WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

Hello readers, I hope your Monday is off to a great start! Today I have my review of WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren up (my first MG on the blog!) and a giveaway. Enjoy!

what the moon said

WHAT THE MOON SAID
Hardcover, 224 pages
Publication Date: February 20th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
ISBN: 0399163522

Book Blurb:

Thanks to her superstitious mother, Esther knows some tricks for avoiding bad luck: toss salt over your left shoulder, never button your shirt crooked, and avoid black cats. But even luck can’t keep her family safe from the Great Depression. When Pa loses his job, Esther’s family leaves their comfy Chicago life behind for a farm in Wisconsin.

Living on a farm comes with lots of hard work, but that means there are plenty of opportunities for Esther to show her mother how helpful she can be. She loves all of the farm animals (except the mean geese) and even better makes a fast friend in lively Bethany. But then Ma sees a sign that Esther just knows is wrong. If believing a superstition makes you miserable, how can that be good luck?

Debut author Gayle Rosengren brings the past to life in this extraordinary, hopeful story.

Add to your Goodreads to-reads!

Buy Links: IndieBound | Amazon | B&N | Signed Copy from A Room of One’s Own

My Review

Owl Rating

five owls

It seems these days I’m giving a lot more 5 owls than I used to…keep the good books coming, y’all!

A while back, I had the honor of connecting with author Gayle Rosengren, thanks to Dahlia Adler! When Gayle received ARCs of her MG book, WHAT THE MOON SAID, she sent me one.

I was apprehensive at first about reading this book. It’s not the type of book I’d normally pick up these days, but on the back cover it said that fans of Laura Ingalls Wilder would love it and her books were some of my favorite books growing up–so much so that I found & bought a set of classic paperbacks–so I said, what the heck and started reading.

After part of a flight and a bus ride later, I’d finished reading WHAT THE MOON SAID. I have to say the ending brought tears to my eyes and had me underlining so many sentences because they were beautiful and rang so true! WHAT THE MOON SAID is one of those books that sneak up on you. At first, it was kinda slow, not really but as someone who reads mostly speci-fic MG when I do read MG, there wasn’t a big beginning. In fact, I had to stop at one point and recalibrate myself so to say as a way of “getting in the zone” because I was reading something different and I didn’t want to discredit the book because it didn’t fit into a genre it never promised to fit in to. After that, I was hooked.

Esther, the protagonist, deals a lot with her not believing that her mother loves her for she doesn’t show the same affection that she sees other mothers showing their daughters. When I was little, I used to think my mom hated me…that something was wrong with me because I felt she loved my younger brother more, other moms would kiss and hug their daughters and mine didn’t. Until I realized, one day, that she really does love me it’s just that as the oldest daughter she put a lot of stress and expectations on me because she wanted my life to be easier than hers was. Like Esther, I was the child who was most likely to not listen to her, I was the mischievous one. It wasn’t until I accepted that my mom would never be like other moms and those other moms weren’t as perfect as they seemed that I was able to see the many ways that my mom loves me…and though she still isn’t one to declare her love every day like I do, we’ve gotten closer because of it.

That’s what drew me to Esther and her story. It was so much like mine and I was so sure children would relate to it because childhood is that time during which we wonder things like that because we’re so raw and open. It’s beautiful in some weird way and Gayle managed to capture that with her book. The end was so satisfying because though I found myself wondering what would happen to Esther, I was comforted that she’d turn out all right because I did.

Also, the wanting a dog bit…so my life, my dad was actually the anti-dog one. I had one when I was little, but he ran away (my mom thinks my dad let him out). Now that my dad has a farm out in “Texas farm country” he has two, LOL. And I LOVED reading about Esther’s love for Louisa May Alcott’s books, favorites of mine, and the Nancy Drew series, another favorite, which were just coming out when Esther was little!

I wanted to leave you with this quote from Esther. It’s one of those things that everyone has to learn sooner or later:

Home was more than a place. Home was family.

And with that, I hope you’re always able to find or build a home for yourself as Esther’s story truly does prove that home is everlasting as long as you’re with the ones you love and that love is more than just saying I love you, the actions of those around you, not the words, are what’s most important.

**I received the book to read & review from the author, Gayle Rosengren (thank you!!). This is a 100% honest review.**

Because I loved WHAT THE MOON SAID so much (& because my ARC has my scribbles everywhere) I’m giving away 1 hardcover copy of WHAT THE MOON SAID.

It’s open to U.S. & international residents (as long as The Book Depository ships to your country)

ENTER THE RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY!

About the Author

gayle-b

Gayle grew up in Chicago.  Like Esther, she enjoyed school, was an avid reader, and loved dogs and horses.  She attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where she majored in Creative Writing and was the editor of the literary magazine. Gayle never outgrew her passion for children’s books, and she worked as a children’s and young adult librarian at a public library for several years in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, enthusiastically sharing her love of books with young people.

Also like Esther, Gayle eventually moved to Wisconsin, but by then she was a mother with three children.  She worked in the reference library, and later as a copy-editor, at American Girl.  During this time period she published short stories for children in CricketLadybugJack and Jill and Children’s Digest magazines.

Now Gayle writes full-time in her home just outside of Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband, Don, and slightly neurotic rescue dog, Fiona.  Gayle is living her dream, she says, writing books she hopes will make the same difference in children’s lives as her favorite books and authors made in hers.  What the Moon Said is her first novel.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Esther loves to read Louisa May Alcott’s books & the Nancy Drew series, what’s your favorite childhood book(s)?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Advertisements

Guest Post by Author E.R. Arroyo on Plotting

the offering

Happy Friday! I’m thrilled to have author E.R. Erroyo stop by my blog today to talk about plotting!!

Guest Post for Whimsically Yours

Patrice, thank you so much for inviting me to post on Whimsically Yours on the very special week of my book’s release! The Offering is out and now I’m finally getting to sit back and bask in the glory of publishing my second book. (Secret: It’s not that glorious, another project always waits. No rest for this writer, but I’m happy nonetheless!)

Though no one ever heard of me until I published a book, my writing background is actually in screenwriting. It was not necessarily a successful endeavor but I studied the craft for years and I took away some very valuable lessons and skills that I’ve been able to apply to writing my novels. The most important thing I picked up during my screenwriting stint was plotting.

In scripts it’s all about the plot points, sometimes down to the very page number. A formula if you will. Things can be a bit more flexible in prose, but with the same principles I’ve had pretty good success with writing solid plots that remained fairly set-in even through the various rounds of revisions. So far I’ve never had to do a massive rewrite and I think I owe that largely to my screenwriting roots.

So what do the screenwriters know that we could learn from? I’d love to tell you

I’m going to go out on a limb and say most of us have watched the movie Twilight. I’m not asking for a show of hands, don’t worry! Whether you love or hate this book and/or movie, it’s a great example because the screenplay for the film perfectly illustrates what I want to show you.

When I’m breaking down a plot, I’m looking for five plot points and those set the foundation for my outline. This concept goes right along with the three act structure. Here’s what it looks like:

  • Act 1 = the first 25% of your book/script
  • Act 2 = the middle 50% of your book/script (from 25% mark to 75% mark)
  • Act 3 = the final 25% of your book/script (from 75% mark to end)

Here’s where the plot points fit into that. (Note: Some people call plot points turning points because they change the story)

  1. “Inciting Incident” – What sets the story in motion, this is your story’s ‘hook’ and should occur within the first 10% of your story.
  1. “The Lock In/Change of Plans” – Your character becomes committed to a new course of action that sets the stage for the rest of the story. It’s a game-changer. This occurs at the end of Act 1, roughly 25% through your story.
  1. “The Point of No Return” – Also known as your midpoint. There’s no going back now – the character has fully accepted the new course for better or worse. This occurs in the middle of act two, 50% through the story.
  1. “Major Setback” – This is where everything finally comes to a head and your hero is faced with his/her final challenge. Everything has led to this final series of events. This begins at 75%.
  1. “Climax/Third Act Twist” – This is where you put your final throes, pull out all the stops, and let your characters really have it. This is where you devastate, destroy, and leave your reader on the edge of their seat, worried to death for your character. This is from 90-99% of your story.

So, now that we have that ground work, let’s apply this to the screenplay for Twilight. The script is 103 pages long, so the percentages will be pretty close to the actual the page numbers.

  1. Inciting Incident – Bella sees Edward Cullen arrive at the school cafeteria. Page 10. Bam, there’s your hook.
  1. The Lock In/Change of Plans – Edward stops the van from crushing Bella. Page 24. Now Bella knows there’s something different about Edward and becomes desperate to find out what.
  1. The Point of No Return – Bella has just figured out that Edward is a vampire and confronts him in the woods on page 50. She doesn’t care what kind of danger that puts her in, she’s into Edward and that’s that.
  1. Major Setback – Alice flips out in the middle of the baseball game because the bad vampires are coming. This occurs on page 75. On page 76, Edward admits he shouldn’t have brought Bella along, letting us know she’s in grave danger. Then James, Laurent, and Victoria step out of the woods in all their menacing, blood-sucking glory.
  1. Climax/Third Act Twist – Bella meets James at the ballet studio on page 90. And you know the rest.

As you can see with the page numbers, these plot points are almost spot-on with the formula I mentioned. This is what I love about scripts and I apply this same technique when I’m plotting novels because it’s effective and keeps my stories moving at what is hopefully a good pace. Everything that happens in between those plot points is intended to build toward the next plot point, and ultimately toward the end.

One more example? How about The Hunger Games? Larry Brooks over at Storyfix.com did an excellent break down of the plot of Hunger Games in this post.

I suggest you read his post as it’s more in depth, but here’s the gist:

  1. Inciting Incident – Katniss volunteers in the reaping

 

  1. The Lock In/Change of Plans – Peeta fabricates a romantic relationship with Katniss for the sake of viewer sympathy and Katniss agrees to play along

 

  1. The Point of No Return – Katniss enters the arena

 

  1. Major Setback – After the announcement that there can be two winners, Katniss reunites with Peeta, who is seriously injured

 

  1. Climax/Twist – Katniss and Peeta survive the mutts, defeat Cato, and pull the berry stunt

(Mind you Mr. Brooks’s terminology is different from mine. I recommend you research a number of different sources until you find a set of information that makes sense to you).

How I apply all this information to plotting my own story

First, I start with an empty template like this and fill it in. This is the most basic form of an outline.

1 – Inciting Incident:
2 – The Lock In/Change of Plans:
3 – Point of No Return:
4 – Major Setback:
5 – Climax/Twist:

After I’ve identified those major parts of my story, I expand my outline to include each chapter of the book. I allow myself twenty chapters as a general framework. This may be different if you prefer shorter chapters.

Okay, let’s say I’m doing twenty chapters, I know my second turning point needs to happen by chapter five. Using that idea, I fill in my list of plot points. After that, I make a list of the main “thing” that happens in each of the proposed twenty chapters in between the plot points I have already plugged in.

Chapters:

1 – Inciting Incident (I would put the actual incident here)
2
3
4
5 – Lock In/Change of Plans
6
7
8
9
10 – Point of No Return
11
12
13
14
15 – Major Setback
16
17
18
19 – Climax
20 – Denouement/Resolution

These are my guidelines and not set in stone. It gives me a framework, which is what an outline is meant to be. Often, things change along the way as I’m writing and I rework my outline to accommodate the new ideas, but I always, always have an outline to keep me on track.

In my latest work, The Offering, I have 22 chapters and an epilogue, so obviously the plot points aren’t exactly where I originally planned them to be, particularly in the second half of the book. But I began with the above framework of twenty chapters and adapted as I went along.

On a creative note, I am always willing to go with the flow once I’m finally writing, and I very often get a better idea once I’m in the process that didn’t occur to me during plotting stages. My outline is not meant to be rigid—it’s a guide. I have to have a general idea of where I’m going in order to begin getting there. If the road changes, I go with it.

Here are some of my favorite resources:

I do quite a bit of pre-writing before I ever start. I use my own tailored version of a method called the Snowflake method. You can learn more about it here.

The Script Lab – Plot: Five Key Moments – LINK

The Script Lab – Plot: The Eight Sequences — LINK

Story Mastery Screenplay Structure – LINK

The Screenplay to Twilight – LINK (Mentioned above)

Storyfix – Hunger Games in Nine Sentences – LINK (Mentioned above)

As I said, do your research and figure out what works for you. What I do might not be your cup of tea. I hope this inspires you to think more about how to structure your outlines more purposefully. There are many aspects that go into a great novel, and an outline such as the one I’ve proposed is simply the skeleton of the story. The character arc and development, the emotion, the stakes, the consequences, and the conflict are all necessary as well, but they are built upon the outline/plot.

six stage plotting

Patrice, thanks for having me on your site again!

Hopefully some of what I’ve said has resonated with your readers and I’ll be checking in for comments if anyone wants to start up a convo about plotting! What works for you??

arroyo picAbout E.R. Arroyo

An entertainment junkie, E.R. Arroyo is equally passionate about books, music, and movies. Her favorite title is “mommy” and she loves to dabble in all-natural health, wellness, and homemade beauty products. Her bestselling debut novel, Sovereign, was published in 2012. She can’t wait to share more of her stories, and she loves to hear from readers!

WebsiteFacebook  |  TwitterGoodreads  |  Pinterest

Additional Information:

Interview with E.R. Arroyo @ Whimsically Yours

Review of SOVEREIGN (book 1) @ Whimsically Yours

My review of THE OFFERING is to come, in the meanwhile here are some buy links in case you’d like to purchase the series:

Don’t forget to share your plotting tips in the comments!
Whimsically Yours,
PnC

Blog Tour: TWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles – Book Review

twelve steps banner

Happy Thursday!! Today I’m participating in the blog tour of TWELVE STEPS by Veronica Bartles! My review is below as is the link to the giveaway. Enjoy!

twelve steps cover

Twelve Steps

by Veronica Bartles Genre: YA Contemporary Romance Publisher: Swoon Romance (25 March 2014) Book Summary: Sixteen-year-old Andi is tired of being a second-class sibling to perfect sister Laina. There in Laina’s shadow, Andi’s only noticeable feature is her pretty awesome hair. And even that is eclipsed by Laina’s perfect everything else. When Andi’s crush asks her to fix him up with Laina, Andi decides enough is enough and devises a twelve-step program to wrangle the spotlight away from Laina. After all, great hair must count for something. Step 1: Admit she’s powerless to change her perfect sister, and accept that her life really, really sucks. OK, maybe that’s two steps in one. Step 4: Make a list of her good qualities besides great hair. There have got to be at least three good qualities, right? Step 7: Demand attention for more than just her shortcomings, and break out of her shell. Easier said that done, but worth the effort in the long-run.  When a stolen kiss from her crush ends in disaster, Andi finds that her prince isn’t as charming as she’d hoped, and realizes she may need a new program–perhaps with less steps! As cracks in Laina’s flawless façade begin to show, the sisters work together to find a spotlight big enough for both to shine.

Add to Goodreads!

Buy Links: Amazon | Amazon UK | Kobo | iTunes

My Review

Owl Rating

five owls

I absolutely adored this book! I first heard about TWLEVE STEPS during Pitch Wars when the book’s author, Veronica Bartles, shared, via Twitter, the story of how she ended up getting published and got her agent. It’s story of a girl living in her sister’s shadow drew me in not only because of the girl’s humorous yet practical approach to dealing with her problem (aka her twelve step program), but because I’m the older sister and my siblings are always saying things like, “I’m not you, Patrice.”

That being said, I’m not Laina, maybe my siblings see me as that, but I strongly identify with Andi: her feelings of being lost and wanting to be something more than who people see you as, especially. And I LOVE theater…I actually recited a monologue from Our Town during a UIL competition senior year of high school & I love Cinderella so that only brought back great memories…Also, in musicals I NEVER got the part I wanted (plays were my strong suit) so, like Andi, I had to learn how to steal the show “from the shadows.”

There were so many great lines in the book. It read so well, I could easily see this staged, as a play or movie. I think it’s the theater person in me + my junior year of AP English during which my teacher made me fall in love with sentence structure that had me highlighting lines. Here are a few of my favorites from Andi (I picked them from early on so as to not spoil anything):

  • “It isn’t as easy as you’d think to keep up the “I am who I am, and I don’t really care what you say about me” act, but what other choice do I have?”
  • “They believe me, because they want to.”
  • “You never have to actually answer most questions. You only have to make people think you did.”

I resonate so much with these lines. I like to think I’m a reformed manipulator and I can definitely say that acting like you don’t care is often much harder than letting your emotions show.

I focused a lot on the sister-sister relationship 1) because you don’t see a lot of that in YA and 2) because that’s what really drew me in, but the romance is equally as good. It’s sweet, bittersweet at first, but all’s well that ends well! I love how Andi gets to see that Laina isn’t as perfect as she thinks she is. I try to be very honest with my siblings about that, even though it’s hard to let those who look up to you know that you have made (& make) mistakes.

It’s a fast read that’ll have you laughing during one chapter and crying during the next, but it leaves you feeling refreshed and so much more content with yourself. I’m definitely going to give this to my little sister(s) to read when they’re a bit older (my brother would likely say, “ugh, I already know I’m awesome, duh.”…completely missing the point, LOL.) It’s $2.99 so you should definitely go buy you a copy, it’s worth every penny!

**I received this book from YA Bound & Swoon Reads to read & review for the tour. This is a 100% honest review.**

 About the Author veronica bartlesAs the second of eight children and the mother of four, Veronica Bartles is no stranger to the ups and downs of sibling relationships. (She was sandwiched between the gorgeous-and-insanely-popular older sister and the too-adorable-for-words younger sister.) She uses this insight to write stories about siblings who mostly love each other, even while they’re driving one another crazy.   When she isn’t writing or getting lost in the pages of her newest favorite book, Veronica enjoys knitting fabulous bags and jewelry out of recycled plastic bags and old VHS tapes, sky diving (though she hasn’t actually tried that yet), and inventing the world’s most delectable cookie recipes.  TWELVE STEPS is Veronica Bartles’s first novel. Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook

***GIVEAWAY***

 1 ebook of Twelve Steps & $10 Amazon gift card (INT) Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Blog Tour Organized by:

YA Bounk Tour Button

YA Bound Book Tours

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In #2

YAB-Spring-Writing-Challenge-2014

 

Hello! I’m a day late, but this is my second Spring Writing Bootcamp Check-In (I missed last week…midterms)!

What’s Spring Writing Bootcamp? It’s an awesome accountability bootcamp for writers. To learn more visit our amazing hosts, the YABuccaneers!

My goals for each week have been to write 10,000 words. I fell a couple thousand short this week as well, however my story reached 20,000 words and most of the writing was completed in two weeks so I basically did do 10,000/week!! This week my awesome bootcamp team, Team Defiance, has Twitter writing parties planned every night at 8pm CST so here’s to getting a lot more writing done! Feel free to join us 🙂

My NA Urban Fantasy, THE SUP FILES is really coming along. I’m through the beginning and am getting to that point where the words are flowing without much effort. Not to mention, I, even though I consider myself to be a pantser, outlines the entire story so it’s smooth sailing from here on out!

I’m currently on Spring Break so my goal for this week is to read a couple books, read a CP’s manuscript that I’m finally able to get to, and bask in the sun and, write, write, write!

Here’s an excerpt from a pivotal scene, it’s a bit rough but it’s set in a Voodoo shop in the French Quarter so the setting it’s interesting to say the least 🙂 The last time I was in New Orleans I actually visited a couple as research…some are 100% touristy, but others are definitely creepy.

A fake voodoo doll was strung by its neck in its usual place in front of the door. Circe used to say it made the place look creepier, but my mom had once said it was a small persuasion charm. It couldn’t stop someone determined from entering, but it often stopped those who were curious about what it held inside by reminding them of all the other things they had to do. In addition there was no open or closed sign. From the outside the shop was always dark so people really had to know that this is where they were supposed to be in order for most to be brave enough to enter.

Taking a deep breath, I pushed open the door. There was no need in delaying our reunion any further. She’d known it was me the second I’d pulled up. I inhaled the fresh scent of jasmine. Even without the visions now flooding through my head, it would’ve brought back bittersweet memories.

The door creaked open in a most mysterious manner. My mom had tried to get her to fix the door years ago, but she’d brushed her aside, saying it added to the place’s charm. Of course, charm was something the shop had plenty of. It resembled an antique shop, all dusty and the like. When you entered you had to stoop down or else you’d hit your head on one of the many masks and dolls, intertwined with cob webs, that hung from the beams. To my left was a wide shelf full of many compartments, each having within it a mason jar. Some of the jars were broken with only dust for contents and others were filled with herbs you couldn’t find in any grocery store. From the wax figures of Catholic saints that stood side by side in a glass counter to the many crosses and Bibles and other spiritual books that hung on a slanted bookshelf, everything had a place. An order. If you spent enough time here, like I had, the shop would reveal to you its secrets.

How’s your writing going?

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

It’s More Than Representation: My Thoughts on the Lack of Diversity in Children’s Books

I write from where I come from isn’t a good enough excuse as to why there are only white straight people in your book.

diversity_tinakugler

Tina Kugler’s illustration on the statistics on racial disparities

My parents always worked to make sure I had books featuring black protagonists, knew my history, played with black barbie dolls,etc… basically representation was always there. Yet I still found myself reading other things. The books my parents provided were great, but I wanted to read about superheroes, criminal masterminds, wizards, girls who disguise themselves like boys to become knights, and so forth and those characters didn’t look like me, not on the covers and no where in the books, but I was okay with that because I just wanted to read.

I didn’t care who was on the cover, I didn’t care that I mostly read “boy books” growing up or that there were no queer romances in my YA books.

I. Did. Not. Care.

I kept not caring until college. I’d pretty much stopped reading books for pleasure during my last two years in high school. To say the least, those were some rough times for me and finding new books for me was the least of my problems. Plus, it was no longer cool to talk about The Clique series, Vampire Academy, Twilight, and so forth at the lunch table like my friends and I used to do just a couple years earlier. I graduated high school, went to Wellesley College, and all of a sudden everything my parents had “forced” on me about black pride and activism slapped me in the face. I suppose you could say I woke up. That’s not to say I look back with fondess at those years, as a child, I spent picket fence in hand protesting injustices in black communities, but I do look back and thank those years for the person I am now.

Activism comes in all forms.

I hated the protests my father dragged me to because they meant nothing to me. I was a booklover, my happiness was always assured as long as I had a good book, it was my means of escaping, or so I thought when I was little. Yesterday I finally watched Catching Fire, one of my favorite book series, yet because of this article or rather thanks to it, I couldn’t stop looking at Katniss and thinking damn, 1) this is/was such a whitewashed film even thought the books weren’t  and 2) this would’ve been so much better had someone from Rue’s district been the protagonist, who seemed like the poorer ones & are basically sharecroppers. Not to mention, as the article the latter link goes to says, “if you’re going to write a story about the marginalized, why not reach down and pick the darkest girl?”

It’s thoughts like these that keep me up at night. Sure, like my dad says, you should be able to envision yourself in any book. I mean, that’s what I did for years. However, is there any wrong in wanting/should I be ignored because I want to read about a black girl who isn’t hating herself, her skin color, who isn’t a slave, who isn’t living during the civil rights movement, who isn’t from one of the various time periods in history class when I was called upon to speak for my entire race. (Ha! As if that teacher really wanted to hear my thoughts about the civil rights movement… I read Malcolm X and bell hooks for fun, don’t even go there.)

Sure as a child I was content with reading books featuring only white straight kids with no disabilities. These characters, aside from the fact that it was up to them to save their world, were freaking perfect and though I didn’t realize it, it led to years and years of me hating myself because I could never be like them and whenever I said my favorite character was Jo March, I was always quickly reminded that I would’ve been a slave at that time or that I wasn’t a boy when I said my favorite character was Artemis Fowl.

So yes, although the answer I write from where I come from is nice. I will no longer accept it. I’m not calling out one single author for there are many authors who have said something similar. However, the stories I write do not only feature black characters. I do a TON of research, even when writing black characters, because believe it or not, even people of a certain culture have stereotypes about that culture that can bleed through into their writing.

You say you write from where you come from, I ask, where do you come from?

Where I come from is pretty diverse, and no it’s not the ghetto.

I read books because I like them & identify with them in some way.

Even to this day, I don’t throw a book away because it has a white girl on the cover. That’s stupid. However like Christopher Myers argued in his piece in the NY Times, it’s time for us to show The Market that we’re tired of this falsified, warped world in which only white people survive dystopia. (<– that links to the intro post, the entire series is phenomenal!)

We need to get rid of this mess.

I love my action-adventure MG books, but why when I sign up for a panel featuring action-adventure MG/YA authors, whose books I love, all the authors are male? Don’t tell me there aren’t female MG action-adventure authors, I read two this month. Don’t tell me there are no black YA Spec-Fic authors, I can name three phenomenal ones (not including Octavia Butler, ❤ her though).

If the problem is that there aren’t enough, get more. Find these writers, mentor them, sign them on, publish them. We, readers, grew New Adult, and with books such as Shannon Stoker’s THE REGISTRY and Sarah Harian’s THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE we’re getting NA that’s expanding beyond Contemporary Romance. If we want something, we need to tell The Market we want it because The Market does not exist without us. I’m not saying abandon books because they feature a cast in which girls of color don’t survive dystopia, although I pretty much have. I’m saying purchase books that reflect how our society is, or, as Malinda Lo did in ASH or Alaya Dawn Johnson did in THE SUMMER PRINCE, create a world in which it’s fine to be a queer and of color. Although I didn’t have books like the previous two when I was younger together we can ensure that children today and in the future do.

If the problem is that these minority voices aren’t being heard, stop talking and put the mic in their hands. It’s nerve-wracking that the only way diverse voices and posts like the one I’m writing can be heard is if they’re said by someone outside that culture. I’m not blaming the outsiders, because they’re just trying to help, but still, give us the mic. If we don’t want it, we’ll hand it to someone else. We’re not trying to be the spokesperson for our culture, but since I did grow up as a black queer girl and am one, unlike an outsider/an ally, when diversity as a trend is over, I’ll still be who I am. My experience will still be erased in children’s books, in Hollywood, and so on. For us, this isn’t a fad, we truly ever give up. Sure I could try to hide my queerness, but um, no. I did that enough growing up and I still do, I will not be silenced in this forum.

There’s a time and a place for anger…that time is now.

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

–As a post script, I will add that there are many people I interact with on Twitter and/or via my blog who say they want more characters with disabilities, from non-Christian religions, POC, LGBTQ, books set in non-western cultures, and “girl books” that read more like “boy books.”  These people I’ve talked to are librarians, writers, readers, bloggers, agents and even editors at major publishing houses. Some, like my SHC client, Dahlia Adler, are known for making phenomenal lists (<–This QUILTBAG YA/NA Compendium of her is pretty freaking awesome) compiling their favorite books featuring these types of characters. However it can’t end there, we have much work to do, but it does make a difference. Maybe not for all children, but for sure for one and that is what really matters.

–I recently read a post on the Dystel & Goderich Agency blog titled “The R Word.” That word being race, I assume. It’s a great post and it got me thinking and a bit fired up. I am in no way angry about what Mr. McCarthy wrote, in fact I’m very thankful that he wrote what he did. It’s a very honest piece. However, my reply was quite a bit too long for the comments so that’s what spurred this post.

As far as writing resources go, I have several specific links on my blog menu under resources, but for a plethora of tips on writing race, queer characters, and many though provoking discussions check out Malinda Lo’s writing advice section.

…I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂