Field Trip Friday: July 25, 2014


- The Associated Press illustrates how a misplaced comma can cause spark panic. (via Kathleen Ortiz)

- Justine Larbalestier explains why ‘likeability’ is not a requirement for good fiction.

- "While most issues in workshop are presented as universal to story, race can come off as a burden personal to writers of color." Matthew Salesses at NPR on defending your writing and defending yourself.

- Maybe don't worry too much about your Bookscan numbers, since they omitted 10K copies from Edan Lepucki's release week.


- The Cape Henlopen School Board has solved their summer reading list problem by not just removing The Miseducation of Cameron Post -- they're removing the entire list.

- Librarians in a Wisconsin school district are concerned about unqualified volunteers removing books from shelves. (via Kelly Jensen)

- Meg Morley explains why sex positivity is important in YA, and Karen Jensen at SLJ has tips on how librarians can help fight slut shaming.

- The Man Booker Prize longlist includes Americans for the first time.

- William Polking uses our own Steph Kuehn's Complicit to make a case against Slate's "Against YA" piece, and a psychologist at the HuffPo explains why adults totally should read YA books.

- Book Riot's new "3 on a YA Theme" feature kicks off with summer camp titles.

- Bookish rounds up 10 LGBT books you need to read this year.

- Kayla Ancrum has a killer essay (from February) explaining in muggle terms why Snape was a terrible friend to Lily.

- "GENDER-FLIP GEEK ICONS! RACE-FLIP NERD WAR! GAY BATMAN! RAAAAAR!" Can't really give a better summary of Chuck Wendig's post.

- PW has a sneak peak at spring 2015's hot titles!


- PW takes a (not very encouraging) look at how YA publishers and authors can stop book piracy.

- The NYT discusses why writers are opening up about money (or the lack thereof). (via Vicki Lame)

- What do copy editors do? Edan Lepucki interviews hers to find out. (via Martha Mihalick)

- Sara Megibow discusses whether you still need an agent. (via Sarah LaPolla)

- Claire Cook shares why she left her mighty agency and publisher.

- Rachel Aaron says Kindle Unlimited is going to make a ton of money, and you might too; Kelly Jensen explains that Unlimited is not just like Netflix. Meanwhile Amazon's dispute with Hachette does seem to be affecting book buying, and I'm having trouble parsing this article about Amazon and the CIA (MAYBE BECAUSE THEY WANT ME TO BE CONFUSED) but it seems relevant.

- Submissions are now open for participation in the new North Texas Teen Book Festival!


- Don't miss this week's First Draft with Sarah Enni interviews, featuring Lindsay Smith, author of Sekret and Skandal, Cristin Terrill, author of All Our Yesterdays, and Ellen Oh, author of Prophecy!

- Meet the teen who dropped out of high school to cure cancer sooner.

- Brianna Wu shares the realities of harassment for women in the gaming industry. (Warning: graphic language, slurs, etc.) (via Liz Burns)

- Crunk Feminist Collective discusses the problem with praising black girl strength. (via Jada Bradley)


- Mental Floss recounts how Superman defeated the Ku Klux Klan. (via Tessa Gratton)

- 5 excellent examples of animation based on literature.

- The 50 Shades trailer happened.

Epic Reads is the best.

Writing Horror: Scary Writing Prompt Game #19

Happy Thursday, Spookies!

Welcome to another round of the scary writing prompt game. Again, here's how it works: I'll announce the prompt, then you guys post your response in the comment section. At the beginning of each round, I'll share my favorite bits from the previous month's entries before announcing the next prompt. At the end of the year there will be a spooky prize drawing for two lucky winners.

*All* participants are automatically entered to win!

Prizes: Both winners will receive a Night of Horror care package from yours truly, containing everything you need for a spooky night in--a scary DVD, creeptastic snacks, something to keep you cozy while you cower in fear of ghosts and/or serial killers, and a few other horror-related knick-knacks that won't disappoint. Maybe I'll even throw in a bottle of True Blood.

Reminder: Now accepting entries via Tumblr! Reblog with your entry attached, then tag your post with the hashtag #scarywritingpromptgame and spread the horror love on your dash! (Even if you only do a Tumblr entry and never comment on the actual post, I will still enter it for the grand prizes at the end of the year.)

Last month's prompt didn't garner any responses, so let's roll right into the new prompt!

This Month's Prompt:

Her mother went outside to feed the horses and never came back.

Julia was able to make it a reasonably long time without freaking out. Maybe her mother was taking extra time to cut open some new hay, or refilling the water trough, or putting blankets on the horses because of the sudden chill that'd befallen the ranch in the last few days. Maybe.

Photo courtesy of Kristine Paulus
But before long, an hour had passed, and the terrible feeling in Julia's gut only worsened. The sun was long gone, replaced by a full harvest moon that shone through the window with a dull, yellow glow. Ever since she was a child, Julia's mother warned her not to go outside at night during the harvest moon. She never explained why, only made Julia promise over and over again until she was satisfied enough to let it go.

Now her mother was missing, and Julia was left biting her nails in the dark of the kitchen, too afraid to turn any lights on to distract attention from whatever might be out there.

You're being ridiculous, Julia thought after another half hour went by, tired of hiding like a frightened child in the shadows. She might be injured out there, something with the horses, she might need your help...

The idea of her mother in pain was what did it in the end. Julia pulled on her coat and boots, grabbed a flashlight, and headed outside to the dirt path that ran between the main house and the stables.

What would she find?


Unleash the Hellhounds!

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's topic: What book universe do you wish you could live in?

Share your answer via comments, your own blog, tumblr, twitter (hashtag #roadtripwednesday), wherever you'd like!

First Draft With Sarah Enni

With last week's Road Trip Wednesday, I mentioned wonderful co-blogger Sarah Enni's new podcast, but all of us here at YA Highway are pretty proud of her and excited about this podcast series, so it deserved a longer post.

As she says on the podcast's tumblr page, Sarah is taking an epic road trip to visit authors and talk to them about writing, books, and so much more! All the interviews she's done so far are available here. You can also see pictures, playlists and more on the podcast's twitter and instagram feeds.

So head on over and check it out! Following her on her journey across the United States is pretty fun.

Field Trip Friday: June 18, 2014


- Robin LaFevers's latest, "The Crushing Weight of Expectations," is fantastic as always.

- Jessica Spotswood speaks candidly about managing anxiety and a writing career, and Katrina Leno shows how depression can affect even happy occasions like release day. (via Sarah LaPolla)

- What makes an editor stop reading your manuscript? Former Egmont/S&S/Penguin editor Elizabeth Law has a list.

- Dan Koboldt shares 10 things writers usually get wrong about the woods. (The answer to his unidentified crying baby noise is probably "coyote.") (via Elsie Chapman)

- Disability in KidLit is highlighting some of their popular posts from the past, including this one on warning flags and turn offs.

- "Nobody owes you a damn thing." Kait Nolan is unimpressed with entitlement in writer culture.

- Ally Carter revisits her great "Letter to Baby Author Me."

- This is an older post, but "First Drafting: Now 96% Faster!" by Tara Dairman is worth a read, as well as its links to the aforementioned Robin LaFevers.

- Kameron Hurley has encouragement in "On Public Speaking While Fat." (via Ysabeau Wilce)

- This week First Draft with Sarah Enni posted an interview with Caroline Tung Richmond, discussing perseverance, sci fi love, writing while parenting, and more!


- Flavorwire rounds up the internet's most influential writers.

- Nathan Rabin is sorry for coining the phrase "manic pixie dream girl." (via Melissa Faulner)

- I know you're TFIOS-ed out, but Briallen Hooper has a review of the book and movie that also illustrates beautifully the value of YA.

- YA Interrobang has moved to a daily format, and the site looks great!

- The UK’s first Young Adult Literature Convention debates gender, sex, and strong heroines.

- MTV rounds up 17 music-themed YA books. (via Sean Beaudoin)  Related: check out these 8th grade metal heads who just got a 7-figure record deal.



- The NYT examines both sides of the Hachette vs Amazon fight, and Laura Hazard Owen investigates how the issues has taken on the vocabulary of class warfare. (via Chuck Wendig) Meanwhile Amazon rolled out their "Kindle Unlimited" service this morning, which is kind of like Netflix for books.

- Carly Watters has 6 things you shouldn't expect from your agent. (via Julia Weber)

- Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware did an AMA this week, discussing scams, harassment, and more.

- Janet Reid suggests when you should attend conferences, and Beth Phelan discusses how everyone is nervous there - including her.


- Rebecca Traister's article on male metrics for success made an Amy Poehler quote this week's battle cry: "I don't f*cking care if you like it." (George R. R. Martin has a similar message for his fans.)

- Vulture examines what summer blockbusters still get wrong about women. (They also have great moments in dystopian knitwear.)

- "The word BALANCE has tilted dangerously close, I fear, to the word PERFECT — another word that women use as weapons against themselves and each other," says Elizabeth Gilbert.

- A new study shows that women are penalized for fostering diversity in the workplace.

- Another study shows binge drinkers are most likely to be popular during young adulthood.

- The casting call for Straight Outta Compton is crazy racist. (via Shveta Thakrar)

- "While Writing For 'Orange Is The New Black,' I Realized I Was Gay," by Lauren Morelli

- The Malaysian plane shot down over the Ukraine this week was carrying an as-of-yet unverified number of AIDS researchers.

- I can't even with this.


Unless you were on internet hiatus, you probably saw Weird Al's "Blurred Lines" parody, "Word Crimes."

and you probably saw this woman kicking ass on American Ninja

And you probably saw hundreds of ball pit jokes (even Denny's got in on it), which Jezebel explained Monday morning for those of us out of the loop.

But did you see Kristen Stewart and Anne Hathaway in drag? Thank goodness Mallory Ortberg did.

Road Trip Wednesday

This week's topic: In honor of YA Highway blogger Sarah Enni's new (and awesome) podcast series, this week we're asking: what's your favorite podcast? (Doesn't have to be writing-related!)

Answer via comments, your own blog, tumblr, twitter (hashtag #roadtripwednesday), anywhere you'd like!

Field Trip Friday: July 11, 2014


- The kidlit world mourns the loss of Walter Dean Myers, the award-winning author who served as the 2012 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature who worked tirelessly to promote literacy, and "wrote about children who needed a voice and their stories told." He was 76.

- HarperCollins started selling books directly to readers as Amazon and Hatchette continue to butt heads. Said dispute is causing lots of internet slap fighting between Team Amazon and Team Traditional and Team OMG Please Get Some Perspective, spurring Chuck Wendig to remind us that publishing is not a religious war. (One winner in the conflict? Edan Lepucki, whose unexpected Colbert-bump made her number one on the NYT list.)



- Our girl Sarah Enni launched First Draft, a new podcast series featuring interviews with writers met on her summer road trip across the country, including this week's guests Robin Talley and our own Sumayyah Daud. (Check out her Instagram for a sneak peek at upcoming authors -- I spy Veronica Roth, Tumblr's Rachel Fershleiser, and more!)

- Lots of relevant articles in the NYT: Six people weigh in on whether children's books should be political; writers Anna Holmes and Leslie Jamison share the things they did starting out that they now regret; and Richard Friedman explains why teenagers act crazy.

- Courtney Summers interviews Sarah McCarry about daring to write unlikable, unflinching girls.

- "Ten Reasons To Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper," from Gwenda Bond.

- JJ shares the secret to writing a bestseller.

- Bustle rounds up 13 of the most annoying writers you'll meet. (via Jessi Kirby)


- "And please don't think, for one second, that I'm advocating for you to ban--sorry, censor--oh, sorry--remove all of those books as well. That would be a fucking travesty." emily m. danforth drops the hammer on the school board that removed her book from a summer reading list. She's also giving away the entire list (ending today!).

- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yes for real) recommends 5 YA contemporaries that adults should read, in the LA Register. (via Jessica Love)

- So sad to see Kelly Jensen stepping down from the Printz committee due to YALSA's new social media policies.

- "The 'C' in ARC does not stand for 'contract,'" says Janet at Dear Author.

- Aisha Saeed launches #RamadanReads, promoting titles with Muslim themes and encouraging the gifting of books on Eid-al-Fitr.

- MIT is developing an audio reading device that give vision-impaired people affordable and immediate access to printed words. (via Paper Lantern Lit)

- An editorial in the Oakland Local looks at diversity (or lack thereof) in children's books, and Teen Vogue covers the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, complete with book recommendations.

- Epic Reads picks 25 YA books for Game of Thrones fans.

- The Bront√ęs made teeny tiny books when they were young.


- Emma Watson, the newest UN Goodwill Ambassador, is producing and starring in the film adaptation of Erika Johansen's The Queen Of The Tearling. (via Forever Young Adult)

- Will Smith’s Overbrook Entertainment has picked up rights to Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

- Syfy has greenlighted a pilot for Lev Grossman's The Magicians.

- Vulture looks at the age-discrimination faced by female actresses, gender-flipping their roles with actors of the same age (for example, the male equivalent of Tammy would be 34-year-old Jason Segel starring with his father played by 48-year-old Ben Stiller and his grandpa played by 57-year-old Tom Hanks).

- The baby from Labyrinth, whose parents were behind The Dark Crystal, is all grown up and making his own movies in collaboration with Jim Henson's daughter, Heather.


- Bernice McFadden and Lauren Francis-Sharma discuss the blatant racism they've faced in publishing.

- World Book Night is suspending full operations.

- Mediabistro features an infographic showing who's stealing books. (via Sara Sargent)

- Dahlia Adler has a three-part guide to being a debut author; another debut novelist "experiments with radical honesty" at Slate, and Elizabeth Otto turns off her verbal filter to talk money and the new author. Further down the career path, agent Jenny Bent asks, "Does it ever get easier?"

- A Penguin imprint is experimenting with releasing one debut novel with two covers. (via Kelly Jensen)

- PW lists the best-selling books of 2014 so far.

- Thinking of self-publishing? Bree Bridges has part one of a guide to turning your manuscript into HTML -- a future installment will explain how to turn that into an epub.

- This week in marketing: Interesting conversation at the YA Writers Reddit about what works in marketing; agent Jennifer Laughran explains how not to tweet, and Beth Revis breaks down the price tag for author events.


- "She’s only a senior in high school and she’s already infuriating men to the point that they’ve called for her resignation. [T]his! This is varsity-level Frightening White Men; I was barely on the frosh/soph roster." A Student Body President is forced to resign after giving her white male classmates a taste of their own medicine.

- A 16-year-old girl finds out about her own rape via pictures and a hashtag on Twitter; the alleged rapist continued to joke about the accusations at least as late as Wednesday.

- Jezebel passes over long-time deputy editor (and WOC) Dodai Smith to hire Jessica Coen as editor-in-chief.

- 63 of the women and girls abducted by Boko Haram escaped this week.

- Politico looks at the way women's magazines demean powerful women, even when they're trying not to. (I haven't finished reading this yet, just for full disclosure.)

- The female US Supreme Court Justices are not amused.

- Apparently we are psychological research fodder for Facebook, because you know, marketing research fodder wasn't enough.

- Other stuff you should read:


"Turn Down For What": A Guide.

Things Tim Howard Could Save (spoiler: everything)

I don't even watch "Hannibal" and I'm pretty sure Cleolinda has it right with "Edward Lecter Cullen."

New Mockingjay teaser!