Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Interviews, and Signed books, and Were-llamas--oh, my!


You definitely should check out this interview on CJ Redwine's blog.  The infamous Were-llama hits author Rachel Hawkins (author of Hex Hall--a book I can't wait to read) with his toughest questions--and she totally held her own!

My vote? Were-llama-0, Rachel Hawkins-1.

Rachel Hawkins:


Lots of talk of spitting in people's faces and defeating zombie goats with marcaroni necklaces and loud noises.  Fun times all around =)

Proof that llama's are really scary:

♥ Sara

Monday, March 29, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Schedule Program For


I'm thrilled to announce that my friend and CP, Shannon Messenger, is officially an agented author!!

*throws glitter everywhere*


*throws MORE glitter*

I'll let her tell you all about it, and the ay-may-zing agent she signed with, so hop over to her blog: Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe

But I will say this: As soon as I read her manuscript, I knew that it--and she--were destined for great things. So while I'm absolutely, "stood up and happy danced on my desk chair when I found out" excited for her--I'm not surprised at all! Mark my words, someday (soon) her book's gonna stand out with the greats in the Middle Grades sections all across the nation!

Now go--read her story and congratulate her =)

Oh, and make sure to remind her about her Deal with the Universe.

Yep, that's right. She made a deal with the universe that when she found an agent she would create her first vlog.

AND in said vlog she would "dress up and give a gooey, possibly tearful Academy Awards Style acceptance speech holding some sort of fake trophy." 

AND as if that's not enough, her followers get to tell give input into what she should say and who she should thank during her speech.  


I'm so happy for you!!!

♥ me

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Funny

You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh.

 It's time for the Babbling Flow's Friday Funny!!

Because sometimes you just need to laugh at other people.

♥ me

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something NOT To Do.

Sara: Oh crap! I'm FINALLY finished with this round of edits, but now my MS formatting is weird because I used two different programs while writing it. Half of my stupid em dashes reverted to regular old dashes.


Sara: Duh! I'll just do a replace all and change the dashes back to em dashes! 

*replaces all dashes with em dashes*

Sara: Problem SOLVED! Man, I amaze myself with how smart I am sometimes...

*sends MS to CPs*

You may be wondering why NOT to do what I did (though if you're less blonde than I am, you already know). Well, it's because there are these things called hyphenated words. So when a fabulous CP goes through your draft, they get to see LOTS of words like high—pitched, instead of high-pitched. Like self—conscious, instead of self-conscious; star—crossed, instead of star-crossed; hip—hop, instead of hip-hop.

Yeah, I definitely did that before sending my last draft to Alexandra and Carol. Now that I've finished going through their notes, I'm surprised they're still even speaking with me.

*begs forgiveness*

In other news, I finished this round of revisions and *think* I only have one (and possibly a half) more before I'm ready to skydive from that great query plane in the sky...

*dies of nervousness*

PS. Image, and more information about dashes & em dashes found here.

♥ Sara

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March Madness Winners!!

Phew! This contest was really fun to hold! At first, I'd watch the spreadsheet of entrants grow each day... And then I kind of forgot to. So when I opened it to tally the entries for everyone--I found out that 110 of you entered!!

And so many of you guys had way more than one entry.

There were over 600 total entries (points). SIX HUNDRED. Holy huge.

Did I already say phew? Because, um PHEW!

*wipes sweat from brow from all the heavy counting*

So I tallied everyone's entries and then assigned each entry a number.

Which is why I know there were more than 600.

627 to be exact.

Then I used the true random number generator at random.org to pick the five winners. And you know what's REALLY cool? Each winner got either their first or second choice!

So. Over the weekend, the weather was AWESOME. I'm completely ready for spring. How about you guys?

Oh, what?

There's something else you want me to write about?

Ooooooooh! That's right!  


Alright, enough anticipation yet?? 

Without further ado...

Unless... I mean... Do you want further ado?


Are you sure?



In that case, I'm super happy to announce the following winners!!

Prize Package A: SIGNED copy of Fragile Eternity and The WD Guide to Query Letters

WINNER: Erika Robuck
Prize Package B: SIGNED copy of The Queen's Dollmaker and The Help by Kathryn Stockett

WINNER: Abby Annis
Prize Package C: The Everafter and 2010 Novel & Short Story Writer's Market

Prize Package D: LJ Smith's Vampire Diaries Series (Books 1-4 AND The Return: Volume 1)

WINNER: C.J. Redwine
Prize Package E: OPI Alice in Wonderland Giftset, Vera Bradley ID holder, and OPI Mad as a Hatter (regular sized bottle)
Note from Sara: A few of you may have noticed CJ's pressure on me via twitter to win this prize. I did NOT buckle under the pressure! Even when she threatened me with her spork of doom, I refused to give in. However, CJ must have some sort of weird ninja voodoo power over lucky numbers because hers was randomly selected.


Don't GO! 

I have ONE. MORE. THING. to share:

You know how sometimes you enter a contest and you want to win it SO bad? So you pull in as many points as you can? And then the time comes and you didn't win? I always believe the person who had the most entries totally deserves something, even if they weren't selected for one of the prizes. And because of this, there's one more winner!!

Prize for having most entries: $10 gift card for Borders

Thanks so much to everyone who participated! And a huge congratulations to all of the winners! Please send me an email with your mailing addresses--I'll get everything in the mail this week, I promise!!

♥ Sara

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alice in Wonderland: The movie, the book, the POLISHES...

(image found here)


I saw Alice in Wonderland two weekends ago. It. Was. Amazing.


It's PG. Usually I see a PG rating and head for the hills, but I just couldn't pass this one up. I loved every second of it. Johnny Depp is phenomenal as the Mad Hatter. Anne Hathaway played a great White Queen (even with her weird hand motions all over the place--they kinda grew on me, and I loved that she had that fascination with dead things/potions) and I loved Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen.

I saw the movie in 3D, which I highly recommend--though I'm sure even visuals in the regular versions are outstanding. The visuals--the creatures and the landscapes and, gosh, EVERYTHING--outstanding. At times, I definitely similarities to some of the scene/settings from LOTR, but I didn't mind even a little bit.


A couple weeks ago, I posted about these awesome old books I now own. And one of them? You guessed it--Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! AND it's a two-part book that also includes Through the Looking Glass. It was printed in 1946 and it's even illustrated. It's not in good condition, but as you already know (if you read the other post about old books) I could care less. I love it just the same!!

I took some pictures of fun things inside--enjoy!
I just love the little font representing the little voice!


In one of the prize packages for my contest (which ends today btw) I'm giving away a mini OPI Alice in Wonderland nail polish set. All the colors rock, but I got two colors for myself when I ordered the gift set. And I am OBSESSED. So I thought I'd show you what the colors look like in real life. To be honest the pictures don't really do them justice, because in real life these polishes POP. Trust me.

I definitely need to thank Derek Molata for introducing me to the OPI Alice in Wonderland polishes. While I sit here and stare at my blue sparkling toes, I can't help but to smile--and I owe it all to him! What can I say? The guy knows his polishes!

First up, we've got Mad as a Hatter:
It's pretty fierce. I painted a dark purple base underneath to keep the color a little darker, but it really is a glitzy glitter rainbow when you see it in real life. A definite keeper!

And next is my current fave--Absolutely Alice:

I love the royal blue glitter--and there are these super awesome flecks of gold... I'm a huge fan!

Let me just extend that a bit and say that I'm a huge fan of ALL things Alice in Wonderland! In case you didn't get that from this post =)

Have you seen the movie? What'd you think?

♥ me

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Funny

You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh.

 It's time for the Babbling Flow's Friday Funny!!

This one's for the girls... because you KNOW you can relate =)

Happy Friday! I'm off to the Virginia Festival of the Book for the weekend.

♥ Sara

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Today, I blogged about how truly uncomfortable I can make people--including teens who are innocently reading on the metro.

Check it out over on The YA-5!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

6 Day Countdown! And MORE Signed Book/ARC Giveaways!

Just a reminder that my March Madness contest ends next Tuesday!

In case you need a refresher:

There are 12 prizes combined into five packages... which means FIVE winners!


And it's really easy to enter. ALL you have to do is be my b-buddy and fill out the first part of the form (link above) to rank the prizes. That's all!

Of course, there are lots of ways to get extra points! Click here to read how.

Also, because I KNOW you all love signed books--you should know that Shannon Messenger is giving away an AWESOME one! 

You ready for this? 

You sure? 

Okay--it's Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick!! So hurry over and sign up because you KNOW you want it!

And finally, remember how I won an ARC of Lisa Mantchev's Perchance to Dream? With this ridiculous vlog? Well, I finished reading it a couple days ago and it. is. awesome. And I am SO not sharing my ARC, sorry. I love it too much.  BUT you're in luck. Because Lisa's having another contest--and it's WAY easier--so get over there and enter immediately!

She's having The Great Dessert-Off (PTD ARC Contest)! Trust me, if you like dessert (and you want to win an awesome book) this is the perfect contest for you. 

Seriously, what the heck are you still doing here? GO!

PS. If you friend me on goodreads, you can read my review of PTD: Click here to friend me!

OMG, why are you STILL READING THIS? Go, enter, win books and other fun things!

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!! Hope you're wearing green! 
What? You're not? 
♥ Sara

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Signings

Over the weekend I went to a signing by Maggie Stiefvater. And I was totally impressed. (I mean, even more so than the fact that she wrote one of my favorite books of all time.)

In all honesty I was only there for about seven minutes. I, being the blonde that I am, left my house in Northern Virginia at 12. The signing started in Charlottesville at 1. Um, yeah. It takes 2 hours to get there from my house. Woops! So, I made it there by 2. And I'd previously planned to meet a friend for Alice in Wonderland at 2:35 in a different part of town. Sara=Einstein with time management. So I didn't have a chance to stick around (though Sara also=super shy and probably would have been too shy hang around anyway).

But still, I am really glad I went. Aside from getting to meet one of my favorite authors, in those seven minutes, here are a few of the things I was impressed with/learned:
  • IMPRESSED: Maggie was super laid-back and friendly. Clearly comfortable in her surroundings, she was joking around and made the entire atmosphere seem relaxed. 
  • LEARNED: We were talking about my crit partners (because obviously I got all of them signed copies of Shiver) and she remarked that we sounded like good writers.  I mumbled something like, "Well they are... We'll see how I do." And then she dropped this goldmine: "You rise to the level of your peers." Which, 1) made sense, and 2) made me super excited because my peers are pretty freaking amazing.
  • LEARNED: It's okay to beat up on your husband as long as it's in the name of research for a book. Maggie even hit her unsuspecting love with a guitar to see what sound he'd make. (It was ow, followed by something hyphenated, just use your imagination.) I've already got some "research" ideas in mind to try out on my own husband =) (just kidding!) (okay, not really...)
  • IMPRESSED: Maggie didn't want to murder me (or chose not to remark upon it if she did) for the cramping her hand had to have felt from all the books I asked her to sign. (What? I wanted copies for my CPs/friends and I might, just might, have gotten a copy for an upcoming giveaway...)
And now that I have my own shiny signed copy, I'm dying to reread Shiver. I was going to try and hold out until right before Linger releases, but I just can't wait. I'll read it once now and then again in July. (Excuse me while I go cry again over not winning an ARC of Linger... *SOB*) So, when I make it through the next few books on my TBR list, I'll definitely be diving back into Shiver. AND look at the awesome wine I got to drink while I read! Seriously, if I thought she'd accept wine from a stranger, I'd send Maggie a bottle.

Seriously, how perfect?

(The wine is from a VA winery--Sweely Estate Winery--and is a blend of merlot and cabernet franc. I have no idea if it's any good, but I'll be sure to let ya know!)

PS. even though you can't see all the books in that left column--that's my current TBR pile. 

You know how some girls fantasize about Brad Pitt? Well, I fantasize about book signings--my own book signings. And now I know a little bit more about how I'd like them to go if that time ever comes my way.

♥ Sara 

Monday, March 15, 2010

I Cheated

Writing a PG love scene is IMPOSSIBLE.

Seriously. When I think PG, I think Lilo and Stitch. And you KNOW Lilo's not fishing for trouser trout when she's out with Stitch. Why? Because PG sex scenes do. not. exist.

And yet, somehow, Simon was kind of cajoled into hosting this PG Love Scene Blogfest. And then, in turn, he forced me to participate... Yep, he stuck a gun against my ear until I signed up. I should have just told him to go ahead and shoot me.

So, yes, I cheated. My scene is definitely not PG. I couldn't do it. I went with PG-13 instead. I did stick with the rules otherwise though. (kind of)

The rules were:
  • A short love scene between two characters (yes, two, ‘cause if it’s a threesome or better, it sure as hell ain’t PG!)
  • The reader needs to understand that the act of love is occurring, but the language must remain MG/PG.
  • You may not fade to black because that would be cheating. 

Um, so here's my entry:

When his fingers graze my shin, I know it’s starting. I push up onto my elbows and smile at him, so he understands I’m okay with it. It was my idea, after all. My idea for the picnic. My idea for the secluded spot at the foot of the hill. And my idea to mix vodka into a half empty 20-ounce Sprite bottle—just to see what would happen.

As if we didn’t already know.

His hand works its way up past my knee and I find I can’t meet his eyes anymore, so I lay back on the blanket to stare at the sky. A few puffs of grayish white speckle an otherwise pale blue. And far in the distance are darker storm clouds, but they won’t reach us for a while. It’s not perfect, but it’s close enough.

I can’t quite figure out what to do with my hands, so for now they go behind my head. He’s scooting closer, at the same slow speed as his hand traveling along my leg. I want to look at him, but my eyes refuse to move in his direction. He reaches my thigh and the pressure is just a little too much. I giggle. I can’t help it—I’m ticklish. He laughs too.

I know he’s looking at me. I can feel his gaze on my face. A moment passes, and then another. I watch a cloud wander by overhead. I feel the change in pressure a second before he starts to pull his hand away, so I catch it with mine and slide it closer to the hemline of my skirt. I leave my hand on top of his, for a second, enjoying the warmth. It seems to match the liquid heat working its way down my stomach.

The wind picks up a bit and the trees begin to sway. I watch the branches dance and wonder if they’re really moving in perfect rhythm or if the vodka’s helped the tango tempo playing in my mind.

And then he’s kissing me and my hand weaves into his hair. His kiss is messy, but not sloppy; relief mingles with regret when his fingers work their way over my skirt instead of under it. But then his hand grazes my hip and rests at my side, his thumb stroking my stomach through my shirt. And next my ribs. He rolls his fingers across each one, like a piano. I wait for the laughter to choke my throat—but it never comes. Why doesn’t this tickle? The thought disappears as soon as it flits through my mind, though, because he begins to trace lazy figure eights around my collarbone. I suddenly can’t remember out how to swallow. When I do, it sounds like someone stepping in mud—so loud—and now mortification mixes with…whatever else this is I feel. Need?

A shift in weight and he’s laying beside me, sliding his hand back down the way it came. When his lips travel to my throat, my eyes open, for a brief moment, in shock at the electricity bouncing across my skin. I notice, distractedly, that the storm clouds are closer now, faster than I thought they’d be. But when his fingers slide under my shirt, when he smoothes his hand along my skin, everything hazes into a bright white and I stop seeing anything at all.

I realize, at some point, that I’m moving. With eyes still closed, it’s almost like floating in the ocean. Waves rolling under my back, lifting my hips and washing over my toes.

And he rides the same current—shares each crest. When the first fat drops of water splash from the sky—we’re too busy floating together to notice.

But after, when I lean my head back against his shoulder, I open my mouth to catch the rain.

PS. To read everyone else's entries, click here.
PPS. Alexandra posted about duets--music for writing--over the weekend, make sure you don't miss it because it's the first in a series =) (click here)

♥ Sara

Friday, March 12, 2010

How to Write a Query In 40 Easy Steps (Friday Funny)

Thanks to the ever fabulous CJ Redwine for allowing me to steal her post... For the original, click here. (And be sure to follow her blog. She's funny, likes loves Johnny Depp/stilettos, and knows her sheeyat. For reals.)

How to Write a Query in 40 Simple Steps

A query is the one-page letter you send to agents and publishers pitching your novel.

1. Pour yourself a small glass of gin & tonic.
2. Sip slowly, savoring the taste, as you carefully list your novel's main characters and conflicts.
3. Struggle to label your work with the appropriate genre.
4. Pour more gin and tonic to boost brain power.
5. Craft a first sentence that both grabs the reader's attention and conveys the essence of your novel.
6. Re-read first sentence.
7. Acknowledge that first sentence is absolute crap and delete the entire thing.
8. Pour more gin and tonic, minus the tonic.
9. Skip first sentence and dive into character descriptions.
10. Re-read character descriptions.
11. Acknowledge that character descriptions cannot be three paragraphs each and delete all but a few sentences.
12. Drain gin bottle.
13. Toss in a few sentences describing the conflict.
14. Re-read sentences describing conflict.
15. Acknowledge that the conflict sounds rather weak.
16. Toss in a conflict that isn't 
actually in the novel but could be, if the agent asks for a partial.
17. Wander to the kitchen for more gin.
18. Wonder what idiot put that wall in your way.
19. Return to desk.
20. Re-read query.
21. Drink two swallows of gin straight from the bottle.
22. Decide that "I have a fiction novel that totally kicks Dean Koontz's sorry keister" is an acceptable first sentence.
23. Study the problem of deciding on a genre.
24. Take a few swallows of gin for fortification.
25. Realize you now see two keyboards on your desk instead of one. Choose which one to use.
26. Type madly for thirty seconds before realizing you are simply banging on your desk.
27. Swallow some gin and choose the other keyboard.
28. Decide that literary-paranormal-romantic-suspense-thriller-with-historical-sci-fi-elements is an acceptable genre for your novel.
29. Re-read query.
30. Insert adverbs generously and prolifically throughout to spice up the prose.
31. Print.
32. Spend five minutes cursing the foul beast of a computer for refusing such a simple request.
33. Turn printer on.
34. Print.
35. Sign name.
36. Realize you've misspelled your name.
37. Curse the gin.
38. Apologize to the gin.
39. Re-print, re-sign, seal in an envelope.
40. Send query.

You don't even have to tell me this made you laugh. Because if you've ever tried to write a query, I KNOW it did!  

Um, and for the record, CJ gives these super awesome query/synopsis critiques/workshops--for, like, practically nothing. So sign up if you need help. I just finished her query workshop and she friggin' ROCKED it!  Check her offerings out HERE.

♥ Sara

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I just wanted to make sure nobody missed out on Carol's hysterical post: How to be Musically Creepy.  It's odd--and it's definitely creepy. And if you're in need of a weirded out laugh, it's the perfect thing to read today!

This is Carol. She's hot so you'd never believe the stuff her twisted mind comes up with ;-)

Seriously, go check it out!

Monday, March 8, 2010

In My Mailbox (Be Jealous) #1

Over the weekend, I opened the door TWICE for fabulous deliveries!!

The first was an ARC of Lisa Mantchev's Perchance to Dream! I'm reading it right now and it. is. so. good. You might remember this ridiculous vlog I created in an effort to win a copy. And you know what? Going all out and making a fool of myself worked like a charm!

The second package was a signed (and personalized!) copy of Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale. You might be wondering how I got so lucky. Well, I'd answer, it's because Shannon Messenger is a fabulous friend and GOT IT FOR ME.

So, that's all for today's post. Sorry, but I've got some serious reading to accomplish!!

♥ Sara 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Friday Funny... A Day Early

If for any reason you've ever had the desire to see me publicly humiliate myself, today's your lucky day.

See, I'm a part of The YA-5, a new group blog dedicated to YA information, 5 days a week, with a heavy emphasis on the teen perspective. Today's my first day to post--and I thought I'd kick it off with a bang.

Or a laugh.

By creating a vlog with every. single. embarrassing. high school photo I could find. To show what it was like back when I had the teen perspective.

So go. Check it out. Stay a while. Enjoy a good laugh at the awful, awkward pictures ;-)

My post is here: http://theya5.blogspot.com/2010/03/teen-perspective.html
The blog, should you choose to stay a while (and you should!) is here: http://theya5.blogspot.com/

♥ Sara

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Smell of Old Books.

What is the most precious, the most exciting smell awaiting you in the house when you return to it after a dozen years or so? The smell of roses, you think? No, moldering books. ~ Andre Sinyavsky

That aroma, bookish and musty and... mmmm I can't even find the right word to describe it. But it's one of those things that uplifts me no matter WHAT type of mood I'm in.

Alexandra is blogging about old books today. When she told me, I jumped at the chance to post about the same topic!! (Make sure you read hers too.)

You see, I recently received some books from my Nana. They're in way bad condition, but they are also WONDERFUL.


I don't have a place for them yet. I'm kind of envisioning our next house having shelves built into the walls in a writing study. They would look so pretty lining built-in shelves. Even in the condition they are!

For now, I'm just enjoying staring at them, and opening them at random to sniff. Eventually, I'll start reading them.

They're all really great, but before my battery died I took some pictures of a few of my faves:

1st Edition of Jungle Tales of Tarzan
A note I found in Legends and Lyrics. SO COOL.

Only 1000 copies printed! 

I could seriously post a million pictures. I LOVE this stuff. And I can't tell you how badly I wish I could blog the smell. It's enough to make a girl swoon!

I'm sooooo tempted to list an inventory, but I can already see your eyes glazing over while thinking about it. So I'll spare you. For now. dun dun DUNNNN.

Old books that have ceased to be of service should no more be abandoned than should old friends who have ceased to give pleasure. ~ Sir Peregrine Worsthorne

Do you keep old books? If so, do you actually read them--or do you just enjoy the look/feel/scent from time to time? :-)

♥ me