Posts tagged guest post
Winter White Guest Post

Hey y'all!

Today I have a great treat for y'all. Jen Calonita, author of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life and Belles series, as well as one of my favorite books, Sleepaway Girlsis here to talk about her dance experience. In Winter White, the sequel to Belles, the girls take on cotillion. Winter White is in stores now!

It's no secret how Jen Calonita knows the inside scoop on young Hollywood. A former Senior Entertainment Editor at Teen People, Jen has interviewed everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Zac Efron. An entertainment journalist for the past ten years, Jen has written for TV Guide, Glamour and Marie Claire.When the self-professed entertainment junkie is not working, she can be found doing one of three things: scrapbooking, watching Glee, or going to the movies. Jen resides in Merrick, New York with her husband Mike, sons Tyler and Dylan, and their Chihuahua, Captain Jack Sparrow.Check out Jen's video interviews at the website for her publisher, Hachette Book Group: LB Teens. She talks about growing up and being a writer as well as Secrets of My Hollywood Life: Family Affairs.Still have questions? Check out her FAQ!

Winter White (Belles, #2)

Why I Wish I Had Gone to Cotillion

By Jen Calonita

In “Winter White,” my latest BELLES novel, Mira and Izzie take different approaches to dealing with cotillion, a Southern tradition that usually involves a formal ball where women are presented to society. Mira’s been planning her debut since she could practically walk while Izzie is dragged into the experience kicking and screaming.

I know many parts of the country have cotillions, but growing up on Long Island, we didn’t have anything like this tradition. The closest I ever came to wearing white before my wedding was when I needed to don the color for my communion dress (which I loved picking out, by the way). Etiquette lessons, dance classes with boys, making my debut—that sort of stuff was foreign territory to me. But the more I researched cotillion for “Winter White,” the more envious I got of girls who got to participate in this coming-of-age party.

Now I know there will be a portion of you who are reading this and saying: “Jen, I did cotillion and I hated it!” and to you, I apologize. I can’t help myself. I’m fascinated by cotillion and here’s why:

I wonder if I had had cotillion training if I would have had the confidence to find a date to my school dances rather than wait for someone to ask me (which never happened). All those dance classes girls in cotillion take. The etiquette lessons, knowing the proper way to conduct an interview, how to make eye contact—I would have killed for this type of girl power training! Instead, I approached every school dance with dread. I blame this fear all on the well intentions of my best friend in seventh grade. Back then dances were a non-date affair. You showed up and hovered near one wall while the guys stuck like glue to the other. The boy I had crushed on since the sixth grade was there and I would have given anything for him to even just say hello to me. Instead, I wasn’t sure if he even knew I was alive. Getting him to ask me to dance was a pipe dream. Or so I thought. My best friend thought she was doing me a favor by asking him to dance with me. But when he turned her down flat, and she told me what happened, I was crushed.

By the time I got to ninth grade and people started bringing dates to dances, I was petrified of facing that kind of rejection again. The first year we all went to a dance, I somehow convinced most of my friends to attend solo, so I got off kind of easy. But by sophomore year, people were pairing off. My solution? Go with a guy friend, and that worked for the most part. Of course it took a little negotiation—more like a peace treaty—my friends put out feelers to see if he would go with me as friends, then he wanted to make sure I knew we really were just friends, then his friend wanted a date too—by the end I was so exhausted I wondered if it was even worth going at all.The fun wasn’t having a date. At least not for me. Those painful slow songs were just reminders that the guy I was with was just not that into me in that way. The fun, it turned out, was just being with my friends, getting dressed up in some amazingly awkward dress (why did I always pick pink or teal?), and knowing I was part of a group. In the end, I wish I had realized I didn’t need a guy on my arm to survive a school dance. All I really needed was to learn all the things that cotillion training teaches a girl (well, in my opinion, at least)—how to be comfortable in my own skin. It took me a little while, but by college, I finally got there. When the first freshman formal came up, I didn’t even bother looking for a date. I got the cutest dress I could find (I graduated to wearing navy) and danced the night away on my own with my single friends around me. And you know what? It was probably the most fun at a dance I ever had.Thanks so much, Jen! I hope y'all enjoyed and keep an eye out for my review of Winter White on the blog this week!Grace

Blog Tour and Guest Post: Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield

Hey y'all! It's Grace. Today, I'm hosting Kat Rosenfield for a blog tour hosted by Gabrielle from The Mod Podge Bookshelf!

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone was published July 5 by Dutton Juvenile.

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone

An arresting un-coming-of-age story, from a breathtaking talent

Becca has always longed to break free from her small, backwater hometown. But the discovery of an unidentified dead girl on the side of a dirt road sends the town--and Becca--into a tailspin. Unable to make sense of the violence of the outside world creeping into her backyard, Becca finds herself retreating inward, paralyzed from moving forward for the first time in her life.Short chapters detailing the last days of Amelia Anne Richardson's life are intercut with Becca's own summer as the parallel stories of two young women struggling with self-identity and relationships on the edge twist the reader closer and closer to the truth about Amelia's death.

***

Today, Kat Rosenfield is going to be talking about first drafts. I'm currently working on the first draft of something, and I can definitely emphasize with this! I hope y'all enjoy!

***

FIRST DRAFTS by Kat Rosenfield

Amelia Anne Richardson died for the first time six years ago, behind the closed door of my bedroom in Brooklyn, to the sound of the clicking keys of a laptop that's now long-dead. At the time, I didn't know why or how she'd died, or even who'd killed her; I only knew that her story began at the end, with a broken body on a scorched asphalt road, with the rising sun glaring in two lifeless eyes.

Some people say that first drafts are throwaways, a warm-up, the layer you have to peel off of your brain before you can really write your story. And since my book was published, people love to ask me about mine — how much the story has changed since the first time I told it, between rewrites and revisions and edits line-by-line.

In some ways, the answer is, "Completely." The very first draft of my book was a mess, a mangled, multiple-personality-disordered chimera that wasn't how it wanted to unfold, or if it even could. And over the years it took to tell and re-tell the story, it took shape in unanticipated and wild ways. Scenes evolved, settings shifted, characters changed or merged or disappeared entirely. By the time AMELIA ANNE IS DEAD AND GONE found its way onto shelves this month, Amelia Anne Richardson had died a half-dozen times — in different ways, at different hands, in moments that ranged from tragic to terrible. And yes, it was a completely different story from the one I first told all those years ago.

Except that it isn't.

Because a first draft is the story. It's everything you think it could be, and everything you don't yet know it will be, dragged out in the open and placed out in front of you, where you can see it from every side. And though the raw material of a first draft may be ugly, and shapeless, and hiding deep, dark flaws beneath its misshapen, mottled skin, it's anything but a throaway. Even if you slice it into pieces; even if you cut it off at the knees; even if you whittle away at its middle until it collapses under its own ungainly weight. And however slick and streamlined your story becomes when it shows up at your door, printed and bound and wrapped up in pretty paper, you'll see the first draft in it — in its bones, in its mood, in a single sentence that made it all the way through without changing even once.

Of course, I'll still continue to talk about hard work and long hours when people ask me how my story has changed since that first draft. I'll tell them about revisions. I'll tell them about character development. I'll tell them about the thousands of words that appeared, and disappeared, in the time it took to make the story take shape. And it'll all be true.

But so will this: Amelia Anne has been dead and gone since the very first word hit the page.

***

Kat Rosenfield is a freelance writer and YA author. She lives in New England, but that might change.

Thank you so much Kat! I'm so glad that I got to read this. If y'all are interested in reading more of Kat's beautiful guest posts, entering giveaways for copies of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, interviews, or reviews, check out the rest of the schedule that Gabrielle has put together!

Please find the schedule below, filled with poignant guest blogs, intriguing interviews and generous giveaways!
7/9- Kick-off & Giveaway at The Mod Podge Bookshelf7/10- Interview at Rescue Reads7/12- Review at The Story Siren7/13- Guest Blog at author Kelsey Sutton’s Blog7/15- Debut Author Spotlight Interview & Giveaway at Page Turners Blog7/16- Guest Blog at 365 Days of Reading7/17- Guest Blog at Magnet For Books7/18- Interview at Steph Su Reads7/19- Giveaway at YA Bliss7/20- Interview & Giveaway at Reading or Breathing7/21- Review at The Mod Podge Bookshelf7/22- Giveaway at Midnight Garden7/23- Guest Blog and Giveaway at Reading Away the Days7/24- Giveaway at Books to Consider7/25- Guest Blog at Words Like Silver7/26- Review at Making the Grade7/27- Interview at Book Chic7/28- Guest Blog at The Mod Podge Bookshelf
Thank you to all my bookish pals for helping kick off Mod Podge Blog Tours!
For more info on future tours, as well as author info for being hosted on MPB, please check out the new Mod Podge Blog Tour Page on The Mod Podge Bookshelf.