Monday, May 23, 2016

In the land of no contracts

It's always a bit of a strange feeling for an author when a contracted book (one that a publisher has bought and is scheduled to be published) is turned in. On the one hand, there is this huge sense of relief - the book is done and the editor is pleased. Hooray!

But it also can be a bit nerve-wracking. The book is done, so now what? Because books are published so far ahead, authors also have to be thinking ahead. I'm now thinking about 2018, wondering if I'll have any books that year. If I don't sell something here in the next little while, I may not have anything published in 2018 and as someone who relies on this writing gig for income, it's really not good to skip a year.

I try not to worry, but it's hard. It's really hard. It's like this little nagging voice in the back of my head all the time - you need to sell something, you need to sell something. The fact that publishing is the slowest business in the world doesn't help. Once an author has something to sell, it can be a loooong time before a sale actually happens. Editors are busy. Most of them read submissions during their "off hours."

So, I'm busy working on coming up with a couple of proposals for future series. I'm also working on a manuscript I don't want to sell on proposal because I want to make it the best I can without any deadline pressure. And I have a completed manuscript on submission now.

Just like when I'm writing sometimes, I'm not sure what's going to happen next. But I hope I don't have to wait too long to find out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Attention Seattle People - Come See Me!

I'll be at Third Place Books on Saturday, May 21st at noon participating in Scholastic's Summer Reading Road Trip. Try saying that five times fast. They'll have copies of my latest middle-grade novel, Sealed With A Secret, available for purchase that I'm happy to sign for you! Not sure about other books - you can always call and ask.

There will be other authors there too and lots of fun things happening. So if you're in the area, please stop by and check it out! You can learn more about this particular event HERE


Monday, May 9, 2016

Sealed With A Secret

Sealed with a Secret appears to be available now from online retailers and is popping up at some bookstores already, so yay!

Here's the description from the publisher:

When Phoebe finds a beautiful antique at a flea market, she's not sure if it's as valuable as it looks. But inside she discovers something truly amazing -- a letter, written during World War II, from a young woman to her sister who's been evacuated from London. The letter includes a "spell" for bringing people closer together: a list of clues leading all through the city. Each stop along the way adds up to magic,

Phoebe is stunned. Not only has she found a priceless piece of history, but the letter is exactly what she needs -- she's also separated from her sister, though not by distance. Alice leaves for university soon, but in the meantime, she wants nothing to do with Phoebe. They used to be so close. Now that Phoebe has this magical list, maybe she can fix everything! That is, unless she accidentally makes everything worse instead...

From the author of My Secret Guide to Paris comes an unforgettable trip through London, with secret treasures around every corner!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Can't find a book you want in the bookstore?

Just a friendly reminder that you can ask to order a book you're looking for. Doesn't matter if it's an independent bookstore or a big chain. They are happy to order it for you AND it really helps the author when you do this because then the store knows there is interest in that particular book.

Coming May 10, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

From my mail

Readers send me notes via regular mail as well as email, and I appreciate every single one of them. I try to respond to emails within a few days and regular mail within a couple of weeks. If I'm busy drafting a book or traveling, it may take longer.

Here's what some readers have said recently:

"I am such a fan of your young adult books. They are perfection!" ~Izzy

"I am one of the many teens that read your books. I have two left then I'm done with reading your novels and I do not not know what I am going to do!" ~ Abbi

"I'm an 8th grader and I hate reading. However, I just read Chasing Brooklyn and I Heart You, You Haunt Me in two days. I couldn't put them down because of how amazing and engaging they are." ~Juliet

"I showed all of your books to my friends and now they are all over them too." ~Meghan

"I researched you and I wanted to tell you that I like sunshine and movies too." ~ Taylor, 5th grade

"I love your books because they are so mysterious. I think you were born smart!" ~Hooriya


This business can be so hard, but notes from kids and teens remind me of why I do this. Why I hope I can keep doing this for many years to come. 

Thanks for the love, readers. Right back atcha, always!

Monday, April 25, 2016

On secrets and magic

"The greatest secrets are always hidden
in the most unlikely places.
Those who don't believe
in magic will never find it."
~ Roald Dahl

Friday, April 22, 2016

Thinking about what Prince means to me

Here's the thing about Prince's music. His songs were often the background of my life in high school. I mean, there was a lot of music we loved, a lot of music we cranked in the car and danced to at the school dances. But his was there a LOT. Like, I have such a strong memory of a friend and I driving around blasting Little Red Corvette in my very first car, and I think back to that night, to that time, and it is like we were swathed in magic.

Prince = Magic

And what's amazing to me is that over time, some of the music I listened to back then I don't like as much anymore. But Prince's music? My love has only grown over the years. And it was on my bucket list to see him in concert at least once, and I'm just so sad that will never happen now. I came from a small town. To go to the big city, to see a concert, hardly ever happened. A bunch of us made the two-hour trip to see Journey, and man, that night was epic. I wish we'd made it happen for Prince too.

Here are the things I know about Prince.

He was extremely talented.
He worked hard.
He was brave with his art.
He wanted control over how that art was seen and heard, and so he took control, and he did NOT apologize for that, or care what people thought.

Today, I'm feeling inspired to be a little more Prince-like with my work.

To be brave.
To work hard and put work out there that I'm proud of and;
to not care so much about what other people think.

Thank you, Prince, for the music and for the inspiration. I am so grateful the music lives on.