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All posts for the month May, 2012

Survey

Published 31/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

I’ve been asking several questions on Facebook, but I thought I’d pop them on here as well. I want to know what YOU think. If you could pin down your favourite YA author and give her/him some feedback, what would it be? I don’t want to know who you’d choose, but I’d like to know what you want more of? Less of? I’ve had a lot of people stating that they’re sick of weak female leads (me too btw!), love triangles, teens that *suddenly* gain magical powers or discover they’re a werewolf/fairy/mermaid/spiderman…. Also for covers, people are sick of torsos, faces, and the usual generic Twilight ripoffs that seem to have flooded the market.

I’ll tell you what I’m fed up of;

Censorship.

Don’t get me wrong. I think there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and that people should be protected, but in the UK, you can legally have sex at 16. Surely that then means that a 16 year old is legally old enough to look after a child. If they can look after a child, why can’t they read books with swearwords in? Or with sex in? If it’s ok for them to be ‘doing it’, why can’t they read ‘it’? I’m not talking full out, graphic, offensive sex. I’m talking about consensual, the kind that most people have or are doing.

My ebook ‘Of Darkness and Light’ had a couple of curse words in it. Before I was told to remove them by someone who was potentially (it never happened unfortunately) going to be my agent. I took them out. Didn’t get me published! People swear. I did it like a trooper when I was a teen, and still do (though I am trying to cut down) If the world is going to hell, people won’t be saying; ‘Gosh darn it!’

On the flip side, I don’t want too much swearing. Or sex. I don’t read books for my age group (I’m *cough28cough*) as they’re just shopping, drinking and sex. None of these things I want to read about if I’m honest. I think a balance if needed, and I think it’s YOU GUYS, the ones reading YA ficiton who need to let us know where the balance is. What shocks you? What do you never want to read about? What would make you put down a book and never pick it up again? Where are you lines of censorship? What do you want more of? Less of?

The other subject that makes me cross is teens being talked down to. I haven’t become this revolutionary-ly different person since I was 18. I hated it then and I hate it now. Teens aren’t dumb, so don’t treat them like that are. I’ve picked up several YA books that I’ve had to abandon because they’re written as thought aimed at 12 year olds. I LOVE YA. I love reading it and writing it, but I feel it is a genre with more than it’s fair share of issues, being censorship etc etc.

Anyhoo, got a bit ranty there.

Let me know what you think about the genre. How would you fix it if you were in charge? If you rana  publishing house, what would you print?

L x

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Giveaway!

Published 30/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

We’ve hit 1000 tickets for the raffle which is completely insane! But I am also thrilled. I wanted to thank you for all your hard work promoting, supporting and essentially being the best followers a girl or author could have. Had I won the Euromillions 73 million, I would have sent you all something to say thank you, but alas it did not happen.

The draw will be on Saturday. I wont say a time, but it will be (hopefully) when everyone is up taking into consideration time differences, so afternoon/evening UK time.

I haven’t listed all the prizes yet as I’m still waiting on some, but we have tote bags, badges, magnets, key chains, pens, shirt, postcards, bookmarks and a few more bits to come!

I’m uber excited!

Love and Hugs

Lily x

Ill!

Published 29/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

Blergh! I think I’m falling apart! I’ve been off work sick for a few days and quite honestly feel like complete rubbish! But! I have gotten so much done it’s not funny!

I am currently trying to get a novel finished and fixed to send out to agents. I WILL get published if it’s the last thing I do (and the way I’m feeling right now, it might very well be lol) I am questioning whether I should put the first chapter up or not as it is only in first draft form. I’ not going to say what it’s about as I’m quite nervous of people copying my ideas. I’m still on the look out for something to critique the thing for me as I really need some fresh eyes looking at it. If you have experience in this area, please contact me.

What are you reading at the moment? I’m reading A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin from the Games of Thrones/A Song of Fire and Ice series. I’m very much enjoying it, but if you’re considering reading the series, be warned, there is A LOT of adult content. I’m 28 and even I’m shocked and I’ve lived with three men! (not something I recommend ladies, it will ruin you for life! There are only so many bodily functions you want to hear, be told about and witness, trust me!)

I also need to warn you that my giveaway will be ended on 5th May. Get your entries in quick1 There is still time. We’re up to over 1000 tickets which is insane!

Love and Hugs

Lily x

 

Oh, and solely for the purposes of making myself feel better, here is a photo of the AWESOME David Tennant (The Tenth Doctor) unfortunately Dr. Who ended when he left!

Image Detail

Critique? Cope Editor? Help!

Published 28/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

Any peeps out there with experience in Cope Editing or critiquing that would be willing to do it for free or incredibly cheap? Every spare penny I have goes on postage to send out bits for giveaways and I have a (nearly finished) YA book that needs some serious attention and love!

Lily x

Favourite covers!

Published 27/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

What are your favourite YA book covers? I really, really like the cover of the book I’m reading right now; ‘Shift’ by Em Bailey.

Shift

Simplistic without being boring. I also will admit I did love the 50 Shades covers, shame about the book though 😦

What are your favourites? What has been done to death? What do you never want to see on a cover again!

I was thinking of the Twilight Books and how they were the ones that made many people take a bit more notice of YA covers, but I remember thinking that the movie cover of the Twilight book was ridiculous. Neither of them looked like the people they were supposed to be (I can’t find a picture, but I’m sure you know the one I mean)

Is a cover important to you? We all know the over used; ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ but I think we’re all guilty of this. Any books you have read with AWFUL covers that were brilliant? Or any with Brilliant covers that were awful?

Let me know in the comments section x

 

Diet Coke and Cheerios

Published 26/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

I am a simple girl of simple tastes. It doesn’t take much to make me happy, i.e the title of this blog entry. I honestly think I might be keeping Nestle in business with the sheer volume of Cheerios I eat.

What doesn’t make me happy is querying agents. So the DC and Cheerios are to help me through the process.

If you haven’t heard the term before, when you want to get your book published, there is a long old process to go through. Misguided, naive little creature that I was when I started, I assumed you send a letter to a publisher, they offer you a tonne of money for it, then you retire from your rubbish retail job and happily write all day.

HOW WRONG CAN A GIRL BE!

Before you even think of approaching a publisher, you need an agent. Most publishers won’t accept manuscripts (your book) if you don’t have an agent. To get an agent, you have to send out a polite letter telling them about your book, why it rocks and why they NEED you. Here is an excellent example put up on the blog of an Ex- agent http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2006/11/anatomy-of-good-query-letter.html

You have to spend a very long time making this letter perfect, then you send it out into the world and wait…for months. No exaggeration, I am getting letters back about things I sent out in October 2011. People often ask if they should apply to one or more agents at a time. Do you want to get through all the agencies before you die? You NEED to query more than one at a time or you will be waiting forever.

Once that has happened and they LOVE your book, it will be submitted on your behalf to publishers. I have never gotten this far. I had a HUGELY Desirable agent interested in my work, she called me! She wanted it! She was HUGELY enthused, but I messed up because I didn’t understand how it all worked. She listed rewrites. I assume she wanted them ASAP so killed myself to get it done in a couple of weeks. She was expecting months and as such I rushed it. I am still kicking myself about this. I’m not going to name names, but she is the Best in her field. Go me. Unfortunately, there is no accounting for trends. The Angel fad was over pretty soon after so I had missed that boat. Hence the Kindle route.

But, the current book I will be querying is almost finished, and as such will need a lot more work done to it, but I want everything ready for then as I it’s the part I hate most. In the space of a page, you have to make someone want your book. I’ve never been good at selling  myself, I’m shy and self conscious, avoiding being centre of attention wherever possible, but this is a learning process. If you want something enough, you have to go outside of your comfort zone and put yourself out there.

So my afternoon will be spent wrestling with the evil entity that is known as QUERY LETTER! What’s the new book about? oooh that would be telling… ;p

Angry

Published 25/05/2012 by Lily Crussell

I will admit I launched a magazine across the room today. Please explain to me why we’re suprised with the record numbers of cases of Anorexia, Bullemia, Suicide, Self Harm and all the other awful things that are happening in the world today? The magazine I was reading was the typical, generic ‘girl’s/woman’s’ magazine, and the whole thing was just a breeding pit for low self esteem and depression!

The features were offensive;

‘Ring of Truth’ – i.e let’s point out someone’s faults.

‘Celebrity is anoreic or obese’ – they’ve either lost or put on two pounds (or it’s just an unfortunate photo)

‘Fashion pages’ – All the models are underfed.

‘Diet Pages’ – i.e How to look underfed.

The only, honest to god non offensive page I could find were the book/music reviews, and once I’d read them, the magazine was launched across the room.

Please, please, as a so called civilised society, can we please stop with the negative imagery we are having shoved down our throats! Healthy girls are fat, the clothes you wear are more important than your brain, celebrities who are famous for…well, I dont honestly know! Why is everyone so shocked that girls are starving themselves? Killing themselves? Hating themselves? Comparing themselves to imaged that are Photoshopped, edited and altered. It makes me so ANGRY!

As someone who had suffered from Anorexia (and I’m not entirely sure it’s something you ever totally get over) I am baffled that it’s allowed. I spent a large chunk of my teen years pretending to eat, counting every single calorie, exercising like crazy and taking diet pills. I thought I was fat. I was 7and a half stone. At my lowest I was probably about 6 and a half. I wouldn’t weigh myself.

I see pictures of myself from that time and I am utterly horrified.

And we allow it to happen because of the complete and utter rubbish that we are consuming in these glossy magazines! Ask yourself honestly, have you ever felt good after reading one of those things? I know I haven’t. A celebrity is held up high on a pedestal one week, then torn to shreds the next. And that’s ok. God forbid we remember they’re human!

The one that really gets to me is Adele. She is a normal girl. She stated she wouldn’t lose weight etc, but then evidently was forced to. There are photos of her looking exhausted and underfed because no one focuses on her AMASING voice and talents, they’re too busy analysing what she’s wearing, what she’s eating. WHO CARES! Seriously! Will it prevent global warming if she loses five pounds? Will animals stop being endangered if she wears the ‘right’ clothes labels? Of course not!

Girls are essentially being made to feel that they are walking clothes horses that have to be ‘perfect’. But the idea of perfect is constantly changing. ‘Curves are great’, ‘Thin is in’ how is anyone supposed to make it through their teens with any sense of self when this crap is being thrown at them from all directions!

I need you all to do something for me, and it’s really important.

Go get a mirror.

I’ll wait.

Got one?

Ok, now look at that beautiful, smart, wonderful person looking back at you. She is the most important person in the world. She is. You’d be nowhere without her. She is essential to your survival. So please cut the poor girl some slack. If you are healthy, who cares if you’re not a size zero? Who wants to be miserable and living off carrot sticks? It’s not healthy! We weren’t meant to be that small! Be the one girl who yells a resounding ‘NO’ to all that. BE YOURSELF. Why would you possibly want to be a cardboard cut out of every other girl out there? Embrace what makes you different! Your freckles are cute! Your curls are awesome! Bad skin? So what! I’m 28 and I still have bad skin! It never stopped me doing anything I wanted to do.

But do you know what did? My crap opinion of myself. Blaming myself for not being perfect when it was unobtainable.Thinking I was stupid because I wasn’t as smart as the other girls. Starving myself because being thing was all I had. Anorexia stole some of the best years from me. It didn’t make me popular, it made me antisocial. I was a bitch to people because I was hungry and exhausted. I wouldn’t go out with friends if there was food involved! I went to an all girls school, so you can imagine what it was like, but I was my own worst enemy and it really needs to stop.

Losing those five pounds WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY. I can promise you that. The second you lose those five, you’ll want another five, or you’ll notice that your hair is too frizzy, your nose too big…it’s complete rubbish! You are stunning. Beautiful. Amasing. You could be the one who finds a cure for cancer, writes an incredible life changing book, enters the Olympics…but you can’t do any of that whilst you’re hating the skin you’re in. Even if you end up mediocre like me, big WHO CARES! Your happiness and health is far more important that medals, beauty queen sashes and a group of clique-y friends. Be the freak. Be the weirdo. Be the geek. But please be you, or you’ll waste your whole life trying to change something you can’t, only to realise that you’re amazing just the way you are. Honestly. I believe that one hundred per cent.

Promise me one thing. Even if you can’t love that wonderful person in the mirror, at least cut her some slack!

And chuck out all those glossy magazines! They’re just bad for your health!

Lily x