Breaking hearts, enchanting minds

Light as a Feather, Writing, YA Fiction

Every author likes to imagine her reader reaching the last page of a book and wondering how life will possibly go on now that the story has ended.

Or, at least, that’s one of my favorite fantasies (mine, truthfully, are more elaborate, involving tears, negotiations with God, and a slow descent into madness). When I reached the last page of The Goldfinch, I stared at my Kindle for a good half hour wondering how on earth I could continue on with affairs not knowing what becomes of Boris.  This is not a new phenomenon. As a teenage I cried for an entire weekend at the end of Tiger Eyes.

My fantasy has sort of become a reality, because I hurriedly posted the last chapter of the interim sequel to Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board that I’ve been writing for the Wattpad community on Sunday, and madness ensued.

Here, for your enjoyment, are some of the comments.

jadox

Jeraldfaelnar KaciDanielle Keysiheart Leilani163 madika101 michk96

A New Cover, and Tips for Writing for YA

Light as a Feather, Writing, YA Fiction

My paranormal romance for teens, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, was published just about a year ago, and to switch things up, we changed the cover last week. I think readers approve, because it’s suddenly #1 on the Amazon free teen paranormal romance and Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00036]horror lists. Exciting!

Here are a few things that I’ve noticed from readers’ comments that I never would have guessed as a novice YA writer. Use them to either avoid pitfalls, or capitalize on what I’ve learned!

1) if the prose of your book contains the words “one” and “direction,” whether you were intentionally trying to reference the boy band or not, female readers will find those two words together and freak out instantly.

2) if you develop a cute, emo teen boy love interest, threatening his life or killing him off will provoke a greater reaction from your readers than anything else that might happen in your story, including having your heroine die, commit terrible sins, or experience dire hardship (John Greene co-signs this point, with Augustus as evidence).

3) teen girls actually really like feisty, strong-willed female characters. In writing this book, I didn’t think too much about the sharp-witted, pint-sized character Mischa, but because she’s the most outspoken character in the book, she’s by far the readers’ favorite. There’s an abundance of wishy-washy female characters in YA, and this generation of teen readers doesn’t identify with them.

4) Female readers will discover and invent references to pop culture influences in their own lives whether you want them to or not. There’s no need to load your book up with mentions of Austin Mahone, the Beebs, Harry Styles, or whatever style sneakers kids happen to be wearing today. Mahone fans will find context in your work even if you try to avoid it. How can you possibly memorize every single lyric? You can’t. You don’t have to, your readers have already done it.

A Christmas chance to win stuff.

Light as a Feather, YA Fiction

If you love Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, here’s your chance to WIN this holiday season!

The junior class at Weeping Willow High School is playing a game of Secret Santa.* If you’d like to play, leave a comment on Facebook, and I’ll assign you the SECRET student from Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board for whom you have to get a holiday gift. You don’t REALLY have to buy a gift, just pick something out online that costs less than $50, and post the gift you’ve chosen in the comments on the contest post on Facebook (if you want to post a picture, Facebook is easier than here). You can mention the gift by name, post a link to it online, or post a picture. With your post, mention the name of the student you were assigned, and why you thought the gift was perfect for them.

From all of the entries received, ONE lucky winner from in between Wattpad and Facebook will be chosen at random and win:

1) a new pair of Sleepover Cotton Pajamas from Victoria’s Secret

2) a selection of TEN holiday nail polishes by Formula X for Sephora

TWO runners up will be chosen at random and win 3 bottles of Formula X each.

Formula X for Sephora

Winners will be chosen on January 1, 2014.

Let’s get this holiday party started!!

For Facebook entries: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Light-as-a-Feather-Stiff-as-a-Board/475835895814438

*If you’re unfamiliar with this game, it’s when everyone puts their name on a piece of paper into a box (or a Santa hat!) and draws one. You’re the “secret Santa” for the person whose name you’ve drawn, and on Christmas, you give them a special gift based on their personality. Usually there’s a cash limit on the prizes so that people don’t go too wild with spending.

** If you live outside the USA & Canada and are chosen as a winner, we may have to substitute your prize as it might not be possible to ship nail polish and we don’t want you to have to pay duties on your prize.

Last chance for a free Kindle copy…

Light as a Feather, YA Fiction

This is it, guys. I mean it this time. For real and realsies.

Today’s the last day you can get a free copy of Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board for Kindle. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, as long as your country has Amazon. What are you waiting for?

 

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000030_00036]

McKenna Brady thinks her junior year of high school is going to be the best ever when she’s welcomed into the elite group of popular girls at Weeping Willow High School led by blond, gorgeous Olivia Richmond. Prior to junior year, McKenna was known in her small town as the girl whose twin sister died in a tragic house fire, and she’s overjoyed at the prospect of redefining her identity. She has a date to the Homecoming dance with Olivia’s handsome older brother, and a good chance of being elected to student council. For the first time since McKenna’s parents divorced, things are looking up.
But everything changes the night of Olivia’s Sweet Sixteen sleepover birthday party. Violet, the shy, mysterious new girl in town, suggests that the girls play a scary game called Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board, during which Violet makes up elaborate stories about the future ways in which beautiful Olivia, brassy Candace, and athletic Mischa will die. The game unsettles McKenna because she’s already escaped death once in her life, but she doesn’t want to ruin her friends’ fun. It’s only a game, she reminds herself.
But it doesn’t seem like a harmless game a week later when Olivia dies unexpectedly in a violent car crash, exactly as Violet predicted. And something begins haunting McKenna’s bedroom at night, leaving her clues that all seem to point to Violet. McKenna enlists the help of her cute next-door neighbor Trey in finding out exactly what kind of curse Violet has put on all of the popular girls in the junior class. As Violet rises to popularity and seemingly steps into the life Olivia left unfinished, McKenna and Trey know they only have a limited amount of time to bring an end to Violet’s game before more lives are lost.
Readers of this book can follow @VioletSimmonsWW on Twitter to continue the story, hear about what’s going on in Weeping Willow, and learn about contests.
For readers ages 13+.

So this is what it’s like on the Amazon Bestseller List

Light as a Feather, YA Fiction

Oddly, life isn’t much different than before, when I wasn’t on the Amazon Bestseller List.

But seeing that people are interested in my book is pretty exciting, I’ve got to admit. And surpassing Twilight Book 1 in the paranormal teen romance list was very gratifying, even if it only lasted a few hours!

Light as a Feather, #3 Paranormal