Monday, August 30, 2010

ALL SHE CARES ABOUT IS HER JOB (or Mom Fail)

So I was cleaning out my car the other day and I came across this in the backseat:


My first thought was: “Aw, how sweet, my daughter’s journaling how much she loves her family!”

And then I opened it…



Sad, right??? I could practically hear Cat’s in the Cradle playing in the background.

(NOTE: My daughter has a habit of drawing when she’s angry…I think she’s a tortured artist in the making!)

My favorite part: The alphabetized laptop keys. Wait! Is it bad that I have a favorite part???

Seriously, I get it. There’s no excuse for ignoring my kids, but in my defense (lame justification to follow) I’ve been working under a tough deadline. All day, every day. My friends think I hate them because I don’t answer the phone or respond to their emails. My house is a mess because my husband performs “guy cleaning” which we all know just isn’t the same as real cleaning. And now, to top it all off, apparently I’ve said “just a minute” or “maybe later” one too many times to my nine-year-old.

So yeah, I owe her big time. When I told her I was planning a Mommy-Daughter day of shopping, lunch, and extra ice cream for dessert, she loved the idea!

Does she really need to know that we do this every year, it’s called back-to-school shopping? Don’t you dare tell her!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Some Girl Love!

Last weekend we went to a going-away party for our oldest daughter’s best friend. She’s married now, with twin girls of her own, and her husband is in the army so they’re moving to Texas where he’s being stationed. It was sad to say goodbye, but I was proud of my daughter, proud that she listened to me all those years when I’d told her: Boys will come and go, but hang on to your girlfriends.

It got me to thinking about the kind of advice I give my kids (and more importantly, to my girls). I want them to feel good about who they are and confident about what they can do. I want my girls to take the world by storm!

That's right! I'm that mom. I want to give them real advice, useful advice so they can go out there and kick ass. Not mamby-pamby advice about How to Please Your Man or Ten Tip to Make Your Lipstick Last.

But one of the lessons I think all girls should know is how much we need each other.

And I’m not talking about people needing other people. I’m talking about women needing other women. I’m talking girlfriends.

This is important, especially during those teen years, when it’s easy to get lost in the world of boys and crushes and first loves. Butterflies are the very best aphrodisiac. And the quest to find that “perfect” someone can make a girl turn her back on her friends. But it shouldn’t. It’s a mistake that too many girls make.

You’ll need those friends.

So before you forsake them, breathe. Take a moment to think about it.

Your girlfriends, if they’re really friends worth keeping, might actually be there for life. These might be the bonds you forge that last through college, marriages, childbirth, divorces (yours, hers…or both), sickness, and loss. Hers might be the shoulders you lean on when you need them the most. She might be the only one willing to hold your hair when you puke.

Don’t turn your back on her to pursue a boy, you can have both. Be smart about it. Find the time to make her feel important too.

Because, trust me, when he’s gone, she’ll still be there.

And the Winner of PRINCESS FOR HIRE is...

JESSICA (Confessions of a Bookaholic)

YAY, Jessica, I'm emailing you now...CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cool Smart Chicks News...

There's been some schedule shuffling on the Smart Chicks Tour, but mostly this has been a good thing. For me, it means that Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl will now be joining me at the San Francisco stop (YAY!!!), along with Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel, and Melissa de la Cruz. Have I mentioned that I feel a little out of my league here?!?!

No? Then what about this? In Phoenix, I'm teamed with Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Alyson Noel, Holly Black, and Sarah Rees Brennan. What the what?!

So if you're planning to head out to one (or more) of the Smart Chicks tour stops in September, be sure to double-check the schedule, you might just be surprised who you'll see there! And visit the Smart Chicks store to get your T or hoodie for the Chicks to sign while you're there. I know I'm bringing mine!

Oh, and don't forget, today's the last day to enter for your chance to win a copy of PRINCESS FOR HIRE...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

ANOTHER GUEST POST AND CONTEST...and VELVEETA???

Can you believe I’m at it again…another guest post, another prize giveaway? When will the madness end???

So today I have one of my favoritest authors in the world, Lindsey Leavitt. She’s cute, she’s funny as crap, and she once stole my bed. True. Story. (Okay, not as interesting as it sounds: Lindsey needed a place to crash for the night and SJW and I offered up our hotel room. Lindsey volunteered to sleep on the floor, but since she was pregnant, Shelli and I bunked up so she could have a bed of her own. Although I was disappointed that she didn’t name her daughter after me!)

(Lindsey, CJ Omololu, Guadalupe McCall, and me, showing our Tenner love)


And now I’m sharing her with you. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Lindsey Leavitt:

Heavy on the Velveeta by LL

One of my favorite writing stages is the getting-to-know your characters part. Like many authors, I fill out loads of character charts, draw pictures, and scan magazines as I try to make this fictional person REAL (My friend Tera Lynn Childs even posts character collages on her website. I'm totally inspired to do a diorama now). It's such a carefree stage, when that serial killer/princess of yours can be from any country! Any age! Like any style of eggs!

Yeah, I said eggs. Perhaps you've seen the movie RUNAWAY BRIDE. In it, Julia Roberts is a serial fiance, ditching her men at the alter again and again. As journalist Richard Gere researches her, he finds that all the men she's dating have a different view of the woman they thought she was, right down to how she eats her eggs. She orders it just like them, showing that she is essentially taking on their identity.

Who would have thought yolk could be so revealing? These are the quirks that make characters come to life. It's not enough to say I had eggs for breakfast. Isn't it more interesting to hear that I had scrambled eggs with velveeta, that my dad left for me on the stove? How much do you learn about me just from that:

1. Processed cheese. I approve. Velveeta girls aren't overly pretentious. You don't see many slabs of the stuff at wine and cheese parties, not that we're going. We're too busy eating our very-meltable cheese with a Coke Slurpee.

2. My dad is a nice guy. And he wakes up before me.

3. I'm currently living in his house, unless I like his eggs so much I drove over just to eat them.

This isn't only a good trick in creating characters. It's a good way to find out more about the people who surround you. Do they eat white or wheat bread? What style/brand of socks do they wear? What do they do when no one is looking? What toppings do they put on their ice cream? What song do they sing in the shower?

When you look beyond the obvious, you find there's a layer of reasons/motivations/desires/dreams that people don't intentionally show, right down to their breakfast choices. So take your loved one/character out to I-HOP and see what you learn.

(Mmmm.... forget the velveeta. STUFFED FRENCH TOAST PLEASE).


And now you have the chance to win a signed copy of Lindsey’s uber-fab PRINCESS FOR HIRE, along with some other cool swag. Just leave a comment here by midnight on Thursday, August 26th.

Up for grabs:

A signed copy of PRINCESS FOR HIRE and a swag pack with bookmarks (some of them signed!) from a ton of great authors, including Lindsey herself, Amy Brecount-White, Saundra Mitchell, Christie Raedeke, Angie Frazier, Leah Cypress, and more!

C’mon, look at that book, all pink and sparkly and adorable, you know you want it!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

THE SPIRIT CITY (An Interactive Experience)

This is pretty cool, an interactive book--diary-style--where the readers can follow and comment as the story progresses (and may even have a say in how it turns out!).

You can find out more about THE SPIRIT CITY here, and you can read the first and second diary entries here and here! You can even follow them on Twitter!

Really, it's kind of awesome, you should give it a try!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A BODY FINDER NOVELS Fansite!!!

I’m so excited to announce that there’s a new site launching today for TBF readers at http://www.thebodyfindernovels.com/!

They have reviews, the book trailer, info on upcoming events and future releases (which, right now, means DESIRES OF THE DEAD), and forums where you can chat. Did I mention that my favorite part of the forums is that the moderator is none other than Violet Ambrose herself?! I love that!!!!

If you have any feedback or suggestions for anything you’d like to see on the page, I’m sure they’d love to hear from you (you can find their contact info on the page too!).

I’m super excited, and these ladies have done an AMAZING job putting it all together!!!!

THANK YOU, Erin and Heidi :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

WE HAVE A WINNER...

For the big guest-post giveaway:


MARTHA LAWSON!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY, Martha!!! You win the PARANORMALCY ARC, a $60 CSN Stores gift certificate, and a bunch of other swag goodies. Congrats!!!

I'm emailing you now, and I hope you enjoy PARANORMALCY as much as I did!

Friday, August 13, 2010

THE SMART CHICKS ARE KICKIN’ IT…

So, I know you’ve heard of the Smart Chicks Tour, right???

18 authors, 12 days, 11 cities. Spearheaded by mega-star authors Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, and Alyson Noel.

It makes my head spin just to think about it…

And in case you missed it, Publisher’s Weekly just did a great article all about it. (Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal!)

I'm thrilled to be part of the this incredible tour and I’ll be appearing at the Phoenix and San Francisco stops, so I really hope to see some of you folks out there. Here are the deets:

Friday, September 17th, 2010 7PM @ Scottsdale Civic Library Auditorium
Hosted by POISONED PEN
(Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan & Me.)

Saturday, September 18th, 2010 6 PM @ Menlo Park Library
Hosted by KEPLERS
(Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel, Kelley Armstrong, Melissa de la Cruz, Rachel Caine & Me.)

If you’re nowhere near Phoenix or San Fran, be sure to check the Smart Chicks website to see if there are any stops near you so you can meet the rest of the Smart Chicks! Seriously, this is one rockin’ bunch of ladies!!!

And if you really want to show your Smart Chicks spirit, there’s a CafĂ© Press store where you can buy your Smart Chicks T-shirt or hoodie (we’ll even have Sharpies at the events if you want to have it signed!).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My WriteOnCon VLOG is up...

...and, yes, there are naked Barbies. And sharks...

Check it out.

My Gratitude Attitude...

My friend Heidi Willis did a blog post today about how spoiled that we as Americans are when it comes to medical care, specifically (in her case) the cost of diabetes supplies and medications. And because I completely agree with her, she got me all riled up, so now I have to post too!

I like the way she started hers, so I’m totally copying it.

I don’t rant often. (That’s her line…)

In fact, I rant never. (This is all me.) Mostly because I’m not a complainer. I’m a glass half-full kind of gal, so in the grand scheme of things I don't generally go looking for problems. But when something is shoved in my face, when I’m reminded (like I was this morning by reading Heidi’s post) about how ungrateful people can be...well, it hacks me off!

Here’s why I believe that we are spoiled as a society, why I believe that we should all be a little more grateful each and every day for what we have…rather than complaining about what we don’t:

I don’t talk about this often (or, really, almost never), but I grew up poor. Like, crazy poor.

Let me show you what I mean:

I lived in project housing. We had drug dealers in our neighborhood, as well as violent felons and child molesters. We had to wait for the 1st of every month for the welfare check to arrive, and when it did, my mom had to try to make it stretch so there was enough money to pay the rent and utilities, buy gas (when the car was running), maybe repair the car, and then buy everything that food stamps wouldn’t cover (soap, shampoo, toilet paper, school necessities, clothing, etc). Our welfare check was somewhere in the neighborhood of $300-plus. On a good month someone would come to our door and try to sell their food stamps for fifty-cents-on-the-dollar so that they could use the cash to buy cigarettes, booze, drugs, whatever. This was great for us, it meant that we would have enough food money for the month.

Do you get what I’m saying here? I’m trying to show you how poor looks.

But here’s how I see it:

We were American poor. We had a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, and heat to keep us warm in the winter. We had money for food, free lunch at school, and when things got really tight, the food bank was there for backup. My mom kept us safe, making sure we avoided those people who could put us in danger.

And we had free medical care.

Yes, there were plenty of things that sucked about, and I hated always wanting more. But our basic needs were met. We weren’t starving or freezing, and we weren’t dying because we couldn’t get immunizations or medical treatment. There are children out there in the world who are.

I remind myself of this on a regular basis, when I WANT something and mistakenly call it a NEED. We are lucky, and we should definitely be grateful. I’m not saying we can’t complain, of course we can, it’s our nature, and there are always things to complain about. Trust me, I’m not saying everything is perfect. I’m just saying try to remember the difference between WANTS and NEEDS.

And if you’re reading this on a computer, be grateful that you have electricity…and probably running water, too.

*end rant*

Sunday, August 8, 2010

GUEST POST + CONTEST = WIN!!!!

Today’s post is special. (Meaning: You should totally pay attention!)

I’ve invited an awesome guest blogger, rounded up some pretty cool prizes (maybe you could pick something comfy for your bed!), and now you will have the chance to win.

Guest blog + Prizes = EPIC WIN!!!

Now that’s my kind of math right there!

First, the guest blogger. When I joined the Debs in early 2009, I joined a group of amazing writers, one of whom was this outspoken, gregarious, warm, and hilarious lady named Aprilynne Pike. You might know her, author of NYT bestsellers WINGS and SPELLS?!?! Yeah, that’s her…

Well, I’ve invited Aprilynne today to introduce a fellow Harper gal, a Tenner debut author whose book comes out THIS MONTH...you might have heard a little something about this book too, it’s called PARANORMALCY by uber-blogger extraordinaire (and, yes, she is just as adorable in real life!) Kiersten White. (And it may or may not be involved in the contest I mentioned!)

Aprilynne actually blurbed PARANORMALCY, saying: “PARANORMALCY seduced me. The two sexy paranormals who vie for Evie’s affections each had their own victory: one won Evie’s heart and the other won mine.”

I’ve read it, and I have to agree, it’s freakin’ great!!!

So, here she is, everyone, my friend Aprilynne Pike with some hilarious (as only Aprilynne would see it!) advice on writing:


Writing is Exhausting!

We often hear among author circles about the need to eat healthy and exercise because well, the acronym BIC (Butt In Chair) means that a lot of us do keep our butts firmly in our chairs for several hours a day and . . . well, those butts tend to expand.:D (Not to mention that yummy snacks seriously help facilitate the writing process! No really! They do!)

No one seems to mention that writing is its own form of exercise. Not the kind of exercise that will give you nicely toned thighs or bulging biceps, but I maintain that writing is its own kind of physical exertion nonetheless. I remember when I was in the process of writing Wings, I had this one day. It was a dream day! A day when the scene was so crystallized in my head and the words were flowing and everything was perfect! I walked out of my office that day (in my pajamas *ahem*) and flung the door open and said, very melodramatically, “I wrote a good scene!” And I was exhausted! I was a little sweaty too. (I know, TMI, but it relates!)

Writing can be a seriously physical experience, especially when you are writing intense scenes. Case in point, I am in the process of writing the fourth Wings book (don’t worry, you aren’t behind the times. The third one isn’t out yet. Writers just have to stay WAY ahead of schedule.) and about ¾ of this book is climax. It is seriously intense. I come out of my office every day rather emotionally wrung out and physically tired!

On top of that, I live in Phoenix where it is currently about 111 degrees. Also, humid since it is monsoon season. (Note to self, I need to buy a fan for my office!)

So all you writers out there, do try to eat well and get exercise, but don’t start thinking you are just turning into a lazy slob if, no matter what you do, you feel terribly exhausted at the end of the day. Tell your friends that they should try killing people and making people fall in love and make-out every day! It’s a tough job, but luckily, I’m the one who gets to do it!


I told you, she’s awesome! And TMI, Aprilynne? Never! (Confession: I don’t really understand TMI…is there really such thing as TMI???)


Okay, moving on, here are the contest deets:

All you have to do is leave a comment, just one, and that’s it. A comment. Preferrably a nice one, because, c’mon, I’m gonna give you stuff.

What am I gonna give you, you ask???

1) A brand new, shiny ARC of PARANORMALCY!!!!!!! (Second confession: it may have been read once, but ever-so-gently…there’s not even a scuff!)

2) CSN has generously donated a $60 gift certificate to any one of their 200+ stores, so you can buy something like one of these snazzy reading lamps (or anything else you want!). How cool is that???

3) And to commemorate this awesome melding of Tenner and Deb love, I am also including a butt-load (yeah, a real measurement according to urbandictionary.com) of Tenner and Deb bookmarks, including Princess for Hire, The Vespertine, Prophecy of Days, Losing Faith, Cinderella Society, Freefall, and a bunch more. Like I said, people, a butt-load…look it up.

You have until midnight on Thursday, August 12th to make your comment count!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Need Your Advice...

In the big scary world of e-book readers, there are too many things I'm willing to admit I don't understand...at least not well enough to make an informed decision. So here's the deal, I want to hear from you:

The Kindle

The Kobo

The Nook

Sony eReader (edited to add this one, because how did I miss it???)

(I'm purposely leaving the iPad out of the mix, because I'm considering straight e-readers here!)

What do you love and what do you hate? And what made you ultimately decide???

I need the good, the bad, and the ugly...

AND...GO!!!