Saturday, July 25, 2015

Upcoming Events

It's time for me to start spreading the word about the events I'll be doing in August. If you're in the area, I would love to see you!

Thursday, August 6, 2015 7:00 p.m. Clackamas Barnes & Noble
Young Adult Author Panel and Signing with April Henry and Kris Dinnison. I'll be signing my new novel for teens, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW.

Sunday, August 9, 2015 3:00 p.m. University Book StoreSeattle, Washington
I'll be doing a panel with some other Young Adult authors, and signing my new novel for teens, ALL WE HAVE IS NOW.

Saturday, August 22, 2015 (12:00-2:00 p.m.)Powell's BooksBeaverton, Oregon
SMART Author Fair - This is an event in support of SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) with a variety of YA, MG and children's authors in attendance signing books.


Interested in having me come visit your school, library, book festival, etc? Please drop me an e-mail at lisaschroederbooks(at)gmail(dot)com. I'm scheduling now for the 2015-2016 year!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What does it take to finish a book?

When you start writing a book, it's really fun.

"Ooooh, I get to pick out names!"
"What cool setting should I choose?"
"OMG, my characters can be intelligent and witty and everything else I wish I could be!"

So you go along for a while, having fun, and then, you realize, you don't know what happens next. Your once chatty characters are suddenly silent as a sea bass.

You nudge and prod.


You write, delete, write, delete, and then stare out the window a while. You get up and do laundry, because of course, it needs to be done RIGHT NOW.

When you come back, you stare out the window some more. The tree in the front yard tells you that maybe what you need is a beautiful notebook to scribble ideas in, and surely that will help. Four hours later, and seven notebooks purchased from Etsy, because it's hard to choose and maybe you'll be so inspired you'll need more than one or two or three, you turn back to your document and stare at it.

"Snacks!" you think. "I just need a snack."

The carrots and hummus don't quite cut it, so you bring the bag of chocolate covered pretzels to your desk and as you eat one, two, three, twenty-three, thirty-nine, the characters are still not telling you what you need to know, dammit.

"I picked the wrong names," you think. So you go back to the baby name site and skip around for a couple of hours, and end up deciding to stick with the ones you originally picked.

And now the day is done and so you close the document and decide tomorrow is a new day and surely the words will come.

Except they don't.

But when the notebooks arrive, then you open one of them and scribble some thoughts and ideas, and you jar things a little bit, thankfully, and you're able to squeak out a couple of paragraphs. The only thing is, they suck. So you delete them. And then you read back through the pages you wrote when were all excited, and you decide those suck too, and as you throw the stupid notebooks across the room, you decide you are not cut out for a writer, and who the heck were you to think otherwise?

Writing a book is fun until it isn't. And then it just becomes work like so many other things in life. There is one thing above all else you must have to be a writer. I would argue it's more important than imagination or talent or a hundred other qualities it's great to have.

And that thing is grit.

They talked about grit at my son's college orientation this past week. That when it comes down to it, a student has to have sheer grit to get up, go to class, write the papers, study for exams and hang in there term after term after term.

And the same could be said about writing page after page after page. Yes, you need a plot. And yes, you should have an understanding of story structure as you write. Your characters should be interesting and three-dimensional. Your dialogue should be realistic (basically, nothing like season 2 of True Detective). But a lot of that you could fix during revisions if you need to as long as you get the bare bones of the story down. And in order for *that* to happen, we are back to grit.

Don't understand grit? How about determination? Or maybe stick-to-itness.

In other words, don't give up!

Every book I write, there comes a point, sometimes more than once, when I think the idea is the worst idea in the history of the world, a third grader could do a better job writing than I could, and I want to throw my notebooks across the room and eat my weight in chocolate covered pretzels. So I might take a break. Go for a walk. Watch a movie. Take a bath. Breathe. Tell myself it's okay and the only way out is through.

Honestly, for me, I hate *not* finishing so much, that that thing alone is pretty much what keeps me going. Once I've started and I have an idea that really does seem like a good one, I want to see it through. I want to see where the story takes me. Again and again I remind myself, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks as I write the first draft. It's not for anyone else but ME. This takes some of the pressure off, and that's really, really important.

Yes, I love notebooks. And I love good snacks. And I do think staring out the window is crucial to the creative process. But at the end of the day, what gets the words written? You have to be tenacious about it. You can't let your fears, your insecurities, your desire to clean and organize your pantry get the best of you.

I'm about to start writing a new book. I'm excited. A teensy bit terrified. But one thing I've learned that really helps to see it through it so keep a list of all of the things that excite me about the project. A love list, if you will. My love list for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW looks like this:

the city of Portland
a kiss at sunrise
the power of love
twin girls and a sweet dog
the Enchanted Forest

So make your list. In fancy notebooks or not. Then write. Eat snacks, but not too many. And write some more. All the way to the end.

That's how you finish a book.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Inside the mind of an author 3 weeks before release day

How do authors often feel three weeks before a book is released?

Let me count the ways.

Terrified. Because what if people hate it?

Stressed out. Because what if no one buys it, and your publisher is disappointed?

Cranky. Because promoting a book is not all that fun.

Okay, so maybe I don't know for certain that's how other authors feel. I just know how I feel. 

J.K., you ever feel terrified, stressed out and cranky before a book's release?

Maybe she did. Who knows? Waiting to see how fans reacted to the last book in the series probably wasn't a ton of fun. Although, pretty sure she didn't have to worry too much about disappointing her publisher, right? :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Reading Giveaway!!

I've teamed up with 6 other YA authors who have new books releasing this summer for an awesome Summer Reading Giveaway.

Check it out!

Yep, one LUCKY winner will win 7 Advanced Review Copies as follows:

Book #1 - VENGEANCE ROAD by Erin Bowman (HMH BFYR 9/1/15)
Book #2 - MECHANICA by Betsy Cornwell (Clarion Books, 8/25/15)
Book #3 - LOCK & MORI by Heather Petty (S&S BFYR 9/15/15)
Book #4 - HELLO, GOODBYE AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN by Jennifer E. Smith (Poppy, 9/1/15)
Book #5 - YOU AND ME AND HIM by Kris Dinnison (HMH BFYR 7/7/15)
Book #6 - DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy (Balzer + Bray 9/15/15)
Book #7 - ALL WE HAVE IS NOW by Lisa Schroeder (Scholastic 7/28/15)

Some of the books will be signed by the authors!

Ready to enter? Of course you are! Rafflecopter is below (sorry, to keep costs down, contest is open to US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bookmark and Bookplate giveaway!

ALL WE HAVE IS NOW comes out in just a little over a month. I can't believe it!

It was featured in the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE recently - that's exciting!

Anyway, I've ordered a bunch of bookmarks and I would love to send you a couple - one for you to keep and one for you to pass on to a friend.

I also have some plain bookplates that I can personalize and sign if you have pre-ordered ALL WE HAVE IS NOW or plan to buy it when the book comes out. The bookplate goes on the title page, and is a way for me to sign your book without me actually being there to sign it. I mean, I wish I could travel around and individually sign every book that is sold. Go out for cupcakes with you. Chat about the best books we've read recently. Wouldn't that be fun? Since that's not really possible, this is the next best thing.

If you want some goodies mailed to you, please send a Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope with a note that tells me what you'd like me to send to you. (Bookmarks, a sticker and/or a bookplate - please note this novel is appropriate for ages 12 and up). I can only send ONE bookplate for this specific book. If you're not planning on buying this book, please do not request a bookplate. Here's where you send me your envelope and note:

Lisa Schroeder
17675 SW Farmington Rd., PMB #420
Aloha, OR 97007

I'm sorry, I will not be able to send anything if there is not an envelope with a stamp inside - it just gets too expensive for me to send stuff on my own dime. Hopefully you understand. And please, address the envelope for me with YOUR address.

Thanks for all of your support and wanting to read the new book - it means more than I can say!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Almost to the end

It's a quiet Sunday morning. I just came back from walking the dog, which I love doing in the mornings during summer, when it's light and bright but not too hot yet. So lovely.

Today I hope to finish a book. I have a chapter or two to go, I'm not quite sure yet, but I hope to finish soon! It's a first draft, so I need to read back through it and do some revisions before I send it on to my editor, but YAY! Another book! I can't share details quite yet, but I don't think it will be too long before I can.

I'm probably procrastinating for a moment here because the emotional climax of the story is about to happen. It's the point the story has been moving toward, the part the character(s) have been working for, and on the one hand, it's fun to write, because finally, FINALLY you've made it to this point. But on the other hand, it is also where you have to dig deep and find the crucial emotional truth and convey it in the best way possible for the story. It is not easy!

But it's time. And I know it will be so good to have this book finished so I can play with other stories, get in more reading-in-the-sun time, and just...breathe a little easier.

So, here I go...

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June is here!

Wow. June!

Oregon berries have arrived, which to me has always felt like Nature's reward for making it through the long, cold winter and the usual gray, rainy spring. This year, we had a mild winter and a pretty nice spring, but I still felt myself let out a big, happy sigh when I bit into the first sweet berry. Summer is my favorite. And it's basically here.

Next week, my youngest son graduates from high school. It doesn't take much to cause the water works to start these days, let me tell you. I try to not let him see it. After all, he's thrilled to be done. He's worked hard, and there is much to celebrate, and much to look forward to. But for me, it's the end of an era. And it's hard to say good-bye to something I've loved so very much. Okay, well, I haven't loved all of the homework and projects and testing stress and all of that, but being his mom for the past 18 years? Yeah. I've really, really loved that. And I know that won't change - I'll always be his mom. But it feels like things are changing. Shifting. As they should, I suppose. But it doesn't mean it's easy.

Tomorrow, he and his dad will be jumping out of an airplane to celebrate the fact that he's 18 now, and on to college next year.

I'll be curled up in my comfy chair, telling myself it will be okay, that they'll come home for dinner, and the four of us will sit down and eat together, and the other son and I can hear all about it.

June is here. Unlike most years, I have mixed feelings about that. But like every June, I'll eat the sweet berries and try to savor every moment of summer. Every moment with the boy who will be off to college next year.