What I Write

My young adult novels are dark, edgy, and realistic. Although I love paranormal and fantasy books, I prefer to create stories that could really happen (and in many cases, really are happening). For me, the echo of a story set firmly in the real world always haunts me long after I've read the final word. If you like Ellen Hopkins, Jay Asher, and Neal Shusterman, you might like my books, too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Back from the Dead???

Shew! Life has been so crazy! 

I had to take a 6-month hiatus from writing, blogging, even tweeting (eek!) so I could make some major changes in my life.  I had some really great success with my last WIP, and there are actually some agents that still have the R&R in their slush piles, I just haven't had an opportunity to send nudges. *sends out reminder vibes through the universe*  :oD

Seriously though, I decided to let that last project go and I'm back to the grind writing something new.  It was a project I'd started back in May while I was revising my last MS, and my word count is getting to a respectable number.  That means I need to take a step back and make a plot map/outline of where I want this story to go.  I also need to READ again.

What are the specs?

It'll be another work of contemporary fiction--dark, edgy, and tailored to the YA audience.  It'll be scary, too. Realistic and relevant. 

I've also been brainstorming some ideas for fantasy, paranormal, and YA historicals, but I need to push through this draft to prove to myself I have what it takes to finish a manuscript again.  I'm seriously rusty, so I know this thing will need some major editing.

So, where have I been?

I went back to work.  That's the biggest change.  It was pretty easy to make writing my top priority when I was doing the stay-at-home mom thing.  Now I'm clocking 65 hours a week and still trying to find time to spend with my family.  Carving out an hour every day to write has been on the back burner.  But, I'm finally finding balance again and making time for the things that make me truly happy.

I have to take the time to give shout-outs to three of my crit-partners who busted into the pubbing biz while I was away.  Please take a moment to check out these awesome YA authors:

Lynne Matson
Eliza Tilton
Tonya Kuper

I'm so proud of you, girls!  And I'm so honored I got to be a part of your writing process.  Stay tuned for updates on these killer women!!!  They are about to become HUUUUUUGE.

Well, that's about it for now.  I hope I'll have more news for you soon--once I get my training wheels off again.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Frog Debacle of 2012

So, I'm flushing my sinuses, right, and as I lean over my bathroom sink, I see this:

Now, some of you might think this is no big deal, right?  I mean, what could REALLY be in that little aeration hole in your bathroom sink?  See, here's the thing, I live in Florida.  Where all the creepy-crawly-nasty creatures live.  I was certain it was a snake.  I didn't care what kind of snake.  I didn't care if it was only three inches long and I didn't care if it was a non-venomous, kind-hearted little snake who just wanted to be my friend.  I reeeeally don't like snakes.  Not even a little bit.

So I thought.

I planned.

I strategized.

I decided.  Whatever this little creature was, he obviously found a way in there, so he could probably find a way out too.  Now I don't know about you, but there was no way in Hades I'd be able to sleep thinking WHATEVER that thing was could possibly be crawling around my bedroom tonight.  So I had to do something.  And I did.  I flooded it out.  I mean, the thing had to breathe sometime, right? 

And then this came LEAPING out of that tiny hole:

Thank goodness it wasn't a snake.  Just a HUGE, SLIMY (but harmless, I think) frog.  So I scrambled around with my two-year-old daughter (who thought this whole thing was pretty funny) trying to find something large enough to capture him.  This is what I found:

And, ultimately, little Frog Guy was released into the wild of my front yard.

Just another day in Florida Paradise.  Oy. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Show Me Your Indies!

Calling all independently published authors!

If you're a follower of my blog, you already know about my Five Faves reviews.  As a lover of books, and as a YA writer, I read a lot. A-L-O-T.  I've always got my ear to the ground for the latest, greatest works of fiction (whether best-sellers or unknowns) and I love to brag about them to my friends, colleagues, and (before my maternity leave) my high school students.

The latest craze seems to be self-pubbing, so, in honor of all those awesome folks out there who decided to forgo to the query letters, the agents, and the publishing houses, I want to find my Five Faves, Indie Style.

If you HAVE ALREADY SELF-PUBLISHED and your book is CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE, please contact me at laurastanford at ymail dot com to submit your indie novel for review.

Here are the guidelines:

1.) Books must be complete, published, and available for purchase (e-books only please) by the general public.

2.) Your book must be YA or MG, but all genres are welcome.  Submissions must be within the generally-accepted word count for the age group (no 250,000-word epic fantasies, please) and it must not contain language or content deemed unacceptable for the target audience. *I reserve the right to exclude vulgar or otherwise inappropriate submissions or submissions that are intended for adults or younger children.

3.) You must email me your e-book (PDF is preferred) on or before Memorial Day (11:59 p.m., EST) I was originally going to take paperbacks as well, but it's turned out to be too confusing.

4.) In the subject line, please put SHOW ME YOUR INDIES! so I don't lose your submission.  If you don't hear back from me within 3 days, please resend.

So, what's in it for you?

My Five Faves will be featured here on the blog, bragged about on Twitter & Facebook, and I'll lovingly write a review for you on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and/or any other site you'd like me to hit.  And, when I do get back into the classroom this fall, I'll hang up a large poster featuring the winners' covers and websites. FYI, there are about 2500 students in my high school, 45,000 YA/MG students in my district.

Still not enough?

If I choose your indie as my Spotlight book (My FAVE fave of the Five) I'll send you a bookish prize (still TBD) for being so awesome.

Once I've reviewed all the submissions, I'll contact the winners via email and post my results.  My goal (depending on how many submissions I receive) is to announce the winners before August 1st.  I know it seems like a long time to wait, but I want to read every book cover to cover, and enjoy it--the way books are meant to be read! 

Want more ways to promo your indie?  Check out IndieARCs and Novel Publicity on Facebook. 

Good luck!  I can't wait to see your indies!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Worst Nightmare & The Fastest $20 I've Ever Spent

Last night I watched a show called Close Calls.  I hate shows like this.  Hate them.  Like, seriously.  They freak me out.  They keep me up at night.  They bother me for DAYS.

And last night's episode was no exception.

The show is a compilation of amateur videos featuring people who nearly die, but manage to escape--and not unscathed.  In fact, in nearly every case, the people were badly, badly injured.  To top it off, this particular show seemed to be all about young, defenseless children.  As a mother, these are the scenes that feed my worst nightmares.  A situation where I'm unable to save my child.

Here's the one that literally kept me up last night. It shows a mother and her two young children, trapped in a burning vehicle.  It's the most frightening two minutes I've ever watched on television. Viewer discretion advised.

If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the off-duty fireman screaming for someone to give him a knife.  That's because the little boy's seat belt was locked (a standard result of an accident) and the buckle had melted because of the blazing fire surrounding him.

The first thing I did when I woke up this morning?  I packed up my 2-year-old daughter, went to Ace Hardware, and bought a Lifehammer.

It was the fastest--and possibly the best--$20 I've ever spent in my life.

Monday, January 30, 2012


When something really awesome happens to somebody else, you can do this:

Or this:

Or maybe even this:


I personally prefer this:

I can't tell you why.
I can't tell you who.
I can't even tell you what.

But, what I can tell you, is that amazing things happen to amazing people.  So go be amazing.

About Me

I'm a writer of contemporary teen fiction. My bookshelf is SLAMMED with young adult novels and I should be on some sort of twelve step program for my spending habits in Barnes and Noble. And, for the record, I LIKE having real books, so no Nook or Kindle for this gal.