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October 29, 2010

Field Trip Friday, Twitter Version: October 29

Kate Hart

October 27, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: October's Best Book

Kate Hart
I didn't read a single book in October.

I know.

My excuse is the same as my excuse for not having commented on all of your RTW posts in several weeks - but I hate to make it, because one of my pet peeves is people who think they're busier than everyone else. So let's just say: Working 32 hours a week instead of 10 is kicking my ass.

So! It's looking like my "100 Books in 2010" goal is not going to happen. I think I can still make it to 50 though. And in the meantime, I'll give you a few books I have managed to read this month.

LEAVES by David Ezra Stein 
BIG PUMPKIN by Erica Silverman

(If bedtime books counted toward my total, and if I did the bedtime routine instead of the husband, I could reach a goal of over 1000. Really. 3 books per night x 365 days per year = 1095.)

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. We'd love for you to participate!

October 26, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Fall Fun

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: Taking a short break from writing-related posts to have some fun with the kids.

ONE: Animal Fun

PhotobucketA few years ago, I made a little book for my son's first trip to the zoo. On the drive over, we talked about the animals we'd see, and put stickers on their pages as we found their exhibits.

If you're not heading to the zoo any time soon, the book could also work as an indoor scavenger hunt with toy animals. You can download mine in PDF or Publisher, or it's super easy to make your own: Just look up your zoo's collection (or your kid's toys) and find corresponding clip art. You could also add some factoids or questions for older kids. (This particular book was made for the Tulsa Zoo.)

TWO: Pumpkin Faces

This is a fun way to use up old magazines. My oldest liked this project before, but this year he loved it - he made pumpkins for about three hours! Older kids could cut out their own faces; my boys just picked from cut outs and did the gluing. Magazines featuring Halloween costumes work especially well.


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(Left: 2 yr old, Right: 4 yr old)
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Do you have any special fall activities, to do with kids or without?

October 22, 2010

October 20, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Who's In The Passenger Seat?

Kate Hart
I liked the idea of using comp titles in my queries, because I wanted to show that I had done my research. But finding the right titles is tricky. You can't claim to be the next mega-bestseller, and you don't want to choose something obscure. Instead, agent Kristin Nelson says not to compare yourself to other authors- just mention that your work will appeal to their fans.

But I was still stuck, so I asked for help. Kirsten read my first query draft for Refuge and immediately said, "What sets this apart from Beautiful Creatures?" To which I immediately said, "....Crap, there's another southern witches YA already?" and rushed out to buy it.

Eventually I ended up with this highly refined *cough* recipe for Refuge: Toss Beautiful Creatures (for the hook) into a blender with Shiver (for the style) and mix with Friday Night Lights and/or the movie "Varsity Blues" (for the good 'ole boy factor). Add "y'alls" to taste.

Photobucket My contemporary was a little easier. Once I finished After The Fall, I made a point of seeking out books I thought might be comps, and settled on Story of a Girl and Jumping Off Swings. But then Michelle S. read it and suggested Some Girls Are, both for style and because the main characters have a certain... shall we say, similarity in likeability or lack thereof.

Later, as I talked to agents, John Green's Looking For Alaska was also mentioned a lot, probably because they share a "before and after" format. And now my agent has added Sarah Dessen and Elizabeth Scott to the mix! *insert heart attack here*

Picking comp titles is hard, but it helped me focus my pitch... and it's a great excuse to buy new books. Come play along with Road Trip Wednesday at YA Highway, tell us the comp titles for your works in progress, and get suggestions for other great books to read!

October 13, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday:

Kate Hart
Today at YA Highway, we want to hear your best lines. I've blogged at length about my favorite book openings here, here, here, here, here oh and here. So I'll just share the beginning of After The Fall.


Is that how we lived, then? But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Even this is as usual, now.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


I would share the first line of Refuge, but it's about to undergo some heavy duty reconstruction and currently lacks a first line... or opening scene, for that matter. But there's a little more about After the Fall here. :)

We'd love for you to participate in Road Trip Wednesday - just leave a link in the comments on YA Highway!

October 7, 2010

Websites and Winners!

Kate Hart
A month ago, I asked for help with my website revamp project, and y'all gave me some fantastic suggestions. You sent me to several sites I'd never seen before and even got me started on some FAQs!

Your suggestions had a lot in common. First of all:
And with good reason. Look how cute!


Her header is adorable, and the site itself is easy to use, which is something y'all mentioned a lot- top navigation with clear labels was very popular:

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Stephanie's site also makes good use of white space, another element many of you like:
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(I love that Cass suggested Emilia's site, because I took that picture of E on the right, when we were in LA!)

Of course as queen of the internet, Maureen Johnson has an appropriately awesome site. Labels at top, easy to navigate, and white space around the important parts.

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So. To thank you guys for giving me so much great info to work with, here's a little giveaway. I numbered the comments...

and went to for a number.
Congrats Sam! Let me know which online store and I'll email you a $15 gift card!

(By the way: I still owe several of you tote bags from... uh, last spring. I know. They're sitting in my dining room, where they've been sitting since... um, last spring. For real. I need to get addresses and I'll be sending around emails soon. Like really soon, not "six months from now" soon.)

Given my incredible punctuality, I'm sure this redesign will take no time at all.


October 6, 2010

Road Trip Wednesday: Which Way To The Beach?

Kate Hart
This week's prompt:  
You're packing for a month on a deserted island. What, as a reader and writer, must be in your backpack?

I may have over packed a little.

(All books are listed on my Goodreads except for Foxfire. My laptop is in my carry on.)

What's in your suitcase? Play along at YA Highway!

October 5, 2010

Two For Tuesday: Tumblr (again)

Kate Hart
What is it? Post two of anything: book reviews, pictures, quotes, poems, songs, videos, rants, shout outs, whatever floats your boat. Just connect them somehow. That's it.

Today: Tumblr. It's like here, only more random.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I started a Tumblr, in which I collect things that are too random to warrant an entire blog post here.

And because of Tumblr, writing this post has taken me about two hours already, because I keep getting distracted.

So I thought I'd pass on the distraction to y'all.

Two awesome author Tumblrs:
Cleolinda Jones
Courtney Summers (who I blame for this obsession in the first place)

Two awesome Tumblrs about books/authors:

Two awesome Tumblrs about semi-fictional characters:
EffYeah Lady Gaga
EffYeah Dwight Schrute

Two awesome Tumblrs on totally random topics:

Find something fun? Please leave me the link- I can always use more distraction random.

October 3, 2010

An Almost Perfect Weekend

Kate Hart
Photobucket Friday: Went to local drive-through safari and petting zoo with kids, sister, her kids and my mom. Had a Mexican food picnic. Goat tried to eat our paper towels. Got to pet a kangaroo.

Baby tiger growled at me. Capuchin monkeys escaped from their cage and ran around like... well, like wild monkeys. One jumped in the wagon with our kids and promptly peed all over them.

Did not manage to sneak my way close enough to pet the escaped lion cub. Probably for the best.

Dinner with the fam. Only bummer - husband had to work late. Even this is okay, as it reminds me that I prefer to be with him and not without.

Photobucket Saturday: Slept in. Watched OU beat Texas. Fried everything not nailed down in kitchen, including jalapeños and tofu. Ate too much crab rangoon. Got dressed in ensemble including boots (always a plus), striped Halloween knee socks (awesome needs no explanation) and the lucky duck panties I thought I lost years ago (should clean my dresser more often).

Went to see my favorite band on their farewell tour. They played a three hours set with several of my favorites, two of my favorite covers, and skipped the two most overplayed radio hits.

PhotobucketWeather was freezing. I danced wrapped in a blanket, which was great, because I didn't have to worry about what to do with my arms. This is usually an issue when I dance.

Downsides - BFF not in attendance. But it's okay, because she's in England and having fun and epiphanies and whatnot. Also, you know, farewell tours being what they are, I probably will never get to see the Crowes again. But I've seen them four times, which is more than most people.

Sunday: Slept in. Ate leftover fried food for breakfast. Worked in garden all day. Children were adorable and helpful. Didn't even take pictures, just enjoyed it all. Ate leftover fried chickenfor dinner- in a salad, to counteract several days of grease. Wrote this post. Got distracted by Crowes videos on Tumblr. Off to beta a book everyone wants to read, and will in 2011.

Only downside - Sundays are followed by Mondays. But it's okay. So far as day jobs go, mine's not that bad.

What's your ideal weekend?

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