Liebster Award Nomination (Thank you!)

Thank you  Delancey Steward

I’ve been really bad about blogging lately. There’s just so much going on. I’m gearing up for WriteOnCon‘s YA March Pitch (and as such, have been spending a lot of time at the critiquing board). I’m also prepping for the NaNo Pitchapalooza and even have a session set up with the Book Doctors (I have no idea what to do about that… ). I’m also preparing for the SCBWI WIP grant, critiquing two full manuscripts for friends, and a member of three different critique groups (I love all three of them so much!). So … yeah.

But I promise to be better about this! I have a new schedule that I’m going to force myself to follow. I’m an avid believer in lists. Plus, Delancey Steward just nominated me for a Liebster Award so I really do need to get better about this!

Liebster Award is an honor bestowed upon relatively new bloggers with followers of fewer than 200. The rules are:

1. You must thank the person who gave you this award (Thanks, Delancey!)
2. You must display the Liebster heart on your blog
3. You should nominate 3 to 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 subscribers
4. Each person must post 11 random things about themselves
5. Answer the questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
6. Create 11 questions for those you nominate to answer
7. Notify your nominees and provide a link back to your post.
8.  You’re not supposed to do “ping-backs”

For the 3-5 up and coming blogs, I did my best to check if they had more than 200 subscribers, but for some I couldn’t tell so … I nominate the following wonderful bloggers:

Jennie at Life Is Short, Read Fast

Nancy at Banks Writes

Sylvia at Under-Employed & Over-Joyed

My 11 Random Things:

  1. I just bought a Bichon Frise! Though, he was just born on Tuesday so I won’t get him until April…
  2. I love Baja Blasts from Taco Bell. I will just go there to get one and nothing else sometimes.
  3. I’m not a fan of comedy movies. It’s really hard to get me to watch one.
  4. I just got a new phone, the Samsung Galaxy, and it’s awesome.
  5. I’ve had various shades of red hair since my freshman year in high school … but I’m naturally a brunette, which is unfair since my grandmas are gingers.
  6. cannot stand touching styrofoam
  7. I’ve lived in three countries (France, USA, Australia)
  8. Sour patch kids are my favorite candy ever (I’m eating them as I post this)
  9. I only have brothers and boy cousins, which was a big pain growing up.
  10. I’m from Kansas and hate the Wizard of Oz
  11. I went through a goth phase in high school

Here are the questions I have to answer:

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Edinburgh, Scotland. I spent a prolonged weekend there when I was studying abroad in France, and fell in love with the city. It has a castle in the middle of the city, how cool is that?

Who is the most important person in your life?

I’d have to say my mom. She’s always been there for me and even though she can drive me insane a lot, she’s still my mom. I have to call her at least every other day.

What most influenced the person you have become?

This is a hard one. There’s a lot of little things. Dyslexia really influenced my childhood and for a long time I was a very shy girl because of it. Then in middle school I met two crazy girls who brought me out of my shell, and we started to write a book together. I haven’t stopped writing since.

Where were you on 9/11?

I remember my mom driving me to school (I was in sixth grade) and we were listening to these radio DJs that we both hated (I don’t know why we were listening to them) because of their ridiculous pranks, so when they said a plain flew into the twin towers, we thought they had yet again made jackasses of themselves. Then I got to class and my teacher had all of us sit on our desk tops (I don’t remember why) and she explained to us what had happened.

Are you good at math?

Ha. No. Everyone in my family is except for me.

Describe the shoes you are wearing at this moment.

I’m not wearing any. If possible, I prefer not to.

Are you writing anything interesting?

I’m working on a contemporary YA right now that takes place at a teen hospice.

What is the best book you’ve ever read?

This is soooooo hard. IF I STAY by Gayle Forman…? CREWEL by Gennifer Albin? THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers? Anything Laini Taylor or Gretchen McNeil writes? SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY by Susan Dennard?

Uh … I have to pick one book, don’t I? I’m going to have to go with EMILY’S DRESS & OTHER MISSING THINGS by Kathryn Burak — at least this week.

What is your favorite word?


What is the scariest thing you’ve done?

I could say jumping out of a plane at 14,000 ft and how cruel it was for the guy that I was doing it with to literally hang me out of the plane, ask “Ready?” and when I said “No” instinctively  he was like “OK” and we remained there longer. That almost killed me. I hate heights.

But the scariest thing has to be swimming at the Great Barrier Reef. I know, I know, how is that scary? I’m not a fan of large bodies of water. I have an irrational fear of sharks and jellyfish. My friends had to force me into the water. I saw three sharks and didn’t freak out as much as I thought. Then I saw a jellyfish (I say it was a Box Jellyfish, my friends insist it wasn’t … in hindsight, I’m willing to admit they might be right) and I got the hell out of there and back on the floating platform. I’m glad I did it, though.

What about your best friend makes you love them?

I love my bestie, Heather, but she just got engaged and named me her Maid of Honor so I kind of want to run far, far away from her right now. My idea of the perfect wedding: legalize it and spend all the money on an amazing honey moon (preferably to Bora Bora then cage diving with Great Whites off the coast of Cape Town). Her idea of the perfect wedding: a big frilly thing that will take forever to plan and be a huge vortex that will suck away all my free time. As you can tell, we’re opposites in a lot of ways.

One thing I really love about our friendship is the fact that we don’t have to be around each other for months and we can still be best friends. I’ve spent a lot of time abroad in the last few years but it’s never mattered.

The questions for those who take the challenge after me:

  1. Out of all the places you’ve lived, which has been your favorite?
  2. If you could have any job in the world (aside from being a writer), what would it be?
  3. Do you have pets?
  4. What is your favorite genre to read?
  5. What is your favorite movie of all time?
  6. Have you ever read a book that you were super-super-super excited about, then you read it and you were so, so, so disappointed?
  7. Do you like to travel?
  8. What book do you plan to buy next?
  9. Are you writing anything right now?
  10. Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
  11. What’s your favorite food group?

And there you have it, my first post in ages!

The Next Best Thing

This is the first meme I’ve done on this blog, but it seemed like fun and I got tagged (by Larua Wardle) so I decided why not?

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea for the book come from?

It’s going to sound a little silly, but I work with cash at my day job and sometimes when I turn my back on the customer to get out the cash I can’t help but think ‘Man, it’d be so easy for them to just shot me or something right now‘. I’m generally not a paranoid person and doubt that will ever happen to me, but my mind tends to jump to rather horrific situations from the most mundane tasks. Not out of fear, probably out of the fact that I read/watch a lot of horror/deadly stories.

Anyway, that idea just came alive one day at work. I thought it’d be interesting to have a character that always had horrific thoughts invading her head, thus Tora Kuragawa was born. I wanted a new story to write for NaNo 2012 and the rest of the plot just flowed out after Tora got into my head.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA Paranormal Thriller/Suspense

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

This is really hard for me. I never think about actors/other people when I’m thinking about my characters… So, this question took the longest for me to figure out.

Tora Kuragawa would be a young Aoi Miyazaki (like, Virgin Snow Aoi Miyazaki):

The second main character is Delaney Gunvald and I really can’t think of anyone, and after doing some searching, the only one I can think that would sort of work would be a teenager Chris Hemsworth:

Guy would be Logan Lerman, just imagine him constantly having a really bad case of bedhead and then you’d have Guy:

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence…? That’s so hard. Here’s my best go:

As a victim of an unnatural death, sixteen-year-old Tora Kurosawa is stuck in the In-Between and is forced to play the reapers’ game: conquer her death and let go of her life and they’ll let her crossover, fail to do so in seven days and she’ll be banished to the Netherworld for an eternity.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Represented by an agency. I’ve always thought of going the traditional route. Not that there’s anything wrong with self-publishing, it’s just not for me.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About seven days. I didn’t realize until I was done how fitting that is (since Tora only has seven days to save herself). It was for NaNo2012 and I had a pretty thorough chapter-by-chapter outline so I didn’t have to wonder what to do next? Now it’s time to revise, revise, revise. 

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would say it’s like ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD / GIRL OF NIGHTMARES by Kendare Blake in the horror quality of the book and because of the Gunvald family.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Kendare Blake, I really loved her books and it inspired me to try something horror-esque. Also ASHES by Isla J Bick, which also has a lot of horror in it and just the burning desire to keep reading until the very end of that book stayed with me. Except the ending really irked me (freaking cliffhanger…). THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers is a thriller/suspense (with zombies, which is awesome) inspired me as well. I really loved it. Summers’s voice is just so there and the pace of that book was remarkable. I loved it from start to finish. I would also say POSSESS by Gretchen McNeil. I loved her voice in that book and it was probably the first YA Paranormal Thriller that I consciously read because of the genre.

Plus, the classic Stephen King (CARRIE, IT, THE SHINNING). One of my favorite horror writers.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Tora can’t control where her soul stays, if someone thinks about her hard enough she’ll be pulled to them. Her parents never bother to mourn for her, but a stranger cries for her constantly. A boy that she saw right after her death, the boy that let her die. At least, that’s what he (Delaney Gunvald) believes. The only other person who pulls her is her murderer, where she is forced to watch him torture other innocent girls.

And now I get to tag some people…

Delancey Stewart
Jessica Nichollas