Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Current revision stage done!

Phew!  It took an escape to the library with my computer to sequester myself away from the family, but I just finished my latest Blackbirds revisions.  One of my readers urged me to work on my ghost and the creepiness in the book, so I attacked my scenes that included the spirit and have gotten to the point where I'm feeling pretty good.  I'm sending the book to another reader in two weeks--a tough-love reader (yes, you Kim).  We'll see if I'm still feeling so good about the manuscript at that point, but anything that can make the book stronger is a must.  I'm not sending Blackbirds to my agent until this puppy is armed and ready.

On another note, I was interviewed for a New York Times article about 9/11 birthdays.  The journalist found me through a blog post I wrote at Suburban Vampire two years ago.  I'll spread the word when the article shows up online.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More ghostly YA books

Picture the DeadI recently finished reading Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown's Picture the Dead, a gothic, illustrated novel set in Civil War-era Massachusetts.  Admittedly, the authors had me sweating for a while because they used some of the same themes that appear in my work-in-progress: a wartime setting, spirit photography, a soldier's mysterious death.  The book was a page turner with gorgeous prose, so it didn't take me long to speed through the haunting story and realize--with a huge sigh of relief--our books have enough differences for me to keep plugging away.  Definitely check it out if you're looking for a book to read while huddled under the covers.  Fans of Poe, the Bronte sisters, and Sarah Waters's darker tales will eat it up.

The Prince of MistWhile vacationing in Washington this past week, I visited the wonderful Village Books in Fairhaven and added another ghostly YA novel to my reading pile: The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zaf√≥n.  I've read his adult fiction before and especially enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind. This new novel was actually published in Spanish in 1993, but Little, Brown Books just released an English version in May.  It involves a young teen's experiences in a long-unoccupied--and possibly haunted--house on the Spanish coast during WWII.  Can't wait to read it!

As for my own writing news, I need to plug away at Blackbirds revisions before submitting the manuscript to another critique partner in September.  I've been reading so much info about how crucial it is to be able to write a one-sentence synopsis of one's book, and I think I've come up with one that satisfies me: A sixteen-year-old girl helps both the living and the dead endure the horrors of a troubled era.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

First line of BLACKBIRDS revealed

The day before my father's arrest, I read an article about a local mother who cured her daughter of the influenza by burying the child in raw onions for three days.