Catherine Stine's IDEA CITY

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Post on YA Thrillers! 4th Tour Stop

It's all about thrillers on Donna Galanti's Writing From The Dark Places, where I'm guest-posting on YA Thrillers for my 4th Fireseed One virtual tour stop! What is a thriller exactly, and what distinguishes a YA thriller from an adult one? I'll tell you who some of the masters of this genre are, and where it's headed. So stop on over to join the conversation. Have you written a novel that could be called a thriller? Is it a blend of thriller plus ___________  (Fill in the blank). What YA thriller would you highly recommend?

There are still a few days left to win a 10-page manuscript evaluation over at my 3rd tour stop, Writers' Ally. Enter here.

And a few more days to win a free illustrated copy of Fireseed One over at my 1st tour stop, YA Bound!
To see the entire Fireseed One Tour schedule, click here.

I'd love for you to leave a comment on your way out! Happy Thriller Monday.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Tag Party, Plus Awards, People's Brains Picked

Blind Man's Bluff by Racey Helps
Tag Party, I’m IT. See who's IT next!
I’ve been tagged by Katrina Delallo over at The Worldcrafter's Inkspot and Kelly Hashway. This one’s really fun.

The Tag rules
You must post the rules.
Answer the questions and then create eleven new questions to ask the people you’ve tagged.
Tag 11 people and link to them.
Let them know you’ve tagged them.

Katrina’s questions for me:
If you could be a book character, who would it be?
I'd be Pippi Longstocking. She had mad fun!
I want wings, a killer outfit and psychic abilities.
Do you prefer illustrated or non-illustrated novels?
Illustrated! I'm so happy that YA is trending that way.
Fantasy or science fiction?
I like soft sci-fi (non-gadget & tech-heavy), and psychological sci-fi
Can you write in a noisy environment, or does it have to be quiet?
To write, it has to be quiet. When I draw, I need music.
How many books can you read in a day?
In a day? Are you kidding? Maybe half, if I'm hooked on it.
Favorite author?
One? How can I pare it down?! Cherie Priest maybe. Orwell.
Favorite Illustrators?
Gustave Dore, Jay Montgomery, Racey Helps (image above).
Middle grade or YA novels?
I read more YA than MG, but I've read some really cool MGs.
Who is the one person in the world (dead or alive you’d want to meet?
Anton Chekhov
One place in the world you wish you could go?

Okay, now I tag YOU, you're IT!!! While I'm at it, I also award you Versatile Blog Awards, as C. Lee McKenzie over at Write Game did to me. These are all fascinating writers and bloggers, many of whom I am newly following, and who deserve a look!
Charity Bradford at Charity's Writing Journey
Monkey at 1,000th Monkey
Kelda on Kelda Critch
David Powers King at The Cosmic Laire
Emily at Emily White
Frankie at Frankie Diane Mills
Lenny at Lenny's World
Sarah Ahiers at Falen Formulates Fiction
Matt Hayes at Matt's Writing Lair
Jess at Jessica K. McKendry

My questions for the TAG Players I Chose:

1. What was your favorite novel you read in 2011?
2. Your favorite all-time book? (Can be any genre or age level)
3. What book character would you like to party with?
4. Do you ever watch TV to study plot format? If so, which show?
5. Where was the strangest source you ever got a plot idea from?
6. Funniest character in a novel? Why?
7. Which actor/actress would you want to play the lead in your novel?
8. Most sympathetic fictional villain?
9. Do you prefer fantasy, sci-fi, realistic fiction or a blend. Why?
10. What place and time would most inspire you to write an historical fiction?
11. Finish this YA dialog line: “I’ve never told a friend this before, but…”

Have fun with these, and pick up this badge too.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Writers' Ally, Third Tour Stop, Win a FREE 10-pg. Manuscript Critique!!!!

The third stop on the Fireseed Tour finds us at Writers' Ally, the home of our lovely host SA Larsen. She wanted me to provide a back and forth between archenemies Varik and Marisa, and it got quite heated in more ways that one! See what you think about the tense back and forth. What would YOU do if you had to work with your very worst enemy to solve a dreadful, earth-shattering problem? Where do you predict their relationship is leading?

PLUS, all of you writers out there, enter Writers' Ally's giveaway to win a FREE 10-page manuscript critique. I've been doing manuscript evals for quite a while. Scroll to the bottom of this events & classes page to read what some of my students have said. I'd love to help you out in polishing up those all-important first pages of your novel.
So, hop on over to Writers' Ally to enter!

Please consider LIKING the Facebook Fireseed book page on your way out, for news updates, and more fun opportunities.
To see the entire tour schedule and details of tour activities and giveaways, click here. On Monday, the tour speeds on to Donna Galanti's Writing from the Dark Places, where I'll post about what's happening with YA thrillers.

But for today, I hope to see you over at Writers' Ally!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tour Day Two; on Worldbuilding, Illustrating, and Excerpts

Hi! Today is the second stop of the Fireseed One book tour! Hart, over at her awesome blog, Confessions of a Watery Tart is hosting me. I reveal secrets of world-building and story concepts, and how drawings can play into that. Pop on over and show Hart some love, and share with us how you build your early story concepts!
Click here to visit!

Tomorrow, Thursday, Feb 23, the tour stops at SA Larsen's Writers' Ally, for a fiery interview with Varik and Marisa, archenemies in Fireseed One. Also, enter to win a free illustrated book or a 10 page manuscript critique!!! (Catherine is a veteran of editing manuscripts and critiquing).
So make sure to check back tomorrow for that link!

To see the entire Fireseed One tour schedule, click here.

Hope to see you over at Watery Tart!

Cheers, Catherine

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fireseed One Virtual Book Tour is ON! First stop, YA BOUND!

The Blaze Through Winter on the Fireseed One Tour Kicks off TODAY! 
We'll be riding the virtual tour train for a month, with 16 awesome stops and all kinds of fun. Our first stop is at YA BOUND, with some key lines from the book and insights, plus a GIVEAWAY of FREE ILLUSTRATED COPIES! So hop on over

To see the entire tour schedule with details of each stop, click here.

In two days, find out the secrets behind the making of Fireseed One, on Confessions of a Watery Tart.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fireseed One Virtual Book Tour Schedule!

Blaze Through Winter on the Fireseed One Book Tour kicks off Monday, February 20th!
Here's a complete schedule of stops, with fun details and swag:

Monday, Feb 20, YA Bound
Kickoff, Feature & Giveaway! Right here!
Wednesday, Feb 22, Confessions of a Watery Tart 
Secrets behind the making of Fireseed One revealed & more   Pop over!

Thursday, Feb 23, Writers’ Ally
Varik & Marisa answer your questions, giveaway & win 10-page manuscript critique!  Here!

Monday, Feb 27, Donna Galanti Writing from the Dark Places
Guest Post on YA Thrillers  Click here!

Feb 28, The Magic Attic  
Fireseed One PLAYLIST, giveaway & CD swag  Enter here!

Thursday, March 1, The Review Girl 
Interview & eBook giveaway   Here!

Thursday, March 1, Susan Kaye Quinn
Guest Post on YA Sci-Fi Trends & eBook Giveaway  Pop over!

Saturday, March 3, The Magick Pen
Interview here and Giveaway  here!

Monday, March 5, Seeing Creative
Guest Post on Plots & Hooks  Click here!

Wednesday, March 7, Adventures in YA and Children’s Publishing
Guest Post on Lessons Learned on the Path to Publication  Here!

Thursday & Friday, March 8 & 9, Parafantasy
Review & Giveaway  Right Here!
Friday, March 9, YA’s the Word
How Sketches Build New Worlds, & eBook Giveaway  Click here!

Monday, March 12, Electrifying Reviews Review  Right here!

Tuesday, March 13, A Still and Quiet Madness
Marisa and Varik Duke it Out!     Pop on over!

Thursday, March 15, Comfort Books  
Review & Fave Quotes   Check it out 5-star review!

Monday, March 19, Wistful Nebulae
Fabulous & Scary Future Hybrids! What's Real & What's Sci-Fi?  Click here!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Selling and Touring for Indie Authors, & Anyone Else Too!

There are so many possibilities for an indie author to try to get noticed, but what's the most effective? Will you do an ad? If so, how much will you spend? After all, once you've formatted your novel and paid a cover artist, you want to start selling and stop spending. You want this to be a good investment on top of being a great novel that you hope people love, right?
What's an indie author to do?
On Facebook, you can arrange for an ad, or on Goodreads. Some online review sites that don't review indies do sponsor indie book ads, often for very fair price. There are well-regarded sites like Kindle Nation Sponsorship, and new, unproven ad ops on many newish review sites. Some of the best book reviewers also sponsor small banner ads. I'm not against this, selling is that dirty "S" word that we all need to address in some fashion or ignore at one's peril.
Here's one that I think is pretty cool--Kindle Author, check it out here!

A book blog tour, which I'm about to embark on (MON, FEB 20), is a great way to spread the word and have fun doing it! The Blaze Through Winter on the Fireseed One Tour will be a month-long odyssey, into uncharted lands. I hope you'll follow me along on some of these stops! Book bloggers are such creative people. On the FEB 28th stop, The Magic Attic, my host suggested that I do a playlist for Fireseed One. It was awesome picking out futuristic cuts to go along with an imagined film score. My son, who's a drummer, worked with me on it. I've been playing it non-stop in my new CUBE (which is also futuristic-looks like a space pod). On Confessions of a Watery Tart, my lovely hostess suggested I reveal secret behind the scenes info, on Writer's Ally, I'll do an interview with Varik and his archenemy Marisa. Or are they... ? On Susan Kaye Quinn's site, I'll talk about new trends in YA sci-fi (as heard from an agent at the SCBWI Winter Conference), and on Donna Galanti's site I'll consider the YA thriller. On Wistful Nebulae, I'll discuss out-there "What if?" future plant hybrids, including the wild and wonderful Fireseed One--blood-red and five feet tall, with its unsettling swaying movement suggestive of a belly-dancer. What IS its genetic makeup anyway? And of course, I'll be slipping in some racy excerpts all along the tour, of the most fire and ice love relationship evvvver. Oh, and giveaways, lots of giveaways!

How was your book tour? Most cool moment?
What sales techniques have worked for you-or not? Your most interesting method of spreading the word?

Friday, February 10, 2012

Two Valentine Blogfests-YAmore & I'll Tumble 4 YA

 What's better than one Valentine blogfest? Two Valentine blogfests! The first, That's YAmore is sponsored Jessie Harrell. The instructions: post a romantic 250-word excerpt from your new project. Here's mine, from Fireseed One, my brand new YA futuristic thriller with the most fire and ice relationship ever. In this scene, Varik is warming up to his former archenemy, Marisa. Enjoy!

I smile inside. “Different is good. Don’t they always say that opposites attract?”
There’s an edge of danger to Marisa. I think I like the edge. It’s less boring than being with a good girl with mousy hair from Land Dominion who reads all the right books and stays out of trouble. I only had that one other girlfriend. Even that felt nervy, although all we did was grope each other at the Stream flicks. What will happen next with Marisa?  I picture kissing her again, stroking her wild red hair that smells of violets and sweat, her pressing against me under the night sky. Not knowing how it will unfold, especially down in this untamed Hotzone, makes my breath come fast. She could’ve killed me, she could’ve run, she could’ve double-tricked me. But she’s done none of this, and now she’s helping me with her contacts. Audun was right—she was mesmerized by Bryan like those Lionfish disciples were. Conned by his clever rant.  It’s scary how even smart, rational people fall into traps. Our earlier argument seems far away. We’re both growing out of our old skin, like two desert lizards, and the feeling of connecting is amazing.
Up at the crest of the hill by the cave entrances, we turn to each other at the same time and find each other’s lips. Hers taste of salty sweat, yet of sweetness. Her skin brushing against the palms of my hands feels like plush leaves.
She’s spring sun after polar night.
Fireseed One copyright 2011Catherine Stine

Pop over to read romantic excerpts from the following. But first, check out the next fest, I'll Tumble 4 YA, 80s crushes! Jessie Harrell, Charity Bradford, Sheri Larson, Nikki Katz, Nicole Zoltack, Adrianne Russell, Cecelia, Commutinggirl, Katy Upperman, Robin Reul, Lori M. Lee, Angelhorn, Georgia Summers, Larissa, Jessica @ Angels, Demons & Portals. Oh My, Liz Czukas, Connie Ann Michael, AE Rought, Roza Marie, Theresa Paolo

The second fest, I'll Tumble for YA, is all about your hottest 80's crushes. It's sponsored by Nikki Elson, Suze and M Pax. Here's my 80s crush. I'd just moved to New York, and my dream was to be a famous painter. My mentor was the talented painter of surrealistic murals, James Rosenquist. It didn't hurt that he was one handsome dude.
Rosenquist working in his studio
I had his photo in my makeshift studio, and I would gaze at it longingly, as if the mysteries of artistic success could sift from his printed eyes into my blood. Then, one day when I was trolling around Little Italy, I spotted him! He was loading paintings into a truck. OMG! I stood across the street gaping at him. He didn't look quite as dashing in person though. Was that blond hair of his dyed or what? It glinted a bit too brightly in the sun. Still, he remained a mentor and I still have that crumbling photo of him to remind me of the innocent dreams of art, writing and the wild creativity that breeds in New York.

Check out other 80's Crush posts. But before you jump off, leave a comment about your 80's crush or whatever you want. Other I'll Tumble 4 YA posts here: Analog Breakfast, Alex J Cavenaugh, Gypsy in my Soul, LG Smith Bards & Prophets, Tony Van Helsing's Mystery Theater, tara tyler, Media Sharif, Jennifer Lane Books, erica and christy, Hope Roberson, Libby Heily, Aloha, and hi from HI, dlcruising altitude 2.0, TF Walsh, Arlee Birds Tossing it Out, Susan Fields, Brinda Berry Blogs, Culture Shock, Cedar Valley Sustainable Farming, Whatever Floats Your Canoe, Patricia Leever, PK Hrezo, Magpie Writes, Lauren Writes, The Fallen Monkey, Writing Worlds, Diane-Spunk on a Stick, Dave Wrote This, M Pax-Wistful Nebulae, Nicki Elson, Wake up, eat, write, sleep, Steven Tremp, Excuse Me While I Write This Down, Rek, The Armchair Squid, Christine Rains, MelissaSugar, Lara SchiffbauerTheresas Tales, Nancy S Thompson, BragonDorns Asylum, What Else is Possible?, Carrie-Anne, Thoughts of a Fantasy Novelist, Trisha @ WORD+STUFF, The Other Side, Random Interruptions, PepperWords, Feather and Julio, Weathering the Storm, Kelly Polark, Writing at High Altitude, Susan Oloier, Jay Paoloni, Actor, Lina Lamont Fan Club: sci-fi fantasy writing, Back to the Keep.

Now that's a bunch of big, bleeping Valentine blogfests!

Friday, February 3, 2012

SCBWI Winter Conference & Agent Tips

 I attended the SCBWI Winter Conference last weekend in NYC, and I wanted to post some highlights for those of you who couldn't attend. The conference was completely sold out, and mobbed. But the opening speaker, author Chris Crutcher made the early trek uptown so worth it.

He has worked for years as a counselor in alternative schools that educate kids who've gotten kicked out of regular schools. So, he knows troubled teens (and talented, quirky kids) up-close. His writing, as was his speech, is raw, hilarious and heartbreaking. His novels have been on "banned" lists. Seems as if some of the best books are on those lists! They've also been ALA winners. Check out all of his novels.

There were agents galore at the conference. Here's a shortlist, noting their preferences:
Ken Wright from Writers' House particularly loves non-fiction. He also likes "voice-driven" YA.
Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary gushed about thrillers-YA sci-fi thrillers, whodunnit thrillers, and any kind of extreme page-turner.
Jennifer Laughran from Andrea Brown Literary wants clever, sarcastic, witty, high-concept novels. She's particularly seeking middle-grade novels, as "YA is somewhat saturated."
Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary is interested in multicultural stories, and she's also seeking topical stories culled from what's in the news.
Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown Agency is seeking literary and compelling YAs, whatever the genre.

Author Cassandra Clare, author of the Mortal Instruments was the keynote speaker. Her topic was YA love-triangles, and she had tons of diagrams with arrows to show all of the directions that triangle vibes could flow: from guy to guy as friends, from guy to guy as total enemies, from the girl, who keeps the guys both on the hook, on and on! One thing she cautioned against when writing a love triangle, is not to make the girl too indecisive. Better to have a reason that she can't choose the guy she really wants. Perhaps it's forbidden love, or the guys are brothers or.... Get the picture?

I'm glad I went to the conference. It inspired me! I think I've gotten enough material and fire to keep me going for a couple of years. What's your latest, greatest inspiration?