Thursday, June 18, 2009

Winner Winner

First off--I had sooooooooo much fun reading our fairy tale! Ya'll did awesome! And we'll have to do it again!! I'm sorry poor Cyn's tale ended with her facing down a two-headed snake, but I'm sure the fairy queen can deal with him :-) and make it to her book launch on time!

Now onto our winner--sprinkling some fairy dust onto the random number generator.....



You have WON a signed copy of Fairy Lust, Twilight perfume, and A Wing Tipped Kiss Glamourkins necklace!!!

***Lilibeth--please email me at brooke (at) brooketaylorbooks (dot) com with your mailing addy and I'll get these out ASAP! ***

Thanks everyone--stay tuned for more contests... I have some old arcs still to give out!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fairy Tale - Once Upon a Time Contest

***Winner of the Kiss-it-2-Win-It contest is RagDollVampGirl! WHOO HOO--pls email me at brooketaylorbook (at) Yahoo (dot) com with mailing addy, Congrats!***

WIN a signed copy of Fairy Tale AND a "Wing tips kiss" Glamourkin Necklace (shown below) AND a brand new, boxed, sealed bottle of Twilight Perfume!!!

Here's an enticing description Cyn Balog's awesome debut Fairy Tale (formerly Fairy Lust):

"A captivating and witty dark fantasy that will have girls lusting after it.

Morgan Sparks has always known that she and her boyfriend, Cam, are made for each other. But when Cam’s cousin Pip comes to stay with the family, Cam seems depressed. Finally Cam confesses to Morgan what’s going on: Cam is a fairy. The night he was born, fairies came down and switched him with a healthy human boy. Nobody expected Cam to live, and nobody expected his biological brother, heir to the fairy throne, to die. But both things happened, and now the fairies want Cam back to take his rightful place as Fairy King.

Even as Cam physically changes, becoming more miserable each day, he and Morgan pledge to fool the fairies and stay together forever. But by the time Cam has to decide once and for all what to do, Morgan’s no longer sure what’s best for everyone, or whether her and Cam’s love can weather an uncertain future."

"She had always been a saucy sort of fairy--the kind who loved a bit of absinthe at tea time, and a little piano in the afternoon." (more info on Glamourkins can be found HERE)

So how do you win???

After consulting with my brainstorming fairy and getting her sloshed on absinthe, we (by which I mean she) came up with the perfect answer for a this debut release give away...

You have to help write a Fairy Tale!

This is how it works: I'll start us off and then each commenter continues the story by contributing a *sentence* (you can have more than one, of course, but don't hog the story with multiple plot points). Then the next person adds a *sentence* and so on until we have a story. (Make sense?) Be sure to read any previous comments to get a feel for where our story is going and then throw in your own plot point or details about what happens next. Remember to give our heroine lots of curve balls and challenges to overcome and maybe a hot prince or two :-) And be on the look out of celebrity author contributions! (In other words--fellow authors are encouraged to participate, just add a *NE* to the end of your comment if you're not actually entering the contest, just participating in the fairy tale.)

A few more details--deadline to comment is Monday, June 15 @ midnight, 5 bonus entries for spreading the word about this contest on your blog, just leave me the link. Winner will be chosen from a Random Number Generator. Okay--got it? Everyone ready? Here we go, the first sentence is:

"Once upon a time, there was a debut author named Cyn (d' Rella). It was the eve of her book release party and ..."

***Tell me what happens next???***

(need help? For useless fact about Cyn check out her website:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Last Day to Enter!

Hurry Hurry--Last chance to enter the Kiss it 2 Win It contest!

Stay tuned for another super awesome giveaway coming up next week--Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog!! And if I get my ducks in a row, you may even get the hardcover version before it even hits stands--very cool, no? Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


****AUCTION ENDS MAY 31st!!!!****
Brenda Novak's 2009 Online Charity Auction to Benefit Diabetes ResearchThe auction is underway and there is soooooo much to bid on! Critiques from authors, agents, and editors! Signed books and ARCs! Once in a Lifetime experiences! So go check them all out:

And also bid to win not only a signed copy of UNDONE but also a really fly toggle bracelet with a tattoo charm. The "Fly Lightly" tattoo reminds me a lot of the story and the wish for those who have passed to be trouble free now. It's also just plain cool looking. So please go here and bid on Undone!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kiss it 2 Win it

WIN 2 awesome books !!! Simply leave a comment giving me your best kissing tip (keep it clean!) or biggest kissing blunder, then get 5 more chances by blogging about this contest (provide me the link as proof). You have until next Tuesday- June 2nd at midnight to enter. Winner will be randomly drawn.

The ABC's of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferrero

Parker Stanhope has played soccer practically since she could walk. And now that she’s a high school junior, everything she’s worked for is finally coming together. She’s paid her dues on the field, and as an upperclassman, she’s a shoo-in for the varsity team. But that’s not what happens.

This year, Coach Hartley moved up every JV player but two—and one of those two was Parker. Now, she’s stuck with the freshmen, her friends are cutting her loose, and her love of the game is seriously beginning to fail. But Parker is determined to get her life back. She has to get on the varsity team, and she has the perfect plan. All she needs now is the right kind of coach.


Invisible Touch by Kelly Parra

Kara Martinez has been trying to be "normal" ever since the accident that took her father's life when she was eleven years old. She's buried the caliente side of her Mexican heritage with her father and tried to be the girl her rigid mother wants her to be -- compliant and dressed in pink, and certainly not acting out like her older brother Jason. Not even Danielle, her best friend at Valdez High, has seen the real Kara; only those who read her anonymous blog know the deepest secrets of the Sign Seer.

Because Kara has a gift -- one that often feels like a curse. She sees signs, visions that are clues to a person's fate, if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle in time. So far, she's been able to solve the clues and avert disaster for those she's been warned about -- until she sees the flash of a gun on a fellow classmate, and the stakes are raised higher than ever before. Kara does her best to follow the signs, but it's her heart that wanders into new territory when she falls for a mysterious guy from the wrong side of town, taking her closer to answers she may not be able to handle. Will her forbidden romance help her solve the deadly puzzle before it's too late...or lead her even further into danger?

Special thanks to the girls of YA Fresh for making this contest possible!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today's Twilight Parody...with Cheeseburgers


Go! Bid! Win!

Brenda Novak's 2009 Online Charity Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research

The auction is underway and there is soooooo much to bid on! Critiques from authors, agents, and editors! Signed books and ARCs! Once in a Lifetime experiences! So go check them all out:

Be sure to visit my agents full page of cool offerings here:

And bid to win not only a signed copy of UNDONE but also a really fly toggle bracelet with a tattoo charm. The "Fly Lightly" tattoo reminds me a lot of the story and the wish for those who have passed to be trouble free now. It's also just plain cool looking. So please go here and bid on Undone!

Thank you!!!! ~Brooke

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Let's Talk Trash

Forget the cover, forget the blurbs, forget all that author promo--have you ever read a horrible review, and think--I have GOT to read THAT book? I must admit that any book that is hauled out in the public forum by a reviewer and called "Trash" is pretty much an auto-buy for me.

You'd think I would've learned my lesson from Rainbow Party (Cursor over for Spoiler Alert: there was no actual Rainbow Party) and The Garden which I ended up putting down before I got to the snake sex part (or maybe I read it and was too daft to realize what was happening). I do love the cover though...

But why am I so swayed by a bad review, particularly one that promises a vulgar trashy read? Is it the train wreck factor? The what's-the-fuss factor? Or is that maybe, just maybe I like naughty books?

Okay, you got me. As a teen I read Flowers in the Attic, Forever, and Go Ask Alice--those were our big, bad, trashy books. They were also really good and have stood the test of time. Something tells me the trashy books of today won't. At least not the ones I've read.

But here are two more for my consideration--

Swoon which is touted to have a “Homecoming Orgy” and "sexual havoc" and as Publisher's Weekly claims: "This book makes Gossip Girl look like Sweet Valley High." SOLD!

and...wait for it...

Castration Celebration by Jake Wizner (Spanking Shakespeare)--yes it's exactly what it sounds like--a kind of "High School Musical" meets "Saw." Only late night giddiness, illegal substances, and a well-timed re-run of the John & Lorena Bobbitt Story could breed such a premise. I can only imagine what my agent or editor would've said to me had I trotted it out. But alas, I did not.

This book, as you can imagine, has been making the reviewer rounds and I cannot ignore it any longer. I give you the NY Post Review. As ridiculously insulting as Andrea Peyser is, the review is on some level (the is-she-on-something? level to be exact) hilarious. She bleats like sheep, she calls Random House--Random Partners House, and in a big, big finish (I'm imagining jazz hands) she implies that the author is a child molester:

"Wizner's biography lists his hobbies as writing, teaching and "going to the playground."

Just not near my kid.

I mean she doesn't just call the book trash--she calls the author trash and the publisher trash--Hullo? Auto buy!!
What do think of these books? Any others I need to check out?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bragging on Miss Roxy

I'm a proud momma! Miss Roxy Anne Rockstar graduated from Advanced Obedience last night and also became CGC certified (Canine Good Citizen) which is a lot harder than it sounds. But she rocked it! So in honor of my baby girl growing up...I thought I'd share some of her pics--in case you are wondering, she is a Long Coated Akita.

Remember last year when she was this small????

And how she couldn't even reach the water bucket???

And here she was at 4 mos--so cute, but oh so rowdy!! Well here she is now, 1 year old and all grown up!
Going for car rides with her friends...And hanging out with the "big" boys Bear & Wolf (but they kinda look little next to her, LOL).
She brings so much joy into the lives around her and is such a gorgeous spirit inside and out, love her, love her, love her!!! And so very proud, because as Roxy would tell ya--bein' good is HARD!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Winner Winner!

And the winner of the Geektastic ARC is.......

I'm sooooo glad that I used a random number generator to pick the winner and didn't have to decide who was the "geekiest," because some of y'all really brought it! Loved reading all of the comments!

As for what makes me a geek--well I'm a book geek for sure. The sight of well-stocked bookshelves gets me tingly. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve musty libraries. I buy hardbacks whenever possible, because one day, when I'm all grown up, I'm going to have a library in my home. It's going to have floor to ceiling cases with those cool rolling ladders and everything. All of the artwork will be from illustrators AND there will be at least one shelf that is a secret doorway. Squee--I'm all excited just talking about it!!!

Anyhoo.... where were we? Ah yes--congrats Not So Closet Geeks--please email me at Brooke(at)Brooketaylorbooks(dot)com with your mailing addy!

And if you didn't win--stay tuned I have more ARCs to give away!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Last Chance + Awesome News

Geektastic won't be available for months and months, who can wait that long to get their geek on with awesome authors like M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr? Not you!

Deadline to enter the Geektastic ARC is tonight at midnight! So go HERE now and tell me some geeky things about you!

Also--some awesome news!! Undone is a National Readers Choice Award finalist! Whoo hoo! Readers are teh awesome! Thank you!!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Geektastic Contest!!

****WIN WIN WIN****



Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

"Acclaimed authors Holly Black (Ironside)and Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof) have united in geekdom to edit short stories from some of the best selling and most promising geeks in young adult literature: M.T. Anderson, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Tracy Lynn, Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Scott Westerfield, Lisa Yee, and Sara Zarr.

With illustrated interstitials from comic book artists Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O'Malley, Geektastic covers all things geeky, from Klingons and Jedi Knights to fan fiction, theater geeks, and cosplayers. Whether you're a former, current, or future geek, or if you just want to get in touch with your inner geek, Geektastic will help you get your geek on."

How To Win It:

Leave me a comment telling me what makes you a geek (multiple entries welcome--limit 10).

Want EXTRA CREDIT? Of course you do!

Spread the geek love and blog about this contest, leave me a linkie doo in the comments ,and you'll get an extra 5 entries and a gold star!

When is it due?

Leave your comments by April 22nd, 2009 at Midnight!

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Favorite Topic

Mizz Roxy Ann!

Yesterday was our Advance Obedience class at Petsmart--Here she is doing a fabu job at the down stay at 20':

AND, I was Twittering at the time--how cool is that? Her homework is very complicated though. In addition to working on coming when called. We are to do the "Return to Heel" maneuver:

1. Start with dog facing you

2. Hold leash in right hand/treat in left

3. Keep right leg planted

4. Move left leg backward while luring dog with left hand

5. Your dog should now be behind you

6. Bring left leg forward, equal to right

7. Bring left hand forward with you left leg, luring your dog

8. Your dog should turn to follow the treat

Got it? Yeah.. me too...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Heathers the Musical!

On Twitter this morning Meg Cabot announced that there was a musical version of Heathers in the works--can you say awesome? So a quick research and I have this to pass along:

"The readings saw "Veronica Mars" star Kristen Bell playing the lead and Christian Campbell as J.D., with Jenna Leigh Green ("Wicked"), BrokeDown Cadillac lead singer Corri English and Christine Lakin (the CW's "Valentine") as the three Heathers."

Funny side note--when I was in college we had a pop culture-ish sociology class (love college classes) and in was a hearing impaired student who sat in the front row with their sign language person translating everything. Not such a big deal until we watched Heathers... I don't think I've ever seen anything more hilarious than a someone trying to sign language all the dialog in Heathers. And yes, I now know how to sign--f* me gently with a chainsaw. LOL.

To read this blog in English, press or say 1

This is me--trying to get a new DVR sent to my house:

Handy bit of advice--I learned that if you are cuaght in the menu maze--just start using foul language--the fake lady will send you to a real person. It's like the secret golden key that everyone in the fantasy novels quests for!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For Authors

Okay--desclaimer here--I LOVE LOVE LOVE my editor, but still can appreciate the humor of this t-shirt from Buzzwhack ( :

Vampire Excavation

Medieval Vampire Skull Found!

"The remains of a medieval "vampire" have been discovered among the corpses of 16th century plague victims in Venice, according to an Italian archaeologist who led the dig.

The body of the woman was found in a mass grave on the Venetian island of Lazzaretto Nuovo. Suspecting that she might be a vampire, a common folk belief at the time, gravediggers shoved a rock into her skull to prevent her from chewing through her shroud and infecting others with the plague, said anthropologist Matteo Borrini of the University of Florence. "

Oh wait--this was from another weird story:

"Colonel Sanders statue which was found in a river is pictured in Osaka, western Japan Tuesday night, March 10, 2009. The statue was pulled from the river, 24 years after being tossed in by crazed baseball fans.(AP Photo/Kyodo News) "

Twicks or Tweets

I'm on Twitter now. I imagine this will be the downfall of my productivity--not that my productivity was through the roof or anything. But even so, if you're on Twitter let me know--follow me and I'll follow you :-)

So far it has been a bit surreal. I feel like I've been hanging with Ashton Kutcher all day (he's a bit addicted) and then I found out that Dave Navarro is considering donating his body to medical research--can you imagine being the med student who gets his body? LOL. (

Seriously--Twitter is my brand of heroin.

Here's my page:

My name got cut off--and in hindsight I should've done something like brooketaylorwtr or something that actually made sense--but I kind of like boo, so I'm keeping it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My worst Fears Realized

Warning: the following blog post contains a shocking and disturbing account of events that occurred in my home last night. The following blog is no recommended for viewers who have DVR's.

I'm a busy gal--I've got a full time job, I write my books, I take care of many more pets than the law allows... but I always find a way to make time for television. In recent years a little invention known as the DVR came into my life and made things amazingly easier. I can watch two hour long shows in the time it took to watch one. I can pause live shows and go stare into the fridge and wonder why I still haven't thrown out that...that...what is that? I can schedule tons of shows that I'd never have a chance to watch and never have work ethic to remember when they were on. My scheduled shows is always maxed out, each week I have to make sure I clear off enough space for the next week's shows. In short--I use my DVR to its fullest. I can not imagine life without it. It has revolutionized my world. And it has failed me.

Last night while on technical support--I was asked to do the unthinkable--a total and complete reset. Everything I'd recorded gone--my lift of shows to be recorded gone. It was horrible. And sadly, I don't think it even worked. I'll know more tonight, but I think it will have to be replaced. sigh.

I did get to watch Melissa Rycroft's appearance on Dancing with the Stars--YAY!!! She looked and danced amazing--and she only had two days to practice--unbelievable. Eat your heart out Jason!!!

And I caught the end of a show I wasn't that interested in at first, but as soon as my DVR is working again, it will be going on the roster:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Doggy High School

She will always be my little puppy, but yesterday Miss Roxy Ann started High School. Yep. She's a teenager. She'll be officially 1 year old on Saturday--Princess Party !!! And she has a spa day (er--groomer) scheduled for Tuesday! (LOL-I also convinced her that it was a tradition for doggies to get baths on Christmas morning before they got to unwrap their toys--shhh!)

Anyway, she's completed all of her training classes and is now in Advanced Obedience.

Yesterday was our first class and let me tell you, it was already serious business--we started off with sit stays and down stays at 20 feet. Graduation is going to be an official AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluation. And it is going to be hard. Some things she'll have to do:

Ignore a tray of food on the floor. (um--okay--but it better not be cat food)

Stay at 20 feet. (she rocks the stay!)

Recall (come) from 10 feet. (But with no treats--eek!)

Be alone with a stranger for 3 minutes. (That's like 30 years in dog time).

She'll have to ignore the evaluator's dog as we approach and shake hands. (Ignore a potential snuggle? Seriously?)

She'll have to go through a crowd of people. (Crowd of snugglers!)

Here's the whole test--but this sounds easier than when our instructor was describing it, using real examples that the evaluator has used.

I'm feeling pretty positive about her chances, but anything can happen. Our class is at Petsmart on Sunday evenings--so lots of dogs coming and going, big time distractions. I'll keep you posted on her progress and get some updated photos--her back is almost level with the couch's back! She last weighed in at 75 lbs. It's unbelievable how quickly they grow up!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Book Meet Wall

*** Okay--just warning this is a rant--a small one--but one nonetheless. ***

My agent once did a rant about bodily functions here:

At the time I thought she was just being sensitive, and maybe I'm now being sensitive too--but there is something about reading certain words that makes them much more visual than when they are spoken. Snot is one of them.

Awhile back I was reading a romance and on several occasions while the MC was crying, the hero would pull out his handkerchief and instruct her to "blow"--Talk about ruining a sweet moment as well as making the MC seem about five years old.

So just for the official record: If I see snot mentioned in any book when it is not meant to be 2nd grade humor--I'm chucking it across the room.

What words or phrases or bodily functions have you read that really grossed you out when they weren't supposed to?


Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Don't wake me cause I'm dreaming, of angels on the moon

Where everyone you know, never leaves too soon"

Thriving Ivory-Angels On The Moon

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beware of the Nice Guys

If having to watch out for the bad guys wasn't hard enough, enter Bachelor Jason... Don't fall for the sweet smile and goofy ears.

Sorry, I try not to embarrass myself by pulling out my reality TV geek, but I can't help it... This season's The Bachelor should have been called The Biggest Loser.

Has anyone else been watching this? I have and I can't believe how much I hate this show and this guy and TV producers... why do I watch it??? Each time it makes me hate it even more.

You know how they're always saying this is the most dramatic rose ceremony yet...and how Chris Harrison is always stepping in to let us know that "Ladies, this is the final rose tonight" as if they aren't painfully aware of that fact? Well apparently the final rose is not so final.

Jason proposes to sweet/cute/utterly perfect Melissa and then later because he can't get sassy/fun Molly off his mind, decides he can have his cake and then dump it too--in front of millions of viewers. Last night's After the Final Rose was painful. It wasn't dramatic, it was pathetic and sad. Obviously this wasn't a complete blindside for Melissa, but still... dude have some class--sucking face with the other woman two seconds after you break off your ENGAGEMENT is considered poor form no matter what the producers tell you. All season long, all we've heard from you is whining and crying over how the women in your life committed to you when they didn't know what they wanted. Wow. Playing the Devil's Psychologist here, maybe what you saw in them was really what you see in yourself.

But what all of this really begs is the question: Will Jillian have to revise her hot dog theory?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Winner Winner

Whoo Hoo! You've won the Swag Bag, Signed Copy of Undone and a copy of Evermore!!
Please email me with your details--and yes all my contests are World Wide!
brooke (at) brooketaylorbooks (dot) com
More contests coming soon!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Don't make me kill this Agave!!!

I'm very rarely disappointed when a friend sens me links to things on Craigslist....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tasted Better The Day Before

One of my favorite pastimes is coming up with fake rock band names... Gunther Mader is definitely in my top five!

I've seen this or something like it before--but today's version from Rinda Elliot:

1 - Go to “wikipedia.” Hit “random”or click first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to “Random quotations”or click last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”or click picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

5 - Bow to technology as it fashions the images that form your reality.
Don't forget the Swag Bag Contest is going on right now:

Swag Bag Contest!

This past weekend my local RWA group hosted a teen reader panel and I put together some awesome swag bags with the help of several very cool authors AND I have 1 bag left! WhooHoo!

The bag has a signed copy of Undone plus book swag (stickers/magnets/bookmarks) from Alyson Noel, Keri Mikulski, Lisa Schroeder, and Tina Ferraro.

PLUS: As a thank you to these super ladies--I'll throw in 1 book of your choice by any of these authors:

Alyson Noel: Evermore, Cruel Summer, Faking 19, Saving Zoe, Laguna Cove, and more!

Keri Mikulski: Screwball

Lisa Schroeder: I Heart You, You Haunt Me ; Far From You

Tina Ferraro: Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress, How to Hook a Hottie, or The ABC's of Kissing Boys .

So in order to win this super cool prize--all you have to do is leave a comment on this post with the book (from these authors) that you would most like to find in your Swag Bag!

Deadline: Midnight March 1.

I'll try to get some photos of the actual bag and swag soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On Critique

In my WIP my MC took some M&M's from her friend. The line should've read something like: "I happily popped the candy..."

I'd read at least a dozen times, never realizing that what it actually said was:

"I happily pooped the candy."

All I can say--is thank goodness I caught it, because my critique group would've had a field day with that!

On some of my loops there have been discussions about critique groups-do you need one--and if so what kind and how do you get it? What do you expect from them, how do you politely critique someone else's work, how do you handle the criticism... ?

First off--Do you need one--and if so what kind?

Apparently not everyone feels they need a critique group, and that's fine, but I do think a fresh set of eyes never hurt anyone. So for the purpose of this blog, my advice is--if you are asking if you need one, then the answer is probably yes. The people I know who don't use critique groups are already established, have a clear and confident voice, and quite frankly write way too fast for a group to be useful. They have short-fuse deadlines. So if that's you--what are you doing reading this blog--get back to work!

Okay--still here? So what kind of critique group do you need/want?

Well a lot of people do well with one-on-one critiques. This is a great plan if you and your CP are both in the same boat--you both have agents and are on subs, you both have a debut novel coming out, etc... Or if you're very lucky--your CP is a mentor--someone older/wiser/a NYT bestseller. Personally I think even if you have a critique group, you should also have one or more one-on-one people. These are invaluable and usually will be able to give you faster reads and such because you're going to do the same for them. This is your crunch-time person, your go-to-guy or gal--so this person has to be someone you trust and respect. Where do you get one? Well, time and patience and lots of emails. These are genuine friendships and therefore take more than a "hey, I've seen you on my loop--will you take a look at my wip?" They are developed.

The next level is the online group--personally I think these should be small--like 6 people or less. And the make up of the group can be more mixed--agented, pubbed, unpubbed but serious (JMO but anyone who is not serious about getting published shouldn't be in a critique group unless it is with other non-serious people--the reason being it takes time and effort to crit for people and quite frankly most of us have enough to read without adding material that someone is messing with for fun or hobby). This type of critique group serves as not only a great resource for line edits, big picture edits, & plot brainstorming, but also serves as a focus group--does more than one person think the same way? Maybe you should take the advice a little more seriously. Etc.. This is also an amazing source of support both personally and professionally.

How do you get one? Join YA writing groups (online or local)--post that you are looking, get to know people at conferences and express interest. There will be some trial and error as far as fit goes, so be prepared that it may not be a sisterhood-of-the-travelling-pants kind of thing.

Another similar group would be an in-person critique group. I've never had one of these, but would imagine it is very much the same as the online version--but with more coffee and probably more drama.

Speaking of do you politely critique someone else's work, how do you handle the criticism?

I think stating upfront exactly what you are expecting from a crit group will help with figuring out how you will be critting the work. Do you just want proofreading or do you want more?

Some people are extremely sensitive--and if you have someone like that in your group or if you are someone who is--maybe you aren't going to get the full benefit of the crit group. You will just end up sugar-coating everything and potentially sending a lamb out to the lions.

IMO-if in your crit group--the only comments are: LOL, This is great--love this! Hee hee--then maybe you don't have a crit group at all--maybe what you really have is a mutual admiration society. Which is fine--we all need those too. Personally, I have my mother for that.

Another pitfall is the ego-ridden critter--Are they re-writing everything? Word-smithing you? Preaching to the choir on the basics or otherwise sounding condescending? Not taking what they dish out?

On the other side of the coin--just because you get some harsh crits, don't immediately cry fowl. Unless the person is truly over-the-top or mean, expect that what you're getting is simple un-sweetened honesty. Sweetening and soft-selling criticism takes extra time--time we don't all have, so just because you don't get the soft-sell, don't assume the intent is to be harsh.

Also--just because it is soft-balled doesn't mean it doesn't need to be seriously considered. Everything that someone comments on needs to be critically evaluated by you the author and only then can you say--eh--they don't know what they're talking about.

When I crit something for someone I'm going to point out everything that snags my attention--not because I think I'm so much more brilliant of a writer--but because--IT SNAGGED MY ATTENTION. When I crit, I'm not a writer, I'm a reader--I have no writing ego. I'm never trying to re-write someone else's work or change their voice. Yes, I may have a few writer's rules stuck in my head, but for the most part it is all about the read. And when I read a crit, I assume the comments are inspired by the same--so I don't take offense. I take it all very seriously--I expect that my CP's will not let me send dreck to my agent, just like my agent wouldn't let me send dreck to my editor.

And for all of those tender, thinned skinned writers out there--your harsh CP's have nothing on your agent or editor. Nothing.

Speaking of harsh crits--one thing I noticed that my agent does (and I'm not even sure if she is aware that she does this) is that she always praises the author and criticizes the work.

For instance:

"Your strengths are XYZ"

"The manuscript's weaknesses are XYZ"

I can't say I'm as good about following the rule, but I do think it is a great way to go.

Also be sure to check out my agent's blog: on synopsis writing--some great tips!

Monday, February 2, 2009


First--I deleted the Stellas post--because I'm happy to announce they are a hoax ( I was suspicious of them, especially the one where the crook was trapped in the garage, because everyone should know that if you just pull the little lever on the opener down the garage door will come off the chain and then it is really easy to lift it up. Quite handy when the power goes out and such.

Okay--so now onto the winners!

Books #1,2, 5 ( Daniel X, Model Pres, Models Cookies) Winner: AMY "Writebrained"

Books 3 & 4 (Haunting of Derek Stone/Deeper)Winner: Biblauragraphy
Winners please email brooke (at) brooketaylorbooks (dot) com with your mailing address. Thanks!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is Edward a Gary Stu?

Often I find myself involved in conversations of the let's-analyze-Twilight variety. I do not initiate these discussions, mind you--they seek me out and find me vulnerable (much like bad boys). Perhaps it is because I'm a YA author, YA enthusiast, & young looking girl. Or maybe it is my Bite Me Edward Cullen (PLEASE!) bumper sticker. I don't know. But a few of these convos have revolved around the accusation that Bella is a "Mary Sue". And today there's been a little blogging about "Mary Sue"--enter Diana Peterfreund with a Mary Sue Litmus Test--so I thought I'd give it a whirl. But not with Bella--because I'm Just Not That Into Her. Enter: Edward!

Some of the highlights:

Does your (immortal) character appear to be much younger than she/he really is? Um, yeah--he was born in 1901 and still looks 17.
Does the character have an unusual eye color, or otherwise exceptional eyes? And are these eyes a color that does not occur in nature? Technically Topaz does occur in nature, but with all the changing of color... I'm giving this one a yes.
And will they have something to do with the plot? Yes
Does the character have eyes that somehow reflect hidden depths or experience or sorrow?
Reflects his feeding schedule
Does the character have unusual or exceptional hair, or does her/his hair get a disproportionate amount of description compared to that of the other characters? Yes-"His hair, which is always messy, retains the unusual bronze shade that he inherited in his human life from his biological mother."*
Was the character ever abducted? I consider what Carlisle did a form of abduction
Does the character consider her/his beauty/talent/skill/etc. a curse? No man likes to sparkle

Then we have more Gary Stu qualities, such as he "possesses superhuman beauty, strength, speed, endurance, and agility. His scent and voice are enormously seductive, so much so that he occasionally sends Bella into a pliant daze entirely by accident....He is the fastest of the Cullens, able to outrun any of them. Perhaps as a result of a talent for empathy in his human life, Edward can also read the mind of anyone within a few miles of himself...Edward also retains some of the traditional mindset and dated patterns of speech from his early-20th century human life."*

And all the other stuff that comes from living for so long and not sleeping--like traveling extensively, knowing many languages, being a virtuoso piano player--and there's the collecting of cars and music.
Plus many many more yeses.

So after doing my best to answer the questions (some I couldn't because I'm not Stephenie) the findings are thus: Edward scores a whopping 147 points and "71 points or more: Irredeemable-Sue. "
But it doesn't change the way I feel about him! (Which right there is a totally Mary Sue trait... sigh)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

ARCs Giveaway!

A couple of quick things first-- Undone made the final cut for the ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List! Whoo Hooo!!!

AND (thank you Librarily Blond) I now have a new fun blog to procrastinate with:

Okay--onto the giveaways. This is kind of a winter bookshelf cleanup giveaway of ARCs I grabbed up at NCTE but have not yet read because I'm just that overwhelmed with everything else. SO I'm giving them away--enter to win one, two, or all. Simply tell me which numbers you are interested in. The way it will work is this--I'll combine my LJ and Blogger comments and then do the random number thing--if your number is picked you win whatever books you listed. If there are still books left over the people who selected those books will then get a shot at the random number generator, etc... This way I may save a little on postage. Hope you understand. Now onto the books:

1. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson/Michael Ledwidge

2. The Model President by Brian Tacang (It's a MG--and Brian was a fashion designer, just thought I'd include that)

3. The Haunting of Derek Stone-City of the Dead and Bayou Dogs by Tony Abbott

4. Deeper by Roderick Gordon & Brian Williams (this is a sequel to a NYT bestselling book called Tunnels)
and the hardest to part with:

Okay--you have until Sunday (Feb 1st) midnight to post your choices! Good Luck!

Monday, January 26, 2009


William C. Morris Award goes to fellow Classof2K8 author Elizabeth C. Bunce for A Curse As Dark as Gold!!!

Michael L. Printz nod goes to Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Winners Winners

Thanks to all who commented--several on LJ were my own (love to talk horse!) so I'm just going to call it an even 50! SO YAY $50 to the Flake Sale!
Congrats go out to:
SarahBear (Blogger)
Wldhrsjen (LJ)
Akabins (LJ)
Send me your mailing addy : Brooke (at) BrookeTaylorBooks (dot) com
And I'll send your prize packs!!
Stay tuned for more giveaways this week!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Don't be a Flake Contest!

Okay ya'll--you've heard of Bake Sales, but in response to the many horses in need due to the flooding in Washington a couple of amazing organizations are throwing a "Flake Sale" (more detail below) and since I've been super-duper excited about the release of Jessica Burkhart's horsey series Canterwood Crest and it's finally released today--well why not combine the two events somehow? This is what I've come up with:

For everyone who comments (tell me if you've had a memorable horse experience or other animal if you've never been around a horse OR OR OR purge your soul and tell me something you've totally flaked on) I will donate $1 to the Flake Sale (so 100 comments = $100) PLUS you will get entered to win one of 3 Take the Reins (Canterwood Crest) books +Plus a super cute plush horse. Can't beat that! (Deadline midnight Sunday January 18, 2009)

When Sasha Silver and her horse, Charm, arrive on the campus of the elite Canterwood Crest Academy, Sasha knows that she's in trouble. She's not exactly welcomed with open arms. One group of girls in particular is used to being the best, the brightest, and the prettiest on the team, and when Sasha shows her skills in the arena, the girls' claws come out.

Sasha is determined to prove that she belongs at Canterwood. Will she rise to the occasion and make the advanced riding team by the end of her first semester? Or will the pressure send Sasha packing?

More info about the Flake Sale:

"In early January 2009, Western Washington experienced torrential rains resulting in devastating flooding in many areas. Over 18 counties declared a state of emergency, as a combination of heavy rain and previous snowfall caused a number of rivers to break their banks. 40,000 residents had to evacuate their homes, many with their pets and livestock. Over 300 horses are being temporarily housed at area fairgrounds.

As the waters recede, residents are returning to find that their winter’s supply of hay and grain has been destroyed by the rushing water. With hay prices at an all-time high, the flood damage has created a severe crisis for area horse owners.

To help the horses and owners affected by the floods, Second Chance Ranch, in partnership with, has established a Flood Relief Fund. This fund will provide emergency feeding grants to help Washington horse owners meet their horses’ immediate needs as they begin flood recovery efforts.

What is the Flake Sale?To fund this effort, we are holding a virtual “Flake Sale”. Just click to buy a virtual flake of hay for a horse in need via Paypal with your credit card, debit card or checking account. You can buy as many flakes as you like – just $5 will buy a virtual flake (in real life, it pays for enough hay to feed one horse for one day!) :

Official Website:

Publishing Demystified

Obtained illegally from the very awesome Alyson Noel (whose book Evermore is coming out very very soon!!! SQUEE!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It puts the lotion in the basket....

So I was emailing about my latest WIP with a super cool CP of mine, and she questioned a pop culture reference I had used. Now I figured it might go over some of my target audience's heads, but I'd expected she would have some idea what I was talking about--but, erm, no. So I explained and even though she'd seen Silence of the Lambs, she didn't recall the scene in question. SO, as I often do at times of trouble, I turned to YouTube for help. And since YouTube rarely disappoints, I found this little precious (guess what I'll be singing all day?):

The lyrics here: