Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Flings with Boobs

It's Wednesday! And we are thrilled to welcome Mindy "Shoot 'em in the head!" McGinnis and her amazing boobies!
(insert voice of Sixteen Candles Grandma)"And they are so perky!"

Summer Fling...

Even the phrase makes me get goosebumps, but not in a good way. More like when you think of something horrific and just wrong, like a dog walking on its hind legs for a long period of time.

 Why? Well, a summer fling implies swimsuits – bikinis even. And right when my fellow female classmates had discovered that they looked pretty cute in them, I was discovering that I had boobs. Again though, not in a good way. Refer back to the dog walking on its hind legs analogy.

 My boobs showed up way before anyone else’s. They walked onto center stage and DEMANDED attention, which wasn’t hard to get since I was also taller than everyone else and my nipples were right at their eye level. Boys in their thirties might think that’s kind of awesome, but boys that haven’t hit the actual teens yet are pretty much just terrified.

And their fear of my boobs translated into calling me an Amazon, which now that I’m older I rather take as a compliment. But it’s kind of hard to encapsulate feminine mystique and nobility when you’re head and shoulders above your friends and all the boys automatically assume you’re a lesbian because you can beat them at any sport.


(Oh yeah, that happened early too. Thanks, Mama Nature).

Wearing a bathing suit in front of my classmates happened approximately once, and ended with someone moo-ing at me and me subsequently attempting to drown them. Fast forward to me in high school and suddenly the boobs aren’t so much a drawback anymore. People kind of like them. I get a lot of, “Hey, I wish I would’ve been nicer to you back in junior high.”

Yeah, I bet you do.

Especially since Amazons have such long memories. 

Mindy McGinnis is a YA author and librarian. Her debut dystopian, NOT A DROP TO DRINK, will be available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins Fall, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Tomorrow Mindy will featuring Honestly YA as part of her BOA (Bloggers of Awesome) interview series. Thanks Mindy!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Summers of My Heart

by Kimberly MacCarron

Some of us were dreading this topic.  Not me!  The question has been raised:  Can Summer Romances Last?

I say they can, and they do.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  Summer romances aren’t meant to last.  They are a learning experience.  A moment out of time.   When every day is ripe with possibilities and you yearn to make the most of them. 

For me, the summers I remember best were all tangled up with a boy.  From the time I was little, we used to vacation in Ontario, Canada at Torpitt Lodge.  When I was a kid with missing front teeth, I loved it for all the reasons any kid loves vacation.  Splashing in the water at the lake.  Going on hikes and picking wild blueberries.  Being chosen to ring the big brass bell for the lodge dinner hour. 

When I was fifteen, I loved Torpitt Lodge for a different reason.  Kevin. 

He worked at the lodge, and no, he wasn’t a dance instructor.  He was my age, and he helped out in the kitchens or worked at the snack bar.  And he was just plain adorable.  We started out as friends.  My best friend Rachel came with us that year, and we all used to hang out at the snack bar or down at the lake.  It took a few days, but eventually he kissed me.  Now, if you ever read my post about my first kiss, you’ll remember that it was a disaster.  And Kevin happened to be my second attempt.  And boy, oh glorious boy, could he kiss!  It was as I’d dreamt it would.  Those nights were the nights I treasured at Sparrow Lake.  He held my hand and dropped soft kisses on my lips.  We walked around for hours until he’d walk me back to my cottage at the end of the night.  He’d give me a quick kiss right in front of my grandparents or my parents or God Himself.  And he was so, so sweet and cute that nobody cared.

When I left at the end of vacation, I didn’t cry.  I felt a little lost on the way home, wondering if there would ever be a boy who could kiss me like that again.  We kept in touch by snail mail sporadically during the school year, and then I went back to Torpitt the next summer.   

I turned sixteen during that vacation, and I no longer had the braces on my teeth that I had the previous summer.  Other changes started happening.  Kevin and I picked right up where we left off the year before.  He was still sweet.  He still had that same mischievous smile and twinkle in his eyes.  And he still could kiss like nobody’s business.  I knew that because I managed to get many kisses under my fickle little belt by then. 

Our rented cottage was next door to the staff quarters once again, but this time it proved to be a little problem.  For all of the years I wondered what it was like inside, I made up for lost time.  I ditched my friend Rachel on so many nights so I could go to Kevin’s section of a shared room and make out.  Kevin and I took every moment we could to be together.

Nothing really happened.  He was the first boy to let his hands wander a little bit over clothing, but I was fine with that, but the intensity of our kisses shifted, changed.  They were still wonderful, but they lasted longer, and the space between our bodies somehow disappeared.  We had semi-privacy, and one night we had alcohol from the older staff members.  That night, I came home, stumbling a bit either from one too many drinks or just the time spent in a horizontal position (innocent and completely clothed though it was).  My mom took me aside and talked with me.  In a nonjudgmental way, she explained how boys shouldn’t be mixed with either beds or alcohol and definitely not with both simultaneously.  I listened, and I never mixed any of them again until my college days.  But that’s a different blog post completely. 

When I left that summer, I cried the whole way home.  The. Whole. Way.  I stayed in the hotel room at St. Katherine’s and cried myself to sleep after crying the entire drive there.  Kevin and I kept in touch for a while, but I never went back to Torpitt Lodge.  My parents decided to buy a camper instead so that we could enjoy the campground all summer instead of just a couple of weeks at Torpitt. 

I think about Kevin.  I wonder what happened to him, who he married, whether he ever remembers those summer nights quite the way I did.  I don’t know if I was special.  He could have had a different girl every couple of weeks, but somehow I don’t think so.   I don’t want that to be true, even now.

The greatest thing about most summer romances is that we know IN ADVANCE that it certainly isn’t meant to last.  I think that’s why they seem so all-consuming at the time.  Every moment is a treasure.  You wake up early to the possibilities of the day, and you stay up late exploring those possibilities. 

Summer romances generally don't end with heated words or the knowledge that he turned out to be a world-class jerk.  You never really got to that level.  You saw the best in each other and didn’t look for all the reasons it wouldn’t work out.  You didn’t see the little things that would drive you crazy during those other three seasons of the year.   They were moments out of time.  Free from stress.  Free from responsibility.  Alive with possibility and excitement. 

Perhaps summer romances don’t last, but those memories are tucked away in the heart.  I still remember her, that young girl.  Vividly.  I think that’s why I’ve always loved writing young adult stories.  Because that strange mash-up of innocence and passion never really happens again, and I miss it. 

There’s a great quote by Edna St. Vincent Millay that I love:  “I know I am but summer to your heart, and not the full four seasons of the year.”

For me, those summer romances fulfilled their purpose.  They weren’t designed to last past that.  It wasn’t until I married my husband that I found the one who holds all the seasons of my heart, but I’ve never quite forgotten the ones who held my summers.

Who held a summer of your heart?  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Stephanie Winkelhake's Tale of Summer Love Denial

Picture this: Waves lapping against beautiful white sand. Seagulls dancing in the summer breeze. Fourteen-year-old Sabrina is enjoying a lazy day at the beach. As soon as she spies Cute Boy, she’s drawn to him. When he edges closer and asks to hang out, she’s on cloud nine. It’s more than his resemblance to Balthazar Getty—there’s a connection between them. Sabrina can feel it. Unfortunately, Cute Boy’s from another state and he’s headed home the next day. But who cares? Sabrina joins Cute Boy for a long walk on the beach. And they have the deepest conversations.

Cue the cheesy background music.

Sabrina says goodbye to Cute Boy and returns home. That’s when things get out of hand. Suddenly, Cute Boy’s hotter than anyone in Sabrina’s stack of Tiger Beat magazines. He certainly had washboard abs, didn’t he? Oh, and those ripped jean shorts were, well, the epitome of style. Sabrina even tapes a song off the radio and dubs it their song. If only they’d exchanged phone numbers or addresses. But no matter—Cute Boy will find a way to contact her again. He has to, right? Fate brought them together the first time, and it will work its magic again.
Oh, Sabrina. Poor, poor Sabrina.

Ugh. Fine. I’m Sabrina. *Hides in embarrassment*

And clearly, my fourteen-year-old self did not reside in reality.

Luckily, the characters I write tend to be smarter about these things. For instance, they probably wouldn’t believe a potential love interest was suspiciously between phone numbers and email addresses. A character would catch on pretty quickly if a love interest made excuses to NOT friend them on Facebook. They’d probably realize (at some point, at least) that sometimes summer love is just that—a summer fling. That’s not to say they wouldn’t download a song or two for the sake of reminiscing. But unlike poor Sabrina, they wouldn’t pine away in their room, replaying that song for hours on end.

So, yeah, that happened.  I’m sure Sabrina’s not proud.

Stephanie Winkelhake is a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist for her YA paranormal FOLLOWING YOU (previously titled THE MATTER OF SOULS) and is represented by Marie Lamba of The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. Her short story DO NOT MACHINE WASH appears in next month’s CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL: I CAN’T BELIEVE MY DOG DID THAT! She can be found at or on Twitter @StephieWink.

A HUGE thanks to Honestly YA for having me on the blog today. This was fun! Now, does anyone have a summer love denial tale to add? Or an embarrassing story to tell? Anyone?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Summer Love and Other Buried Treasures

Summer love... long nights on the beach... holding hands while gazing at stars... kissing while the waves lap at our feet... clinging to one another in the shadow of the diving board...

I am so not making any of that up. That's all true. Not only is it true, but, the guy? Yeah, we stayed together after school resumed. Of course, he had graduated; I was the only one going back to school. And he had no worries about me meeting competition in the hallways (remember the nuns?). So staying together... that seemed kind of easy. He didn't go to college, instead taking a full time day job. I headed into senior year, doing homework right after school, so we still had nights and weekends. there was nothing in the autumn air to pull us apart. Except...

I have to confess, looking back over the years... the romance was doomed. From the very beginning, I wasn't being entirely faithful to him. My heart had already begun turning toward someone else, someone tough and determined, brave and smart. Resourceful. Charismatic. Someone... someone.... terrified of snakes...


Indiana Jones....


Okay. Wait. Before you judge, you  need to understand that back in the days of Indy's introduction I was working at movie theater (a single screen movie theater) and we ran that movie for SIX MONTHS. From June to December. Seriously. That's a relationship. I spent three nights a week with Indy, and all day Saturday. And he never, ever let me down. He was never late, always made me smile, and never made me cry.

Okay, so he wasn't real. So he was a made up guy with an irrational fear of snakes. So what my real boyfriend was 6'2", blonde hair, blue eyes, with a killer smile (also true). No matter how wonderful the real guy was... the guy I still love to this day is Indiana Jones. Man, Indy would just stand and glower, and the minute he settled that Stetson on his head.... *swoon* you just know he's going to help good triumph over evil.

So why do I still love Indy, when the blue-eyed-guy is relegated to dim memory status? Well, truth be told, it's for the same reasons the relationship with my boyfriend lasted past the summer. It wasn't the good looks - though that was there. It wasn't the conversational skills - I remember Indy's dialogue better than boyfriend's. It was the fact that both of those guys stood for something. They both had a strong moral center, a concept of right over wrong and the determination to make sure right prevailed. And that moral center? That belief in something bigger than the self, that's one of the key character attributes that shows they'll stick around when school threatens to get in the way. They'll understand when homework or studying has to take priority, and they won't resent your involvement in school sports (though they might get cranky over Glee Club, you never know).

Now as the summer draws to a close, those of you reading this may have a guy or a gal and may be wondering, will this last? Hey, I could be wrong. But my theory is if your current heartthrob is the sort to stand up for the little guy and has a solid sense of justice, you've got a good chance the relationship will last well beyond the first bell.

A healthy fear of snakes is also a bonus.

But hey, clearly if I fell in love with Indy way back at the beginning, I'm a seriously old broad. So you tell me: what characteristic do you think a person would possess that hints at a relationship lasting?

Monday, August 13, 2012

The "Who-Needs-Summer-Lovin'?" Giveaway

Happy Monday, readers! Melissa here, and if you've been following the comments to our "Summer Romance" posts, you already know I have ZERO experience with summer flings. Zilch. Nada. I've never even had a vacation hookup.

Womp, womp.

But you know what? I've indulged in many a scandalous liaison...from within the pages of a book. So I ask you: Who needs stupid summer lovin' when you can live vicariously through fiction? [fist pump] Not this gal!

To celebrate our liberation from vacation flings, I'm giving away TWO Sourcebooks titles that capture young love.

How can you win? It's easy! You must:

1. Be a follower of this blog. (Click the blue button on the upper right-hand side of the page that says "Join this site.")

2. Leave a comment to this post and include your contact information. (yourname (at) email (dot) com) We promise not to use your email for any nefarious purpose, such as framing you for murder or adding you to a newsletter.

3. Due to the high cost of international shipping, this giveaway is only open to US residents. By participating, you agree to the rules set forth on our contest disclaimer page.

4. That's it! The contest closes Friday, August 17th, at 5pm EST. At that time, we'll assign each comment a number and use to choose the winner. If the winner doesn't respond within 48 hours, we'll choose another winner, and so on.

Good luck, and screw summer romance!

Want to enter ANOTHER giveaway? Then visit my blog, The Unrepentant Escapist, for a chance to win an advance reader copy of ANYTHING BUT ORDINARY, which releases in September from Hyperion.

Melissa Landers is the author of ALIENATED, a seriously foreign exchange coming in February, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion. You can learn more about Melissa on her website, and she'd love for you to add ALIENATED to your Goodreads bookshelf!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Romily Bernard's Some Stuff About Summer Love

We are pleased as punch to welcome Romily Bernard, this year's Golden Heart winner in the Young Adult category.  Great things are happening with her book, FIND ME, but she'll tell you about that later. First, she's got a Summer Love story to share, sort of...

Summer love, huh? Am I the only person who hears summer love and thinks “Eeew…sticky.” It must be a Georgia thing. They keep telling me “it taint the heat, it’s tha humidity.” But I still don’t believe them. The posts have been great though! We’ve talked about getting it on (in meteor showers no less), getting over it (when your summer fling fizzles), but what about getting even?

Yeah, yeah, I hear you, but we’re going to do it anyway. I’m like a freaking PSA over here. This is stuff you need to know.

If only so you can encourage your friends to do it.

So. What do you do when that sweet boy with pretty eyes turns out to be a tool? You make him pay.
 Now, you could go all Taylor Swift and write a song about it. Or Elin Nordegren and take a golf club to his car, but, let’s be honest, that’s not going to work for most of us.

There’s always the can of paint to his car move, but this is risky if you’re clumsy (like me) or if there are security cameras (which I would never notice). Same thing goes for keying and tire slashing. You have to think outside the box.

My personal favorite came from a friend who put her cheating boyfriend’s contact information up on Craigslist. Apparently, the calls from the girls were bad enough, but the calls from the, um, gentlemen were breathtaking. And not in a good way. He eventually had to change his number so she got extra points for inconveniencing him.

Really all of this is just a practice run for when graduate and your creepy boss decides to get handsy. I’m hoping all of you avoid the hell that is being a Personal Assistant, but, in the event that you do not, please consider the following approaches:

Does he make you pick up his dry-cleaning? This one’s for you, baby. Most dry-cleaners also do alterations. Use this to your benefit. Have his pockets sewn shut or his pants shortened by two inches. If you’re feeling particularly grumpy, see if they’ll monogram his shirts with SOB.

And, yes, this tactic takes a little planning so be sure to use that outlook calendar he’s always bitching you never fill out. Remember, it’s important to learn from constructive criticism.

Oh, and this move also works for cheating husbands/boyfriends. I’m just saying.

Moving on. Does Creepy Boss leave his office door unlocked? You live a charmed life, my friend. I’ve never been more proud than the day I hid sushi rolls in my boss’s bookshelves. By the time I popped back over the following week to pick up my check, the stench was truly horrific. Like, epically horrific. It was awesome.

Romily Bernard’s debut, FIND ME, hits stores Fall 2013. Since that’s a ridiculously long time to wait for anything, follow her at or on Twitter @RomilyBernard.

So. Anyone else care to pass on some tips? And, as always, a huge, huge, huge thank-you to the Honestly YA girls for having me!!


Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Lovin’? Tell Me More, Tell Me More!

Dear John,

You asked me to tell you everything, so here it goes…

Since you left, the summer has been a fantasy. After I won the local beauty pageant in June, I celebrated out of town with my BFF and our two ridiculously gorgeous guy pals. On the way home, we accidentally hit this—Never mind, I’m sure you don’t want to know all my dirty little secrets.

Speaking of dirty…there was this dance instructor at the resort my family goes to every July. He called me “Baby” and taught me things you can’t learn in books—like how to be a triple threat and record your own movie soundtrack ballads. On our last night there, this complete nobody put me in a corner, but he came to my rescue. He pulled me onto the dance floor and I had the time of my life. It reminded me of this one time, at band camp—wait, that’s a story best told in person.

Now that I am back home, my midsummer night's adventure at Kellerman’s seems but a dream…which brings me to August.

With visions of beach balls dancing in my head, I stuffed myself into a wild bikini and set my sights on the ultimate sand & surf fiesta. As I walked between beaches, I met these two girls named Hillary and C.C. under the boardwalk. They wanted to be BFFs for life—and I thought, over my dead body! I want to be where the boys are. So I ditched them. But when I got to the party, the guys were all sitting around on their beach blankets playing bingo. Lame!

Just when I’d given up hope of some summer lovin’, I met a boy, cute as could be. It happened so fast! Let me tell you more…He’d just turned eighteen and was soooooo sweet. We were good together—if you know what I mean. Soon we became inseparable; drinking lemonade and bowling in the arcade. One night, we made out in the sand under the dock until ten p.m. Unfortunately, the last day of vacation turned colder and that’s where it ends.

He told me we’d still be friends and wanted to make a true love vow. The gesture was incredibly romantic, and flattering, and totally na├»ve. Because, come on! Summer romances are fiction. You’re on vacation from stress and responsibility, with endless days and summer nights to spend with your crush. In summertime, the livin’ is easy—too easy. Away from your daily grind, you get to reinvent yourself as the perfect you (cue setting sun for golden backlighting) and for a moment in time you get to pretend you’re in a perfect relationship. But it’s an illusion. A two-dimensional teenage dream from which we all must eventually wake.

When the heat of summer fades and the boys of summer have gone, you go back to life, back to reality. Reality check –you ARE NOT that idealized self. You are imperfect, and those imperfections make you uniquely special. So rather than forcing a summer fling to weather three other precarious seasons, I realized I wanted more—a relationship that fit the gritty chaos of my everyday world with someone who would love me, flaws and all. A romance like that is worth fighting for, because that kind of love—the kind that flourishes when things are not easy—is truly magical.

Sorry Charlie,John. But, let’s face it—summer is cruel. It must've might've been love, but it's over now.
California Gurl

P.S. Please don’t turn up on my front lawn holding a boom box, begging me to say anything. It’s so 1989, plus I’ve already been through that with Lloyd!

P.P.S. Keep the pen.


YOUR TURN: Do you have any wild summer adventures to share? Tell me more!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Welcome Wednesday: Natalie Vawter's Shooting Stars and Summer's Fade

Everybody loves a summer romance.  Sun-kissed shoulders and cotton candy kisses and all that stuff.  I mean, I know it worked for Baby and Johnny in Dirty Dancing.  And loads of people went mental for that first summer in The Notebook--though I've got to say if I see one more video featuring their later kiss in the rain, I'll scream.  That beard was just too much.  Like a muskrat strapped to his chin. 

But back to the point.  Summer love.  Cynical as I can be, I still see there's something about it.  Something kind of magical.
I had my own little summer fling, though it didn't involve any of the typical tropes.  There wasn't an epic ferris-wheel ride or a spontaneous midnight swim.  And a walk on the beach wasn't even possible, unless I counted the muddy banks of one of Ohio's many mosquito-plagued creeks.  And I definitely didn't.

So, my summer romance wasn't typical. It featured Nine Inch Nails, an ancient, rusty Honda and a mutual love of Pixy Stix.  Not swoon-worthy, I know.  And probably even less swoon-worthy was the guy I shared this little fling with.    

He had a tragic haircut and probably weighed in at a hundred and seventeen pounds soaking wet.  But his eyes were amazing.  So, if maybe my memory hides him under a soft-focus layer that makes him look a little like Taylor Kitsch, I'm good with that. 
Anyway, for a few blissful weeks, we were inseparable. We drove with the windows down and held hands so tightly, I can practically still feel the press of his fingers between mine.  It was intense. 

Our first real kiss happened under a meteor shower.  Silver streaked through the sky and the world tilted beneath my feet.  No joke, it was the stuff of fairytales.

And it ended.

He picked up more hours at his summer job and I picked up a curfew when the school -year started.  Nobody cried rivers or screamed hateful words.  We just drifted apart.  And it was okay.  

It doesn't always happen like that.  Sometimes summer flings stretch into years.  Lifetimes, even.  But sometimes they're like the meteor shower, burning bright and wondrous and then fading away forever.

Personally, I'm cool with that.  Life is all about individual moments--from the magical to the mundane.  In my life and in my books, I try to cling to those experiences, savoring them not for what they might become, but instead for exactly what they already are.

Natalie Vawter won her first writing competition in the second grade with her short story about Barbara Frances Bizzlefishes (who wouldn't dare do the dishes.) She later misplaced her writing dreams in a maze of cubicles and general office drudgery. Natalie never forgot about Barbara or those dishes, and eventually she found her way back to storytelling, following the genre of her heart, teen fiction. When she's not writing or editing, you can probably find her wading through the towers of dog-eared paperbacks that have taken over her bedroom. Natalie lives in Ohio with her amazing husband and their three children, who inspire her every day to stick with her dreams.  Natalie is represented by the ever-amazing Cori Deyoe of 3 Seas Literary Agency and her books Canvas Crossers and Pandora's Clock were finalists in the 2012 RWA Golden Heart® Contest. 
Please visit her at or follow her on Twitter @natalievawter

So, what about all of you?  Do you believe that summer love is worth it, even if it ends?  Or would you rather spare yourself the pain of a hard goodbye?