October 24, 2012

Ok, I admit it.

I am a terrible blogger.

I mean, I think I do okay blogging with YA Misfits and HerKentucky, but when it comes to this blog right here? I can never think of anything to talk about.

For whatever reason, blogging just seems like a lot of work to me--maybe because I'm doing so much writing and revising on my book lately, the idea of sitting down to write one more thing is just really unappealing. Plus, I feel like I have to have some sort of plan so the blog post will make sense. I end up spending WAY too long thinking about it, finding links, editing, revising, and DEAR GOD I MIGHT AS WELL WRITE MORE ON MY BOOK.

But I like having my own little blog here, in the event that I do have something to say.

SO- in order to keep things active over here....I'm going to start vlogging weekly. Just a quick update to talk about whatever I want. Vlogging comes more naturally to me anyway, because I like to talk (as you are all WELL aware) and when I start rambling and going off topic in a vlog, it doesn't seem as bad as when I do it in a blog post. It's just part of my charm!

I'm also hoping this'll be a good way for me to set goals. I figure if I tell you guys my plan, you can all bust me on it if I don't reach the goal for the week. With that in mind, here's the first weekly update!



October 16, 2012

Interview: Jessa Russo



Jessa Russo has been a friend of mine for several months. We both write YA, and wound up in a few contests together, and she's always been wonderfully supportive and very involved in the writing community. Her YA paranormal romance, EVER, was published at the end of September by Curiosity Quills.

You may have seen an earlier post about EVER when my blog was hijacked by one of the main characters on her release date! In case you missed it, here's the (gorgeous, so so gorgeous) cover as well as the back cover copy!

Seventeen year-old Ever’s love life has been on hold for the past two years. She’s secretly in love with her best friend Frankie, and he’s completely oblivious.
Of course, it doesn’t help that he’s dead, and waking up to his ghost every day has made moving on nearly impossible.
Frustrated, and desperate to move on, Ever finds herself falling for her hot new neighbor Toby. His relaxed confidence is irresistible, and not just Ever knows it. But falling for Toby comes with a price that throws Ever’s life into a whirlwind of chaos and drama. More than hearts are on the line, and more than Ever will suffer.
Some girls lose their hearts to love.
Some girls lose their minds.
Ever Van Ruysdael could lose her soul.
*I* have my VERY OWN AUTOGRAPHED COPY. (I know, sometimes my awesomeness is too much, even for me.) If you would like a copy of your own, you can go here for a signed copy, or here for a list of other places EVER can be purchased. Note: I'm sure the e-book is great and all, but if you get the paperback, you can marvel at its soft, caressable cover like I did. It's just so smooooooth.

When Jessa announced her book deal, my knowledge of small publishers was pretty pathetic. Her deal opened my eyes to a whole new set of people to query whenever Between is ready. So when EVER's release date finally arrived and Jessa made plans for her blog tour, I was most interested in learning more about her experience with Curiosity Quills and what it was like travelling a nontraditional path to publication.

There's one answer in particular that makes me just FREAKING LOVE HER, as I've been screaming its message from the rooftops for the past few weeks. See if you can guess which one it is.

1. How did you hear of Curiosity Quills, and what made you want to work with them?

Believe it or not, until the contest responsible for my publishing contract, I hadn’t heard of Curiosity Quills. I had only started to consider smaller publishing houses, and had queried a small handful of them when I entered Sharon Bayliss’ contest. I continued to query smaller publishing houses while the contest went on, as well as a few more literary agents, not wanting to put all of my eggs into the contest. We all know how crushing those contests can be, and I had no doubt in my mind that this one would end up like all the others I’d entered.

(Psssst … it didn’t.)

As far as what made me want to work with CQ, I’d say Krystal Wade can take all the credit for that. She was an awesome face for the company (and I don’t mean looks, though she’s pretty too! Lol) … she was very upfront with me about editing issues, and the revisions she would require of me moving forward, but she also conveyed how much she loved my manuscript. I had some people gush about loving EVER, but I think that in order to maintain professionalism, there has to be a certain amount of seriousness to go along with the gushing. Krystal had that mastered in her offer email to me, and I was impressed.

(And most of you already know this, but I was obsessed with the skull on the CQ website. LOVE!)

2. How involved were you in the cover design and marketing plan for your book?

I was completely involved in the cover design. 100%. I had an idea that I wanted to see, and CQ allowed me to make it happen. I was incredibly blessed to have my favorite photographer (Face On By Tamara) take the picture, and she found models that were PERFECT for Ever and Frankie. She also doctored the image to make Frankie’s body translucent before we forwarded the image to a cover designer. My cover designer then made the cover EXACTLY what I was picturing. We have some amazing cover artists at CQ, but I have to say that Michelle (Alex and Me Designs) is my personal favorite. She knew what I wanted and delivered more than I had imagined. She understood my vision immediately and created the gorgeous cover you see now.

With a small publisher, a lot of the marketing falls on the author. Though I will say that CQ is extremely supportive and helpful, and they do everything in their power to help promote. I don’t know how much this really differs from Big Six pubs these days – I’ve heard that many authors are slightly surprised with how much falls on their shoulders. But in the end, no one – even a publisher with money at stake – is going to care about how high I climb or how low I fall the way I will. I have to remember that this is my baby, and I have to nurture it and present it to the world as such.

3. Why did you choose to publish with a small press rather than self-publish your book? What are the advantages? 

I don’t know much about self-publishing, to tell you the truth. When I was looking for representation/publication, I just knew there was a horrible stigma attached to self-pubbing that I didn’t want to have. Unfortunately, I have since realized that small, indie presses carry a similar stigma, which has opened my eyes to the negative way I once looked upon self-pubbing. It’s a shame we can’t all just support each other and lift each other up. I have followed my dreams and shot for the stars as much as the next author, whether they are big six authors or self-published, and regardless of how I chose to go about it. The differences between us are insignificant when you’re looking at your book for sale in bookstores. Isn’t that end goal the same for all of us?

(Megan's busting up in Jessa's answer to say: THERE! RIGHT THERE! Did you catch it? The moment I fell in love with Jessa all over again? It started right about "It's a shame we can't all support each other" and wrapped up around "Isn't that end goal the same for all of us?" I swear y'all, it is like she is INSIDE MY HEAD.)

4. What's the biggest surprise, good or bad, that you've encountered so far in the publishing process?

That’s easy. I’d say that the biggest surprise for me has been book reviewers. And yes, I meant reviewers, not just reviews. I knew going into this that not everyone was going to love my book. That’s just life, and I’m not an idiot. But I can honestly say that I am appalled at the behavior of some of the reviewers on Goodreads, and it has definitely tainted my experience, as well as the validity I place in that website as a whole. I no longer check there for reviews on books I want to read. I continue to add books to my TBR because I know authors like that, and I post reviews for books I’ve enjoyed, but as far as my own reading preferences? I will pick a book based on the blurb, the cover, and the recommendations received from friends, not the Goodreads reviews.

5. If you could tell everyone one thing about being an author with a small press, what would it be?

I really want to drive home the point that there are multiple ways to realize your dream, and small presses are a perfect option. I am so, so glad I made this choice. The people at Curiosity Quills are tight-knit and supportive, and I couldn’t ask for more. We help each other and build each other up, much like the online writing community does – but how blessed am I that I can find that same love and support within my publishing house!?

October 8, 2012

Giveaway! - BLACKWOOD by Gwenda Bond

**My love for ALL CAPS is fully evidenced in this blog post. You have been warned.**

So I've learned this very cool thing about the city I live in.

Fabulous people live here.

Fabulous WRITING people.

One of whom is the lovely Gwenda Bond, author of one of my new favorites, BLACKWOOD.


While I'd followed Gwenda on Twitter as soon as I found out she was in Lexington, I didn't actually meet her until a few weeks ago when I attended her launch celebration at Morris Book Shop. (And then I had the pleasure of running into her again when Libba Bray came to town. So basically, my life is awesome.)

Sidenote: Her twitter handle is @Gwenda, which pretty much means she runs the world, right?

Here's the thing- she's from Lexington, she writes YA, and she's so open and friendly with a great laugh. And me being ME, I immediately thought- "SHE SHALL BE MY FRIEND." (She's reading this going, "Megan may be a stalker." I swear I'm not.) But you know, I hadn't read her book yet. So there's always that awkward, "What if I don't like it?"

Which was just a SILLY concern because HOLY CRAP I loved it. I can't even tell you all the things about this book that are so great. Miranda. Phillips. Sidekick. The romance. The whole Lost Colony connection (because come on, who DOESN'T love the Roanoke mystery??). AND THE ENDING. The ending is fantastic.

Here's the back cover copy:
On Roanoke Island, the legend of the 114 people who mysteriously vanished from the Lost Colony hundreds of years ago is just an outdoor drama for the tourists, a story people tell. But when the island faces the sudden disappearance of 114 people now, an unlikely pair of 17-year-olds may be the only hope of bringing them back. 
Miranda Blackwood, a misfit girl from the island's most infamous family, and Phillips Rawlings, an exiled teen criminal who hears the voices of the dead, must dodge everyone from federal agents to long-dead alchemists as they work to uncover the secrets of the new Lost Colony. The one thing they can't dodge is each other.
I mean, RIGHT?? Who WOULDN'T want to read this book? (Sidenote: Did you NOTICE it has "MISFIT" in the cover copy?)

And guess what. I just happen to have a SECOND autographed copy, and because I think you're cute, I'm gonna give it away.

SO. To win your own signed copy of BLACKWOOD, leave a comment on this blog entry with the answer to the following question....

What's your favorite young adult novel OF ALL TIME? (OF ALL TIME! Oh, Kanye.) 


This giveaway closes Friday, October 12, 2012, at 12:00pm EST. I'll use random.org to pick a winner from the comments. Come back to see if you won!

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!**

Random.org chose #10, which is Jeigh!! I'm so excited because Jeigh mentioned one of my most favorite books of all time and I NEVER hear anyone talk about it anymore! Jeigh- I'll find you on Twitter! Congratulations!

Thanks to EVERYONE who entered. I love love love hearing about your favorite books!!



October 4, 2012

#WriteClub!

(If you're here looking for the #PitchOn entries, scroll down to the next two posts!)

A little over a week ago, I was spending my Friday night with BETWEEN (just like I do every Friday night, basically, because my life is so insanely wild). I tweeted something about how we should have a Write Club for those of us who were spending our Friday night writing.

It was kind of a joke. I enjoyed the fact that Write Club rhymes with Fight Club. I thought a couple of people would jump on board. So you can imagine my surprise when basically all of Twitter was like, "HEY! THAT IS A FANTASTIC IDEA AND IT SHALL HAPPEN NOW."

It took about 20 minutes for #WriteClub to start trending and I counted over 115 writers using the hashtag. It trended for at least four hours before I went to bed. Since then, I've seen the hashtag pop up all over the place at various times of day during the week when someone's looking for company to write with. We did it again the next Friday night, and I'm hoping to keep it going every Friday.

I've gotten several tweets and DMs about it since that first night, so I thought I'd compile a quick FAQ for you here, if you're interested.

So what exactly IS #WriteClub?
We do thirty minute writing sprints with fifteen minute breaks between them. I tweet start and stop times from @FriNightWrites. It doesn't matter what you're writing. And at this point, I'm revising, not writing. Basically this is just something to help us stay focused and get things done together!
How do I join?
There's a pretty complicated membership process. It involves you following @FriNightWrites and using the #WriteClub hashtag so people can find you. And also you have to tell me how delightful I am at least once a day. That's the biggest requirement.
What's the quickest way to annoy Megan?
I'm SO happy you asked! If you use #WriteClub to tweet nonstop marketing about your book, I will be super annoyed. If you don't know how much the aggressive tweeting about your book irritates me, then you obviously don't pay enough attention to me. I can't stand it when people do this. So spamming me and adding #WriteClub to the end of it really irritates me. Please don't.
(Sharing good news is one thing. Announcing a book deal with all your #WriteClub buddies is great. Telling me your book is on sale, fine. But if you tweet and tweet and tweet and tweet and tweet about it, I will have all the unkind thoughts about you. All of them.)

I usually start the sprints around 8pm EST and quit around midnight. Then the lovely Darci Cole (@Darci_Cole) offered to run some sprints for the West coast folks, so she takes over when I quit and runs them til around 11pm PST. (So BASICALLY- we're doing #WriteClub from 8pm - 2am EST).

You can also look for the hashtag anytime to see if anyone happens to be writing during the week, or tweet it yourself and see who wants to join in. I've seen several tweets that mention how much work everyone is getting done by having some kind of structured writing time...and I just LOVE THAT. It definitely keeps me from getting too caught up in tweeting when I should be writing, and I'm glad that other people are finding it useful also!

So jump in anytime! It's a great way to meet other writers, find critique partners and beta readers, and generally just get to know some fun people!


October 2, 2012

PitchOn Entry: SUPERTEENS IN TRAINING



Hey gang! My feedback is below the pitch. Please comment on this post with your own suggestions. (And see yesterday's post if you have no idea what I'm talking about! While you're at it, take a few minutes to critique the pitch in yesterday's post as well!)


Title: SUPERTEENS IN TRAINING

Genre: YA urban fantasy with sci-fi elements

Word count: 54,000

Pitch: When five sixteen-year-old girls of various races discover their awesome elemental powers, they think of themselves as superheroes. However, normal superheroes aren’t distracted by hot dates and mall shopping when dark forces from another planet want to destroy them. It’ll take more than sexy costumes and kick-ass fighting skills for these girls to defeat their enemies; only their bond makes them stronger than any other force in the universe.


I think it' s a good idea to pick either urban fantasy or sciifi for your genre. I've read in various places that agents prefer it. For what it's worth....this sounds more sci-fi to me.

Can you be a little more specific about the plot? What kind of dark forces want to destroy them? And is it THEM specifically that have to be destroyed? And why? (I'm guessing because they're so powerful?) Is it their lives that are at stake, or their powers? 

I don't think you need so much detail in the first sentence...it's probably not absolutely essential to note that there are five of them and that they're from various races. 

Basically- I'd just like a clearer picture of who or what exactly is threatening them, and what stakes are involved. It sounds like a fun story and I like the voice in this pitch a lot. The idea of superheroes who struggle with typical teenage girl angst is hilarious!

October 1, 2012

PitchOn Entry: KISSING FROGS




If you caught my blog post last week, you know that I'm one of the host blogs for the PitchOn contest! 

Since the writing community is SO SO SO awesome, there were several blogs that volunteered to host entries. And because of this, each blog just has one or two to host! So here's my ONE. And it's a YA contemporary, which basically thrills me to pieces.

To PIECES, y'all.

I'll include  my own suggestions below her pitch, and you guys leave your own feedback in the comments! And be sure to check out this post, which will tell you the other host blogs involved, so you can go check out and critique more pitches!

ORIGINAL PITCH: (It's been through two revisions, be sure to scroll to the last revision at the bottom of the post!)

Title: KISSING FROGS

Genre: YA Contemporary

Word-count: 57,000

PitchAfter a brutal attack, seventeen-year-old Alaina is afraid of most boys. When one she has begun to trust steals a not-so-innocent kiss, she’s afraid to ever let her guard down again. Alaina has to find a way to trust herself and listen to her heart, or she may never be able to believe in anyone.



First off, I love the title.

I'm curious about the attack. I know it's hard to provide a lot of specifics in a short pitch, but I'd like to know if she was attacked by just a random guy (because based on the rest of the pitch, I'm assuming she was attacked by a boy) or a boyfriend, a male family member, etc. I think providing that detail would give me a better idea of the issues involved in the story.

I'd also tighten the wording up a bit. Instead of "has begun to trust," why not just say "When one she trusts steals a not-so-innocent kiss..." And instead of "EVER let her guard down again," why not just "afraid to let her guard down again."

And this is probably nitpicky, but- saying she'll never be able to believe in ANYONE doesn't seem to match the rest of the pitch to me. Did the attack make her afraid to trust everyone, or just boys? I think finding a way to be more specific about exactly what's at stake would be nice. She'll never be able to believe in love, in relationships, give her heart to a boy,  whatever.  Again, I think knowing what kind of attack she suffered would probably help explain the stakes too.

All in all, I think it's a great pitch. I've been in the mood for contemporary lately, and I'd pick this up if I found it on the shelf!


REVISED 10/1/12

Title: KISSING FROGS

Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 60,000

Pitch: After narrowly escaping a rape attempt by a close friend, seventeen-year-old Alaina is afraid of boys. When one she thinks she might love steals a not-so-innocent kiss, she’s certain that she can’t trust her own judgment. But the friend she turns to for advice doesn’t have her best interests in mind. Alaina must learn to listen to her heart, or she may not be able to trust anyone.

I think this is much better- now I understand what kind of attack she suffered, as well as the fact that we're talking about a threat to her trust in friendships as well as love interests.

Of course NOW I want to know more about this friend. Is it a girl or a boy? Just curious if there's a love triangle here. And why would the friend be working against her?


REVISED 10/4/12


Title: KISSING FROGS

Genre: YA Contemporary

Word Count: 61,000

Pitch: After narrowly escaping a rape attempt by a close friend, seventeen-year-old Alaina is afraid of boys. When one she might love steals a not-so-innocent kiss, she’s afraid to trust her own judgment, but the jealous “best friend” she turns to for advice is more interested in controlling than helping her. Alaina must learn to listen to her heart, or she may lose herself completely.

I think this is great! I'm a little iffy on "lose herself completely," only because...it seems a little bit cliche. I'd go back to saying exactly what she'd lose. BUT that's super subjective so wait and see what other people say!

Since she'd had a previous rape attempt, I'm wondering if that means she's doubting her ability to judge things anymore (if the rape attempt was from a boy she thought liked her, a boy she got close to). So it's important for her to be able to trust herself again too, right? And for this age group, that's huge. 

Random thoughts from someone who hasn't read your book, of course. :)

September 28, 2012

Get Your Pitch On!!

So we all know I love contests. The last couple of months, I've loved them a little TOO much, I think. I entered a few, some of which overlapped, and MAN it was nuts! (But did get some love for BETWEEN, which makes me happy.)

And NOW I'm letting you guys know about another contest that is coming up- and this time I won't be entering, but my blog (along with several of the Misfits' blogs) will be hosting some of the entries!!

The lovely Sharon M. Johnson is hosting the Get Your Pitch On contest!


Here are the details, straight from Sharon's blog!

Commissioning and Managing Editor of Hardie Grant Egmont, Marisa Pintado, will be poised and ready to take your pitches both here on Down Under Wonderings and on my group blog YAtopia on October 15th. 

Marisa is looking for YA in any genre and is accepting submissions from any where in the world. It's your chance to skip the slush pile and put your pitch right under the nose of a fantastic editor. There's even better news - there is no limit on how many requests Marisa will make from the contest. 

Here's the rules:

  • Your manuscript must be complete, polished and ready to query - this means no first drafts or almost finished manuscripts.
  • It must be YA.
  • When the contest goes live on October 15th, post your entry details in the comments section of either YAtopia or Down Under Wonderings - each blog is accepting 100 entries only.
  • Your entry detail needs to include a 50 - 70 word pitch.
  • You can enter more than once if you have more than one complete, polished, ready to query manuscript.
Your contest details should be formatted like this:

Name: Sharon Johnston
Email: smjohnston [ @ ] live.com.au
Country of residence: Australia
Title: SLEEPER
Genre: Speculative Fiction
Word-count: 58,000
Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Mishca Richardson is a sleeper soldier with a weak heart. She has no idea that a life saving heart transplant has accidentally triggered her programming. In the search for answers, she discovers the truth and that her creator, Wirth, has classified her remaining "sisters" from her experiment group as defective, scheduling them for termination. Mishca sets out to save them before they're eliminated. 

Just as it's important to get someone else to look over your manuscript before you query, it's a good idea to get feedback on your pitch before you post. We have about twenty blogs who are ready to help you hone your pitch. These workshops start on October 1 and you can find the list of blogs participating here.



Submissions are open NOW. Go here for more info! http://downunderwonderings.blogspot.com/2012/09/get-your-pitch-on-workshop-submissions.html


GOOD LUCK!

September 20, 2012

HIJACKED!


Hey guys and dolls, how's it going? 

Don't look so startled - I don't bite. 

My name's Frankie. And I'm just a regular guy. 
Well, except for the whole ghost thing, I guess. 




You’re probably wondering what I'm doing here. Well, it’s pretty simple actually. Something is coming for my best friend Ever - something I alone cannot protect her from. Regardless of how much I love her how hard I try. 

So I have to spread the word.

And I need your help to do it.

I've been a bystander for far too long, trapped in this ghostly shell for the past two years. I've decided it’s time to make myself known and set some things into motion. See, I've hijacked Amazon, Curiosity Quills Press, and blogs all over the internet to make my move. 

You're probably wondering why, right? 

Well allow me to be a bit more specific. Something isn't just coming for Ever; her actual soul is in danger. So I've decided to stay silent no longer. Word needs to spread. People need to know. 

Evil lurks in the shadows.  

To give Ever more time to figure things out and try to protect herself from the trouble that awaits her, I'm upping the publication date of our story. 



 I'm sure you can understand. I mean, souls are on the line here. 

So, with that said, EVER IS NOW AVAILABLE. Yes, you read that right. NOW. I couldn't wait any longer, so I did what I had to do to protect that stubborn girl I love my best friend, Ever. 

I had to do it. Some things are too important to wait for, and Ever is one of those things for me.

Now as you’re spreading the word about this new development, take heed this one warning:

Evil lurks in the shadows. And not just any evil. 

It’s disguised as that slick talking, good-looking bastard, Toby James ... the new kid next door. 





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September 11, 2012

September 11, 2001

My desk was loaded with file folders, a stack that grew by the day. I was supposed to file them, but it was the task I put off the most. I didn't want to file. I wanted to write journal articles  and press releases, which at least seemed like a step in the actual career direction I wanted to go in.

But that Tuesday morning, I wasn't even doing that. I was downloading music to Napster on my work computer, which was so very not allowed, and trading emails with my friend Bret. We used email like instant messaging, talking our way through our days--me in Lexington at my boring desk job as a Communications Assistant with a non-profit education association, he at his much more interesting position as a Marine at the Pentagon.

Bret and I had been friends since middle school, although we didn't become close until high school when he dated one of my best friends. While that relationship eventually ended, he became one of my best friends after high school and through college.

I don't remember at all what we were talking about.

The phone rang. I worked in a small office, and every single person aside from me was in a meeting to plan the group's annual conference. It was mostly women, and they all shared a hairdresser. That hairdresser was on the phone, calling at a little past 9:00am to tell me to turn on the TV.

"A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center."

Still holding the phone to my ear, I emailed Bret, "Hey, did you know a plane crashed into the World Trade Center?"

The hairdresser was still talking, something about how they'd originally thought it was some kind of horrible accident but then another plane crashed into the second tower. 

"It's a terrorist attack," the voice on the phone said.

"What? No." Because those things didn't happen here. Not like this. 

Bret hadn't responded to my email, so I sent another one. "It's two planes. This guy is saying it's a terrorist attack. Is it a terrorist attack?"

I went to the conference room to interrupt the meeting. The only TV in the office was in there. I don't remember what anyone said or did, but I do remember ending up alone in that room, glued to the TV. I watched dark smoke pour from the towers. News anchors didn't bother to keep up a cool, reserved appearance--they were emotional, and it was weird. I'd never seen or heard anything like it. The screen kept showing a replay of the aftermath of the first plane crash, and the stunned live reaction of the news anchor when the second crash occurred.

I went back to my office.

Nothing from Bret.

But at this point, I knew it was a terrorist attack. I imagined his day had just become insanely busy.

Back to the conference room. I pulled a chair up to the TV and sat, wondering who would do this and why. I was twenty-one years old. I should've been much more concerned about the rest of the world than I was.

The screen went dark, filled with smoke so thick you couldn't see anything else. I can still very clearly remember what I heard next. "I'm not sure what we're looking at here. Ok, alright. It's the Pentagon. A plane has crashed into the Pentagon."

I stood straight up, staring. The smoke had hardly cleared, but you could barely make out the unmistakable shape of the building.

I flew back to my desk, pulling my cell phone from my drawer at the same time as I logged back into my email.

Nothing from Bret.

I sent another email. "Let me know you're okay."

I left a voicemail. "Call me as soon as you can."

I spent the next hour sending more emails and leaving more voicemails. "I know there's probably no way you're going to be able to get to your phone or your email anytime soon. I just don't know what else to do. I want to know you're okay. I hope you're okay."

I left work around 11:00. The whole office shut down, like most other businesses that day. I drove to my parents house. The drive took about an hour, and took me down quieter, two-lane roads that allowed me to cry in my car without anyone seeing.

It was a long afternoon, sitting at my mother's table, wondering if my friend was okay. I cried for all the people I knew had died, for the people who experienced the horror in and around the towers, in the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania, and in the Pentagon. My heart hurt for all of them and their families, but I was very much focused on the guy who had been such a wonderful friend to me for so many years. He'd served his country abroad, and came home to a position in the Pentagon doing what he loved. Bret was always so proud to be a Marine.

I finally heard from him late that afternoon. Just a quick phone call to let me know he was okay, but the things he saw and dealt with that day were horrifying. I was so relieved to hear from him I started crying again.

There are so many images from that day that come to mind every year. Watching people jump from windows, seeing the towers eventually crumble to the ground, knowing I'd just watched thousands of people die, watching the TV screen fill with smoke and hearing the words "A plane has crashed into the Pentagon"...I'll never forget it.

I'll also never forget the way people came together like nothing I'd ever seen before. It didn't matter what else had separated us before--for the next few months, we were all united by our grief and by the compassion we felt for people we didn't even know. 


September 10, 2012

YA Misfits Pep Rally Monday: MY WISH LIST

Over at YA Misfits today, we asked this question:

If YOU were an agent, what would be on your wish list?


Book Love
photo courtesy of the lovely and talented Jenny Kaczorowski


This is SO HARD.

I like so many different kinds of books. I can pretty much appreciate anything as long as it's well-written. But here's what I'd want to see if I were an agent...

  • YA thriller: a super creepy one that makes it hard for me to be alone in my house. 
  • Adult Historical Romance: Um, because I always love historical romance. And I'm realizing at this very second that I've never read a YA historical romance. It exists, right? But....probably the things I like about adult historical romance would not be there in YA historical romance. Hmm....if you have a YA historical romance to recommend, let me know!
  • YA romance: I'm a sucker for a good romance, but it's so hard for me to say exactly what kind of story I'd want. I don't know til I read it. Something with a guy who's got a weakness ONLY for his girl...I love guys like that- ones that you wouldn't expect to be so sweet/romantic until the right girl comes along. But that guy can exist in just about any story, I guess.

So....I'm looking back over my list and realizing that I wrote a YA fantasy but I don't have YA fantasy on my wish list. This probably says something profound about me or the market or something but I don't know what it is.

What about you? Post your answer on your blog and then share the link in the comments on today's YA misfits post! Can't wait to read your answers!


September 4, 2012

YA Misfits Launch Giveaway!!

I have to listen to music when I write. People who need complete silence: I don't understand you. Half the time, it doesn't even matter what's playing, I just need the background noise.



See, as long as there's music playing, when I get stuck in the middle of a scene, it's okay! I can't get frustrated! I'M TOO BUSY HAVING A DANCE PARTY IN MY CHAIR.




I make playlists for all my WIPs, but it usually takes me a few thousand words to decide what exactly needs to be on the playlist. I can't really put songs together until I get a better feel for the story and the characters. So, when I start a new project, I have this generic playlist that I always listen to. It has a mix of all kinds of things on it, just to get me in the mood to write. I thought I'd share it with you guys here!

Random collection of randomness. It fits all moods.

Do you use Spotify? It's the greatest thing since peanut butter. It's free, as long as you don't mind to put up with the ads. Downside (to me): It broadcasts what you're listening to on Facebook, which can be a little embarrassing when you become obsessed with one particular song. 

"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 
"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 
"Megan is listening to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift" 

(But seriously, I love that dang song.)

SO! I thought I'd do a giveaway to celebrate my love of music AND the YA Misfits launch today! One of you lovely readers is going to get a $25 iTunes gift card! 

How?
  1. Follow me (@MeganWhitmer) on Twitter. 
  2. Follow this blog. 
  3. Leave a comment on this blog post- AND THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT- tell me some good music to listen to. If you use writing playlists, I'd love to hear the song that goes best with your current WIP. If you use Spotify, it would be FANTASTIC to leave the link to one of your playlists. Finding new music to listen to is seriously one of my greatest joys in life. You don't even know. 

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Thanks so much for all the great music recommendations, guys!! Congratulations Amanda Olivieri on winning the gift card!

This giveaway will end Friday, September 7, 2012 at 12:00pm EDT. You have to complete all three steps to win! I'll use a super high tech method of choosing a random entry, and I'll announce the winner here and on Twitter! (This giveaway is only open to US residents. Apologies to my out of US friends. All three of you. Sometime I'll do a NO AMERICANS ALLOWED giveaway, I promise.)

One more tiny bit of business:

Did you know www.YAmisfits.com launches TODAY? 
Like...TODAY RIGHT NOW THIS VERY SECOND NOW NOW NOW?

If you're here from the Misfits web site, you know that we're doing an AMAZING giveaway over there. (I don't want to spoil the surprise but it rhymes with "schmindle" and you WANT IT.)

Thanks for entering! I'm looking forward to finding out what music you guys love! Good luck!






August 16, 2012

A Shoutout to MYSELF

This is very quick, random post....but I've been all over the Internet lately (or in two places but whatever) and I thought I'd post a few links here for you guys in case you've missed them!

  1. My friend Heather runs an AWESOME local blog, www.herkentucky.com. She was nice enough to ask me to write a guest post about my journey to publication, and you can find that here. While you're there, you should check out posts about some of my other favorite Kentucky things, like Makers Mark, Transylvania University, and Joe B's pizza
  2. Most of you know I love to read and write kissing scenes. It's just the sweetest guilty pleasure ever and I don't know a single book that couldn't be improved by adding more kissing. The lovely Bria Quinlan is well aware of my love for all things KISSING, so when she decided to do a Month of Kissing posts on her blog, she asked me to join in. You can find my post about my favorite kind of kiss to write here! There's a new kissing post every day this month, and then Bria is co-hosting a kissing scene CONTEST at the end of it all....so you should definitely check back for that!!
I apologize for the short post- I finished the rewrite of BETWEEN and posted it in the WriteOnCon forums this week. It got some really great feedback, and now I'm off to send out about a thousand queries (give or take a few hundred).



August 2, 2012

Things Megan Loves Today

Aaaaaaaand it's time for more THINGS I LOVE. Because you need to know. You really, really do.

1. Word Wars and Deadlines

Most of you know that I've been working on a complete re-write of Between--100% rewriting each and every scene, completely changing the ending, getting rid of a main character, etc. It's basically an entirely new book now.

So yes, I'm a little insane, I guess. I mean, who does that??

Someone who loves her characters so much that she can't bear the thought of giving up on them, that's who. I just want to feel like my book is really and truly FINISHED. I've never felt as good about Between as I do right now. And you know what? It still may not go anywhere. But I am convinced that I have turned it into the book that it should be, and that makes me happy.

And I'm pretty sure I'd never be this close to having it finished if it weren't for a few things:

  • Word Wars. Grab a friend (or a few) to write with you, set a certain amount of time to write (I usually do 20-30 minutes) and see who writes the most words. This keeps me focused on writing during that time. Then we take a break, talk some smack, and go again. Thanks a BUNCH to Josh, Ravena, and Amanda for doing a few of these with me lately. 
  • Deadlines. I make self-imposed deadlines for myself all that time. And then I miss them. So THIS TIME- my friend and CP Maggie and I decided to set deadlines and then send each other what we'd written by that date. We started making deals to send each other 50 pages every few days. This was CRUCIAL to getting through the rewrite. There were so many times that I got stuck on a scene and wanted to quit. If Maggie hadn't been waiting on me, I know I would've walked away from the computer and found something (ANYTHING) else to do. Thanks Mags. You're the best.

2. Be Your Everything by Boys Like Girls

If you were on Twitter the day I heard this song for the first time, I apologize. I think I tweeted it 4 or 5 times. BUT I LOVE IT. It so perfectly fits Seth, one of my MCs in Between, and the way he is about Harper. He was in love with her long before she even knew about him, and he's satisfied with being whatever he can be in her life--but thank goodness for all of us, she wants him too and they do lots and lots of kissing. His personality is a little bossy and overprotective, and he gets frustrated with the way Harper doesn't take things as seriously as she should- so this line especially makes me think of him:

"I'll be your shelter, I'll be your storm. I'll make you shiver, I'll keep you warm."


3. Twitter

I mean, obviously. You know I love Twitter. There are a few of you who LOVE to tease me about how much time I spend on there. It's just that ALL THE FUN PEOPLE are on Twitter! It's how I met all of my critique partners. It's where I keep up with what agents are looking for, new agent announcements, upcoming contests, etc. And where else can I "talk" to some of my favorite authors? And SOMETIMES THEY TALK BACK! (Yes, I'm a total nerd and get super excited when that happens. Maureen Johnson tweeted to me one day and I called my mother to tell her. True story.) 

So, if you're not on Twitter, or you are but you're not really sure what to do-- just start talking. Get involved. You can't really just sit back and wait for people to talk to you, unless you're like....famous or something. (And if you are, and you read my blog, HIGH-FREAKING-FIVE. And if you're Ian Somerhalder, well, in the interest of keeping this a kid-friendly blog I'll just blow kisses at you.) Follow people that interest you and interact with them. Not everyone will talk back to you. Don't take it personally. 

And FOR THE LOVE- Don't say things like "Hey if you follow me, I'll follow you back" or "If you don't follow me back, I will unfollow you." You shouldn't need to guilt someone into following you. Be awesome and people who want to get to know you will follow you. I have major issues with this whole auto-follow expectation. It's silly. 


Ok. That's it for today. :) What are you guys loving lately?


July 24, 2012

Love Letters

I got all nostalgic today and started going through this huge box of things I've kept for years- mostly high school memories- graduation announcements, photographs, yearbooks, prom dance books, etc. But BEST OF ALL- the letters.

Oh my gosh. The letters.  They are AMAZING. Letters from my friends about absolutely nothing (literally: "Hey, I did you see my new shoes?") or from the girlfriend of my ex-boyfriend ("Why did you break up with him?") and best of all, from boyfriends ("I love you.") Because, come on, high school "I love you"'s are so BIG and ENCOMPASSING and NOTHING WILL EVER MATTER MORE THAN THIS BOY SAYING HE LOVES ME.

Until you grow up and realize there are so many things that will matter more.

I found the diary I kept in 7th-8th grade. Here's the very first entry-

5/28/93
End of the year dance! I danced with Aaron, Justin, Chris, Danny, and Jeremy. Aaron sang  "I Will Always Love You" to me while we danced and he CANNOT SING! He's crazy. I can't believe tomorrow is the very last day. I'm thinking about writing Aaron a note telling him to call me this summer. I might not thought. I think I like him. But he danced with Kristin too. What if he likes her? 

Ok. Aaron. That Aaron?
Five years later, he'd write me a letter that includes this:

I hope you didn't get in trouble last night for being on the phone so long. It was my fault. I just can't seem to let you go. Can't wait to see those big beautiful eyes. I love you.
GAH. How CUTE is that??

Of course, we eventually broke up. But looking back through these letters reminds me of how completely crazy about each other we were, until we weren't. I love High School Love. It is so EVERYTHING when you're in it, right? It's not the same when you grow up. I mean it's still love, it's still romantic and sexy and emotional. But there's nothing like that first love, when you truly think there is NOTHING in the world that will ever be as important as this boy, this dance, this kiss.

*sigh*



July 23, 2012

My level of excitement is OFFICIALLY INSANE.

Ok. It's been a freaking EXCELLENT few months in my CP group. You guys remember how Gina got agented? And then Leigh Ann?

And now, Lovelies, it's time to celebrate CHESSIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


CHESSIE IS OFFICIALLY AGENTED!!!!!

First off, let's just talk about Chessie's amazing book, ALEXITHYMIA. And the thing is, I feel like I throw around words like "amazing," "fantastic," "love," etc. A LOT when referring to my CPs.

Here's the deal- they're that good.

And Chessie's book??

It's MASTERFUL. I can still remember lying in bed late one night, trying to be quiet because my husband was asleep, but I HAD TO FINISH IT. So I'm there, eyes glued to my kindle- and then THIS THING HAPPENS. It's this huge reveal, and it blew. my. mind. I kind of lost it. I threw the kindle across the bed, stared at it, and I think I even started rocking a little bit. I could not even believe what Chessie had done- I couldn't believe she pulled it off, got it past me, made it all work....GAH. I started giggling out of the sheer insanity of it all.

And then, because I'm me, I immediately tweeted her to freak the fuh-reak out, and Chessie, being Chessie, enjoyed my mental torture IMMENSELY.

That feeling? That completely blown away feeling? That doesn't happen to me often. I still can't get over it. And I'm kind of sad that I can't re-read the book and have that feeling again. Whenever someone reads it for the first time, I'm always like, "OH, I'm so JEALOUS OF YOU." It's like a drug. I needs it.

So what I'm saying is- I'm SUPER JEALOUS of all of you who are going to experience her book for the first time after it's published. And when you do, come back here and we'll all flip out together because....wow. I know I'm an overly enthusiastic person in general, but don't at all let that fool you- this book is amazing. I'm lucky to be friends with her.

And now, my friends, let the GIF PARADE BEGIN. (And go check out Leigh Ann's blog for MOAR GIFS)


So. There USED to be an awesomely fantastically fun gif parade here. And then people started getting sued for having photos on blogs (which, in some cases, I think is perfectly legit- you should never steal someone's photos). Anyway- it's made us all a little wary of posting pictures on our blogs. So I took it down.


I know. I'm sad too.


THIS used to be a "what the hell is happening?" gif of Ron from Harry Potter.
Chessie's doing her evil laugh on Twitter. What's that about? Oh! Email from Chessie!

And THIS was Nathan Fillion. Because I like to look at him.
BOOM. Oh. Hell. Yes.

And this was Robyn from How I Met Your Mother crying under her desk drinking whiskey. And that's truly the kind of thing it took to calm me down after reading Chessie's book.
Imma sit here and reminisce about the FREAKING MIND BLOWING REVEAL again.

AND THIS WAS THE BEST ONE. Loki, from the Avengers, rubbing his chest, with the caption "I HAVE ALL THESE FEELS." HAHAHAHAHAAHAHHAHAAHAHAHA LOKI HAS ALL THE FEELS!
FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY

Aaaaaaand the cast of Scrubs in pimp costumes.
And when the world sees this book, Chess'll be STRAIGHT UP PIMPIN.



Chessie, I love you like this:
(The Winchesters tackle hugging each other.)


Even though I know that makes you want to do this:
(A penguin putting the smackdown on another penguin.)


LOOOOOOOOOOOVE YOU CHESSIE WITH ALL THE HEARTS AND UNICORNS AND SPARKLES AND HUGS AND ALL THE GIRLIEST OF GIRLY THINGS.
This one's for you. ;)

Donkey Kong gif. Sigh.

You guys can dash over to Chessie's blog for specifics. :)





July 12, 2012

Eleven Things!

You might have caught the vlog today- Megan's (Eleven) Answers over on the Parenthetically channel. Gina did it first, and then tagged the rest of us on Parenthetically, so I responded! Basically, I answered 11 questions that Gina came up with. Then, I needed to give 11 facts about myself, come up with 11 more questions, and tag 11 more people to answer my questions. SO- I did that first part on the vlog...

And now, the rest:


11 Things You Don't Know About Me


Ok, this is hard because I've already posted one Random Megan Facts vlog as well as my Parenthetically Intro where I give you all kinds of random info about me. You guys know me PRETTY WELL.


  1. Milk freaks me out. It comes from cows. Cows are covered in poop.
  2. I loooooooove funny t-shirts. I collect them. If you know of a great web site to find them, let me know.
  3. I used to watch Little Shop of Horrors over and over and over again. I love that movie. There's no telling how many times I've watched it.
  4. My biggest dream, aside from publishing a novel, is to be in a flash mob.
  5. My life philosophy is to never hold back compliments. If I like you or something about you, you will know it. Even if I've known you for 5 seconds. I don't understand people who are stingy with their praise. Come on. It's a waste of time. What if that's the only positive thing that person hears all day? Why hold back?
  6. I'm kind of overly enthusiastic about everything. Sometimes- and it's about to GET REAL HERE GUYS- sometimes, it's a show. Sometimes, if I'm having a particularly terrible day, I will be ESPECIALLY enthusiastic. It's like, fake it til I make it, you know? And it just about always works. Generally, I will end up saying or doing something so ridiculous it makes me laugh, and I'm instantly in a better mood.
  7. I'm addicted to McDonalds Coke. Don't you dare try to tell me it's the same Coke that everyone else serves. It's not.
  8. I prefer grape jelly over strawberry jelly on a PB&J sandwich.
  9. I have a brother. He's six years older than me. He's the bees' knees.
  10. I am a FIRM believer in the Oxford comma. 
  11. I used to work in Cerebral Palsy research. I worked with kids all day, trying to figure out why some kids with CP have better outcomes than others (because CP is one of those diseases that isn't supposed to get worse over time). I loved it. I miss it. Someday I'll do a post about leaving work to stay home with my kids. Gina did a great one
Ok. And for my 11 questions for you guys, I'm keeping a few of Gina's and adding some new ones:

  1. What's your favorite song?
  2. How many times did you fail your driver's license test?
  3. Who's your celebrity crush?
  4. What is the most disgusting word you can think of?
  5. Don't you think Tombstone is the best movie of all time?
  6. If you had to eat one food every day for a year, what would it be?
  7. What are your top 3 favorite books?
  8. Have you ever met anyone in real life that you originally met on Twitter?
  9. What was your first job?
  10. Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich- do you put pb on one slice of bread, jelly on the other, and then marry the two? Or do you put pb on one slice of bread, spread jelly on top of the pb, and put another slice of bread on top? (My grandfather has a VERY SOLID opinion on this subject.)
  11. Name one thing that majorly creeps you out.
OK! And tagging eleven people! I'm only tagging people who I know blog or vlog and who I don't think have been tagged  yet! (AND- if it's just not your thing or you don't feel like doing it, I'm cool with that.)


I know that's 13. SUE ME.




June 29, 2012

The CP Contract


My critique partners and I constantly refer to the CP contract involved when agreeing to be critique partners....but I don't think it's actually written down anywhere. To resolve any future issues that may arise, I'm typing it up RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW.

Critique Partner Contract

Henceforth and whereby and thereto....

(I'm kidding.)

Critique Partners will abide by THE CODE:


  1. No self-deprecation. You rock. Own it. I'm all for being a raging egomaniac. 
    1. But if you do have a complete ego breakdown, you will email me and I will attack you with compliments and convince you that you and your writing do not, indeed, suck.
    2. If I have to, I'll write a blog post to talk about how much I like your writing and make you shut up about your stupid problems. (*cough* Thank you, Jenny *cough*)
  2. Honest critiques only. Don't worry about egos. (Again, egomaniac.)
    1. If there ARE any hurt feelings, please refer to 1.1 and 1.2 of THE CODE.
    2. And maybe watch this vlog
  3. When there is any type of exciting development (i.e. "the call") available CPs will rally on Twitter and tweet the most awesomely hilarious .gifs in existence. (Please refer to the .gifs in this post or this one for reference.)
  4. Regarding manuscripts....
    1. CPs will laugh at all jokes.
    2. CPs will send kissing scenes as SOON as they're written.
    3. CPs will write private jokes into their manuscripts.
    4. CPs will make appropriately gushy comments about the hotness of any/all your main characters.
    5. CPs will pull out their bullshit meters to assess plot holes.
    6. If you're being obviously lazy (i.e. avoiding killing off an MC even though it's totally obvious that you need to *cough* Thanks Gina D. *cough*), CPs will CALL YOU ON IT.
  5. In general conversation, CPs will often...
    1. refer to jokes found in other CP manuscripts.
    2. declare their love for other CPs' main characters. (i.e., "DAAAAAVIIIIIIID" of Gina C.'s Last Year's Mistake)
  6. CPs will hang on to your manuscripts for safe-keeping when you're travelling.
  7. CPs will check your email for you when you are querying if you just can't deal.
  8. CPs will NEVER...
    1. say things like, "I love querying." Unless you're Marieke.
    2. allow you to give up too easily.
    3. allow you to say you suck. (refer to #1.)
  9. CPs will always be available for phone calls regarding plotting, querying, screaming, and squeeing,... and any other possible thing that needs to be discussed.
  10. CPs will always respect the time and attention of other CPs.
  11. CPs will appreciate each other's different tastes/backgrounds/strengths.
  12. CPs will recognize and appreciate their OWN tastes/backgrounds/strengths.


Basically my CPs are amazing and abide by the code of AWESOME.