Saturday, November 30, 2013

10 things you may not know about FALLING FOR YOU

On December 3rd, FALLING FOR YOU comes out in paperback. Yes, that's right, for less than ten bucks, you can own it so it may sit on your lovely bookshelf in your home. (After you read it, of course). You DO have a bookshelf, don't you? I hope so. Bookshelves are awesome. I wish I had more.

OR give it to someone for a gift this holiday season. I buy lots of books for gifts. I think it's my favorite gift to give, actually.

Anyway, to celebrate this monumental occasion, I've come up with a list of ten things you may not know about this book. Because here's the thing about that cover - it really tells you nothing about the book. Some covers are like that, you know?

Okay, here you go - ten things!

1.  Rae (short for Rayanna), the main character, works at a flower shop called Full Bloom. They have a sign that says, "If your name is __________, come in for a free flower." Every day they change the name on the sign outside their shop. There's a flower store in my town that does this, and that's where I got the idea. I even went in one time when the name on the sign was "Lisa."

2. Someone buys flowers anonymously to be delivered to people around town. The envelopes with the delivery instructions always have Rae's name on them, and she has no idea why. But she does the deliveries, hoping to find out. This part of the story reminded one reader of Marcus Zusack's I AM THE MESSENGER (one of my favorite books).

3. Rae's English teacher is Mrs. Bloodsaw. She's really cool, kind of like her name.

4.  Leo, Rae's friend, likes to make videos. Kind of like John and Hank Green like to make videos. They're awesome, right? Leo's awesome too.

5. Rae writes poetry in journals. In Rae's own words: "Maybe lots of things in my life were out of control, but when it came to my words, I had all the authority."

6. Rae meets a wonderful elderly woman named Ella. I named her this after my grandma, who was Ellamae. Like Rae, Ella loves poetry too. Her favorite poet is Sara Teasdale.

7. Here's a poem of Sara Teasdale's that's mentioned in the book (all of Teasdale's poems are in the public domain).


Into my heart's treasury
I slipped a coin
That time cannot take
Nor a thief purloin, --
Oh better than the minting
Of a gold-crowned king
Is the safe-kept memory
Of a lovely thing.

8. At one point, Rae and Leo eat at the Melt Bar and Grill, a place specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches. Doesn't that sound good? We have a Grilled Cheese Bus in Portland and it's fantastic. No, I'm not kidding.

9. Rae drinks green tea with jasmine. It's one of my favorite kinds of teas.

10. Last but not least, Rae's favorite song is "Everlong" by the Foo Fighters. If you haven't heard the acoustic version sung by Dave Grohl, you are missing out. It is perfection, in my opinion. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Paperbacks! And I'm thankful for YOU!

They are due to officially hit shelves Tuesday, December 3rd. Will they hit a certain chain store's bookshelves? I have no idea - we'll have to wait and see.

If you are out and about shopping this weekend, you might take a gander and see if you spot it. (Sorry, sometimes I just have the urge to talk like one of my favorite TV families, the Waltons. No use fighting it, I say. Better here than in my books, right?) Anyway, often times books do make their way out early, so you never know...

A huge thank you to all of my readers as we count our blessings this week. I'm able to do this job because of you. Every book you buy and read and share in some way is like a little vote telling my publishers I'm worth having around. So THANK YOU.

Cupcakes for you! (I did not make these, I just think they're cute. Grandma Walton would make you the best pumpkin pie this side of the Mississippi, but a picture of a pumpkin pie isn't very exciting. Eating pie, however, is always exciting. Don't get me wrong there.)

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Monday Five

I know, it's usually the Friday Five, but I'm a few days behind with *everything* lately. Like, so many people I know have already seen Catching Fire, but I won't get to see it until this weekend sometime. I'm SO excited - people are raving about it.

Anyway, I have a few things to share, so here we go, the Monday Five, which doesn't sound nearly as cool as the Friday Five, but that's okay since I've never been, and never will be, one of the cool kids.

1. This weekend I switched out my iMac that was about ten years old, so I'm writing this on my new and improved computer and I LOVE IT! I bought a used iMac on ebay from a company that specializes in cleaning up old ones and reselling them. This one (a 2009 model) came with a ton of software loaded on it and the latest operating system for much, much less than I would have paid new. I try to buy used as much as possible in life, because it just makes sense to me in so many ways.

As I was copying files over and getting everything set up on the new one, I noticed I've been using Office 2004. 2004, people! That is crazy!! The most frustrating thing was that Blogger wasn't playing nice with the old, old operating system I was using, so I couldn't read blogs anymore. I'm a strange beast of a writer. I have a laptop I use on the treadmill desk sometimes, but other times, I want a nice big screen and a comfy chair, so I really need both a desk computer and a laptop. I've dragged my feet for so long, but I'm glad I finally took the plunge and got something newer. The speed - OMG, the speed!!! Happy, happy, happy.

2. On Friday, I got news that School Library Journal will review Frosting and Friendship in its upcoming December/January issue, and it's an awesome review! Here's a snippet:

"Schroeder’s realistic dialogue and depiction of daily dramas show her strong grasp of middle-school life. The combination of baking and bands will initially attract many girls, but it’s the short chapters and simple diction that keep the plot cooking. Readers will be drawn to the well-delineated, quirky Lily. They’ll empathize with her, ponder her dilemmas, and cheer her on to make the right decisions."

3. I saw my baby nephew, Jacob, this weekend. He is almost three months old. He had a bit of a rough start but he's doing great now! Baby cuddles are the best!

4. The fourth and final CHARMED LIFE book is due one week from today. I have about three more chapters to write. I'm hoping to finish the draft by Wednesday, and then I will spend a good chunk of the long weekend editing before I send it off to my editor on December 2nd. Eep - I'm almost there! Fingers crossed things go according to plan!

5. Finally, I discovered over the weekend, thanks to Kim Baccellia who told me the news via twitter, that FALLING FOR YOU is a paperback pick in the December 16th issue of FIRST for Women magazine. Of course I had to go out and get a copy. And, I had to take pictures because, come on, Dr. Oz on the cover and Nicholas Sparks, Maria Semple, and Shirlee McCoy featured alongside my book? So. Weird.

click on the picture to enlarge

"When my book club chose this novel about a young relationship gone wrong, I was skeptical," says Melissa Sorrells, FIRST associate editor. "But its complexity drew me in and held held on tight." It goes on to say, "Rae's courage and journey to self-worth reminded me of roads I've traveled in my life -- and of just how strong I am."

The paperback comes out on December 3rd!! Next Sunday I'll have a list of ten things you should know about the book to celebrate the paperback release.

In the meantime, have a *wonderful* Thanksgiving holiday! Eat lots of pie, okay? I mean it. I really want a t-shirt that says, "Life is short. Eat pie."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Why I love the ending of The Goodbye Girl

I caught the tail end of one of my favorite movies yesterday, when someone (@readjennymartin) tweeted that it was on TV.

When I was younger, I just adored Lucy, the daughter of single mother, Paula. Actually, as I watched yesterday, the 10-year-old me, who struggled to understand divorce and accept new people coming in and out of her parents' lives, was still there, wishing again that she could be more like Lucy.

Anyway, I was a bit disappointed I didn't catch the whole thing, but that's okay, since I've seen it so many times. I caught the best part: the ending.

I think it can be hard to get endings right, in both books and movies. With my own books, I know I've rewritten endings fairly often, way more than I have to rewrite beginnings. As I was thinking about this particular ending, however, I wondered why I like it so much. And here are my thoughts:

1) It manages to be a bit surprising while being somewhat predictable too

It's a romantic comedy. They are supposed to end up together. And I believe Elliott when he says he's coming back. Yet I also understand Paula's insecurity. I want her to believe him too. And so, when Elliott calls her and invites him to come with him on his 4-week acting stint, wonderful. And she says she doesn't need to go, being invited is enough. But then. THEN, he asks her to get his guitar tuned while he's gone. It's in that surprising moment -- that realization along with Paula that he left his one and only prized possession in her care -- when our hearts go YES! He IS coming back and now Paula knows it too. It's just so, so perfect. Doing something surprising at the end is HARD. In future books, I've vowed to think about this more, because man, when you can find something that catches your readers a little off guard, in the best way possible, it's just the best.

2) It's true to character

I think sometimes it's easy to forget, when crafting story, that our characters must come first. That is -- what they do, how they act, what they say -- needs to be consistent and believable. The guitar IS Elliott, in many ways. It was the perfect thing to bring into the ending, and to cinch the scene, so to speak. I love, love, LOVE it when something that has played a part in the story throughout comes back to play some significance in the end.

3) It's not cheesy

I am not always good at knowing what's cheesy. It takes a lot to get me to roll my eyes. I've decided to watch more Hallmark movies this holiday season so I can get a better feel for cheesy. I mean, I really want to have a better cheese radar. It's important, as a writer! But could anyone view this ending as cheesy? I think not. It's just pure - awwwwww. He left his guitar. Of course! It means he IS coming back. And that's what we wanted as we watched, an assurance for Paula that he would be back and everything would be okay.

There's probably more, but it's way past time to get to work. I've decided I need to do more of this though - when I love a story or a part of a story, take some time to think about why that love came about. I think it can only help me in my own story writing.

Have a great week!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

From my mail

It's been a while since I've given a shout-out to the awesome readers who have taken the time to drop me an e-mail or write me a letter. I feel very blessed to receive notes every week from readers who are
excited about reading one of my books and want to write to me and let me know.

I'm about halfway done with the fourth and final book in the new CHARMED LIFE series and honestly, some days, hearing from my readers is all that keeps me going! So thank you!!

"Thank you so much! I read Frosting and Friendship and I loved it. You naming a character after me made my day. No, wait, my WHOLE LIFE!!" ~ Dharsanaa

"I am Katy and I have read two of your cupcake books. Some things about me, I have a pet gerbil, my favorite fruit is watermelon, and my favorite TV shows are Remington Steele, Charlie's Angels, and Laverne and Shirley." ~ Katy

"I have have just finished reading Sprinkles and Secrets. I bought it at the Scholastic Book Fair that came to my school.  As soon as I started reading it, I realized that it was the sequel to It's Raining Cupcakes.  I so enjoyed reading both!  I loved the ending to Sprinkles and Secrets.  Could you write a third?  That would be amazing!" ~ Caroline

"I'm so upset! I finished all of your books. They were absolutely amazing. I don't think I could ever find an author like you. I'm looking forward to a new book! " ~ Hannah

"Hi! I'm writing to you because I completely fell in love with your book The Day Before. Your book connected with me on so many levels it was unreal. Amber is me. Everything from the red hair, to the music she likes, to being a little rough around the edges is completely me." ~ Macey

"I have so far read ALL of your books, even you recent one Falling for you, which honestly, made me tear up! I felt so connected with it. I keep trying to get my friends to read your books. But my friends don't enjoy reading as much as me, but I am not giving up!" ~ Maia

"My name is Mary. I'm 15 and a sophomore. I just finished your book Falling For You. I just wanted to let you know that this book has completely changed my life and my outlook upon living. I suffer from extreme depression. I've had a lot of problems in my life. Your book was exactly what I needed. I was giving up on myself and my true happiness. This book has given me an extreme amount of hope that my life is going to turn around. I just wanted to thank you. Thank you so much for showing me that there is hope." ~ Mary 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

For Sale

I wish I had a half a million dollars lying around. If I did, I'd be buying THIS.

Why, you ask?

Because I have many, many happy memories of that place.

If you scroll through the pictures, the little white house was where my great grandparents lived when they settled here. It was the home my grandma Ellamae and great aunt Helen grew up. After my grandma and grandpa got married, they eventually made their way back home, and built a tiny little house on the same property where they lived with their three young daughters. Years later, they built the brick house and made their old house the garage.

In the early eighties, I lived in the little white house for a time with my mom and brother while my mom went back to school. And I spent many, many nights with my grandparents over the years. My mom has spent quite a bit of money updating the two houses, especially the smaller white one. I love that the pink bathroom remains in the brick one, though.

We moved around a lot growing up, so besides the house I live in now with my husband and kids, this is the place that most feels like home.

My beloved cocker spaniel, Lucky, is buried under one of the apple trees. I used to mow the lawn with the riding lawn mower. I swung on the tire swing. I rode horses around the corral. I jumped on the trampoline that my grandpa built years ago in the hay loft of the barn. And one summer, after I picked strawberries (which paid for the cocker spaniel mentioned above), I sat in the family room every day and watched General Hospital with my grandma. Good times, you know? The best, really.

It's a long story as to why it's up for sale, and we've all come to terms with the fact that this is what has to be done. It doesn't mean I have to like it, though. And it doesn't mean that I can't wish with all my heart that the money would magically appear so we could buy it.

If you know someone who might be interested in some property with two houses, a barn, a big shop out back, and more, send them the link. It's a good place. The best, really.