Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pay It Forward Writing Contest

I wanted to do something really awesome to celebrate the publication of Unraveling. After all, it's my first book (or at least the first one anyone wanted to publish). But I wasn't sure what.

Thankfully, my lovely agent, Janet Reid, thought up a great idea.

We're holding a contest for all unagented and unpublished writers. The road to publication is long and daunting and I shed several tears along the way (the good and bad kind), so now that I have a book coming out, I want to try to help someone else who was in my position.

Janet wants to find the next debut writer with a great voice and energetic prose. (So that she can try to sign and sell them of course.)

Here are the details:

The contest is open to American writers who are not published in novel-length form (published includes self-published) and who are not represented by an agent.

The prize is:

1. Registration for the Backspace Writing Conference in NYC (May 24-26)
2. Hotel for three nights (Thurs, Fri, Sat)
3. Travel stipend of $300
4. Lunch with Janet Reid

The winner will be announced on April 24, 2012th to celebrate the release of Unraveling.

Here's how to enter:
(Janet's big on directions so read them all)

1. EMAIL your query letter and your finished novel to Janet@fineprintlit.com
The subject line must be: Liz Norris Pay It Forward Contest entry.
The query must be in the body of the email.
The novel must be an attachment in .doc form

2 SEND between March 1, 2012 and March 15, 2012. Entries received before or after those dates will not be considered.

3. Your entry will be acknowledged by email.

4. Your manuscript must be in English.

5. Your manuscript must be properly formatted: 1" margins, TNR font 12 pt.

We do not accept any responsibility for manuscripts that cannot be opened or read.
The contest is open to novels in any category or genre.

You are not eligible to enter if you have an agent, or have been published in novel-length form.

You agree we can publicize your name, the title of your book and your photo for publicity purposes.


Questions? Post in the comment section of this blog post OR tweet to me @liz_norris or Janet @janet_reid

Contest opens March 1!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Winner

Congratulations to Rachelle who won my second edition of the February Must Read Giveaway. She won a copy of Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ever had a crush on a Disney Prince?

A friend of mine sent me this link, and I simply had to share:

10 Disney Princes and Whether or Not You Should Marry Them

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

My Oscar Picks

Last year, a friend of mine threw an awesome Academy Awards party. We ate amazing food, picked all of our winners for each category, and watched the awards show together. The best part was, that every time your pick ended up winning, you'd get a scratch off lottery ticket.  I walked out of that party $11 richer.

This year in order to better my chances where my picks are concerned, I've been trying to watch all the movies nominated. (This is tougher than I thought it would be. I still have a few to go and Oscar Night is coming up fast so I might not make it.)

And here are my picks in some of the top categories for the big night:

Best Picture

While my favorite film nominated is The Tree of Life, I'm thinking The Artist is actually going to win. I really enjoyed watching The Artist, though I did find myself missing sound a little. (My boyfriend who saw it with me didn't really like it at all.)


Director

I'm still deciding on this one. Right now it's a toss up between Martin Scorsese for Hugo and Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist.

Actor

I'm going with my heart here on this one and saying Brad Pitt in Moneyball.

Actress

Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn, because she was brilliant.

Supporting Actor

Hands down, Christopher Plummer in The Beginners.


Supporting Actress

My two favorites in this category are Octavia Spencer in The Help and Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids (she is marvelous!), but I think Octavia Spencer is going to win.


Original Screenplay

My new favorite Woody Allen movie, Midnight in Paris.


Adapted Screenplay

I waffled back and forth a lot on this one, but in the end I'm going with Nat Faxon, Alexander Payne, and Jim Rash for The Descendants.

Foreign Language Film

A Separation (Iran). This is a beautiful film. I loved it.

Animated Feature

I actually wish The Adventures of Tintin was nominated but since it's not, I'm going to go with Rango here.

Musical Score

Since the musical score carried the film, I have to say Ludovic Bource for The Artist.

Best Song

Have to say "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets. Not too many options this year. I wish there had been more.

Cinematography

I'm also going with my heart here. My pick is Jeff Cronenweth for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because it was just a beautifully shot film.



Who do you think will go home with the Oscars on Sunday? You can fill out your own ballot here through the NY Times.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Romance Scenes to Swoon Over


I'm a romantic at heart, which means I love any excuse to celebrate romance and watch romantic movies. Valentine's Day, and the whole month of February really, is a perfect excuse.

So in honor of Valentine's Day and because each of these scenes inspired me when I was writing Unraveling, here are my top five best romantic scenes.

5. The Stadium Serenade in 10 Things I Hate About You

Adapted from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" this teen movie came out when I was in high school and was one of my absolute favorites.

Heath Ledger's character, Patrick Verona, serenades Kat Stratford (Julie Stiles), singing "I Love You Baby" on the steps of their high school's stadium while she and the girls' soccer team are on the field.

He risks getting in trouble and he embarrasses himself, which make this romantic gestures all that more swoonworthy.


4. On the prow of the Titanic

I can't lie. I was one of those people that saw this movie more than once in theaters. I actually saw it 6 times and then I bought the DVD when it came out. (I also owned the soundtrack and listened to it constantly).

And my favorite scene is when Leo and Kate, I mean Jack and Rose share their passionate kiss on the prow of the ship with the world flowing by under their feet.

It's of course, even more romantic, because as an audience we know their romance is doomed because the boat is going to sink, but for that moment, it's like they're the only two people in the world and nothing else matters. And I can't help swoon at that.




3. That Scene in the Library in Atonement

I'll watch just about anything with James McAvoy in it, but when his character, Robbie Turner kisses Cecila Tallis (Keira Knightley) in the library after a lot of angst over the letter he sent to her by accident, it's amazing.

(He meant to write something sweet and he did, but in his frustration when trying to think of the right words, he also wrote something pretty crass and of course that's the one that made it into her hands. It's also that letter that got him in a lot of trouble.)


2. Starcrossed Lovers Reunite in Casablanca

This is, in my opinion, one of the most romantic and heartbreaking scenes ever captured on film.

Set during World War II, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman play star crossed lovers who reunite, only she's married! And they still can't be together.

This is one of those movies that is so perfect in black and white, and the ending makes me cry every time.

Anyone who hasn't seen this one, should.



1. Love at First Sight in Romeo + Juliet

This was another one of my favorite movies from when I was younger. When I was in the theater and Leo first came on screen as the tortured and love sick Romeo, the audience let out a collective sigh.

Romeo first spies Juliet (Claire Danes) at the party her parents are throwing, which of course Romeo and his friends are crashing. They see each other through the tropical fish tank and fall madly in love.

One of the best things about this scene is that there are no words, just Romeo, Juliet, the fish, and Des'ree singing "I'm Kissing You."

I don't love the whole movie. Some of the Shakespearean dialogue mixed with the modern day time period doesn't totally work for me now. But this scene is amazing.




Those are my top five. Which good ones did I miss? What are some of yours?

Friday, February 17, 2012

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” 
 ― Gloria Steinem

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

February Must Read Giveaway Encore!

I'm insanely excited for all the awesome books coming out in 2012, and I decided what better way to celebrate than to pick the book I'm most excited for each month and give it away. I couldn't actually narrow it down to just one book so there's another chance to win this month.

My encore pick is Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne. For the longest time I didn't know anything about the book, but I couldn't get the cover out of my head. I mean, with this cover, it's not an easy book to overlook.


Then I read the description and just knew that this was going to have to be on my to read list. It's a psychological thriller!

When sixteen-year-old Faye arrives at Holbrook Academy, she doesn’t expect to find herself exactly where she needs to be. After years of strange waking visions and nightmares, her only comfort the bones of dead animals, Faye is afraid she’s going crazy. Fast.

But her first night at Holbrook, she feels strangely connected to the school and the island it sits on, like she’s come home. She’s even made her first real friends, but odd things keep happening to them. Every morning they wake on the floors of their dorm rooms with their hands stained red.

Faye knows she’s the reason, but what does it all mean? The handsome Kel tries to help her unravel the mystery, but Faye is certain she can’t trust him; in fact, he may be trying to kill her—and the rest of the world too.

Rich, compelling writing will keep the pages turning in this riveting and tautly told psychological thriller.


So to win, fill out the form below between now and midnight on February 21st!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Best Couples

I've already said that Unraveling came to me because of a guy. Well, this guy is pretty special to me. He always listens to me, he buys me flowers some times just because I'm having a bad day, and when I'm stuck and feeling frustrated during the writing or revising process, he's always up for brainstorming--and these are just a few of his best qualities.

But he's out of town for Valentine's Day this week, so I'm going to have to celebrate with my favorite fiction, and I thought I'd share them.

So these are my top five favorite romantic couples.

5. Bella and Edward from Twilight

When I first read the Twilight books, I loved them--like more than I'd care to admit.

I read Twilight and New Moon two days in a row, and then I waited impatiently for twelve weeks for Eclipse to come out.  And then I was one of those people who stood in line and went to a midnight release party at my local B&N when Breaking Dawn came out. And of course, I've seen all the movies.

No matter what the critics say, so many people have read and loved these books, and the relationship between Bella and Edward is at the center of that.

And, ready for a cringeworthy moment, when I was in the middle of reading Breaking Dawn my boyfriend at the time was trying to argue with me about something, and I actually told him the argument would have to wait because I was reading the conclusion to one of the great love stories of our time.

4. Rhapsody and Ashe in The Symphony of Ages Series (Rhapsody, Prophecy, and Destiny)

Other than The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings I hadn't read much fantasy. It wasn't until I was introduced to Elizabeth Haydon's first novel Rhapsody that I realized how much I loved reading about other words.

Over the course of The Symphony of Ages trilogy, I sat enraptured by the main character, Rhapsody, who fell in love on her thirteenth birthday with a boy who claimed he was from somewhere else and then disappears the next day.

It's a love story that spans time and civilizations and surrounds two people who were never supposed to meet let alone end up together, and there are dragons which is just plain awesome.


3. Westley and Buttercup from The Princess Bride

I love everything about The Princess Bride in general. It's a fabulous fairytale with great characters. It's got humor, romance, and adventure.

But mostly I love the story of a boy who loves a girl and will set out to earn his fortune in order to marry her, survive the Dread Pirate Robers, brave a giant Turkish wrestler, an expert fencer, a criminal genius, the fire swamp, come back from the dead, and kill the evil Prince, just to get her back.

What guy is better than that?




2. Allie and Noah from The Notebook

I read my first Nicholas Sparks novel in 2002 (It was A Walk to Remember and it was right before the movie came out). After that novel I was hooked, and I read all of his books, but my favorite couple from all of them is definitely from his very first published work.

One of the things I love most about them is that they're a real couple. They argue and fight and they have different opinions, but they love each other at the same time. And of course there's the fact that they're from two different worlds, they shouldn't end up together in the eyes of society and her parents, and yet everything he does is in some way for her.

Oh, and there's those amazing and swoonworthy romantic scenes, depicted so well in the movie (and Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were perfect!).

1. Claire and Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife

In 2004, I wandered into Mysterious Galaxy feeling aimless and looking for something new to read. I follow a few series religiously but I was reading faster than the authors were writing and needed a new book.

I picked up Time Traveler's Wife based on the cover and flipped it open to the first page. And I was sucked right in.

I bought it, read it that night, and fell head over heels for Claire and Henry. I love the aspect of romance spanning time, and I love that she's been in love with him her whole life, and for most of his life, she's the only person who knows his secrets.

Some of my other favorite couples on TV include Buffy and Spike from Buffy, Damon and Elena from Vampire Diaries and Max Evans and Liz Parker from Roswell (I never read the books for the last two). I love Taylor and Jonah in Jellicoe Road and Sam and Grace from Shiver.

Which ones did I miss? Who are some of your favorite couples?

Friday, February 10, 2012

“Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” 
 ― Roald Dahl

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winner!

Congratulations to Jessica @ Book Sake who is the winner of my February Must Read Giveaway for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood.

Kittens!

Just discovered this hilarious video with an interpretive reading. Love it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

On Music that Inspired Unraveling

As someone who's super inspired by music, of course I have a playlist for Unraveling. It’s pretty eclectic and some of it is a little on the embarrassing side, but here it is. The music I listened to while writing and editing Unraveling.


MusicPlaylistView Profile
Create a playlist at MixPod.com

Friday, February 3, 2012

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 
 ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Must Read Giveaway

I'm insanely excited for all the awesome books coming out in 2012, and I decided what better way to celebrate than to pick the book I'm most excited for each month and give it away.

For February 2012, I actually couldn't decide between two awesome debuts, so there are two chances to win. The first chance is for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. It's an alternate history about witches, all I keep hearing about it are fabulous things, and again the cover is beautiful.

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship—or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with only six months left to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word . . . especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.


If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood—not even from each other.

To win, fill out the form below between now and midnight on February 7th, and check back on the 15th for another February Must Read Giveaway.

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