Thursday, May 31, 2012

Enter to win a signed paperback

THE DAY BEFORE comes out in paperback next Tuesday, June 5th, and I have a fun post scheduled for that day.

In the meantime, the awesome bloggers over at Novels, News and Notes from your Northwest Neighbors are hosting a giveaway for a hot-off-the-press SIGNED copy of THE DAY BEFORE.

Go here to enter!

If you missed the book trailer when the book was released, here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Vacation's all I've ever wanted (thanks to The Go-Go's)

Last night I was reading this post by my friend, Rachel Hawkins, and her plan to June Sploon. And then I was reading this post by my friend, Kate Messner, about her plans to help librarians and teachers write this summer. And I was like, oh, that would be fun to get in on that June Sploon action. And yeah, I should totally ask Kate what I can do to help her, because that's an awesome idea.

And then I was like - cool your jets, Lisa. Yo, this is supposed to be the summer of some much-needed R&R!

There is a part of me that wants to jump in to every cool thing offered if it could potentially mean a) an opportunity to spend time with people around the blogosphere who I think are cool, b) more exposure for me and my books or c) something that motivates me to get more books written.

But the thing is, I have been at this writing thing a long time now, and I no longer want to do it 24/7. There was a time when I lived and breathed writing and promoting and everything in between, and I don't want to do that anymore. First of all, I don't think it's healthy for me and second of all, this is now my job, and how many times have we heard, you won't be on your death bed, looking back at your life, wishing you worked more? I'm really trying to treat it more like a job.

Because I've been at this a long time now, I know I can write a book in 2-3 months with my tried and true 1,000 words a day. And I also know that summer is my most favorite time of the year. Rachel and I have actually talked about this, and summer is NOT fun where she lives, (down south y'all) so it's logical, I suppose, that summer rolls around and she's ready to stay inside with the glorious A/C and write. Okay, so deadlines help with that decision too, of course.

Summer is when I want to PLAY, as much as possible. I'll have to work some too. I will most likely have two editorial letters this summer, on two different middle grade novels. I don't really need to write anything new on top of that, when there are hikes to go on and berries to pick and pools to swim in and beaches to comb.

For about nine months of the year, give or take three days, Oregon is dreary and gray. Perfect writing weather, really. And during those eight to nine months, I'm usually working in the early mornings on weekends too, because I don't want to lose any momentum I have in either drafting or revising. So I'm working a LOT during those months. It's taken a long time for me to get to this place where I tell myself it's okay to take a break (as much as possible) during the summer.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about writing and breaks. How do you decide when it's time to take a break? Do you schedule them, or take them as they come? Do you have a favorite time of the year when you want to be playing more than working, like me? Do you think I'm crazy, wanting to try and step away from the writing world this summer?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's Raining Cupcakes birthday party!!

A month or so ago, a friend from high school e-mailed me to let me know her niece wanted her birthday party to be around the theme of "It's Raining Cupcakes." Apparently the birthday girl (who turned 8) loved the book and thought it would be a fun party to have.

Check out the adorable photos, which I was told I could share on my blog. So impressed with all of the details that went into the decorations and everything!

Each girl took home a paperback copy of the book with a personalized and signed bookplate. Isn't a book the best goody bag gift ever? I love it.


So fun, right? There you go - your next birthday party all planned, right down to the cupcake shaped pinata!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

I love saying "SURPRISE!"

A month or so ago, a woman named Thereasa got in touch with me to ask for the reading/discussion guide for IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. She and her daughter, Emily, are in a mother/daughter book club and her daughter had chosen CUPCAKES for when they would be hosting the club. She told me Emily had been reading the book every night and hadn't been that excited about a book in a while. I offered to send some signed postcards, as I often do (I usually offer to send bookmarks, but I'm out and waiting for the third book cover before printing some more) so Thereasa sent me her address. Turned out she only lived about 20 minutes away from me.

At some point, Thereasa asked me if I might be willing to Skype with the group for a few minutes, and since I was free that evening, I said sure.

The day arrived, and it was a beautiful day. Sunny and warm. My husband and I took a walk with the dog in Laurelhurst Park, a lovely park in NE Portland, and had a really nice afternoon. When we got home, I was thinking more and more about the scheduled Skype visit and how the club was meeting just twenty minutes away from me. I told my husband, "I think I'm going to go and surprise them." He asked me some questions, to make sure I had really thought it through, and after answering them, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to go!

When I arrived, I walked up to the house and rang the bell. A woman answered and I asked, "Are you Thereasa?" She smiled and said, "No." She stared at me and then a hint of recognition passed over her face. "Are you the author?" I whispered, "Yes. I'm here to surprise everyone. I hope Thereasa likes surprises!"

A girl came around the corner as we walked into the house and I asked, "Are you Emily?" She gave me a big smile and said, "Yes!" I said, "Emily, I wanted to meet you! So I decided to come and see you in person instead of through the computer."

I walked into the family room where everyone was gathered, and the look on their faces was priceless. They were happy to see me and I was soon signing books and after that, answering lots and lots of questions. It was a great group of girls and moms and they made me feel so welcome.

Here are a couple of pictures from the evening.

Like I told them - writing can be a lonely job at times. Connecting with readers is one of the best parts of being an author, so as much as I wanted to make it a special evening for them, it was something I did for myself too. I knew they would remember the surprise for a long time to come, and the evening spent chatting with them would be something I would carry with me as well.

Thanks to the Moms and girls who so kindly welcomed me into their club for the evening. I had a great time and I hope you did too!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

From my mail

Here are a few tidbits from the letters I've received over the past couple of months. Thank you SO much for your enthusiasm, dear readers, and for sharing my books with others. I've said it before and I'll say it again a million times - the BEST thing you can do for an author whose books you love is to tell others about them!! So THANK YOU for all you do to help spread the word!

Here's a cupcake for all of you, courtesy of Anna, who is a GREAT artist, wouldn't you say?

"I've been telling everyone about your books and telling them to read them." ~Anna, age 10

"A few months ago, 4 friends and I started a book club. Guess what? It's Raining Cupcakes was our first book." ~Charlotte

"One of my friends made the Smores cupcakes, and they tasted soooo delicious." ~Dhavin, 5th grade

"I love your book It's Raining Cupcakes. I love the way I feel like I'm in the story." ~Olivia, age 8

"I've recommended your books to lots of my friends and they loved them, so please consider writing another book about Sophie, Isabel and Dennis." ~ Sarah, age 8 1/2

"I have a dog, his name is Leno! Like Jay Leno because he has a black hair stripe." ~Sydney, age 10

"For my book report, I drew the cupcake shop and Isabel, Sophie, Isabel's dad, mom and grandmother."
 ~Nicole, age 11

"This book (I Heart You, You Haunt Me) makes me want to appreciate all the things in life I have, big and small, while I still have them." ~Jaycie

"I did your book Chasing Brooklyn for a book talk at school and now all the girls in my class (16 of them) are reading your books." ~Sabrina

"Just recently I lost my three year old cousin to a house fire. Your books about joy not sorrow are truly helping me." ~Morgan, 9th grade

Thursday, May 3, 2012

IRA 2012 and School Visit recap

Sunday and Monday I attended the International Reading Association conference in Chicago, IL. The weather was yukky, but when you're so busy with workshops and signings and meeting cool people and eating fabulous food, who needs nice weather anyway?

Sunday was the all-day institute put on by eight incredible authors and me - Carolee Dean, Carolyn Meyer, Caroline Rose Starr, Kersten Hamilton, Kimberly Little Griffiths, Uma Krishnaswani, Esther Hershenhorn and April Wayland. We talked about using the story strategies of professional authors to inspire a love of reading and writing.

Here we are, looking all professional and authorly.

We went out to dinner the night before, where much fun was had, as you can see:

Simon and Schuster took its authors out to dinner Sunday night. I sat near the incredibly talented and kind author/illustrator Peter Reynolds and his brother, Paul. Here is a picture I took, so I'm not in the picture, but you can see Peter and Paul to the right, and that's Carolee on the left. And Carolyn Meyer who turned around just as I was snapping the picture.

Peter drew me this little gem that I plan to frame and place on my desk:

I didn't take many pictures at the convention center on Monday. I signed books for an hour in the S&S booth and met lots of fabulous teachers. I did find Kate Messner, who was there signing a bunch of her books, including her latest release, EYE OF THE STORM:

Of course you can't visit Chicago and not have deep dish pizza, so Carolee, Caroline and I went to Giordano's downtown Monday night and had our selves a fabulous dinner.

Tuesday I went to Blackhawk Middle School where I did three presentations for each of the grades and signed lots of books. It was a great day and the teachers and librarians there are obviously very passionate about reading.

Check out the wall of poems that kids wrote, inspired by one of my books that they read:

There were a whole bunch of sweet thank you notes, too!

And here's the stage lined with welcome posters:

Now, I'm back home, with some work on a manuscript I need to get to. When I'm finished with that, I plan on taking a much-needed break for a few weeks. I'm a very tired author about now...

Happy May!!!