Monday, September 28, 2015

YA Scavenger Hunt coming October 1st

This week there will be something a little different happening here on my blog.

For the first time, I'm participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt. This is an online event that happens twice a year where YA authors band together to help each other get the word out about their latest YA novels while giving away TONS of amazing prizes. 

There are eight different teams with 20 authors on EACH team. Here is my team - look at all of those BEAUTIFUL books!

So how does the hunt work? It's like a giant puzzle that moves hunters from one page to the next, gathering secret numbers on each page. Hunters add up the numbers and submit them to be entered to win a prize - books from every member on that team!! For more details about how it all works, go HERE. Along the way, gathering the numbers, hunters get to learn about all kinds of wonderful YA novels you may not have heard of before. Many authors offer individual drawings to win extra prizes as well. So my advice is to not rush through the sites, but take the time to read about each of the books and check for extra prizes that can be entered for along the way.

The fun and games starts on October 1st (noon PST/3:00 EST) and goes through October 5th (noon PST/3:00 EST). Here on my site, I'm excited to be hosting Debra Dockter, author of DEADLY DESIGN. For an extra prize, I'll be offering up a pretty framed print along with winner's choice of one of my books, signed and personalized. AND, somewhere within Team Green's scavenger hunt, a brand new book trailer for ALL WE HAVE IS NOW will be revealed!!

Hopefully I'll see you back here on Thursday, when the fun begins!

Monday, September 21, 2015

First Paris, then London!

I can finally tell you about the new novel I've been working on the past six months or so. It's a companion to My Secret Guide to Paris! I'm so excited, I really love how this story turned out.

From Scholastic's catalog:

From the author of My Secret Guide to Paris and the Charmed Life series comes a new middle-grade novel about sisters, secrets, and everyday magic -- all set in the enchanting streets of London.

When Phoebe finds a beautiful antique at a flea market, she's not sure whether it's as valuable as it looks. But inside she discovers something truly amazing -- a letter from WWII, from a young girl to her sister, who has been evacuated from London. The letter includes a "spell" for bringing people closer together, a list of clues leading all through the city. Each stop along the way adds up to magic.

Phoebe is stunned by the discovery. Not only is it an amazing piece of history, the letter is exactly what she needs -- she is also separated from her sister, though not by distance. Alice will be leaving for university soon, and in the meantime, she seems to want nothing to do with Phoebe. They used to be so close. But now that Phoebe has this magical list, maybe she can try the spell herself, and make everything go back to the way it was. 

coming April 26, 2016

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Thinking about character

Character is definitely one of the hardest things about writing for me. I'm not particularly good at coming up with characters who are unique, witty, funny, etc. etc. I think it's incredibly hard to do, honestly, but I've promised that next time around, as I'm drafting, I'm going to dig deeper from the get-go. I'm going to spend more time on character, because I really, really need to.

My next book, THE GIRL IN THE TOWER (March 2016, Henry Holt), went through a lot of revisions, and what happened during the lengthy process was that the main character, Violet, really came into her own. The girl you will see is quite different from the girl in the manuscript that sold five or so years ago. And thank goodness! She is a girl I admire, one I want to know, one that makes me so proud to be a girl. But it took a lot of work to get there. And I've realized I don't always put in the work that I need to with my characters - to make them all they can be.

I know some people have issues with THE HELP, and I'm not going to discuss those things here because they aren't relevant to this post. But what struck me about that book back when I read it, and even now, years later, are those characters and how they were different from each other, each special in her own right, and how much I grew to LOVE them. I mean, I LOVED THEM. I didn't want to return the book to the library because I was going to miss them - as if they were living and breathing inside that book.

I think writers know deep down that character really is THE most important part of a story. But we forget it, because when you're trying to sell a book, it's all about the hook - the plot. "Oh that sounds so good," you want people to say.

But after you've read a book? The plot isn't gonna be the reason you want to share it with the world. It's probably part of it, certainly. I mean, it has to work and work well and have the majority of people cheering at the end. Still, the characters are going to be what makes people fall in love. It's the characters people remember years and years later.

Scarlett and Rhett
Atticus and Scout
Edward and Bella
Remy and Dexter
Hazel and Augustus

and most recently

Olly and Maddy (Everything, Everything, which seems to be flying off the shelves)

There's always more work to do for writers. More things to learn. Always. Which I guess keeps things interesting, right?

Have a great week!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Top 10 list of things to do while waiting

One thing that is a constant in the publishing world is waiting.

There is always something.

When you're querying agents, you're waiting on responses.
When you on submission to editors, you're waiting on responses.
When your book has sold, you're waiting on the editorial letter.
When edits are done, you're waiting and wondering about the cover.
When the book is basically done, you're waiting on professional reviews.
When the book is out in the world, you're waiting and wondering about sales and readers' reactions.

I am not kidding when I say it never, ever ends!

So you have to find a way to deal with it. Here are my top ten ways of dealing with the waiting.

10. Snuggle with your pet(s) and tell them all your worries.

9. Bake yummy things

8. Go do something fun, like float on the river. Unless it's February. Because, well, not fun.

7. Play Cards Against Humanity with friends (if you are over 18). You will forget everything in life and laugh your face off, and it will be glorious. Since I'm a decent human being (most of the time) I picked a clean one for the sake of the children.

6. Search out quotes and post them on social media. Why? Because it's fun to play with the apps, that's why.

5. Go for walks and take photos of pretty flowers. Unless it's February. Then stay inside and drink hot cocoa and scroll through your feed and remember days gone by and the pretty flowers. Actually, if it's February, just get on a plane and go to Hawaii.

4. Write a blog post and search out fun gifs. Like the following:

3. Watch a really good TV series. Personally, I've really enjoyed Rectify and Mr. Robot this summer. And good grief, if you haven't watched Friday Night Lights, what are you waiting for???

2 . Keep writing. Always keep writing.

1. All of this is to basically say, don't sit around waiting. Get on with your life!