Monday, October 22, 2012

The Superlative Blogfest is BACK!

Last year Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Katy Upperman, and I hosted The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest, which turned out to be a fun and interactive way to highlight our favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. We had a fantastic group of bloggers who signed on to participate, and we had a blast hopping from blog to blog to find out how you awarded your 2011 superlatives.

Jess, Tracey, Katy, and I had such a great time promoting awesome 2011 books and getting to know new bloggers through the blogfest, we've decided to do it all over again! This year we'll highlight 2012 books, we'll introduce a few new superlative categories, and we're planning a giveaway as just ONE more reason to join in on the fun.

There will be lots more information about specifics of the The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest in the coming weeks (We can tell you that it'll take place toward the end of December), but we wanted to give you a heads up now, so you have plenty of time to beef up your books-published-in-2012 reading list (there's a comprehensive catalog of titles HERE). And we encourage you to revisit our 2011 posts (Jessica's, Tracey's, Katy's, and mine) to refresh your memory on the superlative categories we included last year.

Just like 2011, the The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest will be all about FUN and promoting fantastic novels! Don't worry if your 2012 reading list is on the short side, or if you don't have a book/character/cover/element for each category; we just want you to jump in and participate any way you can!

Sounds like fun, right?! Do YOU plan to sign up for The Class of 2012: YA Superlatives Blogfest?


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Next Big Thing

(In which I go a little TMI about my WIP)


Two weeks ago, my friend Katy Upperman tagged me in a post entitled The Next Big Thing—a WiP-focused questionnaire that came to her via Caroline Richmond and Miss Snark’s First Victim. So, once I got over my two-week anxiety about sharing, I thought I’d post too and play along.

Here goes…

What is the working title of your book?

CHICK MAGNET

(yes—Alison will win the award for most cliché titles ever! But it works…trust me)


Where did the idea come from?

Three years ago, I wrote the first in what I hoped would be a series of paranormal companion novels on the seven deadly sins. The first one was on envy, this one was meant to center around lust. It morphed into something majorly different, something so much better. And although my mc definitely has some lust issues, it’s no longer a seven deadly sins story, but a somewhat inverted retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And I LOVE it.

Also, if you’ve been around my blog, you know I have a fierce love for anything football and the beach. This story combines those two loves.


What genre does your book fall under?

Upper YA Magical Realism


May we see an intro?

Here are the first few lines:

Getting with Susan Milton should be the last thing on my mind.

I should be thinking Northeast and their defensive line, the one that racks up eight QB sacks a game. I should be running through Coach’s five new plays—the ones the Panthers won’t see on the scouting tapes. I should think about how David and I are going to get a keg for the beach after the game. Or how if I don’t play the game of my life, we won’t even need one.

Maybe I should focus on my senior project.

Or the Pre-Calc test I have in thirty minutes.

But I just can’t get my mind off her.


Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

So, I’m a little afraid to post answers to this question, mainly because I like to give very vague details about my characters—leave a lot to the reader imagination, if that makes sense. So I won’t post pictures (although I did spend my weekend staring at pictures of Matt Dallas and Ian Somerhall—very close matches for my mc ). My mc does have some defining characteristics, and since I’m not sharing pictures to give you a visual, I’ll try to paint you a picture with words from the WIP…

“Do you always bring your bodyguards with you?” Susan Milton asks, a chuckle in her voice.

I smile, and my eyes take in Dave, Kurt, and Nate. They’re all well over 200 pounds, most of it muscle, and block for me every Friday night, protecting my 6’1”, 165-pound frame. Yeah. I guess they could be considered my body guards.

My boy has some stuff going on with his hair too. Here he is walking his wheelchair-bound sister to her bus…

She must know she’s struck a nerve because I suddenly feel the weight of her chair . I wince at the wheel sitting on my sneaker, then muss up her hair. She squeals and wheels away from me. “Quit or I’ll mess up your hair. Oh wait. It’s already messed up.”

Instinctively I run a hand through my hair. It’s not messed up. It’s short in some places. Long in others. And not that bed head shit every lame ass got after those werewolf movies Liz and all her friends “swooned” over. The guys all got mohawks last year, right after we won our second round playoff game, but I couldn’t do it. They gave me hell about it—said I was just trying to look like my hero, TQ Zedek. Maybe that’s true, but Liz wouldn’t hear of it anyway. She would’ve been so devastated if I shaved my head.

As for his love interest, he’s VERY detailed about her so I could almost post a picture (blonde Natalie Portman comes to mind), but I’ll give you a few words from the first page…

And not just because Susan Milton’s the hottest chick I’ve ever seen in my life. I mean, she is: tight little body, sexy smile, shiny blonde hair that smells like the jasmine growing in my backyard. She has a habit of wearing these low cut tops, and if she bends over just right, I almost get a free show.

Hope you enjoyed the “visual.”

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I have one actually, but it gives a little too much more away than I’m capable of sharing right now so…I’ll just offer up the first two paragraphs of my query (for those of you who’ve already seen this…well, you get to see it AGAIN J )

JD Marshall has a power most guys would trade their left nut for. With one hypnotizing look, he can get a girl to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And for three years he’s racked up more scores than Brett Favre. But his power’s not a blessing. It’s just a curse.

And it is a curse. One he’s got three months to break or lose any chance of ever having a real relationship. The only way to break the curse—learn to love and be loved. Like that’s going to happen. JD needs to focus on quarterbacking his team to the state finals. He needs to pass freaking math. And he needs to quit thinking about Susan Milton. She’s taken. She’s forbidden. Worse—she seems to be the only one immune to his power.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

If and when Alison is ever ready to query her beast, I will be searching for agency representation.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Which one? Haha – this is a third rewrite and each version took me roughly five months.


What other books would you compare this story to?

My story is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a Paradise Lost twist, but it also has elements comparable to The Blindside, Varsity Blues, The Program…pretty much any football movie. J

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Since I already talked about where my idea originated, I’ll tell you what continues to inspire me. Watching football games. My students and their shameless one-liners. The ocean. Saturday, on the way to my son’s soccer game, I passed an orange Dodge Charger (my mc drives one)…total SIGN.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Typical teen guys. Their pranks. Their naked exploits. Their angsty-ness. Romance. Phone banter. Steamy kisses in the most forbidden places. Aladdin. Disney princesses. Yellow roses.

I shared my love list for my WIP before, but I’ll share a few things that seemed to resonate with my fellow YA Highwayers—skee ball bets, Crisco, hummingbirds on crack. English classes that are hard to get through. I hope you all get to read it one day so you can see what’s really behind the last three.

Oh, and football. A little Vince Lombardi. A whole lot of heart.


So, that’s my NEXT BIG THING. I’m supposed to tag a few friends for their Next Big Thing, but I’m so Alison-come-lately to this, I think most everyone I know has been tagged! So, if you haven’t shared your NEXT BIG THING, go for it! And leave me a note about it in the comments so I can check it out!



Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Follow Up

Wow. It's been a while. I hope you've had a fabulous few weeks! Here's my follow up

on WRITING/REVISING: Still revising. Still working on the back end of the manuscript. Between work and tutoring and soccer games and practices and everything else, I sneak in moments when I can. It’s frustrating not to write for hours on end like I could in the summer, but as I always tell my children, “It is what it is." I’ll finish this round of revisions. One day.

Currently I’m readying pages for CPs, and then I’m onto the finale. Then another round of revisions to flesh out some big issues. Then another round. And then maybe I’ll feel like it’s not too horrible to send to beta readers. Maybe. J

Oh, and my fabulous friend Katy tagged me in this Next Big Thing post last week. It’s actually really cool and I LOVE reading about what all my blogging friends are writing, bu-ut the super vulnerable chicken in me is experiencing a little anxiety about participating. But it looks fun. And cool. And I may just have to get over my fears of sharing and post a little more about my WIP on Monday. Stay tuned.

When do YOU squeeze in writing time?

on READING: So, the major CON to reading the first book in a series you love,love, love? You have to WAIT A WHOLE YEAR for the sequel! Grrr. But um…this book?



Hmm...how to describe? Supernatural. Mystery. Adventure. Troubled boys with even more troubled pasts. Psychic predictions and premonitions. Ravens. Eerie, chilling yet beautiful prose that made me feel prickly and goose-bumpy and like I was actually inside Monmouth Manufacturing or Blue’s house or the TREE. Forbidden love and love triangles not quite like anything I’ve read before. Shocking twists. Rather often too. And Gansey. I have to wait a-whole-nother year for more GANSEY.

But it’s good. So, SO good. Like one of the best books I read this year good.


I also just finished




I read CATCHING JORDAN (football story with a kickass female quarterback) earlier this year and enjoyed it, but, even though I am not a huge baseball fan, I actually liked this one better. It dove pretty deep into some very real issues and I could very much relate to Parker’s struggle with her church and with God and with trying to do the right thing. Also, after reading, my vegetarian self suddenly has a wicked affinity for corndogs. Read it. You’ll definitely see why. J

on IRLs: Two weeks ago I got together with my amazing CP and friend Alexandra Shostak for the first time EVER. We text and email and chat all the time, but I got to meet her and hang out with her and write and watch Avengers and well, I just had an awesome time!

Have YOU met any of your CPs (ya know—In Real Life)?

on KINDNESS:



The Kindness Project blog (brainchild of the awesome and super sweet Carolina Valdez Miller) is up and running and I am SO honored to be a contributor! Check it out here and spread some kindness with us!

on AWESOME NEWS!!! My fabulous blogging and writing friend Rebecca Behrens book WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE will be published by Sourcebooks in 2014!!! I am so excited for her and I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! You can read all about her success story here.

on FAMILY: The Miller house has had its share of visitors lately. First Alexandra (yay!) and then my mother-in-law stayed with us last weekend which was super nice because we haven’t seen her in two years! (I know—WAY too long) The kids got to hang out with Grandma Tish and she got to see McKenzie play soccer and watch Dave coach and experience Aidan charades. It was a wonderful weekend. J

on OTHER STUFF: This week was Spirit Week at my high school. It’s fun. It’s crazy. It’s crazy to try to get anything accomplished. But I love it. I love spirit week and I love dressing up with my students. And so, as I always do, Tuesday I wore my Winnie the Pooh costume (Disney Day) to school. For the last time. Ever. A little weird and a whole lot bittersweet, but after twenty years, I’m ready to hang up the Pooh costume and try my hand at something new. Like writing. And full-time motherhood.

Just the thought of what I’ll hopefully be doing this time next year makes my heart sing.

What’s made YOU smile this week?

Happy Friday! And have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Winners!

Thank you SO MUCH to all who entered and tweeted about my giveaway and subscribed or followed me and shared some amazing thoughts about book banning! You. Are. AWESOME. And I wish I could pick all of you to win.

But since I can't, *sigh* I let random number generator pick two...

Winner of The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Dominique

Winner of the $15 Amazon Gift Card

Sarah O

Congratulations! Please email me at alisonmiller20 (at) gmail (dot) com so I can get your prizes to you!

Thanks again, everyone! Have a great week!