Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009 Hopes

Did everyone have a merry Christmas? I had a very nice holiday (and actually, I'm still on break from school--woo!). I went to a lovely Christmas Eve mass, got to spend some time with my family, and also got some fabulous presents.

I guess the next logical thing to address in this blog would be the new year. Of course, I could share some resolutions. The only thing, I don't have any as of yet...not anything realistic anyway. That's why I've decided to share some of my hopes for 2009 instead. Without further ado...

1. It'll be an overall awesome year!
2. I'll do well on my SATs.
3. I'll not be totally stressed out over the whole senior year, college application thing coming up in the second half of the year.
4. The musical I'm in will go swimmingly.
5. My book will sell. Pretty please.
6. I will finish all the books I have in progress at the moment and possibly finish a first draft of a new one.

Anyone else, hopes for 2009?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"Books make great gifts because they never come in the wrong size."

Yesterday I went Christmas shopping. Seriously, malls during the holiday season are insane...and not at all like the surprisingly serene picture to the left.

Despite being a teenage girl, I am not a big fan of shopping. In fact, the only things I really like shopping for are books (because, duh, they're books!) and purses (cute, and really one size fits all). To me, the mall is no safe haven. It is a place that quickly grows boring unless I'm there with plenty of friends. Add to that large crowds and long lines and the pressure to find the perfect gift, and it's a recipe for a Megan Shopping Meltdown, which I have been known to have.

Speaking of shopping meltdowns, last night I watched Jingle All The Way with Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you haven't seen it, it's about a workaholic dad who forgets about buying his son a Turbo Man action figure until Christmas Eve. He's determined to find one to make up for missing his son's karate lesson. It's kind of a ridiculous movie (the ending involves lots of flying on a jet pack), but its scenes of Christmas Eve shopping madness rang true. I'm glad that I am only sixteen and am not a parent having to fight tooth and nail for the season's hottest toy.

Though, I guess it does say something about our society that parents feel it such a necessity to get their kids the hottest toy. Honestly, a lot of the big Christmas gifts I've gotten haven't worked out. I used them for a while, then I moved on. I got a guitar a couple years ago, and I still haven't learned how to play it I feel pretty bad about that one, actually. The point is, kids don't really need the hottest toy out there. There are things that are more important, like having nice family memories and spending time together, which actually is the message of Jingle All The Way.

Back to my own went fairly well. Though it was too crowded for my taste, the mall wasn't overly chaotic. I got some cute little gifts to give to my friends, a DVD for my mom, and books for my aunt and brother. I have one more book to get today, and then I'll be done.

As most writers do, I love giving people books. Many of you have probably seen the youtube video about how books make great gifts. If not, check it out! I've got to say, I also hope I get some books too, or at least a gift card to my favorite bookstore. For once, I don't have a huge To Be Read pile, and I really want to go shopping for some books of my own.

How has everyone else been surviving the malls, and what books do you guys have on your wish lists? And, of course, thoughts on Jingle All The Way are welcomed!

Credit for the Christmas pic goes to Paul Keleher, and the image of Jingle All The Way came from Overstock.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Two Hour Delay And Talking About Writing

Today we have a two hour delay.

Gotta love a two hour delay.

Also today, I'm giving a talk about writing. Yes, me. I haven't even sold my book yet, but one of my teachers from middle school knows about my agent and my two short story sales; she thinks I'd have something to offer her students. I'm going to talk about taking initiative, doing your research, rejection (even sharing a couple!), comparing your journey to another writer's, the waiting required, finding your niche, and the most important thing of all for young writers (actually, for ALL writers), revision! Now that I think about it, my journey towards publication has taught me a lot. Toughened me up. Made me realize that not everybody is going to like everything I do. That I'm not necessarily some writing prodigy and that's okay. That things, for the most part, don't happen overnight.

Don't worry, though. I still have a healthy share of naive optimism!

In the comments section, please tell me what you've learned from your writing journey and what you would share with middle school students.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A New Favorite Book And Acknowledgements

Right now I'm reading Airhead by Meg Cabot (which I'll probably give my thoughts on later), but just before that, I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. This book is one of my new favorites, even if it happens to be a lot older than me. I figured I might as well take this opportunity to rave about it!

In the book, seventeen-year-old Cassandra Thompson lives with her family--a once renowned writer father who hasn't worked for years, an over-the-top, wannabe artsy but nonetheless kind stepmother, and a discontent older sister named Rose--in a run-down English castle. While her sister may be more focused on their horrible poverty, Cassandra is focused on improving her writing skills. She seeks to capture her family and their castle in her journals. The plot picks up when two young American men arrive in town. Rose sees one of them as her chance to get married and help the family out of poverty. At first, Cassandra is fine leaving the romance to her sister, but soon enough, Cassandra is finding love hard to resist--and much more complicated than she ever could've dreamed.

I don't know how to quite describe the writing, other than superb. Even when not much seemed to be happening plot-wise, I had to keep turning the pages. The characters were interesting and well-developed, especially Cassandra, whose journal entries were insightful and emotionally powerful. Normally I'm bored by lots of description, but Cassandra's vivid descriptions were beautiful and pulled me into her life.

Overall, this book just felt warm and fuzzy and fascinating. I loved it! Oh, and so did J.K. Rowling. If a book has a blurb by J.K. Rowling, it has to be good.

In other news, I wrote an acknowledgments page today. And no, I haven't even sold my book yet. I couldn't help it, though. Something perfect for an acknowledgments page randomly popped into my head, so I had to write it down....and of course, I couldn't just stop there, could I? Has anyone else indulged in such embarrassing behavior? Please tell me I'm not alone!

Edited To Add: Check out Reviewer X this week for a lot of cool posts and contests. It's one of my favorite YA review blogs out, you know, free books are awesome. I'm definitely going to try and win me some!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I watch Hannah Montana...

This is my first post on this blog, and I've got to say, I'm pretty excited. I am a big blog reader, though I'm not much of a participant. I've tried at blogging a few times before, but it never really worked out. I'm hoping this will.

Anyway, as it says in my "About Me" section, I'm a sixteen-year-old aspiring writer. I finished my first novel on my thirteenth birthday. A couple novels and about two years later, I got an awesome agent, and now my YA novel is making the rounds.

Even if it seems kind of mature to be so into publishing at my age, I am definitely a regular (albeit kind of nerdy) teenager.

For one, I watch Hannah Montana. In fact, I have Hannah Montana on in the background right now. It's not a particularly good show, I suppose, and yet I watch it...and watch it...Same with many other shows on Disney. Of course, I also watch The Office, 30 Rock, Heroes, and The Amazing Race.

A bigger indicator of my total teenage-ness: my huge crush on Nick Jonas from the very teen-friendly band the Jonas Brothers! I have a not-so-secret dream of my book becoming a Disney Channel Original Movie, them casting Nick Jonas, and then me getting to visit the set and, of course, meet him and have the two of us fall in love, etc. Okay, so it might be a tad unrealistic, but whatever. A girl can dream, right?

I also attend school like most teenagers. It is boring. Anyone who goes to high school knows that. I'm a good student, but that doesn't really translate into me enjoying myself. Especially when it comes to gym class.

Writing just happens to be my passion, and I feel so blessed that, at my age, I actually have a passion and things I'd like to do with my life. I hope to be a Creative Writing major in college, and if I can't be a full-time writer when I'm older, do something in the publishing industry. Speaking of the future, college is feeling awfully close, which is awfully freaky.

So overall....yeah, I'm just a teenager. Who writes. And who will now be writing here and sharing some random thoughts with you! I hope you all stick around and keep up with my blog, not to mention leave comments.

A little comment jump-starter: If you are a teenager, what about you and your life is quintessentially teen-like? If you're past your teenage years, feel free to reminisce in the comment section!

Thanks everyone!

And thanks to the awesome Flickr users our there for the pictures of Nick and of Hannah!