All tagged Guest Post

Guest Post: TOWARD THE SKY by Cordelia Jensen

I'm happy to host Cordelia Jensen as part of YA Readers' Debut Author Bash event. I read and loved Cordelia's debut, Skyscraping, and am thrilled to introduce her to more readers. 

It is hard for me to describe my debut YA verse novel SKYSCRAPING (out this June from Philomel/Penguin) without telling my life story. This is what happens:

“You have a book coming out! How cool, what’s it about?” asks Random Stranger.

I think it’s important to know that I’m sort of a people pleaser. So I hesitate, partly because I think they might want me to tell them a high-concept story summary and partly because what I am about to share feels too personal for this level of exchange.

Guest Review: Tricks by Ellen Hopkins (Allie of In Bed with Books)

Full confession: before Tricks, I had never read an Ellen Hopkins' novel. Novels in verse are right up my alley, but I just couldn't get over my perception of Hopkins as the drug writer. 

Reading about people getting hooked on drugs and terrible things happening seemed about as interesting as listening to a friend tell you about that totally awesome trip they had once.  But I saw her speak at the Montgomery County Book Festival, and she spoke very passionately and personally about the books she writes.  I chose to read her 2009 release, Tricks, because the sequel, Traffick, is coming out this November.

Verse Novels: The Last Five Years by Stasia Ward Kehoe

When Sarah asked if I’d like to write a post for her fourth VERSE NOVEL celebration, I started reflecting on how the genre has fared between the publication of THE SOUND OF LETTING GO this past February and 2011, when I launched my YA debut, AUDITION. Here are a few of my personal thoughts and observations:

Guest Post: Caroline Starr Rose on Young Readers and the Magic of Verse Novels

Today I'm thrilled to welcome to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves novelist Caroline Starr Rose, author of the critically-acclaimed May B and a new novel, Blue Birds, both middle grade historical novels in verse.

I posed this question to her: Some of my favorite verse novels are in the middle grade category--why do you think the verse format works so well for young readers? And she had a great answer for me!

Young readers are still open minded. They haven’t been around long enough to decide they don’t like a certain writing style before trying it. While I’ve heard adults talk about how strange a verse novel looks on the page and feels as reading material, I’ve never heard a kid say this. 

Guest Post: Author Melanie Crowder on Writing History in Verse

You know we love verse novels here at Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, so it's no wonder that Melanie Crowder's historical novel in verse is one we're all looking forward to.

Here's the summary:

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history.

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000. 

Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

I'm happy to welcome Melanie to the blog--she's going to share a bit about the unique opportunity to translate history through verse novels. 

Guest Review: The Inkworld Series by Cornelia Funke

There are books that are relevant only for a certain part of your lives, and then there are those that stand the test of time, change and experience. I decided to re-read the Inkworld trilogy by Cornelia Funke this summer, a series my sister and I had enjoyed as kids.

(As a side-note, take a moment to enjoy these gorgeous covers. There are illustrations at the start and end of each chapter as well as quotes from other writers/books at the start of each chapter.)

What can be better than a series about books, stories and fantasy worlds? 

For an avid reader, it is sort of perfect when someone finds words to replicate their exact feelings about the joys of reading and books. How many times have we spent late nights caught up in a book that refuses to let us go until we reach the end? How many days have we spent happily in the company of worlds, characters and stories about people and places we have never met, never been to and possibly never will? (Especially in the cases of fantasy literature) And how many times have we wished that those worlds could be real so we too could be a part of them?

Guest Post: Pema Donyo on YA & Happy Ever Afters

Note: This is a guest post from author & college student Pema Donyo. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn more about her. Also, there are spoilers for the happy endings of several books in this post--you've been warned. Another CEFS post dealing with similar concepts was written by Laura a couple years ago--check it out over here. 

Are you interested in writing a guest post for CEFS? Send us your idea via our contact page

Ruth Graham's "Against YA" op-ed in Slate caused many eyes to roll and many heads to nod. But a particular passage from the article has stayed with me:

These (Young Adult novel) endings are emblematic of the fact that the emotional and moral ambiguity of adult fiction—of the real world—is nowhere in evidence in YA fiction. These endings are for readers who prefer things to be wrapped up neatly, our heroes married or dead or happily grasping hands, looking to the future.

Guest Review: Journey to the River-Sea by Eva Ibbotson

This kind of fun will never fail to delight.

— Philip Pullman

Eva Ibbotson was an Austrian-born British writer. My first introduction to her was Journey to the River-Sea, and her later books, though still pretty good, could never match up to the magic and charm of the first, a book I still re-read today and enjoy as much.

Orphans form a large part of Ibbotson’s stories, which are usually set in the turn of the century England or Vienna. Journey to the River-Sea however is set in Manaus, in the heart of the Amazonian forest in Brazil. It is a different time and a different world. Electricity and the telegraph have already been discovered, but there are still many discoveries to be made and expeditions to be conducted in far-flung, exotic places, where the locals are still referred to as savages.

Verse Novel Throwback Thursday: Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff, by Racquel of The Book Barbies (Guest Post)

You ever laughed so hard
nobody in the world could hurt you for a minute,
no matter what they tried to do to you?

Make Lemonade by Virgina Euwer Wolff is an oldie (a 1993 release) but certainly a goodie novel. I read it during the 7th grade when I was learning English and I had zero idea what a verse novel is.  At the time, I figured I either stumbled upon 1) a novel that’s meant for my basic and simple reading level or 2) a poetry book. Seven years and definition of a verse novel later, I’ve now learned what a verse novel and read other verse novels but Make Lemonade remains special.

Viginia Euwer Wolff's groundbreaking novel, written in free verse, tells the story of fourteen-year-old LaVaughn, who is determined to go to college--she just needs the money to get there.

When she answers a babysitting ad, LaVaughn meets Jolly, a seventeen-year-old single mother with two kids by different fathers. As she helps Jolly make lemonade out of the lemons her life has given her, LaVaughn learns some lessons outside the classroom.

diVERSEity: Verse Novels with People of Color as Main Characters, by Skila Brown (Guest Post)

As we celebrate verse novels all this week, let’s take a moment to highlight those stories that feature a person of color as the main character. This is not a complete list, but a list of some of the best.

If you have favorites not listed below, tell us about them in the comments! 

The Good Braider by Terry Farish

Viola leaves war-torn Sudan for a new life in the United States. Such a great story of strength and loss of innocence. Beautiful cover! Beautiful writing!


Why Verse Novels Can Be About Anything, by Stasia Ward Kehoe (Guest Post)

Being verse novelist can make one feel defensive.  The form is subject to a lot of questions, such as:

WHAT is a verse novel?

HOW can you tell a story in poems?

WHY don’t you just write “normally”?

Imagine someone wanting Eminem to define “rap.” Demanding of Joss Whedon, “How come you don’t write stage plays instead of screenplays” or of dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, “How can you express narrative through movement without words”? What might the late Andy Warhol have said to somehow who asked why he didn’t just paint “realistically”?


Guest Post: Hannah Returns & Laments, "Writing is hard!"

Note from Sarah: You may remember Hannah's wonderful guest post last year in which she asked, "Has fiction ruined my life?"​ Well our favorite London teen is back, lamenting that while she loves writing, it's often a frustrating, solitary, crazy-making experience.

Sometime between the ages of four and five I officially decided I wanted to be a writer, and it was a decision I have suffered for ever since.  

In some far off ideal world, I would get an idea, I would write down said idea, it would make sense and there would be rainbows, and music would fill the land, and people would dance, and all would be well with the universe. But actually, when I sit down to write, I repeatedly succumb to inept feelings of inadequacy, which rather alarmingly seem to be increasingly growing in abruptness,  preventing me from feeling like I am progressing.

I think the problem is that I set my goals too high. It’s just that I feel like I would be able to write the best books in the world if  I could just expand t some of the half formulated ideas that dwell within the confinements of this 18 year old cranium to their full potential. To me, it seems as though there is a vast  ocean of unwritten novels that sloshes inside my thoughts, and in theory, I should be able to salvage handfuls of them whenever I feel like it.

Guest Post: Jonathan Winters, An Appreciation

Note from Sarah: This is a guest post from my wonderful husband, Josh. This week, his childhood favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, passed away, and Josh asked me if he could write something in memoriam, saying that Jonathan Winters was his Judy Blume. If you're so inclined, you can follow Josh on frequently-updated Tumblr or stalk him on his rarely-used Twitter account.

Sunday nights were for the Muppets and my life changed when Jonathan Winters appeared.  

With a few keystrokes, I can see that night was January 15 1980. Until I looked that up, it was just sometime when I was 5 or 6, or maybe even 7. I loved him, his maniac energy, his silly voices, and his larger than life presence were mesmerizing. This was someone who was silly, goofy and--my god--he was from DAYTON! 

This guy was from Dayton. Someone from where I was from was amazing and funny. This was my new hero, someone who made me laugh and who had the same points of reference I did.

At some point I realized "What? he was actually from Springfield!" Even closer, where the mall was! He could have gone to the same theatre as me to see ET  (this was in point of fact impossible since the mall was a long way off when he was there, but it didn't matter to my six-year-old).

I bugged my dad about more stories, learned how he studied art at the Museum, where I thought for the longest time he must have just walked around and looked at the pictures and drew them (funny I now ply my trade at is essentially one of these Museum schools). At the time is sounded like the education of a genius, and it still kind of does. I learned about his time on WHIO Radio, how he acted like a goofball on the air. 

I was a weird kid and I was proud that Jonathan Winters was a Reds fan like me.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of the WordCount Blogathon, a challenge in which over 250 bloggers from all niches attempt to blog every single day in May. Today, bloggers are swapping posts. My post today is over on Michelle’s blog, where I’m talking about mobile devices and blogging. I was thrilled when Michelle offered to guest blog on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, as she is a very accomplished writer and journalist who always has wonderful insights that she’s extremely generous about sharing. I know a lot of voracious readers are also aspiring writers, so Michelle’s thoughts on the lessons she’s learned from writers at the top of their game should be wonderfully useful to many of you.

The main difference between you and me and famous writers is that they’ve produced a work or works that through talent, ambition, hard work or good fortune have become well known.

When it comes to the process of writing, though, they’re just like us. They get caught up doing research. They get writer’s block. They’re not always sure of themselves, or organized. They write about what they know.

I learned those lessons and more from writers such as Annie Proulx and Stebastian Junger who I heard speak this year as part of an author lecture series sponsored by Portland Literary Arts, a local organization that promotes literature and literary. I won season tickets to the series in a Multnomah County Public Library summer reading program contest.

In addition to Proulx and Junger, since last October I’ve seen Stacy Schiff, Tom Brokaw and Abraham Verghese.