Feb 4, 2009

Inside The Writer’s Studio – Kelly Parra


Author Note:
Kelly Parra would like to make clear that no matter how many times she took the shot of her creative space, she could NOT get a shot in the evening without a glare. Also, that she is NOT a very organized writer. She did indeed clear the surface of her desk, but could not hide the abundance of papers and scraps throughout her cubbies. She is a distracted mom and writer, but NOT a miracle worker. This desk is where she scours the Internet for book research, critiques chapters, edits, chats with all her cool writer and reader friends, glues broken polly pockets, and works on her many websites.

She would like to note that Mandy Hubbard's creative space puts her space to shame.
A very sad, shame.


Also, yes, it is so that Kelly does most of her writing in an old recliner that was passed down from her uncle when she was first married and could not afford her own recliner, and a small table her mother-in-law gave her to set her laptop on when it is not on her lap. The recliner is nice and comfy and Kelly can rock to-and-fro when she's zoning out on what to write next. Yes, Kelly does a lot of zoning out in this chair almost as much as writing. :)

Is there anything about these writing spaces that surprises you? Anything that catches your interest? Is there anything you can tell about this writer just by looking at the space?

I want to thank Kelly for providing us with some interesting notes about her space, but don’t let this stop you from asking questions and leaving your comments.


KELLY PARRA is a Mexican-Filipino-Italian writer. She debuted into young adult fiction with the Latina novel GRAFFITI GIRL, a Latinidad top pick in 2007. Her next novel is the YA contemporary paranormal, INVISIBLE TOUCH is out now. Kelly currently lives somewhere in between dreamland and her hometown in Central Coast California. When not pulling her hair while writing her current novel, she likes to play with her abundance of websites and feed a serious television addiction. Kelly's favorite author as a teen was V.C. Andrews.

Feb 3, 2009

Trailer Tuesday – Chess Rumble

Chess Rumble
-A free-verse novella by G. Neri & illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson

G. Neri is the author of the middle-grade novella Chess Rumble, the upcoming young adult novels Surf Mules (Putnam, June '09) and Caught (Putnam, Fall 2010) and the graphic novel Yummy (Lee & Low Books, Fall '09). He writes provocative, edgy stories for reluctant readers, especially urban boys, in hopes that these kinds of books-- immediate, compelling and told through the eyes of young males--will open minds to reading.

Inspired by inner-city school chess enrichment programs, Chess Rumble explores the ways this strategic game empowers young people with the skills they need to anticipate their moves through the game of life.

What do you like about this trailer?
What is interesting and engaging about it?

Feb 2, 2009

Mailbox Monday

I seriously wish my mailbox looked like this picture. With all the personal letters and international mail. But, no, it is mostly filled with boring white enveloped bills. The saddest thing about growing up is the resentment you have for the mail. Even when you have the money to pay them, bills tend to mock you, pointing out the fact that no one mailed you a letter today.

Truthfully I don’t deserve any letters. I am horrible with the mail and have not sent any of the 10 or so letters I have written in the past year and a half. In my Sunday Salon post a week ago I talked about epistolary novels and the death of the mail posted letter. It sort of saddens me that I am part of that murder. But luckily this week, even though there is no way I deserve it, I did get a letter. It was tucked up in a package of books but it made me very happy to see a nice, handwritten letter.

Since we are celebrating my birthday until the end of my contest, Chelsea’s presents aren’t actually late. Even though I am getting a lot of entries on my contest, very few are actually following up with my birthday request!! You greedy people! Comment more so I know you are out there and we can get to talking about books. Sure, I do have a sexy voice, but don’t you get sick of droning on and on? And considering you can’t actually hear my voice reading this to you, what exactly is the point? COMMENT.

Okay, now that the pep talk is over, are you wondering what Chelsea gave me??? 5 books, a pile of bookmarks, and as previously stated a handwritten letter. I love young adult lit and the whole scope of the age range. But I find that the middle grade books often embody the best writing and have the broadest interest level. Knowing this, Chelsea sent me 4 middle grade books.

These all look really good, but I am especially excited about The Curse of Addy McMahon and Shug . I hope I will be able to get the chance to read them this month. That is another reason why I love middle grade books, they usually end up being a really fast read. When I haven’t finished a book in a while I always turn to a book like one of the ones above and read it just knowing I will be able to finish it in a day or two. Have you read any of these books?


At a recent author chat for The Page Flipper’s bookclub, I was able to chat with another author who sent me his book for review. It looks really interesting and also like it is a going to be a breezy fast read. I love bookclubs and this month I am participating in three of them. With all that reading and some previous review obligations, I likely won’t be getting to his book in February at all. If you have read it already, please leave a link to your review in the comments.

Across the Pond by Storyheart.


When I won The Eye of Night for Ann Aguirre’s book club I asked her if she had any copies available of her first novel. Grimspace is a science fiction romance and it sounds right up my alley. I am a new fan of the science fiction genre and am trying to explore it to the best of my ability. I am eager to read Ann’s books. Yes, books. Because she didn’t send just one, but BOTH in the series. Grimspace and Wanderlust. I adore to cover for Wanderlust but I have no idea why.

Feb 1, 2009

The Sunday Salon - Audiobooks

The Sunday Salon.com

The thing about audiobooks is, from the moment they start you know the character. When you a reading a book on paper, scanning your eyes over the words, it takes time. You don't find or hear the voice right away. You get to know them through the book. The words are being processed off the paper, into your brain, through your emotions. And after about 3 chapters you have some sense of who they are, who they sound like in your head. And as you go through the book you learn more and the voice deepens and becomes more expressive.

With audiobooks the voice is a given. And the interesting part is that it is just one or two people's interpretation. The actor and the producer decide how the book will sound. All the variations your mind can make in shaping and creating the character....they are gone. Sometimes this is a benefit. Sometimes when I can't get into a book, can't hear it speaking to me I pop the audiobook in and listen for a few tracks. Just to get some idea of how it might sound to someone. Because it isn't sounding anyway to me at all. And while the characters are rigid in your mind in audiobooks, there are advantages to listening.

One of them, ironically, is the rigidity of the character in your mind. There is no confusion about who is talking or what is happening, the voice changes to indicate that. You always know the emotionality of the sentence. Maybe sometimes you disagree with it, but there is more of a hint than when you read on paper.

Whenever I listen to an audiobook I wonder what it looks like on the page. How they show different parts, if it is confusing. Some of the audiobooks I really enjoyed I am not sure I would have enjoyed on paper. Some audiobooks I haven't exactly enjoyed, but there was an accomplishment in enduring them, in finishing the book and appreciating the fact that the audio format was the only reason I had the option.

Two audiobooks I listened to recently were Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper and Thirteen Reasons Why . I particularly enjoyed Jay Asher’s genius in regards to storytelling. I think it is the most creative unfolding of a story I have ever read.

Do you enjoy audiobooks? Why or why not? If you enjoy them what are some really good ones you recently listed to?

February Young Adult Author!

Catherine Ryan Hyde is February's featured young adult author. Unfortunately I didn't do as much as I wanted with my first author, though I did learn from my not doing. I promise to do a better job with Catherine. Over the next few days, even though the month is over, I will be wrapping up with a few more posts on DiCamillo and then expect more posts and reviews about Catherine and her books.

For now watch this amazing excerpt video that Catherine made for Becoming Chloe and check out a profile I did on her previously. (With another amazing video you need to check out!!)

Have you read any of Catherine's books? I would love to know what you think. Please leave links to previous reviews in the comments.

The Eye of Night


 The Eye of Night by Pauline J. Alama


"I'd seen nothing in the still pool they call the Mirror of St. Fiern, nothing: not even my own reflection, for rainstorms had drowned the pool in dull, blackish mud.  That featureless blackness, more than any evil vision I might have seen, seemed to pass a death sentence over me: my life was a void, a starless night.  For a moment, I felt I must cast myself into the depths and drown, as though the saint herself had urged it.  I'd never felt less inclined to return to the Order, but neither had I any glimmer of a new life outside it."

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