I'm author ELLE STRAUSS and welcome to my website!
I write fun, lower Young Adult (teen) fiction to do with whimsical things like time-travel, fairies and merfolk.
When my serious side peeks out, she's called LEE STRAUSS. She likes to write upper YA about real things that have happened in the past, or made up things that could quite possibly happen in the future.
This blog is about books, mine and other fab authors', but occasionally I'll share about other topics.
Thanks for dropping by!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The last three months have been very exciting for me and Spiff. We learned how to blog. It's crazy. And ending the year with a great kissing fest was awesome, (though, to be honest, Spiff wasn't that jazzed by it. He doesn't see the point in kisses that don't involve fur).
And Yay, we've hit the thirty followers mark already, too, so thanks to all you fellow bloggers who have dropped in to say hello.
So, Spiff and I are going to take some time off from blogging now. There are actual people in our home who expect some attention this time of year (needy kids), and there's always those last minute errands to run.
See you January 2 in time for the No Kiss Fest. See Frankie Writes for all the juicy details.
We hope your holidays are awesome in every way, full of joy and peace.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I just want to shout out about how awesome yesterday's kissing fest was. Not only did I read some fantastic kissing scenes, I got to meet so many great bloggers-it just made it easier to find you!
You also found me, which makes it doubly sweet.
Many thanks to you Sherrinda, for a great idea.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Tally nodded and leaned forward. Their lips met, the kiss slow and intense in the chill of the rain. She could feel him trembling and the muddy ground beneath them was cold, but their two hoods joined to block out the world, making a space that became warm from their mingling breath.
Sherrinda, who came up with this fun idea, challenged me to include one of my own, so here goes: It’s a part of scene near the end of my YA chick lit, Clockwise.
“You’re hedging. What happened that you don’t want to tell me?”
“Why should I tell you?” I swallowed hard. “Just say what you came to say, Nate. Let’s get this over with.”
He let his arms drop. “What are you talking about?”
Stupid me. My eyes prickled and I could tell my face was turning that unflattering shade of blotchy red. I stared at the sidewalk. “Just tell me, you’ve had enough. Friendship with me is so much more than you bargained for, and you want to get on with your life. A normal life that doesn’t include me. I understand. Just say it and go.”
I felt his finger under my chin sending electric shivers down my spine. He lifted my face, forcing me to look into his eyes.
“You got it all wrong,” he whispered. “It drives me crazy that I might not be there next time you’re in trouble. With all the Robert Willingsworths and Cobbs in the world, Casey, I want to be there with you, to protect you and to love you. Here and there.”
Then he leaned down and kissed me. Kissed me!
Hey, did he just say he loved me?
My good arm reached up and grabbed his hair. He kissed me again, sweet, warm, soft kisses, and then touched my nose with his. “Is this okay?”
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Check out Sherrinda's blog for the complete scoop.
I'll be participating, but I think I'll stick to a scene I've read rather than something I've written, just because a)I'm shy and b)I'm shy.
I've copied and pasted the rules and instructions here.
1. Write a post telling about the Official Kissing Day Blogfest. This way more writer/bloggers will get the word and be able to participate on Monday, Dec. 21st.
2. Tweet about it, using the hash tag: #kissingdayblogfest (I don't know if this will help get the word out, but I thought it might be fun to try.)
3. On Monday, December 21st, post on your blog an excerpt from your current WIP, or write a new scene that spotlights a kiss or an "almost kiss".
4. If you are not a writer, or are uncomfortable sharing your work online, post your favorite kissing scene or almost-kissing scene from any book or movie.
**Please note that you do NOT have to do #1 or #2 to participate. I was trying to think of a way to get more writers to join in on the fun, but it is NOT mandatory! Just post your kissing scene on Monday for our reading pleasure!
Also FAB CONTEST at PRINCESS BOOKIE. I want to win pile #1. Please.
Friday, December 18, 2009
So, time to go on a mental holiday, I say. Put all thoughts of “the pursuit” aside and focus on the things that really matter right now. Like family and friends and staying sane.
It(staying sane)helps to remember what Christmas is all about. And nobody says it better than Linus.
Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
For more great "live on the internet" tunes check out www.streamingcafe.net
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I’m a hand talker and sometimes I also slap table tops. Is there a support group for people like me? You probably think by now that I’m an extrovert and that I like to be the center of attention, but not true. I’m more of an observer. I’ve been told I’m hard to get to know, that I’m reserved. It’s not that I’m shy, I’m not afraid to speak up or take the lead when necessary. In fact I used to be the extrovert who liked all the attention, but somewhere along the way, I’ve slipped into midrovertism (I just made that word up. It’s for people who aren’t clearly extroverts or introverts.)
My question to you is, have you ever read about a primary or secondary character whose identifying trait is hand talking? Would having to mention heavy gesticulation with most of her dialogue be interesting or annoying?
I’m guessing annoying.
Hmmm. Maybe I have to try sitting on my hands, or shoving them into my pockets when I talk. But then I’d probably have these weird jerking body movements going on, and that could be worse.
So, what were we talking about? I wish I could say we were deep into issues like how to heal global warming or Google world denomination or who I thought should win Survivor this year—but actually, we were talking about our kids and writing. (Surprise?)
How about you? Any fellow hand talkers out there? Any tips?
Monday, December 14, 2009
Here's the problem I'm talking about: He or him? She or her? When to use what. You’d think it’d be easy, but I hear people misuse these pronouns all the time (which isn't as concerning as finding endless examples in a professionally edited book). For example: Did you hear about Mary? Her and John eloped! Her sister went with them to witness it.
I was alone with him is correct. Him and I were alone is not. To test this just remove I. Him was alone is obviously wrong. I was alone. He was alone. He and I were alone. I and he were alone, (though that last one does sound like the speaker used too much starch to iron her skirt).
Hopefully, as writers, we know this instinctively, at least when we see it written, but the spoken word is far more casual, and other pronoun errors that were tsk tsked over in the past are now considered okay, even by grammarians. Patricia T. O’Conner gives an example of this in her book Woe is I, (which ironically is demonstrated in her title).
These days, anyone who says “It is I” sounds like a stuffed shirt. It wasn’t always so. In bygone days, you might have had your knuckles rapped for saying “It’s me” instead of “It is I.” Your crime? A pronoun following the verb to be, the English teacher insisted, should act like a subject (I, he, she, they) and not an object (me, him, her, them). But language is a living thing, always evolving, and It is I is just about extinct.
Let’s go back to the first example. Her and John eloped is incorrect. It’s She and John eloped. The funny thing is, to many people the first example sounds right and the second one like the Queen of England is talking.
That’s a scary thought. I can’t imagine Her and John got married, will ever be considered okay, especially by grammarians, but don’t quote me.
What do you think? Are pronoun errors (deliberate or otherwise) in YA concerning to you?
Saturday, December 12, 2009
But last week I actually won something. I’d like to say I earned it, but since it’s a blog award and because I’ve only been blogging for two months, it’s more of a win. I won the notice and favor of Laurel, who kindly included me as one of her winners for the Super Scribbler Award.
All I have to do now is pass the award on to five more worthy scribblers. This is where it gets embarrassing. I didn’t have five, (which is why I waited to make this awesome announcement). So, I did what any worthy super scribbler would do, I went on a BLOG BINGE. I read blogs and more blogs, totally blown away by the mass of incredible bloggers out in the blogosphere and a load of good people too. Where have I been????
Blog searching and reading and posting is officially my WIP for the month of December.
Here’s my list. It’s not comprehensive and some of them may have already won this award before, but it’s okay to double dip.
Boomama – That’s her name and she’s sticking to it, and with a name like that, how can you not love her blog?
Davin Malasarn at The Triplicate – this is a science/writing blog and I always feel smarter after reading it.
Denise Jaden – 2010 debut YA author and personal friend who’s also really cool.
Shannon O’Donnell at Book Dreaming – pursuing publication like so many of us and has a really fun blog.
Rhiannon Hart -- at the submission part of her publishing experience and a fellow Commonwealthian of the Australian variety.
There are so many other great blogs but, alas, I’m meant to stop at five. Winners, please pass the award along to your fave five.
Happy Blog Surfing!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Was Jesus born on Dec 25th? No, of course not. He was born sometime in the spring, you know, the time of year when Shepherd’s Watch their Flocks by Night. So, why do Christians celebrate his birthday in December, then? Because, when Christianity was just getting an infant foothold in far reaching pagan ancient Rome, December 25 was a big day to worship the SUN because, even though they didn’t understand it yet, solstice had happened and the days were suddenly getting longer. Yay, Sun! Let’s worship the sun!
So, to counteract that holiday of false worship (I think most educated people would agree that the Sun itself is not deity), they imposed a holiday of their own, the birth of the Savior, the redeemer of mankind.
In Canada, we celebrate the Queen’s birthday on May 21st. For those of you not versed in Canadiana, we are part of the Commonwealth, we have a picture of the Queen’s face on our money (as do the Australians). We actually get a day off to celebrate her birthday. And you know what? It’s not her actual birthday. Do I care? No. I’m happy to take the day off. For those trivia buffs, the Queen’s birthday is April 21st, but we already get days off that month for Easter and Spring break, so we Canadians like to spread our holidays out. Another interesting note: I found out on a recent trip to Britain, that they don’t even celebrate the queen’s birthday or get a day off. Huhum.
So, there. I guess. I think I made my point. Sort of.
What do you think?
Update: I stand corrected (by me)-- I've got the wrong Queen! I was tipped off by the fact that the calender says Victoria Day, so I looked it up on Google and it's her birthday, not the current queen's. I grew up being told it was the Queen's birthday and since Elizabeth is the only (living) one I've ever known of, I just assumed it was her. Ooops.
Point still stands, though.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
It was my first encounter with audio books. I had assumed that it would simply be read by someone with a good speaking voice, so at first the dramatic approach threw me. The speaker “acted” out the characters, slightly changing her voice with each one. But within moments, yes moments, I stopped noticing. I was totally pulled into the story.
Jenna Fox shouldn’t be alive and she knows it. But she doesn’t know why. Set in the near future, Jenna Fox puts enough clues together to figure out that her time in a coma was more than it appeared; more than just her sleeping through and missing an entire year of her life. She lived in a world were science had rushed ahead of ethics, and somehow she had broken the law.
Or rather, her parents had. The real question in the book is: How far would you go to save someone you love?
The interview with Mary E. Pearson is enlightening. She shares how both of her daughters were at one time diagnosed with cancer, so she’s lived through the fear of losing a child and has dealt with that question personally.
So, for being brave enough to bring her own struggles and emotions to a book, and to have written it with such finesse and intrigue, Mary E. Pearson deserves a Shout Out.
She has a pretty cool book trailer too.
Here’s to you, Mary E. Pearson!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
And, as it so happens, Boomama is hosting a great contest giveaway. Great as in HP Computer great.
Like my grandmother used to say, you can't win if you don't enter.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
But after the sobfest I just posted I have to tell you I've pulled up my emotional boot straps. It helps that I just happened to be given a blog award today(divine intervention), and I will post in depth on that next week, but it definitely pulled me out of my slump. First of all it got me reading blogs. There are a lot of people like me who are on a writing journey and are blogging about it. They aren't waiting until they arrive to shout the good news.
I like that.
So, one of the blogs I found linked me to agent Suzie Townsend who happens to be doing a series of holiday contest giveaways. Check it out here:http://confessionsofawanderingheart.blogspot.com/
I'm going to enter. Who knows, I might win.
See, I feel better already.
This is how it works: It starts off with, um, I’m not a bad writer. I’ve read such and such a book, and I’m as good as so and so. It’s because of this damn recession. If I had finished my novel in time to submit before Black October ’08, I would be agented by now. Everyone is holding back. Oh, look, see, I’ve got a request, I must be a pretty good writer, or why, especially during a recession, would they ask to read more? Yay, she likes it! But wants to see revisions. I can do revisions.
Then nothing. And more nothing. I’ve been here before. The Great Ignore.
I know, I know, they are really busy, they get tons and tons of emails everyday, they simply can’t take time to respond to every query, etc. I get that. But how do I know if I’m rejected or if they are just running behind and still plan to get back to me?
Or am I just really, really, really IMPATIENT. It’s me, not them. I’m impatient, and probably not good enough. That must be it. I live perpetually in the land of Almost But Not Quite. Actually, I suck. I’m a dreamer not a writer. Why do I DO this to myself. I should just quit.
That’s right. I’m quitting. I’m like a writing addict and I need to detox and get a life!
I feel sick. Like a puffed up balloon with a slow leak. I can’t quit writing. It’s who I am. What God created me to be.
So maybe I’m not destined to be a published writer. (Who knows? The jury is still out on that). But I’m part of a writing community. (Thanks Laurel and Denise for reminding me of this.) I belong. I’m part of a large group of people who share the ups and downs of the writing life, who understand the AGONY, along with the JOY.
Or, is it just me?
Monday, December 7, 2009
Life is like that. You're happily going on your way, minding your own business, when bam, you hit a slick stretch of ice and start fishtailing through life. Often you bump into other stalled, ditched people until you are all unmovable and finally someone calls for help.
And this is a good thing. Winter is mother nature's way of reminding us that we need each other. We're on this earth together for a reason. Sometimes it takes being stuck n the ditch with our neighbours to figure it out.
Friday, December 4, 2009
In all fairness I have to report that I took three such teen girls to see the JB in concert this summer and it was actually one of the best concerts I have been to in a long time. Those boys know how to put on a good show. And if I was a fifteen-year-old girl today, I would likely have a huge crush too.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I remember the first time I heard about Stephanie Myers and her breakout book in an issue of Time. I’m not a vampire fan but her premise was surely intriguing, the whole vegetarian vampire spin, and of course the forbidden love thing, but was struck me the most was the fact that Ms Myers is Mormon. She has personal values that don’t normally fit in with what’s currently hot and expected in contemporary YA and that is all the things that “normal” teens do: sex, parties and swearing.
And yet it was a huge. How inspiring. An author who didn’t cross the lines of her personal values in order to get published. And not only did she obtain publication, well, I don’t have to tell you about her phenomenal success.
So for staying true to herself and not bending to modern trends and still succeeding, Here’s to you Stephanie Myers!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Character Arc is the path of discovery the main character travels on. She is not the same person at the end of the book as she is at the beginning and its how she gets there, to that new place as a person that is the character arc.
This path is full of conflict. If it’s not then you’ll have a boring book. To quote Ms M and Ms J, “She goes in pursuit of what she wants only to discover it’s often the last thing she needs.”
They give a simplified example of conflict points which I’ll include here. Of course this is in reference to chick lit material, but it could be useful for other genres too.
• The drop: If nothing upsets your character’s life, then she has no reason to grow.
• The climb: She could be moving toward a true or false high, but she’s moving on up.
• The blips: Don’t make the journey too smooth. Readers want conflict.
• The ultimate low: When everything crashes around the main character and she hits rock bottom.
• The final climb: She’s figuring out how to solve or deal with her problems.
• The satisfied ending: She’s happier with her life – or at least on her way to getting there.
Then they offer traps to avoid for your main character.
• The Improbable Ditz
• Multiple Personality Mary
• The B*tch
• The Doormat
• Wendy the Whiner
• Quirky Beyond Belief
• Perky Patty
• I rant, Therefore I Am
• The Incredible Not Growing Woman
The authors expand on each of the above, so if you want to read more, you’ll have to buy the book!