Friday, October 27, 2017

Happy Autumn!

Three to four days a week, I take the dog for her 30 minute walk and then I go out on my own. I'm doing the couch to 5K program, so it's part running, part walking. Money's tight these days so I got rid of the gym membership and am trying to do different things on my own. But this morning, it was hard to run. Every corner I turned, Mother Nature whispered, "Slow down. I have some gifts for you to enjoy." The bright blue sky. The way the breeze made the yellow, red and orange leaves flutter to the ground. The way the sunlight made the leaves almost glow. I definitely had to stop and watch what I'm 99% sure was an Eagle glide through the gorgeous sky, sunlight sparkling on the tips of its wings. I didn't want any of it to end. The way your soul sighs and says, "This is what happiness feels like." Maybe the moment can't last forever. But I can carry it with me for a day or two. Maybe longer. And maybe tell myself to slow down when the gifts aren't quite so obvious. Because you know they're always there, if we just look for them.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

SEE YOU ON A STARRY NIGHT cover!!

Coming June, 2018!


It's a book about friendship.
About the ups and downs of family, and what it means to open your heart and your home to give someone a place that feels like home when they really need it.
About finding beauty in everyday things and being thankful for them.
About Vincent van Gogh and art, and how art can bring people together.

I'm really proud of this book and am excited for you to read it next year!

***

Here's the official publisher's description:

Juliet has just moved to a beachside town with her newly separated mother and her moody older sister. When she meets their new neighbor, Emma, the girls form an instant bond. Emma's big family takes Juliet in, and the girls have fun together -- starting with the night they throw bottles with secret messages into the sea.

Then someone writes back to Juliet's message. An email arrives, inviting her to join the Starry Beach Club. All she has to do is make someone else's wish come true.

So Juliet and Emma set off to help as many other people as they can. It's fun! But as Juliet spends more and more time away from home, enjoying her new town and Emma's family more than her own mom and sister, she starts feeling lost. It's been easy to find others to help. But maybe her star would shine a little brighter if she brought it closer to home.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Finished!

I just now turned in the final edits for my 2017 MG novel SEE YOU ON A STARRY NIGHT. This book took a long time in the beginning to get the premise just right. I tried one thing and my editor said, "That's not going to work and here's why." Tried another thing and this time it still wasn't quite right. I rewrote the first fifty pages or so three or four times over the course of like six months. (I was hoping to sell on the synopsis plus some pages).
Were there times I wanted to give up? Yes. Were there times I wondered if I didn't have it in me to figure it out? Yes. But now, on the other side of all of that, I'm so glad I didn't give up. So glad I didn't believe the negative voices that told me I couldn't do it instead of believing in what I've learned during all of these years doing this - that sometimes things simply take time. It's okay to be frustrated. To walk around for days with a notebook jotting every little possible idea down and to trust that the right one will eventually come. In today's world where everything feels instantaneous, creativity doesn't work that way. It needs room to breathe. To expand. I am reminded today of how important it is to do that. Because with time and space, the right thing did eventually find its way into the story. And I couldn't be prouder of how it turned out. Yay - a new book in 2018!!!! I'll have more to share with you in the coming months about this book. 
In the meantime, if you haven't checked out KEY TO THE CITY, please do. It could use all of the help it can get.

As for the new book, hopefully I'll have a cover to share soon!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summertime is my favorite

Because there's pie:


Please don't ask me why I have so many salt shakers on my counter because I have no idea. I don't even salt things that much. I think they all just need to go in the cupboard, which I will do as soon as I finish this blog post.

And because there are trips to the beautiful Oregon coast:






And because there is more time for home projects. We painted a couple of walls in our bedroom gray, bought a new mattress and bedding, moved things around, painted furniture and frames black, and sold our 25+ year dresser for $400 and bought this one on craigslist for $250. I cannot even tell you how happy I am with how it turned out. I don't think I realized how much I hated the old bedroom until I fell in love with the new one. Whenever I think of taking on a project like this, it's always kind of overwhelming, but when it's done, I'm like, why didn't we do this sooner?


And now, I have an hour or so to write, so I better get to it. Happy summer!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

2018 Book Announced

Hey look at this -- a new book! This is what I've been working on for the past year. This book took a loooong time to figure out. I tried like three different times to get a premise my publisher loved while still holding on to the story of divorce that I wanted to tell. This announcement speaks to the hook of the novel, but like all of my other MG novels, it's very much a story of family and friendship, and the ups and downs that come along when you're that age.




I've just sent revisions off to my editor, I'm guessing copyedits will come in a month or so, and that we'll see a cover fairly soon. Can't wait! My agent told me this novel feels a bit like coming home to It's Raining Cupcakes and is her favorite middle-grade novel I've written so far. That was exciting to hear!!

So now, I work on something fun that no one knows about while also thinking about the second book coming out in 2019. Maybe I can finish something else the next few months before I get to work on that one. Here's hoping!


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Books I'm reading and looking forward to reading

I have so many books right now that I want to read. I mean, I always do, but right now, it just seems like I could sit and read for twelve hours a day for two weeks straight and I still wouldn't get everything read. 

This morning I'm working on a manuscript that I'm writing for fun. That's code for - it's really different and I have no idea what I'm doing and whether or not anyone would want to publish it but I'm writing it anyway. Because to keep writing interesting, we have to have projects that keep us interested. When I get a few pages of that done, I think I'll spend the rest of the day reading.

So here are just a few of the books I'm reading and excited to read soon. It's a mix of MG and YA - some are appropriate for younger kids, others are not. 

First, I want to mention the YA novel WILDMAN by J.C. Geiger that I just finished, which had SUCH a good ending. I love books that really nail the ending (maybe because endings are always the hardest for me).



J.C. Geiger lives in Oregon and this is his debut novel. From goodreads:

"How can a total stranger understand you better than the people you’ve known your entire life?”

When Lance’s ’93 Buick breaks down in the middle of nowhere, he tells himself Don’t panic. After all, he’s valedictorian of his class. First-chair trumpet player. Scholarship winner. Nothing can stop Lance Hendricks.

But the locals don’t know that. They don’t even know his name. Stuck in a small town, Lance could be anyone: a delinquent, a traveler, a maniac. One of the townies calls him Wildman, and a new world opens up.

He’s ordering drinks at a roadhouse. Jumping a train. Talking to an intriguing older girl who is asking about his future. And what he really wants. As one day blurs into the next, Lance finds himself drifting farther from home and closer to a girl who makes him feel a way he’s never felt before—like himself."



***

I'm in the middle of reading this nonfiction book called VINCENT AND THEO: The Van Gogh Brothers and enjoying it SO much:


From goodreads: "The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers' lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend, Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the love of the Van Gogh brothers."

I also started THE LAST TO DIE by Kelly Garrett recently, after attending Kelly's launch party in Portland, and am excited to get back to it. It's a murder mystery, and since I was playing around with one of those myself last summer, and may come back to it at some point, I'm especially interested.


***



From goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Harper Jacobs and her bored friends make a pact to engage in a series of not-quite illegal break-ins. They steal from each other's homes, sharing their keys and alarm codes. But they don't take anything that can't be replaced by some retail therapy, so it's okay. It's thrilling. It's bad. And for Harper, it's payback for something she can't put into words-something to help her deal with her alcoholic mother, her delusional father, and to forget the lies she told that got her druggie brother arrested. It's not like Daniel wasn't rehab bound anyway.

So everything is okay-until the bold but aggravating Alex, looking to up the ante, suggests they break into the home of a classmate. It's crossing a line, but Harper no longer cares. She's proud of it. Until one of the group turns up dead, and Harper comes face-to-face with the moral dilemma that will make or break her-and, if she makes the wrong choice, will get her killed.

***

Up next, the DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART by Stephanie Burgis.


From goodreads: "Aventurine is the fiercest, bravest dragon there is. And she's ready to prove it to her family by leaving the safety of their mountain cave and capturing the most dangerous prey of all: a human. But when the human she finds tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate, Aventurine is transformed into a puny human girl with tiny blunt teeth, no fire, and not one single claw.

But she's still the fiercest creature in the mountains -- and now she's found her true passion: chocolate! All she has to do is get herself an apprenticeship (whatever that is) in a chocolate house (which sounds delicious), and she'll be conquering new territory in no time...won't she?"



***

And after that, CARAVEL by Stephanie Garber.



Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.



***

And finally, I don't even have this book in my house yet, but I am SO excited to read it, based on the description and the fact that I've heard people talking about how they can't stop thinking about it after they read it. I have a feeling it's going to be one of those - I wish I'd written that type of books.


Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came. 

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.


Too many books, too little time. Story of my life.