Saturday, November 29, 2008

'Tis the Season!

So yesterday I took on the monumental task of digging out the boxes upon boxes of Christmas decorations from our garage. And this is just the indoor stuff!

When I’m done, it’s like Santa exploded in my house.

Dude, I love the holidays!!!







Monday, November 24, 2008

What's Your Book About???

Last week, my editor sent over some of the printed materials that will go on the book jacket (not the cover or anything fabulous like that!), but some of the other fun stuff.

Here’s the excerpt from THE BODY FINDER that will go on the back jacket. I love this scene…I think it captures the creepiness of the story (which is some of the stuff that I love best!):


Violet strained to see into the lake below. Multihued light seemed to be radiating up from beneath the water, centered among the reeds, and then diffusing outward as it reached the surface. Violet had never seen anything like it, and she knew that the spectrum of light was defying its very nature by behaving in that way.

It could be only one thing.

There was something dead down there.


So, here is the jacket flap copy (at least this is what we’re planning on so far). I’m really happy with the way my editor captured not just the thriller portion of the story (of the spooky, paranormal variety), but also the romance angle. I was wondering how they were going to incorporate all of that into a few short paragraphs, but somehow (I think, anyway) she did it:


Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes the dead leave behind in the world . . . and the imprints that attach to their killers.

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer . . . and becoming his prey herself.


Now if I could only see the cover design…

Friday, November 21, 2008

I NEED SOME NYQUIL...

I just got back from New York, where, among other things, I had the most amazing opportunity to meet my editor, Gretchen Hirsch, and to take a tour of the HarperCollins offices where I got to meet some of the people who will be responsible for putting my book into book stores. The coolest part: being introduced as “the author of The Body Finder”, and having people know who I was!

Besides catching a nasty cold on my last day, this was my first time EVER in New York, so everything was frickin' awesome! We ate a ton of great food, walked until I had blisters all over my feet (and yes, I spent $12 on two sad little Band-Aids from the minibar), and shopped until my credit card was practically on FIRE!!!


One thing that I got to see:
Naked Cowboy in Times Square!

Thirty degrees and no pants…that’s living the dream, people. Living the dream!


And if you can stay up late tonight, you can catch me in the audience of the Late Show with David Letterman (yep, that’ll be me sitting right smack-dab in front of Dave’s desk…they moved us all the way to the second row!). Don’t forget, though, my hair is brown now, so don’t be looking for a blonde.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Getting Published!!!

So, this is it! The day I’ve been waiting months for…holding my breath and dying inside a little more each day because I couldn’t make this announcement yet. And, finally, the big day is here...

Cyber-drumroll, please……………..!

I sold my first Young Adult Novel!!!

YAY!!!!

Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually do the selling part but my amazing agent, Laura Rennert, did, in a two book deal to my wonderful editor, Gretchen Hirsch, at HarperCollins! (I know, right?) The name of the book is The Body Finder, and it will be available in stores September 2, 2009 (seriously, I can’t believe I just said that!).



Here is the link to the Publisher's Weekly article about the deal:

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6614867.html?industryid=47146


So, now that it’s finally ok for me to talk about this, I will be blogging about how I got the news about my book deal, what the editing process was like (don’t worry Gretchen, you were freaking awesome!), what the official launch dates for both books will be, when it will be available for pre-order (shameless plug), when the cover is posted on my website, when the reviews start coming in (crossing my fingers) and…again, I can’t believe I’m saying this…where I’ll be doing book signings next year.

I hope you all visit my blog often to say hi and to chat with me! I would love to hear from all of you!! If you have some time, check out my website and register to receive official updates! (I have no idea what an “official update” is, but as soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know).

Thank you all for your friendship, good wishes, and support!

For those of you who are wondering, I used 20 exclamation marks to create this blog…but, really, can you blame me?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Save The Publishers...Save the World! (or something like that)

So there a few things I wanted to point out that I’ve come across this week in the Blogosphere…

First, the publishing industry is definitely feeling the financial crunch. After a brutal October, some publishers have reported negative earnings for the entire year of 2008. Those are frightening statistics for those of us who are hoping to earn a living from a floundering industry…and almost as terrifying for avid readers, when publishers take fewer risks on new authors and we will see fewer titles on the shelves. There have been several (MANY!) bloggers proposing a universal solution to this problem, and what is it?

BUY A BOOK!

That’s right, it’s that simple. This holiday season, instead of some disposable toy or another set of bath gels that will only get re-gifted later on, give the gift of laughter….or inspiration…or terror (if you’re like me and like something a little spookier). Buy a book for yourself, for a friend, for your mom, your kids, a co-worker. Anyone…anytime!

I LOVE THIS IDEA!!!


In other book news, check out the Presenting Lenore site for free giveaways of Robin Benway’s book, Audrey, Wait! She's giving away not one, but 5 copies, people! You have until November 25th to get over and register…it’s quick and easy. So, do it. Now!




I also read a great (4-star) review of The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman over at Em’s Bookshelf. This is a book I’ve been eyeballing for a while…it looks exactly like something I’d love, even though it’s more Middle Grade than YA. (Another great gift idea for those 9+ kids in your life!). After reading her review, I will definitely be adding this to my Amazon cart this week!!!


And a suggestion for those tough-to-buy-for teen girls (and believe me, I’ve got ‘em too), try 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. I read it last summer and was completely blown away by it!

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

This is a serious subject matter, and while on the surface it might sound depressing, it’s not. At all. It’s deep and soulful and heart-wrenching, but also beautiful and, in the strangest of ways, optimistic even. You can read some reviews at The Book Muncher and The YA YA YAS.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mr. Fix-It

I’ve noticed something lately.

I complain.

It’s true. There’s no point denying it. Apparently, it’s just part of my nature, part of who I am.

And my husband, he responds. He wants to fix things, to make everything better (probably to stop me from complaining).

My big gripe, as of late, is about how much (or actually, how little) time I’ve had to write. The kind of real, sit down, no kids tugging at my sleeve or screaming in the background, time. Quiet time. So...I complained. And my wonderfully sweet, and well-meaning, husband decided to help me out.

He took the kids to basketball, he did the dishes, and he attempted to do the laundry. And herein lies the rub. I say “attempted” because, as flattered as I am that he thinks I’m actually that small, I find it extremely difficult to fit into my seven year old’s teeny-tiny (size XXS) panties when he inevitably puts them into my underwear drawer.

Plus, they totally pinch and ride.

And frankly, too-small Barbie briefs are never a good look for any woman over, say, 30.

So, thanks honey, but I’ll take care of the laundry from here on out!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Agents, Reviewers, and Books...

I know this blog hasn’t been about writing lately (ya know, considering the title and all), but that won’t be the case forever. I promise. Lately, I feel like a racehorse waiting for the starting gates to open. I’m ready, I’m just waiting to be told to go.

In the meantime, I do have some writery (no coffee = made up words) stuff to talk about.

First, here are some of my favorite new blog discoveries:

These are some great agent sites. Nathan Bransford and BookEnds, LLC, both of which have an abundance of information on writing query letters (which every writer can use help with), how to shop for an agent, what agents are looking for, the process they go through in looking for clients, and all kinds of good publishing industry information. These are just all around fantastic sites for any writer, at any stage of the game!

The second sites are these amazing teen reader blogs that I’ve stumbled across. They are amazing, and these are just two of my favorites so far, Reviewer X and YA Book Realm. These are smart, sometimes sharp-tongued, well-read, and just down right brilliant girls who review Young Adult books online. Damn, I wish I’d been as articulate as they are at their ages! (I’m a little bit afraid of Reviewer X, but I secretly want to be her when I grow up).

There are so many of these great sites out there (and reviewers of all ages), like Em’s Bookshelf, Presenting Lenore, and Young Adult Book Bloggers, just to name a few. Check them out!



And lastly, speaking of books, I am anxiously awaiting my shipment of The Emerald Tablet by PJ Hoover from Amazon. I cannot wait to get my hands on this Middle Grade fantasy adventure to read with (or without) my daughter. After reading all the reviews, I know this is going to be a great book! You should pop on over to Amazon and order one for those 8-14 year olds in your life. Did that sound like a plug? Umm, yeah…


I’m currently reading, Lament by Maggie Stiefvater, and so far I’m really into it. Unfortunately, I have far less time for reading lately then I would like. Ugh, kids! Do they really need to be fed?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Teens

Technology is taking over our world.

Seriously. And I think it’s dumbing us down as it does. I'm starting to believe that it's all part of its evil, evil plan.

So, case in point: My fifteen year old son and I were talking about something he needed to get done, something I wanted done by nine o’clock. (The only out I will give him at this moment is that it was the weekend, when apparently time ceases to exist for people between the ages of thirteen and, well, grown-up). My son, who up until this moment I have considered bright, maybe even brilliant at times, looks at the clock, and then looks at me like I’m stupid and he says, “Mom, relax, it’s only 11:35.”

Now, I’m not sure how this played across my face, but try to picture this…I may have choked on my own tongue, just a little, and then my mouth dropped open. I know I wasn’t laughing (yet) because I was too stunned at that moment to recognize the humor. I shook my head, I think, and said…

(those of you who can tell time will totally appreciate this)

“Dude, it’s 7:55. SEVEN FIFTY-FIVE.” (I said that last part like maybe my formerly bright son had recently inhaled some super glue, killing off a billion or so brain cells).

Picture a standard wall clock here (i.e. not the digital kind). The hands…the little one and the big one…and their placement.

Since when can't our kids tell time on a normal clock? How hard is it to tell which hand is the little one (the one pointing to the seven) and which is the big one? And how in the holy crud did he lose track of over eight hours?

So what did I do? I laughed. I laughed so hard I almost cried. In front of him. And I retold the story to anyone who would listen. In front of him.

And now, I’m blogging about it...and I may even post it on his MySpace page.

Someday, I’ll say, “Remember that time…? That was awesome!!!”

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Through The Eyes Of A Seven Year Old...

Throughout this election season, my daughter has been very excited by the prospect of our nation having its first black president. I’m sure that much of her enthusiasm was learned on the playground at school, and in her classroom, where they’ve been learning all about the election process and have even voted on some of their own issues (like which ice cream is better, strawberry or chocolate). Overall, the elections have been very thrilling for her.

So without discussing our own political views too much in front of her, mostly because there has been some division among our extended family members, we have supported and encouraged her interest, reveling in her unabashed idealism and eagerness. She has been like a breath of fresh air, walking around the house saying things like, “Obama is a stand up guy!” or “Maybe after a black president, we’ll have a woman president.”

This from the girl who went into the school nurse’s offices yesterday to tell the nurse that she has Hepatitis A. I'm not joking, I got a call! So you can understand why I’m impressed when her thought process goes a little deeper.

Last night, at around 8PM Pacific Time, my husband and I called our kids downstairs when we realized that the election was being called. We told them that this was an historic moment, and that someday they would tell their children that they remember where they were when our nation elected an African-American man into our highest office. Our daughter jumped off the coffee table, screaming with glee.

But the best part came later, when I went to tuck her in while she was watching TV in her bedroom. And what, you ask, was she watching???

Wait for it…

My seven year old daughter was watching Barack Obama’s acceptance speech!

Oh, yeah, and she does NOT have Hepatitis A (or any other variety, for that matter). That’s just a rumor.