#YABbootcamp Final Check-In (#Winning)!

i survived yabbootcamp

The YA Buccaneers Spring Writing Bootcamp is officially over & I’m a survivor (cue Destiny’s Child)!

As sad as I am about it being over, it was such as great sense of community these past three months, I’ve met so many new friends and made so much progress that all I can say is #Winning. LOL.

  • I got back on my reading horse during May after being completely burnt out thanks to finals (ew, yuck!)
  • I finished multiple drafts of my MS & revisions of my MS, THE DAUPHINE FILES. (It went from NA to YA and from 48,000 to 56,000 words all in 3 months!!!)

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YAYAYAYAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All in All YABbootcamp was such a success. A HUGE thank you the YA Buccaneers & Team Defiance (y’all rock!). Congratulations to everyone, we’re all winners and…

Come on…you knew it was coming 😉

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Chapter One Young Writers Conference: 2014 Blog Tour!!

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Happy Friday, Readers! Today, I’m participating in the Ch1Con Blog Tour!!

What’s Ch1Con?

…Seriously? It’s THE coolest writers conference for young writers (middle school through undergraduate)…aka it’s where all the cool kids will be.

This year, the conference takes place from June 14-15 just outside Chicago, Illinois. The team includes CEO Julia Byers, Creative Director Molly Brennan, Associate Online Administrator Kira Budge, Event Aide Lynn Byers, and a number of other speakers and contributors heavily involved in the teen writing world. There will be a number of speakers, including headliner Amy Zhang, whose debut YA contemp novel FALLING INTO PLACE comes out in September and has already received rave reviews for its “complex web of relationships and interactions” (quote via Goodreads) and unique POV.

FYI, Amy’s amazing…You’re going to want to be there. Read my “before the book deal” interview with her (the fame hasn’t changed her one bit)

Oh, and guess what?!?! I’m one of the speakers!! That’s right. I’ll be giving an interactive talk on “Following the Rules: Worldbuilding 101.” It’s open to writers of all genres, and I really hope you’re able to attend. You can register here: http://chapteroneconference.com/register/

Why was the conference started?

Well… There are few events as enjoyable and productive for people in our field as writing conferences. With so many options out there, many specifically designed towards certain genres or groups, writers can almost always find a conference geared towards their needs! Because the teen writing community is a particularly vibrant one, set to determine the future of the industry, it seemed fitting that there be a conference just for them. Thus, a number of teen writers, friends for many years thanks to the wonder of the Internet, came together to create the Chapter One Young Writers Conference, which takes place every summer and brings young writers together to hear from accomplished speakers of their age, complete workshops, and celebrate the influence young writers have on the world. This year’s conference will be the first session open for public registration!

The original conference took place in 2012 with six teenagers in attendance in person and countless others attending via an online live stream.

It was an experiment limited to members of the Scholastic’s Write It community and their friends: Could a group of teenagers from across North America really get together and run their own conference?

The answer soon became apparent: Yes.

And so Chapter One Young Writers Conference was born!

The schedule

Saturday’s sessions will include presentations by up-and-coming young authors and a panel for attendees to ask the speakers anything, from querying tips to OTPs! Sunday’s sessions will focus on workshopping, including Ch1Con’s signature “Roundtable Critique” event. Between sessions, attendees will have the option to participate in literary trivia games and giveaways, with prizes like professional critiques, ARCs, and literary-themed jewelry! (I’ll be giving away some signed swag from author buds and a critique!)

During downtime, all participants are free to explore the wonderful sites in the Chicago area.

The Location

The conference will be held in the Courtyard Chicago Arlington Heights/South Marriot, with sessions from 9am to 4:30pm Saturday the 14th, and 9am to 12:30pm Sunday the 15th. Tickets for transport and room reservations can be bought online, with links on the conference’s Travel page. Registration is now open.

For more information, check out the social media platforms of the conference:
Website: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Facebook: Chapter One Young Writers Conference
Twitter: @Ch1Con

And don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour as it spans a number of writing blogs through the next couple of weeks! Check out Chapter One Young Writers on its social media sites for the full tour information!

Hope to see you there!

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

Guest Post: “On Loneliness” by Corey Ann Haydu (Author of OCD LOVE STORY & LIFE BY COMMITTEE)

Good Afternoon, Readers! I hope you’re enjoying you day 🙂 Today I have the author of OCD Love Story and the recently published Life by Committee, Corey Ann Haydu who is sharing her thoughts on loneliness, one of the themes of Life by Committee.  Just as a preface, this post actually made me tear up and is a HUGE reason why I bought the book I can relate 100% to Tabitha and the experiences Corey describes in this post (small schools can really suck). I hope it speaks to you as much as it did me! -Patrice

life by commmittee

On Loneliness

I wrote a book about loneliness.

I wrote a book about loneliness at a time in my life when I was very lonely about a time when I was very lonely.

Writing can be really lonely anyway, but I wrote LIFE BY COMMITTEE while I was going through a big break up so it was written in an extra-lonely moment. We get a little used to loneliness, being writers, and sometimes it’s even sort of nice. My apartment is big and with no one else in it I could eat a lot of cheese and watch a lot of Gilmore Girls. Sometimes I’d be out with friends who were working hard to distract me from my loneliness, and I’d leave early thinking, no. I’d rather be lonely. LBC is a book that matters to me partly for that reason. I felt very cuddled up with Tabitha, both of us in our lonely little moments, supporting each other from a far. We understood each other, her and I.

But being lonely at 28 is easier than being lonely at 16. Or it was for me. Being lonely at 28 meant I tried to learn how to use a slow cooker and I abused my Netflix account and I started being more interested in what red wine was the perfect red wine for this type of pasta or this type of chicken or this type of sadness. Being lonely at 28 was satisfying. I had earned it. I could tolerate it. I had a therapist, after all.

More than that, I could complain about it to friends. Which maybe meant I wasn’t so, so lonely after all.

It was not, ultimately, the loneliest I have ever been.

The loneliest I have was in high school. Like Tabitha I had really great friends. Like Tabitha they stopped being my friends because I’d changed. Like Tabitha, I didn’t really feel like I’d changed.

That kind of loneliness was worse. It wasn’t satisfying. I didn’t feel like I’d earned it. I didn’t know where it had come from. I didn’t choose it or feel that it would be short-lived. I didn’t have a slow cooker or red wine or Netflix.

I had the aching sensation that I was unprepared to do it by myself. I had a not great boyfriend who everyone loved and no friends. I couldn’t hide in a room with my loneliness and cheese and coffee and Gilmore Girls. In high school, you have to walk around with it all the time. In hallways. In dress code khakis and the wrong shoes. You have survive with it in this constant way.

There comes a point, at a small school, where you’re not even wishing X or Y or Z person would be your friend. You’re not motivated to make some Herculean effort to change things. You know all the people, you know their friends, and you know that’s not going to happen. You know you’re stuck and that you won’t be unstuck until high school is over.

Or, if you’re me, you become a foreign exchange student and go to a country with a language you’ve never spoken before and live with a family who speaks that language and go to a school that operates in that language, and you do loneliness there. And it feels a little different because there’s risotto for lunch and centuries old cathedrals and girls in track suits and boys with shiny black hair and there are white stone roads and marble statues and the promise of Venice only an hour away.

But it’s still loneliness. And there’s still the expectation that you shouldn’t be feeling loneliness. Because you are in Italy and there is gelato on every corner. And your failure makes you lonelier still.

And these aren’t happy memories or even hopeful ones. I went all the way to Italy and I couldn’t shake the loneliness. I fell in love and couldn’t shake it. I wrote a book of vignettes and took self portraits and was Ophelia in Hamlet and Laura in the Glass Menagerie and Oliver in Oliver and I couldn’t shake it, except for those moments on stage, where I was being someone else, or those moments writing the vignettes, where at least I was being me.

I intended this to be a post about the loneliness of being a writer, and maybe it is. Writing helped, in the sense that I at least had myself, and when I wrote, I felt connected to at least that person.

And I’m lonely sometimes now, even though the break-up is over and life is pretty good. There is a loneliness that comes with full-time writing. You are by yourself, and in it alone and stuck with your thoughts and sometimes there are breakups and family tragedies and fights with friends and feeling misunderstood. But there’s the work. And there are tiny things you are in control of. Coffee, wine, cheese, Netflix, the color of your bedspread and how soft it is.

And there is the loveliness of sadness. And the relief—great and huge and overwhelming and heartbreaking—that you are not in high school anymore.

About the Author

corey ann haydu

Corey Ann Haydu is a young adult novelist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, OCD LOVE STORY, is coming out July 2013 from Simon Pulse. Her second novel, LIFE BY COMMITTEE will be out in Summer 2014 from Katherine Tegen Books at Harper Collins.

Corey grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts where she learned a deep love for books, cheese, cobblestone streets, cold weather and The Gilmore Girls. She has been living in New York City since 2001, where she has now developed new affections for New Yorky things like downtown bookstores, Brooklyn brownstones, writing in coffee shops, the Modern Love column in the Sunday Times, pilates, leggings, and even fancier cheeses.

Corey graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she got her BFA in Theatre. After college, Corey worked as an actress and playwright (and waitress and telemarketer and real estate broker and nanny and personal assistant) She also spent a lot of time in Starbucks writing short stories.

After working in children’s publishing for a few years, and falling in love with YA literature, Corey received her MFA from The New School in Writing for Children. During graduate school Corey rounded out her list of interests with mochas, evening writing workshops, post-it notes, bi-weekly cheeseburgers, blazers, and board games.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

About the Book

life by commmitteeLife by Committee

Tabitha might be the only girl in the history of the world who actually gets less popular when she gets hot. But her so-called friends say she’s changed, and they’ve dropped her flat.

Now Tab has no one to tell about the best and worst thing that has ever happened to her: Joe, who spills his most intimate secrets to her in their nightly online chats. Joe, whose touch is so electric, it makes Tab wonder if she could survive an actual kiss. Joe, who has Tabitha brimming with the restless energy of falling in love. Joe, who is someone else’s boyfriend.

Just when Tab is afraid she’ll burst from keeping the secret of Joe inside, she finds Life by Committee. The rules of LBC are simple: tell a secret, receive an assignment. Complete the assignment to keep your secret safe. Tab likes it that the assignments push her to her limits, empowering her to live boldly and go further than she’d ever go on her own. But in the name of truth and bravery, how far is too far to go?

Here I am with my copy:
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Add to your Goodreads to-reads! or buy it today! 

Buy Links: IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

 

Whimsically Yours,

PnC

#MyWritingProcess Blog Tour! (with help from Holmes & Watson…Elementary style)

X1Yt0n

It’s true 🙂

Good Afternoon Readers 😀 It’s a Monday, yay!! (I’m only excited because I’m officially on Summer Brreeakkk!!!) Anyway, last Monday the wonderfully talented Jayme Woods tagged me to participate in this blog tour. Definitely check out her post as it’s hilarious & this one is a bit of a spin-off in that I use gifs too, for the first time! 1) What am I working on? I’m focused on a project I’ve been describing as The Dresden Files meets Veronica Mars. Yeah, you heard that right…it’s freaking awesome! Of course that means you likely have some high expectations just by hearing that…luckily, a CP of mine, before me even telling her said it reminded her of Veronica Mars with a supernatural twist…so I guess I’m on the right track, heh? 2) How does my work differ from others of its genre? I’ve read a lot in my genre and out of it. The great thing with having such strong comp titles is that they provide lots of inspiration and links to other similar stories, e.g. Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Brick, Marlowe, Lost Girl, Anita Blake, etc… I don’t think, actually I’m pretty positive while there’s YA Urban Fantasy there’s not much YA Speculative Noir which is what my book sets out to be. I hope that fans of Adult Speculative Noir like Anita Blake & The Dresden Files & to some extent TV shows like Lost Girl and fans of YA books/TV shows/movies like Sarah Rees Breenan’s Unspoken (Veronica Mars was a sort of inspiration for her heroine), Brick, Holly Black’s White Cat, Libba Bray’s The Diviners, and, of course, Veronica Mars can find a second love in my story. Oh, and did I mention it’s set in New Orleans and has voodoo? (now that was a lot of research in and of itself) 3) Why do I write what I do? I really can’t live without writing. I’ve been writing for a long time, stopped for a while as high school took over, then started back up in college and I’m not willing to let it go again. I’ve found that when I don’t allow my creativity to flow as it does while writing I get crabby and I don’t work as hard on other things. I actually bribe myself with writing time in order to get me to finish assignments. I have such a large imaginative…I think everyone does at some point, we just learn to shut it down. I haven’t/won’t. My inner child is thriving and we work well together. I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else. (Aside from reading & watching TV…I really like those.) 4) How does your writing process work? Well…I’ve called on my friends on the show Elementary for some assistance: At first I’m a bit like Holmes and Watson waiting for an idea…a clue, any hint of what lead to follow, what I’m to write next:

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‘Tis true…my current project is part murder mystery.

When I get that idea, I indulge it. I start researching everything related to that idea…my desk/room starts looking a bit like this:

elementary-premiere-johnny-lee-millerwho knows when the last time he showered was…

Of course, I need the mess because without it:

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I start to write and I continue to research…I’m a pantser all the way, much like Sherlock I drive right into the middle of a snowstorm, erm, the story…

original

I’m not much of a planner

Tea is a necessity.

Holmes-Elementary

…unfortunately I have no Watson so I have to get it myself. It’s okay, exercise is good for the creative mind.

I feel like this when I get to the middle of the story:

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But then, I have a breakthrough!

Heroine

I have solved it Watson! …now the race to find the killer, ahem, finish the novel 😉

I start feeling a bit like this:

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Yeah…about that modesty…

From there on out it’s all:

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that’s me to my finished draft

Then I send it out to my CPs and I’m back to:

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While I wait I tell myself:

elementary

And I do. Sometimes that leads to a Shiny New Idea that I, of course, ignore…

But then their comments come back and it’s not so bad after all ❤ I read them over then I let them sit while I figure out what to tackle first:

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Eventually I finish revisions and it’s all:

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I’m almost at this point, yay!

Until I’m back to this:

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Again.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my writing process through the lens of one of my favorite shows (Veronica Mars, Lost Girl, Gossip Girl, and GoT being the others). Luckily the fun doesn’t end here! You can check out #MyWritingProcess for more whimsical tales and next Monday, 5/26, you can check out these amazing writers who I’ve tagged next:

Lisa Aldin

aldin-11-e13983015583881Lisa is one of my amazing Spencer Hill Contemporary clients (they’re a talented group). She’s a YA & MG writer and the author of YA novel ONE OF THE GUYS (Spencer Hill Contemporary, Feb 2015). She currently lives in Indiana and she has a baby girl, Charlotte, who was born last Halloween. You can find her on Tumblr, her website, or Twitter! Also, her book has cute boys and monster so you’re definitely going to want to read about her writing process!   Julia Byers julia-byers (1)Julia is a twenty-year-old part time writer and full time dreamer. She’s also a junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in creative writing. Her work has appeared in Teen Ink magazine, the RC Review, the White Ash Literary Magazine, the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Collection, and the 17th Annual Café Shapiro Anthology. She won the Children’s/Young Adult category of the 82nd Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition, a 2014 Hopwood Underclassmen Fiction Award, and the 2014 Arthur Miller Award, among other honors. She recently completed an internship with a literary agent, has attended numerous writing conferences around the country, and is working on her sixth novel. Her hobbies include Netflix and not going outside. In addition, she’s the founder of Chapter One Young Writers Conference, a Chicago based writing conference for young writers, where I will be speaking come June. You can find Julia at her blog, which has a collection of some of her amazing writing, or Twitter. Kaye M. vcaBUj3AKaye is a twenty-something Muslim girl who reads a lot of books, writes a lot more, and wears a lot of (figurative) hats. She is the creator of the hashtag #NotYourStockMuslim, a reporter for YA Interrobang and intern under agent Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron and Associates. In her spare time (read: when she has time to breathe), she is your typical overworked college student, avid YA reader and book blogger, and fantasy writer. You can find Kaye on Twitter or her blog.   Whimsically Yours, PnC

THE SUMMER I WASN’T ME by Jessica Verdi

image001The Summer I Wasn’t Me
Sourcebooks Fire, April 1, 2014
ISBN 9781402277887

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen year old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi- she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feeling is harder than she thinks. And when she falls head over heels for Carolyn, one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

In The Summer I Wasn’t Me, Verdi writes with raw honesty and an open heart, asking the hard questions and exploring emotional depths and difficult truths in her character that no YA author has done before.

Praise for The Summer I Wasn’t Me

“A powerful indictment of reparative therapy- a sweet love story- and an unforgettable main character!.”

– Nancy Garden, author of Annie On my Mind

 

My Review

Owl Rating:

five owls

 

You need to read this book. That could honestly be my entire review.

I finished The Summer I Wasn’t Me in two days. Two because I couldn’t finish it in one because I couldn’t stop crying long enough to read any further. In actuality it only took me a few hours to read the book.

When I was done I gave it to my friend. She was interviewing me for a project on children’s literature and I mentioned it as an example of books, like Speak by Laurie Hale Anderson, that empower teens to act, to speak out, to be the person they want to be, even if others don’t approve. She asked could she borrow it and I gave it to her. She finished it in a few hours, giving me a play-by-play the entire time. Her words, “Oh my goodness, the feelings, it was amazing.”

You see Jessica Verdi has this amazing talent. She’s able to thrust the reader directly into the characters in this way that feels so close up you don’t even realize you’re falling before you’ve fallen and the next thing you know you’re squeezing your childhood stuffed animals for any source of comfort.

You need to read this book.

This book affected me so much. I know my younger self, who was dealing with some of the same things as Lexi, would’ve loved this book. I mean, I’m still dealing with it and having Lexi, no matter how fictional she is, is a godsend.

You will fall deeply in love with these characters. They will become your siblings and you’ll want to protect them from all the bad. Unfortunately you won’t be able to and it will rip you apart but it is so worth it. I often speak of reading as a cathartic experience, this is one of those books that produces that.

There’s a conversation going on now/been going on for years about why we need diversity in children’s literature. We need it because we need more books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me. As Christopher Myers spoke about and as an author I love recently posted about, publishing is a business and as such it pays attention to The Market. If the Market, if the sales don’t show, books like Jessica Verdi’s won’t continue to be published and then where will teens like my younger self be? Alone. When they feel like they can’t talk to anyone else, like no one understands them they won’t even have the characters in the books that helped me get through some rough patches. Not if we don’t show The Market that we, the consumers, want books like The Summer I Wasn’t Me.

So please go out and buy it for your library, gift it to the teens in your life, order it from your indie bookstore, this is a book that will change your life.

Oh, and my interview with the author is definitely worth your time 🙂

Whimsically Yours,

PnC