Monday, October 31, 2011

A Busy Month Ahead!

How do you like the deviled eyeballs my husband made for my daughter's Halloween party? Awesome, huh?

I'd like to wish good luck to everybody participating in the NaNoWriMo Challenge starting tomorrow! I don't participate in NaNo, because November's not a good month for me to start a new project -- I always have an avalanche of end-of-trimester work to grade, report cards to complete, and parent-teacher conferences.

I also have 3 author events coming up -- at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA, the Avon Grove Library in West Grove, PA, and the KidLit Festival in Lititz, PA. Check the sidebar for details. Perhaps I'll see some of you there!

Today's the last day to enter the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop. I'll announce the winners from my giveaway on Wednesday, along with a November First Impressions post. Besides my regular First Impressions series, I'll also be participating this month in promotional events for Susan Kaye Quinn's Open Minds and Jessica Bell's String Bridge. And, I'm guest posting over at The Crowe's Nest tomorrow, talking about the challenges of writing historical fiction for a YA audience.

Phew! That is a busy month! I feel like I'm forgetting something ... probably groceries, house cleaning, and doctor's appointments, as usual. Let's just hope I don't forget to pick up my kids from their various after school activities!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to start organizing my information for the presentation I'll be giving at 2 events this month: Outlining vs Pantstering. I have to sit down and decide whether I'm going to outline my presentation ... or, ahem, fly by the seat of my pants ...

Any bets on which one I'll choose?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Doctor Who?

My daughter Gabbey will be just plain awesome as the Eleventh Doctor this Halloween. I am darned impressed!

Can't you just see her delivering one of the Doctor's fabulous quotes:
"There's one thing you never put in a trap -- if you're smart, if you value your continued existence, if you have any plans about seeing tomorrow -- there's one thing you never, ever put in a trap. Me."

In case you've never seen the show, here's Matt Smith as The Doctor with his trusty sonic screwdriver.

Other than Mommy pride, I haven't got much for you today. (Unless you'd like to help grade a big stack of student papers for report cards? No? Oh, well. It didn't hurt to ask.)

I was featured over at Unicorn Bell on Monday with a spooky excerpt from one of my works-in-progress. If you're not familiar with Unicorn Bell, you should check it out their regular posts on writing elements and critiques.

And there's still plenty of time to win prizes in the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Six Word Summary

Sometimes it pays to be brief.

So, let’s see how many of my writing/blogging friends can summarize one of their works in six words!

The rules are: The summary sentence has to have a subject and a predicate and (of course) exactly six words in it.

I’ll start you off with a few.

Prank traps sisters in deceitful life.
Family secrets blight betrothed girl’s future.
And my short story NECROMANCER:
Loving a bereaved widower proves dangerous

Now it’s your turn! Can you squeeze your premise down to six succinct words?

Don’t forget to check out the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop for a chance to win awesome prizes on hundreds of blogs!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

Wanna win some prizes? This Halloween, there are literally hundreds up for grabs!

I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and The Diary of a Bookworm have teamed up to host the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop -- starting October 24 and ending October 31 -- and there are about 400 PARTICIPATING BLOGS!

I've got three giveaways on offer:

1 copy of WE HEAR THE DEAD (signed) -- open to mainland US residents.

2 original photographs (5x7 glossy) of one of the creepy graves in Catawissa, PA, subject of my upcoming book THE CAGED GRAVES (Clarion, 2013) -- open to US, Canada, and Mexico.

Entering the giveaway is easy!

1) Be a follower of my blog.
2) Comment on this post and tell me your favorite Halloween movie.

(Mine is Hocus Pocus -- I never get tired of this movie!)

3) Win an extra entry by Tweeting about the Giveaway (and tell me in your comment that you did so).

Now, there's approx. 400 other blogs participating, so you better get hopping! The list of participants should appear below, but if Mr. Linky isn't working, you can find the list HERE.

Friday, October 21, 2011

In Defense of Pantstering

While researching outlining and pantstering for an upcoming workshop, I discovered there are countless websites and blogs about outlining your novel. When it comes to pantstering, however, all I could find were bloggers explaining what it was – and why they never use it. There were even a few sites describing “How I Saw the Light and Switched to Outlining.” (You’d think writing your novel by the seat of your pants was the devil-worship of the writing world!)

I understand why you can’t tell someone “How to Pantster.” By definition, you make it up as you go along. I can also understand why a writer might get discouraged writing a first draft this way – if the writer expects the first draft to be worthy of sharing. It won’t be. However, I maintain that most first drafts written from an outline aren’t “ready” yet, either, even if you think they are.

To fill the void out there, I thought I’d share my method for pantstering my novel, THE CAGED GRAVES.

1) First there was an idea – inspired by the real graves. After researching the sparse historical facts, I conjured a fictional explanation for their existence.

2) Next, I wondered: Who cared? That’s when I identified my main character – the daughter of one of the dead women – and began to fill up the cast of the story. I made notes – character traits and names, ideas for scenes, random plot points. Most of these would never be used.

3) I researched the history of the region and unearthed some historical events that tied in nicely.

4) One day, I went on a field trip with my class to a swamp. (Yes, a field trip to a swamp. Don’t ask.) I went home and wrote my first scene, set in a swamp.

5) From that point, I fumbled forward. My characters developed their own traits, thumbing their noses at my plans for them. Occasionally, I’d write myself into a corner – but if I took a few days to mull it over, I’d realize it wasn’t a corner after all. It was a chute, sending me exactly where I needed to go.

6) Sometimes, I’d write a list of what needed to happen next. As soon as I was sure where to start the next chapter, I’d go on writing. About 50% of the time, I completely ignored my list.

7) Two thirds of the way through, I realized I’d made a really big mistake. Shortly afterwards, I thought of a fantastic way to fix it, but knew it would have to wait for Draft #2. I started planning the second draft while finishing the first.

8) I invented my climactic scene only two chapters ahead of when I needed it. Until then, I’d been planning a different ending. The new one rocked.

9) I barely had the last period on the first draft before I hit Save As and started the second draft. I didn’t share the manuscript with my agent until Draft 4.

While this isn’t the only way to pantster a novel, this tends to be the method I use most of the time. Before you ask if outlining would save me a draft or two, I’ll tell you that I outlined my last wip, VOLTAGE. I only got three chapters into the writing before I realized my outline sucked. It was no more useful than the brainstorming notes I usually write and then ignore. So, I trashed the draft and the outline, started over with a new motivation for the main character, and pantstered my way from there.

Pantstering isn’t evil. It’s just the way I do it!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gina Review: Bad Spelling

I have my 11 year old daughter Gina here today with a review of Bad Spelling* by Marva Dasef -- newly released from Muse It Up Publishing.

GINA'S REVIEW: Bad Spelling by Marva Dasef

I read an Advanced Reading Copy of Bad Spelling. The story is about a young girl, Katrina, who lives in a village on an Arctic island full of witches and warlocks. Unfortunately, her spells end up failing; she is the only witch who can’t make spells work. Her father was a human, not a warlock, so she thinks this may be why she can’t use magic correctly.

After her aunt uses her witchy powers to talk to the frozen body of Katrina’s father, she finds out she has family in a nearby country who put a protective spell on her father against witches. This is preventing her magic from working. Her mother wants her to wait for spring to visit this family and try to get them to remove the spell, but Katrina and her half-vampire brother Rune sneak out even though it’s winter. They’ll just have to walk across the frozen ocean and ask them to remove the protection spell. Easy, right? Wrong. Along the journey they’ll meet killer whales, heart-stopping cold, trolls, and a very angry guy with a knife.

I’d recommend this to anyone who likes a good adventure story and fantasy books. This is a great book!

* Gina received this book from the author for review.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Newly Released: Bad Spelling

Last Friday the 14th -- just one day removed from Friday the 13th -- my friend Marva Dasef's new book Bad Spelling released from Muse It Up Publishing. Bad Spelling (Book 1 of The Witches of Galdorheim) is a middle grade fantasy involving a klutzy witch and a shaman's curse.

If you’re a witch living on a remote Arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.
Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo. A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.
I've got Marva here today, sharing a guest post on the art of scrying, as used in her novel.
SCRYING by Marva Dasef
Crystals, water, fire, clouds, steam, chicken bones. All of these objects have been used to see into the past or future. Well, that's the story anyway. You recall the Penseira from the Harry Potter series. That, too, is a scrying object, but recalls memories of the person using it.

In Bad Spelling, the witches use a scrying crystal. They can see the past only, but the past can be just a seven-second delay behind.
Kat wants to find out about the family of her fatber, Boris, a marooned Siberian fisherman who happened to get stuck on Galdorheim Island. Kat's mother liked his looks, rescued him, and they hand-fasted. Kat was the result of the union. Shortly after her birth, however, Boris was trapped in an ice cave collapse. His body remains encased within the glacier.
Kat asks her mother to trace Boris's path back to his origins. Ardyth had never done this before because it was against witch code to scry a person without their permission. When Kat points out that Boris could hardly object, Ardyth agrees to scry Boris's past.

The crystals I describe aren't the standard Gypsy crystal ball, but natural morganite crystals. Out of the rough crystal structure, the witches shape a scrying crystal from the pure morganite.
Ardyth rummaged through a box on the floor and extracted a large chunk of Morganite beryl. “Ah, here it is. I haven’t used this in years.” She placed the pink, six-sided crystal on the table. She opened a crate standing near the worktable and rummaged through it. “Did you know the Druids used beryls for scrying? Morgan Le Fay learned how to use them from Merlin. He was a Druid, you know.” She pulled a white cloth from the crate and laid it flat on the bench, setting the beryl precisely in the center.
Ardyth lit two candles and placed one at each end of the table. “You don’t want the candles so close the flame reflects off the crystal.” She explained each step to her daughter, who hadn’t participated in a scrying before. Ardyth held her hands, palms facing inward, on each side of the crystal, close yet not touching. “There. Now, I can take a peek and see what reveals itself. Sometimes it’s stubborn and doesn’t want to cooperate.” Ardyth leaned closer and peered into the beryl. “The idea is to look into the center of the crystal, not the surface.”
Bad Spelling is available directly from Muse It Up and on Amazon Kindle. You can find out more about this book at Marva's website, and on Wednesday, my daughter Gina will be here with a guest review.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Living Oxymorons

As a writer, observing human behavior comes with the job, and sometimes, if you look at your experiences as “research,” it makes aggravating encounters worthwhile.
This past weekend, my husband and I bought some items for our mountain rental house in the Walmart at Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania. We left the store behind a group of five young people all dressed in neat, clean, conservative clothing. The young men wore button down shirts and tan slacks. The young woman wore a high necked blouse and a long skirt. It soon became apparent they were headed for the van marked Christian Life Counseling parked next to our car.
We loaded up our vehicles side by side. There was no way they could have been unaware of our presence. When I was finished, I walked my empty cart about fifteen feet to the nearest cart park and then headed back to my car, where my husband was just getting in the driver’s side. The young Christian counselors – if that’s what they were – finished loading their van and shoved their cart between our two vehicles, completely blocking my front passenger door.
Yup. Because that’s what Jesus Would Have Done.
There was no way for me to get into my car. So I walked their cart to the cart park, too, and they watched me do it as they pulled away.
When’s the last time you observed somebody behaving in a manner completely opposite their advertised appearance?
Have you ever used an observed strange behavior in your writing?
And does writing about it make you feel any better? (It did for me!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blogs, Facebook, and Teenage Daughters

Some of you may notice I've given my blog a makeover. I liked the black slate with white text, but it gave me trouble every month with the First Impressions posts. It was hard to differentiate between the text being critiqued and the critique itself, and embedded junk leftover from cutting and pasting often made the post unreadable once it was published (although it looked fine in previews.)

I still have a few problems. I can't get the new header centered, for one thing. And when I try to add newly followed blogs to the roll on my sidebar, they don't appear in my list. I could add them one by one using their URLs, but why take all that time when there's a button that's SUPPOSED to do the work for me? Grr.

Facebook had a surprise for me this week, too. I'm not talking about the new layout, but a friend request from the main character of my WIP. For a moment, when I saw that Mick Brewster was "friending" me, I wondered if I'd completely lost my grip on reality. But then, sanity returned as I realized who was behind it:

Teenage Daughter.

So, I friended him and discovered she'd put quite a lot of thought into his profile. Parts of it made me giggle:

It still gives me a start when Mick's posts appear in my feed -- and a laugh when my beta readers respond to him.

Clearly, Teenage Daughter has too much time on her hands. I should get her to handle the social media campaign for my next book when it comes out. Heck, I should rent her out to other writers!

Anybody want to bid on a teenage social media guru?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Playing a Tough Room

Today, I have a guest post from my brother-in-law, Larry O'Donnell about his newest paying gig. Do you all remember the scene in The Blues Brothers where they play Rawhide repeatedly in the dive country-western bar? Apparently, Larry's played in places like that, but they pale in comparison to the tough crowd he plays these days!

Playing a Tough Room by Larry O'Donnell

A couple weeks ago, I started my first paid gig playing guitar since 2003. Prior to that year, I played (paid) gigs with different bands going back to my teens. I never played big venues or with any famous band. I was mostly a VFW, Elks, Moose, and small bars kind of player. I played at picnics, church functions, charity events, and office Christmas parties. (Now known as Holiday parties)

Places with names like Salty’s, Donny’s Road House, the Silver Saddle, and Sal’s had fishnets up to keep objects from impacting band members. It got so you could judge the DQ (Drunk Quotient) of the house by the number of guys and sometimes women, who would come up and tell you how great you were. One guy brought us drinks between sets. When we finished we found out the guy ran a tab for the band and we had to pay for all of it, including his drinks.

Once, in a dive in West Virginia, (the dive was invented in West Virginia) the solo guitar act was so inexperienced, he couldn’t finish a song without a major mess up. The poor guy was about to be tarred and feathered. My buddy, who was driving, decided I should finish the gig for the guy and got him to lend me his guitar. I played Country Roads by request every other song until they closed. Let’s just say the DQ there was about 150 out of a possible 100. The owner gave me $100, though, so it turned out good for me.

Consequently, I don’t usually get too riled up about playing a new place. After all, what could be tougher than playing a bar where bikers throw beer bottles at the band and keep score?

I’ll tell you what: Playing for pre-school kids ranging from toddlers to 5 year olds. No DQ in this place. No polite applause. If they liked a song, they screamed with the joy only a four year old can have. If they didn’t like it, they told you. “Mr. Larry, that wasn’t a good song, play Spiderman.” One cute kid put his hands to his ears and ran to the back of the classroom. I am waiting for a bill to pay his therapist.

Raw expression is what you get from children. No veneer of civilization. No easily bruised egos allowed here. They really liked the Unicorn song with hand signs for all the animals. I played Proud Mary and they came in on the chorus in a way that would have gotten them hired by Tina Turner. When I played a song with a beat, they danced. At least most did. They whirled like Warner Brothers’ Tasmanian Devil, somersaulted, and crashed into each other. When I ended the song they asked for more rock and roll. So much for all the time I spent learning to sing about Old MacDonald and his farm.

Mostly, they just had fun. I laughed so much, my side hurt. I can’t remember how long it has been since I did that.

Friday, October 7, 2011

First Impressions #25

Our third and final First Impression for the month of October is a YA Urban Fantasy called KNIGHTS OF AVALON by Melissa Barlow.

A fencing champion destined for the Olympics, a martial arts prodigy, an organizer for Habitat for Humanity. Someone was murdering the brightest, most brilliant teens in New Jersey. Now in the middle of the night, the persistent ringing of my cell phone broke me out of my sleep.

I scrambled to get my bearings in the darkness. I was in my bedroom, the Bruce Lee posters on the walls told me that much. Through bleary eyes, I could see the alarm clock shining 3:11 back at me. I froze, shaking off the last remnants of sleep. Why would someone be calling at 3am? I peered at the phone, trying to place the number. Then I took a deep breath and picked up. “Hello?”

“Hi, Justine. I’m sorry to be calling so late.” I immediately recognized the shaky voice on the other end of the line, it was my best friend’s Mom, Mrs. Martinez, but I had never heard her sound like this. “Gwen’s not with you, is she?”

My mouth dropped, the question a punch to the gut. Three in the morning on a school night. A murderer on the loose, cutting down the best kids in the state. And Gwen? She was the most incredible person I had ever met. She had an inner light, a compassion that shone like a beacon, and now she was missing.

“No,” I said, my mind racing with possibilities, each one more horrible than the last. “Why would she be?” I was jumping to conclusions, I told myself, even as my pulse pounded. I had to hear Mrs. Martinez out, let her explain what was going on. But Gwen was a straight A student. She was going to be a heart surgeon and work for Doctors Without Borders one day. There had always been something different about her. She was like the other victims. Special.

Okay, wow. This is an opening that grabs your attention!

I like Justine’s voice. It’s got a sharp, clean feel to it, and I can connect with it. Now, I have no problem with your character using sentence fragments to emphasize her points – I do it all the time. But if you’re going to open the story with a sentence fragment, I suggest restructuring the first paragraph so that readers know it’s done on purpose. How about a list?

A fencing champion destined for the Olympics.
A martial arts prodigy.
An organizer for Habitat for Humanity.

Someone was murdering the brightest, most brilliant teens in New Jersey. Now in the middle of the night, the persistent ringing of my cell phone broke me out of my sleep.

The only other comment I have is that you have two comma splices:

I was in my bedroom, the Bruce Lee posters on the walls told me that much.

I immediately recognized the shaky voice on the other end of the line, it was my best friend’s Mom, Mrs. Martinez, but I had never heard her sound like this

For the first one, you could use a semi-colon in place of the comma. But on the second one, I think it would look better if you just used a period and started a new sentence after the word “line.”

Other than that, I have no suggestions! I would definitely turn the page to learn more. I’m kind of disappointed the sample ended here!

Be sure to head over to Mainewords to read Marcy’s critique of this passage, and pop over to say hello to Melissa at her blog, Surviving Writing a Book.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First Impression #24

Our second First Impression for October is Michael DiGesu’s THE BLINDED GARDENER. It’s an edgy Y/A Contemporary about a seventeen-year-old boy abused by his Marine father.

One moment I’m my Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. That is, until Danny stepped into the picture and discovered my secret.

Dad forced me to move across the country, and once again, I found myself at a new school, the third in two years. It sucked having a dad in the military.

The warning bell rang for first period. The halls cleared with the slamming of doors. As I wandered about searching for my classroom, I heard someone approach me from behind. I turned and saw a blonde guy walking up the center of the hallway. Long bangs fell over his eyes as he loped past me with a kind of natural ease.

How blind is this guy? Didn’t he see me standing here, fiddling with this useless map.

“Hey, dude. Could you tell me how to get to room 305?”

A slight curl formed on his lips as he faced me. He tossed his head. Platinum fringe shifted to the side and revealed freakish blue eyes that glanced toward me, unfocused.

Holy shit! Is he blind? Stoned is more like it.

“I’m heading that way.” His deep voice held a trace of a southern accent. He turned and continued his long strides.

I envied his height: well over six feet and me just an average dude.

“You better move. Connors loses it when you’re late.”

I rushed to catch up to him. His hand overshot the rickety metal banister. On the second swipe, he made contact and climbed the stairs.

I really like the opening sentence – especially the alliteration! One moment I’m my Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. But I think the shift to Danny in the second sentence happens too soon for me as a reader. I want to hear more about the MC’s father and himself. Not a whole page worth, mind you -- but another sentence or two, so that we get a feel for the MC and his dad before a third character is mentioned.

If the opening is expanded, the sentence introducing Danny can stand on its own, in a separate paragraph (possibly with a new transition.)

Then Danny stepped into the picture and discovered my secret.

The next paragraph could use some grounding in place and time, because we’re shifting from general, introductory statements about the MC’s life into a specific scene. Perhaps something like:

In the spring of my senior year, Dad forced me to move across the country from Oregon to Maine, and once again, I found myself at a new school, the third in twenty-four months. (I’m making up the details, but you see what I mean.)

At that point, I think we’re completely ready to dive into the scene where the MC meets the blond boy with the freakish eyes who appears to be stoned – and who I’m guessing is Danny. I think this part is great and plants the reader directly in the MC’s world.

One last note: The first sentence is in present tense; the rest is in past tense. That might be deliberate, as the narrator moves from a general reflection about his life to the past events he wants to relate. In that case, it might be beneficial to set that first sentence (and any additional ones that get added) apart from the rest of the text – maybe in italics, with a space break before the next paragraph? What do the rest of you think?

Thanks, Michael, for sharing your first page with us! Be sure and take a look at Marcy’s critique at Mainewords, and Michael can be found at his blog, In Time

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Impression #23

Hello, October! Today, I’m bringing you a First Impression of teen writer Gabbi Calabrese’s YA paranormal WIP, UNVEILED.
I was the first person in the class to finish my test, but that wasn't necessarily a good thing. Especially considering I guessed on all but three of the twenty-seven questions. Perhaps I should have studied the previous night, or, you know, did one of the three billion worksheets that Mrs. Gonzalez handed out that week.
I like the opening paragraph! I can already see I’ve got a snarky MC on my hands, with a snappy narration to match her character. With that in mind, how about trimming the last sentence a bit? Perhaps I should have studied, or did one of the three billion worksheets Mrs. Gonzalez handed out.
In my first drafts, I tend to pack my narrative with excess adjectives, prepositions, and thats. Then I spend the next several drafts taking them out! As we go on, I’m going to suggest some places you could trim words, too.
But I was a notoriously excellent guesser, so I figured I'd at least make a C.
Yawning, I leaned back in the uncomfortable and hard plastic chair. I rested my feet on the little metal basket that was attached to the bottom of the seat in front of me. Its intended purpose was to hold text books, but I believed that my feet were much more worthy of its support.

The second my sandals landed atop of the metal, Mrs. Gonzalez cut me a sharp look and pursed her lips. Oh no, I might break the new desks. I grinned at her, hoping it came across innocent, and tossed one of my shoulders into a shrug. If I wasn't going to get paid for attending school, I was sure as hell going to make myself as comfortable as I wanted. Mrs. Gonzalez rolled her eyes, irritated, but I was pretty sure she expected nothing less from me.

Time slowly ticked away as I squirmed in my seat, trying to find a position that didn't make my ass numb. Seconds turned to a minute. Five minutes. Ten freaking minutes. Really? Only eight of my delightful peers had turned in their tests. That left twelve more. And I repeat: Really? The test was focused on denitrification. You either knew the answer or you didn't, and for the answers you didn't know, you guessed. It wasn't that complex of a concept.

All of these strikeouts are just suggestions, of course. But I LOVE her voice (delightful peers – LOL) and snipping out unnecessary words will make it all the more clear and vibrant.
The next two paragraphs describe your MC’s boredom. I’m going to suggest taking them out or reducing them. You don’t want too much boredom on your first page -- LOL! There is one line in the middle that seems important, though. You'll want to make sure that stays in:
I hadn't gotten much the night before, with the nightmare-slash-dream weirdfest that occurred every time I fell asleep.
Huh. Interesting! Next, we get to meet an obviously important character:
The guy who was sitting in front of me whipped his head around and glared at me. Any snappy comment I was going to make refused to surface.
Asher Eaton. Since when did he sit in front of me?
His eyes were a stunning emerald green color. I wanted to look away, wanted to avert my mind from even thinking about his eyes and where else I had seen them. But I couldn't. I didn't cower away from anyone's stare. Especially Asher Eaton's. His gaze dipped, but I knew it wasn't to break the eye contact. My legs, which I didn't even realize I was jiggling, were shaking his desk. If it were anyone else I would have mumbled out an apology. Instead, I just dropped my feet from the basket under his seat and raised my eyebrows in a happy now? way.
Okay, now you’ve got me curious because I’m wondering where she’s seen Asher’s eyes. In her nightmare-slash-dream weirdfest, perhaps? However, I’m not sure about her reaction. It seems to me that she would raise her eyebrows sarcastically at most people – that's how she reacted to her teacher. But if Asher affects her strangely, might she not act out of character and mumble an apology? That is, are you sure her reaction wouldn’t be the opposite of what you’ve shown? Just a suggestion, of course, because I don’t know how these two are going to interact later.
Gabbi, thanks for sharing your page! I think you have a great voice and a main character who’s already got me curious about her story. At this point, I would definitely keep reading to find out more about her! (Can I just say that between Samantha, Dylan, Gabbey, and now Gabbi -- I've had some amazing teen writers sharing their work on this blog?)
Please stop by Marcy’s blog to check out her critique, and you can find Gabbi at her new blog WriTEEN Adventures.