Monday, July 25, 2011

Motivational Monday - being the odd one out

"If there's any message to my work, it is ultimately that it's OK to be different, that it's good to be different, that we should question ourselves before we pass judgment on someone who looks different, behaves different, talks different, is a different color." ~Johnny Depp

Last week, an editor asked twitter about verse novels. "Do you feel there's a love-em-or-hate-em attitude about verse novels? Do you love 'em? Hate 'em? Why?"

I sat back and watched the responses, searching on the editor's name to see what people said. I'm going to leave the names off, but I'll identify the profession of the person.

"I've never met one I liked. They're hard to get into." ~Author

"It only works if it's brilliant, like Virginia Euwer Wolf, Sharon Creech, etc." ~Agent

"I am not a fan of verse novels. It feels more gimmick than substance, though I know there are exceptions out there." ~Agent

"Neither love nor hate. More 'don't get it.'" ~Agent

"I usually stop within a few pages. I'm sure there are good ones out there, but I don't have patience to get into them." ~Freelance writer and editor

"Most of the time they're filled with poor 'verse' and there's no reason for the form." ~Writer and educator

I suppose I am a glutton for punishment. What did I expect? I go through this with every book - I am reminded how hard it is to do something different. To put yourself out there with a book that isn't something the majority of the people can get into.

I wish someone had said SOMETHING completely positive. "They're great for reluctant readers." Or "obviously Ellen Hopkins has shown us that many teens love them." Or even, "I don't like them, but I think it's great to have various choices on the shelves for different kinds of readers."

When I talk to middle schoolers and high schoolers, I tell them, I write books that are different. I say, what I want you to know is that it's okay to be different. It's not always easy. But it's definitely okay.

Still, it's times like this that I'm reminded how hard it really can be, to stick your neck out there and do something that isn't universally accepted. So to those of you who, like me, often feel like the odd one out, I just want you to know, I admire you. I know there are days it's really hard to hear the criticism. To wonder if what you're doing is different like The Beatles were different or different like Charlie Sheen is different.

Friday night, Casey at The Bookish Type blog sent me an e-mail, letting me know she read THE DAY BEFORE and loved it and wondered if I'd be up for an interview. I try not to read a lot of reviews, but she said, "Here's my 5 star review" and provided the link, so I clicked over. It's such a thoughtful and articulate review, I want to share it here. The line I especially love? "I honestly didn't think I could read an entire novel written in verse, but by the second or third page, I'd completely forgotten about the style and was engrossed in Lisa Schroeder's tale."

That's what I like to hear.

Friday, July 22, 2011


1. It all started with these guys:

If you know me, you know I LOVE them. My friend and amazing author, Lindsey Leavitt, said, some see me, they're playing in Vegas. Well, how could I resist? I couldn't! I just couldn't. So, next Friday I jet off to Vegas, and Lindsey will see a band with me she cares nothing about. Because she's that kind of awesome friend!

2. Once that was settled, I asked her, do you think we could get a signing thrown together for Saturday? And because her awesomeness apparently has no limits, she said: Sure!

3. So...I will be signing at the Barnes and Noble on N. Rainbow in Las Vegas at 2:00 on Saturday, July 30th. If you're anywhere near there, you should come see me. Please!! Lindsey might sign with me, I'm not sure. Remember, we just whipped this whole thing together, like, yesterday.

4. I already had a signing scheduled with five other great authors for Sunday in Seattle. So I will jet from Vegas to Seattle and meet up with these amazing authors:

Kimberly Derting, THE BODY FINDER series
Mandy Hubbard, RIPPLE
Cat Patrick, FORGOTTEN

5. So if you are in the Seattle area, please come see us at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Washington at 4:00 on Sunday, July 31st.

After that I will drive home with my friend Suzanne. And collapse. 

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Relay for Life

This past weekend I participated in Relay for Life. Relay for Life is done all across the country over various weekends in the summer, where teams of people gather and for 24 hours, they walk or run, raising money to fight cancer. It was fun. And inspirational. And during the Luminaria Ceremony, heartbreaking.

I met Jennifer Manullang years ago when I was doing Pampered Chef. She is so fun and funny and I feel really blessed that we've stayed in touch over the years. She's lucky because if I didn't live on the other side of town, I'd probably bug her. A lot. I just really adore her.

In 2009, she learned she had a tumor near her spine. Lymphoma. She blogged about the tumor, which was the size of a FREAKING ORANGE, HERE.

I saw her twice in 2010, both times because she came to my book signings. I was touched and honored she did that when she most likely wasn't feeling that great, as she was doing chemotherapy. I continued to watch for updates on-line, cheering for her as she fought hard to kick cancer's ass.

And kick its ass she did. I can remember crying tears of joy when I read it was official. Her cancer was in complete remission.

It came at a time when I was praying hard for my dear friend, Lisa. At that time, we didn't know her diagnosis. But things were getting worse. It would be a couple of weeks later before her diagnosis would come  - pancreatic cancer.

2011, as most of you know, has been a really sad year for me personally. Lisa lost her life to cancer on February 23rd, and in May, Bridget Zinn lost her battle as well.

When Jennifer asked me if I'd like to be a part of her relay for life team, I knew it was something I could do to honor my friends. First of all, I wanted to honor Jennifer and how hard she fought. She is now a survivor, and a shining light in this world and proof that cancer doesn't always win. And of course, I wanted to honor my friends who are no longer here. To say - I miss you and I will never forget you. And whenever I can, I will do what I can so we can find a cure for this terrible disease.

Jen did a complete recap of the day HERE. I'm snagging a couple of pictures (hope you don't mind, Jen!) in case you don't have time to click over. There was a Western theme going on this year, so Jen gave our team the name, The Hoe Downs. Or, you know, The Hoes for short. hahaha

Some of us hanging out in the Hoe Downs tent
the track lined with luminaria bags, most with names honoring those affected by cancer

I had told myself I wouldn't get emotional during the Luminaria Ceremony, but I quickly saw it was impossible not to. So many people remembering their friends and loved ones who lost their lives to this terrible disease. I found the bags I had decorated for Bridget and Lisa in the dark, although I hadn't found them earlier in the daylight hours, when I looked for them. It might sound strange, but it felt like Bridget and Lisa were there with me.

Anyway... thanks SO VERY MUCH to those of you who donated money for this worthwhile cause. The overall total for the North Clackamas Relay for Life was over $44,000. The Hoe-Downs brought in about $10,000 of that. All money that will go to cancer research.

If any of you have a chance to be involved in a Relay for Life event near you, I highly recommend it. It's an amazing thing - seeing all those people gather and give, give, give of their time and money.

Thank you, Jen, for letting me be a part of your team. Hoes for the win!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What I have in common with Friday Night Lights

I watched the finale of Friday Night Lights last night and it was everything I wanted and more. Okay, maybe I wanted a little more Landry, but I'll forgive them of that. The one scene he was in made me laugh, and it was like old times between Landry and Matt and I adored every second of it.

I'm pretty sure I have never loved a TV show as much as I've loved this one. And it's hard for me to put into words exactly why. If you watch the show, of course, you know. I think it's the little moments the show was so good at showing. The little moments that make life worth it. The little moments you have to work for, that don't come easily. But then one comes, and it's good. Really good and it's like catching that pass in the end zone after you've practiced for months and wondered if you'd survive the season. You feel victorious, because those moments are so very sweet.

One thing I've been thinking about this morning is how Friday Night Lights is like a mid-list author. It never got the ratings and attention so many others shows on television received. The people who discovered the show became die-hard fans, and those fans are what pushed the producers, I believe, to get creative and strike a deal with DirecTV so the show would continue on a couple of more seasons.

So many people will never know the incredible beauty of this show. And yet, the show worked hard to give the fans one hell of a last season. In the end, it wasn't about ratings or the possibility of getting picked up another season or bottom line or any of that.

It was about writing a series of shows full of heart that the fans had come to expect, and staying true to the original vision of the show.

Those of us who are struggling mid-list authors must remember that in the end, fans don't care whether a book is labeled a bestseller or not. Publishers care, but fans? All they want is a book that touches them somehow. That when they put the book down, they feel like their life has been changed for the better in some way. They want to know that the author did everything he/she could to give them a reading experience they've come to expect from that author.

I will never be a Cassandra Clare or a Becca Fitzpatrick or a Maggie Stiefvater.

I will be me, Lisa Schroeder who writes YA novels that are kind of different. That require the reader to start in and trust me that I will not overwhelm them with poetry that's hard to follow. That I will not forget that first and foremost, no matter what format a book is written in, story is number one! That I will take the reader on an emotional journey because THAT is what I try my hardest to do. That is why I write. That is what I love when I read and so, it is what I try to do in every one of my young adult novels.

Because my books are a bit different, there will be a struggle with every release to find an audience. But the fans who have been with me from the beginning, who read I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME and have read every book since then, the fact of the matter is, I write for you. Did you hear me?

I write for YOU! 

And so, the ability for me to continue to write novels and get them published for you to read lies in your hands. I cannot survive as an author unless my fans help me to survive, and that is a fact. Just like Friday Night Lights wouldn't have been given two more seasons if the fans didn't rally big time for a show they loved completely and desperately, and continued to tune in to show their support.

If you've bought one of my books or told your librarians and teachers and friends about my books, thank you!  From the bottom of my FNL-loving heart, THANK YOU!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What I'm up to

1. I'm busy trying to keep my sanity in regards to the recent release (not doing nearly as well at this as I'd like). Let it go, let it go, let it go.

2. I'm busy revising a manuscript for an editor.

3. I'm busy trying not to gain 20 pounds while doing that revising.

4. I'm also busy trying to keep the kids from killing each other while doing that revising.

5. Another 7-10 days and hopefully I'll be done with that revising (second one of the summer, in case anyone is counting. I am. Obviously.)

In other news, this Friday I will be very sad. Please send chocolate. Oh wait, don't (see #2 above). I know many people are sad about the Harry Potter movies coming to an end, but for me, it's all about Friday Night Lights coming to an end.


Last Friday's episode, I had tissues all over the couch by the end of the show. Can you even imagine what it's going to be like after the last episode?


Texas Forever!!!!!!!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Five things on a Friday - The Day Before edition

1. Thank you to everyone who has read THE DAY BEFORE and posted nice reviews on goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your blog, etc. Seriously, THANK YOU SO MUCH!! In case you want to read a few...

Go HERE (Books, Sweets and Other Treats)

Or HERE (Novel Novice)

Or HERE (Story Siren)

2. Some people are having trouble finding the book. Please do order it if you go to a store and they don't have it. The more people who order it, the higher the chance that the store will end up carrying it. It's all about supply and demand - if you demand it, they'll supply it!

3. There are many signed copies available at Books of Wonder in New York! If you pay with a credit card over the phone, they will SHIP IT TO YOUR DOOR! Call 212-989-3270 to place your order.

4. I did an interview over at YA Highway where I answered *all* of the questions from lines from the book. It's like your own little sneak peek of the book - check it out HERE.

5. I have seven book plates left - e-mail me at lisaschroederbooks (at) gmail (dot) com if you'd like a signed book plate to stick in your copy of THE DAY BEFORE. What I write will be specific for *this* book, so you'll need a copy of this particular book, not one of my other ones. The first seven people will get one.  I'll update the blog when the seven are gone.
*update - the book plates are gone, thank you!*

I leave you with one thought today, something Matt Nathanson (one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and he is mentioned in THE DAY BEFORE) tweeted this morning and then Heather Zenzen retweeted with a comment attached. Here it is:

Yes. This! RT  Or a book. RT : people spend $4 on a latte. and complain that albums are too expensive. yuck.

Let's support artists, writers and musicians, even if we have to skip a couple of lattes to do it, yes? :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NYC part 2 - The Rita Awards!

Kim Derting and I after we went out to dinner, before the awards.
Ready for the ceremony!
Meg Cabot was a fabulous Master of Ceremonies
I snapped a picture when Chasing Brooklyn was announced.
Me and my editor, Annette Pollert
Me with two of the finalists - Simone Elkeles and Heather Davis
Such a fun night!! A huge congratulations to Julie Kagawa who won in the YA category with her book, THE IRON KING.

Friday, July 1, 2011

NYC in pictures

It has been a really great week. The weather has been incredible - sunny and warm, not humid at all. Highlights include the broadway show Jersey Boys (LOVED it!), walks through Central park, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting St. Patrick's cathedral, a visit to Simon and Schuster, lunch at Shake Shack with friends, and a signing at Books of Wonder! Tonight... the Rita awards!

Author Elizabeth Eulberg and I after eating NYC pizza

Found my book on release day at Borders

St. Patrick's Cathedral - so beautiful

Strawberry Fields in Central Park - memorial of John Lennon

I love Central Park so much!

My publisher!

My editors Annette and Alyson

Signing books at a S&S Meet and Greet

Cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery

Chatting with Andy

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Inara Scott at Shake Shack

Kimberly Derting and Sophie Jordan at Shake Shack

My first event for THE DAY BEFORE

Books of Wonder event - so fun!!

Kimberly Derting, Adele Griffin, Me and Laurie Faria Stolarz

A teacher and her daughter bought me a cupcake. So pretty!