 

Thanks to Abbey for her recent post--if any of you would like to post and aren't set up to do that, let me know in a comment to this post and I will get you set up to do that. 

More later on what I've been reading!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Lorien Legacies and Frankenstein

Hello all! I hope you're having a wonderful (and book filled) summer.

So far my readings this summer have included I am Number Four, The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

I was greatly impressed with the Lorien Legacies books and they were very different from what I thought they were going to be. I am eagerly looking forward to the release of the third book. The world the author created has been a lot of fun to read about and I hope that you consider looking into them.

However, I wish to comment a bit more on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Most people know some form of Frankenstein and Frankenstein's monster, either from movies or old school pop culture references, but I have found in my reading (I am not quite finished, but that is irrelevant) that Shelley's monster is far more terrifying to me than any depictions I have seen elsewhere.

Frankenstein's monster is often depicted as the brute man who moans and walks with straight legs, arms outstretched. He often has two metal knobs on either side of his face that are usually the reason for his existence. I am sure you all have the right picture in your mind.

Shelley's Frankenstein's monster is so much more terrifying than that. He is educated. He walks normally. He can speak. He knows exactly what he's doing when he threatens Frankenstein, and he reveals a desire to be a good monster. Granted, he is still abhorrently ugly and does not fit in to human society, but that isn't as terrifying as the idea that he has higher level thinking skills and can talk, plan, and plot.

As a writer, I have often created characters that I would never want to meet in real life. I am continuously reassured by the knowledge that even though I created this character, it is only in my mind and does not exist outside of it. Frankenstein took a creation and an idea in his mind and made it real, and has had to watch his creation turn on him in the most grotesque way.

In essence, Frankenstein played God. He created a being and then sent it out into the world. The parallels drawn between Frankenstein and God and Frankenstein and a parent are very interesting and I think the concerns and ideas expressed ring true for many parents and many creators. Whether it's a writing or a child, we (the creators/parents) worry about how it will turn out, and what kind of impact it will have on the world. And we desire for our work or our child to do well in the world. And we fear that it/he/she won't do well.

And that notion that Shelley addresses is what makes her Frankenstein's Monster more terrifying than the standard moaning and weird-walking monsters propagated in pop-culture and various spin-offs of the tale.

So if you've never read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, I recommend it. The prose is a little difficult to get into at first, but it does have a regular flow that you can pick up on after the first chapter or so.

What has everyone else been reading this summer?

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars

John Green's latest book has screenwriters. (Truly, the novel is probably going to win the Printz for 2012.) I would be more excited about this, but a) to the best of my knowledge Looking for Alaska is still languishing out there and b) the production team is the same one that did (wait for it) the Twilight Saga!!! But the writers themselves seem to have a better track record--they've done, among other things, 500 Days of Summer, which I actually liked. So we'll see.

I finished the book last night and woke up with swollen eyes this morning.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

An announcement

Since one of my degrees is from Hollins, a creative writing mecca with several degrees in writing for children, I have access to some interesting resources on publishing for kids and young adults.

Here's one for a literary magazine soliciting contributions:

My name is Hannah Goodman, and I am the editor/founder of a new literary magazine that features edgy YA fiction.
I've attached a press release about our magazine. Our first issue is available off our blog  and is also available in various e-book versions from <>
Hannah Goodman, MFA, ME.d
Editor/Founder, Sucker Literary Magazine


Monday, February 13, 2012

Just Finished

Just finished Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. It took me longer to get into it than I expected, mainly because I found myself unusually impatient with both protagonists for the first third or so of the novel. But I'm fond of dually-narrated novels, and I'm fond of Levithan, and have read Cohn, so I kept going (also, I spent 2 dollars on it at Half Price, so no way was I going to quit before I got my money's worth). And I decided it was worth it. The first bit, with all its disconnects and miscommunications is deliberate and even necessary to the characters' developments; the process of being in relationship with others is complex and knotty, and, as all of us who have ever been in relationship with anyone else (which is, of course, all of us) know, it can be . . . challenging. So a traditional boy-meets-girl-loses-girl-rewins girl would be less compelling than the cyclical two-people-trying-to-figure-themselves-out-so-they-can-figure-each-other-out that Cohn and Levithan wind up with.

And also there's a character named Caroline who is sort of a nice person, so I like that. She is mostly drunk and generally off-screen, but she's not an evil character, as many named Caroline are, so that's a plus.

I'm currently reading Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler's The Future of Us, which is very interesting in many ways (though I'm getting similarly impatient with one of the protagonists). The nature of time, cause and effect, fate/destiny, agency and lack thereof all play prominent roles in engaging the reader.

It makes me wonder about this recurring trend of dually (and multiply) authored novels for YA readers. Do you see it anywhere else? Is it just publishers capitalizing on trends, or does YA lit lend itself uniquely to this style of narrative?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hunger Games Mania Manifesting Truly Oddly

Okay, I'm going to paste in two links. The first is to a company website, the next is to a blog for nail polish aficionados. (I am not one of these; I can't wear nail polish without getting it all over myself. These links were forwarded to me be a friend.)

What do you think?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Speaking of Stars . . .

John Green, in Austin tomorrow night. Here's a link for tickets:
Dr. Olson and I will be there . . .

Friday, January 13, 2012

Star Related Book Titles

The main focus for today's post are going to be: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I find it incredibly interesting that these two books came out relatively close to one another, are written by authors who are great friends, and have stars in their titles. This is primarily a point of amusement for me, being as I know that the two titles have no connection to each other and both books deal with very different subject areas.

The Name of the Star takes on serial killers, things unseen, and darkness. In essence--fear. Johnson sets the novel in a boarding school in London and takes on the whole of fear itself. There were several moments throughout reading it that I had to set the book down because I was reading alone at night and was a little frightened. However, I think that allows for the importance of standing up to our fears to come out much stronger--even if we aren't trying to take down serial killers or things we cannot see. It was a great book and it left me chilled and excited for the sequel.

The Fault in Our Stars is remarkable in that it is probably the first (and only) book that an author has signed the entire first printing of. John Green signed 150,000 pages of The Fault in Our Stars in an effort to ensure that every pre-order was signed. That alone suggests that it is going to be a great book worth reading. I just recieved my copy today and have not yet read it (thus I am not going to say much about the content of the book), but I have heard great things and cannot wait to read it. I do feel comfortable revealing that a great deal of the book revolves around a disease and how one very lovely girl deals with it.

So, dear readers, if any of you were looking for more books to read (or to recommend to friends, teens, students, or anyone who can read) I think you can consider these.

I will post more about The Fault in Our Stars when I am done reading.