Thursday, February 28, 2013

In Case You Needed a Good Laugh...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Covers for Harry Potter

To Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the American publication of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone, Scholastic has asked Kazu Kibuishi to create new covers for all seven books. Though we won't be able to see the rest of the covers until September, Scholastic did release the cover for book one. 

Kibuishi said that GrandPré's original covers "are so fantastic and iconic" that "when I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn't want to see them reinterpreted. However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn't, and that was that I was also a writer of my own series of middle-grade fiction.

"As an author myself, I tried to answer the question, 'If I were the author of the books — and they were like my own children — how would I want them to be seen years from now?' When illustrating the covers, I tried to think of classic perennial paperback editions of famous novels and how those illustrations tend to feel. In a way, the project became a tribute to both Harry Potter and the literary classics."

President of Scholastic Trade Publishing, Ellie Berger, said that the new covers aren't meant to replace the original ones by Mary GrandPré. She said, "we thought it was time for a fresh approach" for the trade paperbacks "as of a way of attracting the interest of a new generation of 8- and 9-year-olds who may know Harry mostly through the movies."

Scholastic will also release the entire Hogwarts Library as a boxed set, which includes Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. The sales will go to two charities, Lumos, created by J.K. Rowling, and Comic Relief. 

What do you think of the new covers? Do you prefer Mary GrandPré's artwork? 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Safe Haven and The Great Gatsby--The Books and The Films

I saw Safe Haven the other day and I can't seem to get it out of my mind. I know it got terrible reviews, but I really liked it. While many critics scoffed at the plot twist, I found it endearing. It's not a family movie, but I think it's a sweet chick flick and I'm never opposed to seeing a Nicholas Sparks film (even though I've never seen Nights in Rodanthe or The Lucky One).

I'm the kind of person that can't get memorable movies, songs, or books out of my head. Sometimes a whole movie will play in my head while I'm doing the dishes or some other boring chore.

Anyway, the other thing that I can't get out of my mind is The Great Gatsby preview that came on before Safe Haven. I feel so weird about it. We all read The Great Gatsby in high school, right? It's one of "the classics." It's well written, full of deep symbolism, and has timeless characters--but it's also really, really SAD.

It reminds me of some of the other novels I read in high school like 1984, Lord Of The Flies, and The Grapes of Wrath. They're amazing, but they also made me feel depressed (and to be clear I am not bashing these books at all, I understand their importance). It just confirms my opinion that Hollywood can make anything look current, beautiful, and fun.

Another thing that made me feel strange about the preview was the music. It featured songs from Kanye West, Jay Z, Florence + the machines, and an edgy cover of Happy Together. I like Florence + the machines, but I had a hard time meshing current trendy music with such a classic, somber story.

Earlier this year in the Halloween episode of Pretty Little Liars, Aria, one of the main characters, dressed up like Daisy from The Great Gatsby. Her friend Hannah asked, "from the movie?" and I thought that was such a strange line. But now I understand it. With Leonardo Dicaprio starring as Gatsby in previews that show characters dancing in glittery costumes to music from Kanye and Jay Z, teenagers are getting a very different view of the story than I ever did. It will be interesting to see what kind of feedback it gets after its release date in March.

Both of these movies are based off of books, so I'm curious to see what you thought. Did you read or see Safe Haven? How do you feel about the new film adaption of The Great Gatsby?

Monday, February 18, 2013

LTUE Writing Conference

The LTUE writing conference was definitely a success, and I loved meeting and connecting with so many fellow readers and writers!

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I was on two different panels, a first time novelist panel and a social media panel. At first it was terrifying, but eventually my heartbeat slowed and I got to talk about writing, getting published, and how to promote your writing. The questions were great, even the tough ones, and I found it pretty funny that whenever I spoke I used my hands (You can see the proof above). I think I somehow feel that if I mime what I'm saying I can get my point across better.

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Here is the panel featuring the artists and designers that work with publishers and authors to create amazing book covers. Rebecca J. Greenwood was the cover artist for The Shapeshifter's Secret, and she did a great job talking about the process of designing her book covers.

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I did a podcast interview with Authors' Think Tank, you can see part of the crew above. My interview won't be up for a while, but I really enjoyed the discussion we had about writer's block, and writing romance (we talked about love triangles, paranormal romance, and cliches in romance--I can't wait to post the interview).

Thanks for a great conference. Goodbye until next year!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Quote Of The Week

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Upcoming Events

I'm very excited to be a part of LTUE this month and Authorpalooza next month. Here is the information for both events. 

LTUE 2013 at the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. 

February 14th, 15th, and 16th

I will be on the First Time Novelist panel as well as the Social Media panel. 

For more information click below:

Sandy Barnes and Noble AuthorPalooza.

March 2nd, from 1 - 4 pm

This is a mass book signing event with many local Utah authors. :) Hope to see you there! 

Fore more information click below:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Getting Published: My Story

The first thing I did when I realized how much I loved writing was make a decision. I was going to become an author someday. It wasn't something I thought would be a great hobby, or something I wanted to do with friends for fun. I was dead set on reaching my goal and writing for a career

Starting from eighth grade, I took every writing class imaginable and eventually majored in English with an emphasis in creative writing in college. I’d been writing stories since I was in Jr. High, but I’d never completed a full novel. Once I graduated I knew it was time to get serious. I quit my job and decided to focus all my energy into writing.  I began writing The Shapeshifter’s Secret (though it had a different title at the time) and after countless late nights, many tears, and several “aha” moments, the first draft was finished a year later.   

Once it was completed, I started editing, which meant hours and hours of rewriting. Characters changed, the plot changed, names changed, and it was a grueling six-month process. That was for the story as a whole, but I also hired an editor to help with all the grammar and punctuation. The editing was very difficult for me, but it was absolutely necessary and helped me grow as a writer.

So after writing The Shapeshifter’s Secret and editing it until I was happy with the finished product, I knew it was time to learn more about the publishing industry. I did all the research I could online and started going to conferences and classes that focused on publishers, agents, and the art of the query letter. I also started getting involved with social media sites so that I could show editors how serious I was about getting my work out there, and I began connecting with other writers. Next I created my query letter (which at times seemed as difficult as writing the actual novel), and I was ready to start submitting to publishers.

When I got the first offers for my novel I felt like I was in shock. After years of dreaming, it was finally happening. I reflect back on this time and feel so grateful for the opportunities I was given. Cedar Fort published The Shapeshifter’s Secret in 2012 and I’ve absolutely loved working with them. 

The journey to getting published was long and there were plenty of bumps of discouragement along the way. One of those bumps was when I made a terrible query and began submitting it to publishers and agents when I was only halfway through writing my novel. I was overly eager about jumping into the publishing world and thought it was a good idea. It wasn’t. Never ever make query letters prematurely; it will only lead to painful rejection letters.

There were several times when I wondered whether I was spending too much time on my novel. I had plenty of breakdowns when I wanted to give up and had zero confidence in my writing. However, I always thought back to that decision that I made so many years ago. I wanted to write, and I’d have to keep going no matter how difficult it became.

If you’re a writer looking to get published, I wish you the very best of luck! Know that the ups and downs are part of the experience that every author and main character has to face in order to grow.

Here are some really fantastic websites for writers: 

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