Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mystery Agent Contest TOMORROW!!!

Stay tuned tomorrow for full details, but get your one line pitches polished up!!! We've got another awesome Mystery Agent Contest coming your way tomorrow!!!

Here's what our agent is looking for :)

YA and MG: southern gothic, historical fiction, magical realism, science fiction, supernatural/ paranormal, ghost stories, humor, fantasy, thriller/ suspense, edgy YA, friendship MG

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writing With Jack Sparrow!

When you get a story idea you aren't sure about: 

Sometimes you have to trek through the jungle of words to get to the heart of the story:

When the edits get tough:

And when the darn thing is FINALLY finished:

We tip our hat, bidding adieu to our manuscript baby:

And point our compass to the horizon: 

But we all know adventures never end.... they just change direction. Because a pirate/writer never surrenders. Savvy: 

Happy writing! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Awesome Book Reviews: BEAUTY QUEENS by Libba Bray

From bestselling, Printz Award-winning author Libba Bray, the story of a plane of beauty pageant contestants that crashes on a desert island. 

Teen beauty queens. A "Lost"-like island. Mysteries and dangers. No access to email. And the spirit of fierce, feral competition that lives underground in girls, a savage brutality that can only be revealed by a journey into the heart of non-exfoliated darkness. Oh, the horror, the horror! Only funnier. With evening gowns. And a body count.

Review: Remember that time I said I wanted to make out with Elana Johnson's Possession?

Yeah. It happened again.

This was my first time reading a Libba Bray book. While I am still appalled at myself for not having read her other books, I'm glad Beauty Queens was my first. Bray has a knack for the funny. Scratch that--for the hilarious. Pageant girls stranded on a deserted island? Come on. You know you're laughing right now.

But Bray's novel isn't just about the hilarious. Yes, there are a few borderline psychotic, high-maintenance contestants who live and breathe sequins and sparkles. Some would kill for a flat iron. Or cry if they broke a nail. They are your standard beauty queen cliches. 

And it's precisely this that worked for me. Because not only does Bray acknowledge the cliches, she stomps on them and tosses them into the ocean. Adina, one of my favorite characters, is Miss New Hampshire. She has ulterior motives for being a contestant on the Miss Teen Dream pageant. I won't reveal said motives, but I will say that they spur debates between the rest of the girls. Mainly, they seek to answer this question: what does it mean to be a girl? Other contestants have their questions, too. Bray weaves them all together throughout the book, making you laugh and think at the same time. 

Beauty Queens shows an America turned corporation, where consumerism is king. At times, there are "commercial breaks" that feature ads for ridiculously named products, TV shows, and celebrities. There are also Fact Sheets that each contestant has filled, revealing funny yet poignant details about them. But sometimes those facts have to be censored--they clash with what a future Miss Teen Dream is all about. Or they might make The Corporation look a little less perfect. And we just can't let that happen, can we? 

I could go on and on, folks. My verdict? Don't listen to me. Go pick up Beauty Queens, which is in stores now, and see for yourself :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Terms of Pain

I missed you guys last Friday because I couldn't muster the strength to blog... literally. Thursday, I was in a serious head-on collision not a mile away from my home and I'm lucky to be alive. I'm so, so lucky my kids weren't physically injured. You can imagine my first thoughts were not about writing or descriptive words. But I have had ample time for thoughts since I've been staring at my bedroom ceiling for the better part of 6 days now. And I've thought of something in this awful experience that may be of use to us as writers and narrators.

It's about pain.

How do you write a painful scene for your characters? In my WIP, you'll find phrases like "blinding, searing pain," and "my whole body screamed." And then there's my favorite: "excruciating."

But none of these descriptions is authentic, because when a person feels pain, it's in context of some other, superior emotion. So I decided to share my ordeal immediately after the collision without using the word "excruciating" and you can understand better what I truly felt, beyond the pain.

 When I'm done screaming, everything stops. I can't breathe. My wind is gone. I can't draw breath. And I need to. I so need to, because Sam and Layne are in the back and I don't know how badly they might be hurting. I hear Sam cry, "I don't want my car to crash!" And then there's the smell of smoke. Putrid, chemical smoke. I now have two goals in life: 1) breathe, and 2) wrap my arms around my boys, keep them safe from everything forever.

Just. Breathe. By force of will, the air fills my lungs. I see my glasses on the gear shift and grab them before I open the door. It lurches unevenly, letting me stumble to my feet. I can stand. And if I can stand, then I can hold my boys. I reach Layne first, undoing the five-point harness that lets him laugh as he holds his chubby hands out to me. Sam cries in the stillness. He's so scared. I stretch my arm across the space between us and unbuckle him, repeating, "I'm so sorry, sweetie. It'll be okay." I hope that's true. No time passes, yet I'm on the other side of the car, opening his door and helping him onto the asphalt with my free arm. A nice older man helps us cross the street and settle into the lawn to call for help. The space around us is still but I'm reeling as if there's no floor and no sky. In my arms, Layne lunges to hug his big brother, ever the comforter. I flinch for the first time. 

We're alive. It's a miracle. We're alive. Layne lunges again. My neck twists. I try to hold him with my shaking arms. I know this sensation from childbirth. It's the God-given adrenaline leaving me. My husband comes running across the street. I've never been happier to see him. I hand him the baby and I cry. "My neck."

When the paramedics tie me to a stretcher, my sons reach for me. "I'm okay. It'll be okay," I tell them. But Layne is just a year old and he doesn't understand. It's the first time he's really scared. I thank God Bill is there to carry them home. I thank God the back seat got the least of it. I took the brunt of the force, and that's right. But my arm, my neck, my back - the sharp wrenching will never relent. 

Even at the hospital, several miles of bumpy road later, my mind circles back to Layne and his untimely laughter, Sam and his terrified face. And I keep thinking, They're alive. They're okay. I'm alive. 

And later, There's no rewind. It happened. You're alive. Just live. Because later the pain grows, just as the doctor said it would. And sitting up, even with help, makes the world spin out of focus. 

I come home from the hospital to find my sons terrorizing their babysitter with Kinect Sports. They're all winded and red-cheeked and happy. Happy.

Now I can heal. And pain? That's just an afterthought.   

Authentic pain is always an appendage to something more. For me, my sons trump my pain any day of the week, even now when I'm struggling to regain muscle tone in my arm and neck. How many times have I scooped the 30-lb almost-2-year-old into my arms when he's crying or reaching for me? A doctor would call that stupid, and he'd be right. But there are some things more important than pain.

When your character is hit or shot or tased, they'll feel pain. But something else will trump that pain for them, too - not canceling it out, but making it meaningful. Make sure you're not so preoccupied with a fancy word for "hurt" that you miss what a real person thinks about in a crisis situation. I know I have a lot of work to do on my WIP. Because "excruciating" just doesn't cover it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pee Pee & Writing

For the last two weeks my Goddaughter has been thrown (not literally, I know that would be cruel) into potty training.  

For anyone who has had to do this, I salute you. Not only is there the minefield of pull-up pants at all times -V- running around without pants while inside debate. There are also the constant 'do you need a...' checks. Those 'accidents' that happen on the carpet when they just. Don't. Make. It. In. Time. And the mad-dash-to-the-public-toilet-when-she-de!cides-she-needs-to-go-NOW (imagine me doing this while saying "Nearly there. Hold in that wee wee," going down an escalator in a shopping centre!). 

But one thing that seems to help encourage her is stickers and magnets on a chart when she goes potty. You'd think she'd just got an ARC of a book she's been dying to read! 

Anyway, I know you're wondering why I'm blabbering on about potty training a toddler. My answer is this: It's like a first draft. We have to work on getting it right. 

There is the planning -V- pantsing debate. 
Sometimes we set a target but fail. Sometimes we don't. 
We might promise ourselves a reward when we finish a chapter, get to a certain word count, or finish the darn thing. 
We make mistakes. Our 'accidents' can happen in word poop, odd phrasing, weird structure, and even a character deciding they Don't. Want. To. Do. That. 

But we keep at it. 

And the day comes when we master the draft/edits. And we get a nice shiny sticker/reward for our effort -- a completed manuscript. 

How are you doing on your potty/writing training? 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Self-Publishing: More on Covers

So I'm going to continue on this self-publishing thread for the next several weeks. I thought I'd focus on a question I got last week in the comments.

LinWalsh asked me what I liked in cover art. So I thought I'd share some fantasy covers that I like.

Here are the websites of some professional fantasy artists. Amazing. Enjoy. :o)

Kekai Kotaki
Todd Lockwood 

 On a side note, my submission to Angry Robot has moved up to the editorial department. (sigh). Nothing like good news to make me all confused. lol. I'll continue with the self-publishing plans until I know for certain what is up with the submission. I'll keep you all updated on how that process progresses.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blurbs: Which Authors Would YOU Pick??

So. Book blurbs. Those brief reviews by well-known authors slapped on another author's book cover. 

I love them.

And after reading this post by NYT Bestselling PARANORMALCY author Kiersten White, I couldn't help but blog about them today (also, her "blurbs" are hilarious, as is she). 

While some editors do the blurb hunting for their authors, others leave it totally up to them. 

Which gives me an idea: if you had to request blurbs for your debut novel, which authors would you pick? 

As for me, my top choice isn't really viable. Because... he's... not a, um... novelist. 

JOSS WHEDON (and demonic friends)

Mr. Whedon is a big deal to me. He created shows I love (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse), and is currently directing a movie I am definitely going to check out (The Avengers). Even though there a bazillion YA authors I'd pick to blurb my baby, Mr. Whedon would be the one to give me a heart attack. 

As for his blurb? It would read a little like this:

"This chick needs help. Seriously"--Joss Whedon

*happy sigh*

What about you, blogging buddies??? Who would blurb your book?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fun Things in the Blogosphere

There's lots of fun things happening around the interwebs today, most especially the absolutely huge, uber epic, supreme virtual launch party of AWESOME for Elana Johnson's POSSESSION!!! For deets, head to Elana's blog. Do NOT miss out on this party - prizes and fun times galore :D

The lovely mistress of cool herself, Cole Gibsen is hosting Jack Blank author Matt Myklusch on her blog - and there's a fun giveway also! Go post a comment to be entered.

The Queen of Chocolate, Steena Holmes, just released her book, THE MASTER, and has been celebrating with a few prizes this week. Go check it out :D

Annnd her fantasy highness Rebecca Knight just released her book LEGACY OF THE EMPRESS and is celebrating with an awesome contest. Hurry and enter!

If you know of any other awesome happenings, leave them in the comments! :D

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Reading Is An Adventure

When you are young you can't go many places without your parents. Sure, there is the moment you climb on some shoes, unlock the door and toddle off down the drive with an apple in your hand,* but most adventures are out of reach. 

Except in books.

This is where our first adventures begin. We play hide and seek with Spot.

We can travel Around The World In Eighty Days.

Around the World in Eighty Days

Live in the jungle with Tarzan.

Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan, #1)

 Or visit Moomin Valley.

Comet in Moominland (Moomintrolls)

As we grow up, our books grow with us. We travel, learn about the world. What we read can become a way to learn or escape.

A book can take you on an adventure anywhere you want to go. You just need to open the cover to begin.

Where will you go today when you read?

*Yes that was me. My mum tells me I was found at the end of the road by our neighbour, brought home and a deadbolt was put on the door. It did not stop my adventures, but that's another story :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Agent-ish Experience

So last week I talked a bit about self-publishing, and how I've been considering doing it on my own. (post here)

Well, one of the primary reasons I'd never considered self-publication, is because I'm a cover art snob. That is one of the reasons why I never even considered some of the smaller presses. Sometimes their covers are a big sub-par. I'd rather have no book, than have some small press make it look amateur.

So, for me, one of the most important first steps, was to find a decent artist. I'm crafty, but I know that my abilities are far under what I expect for my cover. So I found a great art forum and posted my propostion. I would pay, so I let them make me an offer.

After 150 applications, I made my decision. :)

Some things that this experience taught me, is that there are a heck of a lot of great artists out there. Sure, there were, not so good ones. But for the most part, I was blown away by the talent. It made me think about how much talent there is in the writing community. And if someone fails on submission, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are lacking talent. I had only 1 spot to fill amongst the numerous artists.

What it boiled down to was...
1. The style of art that I liked.
2. The letter they sent me.

The particular artist that I chose told me that it was his dream to do fantasy cover artwork, and that he would make my story shine and work as hard as he could on it.

And you know what? I belived him.

Sure, there were other artists, some cheaper, some with just as much talent. But in the end I chose a great guy who shares my dreams. I also got a taste of what an agent must feel like, trying to choose a client from the hundreds that pour in their inbox. And I started to understand why some don't respond. :o)  But...being on the other end of the no-response card, I tried to respect them all. Toward the end, I even found myself doing the dreaded form rejection in many cases. (Sorry, if any of those artists are reading this). But really, when I form rejected with "I loved looking at your work, but I chose someone else.."  Well, it was true for them all.

My submissions are well past 200 now, with more coming in every day. And I haven't responded to them in the last week or so. So if you are an artist, reading this, I will respond....eventually.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Awesome Book Reviews: WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight

Every flame begins with a spark. 

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. 

But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.

Review: Read. This. Book.

Long review: Read. This. Book.

Because I said so.

Longer review: Okay. I am aware that my powers of persuasion are a bit... rusty. So I've decided to explain myself. *cracks knuckles* Folks, Ashline Wilde is my BFFAE (Best Friend Forever And Ever). Maybe it's her bluntness, or her wit, but something about her feels real to me. Not that I know any Polynesian volcano goddesses. Which makes me sad. Because that would be awesome. 


On the surface, Ashline is that girl you don't want to mess with (see above: Polynesian. Volcano. Goddess). The girl that could call you out on your flaws without any remorse whatsoever. But guess what? That's only the surface. To me, author Knight did an amazing job layering Ashline's personality, making her go from I-think-this-sucks-and-I-will-let-you-know, to Holy-crap-I'm-terrified-and-I-need-your-help. There's an honesty in her choices (and her mistakes) that made me connect with her. 

Also, she plays tennis. A sport that has mocked my motor skills since forever. So yeah. Ashline is my hero.

As for the rest of the book, it. Doesn't. Disappoint. There's a healthy dose of action, which I appreciated. Mythologies from all around the world, which rocked (#culturaldiversityFTW). And, of course, romance. Ashline's love interest is not a guy you usually find in other YA books (he's a bit older than her, and absolutely loves nature), and that's one reason why I liked him. The chemistry between them is off the charts, and seeing them banter back and forth always put a smile on my face.

In sum, this book reeks of awesome. 

Don't believe me? Well, go see for yourself when Wildefire hits bookshelves on July 26th! 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Merchandising for Writers: The Nimbus 2000, Bella's Ring, Mockingjay Pin

Harry Potter Broomstick Bookmarks sold at this site

Confession time: How many of you own fiction fan trinkets? 
Arwen's necklace?
Sold here

Bella Cullen's wedding ring?
Sold here
Katniss' Mockingjay pin?
Sold here
I bet I'll get more of you on this one:
Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans?
Sold here (buyer beware of vomit flavored ones)
So when our own Michelle McLean posted on her blog about having a locket created to resemble the one she dreamed up in her regency mystery/romance - well, first I swooned over the prettiness:
Sold here by creator Bonny Anderson
And then I got to thinking about how awesome it is when something you create from the depths of your imagination becomes tangible. It must be totally surreal and beautiful. Sure, on the one hand, Harry Potter merchandising is kind of insane because of its sheer scope. And the people who bought snowy owls, well, good for them. BUT think of JK Rowling and how much fun it must have been when Jelly Belly candy company actually formulated grass-flavored jellybeans. Never been done before. Straight out of her fantasy world. So cool, right?

There's a reason people flock to the merchandise that reminds them of their favorite books and characters. It's that coolness factor in fiction - wanting to BE the character, just for a few choice moments. Bella's engagement. Harry's most victorious Quidditch game. Katniss... well, I never wanted to be her, but maybe that moment when she's in the cave with Peeta. Or shooting an arrow into the gamemakers. Yeah, I'd buy her bow and arrow set. Or cookies made with love by Peeta, if that were possible. :) 

So here's the thing we can take away as writers from what we've seen in book and TV merchandising...

Write something cool or pretty or unique into your story. Don't think of it as a gimmick. It's the spirit in which you add it that matters. Make it something meaningful to your world, your characters. 

Maybe your main character is averse to guns and all kinds of violence, but he does carry around a sonic screwdriver and use his wits to get out of tough spots.
Sold at BBC
It's not a gimmick. It's character development and plot mechanism. But it sure makes for excellent fan merchandise. Heck, I'm considering a sonic screwdriver purchase. They sell sonic screwdriver pens, too!

What do you think? Would you buy, have you ever bought, fan merchandise? Why or why not?

And think for a moment: Is there something in your current manuscript that could bring your character to life for fans? Evie's pink bedazzled taser, Batman's utility belt, Edward's Volvo... 

The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You Tell Me...What is Your Favorite Adaptation?

Since I've been taking a little break on the writing front for a couple of weeks, I've been spending a lot of time reading and watching movies. Stayed up late last night watching the making of Harry Potter (very interesting :) ), I Am Number Four is now on Pay-Per-View, I've watched the Breaking Dawn trailer a zillion times (can't wait! If you haven't seen it, our lovely Kristal has it on her blog), reread the whole Sookie Stackhouse series and am anticipating the start of the new True Blood season in a couple weeks (mostly because of yummy Alexander Skarsgar/Eric).

 (yum :D )

There are so many good movies out there based on books. Some that stick pretty close to the books (like Harry Potter and the Twilight films) and those that are more based on the storyworld and characters but add in their own far-fetched storylines (like Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood).

So I'm wondering....which book-turned-movie is your favorite? Are there any out there that you absolutely love...or hate? Do you prefer movie adaptations to remain as true to the book as possible or are you open to different interpretations of your beloved characters and stories?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Tangled Illustrated Guide To First Drafts

So I wrote a post about the "Doctor Who Phases of Rejection" (not seen it? Look here). Then I started thinking about first drafts. I was also watching Tangled at the time. Allow me to bring you "The Tangled Illustrated Guide To First Drafts."

1) The Shiny New Idea is so good you can't believe it came to you. No one in the history of the world has ever had this idea. IT MAKES YOU FEEL LIKE THIS:


2) You puzzle over the plot:




4) ... Oops. Unexpected plot twist:


5) Okay, I'm back on track. I OWN this story!:


6) I love this. I'm almost there. This is the BEST STORY EVER. It's so shiny:


7) OMG! My story HATES me:


8) I'll never make this work:


9) Don't mess with me. It's MY story. You are so stubborn. JUST. DO. WHAT. I. SAY. MANUSCRIPT!


10) Yes! It's finally coming together:


11) So tired, but finished:


12) Now to edit...:


13) Ooh! SNI:


Any stages I've missed?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Self-Publishing: A Change in Perspective

The past month or so, I've been strongly leaning toward the idea of self-publishing. When I started my publishing journey a few years back, I would've never considered the idea of publishing myself. I was one of those "traditional only" gals, looking at the self-publishers as those who just couldn't make it in the real publishing world. Now I've been seeing agents blogging about self-publishing. The view of indie publishers is taking a new turn. And my view on it, is turning as well.

I did the "traditional path" for one of my books. I got an agent. I went on Submission. Failed. Rewrote. Submitted to Publishers. Failed. Rewrote. Submitted more. My book has had agent edits. Editor feedback. Numerous drafts that I've lost count. It's clean...clean...clean, and better than it has ever been before. I love this story. Others have loved it as well (and not just family members.) Now I am waiting on a full from a publisher. I should be thrilled to have a full request from a publisher, from a slush submission, none-the-less, right? However, I really just don't give a flip anymore.

My book WILL live, whether the industry accepts it or not. 

I still haven't decided what I'll do if the publisher accepts it. The more research I'm doing, the more I'm considering self-publishing even if the publisher wants it. (crazy, huh?). I've had over 160 artist requests for doing my cover (a story for another blogging day). And it's been fun to have control over my book once again. I have a terrific artist working on a cover for me right now. I can also foresee my book coming into existence within a few months, instead of a few years. And I can write whatever the heck I want, without worrying about whether an agent likes my concept, or if it fits whatever the market is supposed to be, or if the editor is in a bad mood that day. And instead of a decent story hiding on my hard drive or shelved, it can be read.

Isn't that what's important in the end?

One a side note: I will go the traditional route again on my current and future projects. I still want to accomplish that dream. However, for my book that doesn't want to die... It deserves a chance to prove that it is indeed "marketable" to the right readers.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why YA Is Awesome: Guest Post By Kate Hart!!

So. There's this group called YA Highway. And they're awesome.

Kate Hart, a YA author and member of said awesome group, has graced Operation Awesome with her presence. And awesomeness.

But don't take my word for it. I'll let her show y'all herself.

Take it away, Kate!!


1) First Kisses

Seriously, where else in literature do you get the thrill of a first kiss? Better question: Where else in literature do you get the unbearable awkward of the first kiss?

2) Stuff Actually Happens

I’m not knocking the great esoteric tomes of the Western canon. I’m just saying, plot = good, and some of them are lacking in that department. In YA, even the literary variety, navel gazing is kept to a minimum, and plot momentum to a maximum. 


3) You’re Not Alone 
(or, alternately, You Think You Have It Bad? Here. Have Some Perspective.)

Afraid you’re the only one who hasn’t gotten her period? Judy Blume has you covered. Ashamed of masturbation? Judy Blume again; see also: Sherman Alexie. Recovering from rape or eating disorder? Laurie Halse Anderson has your back. Missing a deceased loved one? Jandy Nelson is your girl. Reeling from the suicide or death of a friend? Go see Jay Asher or A.S. King. Scared of bullies? Courtney Summers will help. Out but not-yet-proud? David Levithan and John Green are waiting. Concerned that something’s wrong with you because you *gasp* like sex? Read some Kody Keplinger. Alienated from your family? Check out Veronica Roth. Think you’re the only person in the world who hasn’t been kissed? 

Hey, even Harry Potter stressed over that one.

And guess what, folks: There are plenty of adults still grappling with these questions, or finding with relief that they weren’t some kind of teen deviant. 


4) YA: Leaping Tall Buildings In A Single Bound!

YA is the current superhero of publishing. It’s keeping some prints afloat—and giving Hollywood an alternative to yet another tired remake.


5) A Chance To Force Your Morals On Young, Unsuspecting Minds

Just kidding. Don’t do that. Seriously. 


6) Real Life Is Boring Sometimes

But YA lets you visit alternate universes. You want vampires? We got vampires. You want werewolves? We got werewolves. You want faeries, witches, ninjas, mermaids, ghosts, angels, demons, wizards, zombies, past lives, time slips, or children battling to the death? You’re in the right place, and while some of them are just having fun, some of them are subtly taking on questions of morality and human existence. 


7) You're a Neo Maxi Zoom Dweebie

Courtesy of author Kathleen Peacock: YA is awesome because “it’s the only section in the bookstore where all the genres party together. It’s like The Breakfast Club.” 


8) Fan-tastic Voyage

Friendships, marriages, and sometimes lifelong enemies are born of the fandoms that spring up around YA novels. We agonize over the sociopolitical ramifications of Hunger Games casting. We made “Team So and So” a household term. We stick our kids with horrible names like Renesmee and Draco. The “Harry Potter Generation” has gotten Quidditch recognized as an actual sport on college campuses, people. YA fans are not to be trifled with. 


9) Being A Grown Up Is Overrated

Everyone talks about YA as an escape for soccer moms and cat-lady spinsters, but I don’t think that’s it. At least, that’s not all of it. We’re all trying to make sense of the choices we made in younger years, to forgive ourselves for mistakes and live up to the ideals we once cherished. Reading YA makes me remember what once mattered the most to me. It helps me assess which of those dreams were worth hanging on to—and which ones I was smart to let go. 


10) Such a Nice Neighborhood

The YA community is nothing short of amazing. Raise thousands of dollars for charity? Where’s the challenge in that-- let’s do it several times over! Need encouragement? Head over to Absolute Write or Verla Kay’s Blueboards and meet your new best friends! Have a question? Ask Twitter and get great answers!

In fact, I put this question to the YA Twitterverse, and I will leave you with their great answers.

YA is awesome because…

... it is full of hope. @MirandaKennealy
... being a grown-up is overrated.  @AlysonCGreene
… because the books are fun to read AND meaningful, and because the YA community is just so fantastic. :) @Caitlin_Renata
…. because when I see my younger cousins I know they're ransacking through my bags for books and not money #halfkidding #ihope  @KOrtizzle
… because YA books= books in which STUFF HAPPENS. @LRothCulli
… because it's more fun than real life. @Fussymonkey2


Kate Hart is a history nerd YA writer, represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary. 

She has two little boys, an oversized garden and a fairly strong Southern accent. You can find her at her website, Twitter, or YA Highway