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  1. Come See Me at #YALaunch—over the computer!

    November 6, 2014 by Kiersi

    There is so much stuff happening I can’t even begin to talk about it. But right here, right now, I’m going to try to scratch the surface by telling you about…

    #YALaunch!

     

    Photo by Mircea

    Photo by Mircea

    What is #YALaunch? 

    #YALaunch is a really big party that you are invited to! Okay, so it’s quite a bit more than that. It’s a party that I will physically be attending in Omaha, and you’ll be attending via your computer screen—asking questions, participating in panels, and winning free books!

    What: #YAlaunch is a giant book party, with author panel discussions, games, & book giveaways.

    Why: To celebrate the launch of two new YA novels, and to promote reading, literacy, and other great authors.

    When: Monday November 10, 6-9pm (Central Standard Time)

    Who: Anyone who enjoys books. The party is family-friendly.

    Where: Online, live-streamed over video.  Click here for the link to the live-stream. To receive updates and to be entered for door prizes, please RSVP here at the Facebook event. Chat on Twitter about the party on the hashtag #YAlaunch.

    So, yeah, you heard me right—I’m going to be there, too! Along with a host of other fantastic YA authors. Here’s the line-up of cool people you’ll see appear on the video feed:

    Kate Brauning,  Entangled Publishing editor and YA author of How We Fall
    Nikki Urang, YA author of The Hit List
    Nicole Baart, New York Times bestselling author of The Beautiful Daughters (Atria 2015), Sleeping in Eden, & more
    Blair Thornburgh, Quirk Books editor and author
    Kiersi Burkhart, MG and YA author of the Second Chance Ranch series (ho ho, that’s me!)
    Alex Yuschik, YA author multipublished in poetry/literary journals
    Kelly Youngblood, faith writer and blogger
    Delia Moran, YA author
    Bethany Robison, YA author, Month9Books editor, and sports writer
    Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author of The Legend of Sheba, the Books of Mortalsseries with Ted Dekker, and more).

    So if you’ve ever wondered what I look like, sound like, or (for heaven’s sake, save us all) act like in person, now’s your chance to find out! Join us on Monday, November 10, 6-9pm CST (for my West Coast people, that’s 4-7pm PST).

    And trust me when I say: I know how to party.

    Photo by JD Hancock

    Photo by JD Hancock


  2. Interview with Author Kate Brauning

    November 3, 2014 by Kiersi

    I’m so excited to have author Kate Brauning and her debut YA novel, HOW WE FALL, on the blog today! She’s got some really fun, exclusive content for us. (Scroll down for book blurb!)

    9781440581793cvr.indd

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of HOW WE FALL, which I reviewed on Goodreads. It’s thrilling, emotional, fast-paced and un-put-downable. I may have cried a couple times.

    One thing that features prominently in the novel are classic movies, so I decided to ask Kate a couple questions about how they found their way into HOW WE FALL.

    1. How did you personally get into classic movies?

    When I was growing up, we frequently had family movie nights– something all seven of us could do together. But since my mother used to insist nothing good was made after 1960, that meant we watched a lot of classic movies. Musicals, especially. Men in suits, smoky bars, lavish parties with women in Grace Kelly gowns. Political intrigue, heady romance, subtle, character-driven stories. In some ways, I think it skewed my perception of adulthood, but I also learned to watch the stories carefully. (more…)


  3. Time to Get Spoopy!

    October 31, 2014 by Kiersi

    Time to Get Spoopy!

    Some Halloween-themed Writing Advice

     

    Work doesn't stop on Halloween

    Sione made me wear my bear pajamas to our co-working date

    Why, hello there, my spectral visitor. I hope you’re enjoying your All Hallow’s Eve, whether your activities include watching Kate & Leopold at home alone, romping around town in a bear costume, or trying to make it to three different parties in one night and still make it home at the end.

    In other SCARY NEWS, NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.

    spoopy

    Actually, I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve decided what I’m working on, hashed out a plan of attack, and properly psyched myself out for Abandoning My Social Obligations and Spending A Lot Of Time At Home Alone Writing.

    Sorry in advance if I don’t make it to your birthday party. (more…)


  4. It’s that Time of Year Again!

    October 27, 2014 by Kiersi

    What time of year, you ask?

    Well, it’s certainly almost Halloween:

    spoopy

    And it’s also almost No-Shave November! (As a huge fan of the ol’ mustachio and a devout Portlander, this is my absolute favorite time of the year.)

    No Shave November

    But more importantly to our purposes here today, it’s also almost National Novel Writing Month! (God, really? Is it really NaNo time again? I feel like it was just last month. At least, the failure feels like it was last month.)

    And I’m definitely participating again this year.

    nano-participant-2014 (more…)


  5. A Crazy True Story About My Basque Family

    October 20, 2014 by Kiersi

    cowboy

    So, I’ve been in Spain the last week. Part of our trip here was to visit my father’s Basque relatives and, specifically, the house where my ancestors lived in the Basque Country (in the northern part of Spain) before migrating to the United States.

    I’ve always wondered what brought them to the US all that time ago—but the truth was way more exciting than I thought it would be.

    My great great grandfather’s brother was the first to immigrate to the US. But once he got there, he was murdered by a “blue-eyed Irishman.”

    The news traveled back to my great great grandfather, Benito Arrizabalaga, who still lived in the Basque Country. After hearing it, he vowed to avenge his brother.

    Benito stowed away on a ship crossing the Atlantic to the US, but somewhere along the way, he was discovered. The Captain gave him two choices: work as a cabin boy to pay for his passage, or get thrown overboard.

    He obviously chose the first option.

    Once in the US, though, Benito never did find that blue-eyed Irishman who killed his brother. Though he did get into some other trouble, I was not surprised to hear, that included accidentally driving a wagon and a team of horses off a cliff.

    I see where I get it from, though I have yet to lose my whole wagon yet.


  6. 10 Truths About the Time I Almost Gave Up

    October 12, 2014 by Kiersi

    I still can’t believe I got a book deal. (Check out this post for more information.) I don’t mean that metaphorically. I honestly sometimes sit here and don’t actually believe that it happened. That it is happening.

    One thing I want to say to all the writers out there trying to get published, trying to get an agent, trying to finish a novel:

    Don’t. Give. Up.

    I mean it. And believe me—I know what it feels like to hear that from an author who’s getting published. “Yeah, well, that’s all well and good and easy for you to say. You have a book deal.”

    But there’s a reason I sometimes still don’t believe it’s true:

    Truth #1: I almost gave up.

    Truth #2: SECOND CHANCE RANCH is, actually, my second book deal. (Though SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY will still be my first published book.) (more…)


  7. A Love Letter to Tea

    October 7, 2014 by Kiersi

    "For the Vintage Tea Room Teaparty Tomorrow" by Caroline - flickr

    Photo by Caroline – flickr

    Dear Tea:

    You are my substance of choice. I’ve decided it’s time to finally come out and tell you the sincere and absolute truth.

    People have so many different vices. For some of us, the rush of constant accomplishment that accompanies the video game is our drug of choice. For others, it’s the complex character (berries, oak, nuts, leather?) of an elderly red wine, or the roast of a cup of hot, black coffee. For some, release is found in warping the mundanity of the world into something a little more fanciful.

    But you, tea.

    You.

    You are the one I have chosen above all others. If you had a finger, I would put a tarnished, antique, second-hand ring on it, purchased from a kindly old man in suspenders. (more…)


  8. We’ve Got A New Horse Book Series!

    October 3, 2014 by Kiersi

    Kiersi Burkhart riding her horse at 12

    Me at 12 years old, running the poles event at a gymkhana show with my Appaloosa pony, Frosty

    All right, everyone. Do me a favor and, before we go any further, run and get your cowboy hats on. Then shrug on your cowboy boots. And prepare a good old holler: WHOOPAH!

    First: This whole thing came about because of a story I told on Twitter about a horse I loved as a girl. When my friend Amber Keyser heard I’d grown up a cowgirl, she approached me about a possible opportunity for a series of horse books, aimed at the middle-grade age range.

    Then we started dreaming. We dreamed and dreamed and had this really wild Vulcan-esque mind meld, where suddenly the perfect idea came to us.

    And so SECOND CHANCE RANCH was born—a place for troubled kids to find themselves with the help of a horse. The series is set on a cattle ranch in the mountains of my home state, Colorado, and based loosely on a cattle ranch owned by Amber’s relatives (also in Colorado). It draws on a lot of the things we loved about horse books as youngsters ourselves—the child helping the horse, and the horse helping the child; the magic of learning to ride for the first time; and the deep relationships we form with animals.

    Second: Here is the announcement in Publisher’s Marketplace!

    Publisher's Marketplace announcement SECOND CHANCE RANCH

    So, after giving birth to this crazy idea, we handed it over to Amber’s agent, Fiona Kenshole, at Transatlantic Literary Agency.

    And she loved it.

    She asked us to write some sample chapters right away for two of our proposed books in the series. Though we dreamed up this world together, we each took control of one story—my debut in the series will be SHY GIRL AND SHY GUY, and Amber’s PUSHOVER AND PRINCE.

    Third: Since then, I have signed with Fiona as my agent, and I couldn’t be happier! Fiona has done a fantastic job helping us hone our proposal for the series and negotiating our 4-book deal with Andrew Karre at Darby Creek, an imprint of Lerner Books.

    The books are scheduled to release twice a year beginning in Spring 2016. I’m so excited to be working with the folks over at Darby Creek and, of course, my great friend and truly talented co-author Amber!

    (Seriously, you guys don’t even know how awesome this woman is. I am pretty much the luckiest girl on the planet.)

    And that’s it for today, my friends. It’s time for me to go eat some celebratory sushi!


  9. The Revision Mire

    October 2, 2014 by Kiersi

    Well, I’m deep in a second revision of a Very Exciting Middle-Grade Project (this is how I cleverly work around actually telling you the name of this project, aren’t I clever?) and let’s just say, editing a book is much less magical when it’s the second time you’ve edited said book in a matter of weeks.

    I was so charmed by this book when I began work on my second draft with a pile of excellent notes in hand from my talented critique partner, Amber KeyserWow! I thought. This sure needs a lot of work, but the bones are all here. Amazing. I can’t believe she actually liked it! Maybe it’s worth its salt? It will be when I finish all this hard work! I’m really inspired to get it all done!

    How sweet and naïve of you, Kiersi-from-a-month-ago. What a world you lived in. How I wish I could be your roommate in it.

    I mean, I did do a pretty good first revision (::blows on knuckles, rubs knuckles on collar::) if I do say so myself. It did accomplish what it needed to accomplish. But now there’s this next step, this third draft thing before the book can move on to its next life stage, and suddenly ugh I actually have to do work now? It’s not all fun and games and ponies and rainbows and cute little polkadot bowties forever?!

    How dare you, book. HOW DARE YOU.

    But! There’s a carrot at the end of the stick. If I get this done and send it in, I get to try my hand at a shiny new project. A potentially very exciting and lucrative and hilarious and edgy new project. Wow, what kind of series of adjectives was that? Do I get a prize?

    Have you ever worked on revisions in close succession? What do you do to get the magic back? Let me know in the comments!


  10. Dealing with Online Harassment

    August 12, 2014 by Kiersi

    Photo by Carissa Rodgers

    Photo by Carissa Rodgers

    This subject has come up quite a bit recently, as a number of my friends on Twitter have become the target of online harassment for various reasons—for being activists, for being outspoken, for being themselves. It’s a very sad thing to watch someone’s resolve and passion get worn down by cyber-bullying, especially when the issues they’re speaking out about are so very important and salient.

    In case this ever happens to you, here are some steps for tackling online harassment and keeping yourself safe. If you guys like this or find it helpful, I’d love to do a follow-up piece on how to mentally handle online bullying and keep doing what you do, despite the haters. (Because seriously, screw the haters!)

    1. Screenshot and record all incidents that occur.

    The moment online harassment occurs, take screenshots and save them with the time it happened. Keep track of every interaction with the harasser and keep it as evidence, because you never know where a situation may lead. (more…)