Sunday, March 4, 2012

On Book Trailers

I was thinking a lot about book trailers recently. A lot of books that come out have them now, and this is a relatively new thing--I can't remember any books having trailers back when I was a teenager. And there's a range of trailers. Some are more simple--text and pictures with music, and then some are much more sophisticated with actors and everything else. So after researching trailers a little, I came up with a list of my favorites.

Best quality goes to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. It's practically a movie trailer and it's definitely got the creepy vibe going for it.

The trailer for Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne gave me chills at the end.

The Fault in Our Stars and The Disenchantments are both short and intriguing, and they feel a little like trailers for an indie teen movie or music video.

And of course Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall is one I simply love. The characters, the voice over, the way it's shot, everything reflects the tone of the book.

What trailers did I miss? What are some of your favorites?

So the reason for all this book trailer thoughts? Several weeks ago I got to weigh in on the script and casting for my own book trailer for Unraveling. And TOMORROW, will be the release! More news to come soon.


Liz Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray April 2012), is the story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Luuurve Post: The Breaking Dawn Movie & Me

So I was one of those girls who fell fast and hard for Twilight when it first came out, avidly read (and re-read) the series, and was waiting at midnight for the release of the Breaking Dawn book when it came out. I went to an all night IHOP, got about 100 pages in and was like: oh no. Pregnant Bella? No, no, no, no, please don't be going there! I loved this series because it was all wish-fullfillment teenage romance before the complications of marriage and kids! And she's too young!!! Please, NO TEENAGERS HAVING BABIES!!!!!

But as we all know now, it went there:

Then when the movie came out last Fall, I was in a rough place personally, so while there some moments that were really gorgeous and awesome, I couldn't love it. I myself got engaged at 18 and married at 19. And there were some really hard times. All I could see when I first watched the movie were the potential hard times ahead that were maybe glossed over by this perfect wedding and happy ending feeling. I thought: they're too young to be pledging forever!

But I bought it today and watched it again with my husband (married ten years now, huzzah!), and with my personal stuff all sorted through, and expectation of Baby Plot from the beginning, I really enjoyed it. And from the box office numbers, it looks like a lot of other people did too.

I mean, it's got that slow, luscious wedding scene. Let's face it, we are wedding crazy in this country, and we got this fairy-tale wedding, completely tucked away in the forest with dripping flowers and a to-die-for dress. There were no bridezilla's, there were a few requisite funny/awkward family and friends moments, but it was pretty much perfect.

And then we got to go on the honeymoon and there was so much screen time devoted to the naked/semi-naked newlyweds getting it on or wanting badly to get it on! So much naked kissing! Where other movies would do one maybe quick sex scene, this movie draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaws iiiiiiiiiit ooooooooooooooout. I don't even know what to say about all that skin shown except: well, at least the actors are of age now!

And then there was Baby Plot, which I guess you can consider a metaphor for real life Hard Times as a Newlywed. Bella looks perfectly creepy as she gets more and more skeletal. I loved the gore of the birth scene too, but there was one moment in particular that really caught me and made me tear up. It's right after Edward hears the baby's thoughts (which should not be that coherent at this point, but I digress), and anyway, we finally get to see the tender bonding moment of them being a family together.

I couldn't find the exact still I was thinking of, but the scene starts here:

And then eventually they are snuggling on the couch together and finally laughing again for the first time since their honeymoon and I thought: ahhhhh, finally they get to enjoy each other.

So as I mentioned earlier, I've been married ten years. And there have been some ups and wicked downs, but in the end, having a partner in life and being able to laugh together with a person who knows you pretty completely is downright magical. It doesn't matter when you meet, what matters is the long haul together. So today I'm raising my glass to toast LOVE---something you don't just get to grasp hold of one day when you're wearing a pretty white dress, but the everyday magic of having someone to hold, for long as you both shall live.


Heather Anastasiu is the author of GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Summer 2012) Glitch in three words: Dystopia, Superpowers, & Love :) Check out my website for more news and updates.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All About Romance

 I'm a romantic at heart, which means I love any excuse to celebrate romance and watch romantic movies. Valentine's Day, and the whole month of February really, is a perfect excuse.

So in honor of Valentine's Day and because each of these scenes inspired me when I was writing Unraveling, here are my top five best romantic scenes.

5. The Stadium Serenade in 10 Things I Hate About You

Adapted from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" this teen movie came out when I was in high school and was one of my absolute favorites.

Heath Ledger's character, Patrick Verona, serenades Kat Stratford (Julie Stiles), singing "I Love You Baby" on the steps of their high school's stadium while she and the girls' soccer team are on the field.

He risks getting in trouble and he embarrasses himself, which make this romantic gestures all that more swoonworthy.

4. On the prow of the Titanic

I can't lie. I was one of those people that saw this movie more than once in theaters. I actually saw it 6 times and then I bought the DVD when it came out. (I also owned the soundtrack and listened to it constantly).

And my favorite scene is when Leo and Kate, I mean Jack and Rose share their passionate kiss on the prow of the ship with the world flowing by under their feet.

It's of course, even more romantic, because as an audience we know their romance is doomed because the boat is going to sink, but for that moment, it's like they're the only two people in the world and nothing else matters. And I can't help swoon at that.

3. That Scene in the Library in Atonement

I'll watch just about anything with James McAvoy in it, but when his character, Robbie Turner kisses Cecila Tallis (Keira Knightley) in the library after a lot of angst over the letter he sent to her by accident, it's amazing.

(He meant to write something sweet and he did, but in his frustration when trying to think of the right words, he also wrote something pretty crass and of course that's the one that made it into her hands. It's also that letter that got him in a lot of trouble.)

2. Starcrossed Lovers Reunite in Casablanca

This is, in my opinion, one of the most romantic and heartbreaking scenes ever captured on film.

Set during World War II, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman play star crossed lovers who reunite, only she's married! And they still can't be together.

This is one of those movies that is so perfect in black and white, and the ending makes me cry every time.

Anyone who hasn't seen this one, should.

1. Love at First Sight in Romeo + Juliet

This was another one of my favorite movies from when I was younger. When I was in the theater and Leo first came on screen as the tortured and love sick Romeo, the audience let out a collective sigh.

Romeo first spies Juliet (Claire Danes) at the party her parents are throwing, which of course Romeo and his friends are crashing. They see each other through the tropical fish tank and fall madly in love.

One of the best things about this scene is that there are no words, just Romeo, Juliet, the fish, and Des'ree singing "I'm Kissing You."

I don't love the whole movie. Some of the Shakespearean dialogue mixed with the modern day time period doesn't totally work for me now. But this scene is amazing.

Those are my top five. Which good ones did I miss? What are some of yours?


Liz Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading the southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's recent snowpocalyptic winter. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi, and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, UNRAVELING (Balzer+Bray April 2012), is the story of one girl’s fight to save her family, her world, and the one boy she never saw coming.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cover Reveal, Video Marketing & Catching Up!

OK lots of catching up to do, peeps. January was hectic. I received my cover… big drum roll. Dadaaah.

And Faber (my publisher) launched a competition to find a teenage British actress to play one of the characters from my book in a set of online video diaries. Totally exciting! The video diaries will be a prequel to my book, The Glimpse, and focus on Tamsin Strike, my main character’s missing BF. In a series of 25 bite-sized episodes, the videos reveal the weeks leading up to Tamsin’s disappearance and will be laced with clues about what really happened. (But you won’t ever really know until you read the book!) Teenage girls from all over the UK are currently uploading their auditions to The Glimpse facebook page. Another great distraction for me. So much talent! I love watching those auditions.

You can see the auditions and find out what's happening with the video diaries here

Other news: I went through crisis mode on book 2 of The Glimpse Duet a few weeks ago, totally pulled apart my first draft and restructured. With only a couple of months until I have to hand it in, needless to say I was freaking out. That’s what comes from a planner thinking maybe she was a panster. Back on track though and all is going well again.

What about you? What was your January like?

Claire Merle, YA author.

Go to The Glimpse facebook page

Add the Glimpse to goodreads

Monday, February 6, 2012

How To Trick Yourself Into Writing, Even When You Don't Feel Like It

So lots of writers will tell you the hardest part of being a writer, in spite of all the craziness of marketing and self-promoting and all that, is actually writing. Sitting down with the blank page and the little cursor on your Word document winking like it's mocking you.
This weekend I hit a giant wall of resistance. I had to drag out every trick in the book this weekend and then invent a few new ones to get myself writing again. So here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few Magical Tips Against Resistance.
1. I'll start off with the oldie but the goodie. It's the one that I continue to find extremely helpful: Butt In Chair. Just start typing, no matter how you feel, no matter if you feel like the most uninspired piece of crap that ever tried to write a novel. Just. Do. It.

2. Make up a treat for yourself to use as a reward for hitting your word count. This is really the trick I probably use the most. Natalie Goldberg suggests chocolate, but I wasn't in a chocolate mood this weekend, so I promised myself a new haircut. I hit word-count, and got to chop off some hair that had begun to look alarmingly like a mullet. Hitting word count + no more mullet = double win.

3. Get out of the house. Go write at a coffeeshop or cafe. There's nothing like making an Event of writing time to encourage you to actually do it and not just eat the day away by staring at Twitter or Facebook.

4. Write at unusual times. Or, in my case this weekend, drink wine, try to go to sleep, and when you can't, get up at 3am and write 800 words. There's no stress because it's the middle of the night and you don't really expect to write so there's no pressure to actually produce, and then anything you DO manage to produce is just extras, gravy on top. Which frees you to actually write! Changing it up can throw off those patterns of stress we create for ourselves. Sometimes going against routine is the best way to get the juices flowing.

5. And now to completely counteract the previous statement because everyone loves a good contradiction, routine can be a good thing! If you have a routine where you get up, drink your cup of coffee, and start writing, the actual writing sometimes comes more easily. It's not like a giant tug of war of will-I-or-won't-I-write-today. When it becomes something you just do, it can be easier to produce steady word count.

6. Do not let yourself get on the internet until you have met word count goals. Okay, I cheat on this one, but I've heard it works well for people. I tend to write three or four paragraphs, check Twitter, go back and write a few more, Twitter again, and usually somewhere in there I get usually caught up enough in the writing that I finish a scene. And then I check Twitter ;)

7. Write first thing in the morning. I haven't tried this one lately, but I've been thinking about giving it a go again, because it's true: if you get your word count out first thing, then you don't spend all day worrying about if you'll get it done or not!

8. Arrange to get together with another writing friend, not to talk, but to WRITE! I can't always get out of my house, but I've found the internet equivalent of this sometimes with #wordwars on Twitter. They've been wicked helpful on getting out word count on days when I'm not feeling it.

9. When you DO manage to hit your word count, try writing another hundred words or two before you stop. You're already in the groove, it's easier to keep going than stop and gear up again the next day. This little trick has really added up for me in the past. There's less stress for me once I've already hit word count knowing I can stop any time, it helps on other days when I can't quite make it, and it makes my novel overall come out a little bit faster.

That's all I've got for now. What are some of the tricks you use when you hit resistance?


Heather Anastasiu is the author of GLITCH (St. Martin's Press/Summer 2012) Glitch in three words: Dystopia, Superpowers, & Love :) Check out my website for more news and updates.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year's Resolutions: The Power of Positive thinking.

It’s the new year and so a lot of people are thinking about those resolutions.  But I don’t. I haven’t made a resolution in several years actually. Now that’s not to say I don’t have goals for the upcoming year.  I do. But I’ve always felt that resolutions are too easily tossed aside, but goals aren’t so easily forgotten. At least to me.

For the past couple of years, my goals were publishing related.  Write 2 novels. Get an agent. Get a publishing contract, etc.  But this year on top of writing goals, I have another one that’s probably more important than any of those other ones.  It’s to be more positive.

I’ve always been a person who ended up seeing that glass as half-full, which does have some benefits.  Such as almost never being disappointed. If you always expect the worse, than when good things happen, it’s a surprise.  But it’s not where I want to be anymore. It’s entirely too stressful.  Plus it makes my DH angry when I’m always pessimistic.  LOL.

So my goal is to try to remain positive. No matter what.  If something bad happens, I try to look at the plus side.  There’s generally at least one! 

But it hasn’t been easy.  It’s like fate knows my goal and is throwing everything she can at me to see if I can do it.  But one of my favorite qualities about myself is my stubbornness (although I doubt my DH would agree it’s a quality. LOL.)  and I’m not going to give up on myself until it’s no longer a struggle to be a more positive person and to see the rainbow through the rain. 

So, QFU, what’s one of your goals/resolutions for the year?

J.A. Souders is the author of RENEGADE a YA dystopian that takes place in an underwater utopian society, coming Fall 2012 from Tor Teen.  For more information visit her blog or website.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My New Year Resolution; or, Adventures in Mindfulness

Like most everyone else, I spent a bit of time at the beginning of the year writing resolutions, and this year, one of them was/is to be more mindful of my writing work, and that includes noticing how I feel when I write. Maybe that sounds a bit strange, but...I get stuck. A lot. Painfully stuck, and once stuck, it’s really hard for me to get unstuck, because sometimes I don’t even know I’m stuck. I just keep trying to do what I’m doing, and as a result, get nowhere fast.

So: goal one: admit the stucked-ness.

Because what I do know is that when I get writing-stuck, there’s a reason for it, and that leaves me with a couple of choices. I can doggedly continue what I’m doing, or I can take a step back, suss out the situation, and then decide whether to forge ahead or change course.

That sounded easy enough when it was an intellectual exercise, but last night, I had to put it into play. I’ve been working on a story that’s very dear to my heart. I wrote the first draft of it about a year ago and then let it sit for a while, because that’s what I do, and recently decided it was time to get it into submission-shape. Thus beg

an paring and peeling away all the dirty bits as I tried to turn it into something shiny and beautiful.

It’s been hard going. Really, really hard going, and last night, I realized I was stuck. I didn’t know how to go forward, and the essence of the story, what made it what it was, was getting lost as I tried to shoehorn it into something it wasn’t.

And so, there I was: stuck in stucked-ness and faced with a choice. I could keep on doing what I was doing. Or, I could change directions. I decided to feel each option out, and, low and behold, one of them felt right: change direction. I can always come back to the place where I got stuck if I need to (what did we do in the days before we could save multiple drafts of our work?), but, staying stuck doesn’t get me anywhere except more stuck, and that’s not any fun at all.

So, off I go in a different direction, one that feels truer to the story already. Who knows where it will go from here, but so far, this mindful thing is paying off!

Catherine Knutsson is the author of SHADOWS CAST BY STARS, to be published June 2012 by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster. She lives on Vancouver Island and divides her time between writing, riding horses, and wandering the wilds. To learn more, visit her at