Monday, December 31, 2012

"How I Write" The Where

Sorry I missed all of last week. I was planning to blog and then left my laptop in Vegas. Sigh. It was a very hard thing for me to be separated from my laptop for a week. It might've been the longest I've been without it. But anyway, I'm trying to make up for it with a vlog. I don't know if this is a reward or a punishment for you to have to watch a video of me. Probably more of a punishment. Ha. I think I might have to run a bloopers reel here soon because I'm not very good at vlogging yet and my bloopers are adding up. :) Next time.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"How I write" Characters

So someone asked me in an interview recently if Addie (my MC in Pivot Point) came to me fully formed or if she came little by little. And the answer to that was easy, it's how all my characters come to me: little by little. Some writers like to do a character write up thingy (see, I don't even know what's it's called. That shows you how often I've done it). But I once sat in front of one of those worksheets (ah, there's the word I was looking for--worksheet) staring at those questions (ex. What does your character fear; how would your character react to a horde of bees) That is not an actual question from a worksheet. In case that wasn't obvious. Real questions are much better and helpful.

I figure out how my character reacts when a situation arises. And then I always, always, have to go back and make her/him consistent throughout the book. So at first my characters have a general personality. Like I know if they're shy or loud or crazy or reserved. But the intricacies of their personalities are developed throughout the course of the book. I feel like as long as I can answer those important questions that a worksheet poses by the end of my book, then the character has become.....well, real I guess. (At least to me.) :)

That said, some of my side characters have come to me fully formed. This is probably because I base most of my side characters off of real people in my life. Ha. Just kidding.........or am I? (I am.)

What about you? Do you jump into writing with fully developed characters, complete worksheets, or do you learn about your characters as you write? 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

So happy

I promise my blog isn't going to turn into this big Look At Me fest. I really really like to talk about books I love and other authors as well as things other than writing going on. But for those of you who didn't see this on twitter the other day, I have to share because it makes me so happy.

Pivot Point got a starred review from Publisher's Weekly!!!!! Click here to check it out on their website.  Or you can read it below. :)

"Addie Coleman has an ability anyone would relish. She’s a Searcher who, when faced with a difficult choice, can foresee both outcomes before deciding which she’d rather live out. Since Addie’s parents have just announced they are divorcing and her father will be leaving their secret paranormal Compound, Addie must do her most important Search yet. Debut novelist West cleverly alternates chapters to show readers how Addie’s two very different futures will play out—one with her mother on the Compound; the other with her father in the Normal world. West’s premise is a winner, and Addie is the kind of heroine readers would want as a best friend—loyal, unpretentious, and thoughtful. Two love interests in Addie’s divergent futures make things even more interesting, as does a murder subplot. What truly makes West’s story memorable, however, is Addie’s wry humor (“I’ve been thinking about books where the main character’s parents are going through a divorce. A big theme is rebellion. I think I should give it a try”) and the book’s fascinating exploration of how life can change with one simple choice. Ages 13–up. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary Agency. (Feb.)"


Monday, December 10, 2012

First Trade Review


So I got my first trade review from none other than Kirkus. :) I'm not going to lie, this was how I read it: *holds breath, holds breath, lets out a tiny squeak, squeezes eyes shut, realizes I can't read, opens eyes, holds breath again, lets out breath in a relieved rush of air*

Reviews make me nervous. Trade reviews make me even more nervous. But I'm so happy with this review. I feel like the reviewer really understood what I was trying to do with the pacing and the plot. I love it when people get it. And I'm so excited to be able to share my Kirkus review with you:  

PIVOT POINT 
Author: West, Kasie

Review Issue Date: January 1, 2013
Online Publish Date: December 12, 2012
Publisher:HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Price ( Hardcover ): $17.99
Price ( e-book ): $9.99
Publication Date: February 12, 2013
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 978-0-06-211737-3
ISBN ( e-book ): 978-0-06-211740-3
Category: Fiction

Clairvoyant Addison Coleman must choose between two futures and two love interests.
Addie has the ability to see potential futures. Her powers are very specific: She can only see her own futures and only what will happen if she makes a decision. When her parents decide to divorce, her father drops a bombshell on her—he intends to leave the secret community that is home to the paranormal and live among the normal people. In order to decide whom she will live with, Addie performs a Search that, in alternating chapters, reveals Addie’s two possible futures. The plotting is deft enough that the stories interweave without being repetitive, and both give clues to a mystery Addie’s father is investigating that involves dead teenage girls from the Compound. If Addie stays, she will be romanced by handsome quarterback and all-around-most-popular boy in school Duke Rivers. If she leaves, she befriends the thoughtful, witty Trevor—who was quarterback for his school before an injury while playing against Duke’s team. Both love interests are developed well, and readers will be able to see Addie with either. The worldbuilding isn’t as on point—the Compound raises logistical questions that are glossed over for the sake of the plot’s strong pace. Minor missteps are easy to forgive given the underlying suspense of multiple mysteries.
West’s debut showcases riveting storytelling. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Friday, December 7, 2012

"How I Write" Drafting

So, I'm going to start this new little series called How I Write. My disclaimer is that this is just me telling you *my* process. It's not me telling you how you should write. In fact, I'd love to hear in the comments how you do the things I'll be talking about. Also, if you've been following my blog, you'll know this isn't going to be deep.....or organized....or probably helpful. Ha. But it sounds like fun and I love to hear how other people do things, so here it goes.

Drafting. My first drafts are what I like to call skeletal. Like really skeletal. A lot of times I'll call them my outlines because even though I don't outline, they are that bare. They are usually just a series of conversations linked together. Then I have to go back later and fill in the thoughts and the scenery and the details of the story.

When I can't think of a name for a character or a restaurant or a school, I use the letter 'X'. So when my first draft is done I have a lot of 'X's to sort out. I also like the phrase 'blah blah blah something cool happens here'. I use that a lot. My friend Candi used to make fun of me about that because sometimes she'll read my stories as I'm drafting them. One time I actually had my character say 'blah blah blah' for real. And Candi wondered what she was really going to say there. I said, "No, she's really going to say 'blah blah blah'."

For me, this type of fast drafting helps me get the whole story down in sucktastic glory without over thinking it too much. Then I go back and fill in and rearrange and add. It works for me. What about you? How do you draft?


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Reads

THIS.


So, here is another example of a book that has been in my TBR pile for almost a year now. Why did I wait so long? Love it. So much so that I passed it on to my husband. Which sounds funny for a Cinderella remake, but seriously, it's so cool and different and intriguing. (I think those were the exact words I used to pitch it to him) I don't hand a lot of my YA reads to my husband so that says a lot right there. So get this one onto your reading list, because book 2 comes out in January. So excited.

Goodreads summary:
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pivot Point Full Cover

I just realized the other day that I haven't posted the full jacket of Pivot Point before. It's so pretty. I must show you. I'm so happy to have such a great cover. HarperTeen does an awesome job.


It's interesting to see the subtle changes that happen to a cover the months before it comes out. If you have an ARC, for example, you'll notice that the spine/flaps now, are more of a green than the grey of the ARCs. Also, I used to have a blurb on the front, but then a tagline was requested by a book seller and so now we have the tag line on the front and all the blurbs on the back.

I just love the colors and the girl and the title placement. It's all so perfect for Pivot Point. I'm excited to see what they have in mind for book #2.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday Reads

If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that I recently read and loved this book:


Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. 

I know, I know, I'm way late to the party on this one. It came out last January! And I actually bought it last January. And it's been sitting in my TBR pile forever! Now I'm mad at myself that I didn't read it sooner because I adored it. But I'm also happy with myself because book 2 comes out this January (Through the Ever Night) and I don't have to wait as long as the rest of you suckers who read it eleven months ago. Mua ha ha ha. Okay, fine, that's just me making myself feel better about not reading this book sooner. But seriously, I'm so excited for book 2. I heart Perry forever. 

The summary:

WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.

DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.

Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive.

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday

Look at me posting another unhelpful Monday post. That's two in a row. It's like a miracle or something.

This post is brought to you by the Kasie Made A Fool Of Herself Again Sagas. I hope to save you from the same fate.

After a year of working out regularly, I may or may not have considered myself somewhat of an expert in working out. And I decided to start a new class, thinking I'd catch on pretty quickly. Hello. I've been working out for a whole year. I'm an expert.

The class? Kickboxing. How hard can it be?

Step one  (I learned after the fact): Always invite a friend along when starting a new class. Someone who will also be new to this class. The conversation can go something like this:
*You--Hey, friend, do you want to start a kickboxing class with me on Friday?
*Friend--Oh, sure, I've been doing that class for a few months now. I'll come with you.
*You--A few months? Never mind. I'll ask someone else.
*You--Hi, different friend. Have you been going to the gym at all in the last year?
*Different Friend--No, I haven't been to the gym in ages.
*You--Perfect. Come to this kickboxing class with me.
*Different Friend--Why? Do you want me to look like the stupid one so you don't have to?
*You--Yes, actually.
*Different Friend--Okay. Sounds fun.

See? If I had followed that advice, I wouldn't have been the *only* new one in the class.

Step two: If you didn't follow step one, that's okay. So you're the only new one in the class. Just do the following. Stand with you hands on your hips and look around when you can't keep up with the rest of the class. Don't, I repeat, do not, think you are good enough to do every single move just as fast as the class does them. This will result in tripping, and maybe falling off your step. Not that this happened to me.

Step three: After the class, run away so everyone can't tell you how entertaining you were. In fact, maybe just leave five minutes early. There's no shame in that.

You'll thank me later. :) Happy Monday, everyone.



Friday, November 23, 2012

Less Than 3 months?!?

I don't believe Pivot Point comes out in less than three months. 81 days to be exact. But who's counting?? Okay, I'm totally counting. I need one of those countdown widgets so I don't have to hurt my head when I try to calculate it.

I don't believe it's right around the corner. When I first sold my book, over a year ago, the release date felt so far away. 21 months. That number felt huge. I have 4 kids. I wasn't fooling myself with how long 9 months feels when you are anticipating something. And 21 months?? That's more than twice as long. It felt like my book was never coming out. I thought surely the world would end before then (and let's not rule out that possibility, it still might). Yes, I was dramatic. I should take the 'was' out of that last sentence. I am dramatic.

But here I am with 81 days left. That number seems manageable. But that number makes me nervous. I thought I'd just be flipping out with excitement, but I'm not going to lie, there are lots of nerves fluttering around with the excitement as well. All the "what ifs" are playing out in my head. What if they all hate it? What if nobody comes to my book launch? What if they tell me I can't write? What if nobody likes my characters? What if the world ends?


Those are all scary thoughts. But, I've also been getting a lot of good feedback that helps my excitement grow. I really appreciate all the support I've gotten and all the people who have read Pivot Point already and taken the time to tell me how much they enjoyed it. And I love all the people who haven't read it and tell me they can't wait to. Those things make me happy. Those things push back the nerves a little and make me look forward to the release date. This community of readers and writers is so supportive and I'm glad to be a part of it. Thanks for all the support, everyone. 81 days! Eeek!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Reads

So I've been really into reading contemporary lately. I love it so much. And one of my new favorite authors is Morgan Matson. She wrote Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (which I loved) and she also wrote this one:

Second Chance Summer.

This was such a sweet read. And really emotional. It was even more emotional for me because aside from the super cute romance, it had an amazing father/daughter relationship. Having lost my father six years ago, it really touched me. I loved the relationships the book explored and I'm always a fan of summer stories. There's just something about summer that makes me all dreamy-eyed.

Here's the summary:

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday

It's been a while since I've given y'all useless advice. I think it's time.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to visit my brother who lives just outside of San Francisco. Sunday, after church, he took us to this beautiful beach called Baker Beach that is right by the Golden Gate Bridge. The view is awesome:

Pretty, right?

Well, we decided to walk to that outcropping of rocks you see on the right side of the picture. You can climb up them and get a really great view of the bridge and the ocean. Anyway, we--me, my hubby, my brother, my 4 kids, and his one--walked along when suddenly my teenager looked to the right and said, "Um....are those naked people over there?"

"OH," my brother said. "I thought it would be too cold for the nudes today. Look at the ground, kids, look at the ground."

I, of course, started laughing. Five or six very naked old men were sunbathing by the rocks. One even decided to get up and take a stroll to the ocean in front of us. It was very eye opening. And...um....gross.

I honestly had no idea we had naked beaches in the states. I thought this was strictly a European thing. That's how it always is in the movies. Apparently I am very naive. But shouldn't there have been some sort of sign in the parking lot or something? A warning. There probably was. I don't tend to read signs. But I feel like this particular situation, calls for a very clear, very large sign that in big bold print says something along the lines of:

Nude old men alert. If you can read this, your eye sight is way too good to be walking on the far side of this beach. You will thank us later.

So, my advice to you? Read signs at a beach. Also, if you are visiting Baker Beach in San Francisco stay away from the clothing optional side. But seriously, the beach is really pretty so you have to visit the clothing mandatory side. :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Insomnia Cover!

So remember when I told you I have an awesome friend who wrote an awesome book? Well that awesome book got an amazing cover that I love so much. I love it not only because it is just so creeptastically cool, but because it matches the feel of the book so much that it gives me the shivers.

You've probably already seen this cover, but just in case you haven't, here is J.R. Johansson's INSOMNIA cover (if this doesn't give you INSOMNIA, wait until you read the book, it will keep you up all night turning pages)


Here's what it's about:

It’s been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.
 
Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he’s had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people’s fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets—and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.
 
Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia’s eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he’s gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it’s Parker.
 
Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tagged

The Next Big Thing--Blog Tag

My fellow Thirteener and friend Jenn Johansson tagged me with a blog tag that's been traveling around the upcoming debut authors. It looked like a lot of fun (and lets face it, I've been hurting for blog content lately) so here goes.

What is the title of your book?

The title of my book is PIVOT POINT. Fun fact about the title: my husband came up with it. We were brainstorming. He is brilliant. Another side note, I have not come up with any of the final titles of my books. Sad, but true. I'm awful at naming books. My agent just titled my latest book and she, too, is brilliant. Lesson--surround yourself with brilliant people.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

This book was inspired by the movie Sliding Doors. I've always loved that movie. I love the idea of how one choice can change the course of a life. Alternate realities are fun to explore.

What genre does the book fall under?

Hmm. That's a tricky question. I've heard people call it paranormal, sci-fi, and contemporary fantasy. I'd say it definitely has a strong lean toward contemporary, so as long as you include that word, it could fit with any of those three genres.

What is the one sentence synopsis for the book?

Pivot Point is about a girl who has the ability to see two outcomes of a choice.

How long did it take you to write your book?

The first draft took me about 2-3 months. Then I edited off and on for about 6 months.

Will it be self published or published through a traditional publisher?

It will be published through HarperTeen on February 12, 2013. I'm very excited. I love HarperTeen and think they put out a lot of quality novels so I feel lucky to be one of their authors.

Which actors would you use to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have actually never answered this question for this particular book before. Some of my early books I cast in my brain, but not this one yet. So I better go figure it out. :)

Okay, looking through lists and lists of actors/actresses and *suffering* through hundreds of pictures of cute boys, I've found some that are close. It's hard to find someone who looks exactly like what I have pictured in my head.

Addison: Annasophia Robb



Laila: Shay Mitchell



Duke: Chord Overstreet

Trevor: ???? I couldn't find anyone who fit Trevor close enough for me. Maybe I'll stumble upon a picture one day and post it. :)

Thanks for tagging me, Jenn. That was fun.

Since I have no idea who has been tagged and who hasn't, I tag anyone who wants to play that has a book coming out in the next year. :) Let me know if you end up doing it so I can read your answers.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

So a lot of my fellow bloggers are giving away treats today--like books and.....uh.....books. But I just came on to say, Happy Halloween! That's just as good, right? Yeah, I know. Not so much.

One of my girls chose to be Katniss for Halloween (yes, she is now my favorite child, don't tell the others). We went to a church Halloween party and there were 5 others dressed up like Katniss. It made my book-loving heart burst. I remember a few years back when Harry Potter was the "it" costume at the party. I just love to see kids dressing up as book characters. (Granted, my son is The Dark Knight this year and that also makes me happy. Mainly because he is adorable. But also because I love super heroes.) I love the thought that kids are reading and loving characters (don't burst my bubble by telling me they're probably just watching the movies).

What are the costumes in your household this year?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Goodreads giveaway

Hey everyone! I added a new tab to my blog (seen above) to show you where you can enter to win ARCs of Pivot Point from now until the release date in February. The first one is going on right now over on Goodreads. So enter to win. :)




Goodreads Book Giveaway


Pivot Point by Kasie West

Pivot Point

by Kasie West


Giveaway ends October 31, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy News!

This is my friend, Renee:


She is awesome. Yesterday you might have seen this news:

Debut author Renee Collins' RELIC, pitched as True Grit meets The Prestige, set in a world in which the remains of long-extinct magical creatures are mined and traded on the black market in the red rock desert of the Colorado Territory for their residual magic powers, where a young girl must learn how to harness the power of relics and forge a risky alliance with a local land baron in order to survive, to Stacy Abrams at Entangled, by Mollie Glick at Foundry Literary + Media.

This is awesome. I love it when awesome people and awesome news come together in one big awesome explosion. 

I just wanted to say, congratulations to Renee! She has been my critique partner, and good friend, for the past several years and always has excellent insight and encouragement. I've also had the privilege of reading her books and she is very talented. I'm so excited RELIC sold and I can't wait for you all to read it. It's truly an amazing book! Drop by her blog to congratulate her if you get a chance. 

Also, if you're in the mood to drop by other blogs, I may or may not have a vlog up on Friday the Thirteeners right now where I embarrass myself again.


Friday, September 21, 2012

ARC giveaway

Are you ready for another chance to win an ARC of Pivot Point?? Enter over at Cuddlebuggery. They also interviewed me which was all kinds of fun. Thanks, Kat and Stephanie!

Friday, September 14, 2012

More vlogging

Check out me and my group making fools of ourselves....again....on Friday the Thirteeners. :)

http://fridaythethirteeners.blogspot.com/2012/09/emu-vs-friday-thirteeners.html

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Just a few random thoughts for the week.

One, as of today, my oldest daughter is in high school. Crazy. I don't believe I'm the mom of a high school student. I swear she was just a tiny baby yesterday. If I were a mom who liked to embarrass my kids, now would be the time where I would post cute little naked-bottom pictures of her. Wait, I am a mom who likes to embarrass my kids. But, she refrained from posting a picture on facebook yesterday of me looking like a weirdo, so I will refrain as well. If we start getting all crazy with posting pictures, this could end very badly for me.

Second, I was driving my car last week.......well, let me start a little earlier. I got a new cell phone recently and in so doing haven't yet transferred all my songs from iTunes onto my new phone. I happen to have one song on my phone that I downloaded and used for a girls' camp skit. So no joke, I was in the car the other day by myself, minding my own business. I had been driving for at least five minutes, when my car decided it was going to start playing the one and only song on my phone--the theme music to The Twilight Zone. It scared the crap out of me. It took me a few seconds to realize where the music was coming from too and that freaked me out even more. It felt like the scene in a scary movie right before some masked man popped up from the back seat wielding a knife. It obviously wasn't, but I am very suspicious of my car and its intentions now. I think we may be enemies.

Lastly, now that the kids are back in school, I declare this to be the week of writing. I have a deadline looming. I'm excited though because I finally (FINALLY) know which story I'm going to write and I can't wait to get into it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

ER visits are fun

So last night as my daughter was moving some things around in the garage, a weight dropped onto her foot. She said (very calmly, I might add), "Ouch, I just dropped that on my foot. It hurt."

I said, "You'll be fine. Shake it off."

She said, "It hurt really bad." (again, in a very even, calm voice)

I said, "Okay, I'll get you some ice."

I went in the house, grabbed some ice, then came back to my husband saying, "I don't think ice is going to cut it."

That's when I saw this (only with a lot more blood):

(Sorry if you're grossed out but I actually had to see that thing in real life.)


And he was right. That was definitely not anything ice could fix. So off we went to the ER. (where the tears finally came) I almost cried too when I saw the size of the needle the doctor used to numb her. It was massive. But anyway, she's fine. An x-ray, 3 shots, antibiotics, and 8 stitches--just the way we all like to spend a Sunday evening. 

This is just another piece of evidence to add to the very long list of Why Weights Are Evil. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Maddeningly Unhelpful Monday

Remember when I used to give unhelpful advice *every* Monday? Ah, the good old days. Well, today I'm back with some advice that will be so useless to you, you'll make sure not to thank me.

But first! How about something you might actually want?? Over at Friday the Thirteeners we're giving away a prize package of 13 books. They're books we wish we would've written first. So basically they are thirteen of the most awesome books ever. You should go enter the contest because who doesn't want thirteen free books? Enter here.

Back to being unhelpful. This past week we spent some time in Zion's National Park, Utah. What a beautiful place. The colors and canyons and scenery were AMAZING. But what someone didn't tell me was they set the temperature to SCORCH for our arrival. It was hot. So what did we decide to do? How about spend the day horseback riding? Sounds like something anyone would do on a nice 111 degree day, right? The correct answer is, no. This is what insane people do. Also, more advice--when someone says: Do you want to take the most adventurous horse ride in the United States? You say: No thanks. Can you point the way to 'horse rides for beginners' or 'the strolling horse ride through flat, shady pastures' or even 'pony rides are us'?

You should definitely not say, sure why not. After all we could count on one hand how many times the lot of us combined had ever sat on a horse. So why not spend four hours on the back of one? They assured us this wasn't a problem. Beginners were just cowboys waiting to happen. (Okay, they didn't say that last sentence but I think that's the motto engraved on their very experienced cowboy hearts.)

So off we go. Me, my husband, and three of our children, smiles on our faces, the fear we should've felt far from our minds. I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say by the time we stopped for lunch my husband thought he might have the early stages of heat exhaustion and our sandwiches looked like balls of goo. The rest of the ride involved a run straight up the side of the mountain where the wrangler warned us: "Do NOT let your horse stop on that mountain or it will be bad news for you. You must run all the way up." Um.....yes I was terrified. Along the trail, my husband's horse decided, it too was a bit hot and kept sitting down. SITTING DOWN. With him on it. It was craziness. And my horse liked to be in the front of the pack, no matter where we were in line. And in order to get there it liked to run.

All joking aside, it would've been a pretty amazing ride if it wasn't so hot. Apparently us city dwellers don't know how to prepare for heat like that spent on the back of a horse. By the time we got back, I could hardly walk and I poured a whole bucket of water over my head (kind of like Hugh Jackman did in the movie Australia....except I had my shirt on....and I was a sweaty mess......and I don't have awesome muscles.....okay, it was nothing like Hugh Jackman).

So, my advice restated? When given a choice always opt for the pony ride through the lush green meadow on a breezy spring morning. And watch Australia because that Hugh Jackman scene is really awesome.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Winner!

Excuse my delay in posting today. I forgot my computer charger back home and have been begging and borrowing internet access for the past few days because my poor computer is dead. Yes, it is hard for me to be without my computer. No, I don't want to talk about it.


So, on to the winner.


I knew this would happen. I knew I'd want to give everyone who entered the contest the ARC because I loved all the answers. Why oh why do I ever make contests subjective? Seriously, I can tell you all loved VARIANT as much as I did. But there was one person who showed her love by doing something not even I did and that was buying several copies of VARIANT and distributing them. Therefore I think she deserves this ARC more than I do. And that person is: Melanie Jacobson


Congrats, Melanie! Email me your address and I'll send this very awesome book your way.


Loved your answer, Jordan. It made me laugh.


And Rissa, I related a lot to your comments. Totally agreed with all your reactions.


Thanks so much to everyone for entering. Stay tuned because I'll be posting about some giveaways of my own ARC, PIVOT POINT, soon.


And once I'm back home and done with the whirlwind vacation tour I've been on, this blog will back to its regular schedule.

Monday, July 2, 2012

I've been hoarding ARCs

So, I have to confess, I've been hoarding ARCs (Advanced Reader's Copy). When I first started getting them I didn't pass them forward because I'd never gotten them before and I loved them and thought they were awesome. But I must stop. I need to share the love. And that is why......*choking sob*........I'm going to......*whimper*......give away my ARC of.....*clutches the book tightly*..... FEEDBACK by Robison Wells. It doesn't come out until October but I was lucky enough to score a copy from my editor when I was in New York. I read it last weekend, loved it dearly, and badly want to add it to my very special collection of ARCs. But I know in my heart of hearts that I must share.



So this is your chance to win an ARC of FEEDBACK. Now, because I hate to part with it, and I only want to do so for someone who loved VARIANT (book 1) as much as I did, there is going to be a requirement. You must tell me in the comments section what you loved most about VARIANT. I will pick my favorite. (If you didn't read VARIANT, hurry, you have a week.)  I also don't like being in charge of picking because I know I'm going to love all of your answers. So if it ends up being too hard or there are too many similar answers, I reserve the right to use a random pick site. :) Good luck! You want to win this book.

Also, I'm not officially giving "extra" entries for tweeting/blogging/sharing this contest. But since it is a subjective contest, your enthusiasm might influence the judge....just sayin'.

This contest ends Sunday, July 8th, at midnight. The winner will be announced next Monday.

Warning: Major spoilers for book 1, VARIANT, in the comments section. If you haven't read VARIANT do not read comments. :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Wild Wood


Today is a very special day for one of my really good friends: Julie Anne Nelson. It is her book's birthday!!! Happy Birthday THE WILD WOOD! (Well, technically, it was out a little early so it's birthday was a couple days ago, but for the sake of my post, it is today. TODAY.) 

THE WILD WOOD is available in print and digital form at amazon. Click on the image to check it out. 
Summary: In the town of Dunlowe, being different can be deadly. No one knows this better than the seven girls born on the exact same day, at the exact same time. From birth, they've been feared, judged, and controlled. And yet, still loved by their families. Still hoping for a future. Still believing that acceptance would one day come. As their seventeenth birthday approaches, events occur that leave Cecily Daye and the other girls grasping with the possibility that their oppressors might have been right about them all along. Maybe they are as evil as the town has believed. But without an answer, they must make a choice when the town turns on them: to die or to run to the one place no person would follow—they must enter The Wild Wood.

In honor of this special day, I asked Julie a couple questions about writing and her book. 

1. How long have you been writing?

Like many writers, I have been writing and creating story worlds since I was a small child, but four and a half years ago, I finally buckled down and focused on writing—and finishing—novels.  The Wild Wood was the first young adult novel I wrote after writing a commercial fiction series, and what can I say, I got hooked and every novel I’ve written since is YA.

2. Why do you write?

I write because only through the written word can I process my life and the world around me (both real and imaginary… yes, writers, you know what I mean).  Disappearing into fictional worlds and being the person who, through a series of finger motions, gets to set them down and hand them to others never fails to inspire gratitude.  

3. Where did you get the idea for The Wild Wood?

When I was a middle school teacher, I was so busy with creating massive battle activities and lesson plans, serving as the school videographer, and sponsoring a film club, I didn’t have the time or energy to write entire novels, so I developed what I would come to call the “Quote/Proverb Project.”  I would (mostly) randomly choose a quote out of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations or from a series of proverb books and write a few pages of a story.  The Wild Wood was inspired by a quote from Percy Bysshe Shelley from The Invitation, “Away, away, from men and towns, To the wild wood and the downs—.”  I recently read the original story that I wrote and some names were the same, but the story took me in a very different direction.  The really wonderful thing about the project was after almost 200 different stories, that first, blank page thing that writers face doesn’t affect me at all.

4. What was the hardest part about writing The Wild Wood?

Because The Wild Wood was written and rewritten several times, I would have to say that the hardest part was finding the most authentic story to tell in what is the beginning of a fairly complex world/series.  I only write series, so knowing what part of the grander story to tell in each book is always a consideration.  Thankfully, I have a great group of readers to help me hone the story, and they were invaluable to the creation of this book.

5. What was your favorite part about writing this book?

The answer to this question is very easy: Dusty.  My main character’s brother delights me every single time I read his name, and happily, all of my readers have felt the same way.  In a broader sense, the characters are always what I love most and that feeling that I would know them if I bumped into them on the street (which would be a very bad thing because I really don’t want to live in the town of Dunlowe!).


6. Name 5 things (unrelated to writing) about yourself.

  • I love music in a big way and if I never saw another television show, it would be nothing to the idea of never being able to hear another song.
  • I am short and recently, to reach a high shelf, I put on a pair of my five-inch heels and successfully accomplished my goal, while feeling like a bit of an oddball.
  • I feel really blessed in my life and last year sought to balance the cosmic scale by becoming a platelet donor (like giving blood but a little more time-consuming), and I’m really fired up about the possibility that my blood is saving babies.
  • I am a bit on the OCD side of the force and if I cook you dinner, there is no worry at all that anything wasn’t washed, rinced, soaked in lemon juice, and then rinsed again (no ecoli here!).  
  • I love pretty dresses, especially prints, which means my closet should require a warning label and special glasses.


7. Since seven is such an important number in your book, we have to have seven questions, so what has been the best moment of your publishing journey?

I would definitely have to say that the high point was the fact that my thirteen-year-old niece read The Wild Wood like an addict and gave me her review, “Amazing.”  And she’s already pestering her mom to pester me about the sequel.  From six years teaching middle school, I know that middle schoolers won’t read a book that quickly unless it grabs them and the fact that it did made me feel like I honored the story I was supposed to tell.


Big thanks to Kasie for helping get the word out about my book and for all the support she gave me during its creation.  She’s pretty fabulous!




Thanks, Julie, for being on my blog today! I'm so excited that other people can read your book now!  

Friday, June 22, 2012

MY COVER!!!!

So I've been waiting to show you my cover for months now!!! I'm so excited the day is finally here. To see it, head on over to:

YA Book Central


And if you can't get enough of me today, I actually have two other blog posts on two separate sites. I have no idea how my blogging universes collided today but it was totally unplanned. I have a hard enough time blogging on one blog let alone three on the same day. Ha.

The Lucky 13s

Friday the Thirteeners




Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blurbs!

One more day until my cover reveal! I'm so excited to share it with you. But for today, I'd like to share the blurbs that will be on the jacket. I thought I'd share them in their full form on the blog. On the book jacket some of them are shorter because of limited space. I also wanted to thank these authors. I feel very honored that they took the time out of their very busy schedules to read my book. I can't wait to read their next round of books.


"Kasie West is a master of suspense. The unique structure--seeing two alternate realities playing out at once--leaves you pleading with the characters, don't answer that phone, don't go to that house, don't talk to that person. PIVOT POINT is at once tense and romantic, challenging and engaging. It's a truly remarkable debut."                                                                                   
--Robison Wells (Author of VARIANT)  
"West’s debut is an expertly plotted, delightfully clever story. Addie’s dual realities pull the reader along to a startling—and devastatingly unavoidable—finale. I can’t wait for the next book!"
--Kiersten White (Author of PARANORMALCY)   
"With superb storytelling, a masterful blend of paranormal and normal, a helping of wit and humor, and a mouth-watering romance, PIVOT POINT is one of the most delicious books I’ve read."         
--Elana Johnson (Author of POSSESSION) 



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Art!

So when I was planning my trip to New York to visit the Harper team, one of the things my agent said was, "You should come up with a fun little something to give them that relates to your book." And my mind filled with a buzzing noise to inform me it had absolutely no fun or clever ideas.

Then I started thinking about my characters. One of my characters is an artist. He draws comics. Now, I happen to have a good friend who writes/draws a comic. A really good one. You should check it out:



His name is Brock Heasley. He also writes books. This is his site:


Yes, as you can see, he has hogged a lot of talent. I think it's okay to hate him. Well, maybe I shouldn't hate him because he so graciously agreed to use his talent to make me a bookmark to hand out at my meeting with Harper:

  

Isn't it so cool? These are three of my main characters. Addie in the middle. And then the guys from her two different paths on either side, Duke and Trevor. I love it. Thanks so much, Brock!