Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Chamber of Ten by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon
Of Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden
The Ocean Dark by Jack Rogan
For Your Younger Siblings
Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) by Lisa Yee, illustrated by Dan Santat
This Month's Spotlighted Title
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
We loved hearing stories about the Gallagher Girls (and guys) and spy school and secrets and lies! Ooh, intrigue.
Ally's amazing guest blog!
Ally considers herself both "wishy-washy" and "adaptable." She's a chameleon!
Up next: Gallagher Girls 5 and Heist Society 2. HOORAY!
We've so loved having you here this month. Thank you, Ally!
Friday, July 30, 2010
Today, Kirsten told me what this month's theme, Courage, means to her:
My favorite superhero has always been Batman because he wasn't born super. Unlike Superman or the X-Men, Batman is an average human being just like the rest of us. His skills aren't the result of toxic waste spill or a nip from a radioactive spider. Batman chooses to be super. It's that choice that sets him apart from the rest.
In my opinion, we all place far too much stock in the gifts we're granted at birth. Beauty, intelligence, wealth -- the world tells us these are the things that make us who we are. They play a role, no doubt, but far more important are the traits we develop as we grow older.
In other words, it's not what we're born with, it's who we eventually become that counts.
No one is born courageous. Impetuous, maybe. Reckless, perhaps. But you'll never meet a courageous toddler. They simply don't exist. You have to choose to be courageous. It isn't hard. Everyone over the age of five can do it. All it takes are two simple steps . . .
1. Listen to your gut. (It will almost always identify the right thing to do.)
2. Do what your gut tells you, no matter what the consequences may be.
It's that second step that stymies most people. They know what they should do, but they lack the intestinal fortitude to follow through. That's why we're so fascinated by stories of individuals who have risked their lives, their jobs, or their freedom to help others. They're exceptional. They do what the rest of us can—but won't.
I'm fortunate to have been raised by one of those people. My own mother may be the most courageous person I've ever met. She's never rescued anyone from a burning building or testified in court against murderous mobsters. Hers is an everyday sort of courage. She always stands up for the powerless. She never bows to convention. She will accept any challenge or take on any fight if she thinks it's the right thing to do. (And believe me, you don't want to fight my mamma.)
One of the proudest moments of my life was when my father told me I was, "brave and stupid, just like your mother." (If you knew my dad's sense of humor, you'd find that incredibly touching.)
Throughout her life, my mother has chosen to be courageous. From what I've seen, it hasn't been easy. And although it's a constant struggle, and I don't think I'm quite there yet, I will always try my best to follow her (and Batman's) example.
- Kirsten Miller
Our own Diva Holly's been on a whirlwind of a blog tour since June 14. I can't believe how fast it flew by, and all I did was watch! Holly must be exhausted (in a happy way).
Today is the official last day of her tour! In honor of Tell Me A Secret to celebrate the end of a super-fun trek, Holly collected secrets from a bunch of writer friends (Including me and other rgz divas! And lots more awesome people you'll recognize!) . . .
What can I say, when Holly asks you to tell her a secret, you can't help yourself! Enjoy the juice!
Don't forget that August is Tell Me a Secret month at readergirlz. As Holly's tour comes to an end, we get her all to ourselves! Can't wait!
Watch this space for more on Holly's ginormous Monday blog party!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Meanwhile, here's Elizabeth with the Cover Story:
"Put simply, I adore this cover. It may be my favorite, from anything I've ever written. It's very different than the artwork for the original UK edition, which had a very small print run and a lovely, Edward Gorey-esque black-and-white pen-and-ink drawing that showed Maddy and Rogan in the attic (pictured after the jump). This one is more romantic and dreamlike. I find it very easy to imagine myself in those boots and that cape...
What does Robin have up next, you ask? Well, she's here to chat about THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY & JUNE...and even share a few secrets of her own. Welcome, Robin!
THE EXTRAORDINARY SECRETS OF APRIL, MAY & JUNE is about three sisters who discover that they have superpowers soon after their parents divorce. They find themselves trying to figure out what's happening to themselves while also trying to salvage their relationships as sisters.
Holly Cupala: So what's the story behind the story, Robin? Where did April, May, and June come from?
Robin Benway: I actually saw a tattoo on a male model that read "April May June"and I immediately thought, "Those are girls' names." It didn't occur to me until later that they're obviously also months of the year, so I took that as a sign that I should be doing something with those names. I knew that they were sisters, and that they were each a year apart in age, but it took several days before I realized that they had something...special....
Read the rest of Robin's extraordinary secrets here...!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Follow-up: What aspects of historical mansions/sights do you love most?
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
That's how I pictured the GIMME A CALL cover. Except with alternating Devis--one at fourteen and one at seventeen.
"There were earlier cover concepts, which didn't make the final cut. The art director (Kenny Holcomb) was amazing--he wouldn't stop until he got it right. Some of them included..."
Thursday, July 22, 2010
About FHN, Publisher's Weekly says, "A delicate sense of magical possibility and reverence for the natural world," and "Wonderfully original and beautifully written" from Jen Nadol, author of THE MARK! Check out an excerpt here.
So it is with great pleasure that I host Amy today...and I even have a gorgeous signed copy of FHN to give away. Welcome, Amy!
Forget-Her-Nots is the story of a girl discovering the magic and mystery of her flower powers. Publishing it is my dream come true!
Holly Cupala: Such an original idea. What was the initial spark?
Amy Brecount White: I’d always known I wanted to write a novel, but I went to hear Toni Morrison speak once. Her advice was, “Write the story that only you can tell.” So that got me thinking about what unique stories I have inside me. I had recently made a tussie-mussie (a symbolic flower bouquet) for a friend who had cancer, and I loved to garden. Pretty soon I had the original idea of writing a story that featured the language of flowers come to life...
Read more of Amy's secrets and enter to win a signed copy of FHN here!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I'm a very indecisive girl. I couldn't choose. So I ended up doing all three.
My latest book: The Ghosts of Ashbury High is part of a series of connected books but it also stands alone. Some characters from The Year of Secret Assignments have starring roles, but there are also two new characters: scholarship students named Amelia and Riley who have mysterious pasts. I got the idea for the book when the foundations of a convicts barracks and lunatic asylum were uncovered just behind my parents' house. I had a lot of fun writing it, partly because I ate rocky road and drank apple-and-cinnamon tea. And the other night, when I was sick with a feverish flu, I became convinced that James Cameron should make a movie of this book. I was awake most of the night while my mind raced through a filmscript, and tried to figure out how to get in touch with James.
But that was just the fever. The book is nothing like a James Cameron film.
My writing schedule: It changes all the time. Used to be, I'd write into the night and sleep half the day. A lot of ideas came to me in the strange half-dreams of late morning. Then I had a baby and started writing whenever he slept. Now my baby's at preschool two days a week, and I start those days by walking to a café where I listen in to conversations, and read books that are connected to my current work. So, I'm working on a trilogy about the Kingdom of Cello at the moment, and I'm reading a novel about a cellist. In fact, my trilogy has nothing to do with the musical instrument, but I pretend to myself that this is research.
On the other days, a babysitter comes for the afternoons and I write upstairs while they play downstairs. Those are my favourite times - especially when I know they're baking cookies.
Courage: The other day I made an appointment to see my dentist. It was tricky to do because I couldn't remember his name. (It had been a while since I'd been to the dentist.) I had a feeling his first name was John, and I thought it was probably John Turturro or John Tarantula. But the first one's an actor, and the second one's a spider. Eventually, I called my sister - she goes to the same dentist - and then I made the appointment. Doing something that scares you, like going to the dentist – that takes some courage. But having to go through several steps to do it – including googling actors and spiders - now that is truly courageous.
- Jaclyn Moriarty
Jaclyn's novel The Year of Secret Assignments is one of this month's recommended reads. Check it out!
The Kiki Strike books by Kirsten Miller
The Squad: Perfect Cover and Killer Spirit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty
For Freedom: The Story of a French Spy by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Put on Your Crown: Life-Changing Moments on the Path to Queendom by Queen Latifah and Samantha Marshall
Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare by Tina Schwager
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
"For BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS, seeing my work illustrated, in general, was such a thrill. I loved having the opportunity to work with an illustrator to see my characters come to life.My editor and I viewed the samples of so many different artists as we were picking the illustrator for BLACK IS FOR BEGINNINGS....
Invite: Send a coded message via covert means. (This invitation will self-destruct in three...two...)
Décor: Plaid, crests, swords, and cut-out letters
Movies & TV Shows: Alias, the Bourne movies, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Craft: Make a hair bow out of coordinating plaids; create a super secret book cover to hide your covert texts; hollow out an old lipstick tube or some other innocuous-looking container to form a secret carrying device; make a holder for all that dangerous/killer spaghetti.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
"I had no cover ideas, but I did hope that it was a little off the beaten path in some way but I didn't know how. My favorite YA book of all time, Celine, has an illustration of the narrator on the cover created the author but I don't think that was the path for my book (also I can't draw anything but boxes and horses).
During one conversation I told my editor, 'This idea might suck but how about the dri-erase board that you see in the very first scene of the book?' and she said 'Hold on a second' and sent me an email she had already drafted proposing the exact same thing, so I felt bad suggesting that that idea might suck somehow. But then a little while later I received the following email from her about the early version that you see here with the lizard feet:
"'Here are the things that will strike you instantly:
* this is not the idea we talked about
* there is no description in the manuscript matching this image
"'BUT -- it feels perfect to me, I have to say. The 'slippers' you're seeing here are a found image/placeholder and the goal would be to get the same legs/vantage point and the same color contrast but something instantly recognizable as funny bedroom slippers, not like a costume. And I think it would be simple enough to mention the slippers. Same goes for the pink shag . . . which is unexpected but it very visually striking and has the right feel to me. I think it hits the audience you're looking for -- comfortably 20-something crossover.'
"She really sold it and it definitely was off the beaten path, as I had hoped for! My editor wasn't sold on the dragon feet (which I kind of loved--the contrast between these lizard slippers and the pink carpet) so I went searching online for funny slippers. It was a pretty fun task..."
Saturday, July 17, 2010
For Your Younger Sister
Cinderella Cleaners #4: Mask Appeal by Maya Gold
The Down-to-Earth Guide To Global Warming by Laurie David and Cambria Gordon
This Month's Spotlighted Title
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Friday, July 16, 2010
Calling all readergirlz! Want to participate in the roundtable next month? We will be discussing our August book pick, Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala.
If you're interested, please leave a comment below with your email address so we may send you an invite through Google Docs. This cool (and free) service lets you edit documents in real-time while collaborating with others. You will be able to tell us what you thought of the book by answering discussion questions, adding in questions of your own, and reading and responding to comments from other readers.
Check out previous roundtables to get a feel for how they work!
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Anxious to begin your life as a spy? The Agency offers student work programs such as undergraduate student internships and graduate studies programs. Check out these student opportunities!