Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Post Where I Update You :)

Book Signing: I will be in New York this week for Chapter by Chapter Book Rave. I'm super excited about this book signing. I've never been to New York and I can't wait to meet local readers! The signing is Saturday September 20th. You can find all the details, HERE.

LGBT Center Donation: I'm "officially" done collecting clothes for the LGBT Youth Center in LA. I currently have a corner of my office full, three boxes in my trunk and two in my garage! Because I'll be gone this week, and since I won't be going to take the clothes in until the end of the month, I can continue to accept donations through Monday the 22nd. They must be in on that date because I'll be making my trip to LA soon after. I'll post a picture soon and show you guys how awesome you are with all the donations you sent in. I'm really honored. I'll post the winner of this giveaway next week. Remember it's for a signed copy of ALL my books! PS... I got a big box all the way from London, you guys! How amazing is that? If you have no idea what I am talking about, you can find my original post, HERE. Oh, I'll also be taking pictures and maybe some video when Melissa and I go in to make the donation. I'll share that as well!


Books: I've gotten a lot of messages and questions about books. I assure you I have been busy, busy! I have more than one book in the works right now, one finished and the other is with beta readers. I should have more info to share with you soon but until then, I'll leave you with an unedited excerpt of the book I just finished. It's called THE WEIGHT OF DESTINY. This is what I call my Virginia Woolf story. Enjoy Ryder and Virginia. I'm pretty in love with them. :)

“You’re strong and beautiful,” I tell her

Virginia chuckles softly and shakes her head.

“It’s just a different kind of strength. You are who you are and you don’t care what people think. You don’t care if you’re sober at a party where everyone is drinking. You don’t give a shit if you’re the girl who leaves to do her homework because that’s important to you.”

“Is it still strength if the reason behind it is fear?” She sounds like she’s drifting away, her voice getting softer and softer. I need to reel her back in, keep her close so I roll to my side. Lean my head into my hand and let my elbow prop me up. With my other one, I brush her cheek with my thumb.

“I don’t know. You’re the smart one. Regardless, I know you’re strong.” Because I know she’s dealing with more than I’ve seen, I just don’t have a clear picture of what it is.

“We’re still different though, so why me?”

Words get trapped in my throat. I can tell her it’s because of what we said—she’s beautiful and strong. I can tell her it’s because sometimes the loneliness in her eyes mirrors mine, only I didn’t know it was there before her. Maybe it’s to prove I won’t screw up with a girl like her the way Luke thinks I will. There are a million possibilities, not all of them good. The only thing that manages to come out is, “Because the weight isn’t as heavy when I’m with you.”

Her breath hitches. I let my fingers gently glide against her neck, her throat. “The weight of what?” she asks.

When she speaks, I feel the words vibrate through my fingertips. It’s a crazy-wild feeling and I want it to keep going, want to touch all her words.

I don’t know… I shrug. “Of everything.”

But it’s not my words that settle into my chest. It’s hers. Virginia shakes her head and answers her own question. “Of destiny.”

It’s in this moment I realize I’m not sure if the life I’ve always seen for myself is the one I want. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. I’ve always just accepted it, accepted my fate, my destiny. Dad always told me I’m good and I needed that. Craved to be good at something. Dad never asked what I wanted, he just assumed.

Luke tells me what I want, tells me I’m stupid for what I do. He never asks either.

But is it what I want?

It’s another thing I don’t know. There’s something I'm confident in though. “Virginia?”

“Yeah.” She rolls her head to the side slightly so we’re making eye contact.

“Just so we’re clear this time, I want you to be my girlfriend.”

Her smile is so big I think it could make the whole world happy. “Yes.”
***

One last thing--I will have something really cool to share with you soon. I'm having something made for the books I've been working on and I think you'll really like it.

Have a good week! Hope to see you in New York!


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Monday, September 8, 2014

Guest Post: Heather Young-Nichols

First, I want to thank Nyrae Dawn for having me. Writers are readers which means we’re fans and, in my case, just don’t feel cool enough to hang out (even virtually) with our favorite writers.

While trying to rack my brain to come up with some cool or amazing idea for this, my brain went haywire. I think I heard it sizzle. Seriously. So instead of stressing myself out, I decided to answer the second most asked question people have asked since they found out I had been offered a book deal.

Where do you get your ideas?

This is the second most asked question because the favorite is, How’s the book selling? Which most of the time is code for: Are you making any money at all?

I’m Heather Young-Nichols and in my debut New Adult Contemporary Romance Up for Grabs, My girl Flannery decides to sell her virginity to pay for college once she’s informed that her scholarship is gone. She doesn’t have the money to stay in school and she sees it as her only option. Her boyfriend Cain isn’t so on board with the idea. Can’t really blame him.

So, where did that come from?

In very late 2012, I read a story about a girl trying to sell her virginity to pay her mother’s medical expenses. At first, it made me sad to think someone would backed into that kind of corner. However, the more I thought about it, I realized that I didn’t think this was such an over the top crazy idea. That’s not to say that I’m recommending it to others nor is it “autobiographical” in any way. Lol. But we’re women. Our bodies. Our decisions. And no one has the right to lord over us as the purity pushers of today try to do. This idea of retaining complete control over ourselves is one I’m passionate about and given some things that have been in the news recently, it’s something a lot of other people still need to learn.

And that’s where Flannery came from. Her very first trait was that she was a virgin because she had to be. Which meant I had to create a backstory and personality that would make it believable for this twenty year old woman to in fact still be a virgin. That’s what I set out to do.

In the process, I created these characters that I fell in love with and hope others will, too. Actually, a beta reader for the second book, Up for Forever (working title), said that one of her favorite scenes to read is when they’re together as a group. The ribbing on each other plays well, she said. I love this so hard.

I have several other finished manuscripts that need to be edited and ideas that are partially written out and I love them all. But where do all of these come from? Especially since they’re all so different from one another. The answer … Everywhere! Something I read in the news, something I saw on TV. A cute couple I had the fortune to see being sweet when they didn’t know someone was watch*ing. Or, most recently, driving down the road listening to a Fall Out Boy song.

With that last example, an entire scene played in my head like a movie. The characters stepped forward and said “Hello, I’m Zac. This is Laney. And you’re going to write our story.” Can’t really turn that down and now I have a 45,000 word first draft that I wrote in just over three weeks.

It’s a weird process. It’s a weird job. But at least I’m not weird alone.

Happy Reading!

Heather



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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Epic YA book rec post!

With the rising popularity of YA, Steph Campbell and I wanted to put together a list of some of our all-time favorite YA reads. We're passionate about YA and wanted to share that love with you. These books represent what we love so much about YA.

We hope there’s something here for everyone, and that it’s helpful when you’re looking for your next book!


Also, please be sure to scroll down a couple posts and see how you can help me with clothes for the LGBT Youth Center in L.A. :)

Thriller/suspense:
The Body Finder: Kimberley Derting
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer: Michelle Hodkin
Anna Dressed in Blood: Kendare Blake
Name of the Star: Maureen Johnson


Paranormal:
Hemlock: Kathleen Peacock
Sweet Evil: Wendy Higgins
This is Not a Test: Courtney Summers
Falling Under: Gwen Hayes


LGBT:
Two Boys Kissing: David Levithan
The Vast Fields of Ordinary: Nick Burd
Don't Let Me Go: JH Trumble


Realistic:
Harmonic Feedback
Graffiti Moon: Cath Crowley
Speechless: Hannah Harrington
Sloppy Firsts: Megan McCafferty
Cracked Up To Be: Courtney Summers
Some Girls Are: Courtney Summers


Boy POV:
Freefall: Mindy Scott
Split: Swati Avasthi
I Know it's Over: C.K. Kelly Martin
Lovesick: Jake Coburn
Winger: Andrew Smith


Tragic:
The Secret Year: Jennifer Hubbard
Twenty Boy Summer: Sarah Ockler
The Sky is Everywhere: Jandy Nelson
Take Me There: Carolee Dean


Soon to be a movie/already a movie:
The Duff: Kody Keplinger
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Ransom Riggs
The Spectacular Now: Tim Tharp
Geography Club: Brent Hartinger


historic premise:
Between Shades of Gray: Ruta Sepetys
Out of the Easy: Ruta Sepetys


Gritty:
Pointe: Brandy Colbert
Wintergirls: Laurie Halse Anderson
Fault Line: C. Desir


Issue Books:
Stay: Deb Caletti
Thirteen Reasons Why: Jay Asher






















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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some fun things

I have a couple fun odd and ends that I want to share with you.

First, in October I am participating in the first Queer Romance Month. I am REALLY excited about this. You can get more information HERE. More soon!


Also, I wanted to share a teaser of the YA I am working on right now. I can't even find the words to tell you guys how much I love this book. Ryder and Virginia are near and dear to my heart.


I'll be in New York for a Book Rave next month. I am stoked to go. You can find more information HERE. It's going to be a fun event. I hope to see you there.

Lastly, don't forget to scroll down. I'm still collecting clothes for the LGBT Youth Center in Los Angeles. Let's help these kids by making sure they have clothes to wear. Plus, you can win signed copies of ALL my books!

Check back soon... I should have something else exciting to share :)


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