Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

Happy New Year! Off to Graduate!

A page from my plannerHappy 2015 my dear readers! May it bring you love and joy and beauty (not to mention, lots and lots of writing, of course)!

The year 2014 has been pretty exciting. I completed the second half of my studies at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learned up to my ears. Wrote a critical thesis delving into novels in verse. Finished a draft of a manuscript I’d been trying to figure out for years. Then finished it all over again.

Through all this, I reconnected with New York, the city of my American beginnings, happily commuting, blending right in with the the crowd as I walked the streets and the avenues with my bright orange briefcase (sometimes writing on the go!). As agency intern at Serendipity Literary and assistant to the amazing Regina Brooks, I worked with authors from “the other side of the desk.” The internship concluded just yesterday, but all the learning I have done will stay with me for a long time, as will all the wonderful new friends I’ve made, Regina included. She has been the best mentor anyone could wish for, and she, along with her colleagues, always made me feel positively brilliant!

What will 2015 bring?

Graduation, for one thing!

Tomorrow I am flying to Vermont for my final residency, during which I will present a lecture of my own (!) The following weekend my family will come to town, braving the crazy cold to watch me perform a reading of my own work. And of course through it all I will watch my classmates,  my brothers and sisters-in-writing, my Darling Assassins, the class of January 2015, graduate with me. I am still in disbelief that this is happening. Two years just whizzed by, in one great big whirlwind of learning, reading and writing (and laughing and crying, and friendship and fear and love).

Do you make resolutions? Wishes? Goals? I do a combination of all three.

For 2015, my biggest aim will be to channel all my passion and education and knowledge into a start of a wonderful career. When I return from the final residency, I plan to network and job-hunt my head off.

As for the writing, this year will mark an important beginning (that’s how I prefer to think of graduation, anyway). After two years of working under the guidance of powerful advisors, I am going to be on my own again. My writing life this year will answer an important question: with all that you’ve learned, what can you do, Katia Raina? A few months ago, this question terrified me. Now, it seems more like a friendly taunt from the Universe, a challenge I am excited to embrace.

My writing plans for this year include concluding a revision of the novel that is my creative thesis, getting it off to beta readers, finally, then polishing it into submit-able shape. But also, I already have three new-ish story ideas I am excited about. This year I hope to get started on at least one of those. I am not going to worry about finishing it, of course. With these new projects, I only aim  to play, play, play, to try things, and to write bravely and honestly and with joy. Another page from my planner

Finally, in 2015, I want to continue to be there for my family. To make time for love and goofiness. To treat time like it’s no big deal. Occasionally, at least. To take some grown-up time, too, once in a while. But also, to be a good listening ear to my two kids who are growing up way too fast. I want to give them support and understanding, always, while having the courage to tell them the truth, too, even when they might not want always to hear it. Oh, and I want to remember to call my mom every week with some good stories 😉

So, how about you? What’s your biggest goal for this year?

May your 2015 be a great and shiny one! See you on the other side of graduation! [gulp]

xoxo

KR

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January 8, 2015 Posted by | From the Other Side of the Desk: Adventures in Publishing, Personal Mirror, Updates, VCFA Adventures, Writing Mirror | , , | 13 Comments

Hanging A Shingle

Hi all,

A couple of things this week.

First, I would like to welcome the new subscribers. Every time someone new joins the small but beloved audience of this blog, I get nervous. I feel like going, “what me? What would they want to hear from good old me for, when there are so many other great, smart voices out there?”

At the same time,  seeing the new subscribers makes me want to try even harder. It makes me want to pump my fist in the air. I am proud and honored to be walking along this crazy-marvelous-always-twisting path with you guys, fellow writers, restless souls, friends, even if we have never met face to face. Because, we writers know each other, don’t we?

So, this is just a long-winded, nervous, excited way of saying, “thank you,” old friends and new subscribers, for being here.

Second thing this week: I have an announcement. I am going into business!  Katia's critiquing service

After completing the first semester in Writing for Children And Young Adults Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program, I guess I have gotten the confidence to start something I have been considering doing for YEARS. I now offer manuscript critiquing services! I have just heard from my second client! (Sorry about all the exclamation points, but this is exciting stuff.)

!!!!!!!!!!!

(Okay. Got it out of my system.) 🙂

The work is intense, time-consuming, but also gratifying.

Here is the info, in case you know of someone who might find this useful:

My speciality, of course, are YA and MG manuscripts — these  are the books I’d be best qualified to handle. But I can consider taking on an adult book as well, only if it feels like it’s the kind of project with which I could be helpful. I do NOT work with picture books. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about that tricky, magical genre.

Basically, my service includes a VERY THOROUGH, pretty intense in-depth line-by-line critique that deals with EVERYTHING, from language to conflict to logic to character development to plot and tension. If you seek my services, be prepared for LOTS of food for thought to chew over. Be prepared to reconsider your most darling of passages. Be prepared to be challenged. That’s my style. It’s the only way I know how to work.

Having said that, I will do my best to work with your vision, to offer you ideas and insight that seems to match with what you’re trying to say. I will also encourage, coach, offer advice on not only the story itself, but the writing life in general. My goal in working with every manuscript will be more than to give you a push. My goal will be to lift you up so you can soar.

I base and model my work on the feedback I have received from my agent, as well as the many exchanges with my editor, plus the generous comments from my fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts students, from my distinguished workshop advisors Kathi Appelt and Mark Karlins, and from my wise first semester advisor, a prolific, prominent, exacting Canadian author Tim Wynne-Jones.

I am really excited about becoming an entrepreneur. Of course, I am about to start my second VCFA semester, which means my time is going to be seriously limited, and I don’t think I am ready to face a deluge of requests. But I’d like to do this on the side, on a limited basis. I guess this is me, hanging a shingle. Wish me luck!

A third and final thing for this week I wanted to let you all know:

I am about to start my second semester at the Vermont College of Fine Arts! Next Monday I’ll be heading back to the tiny, picturesque mountain-y Montpelier campus. When I went to my first residency back in January, my nervousness rivaled my excitement. Now I feel I’ll be going back more seasoned, more prepared, anxious to hug my friends and classmates and teachers. I also know that when I get there, I’ll be knocked right back on my butt, overwhelmed all over again with all the stuff I have yet to learn, terrified of the new possibilities, excited to take new chances! But isn’t that the writer’s life?

I might take a short blogging break during my absence. But when I come back, some of you already know, I’ll have plenty to say!

So, until next time — and thanks for reading,

xo

Katia

July 2, 2013 Posted by | Personal Mirror, Updates, Writing Mirror | , , , | 15 Comments

Flying

flyingHappy Monday, everyone!

Yes, happy Monday. Whether it’s a day job Monday, or just a busy Monday. Try to treasure it no matter what. Measure your Mondays with new words, measure them with love, with little bits of beauty.

Try to fly through Mondays, if you can. Try to, even if you cannot.

I think it’s time for another Vermont College of Fine Arts update. You know, my dream and goal for so long, the MFA program in Writing For Children And Young Adults.

So, I am on packet 4 of 5, as of this writing. I cannot believe the semester is almost over.

This packet, I am paying close attention to language. The flow of sentences, the choice of words, the sounds that words make when they plop, slide or explode upon the page. As I read books, I keep my ear open for melody. I align my heart to the rhythm of the sentence.

I am also re-examining beginnings. What makes the reader care? How do writers make promises in ways that are exciting, but also true?

And then, of course, there is my own writing. The getting stuck, and sometimes unstuck. I am asking all kinds of questions. Grasping at hints of answers. Sometimes, rejoicing at the tiniest of discoveries. Often, panicking.

Oh God, the ride is scary, and getting scarier with every packet. Painful too, my writing bones aching with all the growth.

But if it’s all so tough and nerve-wracking, why oh why then am I having the time of my life?

I don’t know because I have never tried, but I imagine this is what flying must feel like.

One last thing for today: the winner of last week’s giveaway is…Michael Gettel-Gilmartin! Email me your address, Michael, to katiawrites (at) gmail (dot) com, and I will send you your very own brand new copy of The Marble Queen by Stephanie Blake, a fun new middle-grade novel set in 1959!

Whoo-hoo for you, and thank you so very much for participating!

Once again, happy Monday, dear friends and readers. May this week be a bright one for you all. And keep on trying to fly. It’s impossible. Also, it’s worth it.
xoxo
Katia

May 6, 2013 Posted by | Updates, VCFA Adventures, Writing Mirror | , , , | 6 Comments

Writing Goals: A Progress Report

Just a little more than a month ago I blogged about my new — or updated — writing goals. Writing vows, I called them. Summer is often my time to take stock, and re-adjusting my goals is one way I try to make sure I stay on the right writing track.

This post is an update, for anyone out there curious to see how I’ve been keeping up with my own solemn promises. Also, it being back-to-school time and all, and with me going back to school, myself, soon (more on that in another post), I look at it as my own “progress report.”

So, here is how it’s been going, point by point, in reverse order.

7. Goal: Add thoughts and observations into a special notebook dedicated just for that purpose.

Grade: B-

Not too awesome. The few entries I have managed to include in that journal don’t seem to do justice to the amount of travelling I have done in the last few weeks, nor to the richness of life I experience every day, if I think about it.

Abandon this quest? No. I want to give it another shot.

How can I do better? In general, this one’s been hard to keep up with, because it isn’t part of my everyday routine. Maybe if I take a few moments to write in a journal each night, before going to bed? I am a little wary of adding yet another to-do item to my list. I will see if I can keep up with this!

6. Goal: Keep updating my writing process notebook, noting the things I have learned, the things that have worked for me, or didn’t.

Grade: B

Yeah, I’ve done it a few times. Could I have done it more often? Totally.

Abandon this quest? No, I think noting down the things I’ve learned about my own process can continue to be useful. Otherwise it’s too easy to forget these little discoveries.

How can I do better? I don’t know if I want to go crazy with this. I think, just continue keeping track of the things I’ve been learning and jotting them down the best I can is fine. Maybe a “B” isn’t always such an awful grade? 🙂

5. Goal: Keep the deadlines reasonable, don’t go crazy.

Grade: A-

I’ve definitely faced the temptation of pushing myself to go faster, lately. Instead, I try to be smarter. It’s a fine balance between rushing too much and relaxing into a pace that is too slow. I think I might just be getting there.

Abandon this quest? Why would I want to? It’s working!

4. Goal: Leave your daily Facebook(ing) and social networking for after dinner.

Grade: F

Yeah, right. Not even close with this one.  A quick Facebook check in is something I just can’t seem to give up. Sigh.

Abandon this quest? Yes. If it isn’t working, it isn’t working. Still, I’ve actually been pretty good about not staying too long when I do check in, and only doing it after I have put in some writing time. I’d like to stick with that instead, from now on, and not feel guilty about it. Even when I worked full-time and wrote, I seemed to be able to squeeze in a quick Facebook check-in or two. I guess it’s just part of being a modern-day human being. Sad, isn’t it?

3. Goal: wake up at 5 a.m. on weekdays.

Grade: B

Eh.  Some days I spring right out of bed. Other days, I’m at my desk by 6. Once in a while, I don’t make it downstairs until — gasp — 8 in the morning. I know, I know. I’m trying, okay?

Abandon the quest? Nope. I want this. I want to be a 5 a.m. girl. It might take me some time to achieve this. And maybe, to tweak this goal a little, I’ll allow myself to be less disciplined during summertime. See, I am pretty gentle with myself.

My patient kids relaxing on a train ride across France while their Mama takes a quick break from writing to snap a picture.

2. Goal: Make meaningful time for at least one of my kids each day (my daughter’s bedtime doesn’t count).

Grade: B+

I almost gave myself an A-, because I really am getting there. And I’ve been much better about reacting to their interruptions with sweet “Yes, darling?” instead of the grumpy, “What!”

Abandon the quest? No way in the world. Without those beautiful interruptions, what is the point of anything anyway? Hide behind the computer screen for life? I don’t think so.

How can I do better?  Here is an idea: every time I write down my writing plan for the next day, I can also write down a fun little activity I have planned for one or both of my lovelies.

1. Goal: write every single day no matter what, at least fifteen minutes on weekends/vacations.

Grade: A+

I have done it. One hundred percent, without fail, every single day. Yay!

Abandon the quest? Never!

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Updates, Writing Mirror | , , | 2 Comments

Still Me

Just a note today: yes, I survived the week. I am kind of astonished.

Yeah, I’m a bit tired, sure. But I did it! I worked — and did pretty okay, I think. My bosses seemed happy. My family seemed pretty happy. Most incredibly of all, I seemed pretty happy.

I walked my dog every single day. I was there for my kids, the whole way, pretty much just like before. I cooked dinner (most nights). Read books at night. Found a little bit of time every single day to work on my craft.

It’s incredible, but here I am. Still me. Still this Katia — just a slightly more tired one.

I still belong to myself, maybe in some ways, more than ever.

Whew!

P.S. I’ve been giving you so many of these personal updates lately. You must be getting tired of these. So, next week, look for something totally different. Something that has to do with actual YA literature and a certain list you’ve been promised. (Nope, I did not forget!)

xoxo

March 25, 2012 Posted by | Personal Mirror, Updates | 6 Comments

The Call of Adventure

Here I am crafting my latest story, mostly plotting right now. Using myths and age-old storytelling tricks to bend and twist my emerging book into shape. If you read Joseph Campbell’s “Hero With A Thousand Faces,” then you may know about how every story is at heart really an adventure, with a usually reluctant hero facing an uncertain road fraught with dangers.

Well, even as I came up with new twists and turns on the road of the hero of my story, I myself felt like a character in the Universe’s manuscript this week. Because you see, I had my life all planned out. I finally decided to stop stressing over getting a job, or signing that contract. Forget the restlessness, I told myself, why the uncertainty, when my life is already perfect! I am spending time with my family. I am writing, revising, taking classes, reading books, walking my dog. Every day, I am learning.

I already am living my dream. I am writing every day, aren’t I? What can be better??

And then, came the call.

Ah, you writers out there are probably thinking I’m talking about THE CALL — the one so many dream about — the agent’s voice on the telephone asking you if you’re ready to sit down — the sound of dreams coming true.

No, my friends. Storybook heroes rarely get what they want when they expect it. And so it was with me, too.

What I got was the call of adventure.

In books and movies, it is usually in the form of out-of-the-blue news– in some stories the news are outright unwelcome, the sounds of a disaster.

My call was actually pretty cool as far as calls of adventure go. It came from a friend and editor of a local news site saying she was moving and quitting her job, and that I would make the best possible replacement for her.

Wow. Talk about wow.

My first reaction was that of a good girl. Oh great! I am needed! Somebody wants me!

Next, I thought, wait a minute. What about those dreams? What about the things that I want?

So, I became what is commonly known in storytelling circles, a reluctant hero.

I grieved for the things I would lose.

I took a few days to think about it, even as I was sure, that as tempting as the offer was, I would ultimately end up saying “no.”

But even as I kept figuring out my fiction story’s plot, I found some answers there. Main characters often resist or fear change. But, in the end, change is the thing they have been needing all along. The call — that thing they didn’t expect — it propels them forward, thrusts them into adventure, forces them to give up some things for the good of their society and /or their loved ones. In the end, this change gives the hero what she really needed all along, (plus maybe, just maybe, the thing that she wants, thrown into the mix as a bonus — just tossing some ideas your way, Universe) 😉

It is a little scary to find myself on the threshold of my own adventure. Someone who is used to putting her characters through all kinds of torture — ahem, I mean, adventure — knows only too well what will come next. There will be “tests of strengths and cunning,” ” false victories” and “false defeats” (that I got from Blake Snyder’s “Save The Cat” trilogy on screenwriting, excellent stuff, I tell you). The adventure guarantees plenty of dark moments before the journey is complete. (Do I sound a little nervous?)

Of course, the journey offers plenty of good things, too. Small successes, learning new skills, wonderful new allies. (Blake Snyder even claims every story has a section he calls, “fun and games.”)

I have made the choice. Because the thing that gets the hero through it all? It’s faith.

So, here we go, Universe. I am going to take a deep breath, and trust you.

Next week, watch for a post on more practical matters of what I will be doing, and what this will mean for my writing — and for this blog.

March 3, 2012 Posted by | Personal Mirror, Updates, Writing Mirror | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

15 Versatile Blogs

Oh, man, this is overwhelming. There are so many awesome blogs out there. But as part of receiving my own sweet award, I had to pick 15.

Ah, just the research has my head spinning. Seriously, the web is just buzzing with a gazillion conversations going on at once. Which mostly I think is wonderful. (And maybe just a little bit insane).

But here we go, in no particular order, I hereby bestow the Versatile Award on the following blogs. When you receive it the award, the rules are — a) you blog about it and you include this lovely badge:

 b) you share some cool tidbits about your life with your readers and c) you nominate another 15 blogs for versatile awesomeness.

In picking out the versatile blogs, I chose only the ones that post frequently enough — at least once a month. And, none of the winning blogs are brand new (as in, less than a month old). These last two are my own rules, dear winners, feel free to adopt or discard them when passing the honors along.

1. Christi The Teen Librarian

A book review blog, where a teen librarian from my area reviews all sorts of YA literature. I picked this blog not only for the nice quality of the reviews, but for the diversity of the genres.

2. The Magic Attic

Reviews, again, but this time they come from a passionate teen reader with a very different point of view. Having developed a nice following, she gets plenty of ARCs from authors and editors. So if you want to keep an eye on the new stuff, hang out in Bree’s Magic Attic. Some of my readers may remember I did an interview with Bree here last year.

3. Cresta McGowan

Here is a blog that is super-versatile, from a writer, a mom with quite traditional values and a high school English teacher with a passion for her subject. Each time you open this blog you are just never going to know what you’ll get. Ballet, Russia, Hamlet, her family — those are just some of the many subjects she covered. I “met” Cresta through a Writers Digest contest in which we both were finalists. I thought my story was pretty good, but hers rocked, and I told her so! 😉

4. Shevi Arnold

A “self-proclaimed Geek goddess,” and self-published writer of YA and children’s e-books, Shevi blogs about writing from a unique point of view. And in this age of change and versatility, unique perspectives should be celebrated!

5. Empty White Pages

If you haven’t yet won this award, Sarah Pearson, you totally should, because your blog so deserves it. It’s something new every time: from music, to fiction excerpts you’re brave enough to share, I always look forward to what you have to say.

6. Medeia Sharif

This author of a contemporary YA book, “The Bestest. Ramadan. Ever.” keeps a blog where she reviews books, hosts awesome giveaways and talks about her writing progress, among many other things.

7. The three R’s — Reading, Ritin’ and Research

Isn’t this title cute — and very appropriate for the blog of my good friend and talented author of historical fiction Joyce Moyer Hostetter. When Joyce does an interview, it is incredibly in-depth and shows a perspective you won’t see anywhere. She blogs about things deep and unexpected, and fills her posts with great information.

8. My Brain On Books

My friend and bookseller Joanne Fritz might not appreciate this award right now, as she is spending time on her revision beach (she doesn’t like caves). And accepting this award takes a bit of time. But no worries Joanne, just take care of this when you get to it. Your in-depth book reviews are fun and thorough, your perspective as a bookseller is invaluable and your occasional more personal posts on your own writing journey are always a wonderful surprise.

9. The Sirenz

Here is a cool idea from a unique author team: Natalie Zaman and Charlotte Bennardo, two YA authors who teamed up to write a crazy romp of a fantasy, “Sirenz,” in which Hades, the Greek God of the underworld grants two bickering frenemies a wish in exchange for their service. This blog is told from the point of view of the story’s characters: the two girls, Shar and Meg, and sometimes even Hades himself!

10. Write Up My Life

Writer Julie Hedlund’s blog was one of the first ones I have discovered when I first started my blogging adventure. The thing I love the most about her posts is her positive and adventurous spirit as she talks about writing and life.

11. Quill Takes Flight

A totally unpredictable array of posts from a talented young just-out-of-college writer with an awesome voice and unexpected insights. I just have one wish: that she would post more often 🙂 As it is, the posts arrive roughly once a month.

12. Terribleminds

Novelist, screenwriter, game designer and author of e-books for writers Chuck Wendig gives butt-kicking advice on how best to live this crazy life we have chosen. One word of warning: this is for adults only. The dude curses. A lot. Still, I find his posts brilliant. In a terrible sort of way.

13. Project Mayhem

Okay, usually I am a YA girl. But for these guys, I make an exception. I read them pretty regularly — this bunch of awesome middle-grade authors who blog about publishing, writing and you know, this fabulous writing life.

14. That Wee Bit Heap

This very versatile blog is run by one of my favorite authors: Gae Polisner, who wrote “The Pull of Gravity,” one of those YA books that turn me into a gushing, stuttering fan. Gae is fun and honest when she talks about her various moods, her publishing ups and downs, her strange habit of swimming in the cold ocean off of Long Island, her love of board games and many other fun things.

15. Write To Done

Do you have an urge to run to Facebook in the middle of a writing session? Go to this blog instead, where you’ll find posts that are helpful and inspiring — and short enough for you to read quickly and get right back to your writing.

February 10, 2012 Posted by | Updates, Writing Mirror | 18 Comments

Versatile Blogger: Moi?

I am sorry I’ve been away — too long — and the worst part is — due to my crazy superstitions (see my previous post), I can’t even blog about it! Argh!

In the meantime, while I was running around doing stuff,  a few marvelous things occurred in the blogosphere.

Marvelous thing number one: I won my very first book giveaway ever, an ARC of a historical fantasy I cannot wait to lay my hands on! Just received it last week, Joanne, thank you so much! I will read it as soon as I can and blog about it here, of course. (As soon as I can). As soon as I can, that seems to be my mantra these days. (Clears throat).

Anyway.

Now for the marvelous thing number two: would you believe it? I received my first EVER blogging award: The Versatile Blogger from Ben over at “Story Multiverse,” a blog about all things IF (imaginative fiction). And if you aren’t sure what exactly that means, then stop over and visit Ben to find out.

Here is the shiny badge:

Ta-da!!!

Thank you, Ben. I am flattered. So flattered, I had to re-write this post a few dozen times to cut out all the some of the babbling. Glad I don’t have to accept this via Skype!

ANYway, here is how my pocket Webster’s dictionary defines “ver-sa-tile:” “having many abilities or uses.”

(They’re nice and laconic those small paperback dictionaries, aren’t they?)

I take “versatile” as a great compliment. It means someone out there thinks I have a lot of different things to say. Someone out there thinks I am multi-faceted. Which I take to mean, “not too boring, most of the time.” Maybe even unpredictable? Maybe a little different.

Next week I will be passing the compliment along. I will be passing this award along to 15 bloggers whose blogs tell many-sided stories and reveal either depths of an interesting life, or show unique ways of looking at the same old subject. Stay tuned!

And later on this week — as part of accepting the award — I will blog about random tidbits from my life — just stuff most people never knew about me. I thought I had to wait until I am, like, a famous author with a following — or at the least a nice shiny book deal — to do that, but now, thanks to this whole wonderful versatile blogger enterprise, I don’t have to wait for that at least. He-he!

I’ve thought of a few bits to reveal, but if you guys have things you’d like to see, or things you’re curious about, feel free to throw out some ideas to me as well.

And by the way, thank you guys, for being there for me. You’re priceless to me in this sometimes-lonely and sometimes too-quiet writing journey. You guys make it possible for me to have a versatile blog, for goodness sake, and to reveal TMI bits about myself, and have all kinds of other virtual writerly fun.

When I started this blog, I hoped to one day build a small writing community, and now I feel like yes, I have.

I would like to thank my fabulous fans… Okay, seriously, must stop now. This award is really getting to my head. 😉

January 30, 2012 Posted by | Personal Mirror, Updates | , , | 10 Comments

New List!

I am putting together a new “Best” list for you guys, and I need some advice to get me started. This one will include one of my favorite genres — and I think one with a lot of potential — historical fantasy fiction.

I am looking for the AWESOMEST literature for young adults that takes place in a real historical time and place, with all the usual elements of historical fiction, but has magic driving the story, or at least its parts. (Adults’ books are fine too, for a separate list, but I am thinking I won’t find as many…)

I already have a few great titles on my mind.

“Revolution” by Jennifer Donnelly deals with the present age and the French revolution, with the two coming together through scary ghostly magic.

“Book Thief,” by Mark Zusak, set during World War II in Germany, is told from the point of view of Death.

In “Apothecary,” by Maile Meloy, three cold war era-kids use magic and alchemy to stop villains from setting off an atomic bomb.

This is going to be so much fun.

Have you ever come across something amazing that would fit this list? I’ll take recommendations! 🙂

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Book Impressions, Updates | 4 Comments

Surprise!

Everyone loves surprises. Flowers from your husband, an email from your agent saying they want to represent you, a character in your book who suddenly starts talking to you in this confident voice, who doesn’t love these, right?

But even small surprises can be good for the soul. A book that takes your breath away with a twist you didn’t see coming. A nugget of wisdom from your seven-year-old daughter. The beauty of an early October day when you step outside to take out the recycling.

I think I appreciate surprises even more than an average person. I am one of those, “don’t tell me” people: don’t tell me what will happen in the book, don’t tell me what I’m getting for my birthday, don’t tell me what the weather will be like on a day I get a call from my agent saying that an editor wants to turn my manuscript into a book . . . Ahem. You get the idea.

I don’t want to know, I want to feel.

So anyway, as someone with a super-fine appreciation for surprises, nothing gives me more pleasure than to introduce those into other people’s lives — even if the surprises are little ones.

I only had three people participate in last week’s giveaway of Kieran Scott’s “She’s So Dead To Us.” I’d like to thank those people for being there, for taking the time to stop by when there are so many other blogs out there just bursting with wisdom and controversy, friendship, fun and great advice… Thus the surprise: to thank you guys for continuing to read The Magic Mirror, I am giving away three books instead of one — so no one who commented on last week’s post is left empty-handed.

Here is a random assignment of winners (if you already read the book you will be getting, just give it away on your own blog — play it forward!)

Medeia Sharif will receive Kieran Scott’s “She’s So Dead To Us” and the second signed book “He’s So Not Worth It.”

Clara Gillow Clark will receive “Apothecary” by Maile Meloy, a young adult historical (fantasy? I am not sure yet). From what I’ve heard, the book is absolutely amazing, readers are totally and absolutely raving about it, and of course I cannot wait to read it, myself!

Sarah Pearson will receive a copy of  “Popular” by Alissa Grosso, a Flux young adult book.

Have a great week, everyone!

KR

October 10, 2011 Posted by | Updates | 13 Comments