Monday, April 30, 2012

¡Lunes Libro Fantástico!: ZERO by Tom Leveen

Zero cover

That was all I could say when I finished reading Tom Leveen's newest YA book ZERO.


Here’s the thing:
For aspiring artist Amanda Walsh, who only half-jokingly goes by the nickname Zero, the summer before college was supposed to be fun—plain and simple. Hanging out with her best friend Jenn, going to clubs, painting, and counting down the days until her escape. But when must-have scholarship money doesn’t materialize, and she has a falling out with Jenn that can only be described as majorly awkward, and Zero’s parents relationship goes from tense to relentless fighting, her prospects start looking as bleak and surreal as a painting by her idol Salvador Dali. Will life truly imitate art? Will her new, unexpected relationship with a punk skater boy who seems too good to be real and support from the unlikeliest of sources show Zero that she’s so much more than a name.

ZERO is an unflinching story of a seventeen-year-old teen artist and the overwhelming insecurities that go along with it. Tom Leveen uses words to paint images so vivid  (just like the main character does) that you'd swear the pages were type-set in technicolor. Each word is a brushstroke, used to create an unforgettable picture. Like the music of the early 90s punk scene that ZERO is set in, the book grabs you by the throat, screaming at you to take notice. Tom Leveen's writing gives us a raw look at one girl's life in a voice that defies not to be heard. This book is not for the faint of heart; it deals honestly, painfully sometimes, with such heavy topics as alcoholism, family dysfunction, and the loss of innocence. The author has laid this character out bare, her soul exposed for us to see. Both we and Zero are better for of it.

ZERO is available now. I rate it M for Mature, not only for the aforementioned subjects, for rough language as well. In the older-teen world of punk bands such as Bad Religion and Social Distortion, the language, like the rest of the book, is an honest depiction.

One of my fav lines:
"Our breath mingles between us, still dusted lightly with ice cream sugar."

Happy kissing, I mean reading, and ¡Buen Provecho!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday Thirteen Update: Mmm, Published!

Erin and her advanced copy!
Ok, it's not so much an update as it is an announcement. And not so much on the Thursday Thirteen itself, but on someone who reviewed on it. On April 12, Erin from Mmm, Waffles guest-reviewed The Goose Girl for the Thursday Thirteen. Well, guess what? As of last week, she is now a published author! Erin wrote an article, "The Dystopian Future in Joss Whedon's Work," that is not only to be published online but in book form, too. Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion will be available May 4 and is touted as the unofficial essential guide to the Whedonverse. Over 40 contributor were brought together to give their thoughts on every aspect of Joss Whedon's works, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly. And our lovely Miss Erin is one of them! You can read her thoughts about reaching this personal milestone here at her blog. Be sure to follow her, too. I believe she's going places and can take us along for the ride. 

Congrats, my dear friend!

And to the rest of us, ¡Buen Provecho!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Revision Vision

I've been blogger MIA recently. Oh, there's been a contest announcement here or a Thursday Thirteen there, but that's been about it. As much as I enjoy blogging and love sharing my mindless ramblings to what I'm sure is an enraptured audience, I finally figured something out. If I wasn't working on getting published, I'd have nothing really interesting to blog about. So for the last three weeks, I've been more disciplined about revising the heap of puzzled garbage that is my NaNoWriMo novel. Here's what it looks like now: 

There's notes defining the different rules for different settings and situations, character agendas, plot outlines, and more red ink that I can bear. 

I think next time, I'll start this way instead. Maybe I'm more of a plotter than I think. 

Are you a pantser? How do you clean up the mess that is left after you dive into a story without knowing exactly where its going to end up?

Happy writing and ¡Buen Provecho!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

C is for Contest!

I know we are way past C, but I wanted to fit in A-Z somewhere this month, since I'm not actually participating. I am knee deep in some earnest revisions - finally! - and am loving/loathing it simultaneously. In the meantime, here's a contest/blogfest from Cupid's Literary Connection you may be interested in. It sounds like a doozy! !

May's "The Writer's Voice" Contest Info

“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.). We’re basing it on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice, so the four of us will serve as coaches and select projects for our teams based on their queries and first pages.

Here’s the timeline:

May 3
Everyone submits their entries
May 3-10
We select our team members from “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest
May 10-17
We coach our team members, helping them polish their entries
May 17
We post our team members’ entries on our blogs
May 21
Agents vote for their favorites


To enter, your manuscript must meet two conditions: First, it must be COMPLETE, POLISHED, AND READY TO QUERY, and second, it must be in one of the following genres:

Adult Fantasy
Adult Science Fiction
Adult Romance
YA fiction (all subgenres)
MG fiction (all subgenres)


We’ll accept entries in two time slots. The first submission window will open at 9:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 3, and will close once we receive 75 entries. The second submission window will open at 9:00 p.m. EDT on the same day and will close once we receive another 75 entries.

We’ll accept submissions via one of Mister Linky’s Magical Widgets, which we’ll post on all four of our blogs on May 3. Once you sign up for the blogfest, you’ll post YOUR QUERY and THE FIRST 250 WORDS of your manuscript on your blog. Then you’ll send your query, first 250 words, and A LINK TO YOUR BLOG POST in the body of an e-mail to TheWritersVoiceContest(at)gmail(dot)com, with your blogfest number, title, and genre in the subject line.

In summary, you must follow these three steps to enter:

1. Sign up for the blogfest during one of the submission windows listed above.
2. Post your query and the first 250 words of your manuscript on your blog.
3. Send your query, first 250 words, and a link to your blog post to TheWritersVoiceContest(at)gmail(dot)com, with your blogfest number, title, and genre in the subject line.


We’re building our teams via “The Writer’s Voice” Blogfest, so YOU MUST HAVE A BLOG TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CONTEST. We don’t care if you’ve had it for five years or five minutes; we just want to be able to fight over you in public. :)

We coaches will review the entries by e-mail, but when we find one we want, we’ll leave a comment on your post that says something like, “I want you!” If more than one of us wants you on her team, you’ll have to pick which coach you want to work with.


We’ll select our 10 team members by May 10, then spend the next week helping them put a final polish on their entries. You won’t have to take all of our suggestions, of course; we just want to help you make your entry the best that it can be before the agents get a look at it.


On May 17, we’ll post our team members’ queries and first pages on our blogs so that the agents can review them. Here are the 8 awesome agents who’ll be voting on your entries:

Louise Fury of L. Perkins Agency
Susan Hawk of The Bent Agency
Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency
Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary
Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc.
Roseanne Wells of Marianne Strong Literary Agency

The agents will vote for their favorites on May 21. Each vote will count as a partial or full request depending on how many votes the entry receives. If an entry receives 1 or 2 votes, those votes will count as partial requests. If an entry receives 3 or more votes, those votes will count as full requests.

Voting will stay open for twenty-four hours, at which point we’ll determine which coach’s team received the most votes. That coach will win bragging rights for time immemorial, and everyone who received requests will be able to submit their materials to all the agents who voted for them.

So get those queries and first pages polished up, then meet us back here on Thursday, May 3, at either 9:00 a.m. or 9:00 p.m. EDT. We can’t wait to read your entries! 

Best of luck to all who enter and ¡Buen Provecho!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Thursday Thirteen: THE GOOSE GIRL by Shannon Hale

Hooray! We have our first guest reviewer for today's Thursday Thirteen! But first, a quick recap: books reviewed in 13 words or less. Emoticons count, punctuation doesn't. Made-up words fabuliciously accepted. Ok? Ok!

Today's brave reviewer is new blogger Erin from Mmm, Waffles. She's reviewing one of her all time favs, 2005's award winning THE GOOSE GIRL by the stupendous Shannon Hale


A girl fights an impostor for her own identity. A lyrical, strong journey.

Let's all give Erin a big round of cyber applause! And a big thank you from me :) If you'd like to have your own Thursday Thirteen featured here, email it to me at shielacblank(at)aol(dot) and I'll get it posted.

Until next time... 

Happy Reading and ¡Buen Provecho!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Thursday Thirteen - PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier

To all my blogging buddies (BBs) who are A to Z-ing this month, this Thursday Thirteen's for you! 

For my new BBs, bienvenidos to the Thursday Thirteen, where we review books in 13 words or less. Anyone can play, punctuation does not count towards word limit, but emoticons do :) That's 1. If you'd like to be featured here, email me at shielacblank(at)aol(dot)com and I'll get it posted.

Today I review 2011 debut PETER NIMBLE AND HIS FANTASTIC EYES by Jonathan Auxier.
Hang on to your butts...

Blind thief boy finds vanished kingdom. No eyes required to see greatness.

Until next time...

Happy Reading and ¡Buen Provecho!