Thursday, December 31, 2009

My ten words for the new year

Happy new year everyone!!

It's going to be a year of change for me. A year of possibilities, and yes, uncertainty. This list is to remind me of what's most important!











Chase Around the USA Winners!!

One last order of business before we move into a new month, a new year, a new opportunity to dream big!

I want to thank the following bloggers for doing an amazing job with the Chase Around the USA contest that has been happening over the past couple of months:

YA Bliss
The Never Ending Shelf 
A Good Addiction 
A Life Bound by Books 
The Book Scout 
The Compulsive Reader 
The Book Shopaholic

Here are the pictures they each made about the book as part of the contest:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Chasing Brooklyn
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

I've drawn three names to win a signed copy of one of my books (you choose which one!) and they are:

A Life Bound by Books

The Book Scout

A Good Addiction

And, with the help of some judges, the winner of the photo contest, who gets a signed copy of FLASH BURNOUT by LK Madigan, a signed copy of LIPS TOUCH by Laini Taylor, and a copy of CRASH INTO ME by Albert Borris is:

The Book Shopaholic, who did this photo:

Thanks to ALL of you for helping to make this contest a success, I really appreciate it!!

Winners, please contact me with your address so I can get your choice of book (if applicable) and get your prizes mailed to you in the next week or two.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

January blog event - are you ready?

Are you ready to DREAM BIG in 2010?

Whatever your answer is to that question, I want to help YOU.
Inspire YOU.
Move YOU to dream big.

Because I do believe - "It may be that those who do most, dream most." ~Stephen Butler Leacock

I've asked 26 amazing authors for kids and teens to write around the topic "Dream Big" and they came through in a BIG way.

You will hear from:

Becca Fitzpatrick, author of the NYT bestselling novel HUSH, HUSH
L.K. Madigan, author of FLASH BURNOUT, a William Morris award finalist
Liz Garton Scanlon, author of the NYT best illustrated book ALL THE WORLD
And many, many more!!!

It all starts January 1st, right here.

I hope you'll join me and make 2010 the year YOU dream big!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bookish news!!


1. If you are a Portland, OR peep, I will be signing and reading next week. Tues., January 5th at 7:00 pm, to be exact, at the Clackamas Barnes and Noble. It's kind of weird, has me on their events page! Go HERE and wait a minute, and you'll see me as the ad scrolls from THE HONOR OF SPIES to CHASING BROOKLYN.

2. A few early reviews have been posted, so thought I'd share...

"Schroeder masterfully creates a parallel structure within the text, the energy and emotion of each scene heightening its overall drama, underscoring the sorrow and, above all, strengthening its final message of hope."
—Kirkus Reviews

"Schroeder has covered a few rough topics in one novel and she weaved [them] together in a magnificent way."

"Lisa has written a story that to me was emotional, powerful, strong and filled with love."

"As a reader, I got the feeling that I was reading the diaries of friends and felt the sympathy and urgency and thrill of healing right along with them."—

3. FAR FROM YOU makes a very cute paperback. I really like it. My new editor sent me a couple copies of each book until I get my author copies from the warehouse. Here, I took a picture for you:

Tomorrow - Find out what BIG plans I have for the month of January. It's so awesome and so exciting, I can't wait to share it with all of you!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Supporting authors when your heart is bigger than your wallet

As we look forward to a new year, I'm thinking about all the books I'm anticipating in the coming year.

I'm sure you know there are a LOT of great books for kids and teens coming out in the coming months. A lot as in hundreds and hundreds, many of them by debut authors who need all the help and support they can get. Unfortunately, most of us can't really buy hundreds of books each and every year. So I thought I'd post a list of ways we can support our fellow authors in other ways besides purchasing the book. When we can buy the book, wonderful! But when we can't, we can do other things that will help the author in the long run. I'm sure you know most of these, but I thought it might be a nice reminder for all of us, me included!

Lisa's Top 9 list of ways to support your author friends

1. Ask your public library to order a copy. There's a box at my library where you can request titles for purchase. Some libraries have it on-line. It really only takes a minute to do it. Usually you can request that the library reserve the title for you once they order it. That way you're first on the list to read it!

If you see an interesting interview or a great review about an author you know, tweet about it or put the link in your blog and point people there. Stuff like this is much more interesting when it comes from someone besides the author herself.

3. E-mail the author and ask if he/she has any bookmarks or postcards you could pass out to teachers, librarians, friends, etc.

4. If you can take a couple of minutes to write even a short review after you've read a book, and then put that review up on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, those reviews can be incredibly helpful to an author, especially if you liked the book.

5. Have a few book lists ready in your purse or wallet, in case a conversation comes up where you have a chance to give some recommendations. This happened to me just the other night, when a girl said she was done with BREAKING DAWN and didn't know what to read next. Word of mouth is HUGE, especially for authors that aren't well known, so be ready when the opportunity strikes!

6. If you go to an author's event, take a picture and post it to social media. If it's a really good picture, maybe try submitting it to the Publisher's Weekly Children's Bookshelf on-line newsletter.

7. Make a list on Amazon, and put your favorite books in a certain genre, or favorite books of the year, or ten books you're really excited about in the coming year, whatever. People DO read those lists!

8. If you have a kid's birthday party to go to, give a book! Combine it with something else, if you'd like, to make it more fun and interesting, but buying books as gifts is really a win-win situation, right? Good for the kid, ultimately, if he/she ends up reading it, and good for the author and publishing industry.

9. Respond to questions on Goodreads, Amazon, twitter, etc. and recommend new titles. I often see the same titles being recommended over and over again, and while I know that's because they are GOOD books, there are other books, not well known, that could be getting some well-deserved air time too.

Are there any other good ones you can think of?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas poem

May We Always Believe
by Lisa Schroeder, Dec. 2005

’Twas the week before Christmas
and with so much to do,
not a Schroeder was sleeping.
They were frazzled, it’s true.

The cookies weren’t baked
and the gifts weren’t yet bought.
But with Target dot com,
surely all was not lost.

The boys topped their lists with
Nintendo DS!
Mom’s heart started racing
from Extreme Price Tag Stress.

“Why do you need that?”
Mom tried to outwit.
“You have a fine Gameboy.”

“But the new games don’t FIT!”

“Santa will bring them,”
G said, “Yes he will!”
Dad nodded and smiled
while Mom felt quite ill.

Visions of Kirby
danced in the boys’ heads
as they drifted to sleep
in their warm, comfy beds.

“How did we get here?”
Mom asked with a sigh.
“What happened to dump trucks,
and to blocks built so high?”

Just for a moment,
Dad closed his brown eyes.
“They grow up so fast.
It’s been quite a surprise.”

“Wait!” Mom exclaimed.
“Did you hear what G said?
This is nothing to dread!”

When Christmas Day came,
Santa left quite a loot.
He ate all the cookies,
left a mark with his boot.

“I told you, I told you!”
G squealed with joy.
Mom and Dad wiped their tears
at the sight of their boy.

“Will you always believe,
in that old Santa Claus?”
“I will!” answered G,
without nearly a pause.

Big brother S
well, he didn’t say much.
Except, “Santa’s great.”
Ah, what a nice touch.

And so Mom and Dad
watched the day, what a thrill.
And they found themselves wishing
time would stop. Just stand still.

Thank you, dear Lord,
for good girls and boys.
May we always believe,
and know life’s greatest joys.


Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!!

Wishing you peace, love and joy.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Two happy posts from blogging past

(Originally posted on livejournal in a locked post 10-24-06)


A fabulous agent loves my free verse novel, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME! She says she would be the strongest of advocates or something like that!

She wants to talk with me!!!!!

Of course, I have to ask questions and make sure she's THE ONE, but do you know how FREAKING good it feels to be wanted???

Again, I have to say, OMG!!!!!!!!!


(originally posted at livejournal on 10-26-06)

Don't Stop Believing

On April 23, 2004
the search began.

Steven Malk
was the first.

I longed for him to say yes
like I long for
the warmth of the sun
in the dead of winter.

No thank you.
No thanks.

Dig deep.
Dig deeper.

Write some more.
Write better.

More queries.
More rejection.
More despair.

No thank you.
No thanks.


Write some more.
Write even better.

I celebrated with others,
watching them climb
the ladder of success
while my heart cried
because no one wanted

Try again.

No thank you.
No thanks.

Doubt creeps in
like a spider.
and then it is there,
and scarier
than you ever thought
it could be.

“Getting a good agent is hard.”

Climbing a mountain is hard.
Childbirth is hard.
Love is hard.

Think about that.
Hard, but worth it.
Definitely worth it.

And so,
the theme became

“It’s too short to be a novel.”
“Too sad.”
“Poetry isn’t my thing.”

Friends wrapped themselves
around my heart
and gave me love
and friendship
and encouragement
which carried me through.

One kind editor
and a world-famous author
said nice things,
opening the window just a crack
to let light and hope
shine through.


And then one day,
words on the screen,
making me jump up
and squeal,
clutching my chest
because my heart is beating
like a drum in an African village.

“I enjoyed it immensely.”
“The verse works here – never getting in the way...”
“I would be the most enthusiastic of advocates.”

But what if...
what if we don’t see eye to eye?
what if she’s weird?
what if she’s not the one?

A sleepless night
full of worry
but also
full of prayers
of thankfulness.
No matter what,
be grateful.

And then,
it’s good.
It’s ALL good.
More than I ever hoped for.
My favorite quote: “I don’t give up easily.”
No funny feelings.
Everything inside of me says YES.

She IS the one.

Each step,
each stumble,
each fall,
each word,
led me to this place.

On October 25, 2006
the search ended.

And a new chapter
in my life as a writer
has begun...

Monday, December 21, 2009

The lowest of the low, August 2006

This entry was made in a locked post on livejournal and I disabled comments, shortly after the harsh rejection letter I had received. I was really seriously close to quitting, I think. It was dated 8/25/06.


Thank you for all the kind words and cyber chocolate. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. What an awesome group of friends.

Initially I thought, it's just one person's opinion and she's entitled to it, and fine, be that way, I don't care.

But on the way to get pizza for my family who arrived home right at dinner time last night, I got sad about it, and my eyes started getting watery. That got me really ticked off and I cussed outloud because of it. But the truth is, I feel like the universe is trying to tell me something. It's that letter combined with the one before that and the one before that and the one where I came REALLY close before that...

SO yeah, is the universe telling me something?

Maybe it is...

So the decision I have to make - is it time to listen?

Friday, December 18, 2009

More rejections past

This one was labeled "Oh my gosh - please send chocolate," and was once again behind a locked post. Originally posted 8/24/06


I seriously got the worst rejection letter EVER today, from a very well-respected agent. If I didn't have 200+ of them to my name, it would probably cause me to quit.

I don't think she got my writing. AT all. One picture book she looked at, which has come close at a couple of houses and has been under consideration at Sterling for some time, caused her to say - "I found it very confusing." (Note from Lisa: This went on to sell and is coming out in Fall 2010. It's called LITTLE CHIMP'S BIG DAY)

As for the free verse novel, she said - "It seems to go on and on with sadness and loss and it is probably all emphasized by the free verse you've written. This might be an interesting novel if you decided to tackle full fiction and really develop plot and character." Okay, I may need to work on character, that's something I've thought about, but there is plot there! (Note from Lisa: This went on to sell and is my novel called I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME which is now in its eighth printing).

I need to just let it roll off my back because obviously we are not a good match. I just feel like the whole letter is negative, and I understand she's trying to be helpful, but wow.

(Note from Lisa: Does this give you hope? I hope so. It even reminds me how subjective this business is. What one person hates, another may love. So much of it is just about personal taste.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Guess for the next Chase Around the USA stop

Thanks to Kari at A Good Addiction for getting the ARC of CHASING BROOKLYN and reading quickly so it can be on its way to the next stop.

It's time for me to guess where it's off to next.

I'm going to guess the warm and wonderful state of FLORIDA!

With the busy holidays coming, this might be the last stop, but we'll wait and see. Might have time for one more. Remember, the person holding the ARC on the release date of 1/5 is to mail the ARC back to me.

Thanks to everyone who has entered and participated to make this contest a success!!

Thankful Thursday - not a rerun

1. Thankful for the season - Christmas is so fun!

2. Thankful for messages. I found this in my e-mail archives, from when Mary still sent out daily inspirations. I hadn't remembered that I'd saved it - I happened to come across it yesterday. I believe the timing is too good to be an accident. As I count down the days left at the day job (16 working days!), it comes at a perfect time.

"God intends for us to live in prosperity: to enjoy rewarding relationships and fulfilling careers. God never intended that we drudge through the day and come home to collapse on the sofa, too tired to appreciate those around us. As co-creators, however, we have to make a decision for prosperity. If we don't decide to prosper, we unconsciously choose limitation and scarcity. All the abundance in the world is available to us, once we open ourselves to God." - Rev. Mary Manin Morrissey

3. Thankful for librarians and booksellers. Fuse #8 did a wonderful recap of the S&S librarian preview and IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES is there, cover and everything. Cool!

4. Thankful for ebay. Won TWO auctions this week, for hard to find items that is going to make someone very happy Christmas morning.

5. Thankful for books. I have read some AMAZING ones lately.

Hope you are enjoying this holiday season!! As always, I'm thankful for you too!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Remembering the merry-go-round

(originally posted at livejournal on 7/20/06)

Even though I keep falling off the merry-go-round, I keep getting back on. Somedays, I think I am just crazy to fall off, get back on, fall off, get back on, fall off, get back on...

I sent an e-query yesterday to a wonderful agent for my most recent mid-grade novel, and I got a request this morning for the full.

You see, I am not afraid of rejections. I have a drawer FULL of them, and they haven't killed me yet.

So I keep getting back on this whirly twirly thrill-of-a-lifetime merry-go-round hoping that someday, I will find my way to the middle, stand tall, with arms lifted toward the sky and then, yes, THEN, I will scream at the top of my lungs

I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Before the sale, there were many rejections...

A month of mostly reruns continues. This was actually in a locked post, a handy livejournal feature, so only friends could see it. It was locked because it's really not a good idea to blog much about rejections, since you never know who is reading. But now that the book is published, well, perhaps it will give some of you a bit of hope!

Don't forget, I have a month of AWESOMENESS planned for January, so stay tuned for details on that...coming soon!!


(originally posted at livejournal on 7/3/06)

One of the things I made myself do this year was apply for the SCBWI Martha Weston grant. That's the one where if you win, you have to use the money to attend the SCBWI conference. I got an e-mail today that 43 people applied, and I didn't win. I suppose I didn't really expect to win, but it would have been so great to go and see some of you there!

I also got a very nice rejection from an editor on my verse novel. She wrote:

"Thank you for sending me I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, which I enjoyed reading.

I think your voice is strong and you really get at the nuances of a teenage girl grieving for her boyfriend. The ghost element certainly adds a fresh twist to a familiar subject. Even so, while I admire aspects of the project, I'm afraid that Ava didn't quite pull me into her story as much as I had hoped. Of course, this is only one reaction..."

I think this is the fifth rejection in the past week I've gotten (not all on this project). That string can stop ANYTIME now, thank you very much.

I think I'll go make myself a strawberry daquiri now. I'm tired and thirsty and I think that will just hit the spot.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Two new book babies on January 5th

Not only do I have a NEW hardcover YA, CHASING BROOKLYN, being released on January 5th (which will have a very nice review from Kirkus in the December 15th issue), but I also have a new paperback book being released.

Yes, isn't that exciting!?

Here is the beautiful new cover of FAR FROM YOU:

How many days until my book babies hit the bookstore shelves? Please, tell us, countdown widget!!

Tomorrow, your regularly scheduled reruns continue. Happy December!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A rerun on fun

Note: By some miracle, Secret Garden Books in Seattle got a few copies of CHASING BROOKLYN in early. AND I signed them!!! If you are interested in getting one for yourself or that special someone for the holidays, you can e-mail them at They'll then have you call with a credit card number and your address. Please note they also have signed copies of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and FAR FROM YOU to order as well. They'll ship anywhere in the US!!

(originally posted at livejournal on June 30, 2006)

Last night I awoke to the sound of the dog barking. I came downstairs and heard talking and laughter coming from outside.

I peeked through the blinds and saw three cars, one behind the other. And outside those cars were 12 kids.

Now, you might think that as an almost-40-year-old mother of two sleeping boys, I might have wanted to go out and ask that they keep it down, or move their party somewhere else. No, I didn't think that.

I wanted to skip upstairs, run a brush through my hair, throw on some shorts and a tank top, and join them.

For just one night, I wanted to pretend I was 16 again, with no worries or cares in the world except, "Where can we go now to make some fun?"

Fun. I have recently discovered, or remembered, since I had certainly experienced it in those teen years, how much I LOVE TO HAVE FUN.

I have worked hard the past five years, writing, writing and writing some more. People would tell me I was so driven, so inspiring, and underneath those words, I think they were saying, a little crazy. I never let up. Never. My family would go places and do things and I would stay home and write.

Over the past two weeks, I had no writing goals even though I had lots of time. I was, after all, on vacation. But, my only goal was to have fun and enjoy the time. And boy did we have fun. We played, we laughed, we did LOTS of fun things, and even just curling up to watch a DVD on a Wednesday afternoon was fun because it's SO not something I'd ever let myself do.

A friend recently e-mailed me and said, you know, it's like a well. At some point, your well does go dry, and it's good to let the water seep back in, and fill up again.

I have never been good at balance. I'm pretty much an all or nothing girl. That is my goal now, more than ever, to find the balance of work and family and fun and writing. Honestly, right now, it seems impossible to me. But it's something to work on and strive for.

Certainly, there are times writing is fun. But in a much quieter kind of way. And it does fill me up in ways other things don't. But I think, right now, I need the other kind of fun. The loud, laughter-filled, people-filled, everything-in-your-body-sings-filled kind of fun.

And I refuse to feel guilty or bad about that. My well is is being filled. And it feels so good.

So hey - have FUN this weekend, okay!?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This one's fun to look back on

It's a month of reruns!! (originally published at livejournal on 4/6/06)

It was fun finding this entry. Here is where my career changed directions. Right here. I went from trying to be a PB/MG writer to a YA writer. Still, 3+ years later, I can remember what it was like writing that book - in a word, amazing. It was like a gift from God, it flowed so easily. I've only had one other book like that, and it's coming out in March: IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES.


A new story is inside me
and now starting to appear
outside of me.
On paper.
Where it can become
what it is meant to be.

It haunted me all night.

Haunted is exactly the right word.

It is written in free verse.

I don't know if I know what I'm doing
but I know I love what I'm doing
so I'm going to keep doing it.

I got up at 5:30 and have written
6 chapters.
6 short chapters
Almost 1000 words.

I could write it all day long
if only I could write all day long.

But there's that thing called work.

So, Ava and Jackson,
I will see you again,
later on,
if not on paper,
then in my dreams.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How does your garden grow?

originally published at livejournal on 3/17/06


I'm busy planting...

Seeds of motivation.

Hints of what's to come.

More personality for each character.

Sometimes it rains hard and I can hardly see if I'm making progress.

And then, the sun shines for a brief moment, and I smile.

I move forward along the rows.

Then I go back, where I missed a spot here and there.

Forward and back.

Sunshine and rain.

Forward and back.

Sunshine and rain.

I'm in the garden of revision.

It's hard work.

But hopefully by spring,

the flowers will bloom

and the story will finally be

complete and full of color!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Free book plates for one week!

I will send you a signed book plate made out to whomever you'd like if you are thinking of giving one of my books for a holiday gift. I can even send you one for CHASING BROOKLYN and you could include a bookstore gift card for the recipient to purchase it when it comes out on January 5th.

All you have to do is send me a note through my web site ( and tell me what book you're buying, WHO you'd like me to write a little message to, and the address where I should send it.

For my book plates, I use clear mailing labels that you stick inside the book, on the title page, and because they're clear, it *almost* looks like I really signed the book!

I'll also throw in a signed CHASING BROOKLYN bookmark as well.

Offer good through December 14, 2009.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dream on

The month of reruns continues. Are you bored yet?


Thursday I'm speaking to the local MOMS club about pursuing dreams.

So, I'm talking about how we have to become intentional and decide to DO IT.

We have to take little steps at first, and simply do one or two things that move us in the direction of that dream.

And once a person starts taking those steps, it's amazing how she then feel closer to it, like it is now HER dream, not just A dream.

I'll talk about how fear is a normal feeling, but we have to face that fear, because our dream exists beyond the borders of that fear. If we let fear control our actions, we're basically imprisoned, and nothing good can happen there.

And finally, I'll talk about the importance of enjoying the journey. You must find joy in each step you take, and look for and be thankful for the people you meet along the way, who help you on your journey.

So. You all have dreams. What keeps you going day in and day out? What advice would you give someone who has a little inkling of a dream in their heart, but they are afraid and unsure of moving toward that dream?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

(originally published on livejournal 2.27.06)

Friday, December 4, 2009

About the book I'm reading...

Remember, this is a month of reruns! Original date will always be at the end of the post.



Okay, I thought the first couple of chapters were not very well written. I was kinda depressed and upset that THIS book could have gotten THAT much money and interest. I really didn't know if I wanted to read on, but I forged ahead.

And now, OMG. I'm like 3/4 of the way through the thing and my heart is racing and I want everything to be okay and I'm wondering how it might turn out, and if that'd be a good thing or a bad thing and, and...

I have to finish it tonight, so I can sleep!!! Seriously, that hardly ever happens to me. I'm not one of those - I-Stayed-Up-All-Night-Reading-This-Book kind of people. I'm very much a I-Need-My-Sleep-Or-I-Am-CRANKY girl. I mean, for me, there's always tomorrow, and it's just not that big of deal.

But this, well, I have to know what happens. So I'm going to finish.

(originally posted at livejournal 2.19.06)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I'm not the only one...

who watches American Idol and thinks of this writing thing we do.

So many of these people WANT to be singers. Even if they don't have one ounce of talent in their tiny baby toe. And so Randy or Paula or Simon will say, I think you better find something else, 'cause singing just ain't for you. And sometimes, the person is shocked, which is shocking in and of itself. And we sit around and go, well, duh! You can't sing!

So, we get rejection after rejection, and we start to wonder, is that what they're telling ME? Is this their way of telling me, this just ain't for you honey?

And after much pondering, I think not.

My thought is that a great singing voice is probably one of the few things we can't really improve upon. Either you're born with it or your not.

Some might say sports is another thing, as we watch the Olympics and stand in awe of what these people can do. But no one is born a gold medalist. Each and every person at those games has worked hard and long to get there. And how many of them will go home without a medal? A lot. Does it mean it ain't for them? No way. Maybe they have more to learn. Maybe they need to practice more. And maybe, luck just wasn't on their side this time.

I know I have more to learn. I know I need to practice, every day if I can find the time. And I know in the end, luck plays a big part in all of it. The right place at the right time and all that.

Lots of times I'll read a good book and get depressed because, geez, I want to write like THAT. But the thing is, I'm seeing the best part. I'm not seeing the earlier drafts where parts didn't make sense. I'm not seeing the parts the author cut because they were crap. I'm not seeing the 10-page letter the editor wrote that told the author all the things he/she needed to do to make the story better.

Sometimes I can't even get myself to open my current WIP because I get into that whole mindset of, "what's the point? It isn't any good, I have no clue what I'm doing, there's nothing special I can offer that the world doesn't already have, blah, blah, blah."

When I'm feeling down about it all, and those ugly, negative things are going through my mind, I remind myself that it's my ugly ego trying to protect me from getting hurt. It's a constant battle, getting that ego to shut up, let me tell you. The best way to shut it up, I've found, is just open the document and WRITE. And then another letter comes in the mail and my ego says, "See, I told you so." Oh yes, I know, it's so fun, isn't it?

I try to tell myself, so what - I'm going home without a yellow piece of paper taking me to Hollywood. So what - I'm going home without a medal today. So what - another editor said "NO" to me and another hundred people in her stack.

I'm going to keep learning. I'm going to keep practicing. And I'm going to keep writing. With each word typed on the page, we get better. With each book we read, we get better. With each idea comes the possibility that maybe THIS ONE is the one that some editor or agent will fall in love with.

Don't. Stop. Believing.

(originally posted on livejournal 2.12.06)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Oh say can you see...

Remember - it's a month of reruns!


On Wednesday, the band teacher had "try-outs" for the Star Spangled Banner, to be played at the next 6th grade concert. Each student could decide if he/she wanted to try out or not. There really wasn't any pressure. But at the end of each performance, the teacher would tell the student - yes, you will play with the special group at the next concert for that song, or no, you will not.

My son, who at one time had counseling for anxiety issues, couldn't decide if he was going to try out or not. He practiced Monday and Tuesday nights. The high note didn't sound right to me. He said, it's right, Mom. Okay, I thought, maybe they haven't learned the really high note, so they're playing it this way? (how stupid, I now realize - the band teacher would never let the song be played that way). But at the time, I don't know, I just thought, okay, whatever.

I gave him lots of pep talks Tuesday and Wednesday. The good, motherly ones. You know it's okay if you try and get a no. At least you tried, which is more than a lot of kids will do. If you don't try, won't you wonder later what would have happened if you did?

Wednesday after school, he came home. I waited patiently for him to tell me. He didn't say anything. Finally, I asked.

Me: Well?????
Him: I had 3 mistakes. I played the high note 3 times and each time it was wrong. To get a yes, you can't have any note mistakes. You can squeak a little, that's okay, but no wrong notes.
Me: Oh, I'm so sorry.
Him: Mom, I was so nervous, my whole body was shaking. And I squeaked a lot. But I got all the notes right except that one I was playing wrong.
Me: Did the teacher show you the note it should be?
Him: Yes. And we can have a redo on Friday.
Me: You can??? A redo? Are you going to try again?
Him: I don't know. I was so nervous. It was terrible. I thought I was going to throw up. I don't know if I can do it again.

Last night, he asked his dad to say a prayer with him, about having courage to try again today. And to do well.

He played the song again today.

And he got a YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am so proud of my boy.

"O'er the land of the free, and the home of the BRAVE!"

A good reminder that sometimes, we don't get it right the first time. But if we keep trying, anything can happen!

(originally posted at Livejournal 2.10.06)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

On Failure

A month of reruns begins today!


Another run, run, run kinda day.

Speaking of running...

Last night I pulled out an inspirational book I like to flip through now and then. IF YOU WANT TO WALK ON WATER, YOU'VE GOT TO GET OUT OF THE BOAT.

I randomly opened the book last night and I came to the page that talked about the movie CHARIOTS OF FIRE.

I don't think I saw this movie??? I remember hearing about it. But I don't think I saw it. But apparently one of the characters lost a race. He was ready to quit. Give up running and racing.

He said something like, But I race to win.

And the woman he was talking to said, but if you don't race, you won't win.

Sometimes we need to hear that message over and over again. To try is not to fail. To NOT try is to fail.

That is why I keep sending my work out, even though my drawer is full of rejections. If I don't race, I won't win. If I do race, I might not win. But you never know. Someone has to win. Why not me?

My running shoes are on. Anyone want to join me?

(originally posted at my livejournal blog on 10.26.05)

Monday, November 30, 2009

A month of mostly reruns

With Christmas around the corner and a book release coming shortly after that, I have a to-do list that makes my head hurt just looking at it.

I thought about signing off until January, but a blank blog is sad! So, I've decided to go through my archives and repost some of my blog posts from days past. I started blogging on livejournal way back in 2005!

To put it in perspective, I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME in 2006 and sold it in 2007. So...maybe it will be fun to go back and read some of those posts before, during and after my first novel sale. Of course, it'll be new material to many of you. And those of you have known me since I started blogging, well, I luv ya, and maybe it'll be kinda fun going down memory lane? Maybe?

I guess I figure all my favorite shows are doing it the month of December, so if they can, I can too!

Besides, come January, do I have something FANTASTIC for you!? Wait 'til you see what I've lined up!!!

Happy December!

Happy Rerun month!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So, I saw New Moon on Monday.

Suzanne Young has the recap HERE - pictures included, because Suz was born to be a blogger and takes her camera EVERYWHERE.

I liked the movie. And I continue to be totally amazed by this phenomenon Stephenie Meyer has created. I mean, isn't it amazing?

And really, we should be thanking her because so many teens have been turned on to reading because of her. Many of them go back to the bookstore for more, which is a very good thing.

This Thanksgiving, I'm feeling thankful for family, friends, and for being a YA author. It's a fun, exciting time. So many great authors writing incredible books.

Sometimes I look around and that song from Sesame Street pops into my head that goes - One of these things is not like the other - wondering how I'm here amongst all the greatness.

But I am. And I'm very, VERY thankful for that.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving with good food, good family, and GOOD BOOKS! Yay - four whole days to READ!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is the title really THAT important? In a word - Yes!

Not one, but two professionals in the industry last week talked about how a great title could make a difference in how fast your manuscript gets read.

First - Editorial Anon says, "If you can come up with a super title, then do-- it can encourage prompt responses." Read more HERE.

I've always had a feeling this was the case. Some titles just make you go - ooooh, I want to read that!

Next - Agent Jill Corcoran says, "When a submission hits my inbox, one of the first things I notice is the title." And then she goes on to say, "Titles are not something to anguish over, they are your golden opportunity to attract someone to your manuscript." Read more HERE.

It's so great when you know the title of your book before you start writing, and you know it's the perfect title. Or you start writing and it's not long before you come up with the title that knocks your socks off.

But I think more often than not, authors struggle with the right title. Jill suggests polling other authors - I know l've seen some authors do a poll on their blogs allowing others to vote for a title. It's important to have a title that makes someone sit up and take notice. And really, the only way you're going to do that is to ask other people what they think.

I have two projects on submission now. One of them has an awesome title. I love it. It's one word, and it's a pretty word. I can see it on the cover of a book and it makes me excited about that book! What a wonderful thing, huh? The other one, I'm not so sure. I'm still, even now, wondering if there's a better title. For nine months, I searched for the perfect title, and you all know that after awhile, you just get sick of thinking/worrying about it and figure the one you come up with is good enough. After all, you can always change it later, with the help of your editor, right?

But now, after reading these articles, I wish I had done a little more about my uncertainty. Perhaps asked all of you to weigh in.

So don't do what I did. Before you send that manuscript off, make sure you have an AWESOME title! It's only a few words. It can't be THAT hard, right? :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guess for the next Chase Around the USA stop

Thanks to the Never Ending Shelf for the kind words about CHASING BROOKLYN and for getting the contest going so quickly.

Entries have been collected and it's time for me to guess the next stop.

I'm going to guess: OKLAHOMA

Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to the winner!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Another reader has posted her word and is looking for the 6th stop on the Chase Around the USA contest.

If you are a blogger and you'd like the chance to read the ARC and win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice, go HERE to read the contest rules and to enter:

I'm so glad to see that people are liking this book - yay!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter Blog Blast Tour - My turn!

A big thank you to the fabulous Kelly Fineman for choosing to interview ME for her part in the Winter Blog Blast Tour.

Want to know why I keep writing about loss?
Want to know what the new paperback cover looks like for my book FAR FROM YOU?
Want to know what I think of cupcakes?

Go HERE to find out!

To see the rest of the stops, Chasing Ray has the lineup.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


All of this talk about NCTE and ALAN makes me sad I'm not going. Have fun those of you who are!

So, I will try to focus on the positive today, which is this:

Yesterday I got word from my editor that FAR FROM YOU is one of seven S&S titles that made the 2010 Texas TAYSHAS List for Teens!


I suddenly feel the need to go out and buy some cute cowboy boots. I've always wanted red cowboy boots!

Anyway, I'm so incredibly psyched about my book being on this list, I can't even tell you. So a big THANK YOU to the committee for selecting my book out of all of those you had to choose from.

The list hasn't actually been updated yet, so I can't share the link, but hopefully it will be soon. Congratulations to all the others who made the list as well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It is THAT kind of day

It is a BUSY day when you must work all day and then go to a dinner and auction immediately afterwards that will go until 9:00 pm. But when your publisher generously offers to pay your way because it's a good chance to meet book sellers and your local sales rep., you go.

It is a FUNNY day when you are watching Good Morning America and the commercial comes on for Did You Hear about the Morgans and you hear Hugh Grant say, "I called ahead to get the table near the mayonnaise." Have you ever heard Hugh say "mayonnaise?" The commercial is so long, there's really no need to see the movie, which is pretty funny too.

It is a STORMY day today and every day this week. Very, very stormy.

It is a SCARY day when you realize Christmas is only like 40 days away.

It is a HAPPY day when you get the news your friend Alix had her baby boy (Xander!) yesterday and both baby and Mom are doing well!

And, it is a GOOD day when you get an enthusiastic e-mail from your agent that uses the coveted "L" word about the book you spent a lot of your spare time working on over the past nine months. A book you wrote for yourself, because you wanted to write something new and different.

So...what kind of day are you having today?

Monday, November 16, 2009

2009 Winter Blog Blast Tour

This week a number of authors will be interviewed around the blogosphere in the Winter Blog Blast tour.

Check out the tour schedule at Chasing Ray.

I will be featured on Kelly Fineman's blog, Writing & Ruminating, on Friday!

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fifth Stop for Chasing Brooklyn

I want to thank Lisa at A Life Bound by Books for her kind words about CHASING BROOKLYN and her lovely word.

It's now time for me to guess where my little ARC is off to next.

I'm going to guess...


Thanks one and all for playing!!


Another reader has posted her word and is looking for the 5th stop on the Chase Around the USA contest.

If you are a blogger and you'd like the chance to read the ARC and win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice, go HERE to read the contest rules and to enter:

Wow, it's getting around fast - thanks, everyone, for reading quickly and getting the book sent on to the next person.

Can't wait to see where it lands next!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five things on a Thursday

1) Delsym cough medicine is the best. It's expensive, but worth every penny.

2) I really don't like it when men have hairy necks. If you don't want to get your hair cut very often, fine, but please, can you at least shave your neck?

3) Check out this amazing, AMAZING post about ARCs by Kristi, aka The Story Siren. She went to publicists at publishing houses and asked them some questions about ARCs, including how much an average ARC costs. Good stuff, people!

4. Taylor Swift - OMG, she won FOUR awards on the Country Music Awards last night. I can't quite decide if I want to marry Taylor Swift or BE Taylor Swift. I know I want to write books the way Taylor writes songs. Now that I'm learning to play the guitar, I'm trying to teach myself some of her songs. Teardrops on My Guitar is one I've been playing a lot.

In my dreams, I sound like this:

5. Speaking of guitar, I'm playing on the one my husband has had for about 30 years. No joke. It's fine for now, but I'm really hoping Santa might bring me a new one for Christmas. If you know guitars and have any recommendations for him, please let me know so I can pass it along. I think I'd like to try and find one that works well with my small hands. If there is such a thing!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The good/The not-so-good

The good: I know for sure some kind librarians nominated FAR FROM YOU for the YALSA 2010 book lists (Best Books for Young Readers and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers) because they told me so. THANK YOU kind librarians!!!

The not-so-good: It didn't make either nomination list, which means it didn't get the necessary second from a committee member. I'm sad, but oh well. I'm thrilled so many awesome books are on the lists and many of my writerly friends have books nominated.

The good: The book I've been working on for the last 8 months, HOPE FOR NIMBUS, is done. For now. And I'm going to send it to my agent today!

The not-so-good: I wanted to be a lot further along on my new novel-in-verse than I am, and I'm so busy at work this month, I don't know that I'm going to have much energy to work on it during my off-hours. But, I guess I can only do what I can do.

The good: I was browsing the new S&S Children's Catalog for Spring 2010 and on the CHASING BROOKLYN page, it says, "12-copy mixed floor display (Includes 8 copies of CHASING BROOKLYN and 4 copies of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME) for $159.88." A floor display will be available for my books!!

The not-so-good: Will any bookseller really buy one? I often see news like this and think the worst. What is up with that?

The good: Day off today!

The not-so-good: I have a to-do list the size of a foot-long sandwich. I better get to it.

Happy Monday all! And in case I don't get a chance to say it tomorrow, Happy Anniversary Sesame Street!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fourth Stop for Chasing Brooklyn

Thanks to Sab for her wonderful picture and for helping out with my contest. Since I guessed her state correctly, a $20.00 gift card will be on its way to her soon!

Now it's time for me to once again guess where my little ARC will travel to next.

I'm going to guess the next stop on the Chase Around the USA is~


Thanks for playing, everyone, and I look forward to finding out where my little ARC goes to next!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Another reader on the Chase Around the USA has posted her picture and is collecting comments from people for the next 24 hours to enter to win a chance to be the next stop on the chase!

All the details can be found here:

If you are a blogger and would like to enter, comment there, not here, for a chance to read the book + win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Good luck!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I give thanks for having had this wonderful, tough-son-of-a-gun, kind-hearted man as my grandpa.

September 3, 1920 - November 3, 2009 Stanley Lenox

Their heaven on earth was the Steen Mountains, where this picture was taken. I'd like to think that they are happily enjoying the view, together again.

My last grandparent is gone. It's been a sad, and rather sleepless, week, as I can't help but contemplate that fact. I am who I am today in a large part because of my grandparents. I'm forever grateful for all they gave me, including their time and their unconditional love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writing, rewriting and thoughts on plot

Have you read this incredibly helpful post The Essentials of Plot by Cheryl Klein? If not, you really should. It's good.

But wait!

If you are drafting a novel right now for nanowrimo, don't read it yet.

It's really better to read it later, when you are revising.

So, I've been working on a book this past year, since March I believe. I think I've finally settled on a title - HOPE FOR NIMBUS. Not quite ready to tell you what it's about yet. Anyway, this book has put me through the ringer. I had 75 pages or so done and after sharing it with my agent as well as my good friend L.K. Madigan, I decided it wasn't working. So I started over.

I worked on it on and off through the summer months and when I finished the first draft the end of August, I had my husband read it to give me some thoughts, and he totally didn't get the ending. So, I rewrote it. Then, I had a couple of helpful readers give me some feedback in September (HUGE thanks to Lisa and Joan) and some things still weren't working. I had to rethink one of the plot elements, and was stuck for awhile. But finally, I had an idea driving home from work one day a couple of weeks ago. And as I worked on the issues, I remembered Cheryl Klein's post on plot. And I realized I had what I needed for an action plot climax, but I needed to work on the emotional climax some more.

Here is how Cheryl describes each type of plot:

* Action plot: The external action or conflict; what physically changes for your character in the course of the book.
* Emotional plot: The internal action; or the moral and emotional development of your characters as a result of the external action.

Most stories will have both. And usually, one happens before the other, and gives the character what he/she needs to conquer the other one.

It's really hard to get them both just right. And I'm still not sure I'm there yet. But I worked hard the past four days, while I was off from the day job, and with many words thrown out and new words written in their place, I typed THE END yet again yesterday. Whew.

Sometimes I feel like the hard work I've had to put into this book means it's not any good. I don't know why I think that - you'd think it would be the opposite. I don't know, maybe I've just been working on it so long, I'm to the point where I'm getting a little tired of it.

So, the plan is to let it rest this week, go through it one more time this weekend and make any changes I think of when my subconscious is working on it these next four days, and then send it to my agent next week.

Writing a book is hard. Trying to make a book GOOD is even harder. No matter what happens, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, and for trying, again and again, to get it right.

No rest for the weary, though. I have a synopsis and 25 pages done on a new verse novel with a GREAT hook. I'm excited about it. Wheee, what a roller coaster this writing life is!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Thanks to everyone who came and trick or treated at my blog(s) over the weekend! I have drawn winners and here they are, in no particular order!

Winner of the ARC for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is... Readerchick12

And winners of the bookmarks:

Chick Lit Teens





Shannon Messenger


Katie (you also get the treat from Moonstruck Chocolates!)



Winners, please go to the Contact Me page at to send me your address and let me know how many signed bookmarks you'd like (that you will actually use or give away). If you don't really want any, that's cool - no worries! I won't be offended.

Happy November!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A nanowrimo tip - courtesy of Grey's

Sadly, or not, I won't be doing nanowrimo.

For those of us with day jobs, we would pretty much have to give up sleep for an entire month in order to do nanowrimo. I love sleep. A lot. So yeah, that won't be happening. I'll just be happy if I can finish rewriting the last few chapters of the WIP for the THIRD time. Let's hope the third time really is the charm! I've been telling my agent for months, yeah, I'm working on it, I'll have it to you soon. Ack!

Anyway, I was watching Grey's Anatomy last night, as I usually do Friday nights when I'm catching up on my recorded shows, and I thought - hard core surgeons, hard core writers - it's kinda the same!!

They had a really long surgery ahead of them. Like 20+ hours long. So one intern got the idea to put on a diaper. She thought people would make fun of her. Christina called it "hard core."

So there you go. My tip for those of you brave enough (or crazy enough) to be doing nanowrimo! Let me know if you decide to try it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Trick or treat CONTEST!!

Want some signed CHASING BROOKLYN bookmarks? Release date is just a little over two months away - scary!!

Want a chance to win the highly coveted ARC BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl?

Or perhaps you might like both?

Simply go trick or treating in the comments and let me know what you'd like to be entered for, bookmarks, the ARC, or both.

Ten people will win signed bookmarks for you to pass out to friends, librarians, teachers, your classroom, whatever. If you win, I'll ask you how many you want - you can have anywhere from 5 to 30.

*ONE* of these ten will also get a little something extra from Moonstruck Chocolates - YUM!!!

And another person will win an ARC of this book, not released until December 1, 2009:

Holly Black, NYT bestselling author, has this to say about BEAUTIFUL CREATURES - "A lush Southern gothic whose memorable, eccentric characters draw you into their captivating world."

Winners will be drawn Monday, November 2nd, 9 am PST.

(for some more Halloween fun, make sure you check out Lindsey Leavitt's vlog. It's SPOOKY!!!!

Ready, set, GO - trick or treat!!! (cross posted at livejournal - you can enter here or there)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On Titles

I was thinking about titles, and how much I LOVE the title for a book I recently started - another verse novel. I love it so much, it makes me want to work hard so the book is as good as the title, if that makes any sense. And really, it's just one word. So it's not that it's anything super creative. But when I think of this word on the cover of a book, it makes me happy. And no, I'm not going to tell you. Not quite yet. Hopefully someday... :)

Titles are funny things. Sometimes a title comes to me right away and it sticks. Other times, like the other WIP I've been working on for awhile, I change the title a bunch of times as I'm writing the book. It's like trying on a sweater with a pair of pants you want to wear, and trying to find the best combination.

Some might argue, why worry so much about the title? Won't it eventually get changed by the publisher anyway?

So far, with my five books, I'm five for five. With each one, the title I came up with has been the one that ended up on the actual book. Here's a break down of my titles and whether they were easy or hard for me to come up with:

BABY CAN'T SLEEP - I think this was the third title I came up with. The others had sheep in the title. But I decided this title really got at the core of the story.

I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME - I tried to think of other titles, and even tried changing it at some point, but I always came back to this one.

FAR FROM YOU - Originally, this book was titled LOST WITHOUT YOU. When my agent had me do some revisions before we submitted it, she made the point that the book shouldn't be too focused on Alice's feelings for her mother, but more on the difficulty of accepting the new family. So I decided a new title was in order. I thought about it and thought about it and then, finally, on a walk one afternoon, a song popped up on my iPod, and I had my title. The song? "From Where You Are" by Lifehouse. It starts out - "So far away from where you are." The song is a song that really goes with the book, so I took that first line, condensed it, and I had a new title.

CHASING BROOKLYN - This was the title from the beginning and never changed. I think it fits the book really well, on a couple of different levels.

IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES - This one was easy. It came to me right away, once I decided this would be the name of the cupcake shop Isabel's mom owns.

So - as far as the other WIP, the one I've been working on for 6+ months, the title I have now is HOPE FOR NIMBUS. I used to have just NIMBUS. But the main character's name is Hope, and I sort of like the play on words.

Will it stick? I guess we'll see. First I have to finish the thing. And oh yeah, see if anyone is interested in publishing it. Just a couple of small hurdles, huh?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Five things on a Monday

1. What do young adult authors Melissa Walker, Elizabeth Scott, Gayle Forman, Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot and ME all have in common? We love the TV show Friday Night Lights and are guest blogging over at the Persnickety Snark's blog all week long about why we love the show. You can read my entry here. Although I just discovered I can't watch the new season until SUMMER of 2010. I thought it would be airing in January. Bummer. But those of you with DirecTV, it starts for you this week. Lucky.

2. Some of you may have noticed I made a Countdown Widget for CHASING BROOKLYN. 71 days is not that far away. The really scary thing? That means Christmas is only like 61 days away! Eek!

3. We had such a busy weekend, and I'm tired. Have to work today too. Hope to get Friday off, and then my normal Monday. A 4-day weekend sounds heavenly about now.

4. I may be tired because both Saturday and Sunday, I got up at 5:30 and worked on my latest YA novel WIP. I had an idea for part of the plot that needs fixing Friday night while I was driving home from work. Even though some days I curse the 30 minute commute, I do contemplate book stuff during that drive. I still remember the exact spot where I came up with the idea for the cupcake book.

5. I'm taking guitar lessons and having fun learning how to play. My guitar teacher picks cool songs too, like Viva La Vida and Brown Eyed Girl.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Third Stop for Chasing Brooklyn

Kelsey has informed me she's picked a winner for the next stop in the Chase Around the USA, so it's time for me to guess where my little ARC is off to next!

I'm going to guess:

the great state of TEXAS!

Congrats to the winner and I hope you enjoy your visit with Chasing Brooklyn!!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Another reader on the Chase Around the USA has posted her picture and is collecting comments from people for the next 24 hours to enter to win a chance to be the next stop on the chase!

All the details can be found here:

If you are a blogger and would like to enter, comment there, not here, for a chance to read the book + win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Good luck!!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Guess what's going around the office?

Yesterday, someone sneezed.

Instead of the usual, "Bless you" or "gesundheit" two people, at the same time, said, "Uh-oh."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Did you hear that big sigh from Oregon?

I have done this book thing before.

It does get a little easier with each book, I think. I haven't had any BIG freakouts this time around.

And yet, waiting to see what those first readers think, when only you and your editor and perhaps a couple of others at the publishing house have read the final thing, is a teeny bit nerve wracking. I mean, you just don't know what actual readers are going to think!

So yesterday, not one, but two readers shared their thoughts about CHASING BROOKLYN! And after hearing what they had to say, I breathed a happy sigh of relief.

One reader, who doesn't want to post a review until closer to the release date, e-mailed me and said, "I feel like jumping up and down from the awesomeness of this book. I loved I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and FAR FROM YOU, but CHASING BROOKLYN totally kicked both of their butts."




The other review is over at The Compulsive Reader's blog, as she was the first stop in the Chase Across the USA contest. You can read that review HERE.

I know not all reviews will be sunshine and roses. Did you see this awesome post by Cynthia Leitich Smith about negative reviews? If not, you should read it!! And I also know better than to search for validation of my work too hard outside of myself. But I feel like now, I know it will be okay. No matter what, some readers WILL enjoy the book. I feel like I can step away and really let the book fly by itself.

it's like the baby bird stepping out to the edge of the nest, and looking around and Mama bird wanting to let him go, but also, wanting him to stay just a little longer. Finally, when he decides its time to fly away, she knows her work is done, and life goes on.

And so it does as a writer too. It's time to put my head down and work on the next project. To continue to strive to make each book better than the last, which is hard and scary and exhilarating all at the same time. But it's what we writers do, right?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Happy Teen Read Week!

The marvelous Readergirlz are celebrating Teen Read week all this week. Make sure and check their site on Friday, 10/23 when they'll post a bunch of vlogs from authors!

Here's mine!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Release Day L.K. Madigan!!!

Don't be left out - get your copy of FLASH BURNOUT today!

My copy has two post-it notes with initials as place holders - one for me and one for my husband! How often does THAT happen?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thoughts on Where the Wild Things Are

As I watched this movie, I was a 10 YO kid again.

And as that 10 YO, I was mad because my mom and dad weren't married anymore, and my mom was spending time with another man.

I know some feel it's too violent for kids, but you know, it hurts to be that kid. It hurts, and out comes the anger, because anger is really sadness and fear in disguise.

My favorite scene is toward the end, after Carol, one of the monsters, has done something terrible, and Max surveys the scene. Your heart aches as you watch and know how upset Carol had to have been to have done it.

Max does something so very simple in response, and yet, it is exactly right. Kids and adults can both understand what it meant and why he did it. And it made me cry like a crazy person.

It took me back to this one time when I read a note my mom had written her boyfriend and left it on the counter. It started out "Dearest..."

I read that dearest to mean exactly that - no one dearer to her than him. I asked her, next time you write a note to me, will you please write Dearest Lisa?

What Max did was Max's way of writing - Dearest Carol. After all that had happened, he knew that's what Carol needed. And really, isn't that what we all need?

My takeaway from this simple, yet complex movie is this: More than anything, kids want to know their loved. No matter what - they are loved. We cannot tell them enough. We cannot show them enough.

I hope parents get that. And I hope some little Max's leave the theater feeling a little less alone in the world.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Do YOU believe the more books that are sent to book bloggers on-line, the better?

Do YOU think lots of exposure via free books ultimately equal sales? (Is this the million dollar question everyone wishes they had the answer to?)

Would love to hear your thoughts. And any experiences you authors have had that you'd like to share...


ETA: Look what Editorial Ass has to say about this very subject:

How many book bloggers does it take to create a buzz?
All of them. Get as many as you can; never stop. They'll be your second wind, and the reason your books stays in print.

But the good news is book bloggers work on their own time, and will always be available to you. You can keep reaching out to them later at less busy times of your life.

You can read the entire post HERE.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


The Compulsive Reader just let me know that she's drawn a name for the next stop of the Chase Around the USA.

I'm going to guess my ARC is on its way to the state of California!

If I'm right, the winner's book store gift card is doubled to $20.00.

If I'm wrong, well, the winner still gets to read the book and a $10.00 gift card to the bookstore of choice, and hold the next contest!

I'll continue to post here and point people to blogs as the contest continues until the book is released! Thanks for playing everyone!

Chase Around the USA

Are you a blogger who would like to read my next YA novel, CHASING BROOKLYN, coming out in January?

The first reader in the Chase Across the USA has finished and will be drawing a name for the second stop this afternoon, 4:30 EST. So hurry if you want to enter!

Check out The Compulsive Reader's blog to see what she had to say about the book in her one-word photo!! And to enter the contest, comment OVER THERE, at HER blog with an e-mail address if you'd like to get in on the drawing to be the next stop in the chase. Not here. Sorry for the confusion!!

Every winner, besides getting to read CHASING BROOKLYN, wins a $10.00 bookstore gift card, possibly $20.00 if I guess the next location.

Can't wait to see where my little ARC goes next!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Tuesday List of Happy Things

Twitter was all a flitter last night with...unhappiness. And I want to talk about it, and yet, I really don't. Because, as I told someone there yesterday, where our focus goes, energy flows. And I'm not sure I want to fuel the fire anymore.

So, instead, you get a list of happy things.

Happy Thing #1 that I did yesterday - I made cupcakes with my friend Suzanne Young. Her novel, THE NAUGHTY LIST, comes out early February and it is really fun and cute. Teens are going to eat this one up, I'm telling you!

Happy Thing #2 - Tomorrow night, I'm going to THIS, making me the best mom in the entire universe for one whole day. Here's a picture for those who don't like clicking over:

Happy Thing #3 - Yesterday it was confirmed that S&S is sending me to the great state of Texas in April for the Texas Library Association conference, where I will be on a panel with two amazing verse authors. They are the authors of these books:

Yes, can you believe it? Sonya Sones and Ellen Hopkins, and uh, me! Pinch me, please???

What happy things are going on in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A few cool things

First - Saundra Mitchell, author of SHADOWED SUMMER, wrote an article for School Library Journal called - THERE'S NOTHING LIKE A GOOD GHOST STORY TO GRAB KIDS' ATTENTION. Some great books are listed there, and I'm so honored she chose I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME to be among them! You can read the article HERE.

Next, Daisy Whitney, a really cool YA writer who recently sold her novel titled THE MOCKINGBIRDS to Little Brown, did a guest blog for her friend, Debbie Schubert called Teaching YA. First of all, isn't she adorable? Second of all, she gave Debbie a fall reading list with some of her favorite picks for learning all about the YA genre, and guess what? She mentioned me in her top ten! Wow. Thanks Daisy!

And finally, I don't think I ever shared the awesome blurb that's on the front of CHASING BROOKLYN:

"Sexy, sweet, suspenseful - I couldn't put it down." ~Lisa McMann, NYT bestselling author of WAKE

Thanks for letting me share!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on Characters

Who does characters well? Extremely well? Sarah Dessen.

I have character envy when it comes to Sarah. Man, how I want to do characters that well.

Sometimes, a character comes to me fully formed and it's fabulous. The various characters in IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES came to me with their various quirks and interests pretty much as they showed up on the page. And then the way they all came together and gave me what I needed for the story - it was magical!

But more often than not, I have to figure out who a character is as I revise, revise, revise. And so, here I am.

I have this male character who needs to be sort of mysterious for awhile. And yet, I want something that makes you feel like you know him a little bit when he shows up. But how?

I know he's had a rough life. And so, I have to think about how that may come through in those first pages where we meet him. I also know there are things about him that will surprise a person - interests you wouldn't expect.

Anyway, my job this week is to get to know this guy better. Figure him out. Then rewrite him on the pages so he isn't just any guy, he's THIS particular guy, and he's interesting and he's someone you'd like to spend more time with.

Sounds easy, right?


Friday, October 2, 2009

One day at a time

When you get to this point - 3 months or so before the release date of a new book, things start heating up. I have a list of things to do in the coming weeks to gear up for the release of CHASING BROOKLYN.

On top of that, I have a new manuscript I want to revise and a new idea for a verse novel I want to flush out and try some sample pages.

This would all be great if I had 40 hours a week to work on the promotion and the writing. But I don't. I'm lucky if I have 10 hours a week. And work is crazy busy right now, so I get home exhausted and don't want to do anything except curl up with a book or a favorite TV show.

On my walk at 5:30 this morning, as I came down the hill, clouds weaving their way across the sky, I just had this feeling that everything will be okay. I'd been thinking about all of this, the familiar feeling of worry rising up in me as I wondered how I could get everything done. My normal response to this is to remind myself that I just have to take it one day at a time. Don't worry about tomorrow - just focus on today. What needs to be done today? With any extra time, what do I want to accomplish today?

This morning, my to-do list circling around in my brain, I stopped, looked at the sky, and a sense of calmness washed over me. I was reminded, once again, in nature's subtle way, I am not alone. And it will be okay. I have to trust that it's not going to be like this forever. And so, I took a deep breath and kept walking.

That's what I have to do every day. When it all seems overwhelming, take a deep breath, remember I'm not alone, and just keep going, knowing the hard work is going to pay off someday

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Two Thumbs Up

Books I've read lately and loved:

ONCE WAS LOST by Sara Zarr. I love the very real yet subtle exploration of faith in this book. Release day is today, October 1st - go and get yourself a copy!

HUSH HUSH by Becca Fitzpatrick. This was a real page-turner and kept me guessing until the very end.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett. I felt like I lived with the characters in this book, which takes place during the civil rights movement. One of my favorite reads of 2009!

BREATHING by Cheryl Herbsman. Sweet, sweet book with great characters, a memorable setting and a voice that you remember long after you close the last page.

What have you read lately that you've loved?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On books and reading

My 12 YO got in my car yesterday with THE LIGHTENING THIEF clutched tightly to his chest. He went on to explain that he only had 30 more pages and he just couldn't wait to read them and see what happened. He came home and read those last pages before doing anything else. I ♥ Rick Riordan, because I don't think my reluctant reader has EVER been that excited to read a book.

Monday is his night to help me make dinner, so as we worked in the kitchen, he said, "I want to tell you about it Mom, but I don't want to spoil it for you." (I haven't read it yet, and we've talked about seeing the movie).

I said, "That's okay, you can tell me." Because I KNOW what it's like to read a book and love it so much, you just HAVE to talk to someone about it.

So he told me about the ending that totally surprised him and why it was a surprise and I asked questions as best I could, not really knowing what any of it was. :)

One thing I really like about the middle school he goes to is that they have literacy workshop every other day. Literacy workshop is a 45 minute time period where most days, the kids get to choose a book and just read silently. This is their opportunity to read for pleasure.

And I let my kids choose whatever books they want to read.

My kids know I am an avid reader, and they can talk about what they read with me anytime. They can ask questions, they can express concern, or they can just tell me about it, like G did last night.

I'm not afraid of books when it comes to my kids. But the fact that we have a week called Banned Books Week tells me there are a lot of parents out there who are afraid of books.

So to those who have tried to ban a book from a classroom, a school, or a library, I'd like to say this:

Don't take away an opportunity for my kids to safely explore a subject they may be curious about.

Don't take away an opportunity for my kids to discuss with me something they read about, which is a very safe way to talk about a subject.

And don't take away an opportunity for them to become better educated about a subject you may be afraid of, because I believe through books, we walk in shoes we might not otherwise walk in. Through books, we learn to understand. And through understanding, we become better people.

Don't take away an opportunity for my kids to become better people.

And the first stop...

of the CHASING BROOKLYN Advance Review Copy, on the Chase Across the USA will be:

The Compulsive Reader's blog!

I will drop you a note and get your address, but in the meantime, I must guess what state you live in. If I guess correctly, the $10.00 bookstore gift card that EVERY winner gets is then doubled to $20.00.

Now some of you may be wondering, since I send bookmarks and postcards out to folks all of the time, what happens if I know where the blogger lives? If I know and remember, I will guess CORRECTLY. But if I can't remember (and unfortunately, I have a horrible memory) I'm not going to go looking for the information, I will just guess.

So, today I'm going to guess the ARC of CHASING BROOKLYN will be going to:


Am I right?

Let me know in the comments with a yes or no!

Thanks to all who played this time around, and be sure to check back as I will be pointing people to the stops as the ARC travels coast to coast. I won't be having any more drawings to be a part of the tour here on my blog, but OTHERS WILL BE, and once they post, you can post on the appropriate blog to have another chance at winning then! There will be plenty of chances to try again, and I hope you will!