Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

I'm giving away an Advanced Review Copy of the book on twitter - you can find the tweet to retweet at

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Bridge From Me to You - Question 3 - Why half verse, half prose?

We are just a week away from the official release date, although I've had one report of an early sighting, which happens quite often when you're a mid-list author like I am. If they get shipments early, they only hold back the highly anticipated books. You know, the ones that are going to make a million dollars, haha.

SO, each day between now and then, I'll be posting a quote from the book. It's like pulling the spatula out of the bowl of frosting and having a little taste before you eat the cake.

Here's today's quote, and then I'll get to the answer to the question.

Until now, I've written four novels almost entirely in verse. I say "almost entirely" because THE DAY BEFORE has some letters sprinkled throughout.

FALLING FOR YOU was my first foray into regular prose (as far as YA, all of my MG novels are written in prose), because the story called for it, I think. With lots of characters and lots of dialogue required, it can be difficult to make verse work well. I never want to try and MAKE something work because that just isn't how it's done. The story has to flow for me in a natural way. It's like floating down a river rather than trying to paddle upstream, if that makes sense.

So when I started writing THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU, Lauren's voice came out easily in verse. But Colby's just... wouldn't. I tried a few different things, and it wasn't working. Once I wrote a short chapter in prose from his point of view, it felt right. Half verse, half prose is different. Whenever I do something outside of the norma, I'm not gonna lie, it scares me a little because there is some risk in that. Too different, and it might be hard to get a contract.

Fortunately, my editor liked how it turned out, as did the rest of the team at Scholastic. Sometimes you have to go with your gut and hope for the best!

Only one more week!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You - Question 2: Why Small Town Life?

When I was in 8th grade, my mom, my brother and I all moved to the farm where my grandparents lived. We lived in the little white house where my great grandparents had raised their two daughters, next door to my grandparents' house they'd built sometime during the late fifties or early sixties. My mom was going back to school to study computer programming, and living on the farm allowed her to save a lot of money.

Here's the old barn that my great grandparents built when my grandma was a little girl. When she was just eight years old, her parents sent her down to the river bed with a buckboard and she gathered rocks that would be used for the barn's foundation. I love old barns - there's just something about them that are cool.

"Town" as my grandma called it, was six miles away from the farm. If I wanted to go see friends, I had to get someone to take me, or ride my bike (which I did a lot the summer before my freshman year).

Sometimes it's fun to write about places you don't know. It's fun to do research and learn about interesting things about faraway places. And sometimes it's fun to write about places you do know. Writing The Bridge From Me to You was a little bit like going back to high school - revisiting the fun parts. Because the thing about small town life is that if you can't find any fun, you make your own. And there is something pretty special about that.

I hope that teens from small towns enjoy reading a book that probably feels a little like the place they live. And I hope teens who don't know what small town life is like have fun "visiting" somewhere different from what they know.

Next time I'll answer the question - why half verse, half prose?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You - Question 1: Why Football?

Over the next two weeks, before the official release date of July 29th, I'm going to answer some questions about my upcoming young adult novel, THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU. Questions people might have as they consider whether they want to read the book, or maybe while they're reading it, or even when they're finished with it.

The answers to these questions will mostly be just little peeks inside of my brain that may or may not be interesting to you. If not, it's okay. My brain is a little odd sometimes, I get it.

Okay, so the first question is - why football?

Colby, one of the main characters of the book, plays on his high school team, so football plays a part in this book. I know not everyone loves football. I like football when I'm watching a team that I'm invested in, for whatever reason, and somehow have a personal connection to one or more of the players. It's the reason I like the Green Bay Packers, for example. Aaron Rodger's mother took care of my son when he was two years old in her home daycare. I can still remember watching Aaron and his two brothers throw the football around in front of their house in the street. If only I'd had fortune telling abilities, I could have gotten his autograph at the ripe age of 12 and been rich in fifteen years!!

It's also the reason I enjoyed watching football in high school. We had a good team, a great team actually, and I knew some of those boys on the field. Some of them I didn't know, but I saw them in school, obviously, and I might have crushed on one or two of them. Maybe. Okay, actually, I'm not telling.

Our team made it all the way to the state playoffs two years in a row. My sophomore year, a bunch of us caravanned around the state and watched every playoff game. We slept in cheap hotels and even a church one time when the game was on the other side of the state. The year I went to the championship game, it was a nail biter, but in the end, we lost. Still, so many wonderful memories from that season. This is me (the one with the blonde hair) cheering for our Warriors at the championship game. If you can't tell, we really wanted our team to win. More than we wanted our hair to look good, obviously.

So why football? This book is about small town life, and I think in a lot of small towns, like the one I come from, the high school games are something a lot of people look forward to on Friday nights. It's a social gathering for the entire community. The games bring people together and for a couple of hours, everyone can forget their problems and focus on the players on the field.

The TV show Friday Night Lights will always be one of my favorite shows, ever. I miss that show. I miss Eric and Tami Taylor, Julie and Matt, Landry, Riggins, Smash, Vince, Lyla and Tyra, and the rest of the gang. Even though football was a part of the show, again and again you'd hear from people who watched, "But it's not about football."

I think it's the same for my book. It's not about football, but football is a part of the story, the same way football was a part of my high school experience. The same way football is a part of many teens'  high school experiences. Can you read the book and enjoy it if you don't really care about football? Yes!!!

So there you go. Next time I'll answer the question - Why Small Town Life?

(in case you missed it - there's a pre-order contest going on over at the Novel Novice blog. Check it out HERE!)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Back from Vacation

Hey there! Happy summer!! Hope you are having a good one.

We went on a little vacation to central Oregon last week and stayed in a house at Sunriver Resort where we went on lots of bike rides, walked and hiked along the Deschutes River, ate delicious ice cream, and stood on a bridge in awe of the beautiful sunsets. Oh, and at the end of the trip, we drove to Crater Lake to see that gorgeous piece of work.

I'm busy with revisions on my 2015 YA novel right now, but after that I will have some fun posts to share as we move closer to the release date of THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU!

For now, a few pretty pictures.

Ha, had to sneak that last one in there. Came home to a finished copy my editor had sent me. Nice way to end a vacation. :)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Awesome Pre-Order Contest thanks to Novel Novice

It's just a little over a month until my new YA novel is released!

What's it about? It's about small town life, about family and friendship, about dreams, about a boy named Colby who is burdened by his future and a girl named Lauren who is burdened by her past. It's gotten some good reviews already from Publisher's Weekly, School Library Journal, and Kirkus! This book is appropriate for people ages 12-92. Okay, maybe even 93.

What I most want to tell you today is that one of my favorite blogs, Novel Novice, is doing a pre-order contest. I've signed 25 super cute bookplates with some artwork that totally goes with the book (you'll see when you read it), so the first 25 people to submit your receipt to Novel Novice will get a bookplate along with a bookmark.

But that's not all! You'll also be entered into a drawing to win some amazing books Novel Novice is giving away.

The post with ALL THE DETAILS is here: Pre-order Contest

Many, many independent bookstores take pre-orders on-line. I've listed some of them below with DIRECT links to my book to make it really easy for you. Once you get an e-mail receipt for your order, you can forward that to the e-mail address given for the contest details - please CLINK ON THE LINK ABOVE to read how to officially enter the contest! If you don't see your favorite bookstore here, just look them up and I'm sure they'll be happy to take your pre-order. The Novel Novice page has links to other on-line retailers, too. I'm just trying to make sure you have lots of options.

Please note if you are in the Portland-Metro area, I will be signing books at Powell's Cedar Hills Crossing on August 14th, and I would love to see you there!

Books Inc., San Francisco, CA
(415) 221-3666

A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, CA
(510) 339-8210

Pages A Bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA
(310) 318-0900

Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA
(626) 449-5321

Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO
(303) 436-1070

Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
(630) 355-2665

RJ Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
(203) 245-3959

Book Cellar, Chicago, IL
(773) 293-2665

Lake Forest Bookstore, Lake Forest, IL
(847) 234-4420

Eight Cousins Bookstore, Falmouth, MA
(508) 548-5548

Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN
(651) 224-8320

Water Street Bookstore, Inc., Exeter NH
(603) 778-9731

Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
(505) 344-8139

Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga, NY
(518) 682-4200

Oblong Books, Rhinebeck, NY
(845) 876-0500

Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC
(919) 942-7373

Powell's Books, Portland, OR
(800) 878-7323

Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, PA
(215) 230-7610

Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX
(281) 497-8675

BookPeople, Austin, TX
(512) 472-4288

Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, VT
(802) 362-2200

Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA
(206) 624-6600

Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
(414) 332-1181

Thank you!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

From my mail

Every week I'm fortunate to get mail from readers, both handwritten letters that arrive in my post office box as well as e-mails that arrive in my inbox. Sometimes the handwritten letters include artwork too, which I LOVE!! But all of the letters are awesome, really. Thank you for taking the time to write to me, dear readers!!

drawn by Aricel

Here's a taste of what readers have told me lately:

"I am a big fan of your book It's Raining Cupcakes. I love reading it because I can connect to Isabel so much -- the way she wants to travel, see different places." ~ Aricel, age 10

"I know you probably won't ever see this, but it's worth a shot. I just wanted to let you know that I am your biggest fan EVER. My favorite book that you wrote is It's Raining Cupcakes." ~ Laine

"I like your books Caitlin's Lucky Charm and Mia's Golden Bird. I cannot wait until the 3rd book comes out!!!" ~ Kimberly

"I quote your books all the time! Some of my favorites have to be "It's been a year, we should be okay. Somewhat okay, anyway," "It's like 4th of July all the time. You don't even have to kiss for sparks to fly," and "she's a one in a million friend, and I'm glad she's mine." I have recommended your books to plenty of people but I know that no one will understand my obsession!" ~ Whitney

"Hi, I just wanted to tell you how much you inspired me to read. I had never read a book until my teacher introduced me to Chasing Brooklyn." ~ J.

"I have hated to read since as long as I can remember. My little brother goes to the library quite a bit and a couple months ago I decided to go with him. I saw one of your books and I decided to get it. I now love to read your books. All of them are so good!" ~ S


It's summer! Are you excited? I AM SO EXCITED!!! Read lots of books, okay? Because here's another quote from I Heart You, You Haunt Me: "Books and summertime go together.