Saturday, January 29, 2011

Amy's List of Awesome (1)

First, A Short Intro
I read a ton of blogs, and for a long time, I've been trying to figure out the best way to share the wealth of great content I come across with those of you who read this blog, but maybe don't have time for all blogs. Doing link round-ups always made me feel terribly defeated because they were so time consuming. So, I've decided that I'll try to limit myself to around 5 items of things I think are REALLY cool that I've come across on the internet, or people have sent to me, etc., along with any other announcements I need to make about this blog and my own projects. If you are interested in all of the things I think are worth sharing, I suggest subscribing to my shared items in google reader or occasionally checking out the little box in the sidebar. Because I use a different email address for google reader, you might not find me there automatically.

So this week's list of awesome!

Jennifer Trafton's Query Letter
You may remember that I interviewed Jennifer back in December, that she's the author of the well reviewed (and hopefully soon to be reviewed on this blog) middle grade book, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic. She was also an attendee at Hutchmoot 2010, and is a very nice person. She tweeted this link to her query letter and wow! You will definitely want to read her book once you read it. Also, I dare you not to proceed to read every query letter with agent analysis on the site. I spent a good hour of my life doing that. Fascinating stuff. But Jennifer's is so clever and fun, you'll probably rush right out the door to buy her book once you're read it. Just don't forget to come back here.

Jason is one of the best bloggers I know at reading a book and then actually raising a discussion about the issues instead of writing OMG I LOVED IT! Which is what I end up doing sometimes. He tackles sexual heterogenity (heterogenity! New word for me!) in a recent post and in comments I come clean about how much this lifestyle fascinates me. Go on now, be appalled at me and read all the really smart comments made by others.

Speaking of personal blogs, Claudia Mair Burney, awesome author of Wounded and other books, keeps one of the most raw and honest blogs I know. She loves God very much, so if this is a turn-off for you, you won't enjoy it, but I LOVE it. Also she's just such a beautiful writer and her rough first draft of the first chapter of her memoir is posted and it's stunning.

This item's a bit older, but I think it's a piece of sheer brilliance. Lisa McKay, author of the stellar My Hands Came Away Red (is pregnant! but that's not what I'm going to talk about) coined the term Amazturbation to refer to author's checking their sales ranking on Amazon. I seriously almost spit out my drink when I read this. Yes checking blog stats has got to be a similar phenomenon. (Did I just lose readers for posting this?)

No this is not a writing blog, but yes, my last link is also from a writer's blog. As one of the few people, it seems, who was a huge fan of The Girl Who Stopped Swimming I loved this post on Joshilyn Jackson's blog. She's talking about taking risks and changing things up in your writing in order to create conflict and tension. This is the part I loved:

I drowned a girl I loved once. I fought the scene, looked SO hard for a way out for her—Nope.

In the end, she said it was okay.

“You couldn’t help it,” she told me. “I was a Christ figure. If you don’t have the spine to kill Christ, how do you ever get to Easter?”

She was RIGHT. I wrote the whole book to get to Easter… And you know what? She came back. In this new book I just finished, I found my dead girl lurking in the guise of a new character. She looks a little different, but I recognized the substance of her. She was exactly herself, without the symbolism. Reader, I SAVED her. She gets SO saved in this book it isn’t even funny. She gets the love she was so hungry for in the other book, too, in a little aside I tucked in there all for me and her and you, too, beloveds, if you have been paying very close attention, you will know her. OH, it felt SO good to give the scene to her, at least, at last.

So that's a few notable reads of the week!

What's Coming Up?

So glad you asked! I'm currently reading The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman, which is so unexpectedly fabulous I'm just beside with my joy! A review of that will be coming up today or tomorrow, and there are likely to be several reviews this week of current titles as I somehow managed to over commit myself. Furthermore, there will be another #CFChat Monday at 1 PM EST/10 AM EST and we'll be talking GENDER and Christian fiction (yes men I noticed you were MISSING last Monday)!

I want to remind you as well of Frederick Buechner week coming up at the end of February. If you're interested in contributing, shoot me an email and let me know (I do not have any more books to send). I'll be buckling down and working out some details this week and I'm really looking forward to it.

And I'll be putting together a schedule and sign-up for the John Adams readalong as well. Not to mention that we'd love to have you pop in for discussion on Certain Women on the 26th. Community reading can be found here, yes it can.

A Few Other Announcements

I am Jodie's little helper on Nerds Heart YA this year and the application for judging is now open! I have buckets of admiration for Jodie who manages projects extremely well. Nerds Heart YA is going on its third year, and seeks to recognize under-recognized YA books of diversity in many areas. I REALLY hope you'll consider participating because it's LOADS AND LOADS of fun.

And speaking of books and awards and trying to find the right ones, we're accepting applications for a board member on the INSPYs. We're actually hoping to find more than one person and if you have any interest at all, I hope you'll consider applying. If that's too much of a commitment, we also have some support positions opening up once we fill the board, so stay tuned.

Happy Sunday All! What will you be reading today?


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