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The Everyday Thoughts and Tidbits that catch my fancy - Look! A squirrel!

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

YA Author Interview: Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse.

Courtney Summers' new book, Fall For Anything, is to be released December 21/2010, by St. Martin's Press. Courtney is represented by Amy Tipton of Signature Literary Agency.

CS: Welcome to Musings, Courtney. Tell us about Fall for Anything. How was your story birthed? What was your motivation?

Courtney Summers
: Fall for Anything is a contemporary YA novel about a girl named Eddie, who is trying to find out the reason why her father killed himself. She meets a young man named Culler, who seems to hold the key to the mystery surrounding her father's death and an instant and dangerous attraction begins... [this is where the ominous music goes!]

I'm quite fascinated with grief and loss and that inescapable reality of losing people and how we cope with it when we do. I'm interested in the questions that kind of loss inspires. I like to write to make sense of it, but usually I just end up with more questions! In this case, all those questions became a book. But I think it's important to ask them out loud, so that was my motivation for writing Fall for Anything.

CS: What messages/life lessons did you wish to teach your readers in Fall For Anything?

Courtney Summers: Honestly, when I write, my goal is to be as honest with myself and as true to my characters and their situations as possible. What messages people take away from my books, what they feel they've learned from them--if anything--is entirely up to them.

CS: Looking back on the writing of Fall for Anything, is there anything you would have done differently?

Courtney Summers: Fall for Anything was a tough book to write, and there are certainly times I wish it had been easier, but that's true for all of my books! If I was given the opportunity to change something, I don't think I could. As they stand, I can look at each one of my books and remember where I was at mentally when I wrote it, what was going on in my life at the time. It's a snapshot of where I was at as a writer as well. I want to preserve that.

CS: What part of writing is easiest for you? And the hardest?

Courtney Summers: Oooh! This is a hard question because that varies from book to book. More often than not (but occasionally not!), the beginning, starting a novel, is the easiest part of writing. You get all caught up with the idea. It's the honeymoon stage! Then you hit the middle. The middle, sorting everything out, is the hardest part of writing for me for me. That, and the last line. I always want to get the last line exactly right.

CS: What advice would you give aspiring authors about getting into the game? What do you know now that you wish you knew back when you started in the business?

Courtney Summers
: I would tell them to be prepared to get rejected A LOT. That's pretty much a given, but some people really don't anticipate how hard it can be when you start submitting and getting turned down. Perseverance is REALLY key. It's also critical not to let anyone talk them out of writing. Some people think writing is a frivolous pursuit and actively discourage you from doing it. If you love it and it makes you happy, don't stop. One thing I wish I'd known before getting into this business was how it moves on its own time! Sometimes things move reaaaaaalllllly slowly and other times they move incredibly fast. It's a bit of a rollarcoaster. :)

CS: What was the wisest thing about writing that was ever said to you?

Courtney Summers: Family and friends told me to just go straight at it. And I try to do that every time I sit down to write.

CS: Tell us about your next book.

Courtney Summers: I'm a bit superstitious--it's in such early stages, all I can comfortably say is that a 4th book by me is in the works. :)

Thank you, Courtney, for doing this interview, and good luck with Fall For Anything. And have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Jeff Foxworthy's View on Canadians

This was an email I received that I'd like to share with you:

Forget Rednecks, here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Canucks.

If your local Dairy Queen is closed from

September through May,

You may live in Canada.

If someone in a Home Depot store

Offers you assistance and they don't work there,

You may live in Canada .

If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time,

You may live in Canada .

If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation

With someone who dialed a wrong number,

You may live in Canada .

If 'Vacation' means going anywhere

South of Detroit for the weekend,

You may live in Canada .

If you measure distance in hours,

You may live in Canada .

If you know several people

Who have hit a deer more than once,

You may live in Canada .

If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C'

In the same day and back again,

You may live in Canada .

If you can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow

During a raging blizzard without flinching,

You may live in Canada .

If you install security lights on your house and garage,

But leave both unlocked,

You may live in Canada .

If you carry jumper cables in your car

And your wife knows how to use them,

You may live in Canada .

If you design your kid's Halloween costume

To fit over a snowsuit,

You may live in Canada .

If the speed limit on the highway is 80 km --

You're going 90 and everybody is passing you,

You may live in Canada .

If driving is better in the winter

Because the potholes are filled with snow,

You may live in Canada .

If you know all 4 seasons:

Almost winter, winter, still winter,

And road construction,

You may live in Canada .

If you have more miles

On your snow blower than your car,

You may live in Canada .

If you find 2 degrees 'a little chilly',

You may live in Canada .

If you actually understand these jokes,

And forward them to all

Your Canadian friends and others,

You definitely live in Canada .

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday Teasers - The Mushy Stuff

Harry Potter update:
I'm halfway through The Philosopher's Stone. Those Dursley's are a dastardly clan! Tell me Harry never has to go back to them! No, don't tell me. I won't have time to finish reading it for a couple of days.

I was surprised that no one guessed all the ZOMBIE novels in last week's teasers.
Yes, the first one is indeed -

1) The Reckonimg by Kelley Armstrong

2) You Are So Dead To Me by Stacey Jay

3) The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

This week, we get into the hot and heavy stuff. At least as hot as they let it get in YA fiction.

1) Bryce: My Mom didn't understand why it was so awful that "that cute girl" had held my hand. She thought I should be friends with her. "You like soccer. Why don't you go out there and kick the ball around?"
Because I didn't want to be kicked around, that's why. And although I couldn't say it like that at the time, I still had enough sense at age seven and a half to know that Julianna Baker was dangerous.
Julianna: What did a kiss feel like anyway? Somehow I knew it wouldn't be like the one I got from Mom or Dad at bedtime. The same species, maybe, but a radically different beast. Like a wolf and a whippet. Only science would put them in the same tree. Looking back, I like to think it was at least partly scientific curiosity that made me chase after that kiss, but it was probably more those blue eyes.
(Steamy enough for you?) ;0)

2) What if love is stronger than time?
What if love is stronger than death?

It starts in prehistory. A young man and a young woman fight over a precious jewel. Their time together is short, but the reverberations are lasting.
Years pass. Generations pass. But fate keeps drawing them together. Whenever their paths cross, there is that strange attraction. That unexplainable affinity. That feeling that they have been together before.
Theirs is a love haunted by history. From Egyptian slavery to Greek society. From Massachusetts witch trials to Civil War battlefields. From Paris in the 1930's to the present day. Circumstances will fight them...but a greater force will reunite them. Because some people are meant for each other - no matter how long it takes.

3) I looked at Abra (Mom) standing near my door. A part of me wanted to tell her about Manny. How I was still crazy about him, how he hardly looked at me except to ask about Spanish homework. How I was still insane over him, and had she ever felt like that? Maybe she'd look at me like she did some of the women, grasping both of my hands in hers, looking in my eyes and saying exactly the right thing to make me know it would be all right.
But we didn't have conversations like that. And if I told her, she'd probably go into some big lecture on female-male attraction and how it would fade eventually and that it wasn't love, which was "far more complex and messy than infatuation," as she'd said to me once.
"Boyfriend," I said. "That's the word I believe you want. And no, I don't have one. Significant or otherwise."

Do any of these steamy teen romance reads ring a bell?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Letter To Santa

Dear Santa,

Yes it's me again. I swear I've been good this year, so there is no reason to ban me from the community festivities. I promise not to embarrass you in front of your wife and the elves at the mall this year. I apologize for my over-zealous behavior last Christmas season. I only wanted a snippet of your beard as a reminder of our experience together.
Don't let the letter I sent to the editor of the local paper dissuade you from putting me on the Nice List; that was simply an exercise in putting emotion into my writing. You may not agree with my choice of emotion, but that wasn't the point of the exercise. I felt it was necessary to point out the error of their thinking in the planning of a school so near to a residential area already clogged with brats and potential future hoodlums.
And the incident with the firecrackers tied to the tail of my neighbour's German Shepard was simply an experiment on the possible speed that such a breed is capable of. I might need to know such information for a future novel.
It could happen.
The fact that he's bitten me twice was irrelevant.
Please dismiss any notice that my previous employer may have sent your way about the ex lax in the cake served at his retirement party. Considering the constipated look he chronically wore, I figured I was doing him a favor.
As for the bomb scare I am accused of perpetrating at the neighborhood police station, I was conducting research into the response time of their bomb squad. Better that they not know it's a drill, in order for them to properly prepare themselves for an actual scare. I was just doing my duty as a concerned citizen.
All I ask from you for Christmas is a small favor; you simply need to convince Janet Reid that - regardless of the fact that she doesn't represent middle grade/young adult authors - my paranormal MG mystery is exactly what she is looking for in the New Year. It won't cost a dime; I sure you can convince/cajole/bride/blackmail her into such a simple request. And don't think you can squirm your way out of producing these results for me. I have a couple of incriminating photos of you and I on the beach in Belize earlier this year...

Sincerely Yours, Forever and Ever,
Your Sweet Snookums,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Outrageous Claims

 Do you see the outrageous claim I've made in the right hand side bar? Some nerve, eh?
I found Peggy Bechko's blog today, and she introduced me to I Write Like. It's a statistical analysis tool that compares your writing to that of famous authors. I choked on my rice cake (caramel, in case you're interested) when Stephen King's name popped up after I submitted the first few paragraphs of Witches Don't Wear Socks. At least it's a tool with some humor.  Like Stephen writes MG ghost stor... Forget I said anything.

Try it out; it's good for a laugh, at least.

Who do you write like?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THE HATING GAME -Talli Roland's Debut Available Today!

The Hating Game - Cover

Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at and by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback. Keep up with the latest at


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?