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Now that we have our Clary and Jace, the next logical casting must be Simon Lewis. I’ve heard quite a few names thrown around so I’m going to assume that we don’t have one particular actor in mind. This role will require an actor with lots of wit and humor. A guy that’s not afraid to stand up to Jace and tease him whenever possible. A guy who can be both video game player and wannabe rock star. Not an easy mix if you ask me. I’ve always thought of Simon as “nerdy chic”.

In City of Bones, Cassandra Clare describes him, “in jeans and an old T-shirt that said MADE IN BROOKLYN across the front. His freshly scrubbed hair was dark brown and his glasses perched crookedly on the end of his nose.” She further went on to describe him as someone, “on their way to a chess club.” Yet, we all know that’s not enough to describe Simon. He may come of nerdy compared to the other blue-haired guys in the Pandemonium Club, but he’s much more than that. This is a guy who competes for Clary’s heart. He has to be able to come close to the sexy we all know as Jace Wayland. Not to mention that Simon turns into a vampire and catches the eye of both gorgeous, kick-butt Isabelle and cute, werewolf Maia.

Keeping all that in mind, here are three actors that have both the talent and physical appearance to bring our Simon to life:

Anton Yelchin

According to Imdb, Anton “is an American actor best known for starring as Bobby Garfield opposite Anthony Hopkins in Hearts in Atlantis (2001), and as Tommy opposite Robin Williams in the House of D (2004).” He’s recently starred in Star Trek and Terminator Salvation. His upcoming projects include Fright Night, The Winter Queen, and The Smurfs. He’s a talented actor that was ranked #12 on Moviefone’s, The 25 Hottest Actors Under 25 in 2008 and one of People Magazine’s, Most Beautiful People in 2009. I can’t confirm he has a twitter account, but you can use hashtag, #AntonforSimon to show support!

Xavier Samuel

I’m not going to go into a description on this one because we all know him as Riley from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. This one may be difficult for some, but I heard a rumor that he read for the role of Jace Wayland. No way to know for sure because so many actors were considered, but I heard he made an impression with the Screen Gems casting directors so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up in City of Bones. Simon would be a great role for him because he’s already played a sexy vampire. Not such a stretch, ya think? He doesn’t have a twitter, but you can show your support by using hashtag, #XavierforSimon

Landon Liboiron

Landon is a Canadian actor. Although he’s probably the lesser known of the three, he’s been a pretty busy actor. Most teens remember him as Sam Bradford in Life Unexpected and Declan Coyne in Degrassi: The Next Generation. His post-production projects include: See If I Care, The Howling: Reborn, and Zombie Punch. Did I mention that Landon plays guitar in a band? The picture below just screams Simon to me. Check him out singing and playing guitar here. Show your support for Landon on his twitter and hashtag, #LandonforSimon

 

 

 

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in my articles or has spoken about it on the Mortal Instruments message boards. Whether you agree with me or not, I am truly honored to be part of your discussions. You can find me on my website, the Young Adult Fantasy Guide or roaming the wild world of Twitter as: YAFantasyGuide

THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED – Kimberly Callegan is the WINNER

Giveaway runs from Tuesday, June 21st to Friday June 24th

My Prize:

I am giving away a copy of Iron King by bestsellling YA fantasy author, Julie Kagawa. The book comes with an Iron King SIGNED bookmarker!

How to Enter:

Any one of the three options below earns you a chance to WIN. Choose all three and earn three entries to WIN

1. Subscribe to this blog. There’s a box on the right hand side under my banner called Email Subscriptions. Enter your email address and click the Sign Me Up button.

2. Subscribe to the RSS feed of my website, the YA Fantasy Guide. You can do that by clicking HERE.

3. Follow ME on Twitter and tweet links to my contest.

 You can get to the other 240 participating blogs by clicking HERE

Many writers struggle with dialogue. Done correctly, dialogue keeps a novel advancing and develops our characters. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come easy to everyone so I’ve created a list that outlines bad dialogue issues.    

Mechanical Dialogue

This is when the characters sound like robots instead of humans. Most people use some form of slang when they talk in conversation so your characters are no different. It’s also important to remember where your book is set. For example, if your book is set in New York, then you have to use their unique regional dialect.

Example:

“The information you have provided is very helpful. Thank you once again for assisting me with my urgent problem.”

Don’t Data Dump in Dialogue

Let the story unfold naturally. Assume that your characters will remember certain facts and don’t put everything out there all at once. This, to me, is a pacing issue. I always create a detailed outline of my book before I write a word. That way, I make sure the pace stays even and I’m not tempted to give too much away all at once.

Example:

“Carter, don’t you remember that when I was eight years old, my parents were killed in a car accident and I feel personally responsible because I had asked them to drive me to a movie? Now, whenever I get in a car I am filled with anxiety. This has made it impossible for me to go on dates because I can’t pick up girls on my bicycle.”  

Don’t Overdo Dialogue Tags

You don’t need a he said/she said after every sentence. Overuse takes the emotion out of the conversation and it’s just annoying to read. You want your reader enchanted by your dialogue, not your ability to create synonyms for “said”.

Example:

“Yes,” she said.

“No,” he said.

“Yes, I can,” she said.

“No, you can’t,” he said.

Break up Dialogue with Action

When’s the last time you had a conversation and you stood there without doing anything else? Maybe you were driving or folding clothes or drinking coffee. When writing, all those actions become part of your dialogue. The action adds excitement to what you’re saying.

Example:

“I refuse,” she said, slamming her hand into the table.

“I refuse,” she said.

The easiest way to learn realistic dialogue is to listen to the conversations going on all around you. Go to a crowded place like the mall or a park and people watch. Listen to the dialect, pay attention to their facial expressions and other body movements as they converse. It also doesn’t hurt to read a ton of books and see how the experts are doing it. Good luck!

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for the picture: In the Middle of Nowhere

The final coffin nail was sealed on the Alex Pettyfer for Jace campaign after he signed on to Magic Mike and Overdrive. For me, it was over months ago, but no use opening up that can of worms again. Now, with Alex out of the way, we can consider other actors who could play the Jace Wayland role. Lucky for us, we don’t have to look far. 

According to The Wrap, we have three top candidates: Jamie Campbell Bowers, Leebo Freeman, and Ed Speleers. As far as I’m concerned, only one name sticks out on this list and that’s Jamie Campbell Bowers. I only have one thing to say about Leebo Freeman – he has no acting experience. Conversation over, have a nice day. Next is Ed Speleers who starred in Eragon in 2006. Eragon was a mild hit, but where has he gone since then? Well, he played on a television show that lasted only one season called Echo Beach in 2008, but since then, has starred in two short films and the British horror flick, A Lonely Place to Die. Nothing against Ed, but I don’t think he’s ready for a project of this caliber. He just hasn’t shown me anything that would justify him in this starring role.

So, why should fans rally behind Jamie? Three words: Proven Acting Ability. In my humble opinion, this should really be the only factor to consider. His resume has shown his acting range in a wide variety of characters. He’s stared in Sweeney Todd, Winter in Wartime, and RocknRolla. You may also recognize him from the small indie franchises known as Harry Potter and Twilight. He’s currently starring as Arthur in the Stars network series, Camelot. He carries that series in a role that only a multifaceted actor could handle.

He’s worked with some of the most talented and well respected actors in Hollywood including: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Joseph Fiennes, Ava Green, Gerald Butler, Tom Wilkinson, Thandie Newton, and Alan Rickman just to name a few. You don’t get to work with people of that quality unless you can handle your own.

If we have to get into physical looks then he fits that too. Jace is described on many occasions as having the face of an angel. One of those mentions happened here in City of Glass: “To die? No one wants to die, Father.” The point of Jace’s sword slipped lower, and then lower until it was resting over Valentine’s heart. Jace’s face was calm, the face of an angel dispatching divine justice. Jace is further described as having a thin muscular build, blonde wavy hair, and golden eyes. Except for the golden eyes which can be achieved with contacts, Jamie matches up.

In closing, I’d like to say that we all have our own opinion of what Jace looks like. Lots of actors and models can come close, but is that really what you want? Are you looking for a talented actor or someone that looks like the Jace in your mind? If I had to choose, I’d take a talented, proven actor every single time. If you agree with me, let Jamie know he’s got your support. You can find him on Twitter. You can also spread the word by using the Twitter hashtag, #JamieforJace

Still not completely convinced? Watch the video below and hear what Jamie’s cast had to say about him in a recent interview.

On a personal note, I’d like to thank everyone who’s participated in my articles or has spoken about it on the Mortal Instruments message boards. Whether you agree with me or not, I am truly honored to be part of your discussions. You can find me on my website, the Young Adult Fantasy Guide or roaming the wild world of Twitter as: YAFantasyGuide

1. You count the sprinkles on each kid’s cupcake to make sure they’re equal.

2. You find yourself cutting your husbands’ sandwiches into cute shapes.

3. You can’t bear to give away baby clothes – it’s so final.

4. You hear your mother’s voice coming out of your mouth when you say, “NOT in your good clothes!”

5. You stop criticizing the way your mother raised you.

6. You hire a sitter because you haven’t been out with your husband in ages, then spend half the night checking on the kids.

7. You have time to shave only one leg at a time.

8. You hide in the bathroom to be alone.

9. Your kid throws up and you catch it.

10. Someone else’s kid throws up at a party. You keep eating.

11. You use your own saliva to clean your child’s face.

12. You’ve mastered the art of placing large quantities of pancakes and eggs on a plate without anything touching.

13. Your child insists that you read “Once Upon a Potty” out loud in the lobby of Grand Central Station and you do it.

14. You cling to the high moral ground on toy weapons; your child chews his toast into the shape of a gun.

15. You hope ketchup is a vegetable, since it’s the only one your child eats.

16. You donate to charities in the hope that your child won’t get that disease.

17. Your feet stick to the kitchen floor, and you don’t care.

18. The closest you get to gourmet cooking is making Rice Krispie treats.

19. You no longer object to cold pizza for breakfast.

20. Your purse is crammed with emergency toys, candy and first aid supplies.

21. You can talk on the phone, pack a lunch & breast feed all once.

22. You wonder why it was you ever feared being alone.

23 You spend an entire week wearing sweats.

24. You can remove chewing gum from just about anything.

25. You say at least once a day, “I’m not cut out for this job”, but you know you wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Thanks to this Supermom blog for the list!

You’ve poured your soul into a novel, revised till your brains are mushy, and now you’re ready to submit your work. But, where do you go from here? The next step is landing a literary agent to represent your novel.

In the simplest terms, a literary agent is someone who submits your novel to publishers. They do everything behind the scenes that helps you toward your career goals. They are essential and very hard to come by. Having said that, please know that if you have a well written, original, creative manuscript with commercial appeal then you will find success and an agent – period. They are looking for you as much as you are looking for them.

Now you need to identify which agents are right for your novel and that depends on your genre. A website like Agent Query can help you create a list of agents that might be interested in your work. Make your list of agencies, then go to their websites to make sure that they accept unsolicited submissions. If they do, you can write down what they accept (examples: query, sample pages, chapters, etc.) and all their other submission guidelines. I suggest creating an excel spreadsheet to keep track.

99.9% of the time, literary agents want to read the query letter before they request to read anything else. A query is a one page cover letter that tells the agent about you, your experience, and your book. If you’re stuck here then check out my article: How To Write Query Letters

If you’re a celebrity or a successful published author then the pitch process is a lock. But, what about if you’re not? Unfortunately, due to the current economy, the number of books getting published by new authors are rapidly dwindling. So what can you do to stand out in the ever growing slush pile? Create a strong writing platform. If you’re clueless on platforms then this article might help: Creating a Writing Platform      

This may sound exhausting, but no one ever claimed that it would be easy. The most important thing to remember is that this is your dream. Put everything you have into making it happen. Good Luck and Happy Writing!

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Thanks for the comic, Write Strong!

Don’t you love books? Lucky for us, they’re lots of great books coming out in 2011! I could list some amazing names for you like Holly Black and Cassandra Clare, but I’m sure you already know about those. Instead, I made a list of ten debut young adult fantasy authors that I’m personally excited about. The list order is based on release dates. 

Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney (Published: February 8, 2011)

Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma.

When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (Published: February 15, 2011)

First there are nightmares.

Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.

When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.

Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford (Published: February 22, 2011)

Eden didn’t expect Az.

Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick-up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.

Yeah.

So long, happily-ever-after.

Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.

She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else’s game. Her heart is her own.

And that’s only the beginning of the end.

Clarity by Kim Harrington (Published: March 1, 2011)

When you can see things others can’t, where do you look for the truth?

This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.

Clarity “Clare” Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It’s a gift.

And a curse.

When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare’s ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case–but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare’s brother–who has supernatural gifts of his own–becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

Enclave by Ann Aquirre (Published: April, 12, 2011)

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Mercy by Rebecca Lim (Published: May 17, 2011)

A fallen angel haunted by her past. Yearning for her immortal beloved. Forever searching for answers. Who will show her Mercy?

Mercy has lost herself. She can’t count how many times she’s “woken up” in a new body, and assumed a new life, only to move on again and again. During the day she survives in the human world on instinct and at night her dreams are haunted by him. Mercy’s heart would know him anywhere. But her memory refuses to cooperate.

But this time is different. When Mercy wakes up she meets Ryan, an eighteen year old reeling from the loss of his twin sister who was kidnapped two years ago. Everyone else has given up hope, but Ryan believes his sister is still alive. Using a power she doesn’t fully comprehend, Mercy realizes that Ryan is right. His sister is alive and together they can find her. For the first time since she can remember, Mercy has a purpose; she can help. So she doesn’t understand why the man in her dreams cautions her not to interfere. But as Ryan and Mercy come closer to solving the dark mystery of his sister’s disappearance, danger looms just one step behind.

Will Mercy be able to harness her true self and extraordinary power in time?

The first in a dazzling new series, Mercy masterfully weaves romance, mystery and the supernatural into a spell-binding tale.

Hourglass by Myra McEntire (Published: May 24, 2011)

Since the age of fourteen, Emerson Cole has seen strange things – dead things – swooning Southern Belles, soldiers, and other eerie apparitions of the past. She’s tried everything to get rid of the visions: medication, counseling, asylums. Nothing’s worked.

So when Emerson’s well-meaning brother calls in yet another consultant from a mysterious organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to give it one last try.

Michael Weaver is no ordinary consultant. He’s barely older than she is; he listens like no one she’s ever met before; and he doesn’t make her feel the least bit crazy. As Emerson ventures deeper into the world of the Hourglass, she begins to learn the truth about her past, her future–and her very life.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (Published: May 31, 2011)

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Hereafter by Tara Hudson (Published: June 7, 2011)

Can there truly be love after death?

Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she’s dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she’s trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, Hereafter is a sensation you won’t want to miss.

Possess by Gretchen McNeil (Published: August 23, 2011)

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her overprotective mom, by the hunky son of the police officer who got her father killed, and by the eerie voices which she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Turns out the voices are demons–the Biblical kind, not the Buffy kind–and Bridget possesses the rare ability to banish them.

San Francisco’s senior exorcist and his newly assigned partner from the Vatican enlist Bridget’s help with increasingly bizarre and dangerous cases of demonic possession. But when one of Bridget’s oldest friends turns up dead in a ritualistic sacrifice that mirrors her father’s murder, Bridget realizes she can’t trust anyone. An interview with her father’s murderer reveals a link between Bridget and the Emim: a race of part-demons intent on raising their forefathers to the earth in human form. Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the Emim’s plan before someone else close to her winds up dead, or worse–the human vessel for a Demon King.

Stacey O’Neale is a full-time writer and co-owner of the Young Adult Fantasy Guide. She’s had several articles and book reviews published, but spends most of her writing time on the revisions to her debut young adult fantasy novel. You can also follow her on Twitter.