Monday, November 30, 2009

A month of mostly reruns

With Christmas around the corner and a book release coming shortly after that, I have a to-do list that makes my head hurt just looking at it.

I thought about signing off until January, but a blank blog is sad! So, I've decided to go through my archives and repost some of my blog posts from days past. I started blogging on livejournal way back in 2005!

To put it in perspective, I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME in 2006 and sold it in 2007. So...maybe it will be fun to go back and read some of those posts before, during and after my first novel sale. Of course, it'll be new material to many of you. And those of you have known me since I started blogging, well, I luv ya, and maybe it'll be kinda fun going down memory lane? Maybe?

I guess I figure all my favorite shows are doing it the month of December, so if they can, I can too!

Besides, come January, do I have something FANTASTIC for you!? Wait 'til you see what I've lined up!!!

Happy December!

Happy Rerun month!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So, I saw New Moon on Monday.

Suzanne Young has the recap HERE - pictures included, because Suz was born to be a blogger and takes her camera EVERYWHERE.

I liked the movie. And I continue to be totally amazed by this phenomenon Stephenie Meyer has created. I mean, isn't it amazing?

And really, we should be thanking her because so many teens have been turned on to reading because of her. Many of them go back to the bookstore for more, which is a very good thing.

This Thanksgiving, I'm feeling thankful for family, friends, and for being a YA author. It's a fun, exciting time. So many great authors writing incredible books.

Sometimes I look around and that song from Sesame Street pops into my head that goes - One of these things is not like the other - wondering how I'm here amongst all the greatness.

But I am. And I'm very, VERY thankful for that.

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving with good food, good family, and GOOD BOOKS! Yay - four whole days to READ!!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Is the title really THAT important? In a word - Yes!

Not one, but two professionals in the industry last week talked about how a great title could make a difference in how fast your manuscript gets read.

First - Editorial Anon says, "If you can come up with a super title, then do-- it can encourage prompt responses." Read more HERE.

I've always had a feeling this was the case. Some titles just make you go - ooooh, I want to read that!

Next - Agent Jill Corcoran says, "When a submission hits my inbox, one of the first things I notice is the title." And then she goes on to say, "Titles are not something to anguish over, they are your golden opportunity to attract someone to your manuscript." Read more HERE.

It's so great when you know the title of your book before you start writing, and you know it's the perfect title. Or you start writing and it's not long before you come up with the title that knocks your socks off.

But I think more often than not, authors struggle with the right title. Jill suggests polling other authors - I know l've seen some authors do a poll on their blogs allowing others to vote for a title. It's important to have a title that makes someone sit up and take notice. And really, the only way you're going to do that is to ask other people what they think.

I have two projects on submission now. One of them has an awesome title. I love it. It's one word, and it's a pretty word. I can see it on the cover of a book and it makes me excited about that book! What a wonderful thing, huh? The other one, I'm not so sure. I'm still, even now, wondering if there's a better title. For nine months, I searched for the perfect title, and you all know that after awhile, you just get sick of thinking/worrying about it and figure the one you come up with is good enough. After all, you can always change it later, with the help of your editor, right?

But now, after reading these articles, I wish I had done a little more about my uncertainty. Perhaps asked all of you to weigh in.

So don't do what I did. Before you send that manuscript off, make sure you have an AWESOME title! It's only a few words. It can't be THAT hard, right? :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guess for the next Chase Around the USA stop

Thanks to the Never Ending Shelf for the kind words about CHASING BROOKLYN and for getting the contest going so quickly.

Entries have been collected and it's time for me to guess the next stop.

I'm going to guess: OKLAHOMA

Thanks to everyone who entered and congrats to the winner!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Another reader has posted her word and is looking for the 6th stop on the Chase Around the USA contest.

If you are a blogger and you'd like the chance to read the ARC and win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice, go HERE to read the contest rules and to enter:

I'm so glad to see that people are liking this book - yay!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Winter Blog Blast Tour - My turn!

A big thank you to the fabulous Kelly Fineman for choosing to interview ME for her part in the Winter Blog Blast Tour.

Want to know why I keep writing about loss?
Want to know what the new paperback cover looks like for my book FAR FROM YOU?
Want to know what I think of cupcakes?

Go HERE to find out!

To see the rest of the stops, Chasing Ray has the lineup.

Happy Friday!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


All of this talk about NCTE and ALAN makes me sad I'm not going. Have fun those of you who are!

So, I will try to focus on the positive today, which is this:

Yesterday I got word from my editor that FAR FROM YOU is one of seven S&S titles that made the 2010 Texas TAYSHAS List for Teens!


I suddenly feel the need to go out and buy some cute cowboy boots. I've always wanted red cowboy boots!

Anyway, I'm so incredibly psyched about my book being on this list, I can't even tell you. So a big THANK YOU to the committee for selecting my book out of all of those you had to choose from.

The list hasn't actually been updated yet, so I can't share the link, but hopefully it will be soon. Congratulations to all the others who made the list as well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It is THAT kind of day

It is a BUSY day when you must work all day and then go to a dinner and auction immediately afterwards that will go until 9:00 pm. But when your publisher generously offers to pay your way because it's a good chance to meet book sellers and your local sales rep., you go.

It is a FUNNY day when you are watching Good Morning America and the commercial comes on for Did You Hear about the Morgans and you hear Hugh Grant say, "I called ahead to get the table near the mayonnaise." Have you ever heard Hugh say "mayonnaise?" The commercial is so long, there's really no need to see the movie, which is pretty funny too.

It is a STORMY day today and every day this week. Very, very stormy.

It is a SCARY day when you realize Christmas is only like 40 days away.

It is a HAPPY day when you get the news your friend Alix had her baby boy (Xander!) yesterday and both baby and Mom are doing well!

And, it is a GOOD day when you get an enthusiastic e-mail from your agent that uses the coveted "L" word about the book you spent a lot of your spare time working on over the past nine months. A book you wrote for yourself, because you wanted to write something new and different.

So...what kind of day are you having today?

Monday, November 16, 2009

2009 Winter Blog Blast Tour

This week a number of authors will be interviewed around the blogosphere in the Winter Blog Blast tour.

Check out the tour schedule at Chasing Ray.

I will be featured on Kelly Fineman's blog, Writing & Ruminating, on Friday!

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fifth Stop for Chasing Brooklyn

I want to thank Lisa at A Life Bound by Books for her kind words about CHASING BROOKLYN and her lovely word.

It's now time for me to guess where my little ARC is off to next.

I'm going to guess...


Thanks one and all for playing!!


Another reader has posted her word and is looking for the 5th stop on the Chase Around the USA contest.

If you are a blogger and you'd like the chance to read the ARC and win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice, go HERE to read the contest rules and to enter:

Wow, it's getting around fast - thanks, everyone, for reading quickly and getting the book sent on to the next person.

Can't wait to see where it lands next!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Five things on a Thursday

1) Delsym cough medicine is the best. It's expensive, but worth every penny.

2) I really don't like it when men have hairy necks. If you don't want to get your hair cut very often, fine, but please, can you at least shave your neck?

3) Check out this amazing, AMAZING post about ARCs by Kristi, aka The Story Siren. She went to publicists at publishing houses and asked them some questions about ARCs, including how much an average ARC costs. Good stuff, people!

4. Taylor Swift - OMG, she won FOUR awards on the Country Music Awards last night. I can't quite decide if I want to marry Taylor Swift or BE Taylor Swift. I know I want to write books the way Taylor writes songs. Now that I'm learning to play the guitar, I'm trying to teach myself some of her songs. Teardrops on My Guitar is one I've been playing a lot.

In my dreams, I sound like this:

5. Speaking of guitar, I'm playing on the one my husband has had for about 30 years. No joke. It's fine for now, but I'm really hoping Santa might bring me a new one for Christmas. If you know guitars and have any recommendations for him, please let me know so I can pass it along. I think I'd like to try and find one that works well with my small hands. If there is such a thing!

Happy Thursday!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The good/The not-so-good

The good: I know for sure some kind librarians nominated FAR FROM YOU for the YALSA 2010 book lists (Best Books for Young Readers and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers) because they told me so. THANK YOU kind librarians!!!

The not-so-good: It didn't make either nomination list, which means it didn't get the necessary second from a committee member. I'm sad, but oh well. I'm thrilled so many awesome books are on the lists and many of my writerly friends have books nominated.

The good: The book I've been working on for the last 8 months, HOPE FOR NIMBUS, is done. For now. And I'm going to send it to my agent today!

The not-so-good: I wanted to be a lot further along on my new novel-in-verse than I am, and I'm so busy at work this month, I don't know that I'm going to have much energy to work on it during my off-hours. But, I guess I can only do what I can do.

The good: I was browsing the new S&S Children's Catalog for Spring 2010 and on the CHASING BROOKLYN page, it says, "12-copy mixed floor display (Includes 8 copies of CHASING BROOKLYN and 4 copies of I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME) for $159.88." A floor display will be available for my books!!

The not-so-good: Will any bookseller really buy one? I often see news like this and think the worst. What is up with that?

The good: Day off today!

The not-so-good: I have a to-do list the size of a foot-long sandwich. I better get to it.

Happy Monday all! And in case I don't get a chance to say it tomorrow, Happy Anniversary Sesame Street!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fourth Stop for Chasing Brooklyn

Thanks to Sab for her wonderful picture and for helping out with my contest. Since I guessed her state correctly, a $20.00 gift card will be on its way to her soon!

Now it's time for me to once again guess where my little ARC will travel to next.

I'm going to guess the next stop on the Chase Around the USA is~


Thanks for playing, everyone, and I look forward to finding out where my little ARC goes to next!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Another reader on the Chase Around the USA has posted her picture and is collecting comments from people for the next 24 hours to enter to win a chance to be the next stop on the chase!

All the details can be found here:

If you are a blogger and would like to enter, comment there, not here, for a chance to read the book + win a gift card to the bookstore of your choice.

Good luck!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I give thanks for having had this wonderful, tough-son-of-a-gun, kind-hearted man as my grandpa.

September 3, 1920 - November 3, 2009 Stanley Lenox

Their heaven on earth was the Steen Mountains, where this picture was taken. I'd like to think that they are happily enjoying the view, together again.

My last grandparent is gone. It's been a sad, and rather sleepless, week, as I can't help but contemplate that fact. I am who I am today in a large part because of my grandparents. I'm forever grateful for all they gave me, including their time and their unconditional love.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Writing, rewriting and thoughts on plot

Have you read this incredibly helpful post The Essentials of Plot by Cheryl Klein? If not, you really should. It's good.

But wait!

If you are drafting a novel right now for nanowrimo, don't read it yet.

It's really better to read it later, when you are revising.

So, I've been working on a book this past year, since March I believe. I think I've finally settled on a title - HOPE FOR NIMBUS. Not quite ready to tell you what it's about yet. Anyway, this book has put me through the ringer. I had 75 pages or so done and after sharing it with my agent as well as my good friend L.K. Madigan, I decided it wasn't working. So I started over.

I worked on it on and off through the summer months and when I finished the first draft the end of August, I had my husband read it to give me some thoughts, and he totally didn't get the ending. So, I rewrote it. Then, I had a couple of helpful readers give me some feedback in September (HUGE thanks to Lisa and Joan) and some things still weren't working. I had to rethink one of the plot elements, and was stuck for awhile. But finally, I had an idea driving home from work one day a couple of weeks ago. And as I worked on the issues, I remembered Cheryl Klein's post on plot. And I realized I had what I needed for an action plot climax, but I needed to work on the emotional climax some more.

Here is how Cheryl describes each type of plot:

* Action plot: The external action or conflict; what physically changes for your character in the course of the book.
* Emotional plot: The internal action; or the moral and emotional development of your characters as a result of the external action.

Most stories will have both. And usually, one happens before the other, and gives the character what he/she needs to conquer the other one.

It's really hard to get them both just right. And I'm still not sure I'm there yet. But I worked hard the past four days, while I was off from the day job, and with many words thrown out and new words written in their place, I typed THE END yet again yesterday. Whew.

Sometimes I feel like the hard work I've had to put into this book means it's not any good. I don't know why I think that - you'd think it would be the opposite. I don't know, maybe I've just been working on it so long, I'm to the point where I'm getting a little tired of it.

So, the plan is to let it rest this week, go through it one more time this weekend and make any changes I think of when my subconscious is working on it these next four days, and then send it to my agent next week.

Writing a book is hard. Trying to make a book GOOD is even harder. No matter what happens, I'm proud of myself for sticking with it, and for trying, again and again, to get it right.

No rest for the weary, though. I have a synopsis and 25 pages done on a new verse novel with a GREAT hook. I'm excited about it. Wheee, what a roller coaster this writing life is!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Thanks to everyone who came and trick or treated at my blog(s) over the weekend! I have drawn winners and here they are, in no particular order!

Winner of the ARC for BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is... Readerchick12

And winners of the bookmarks:

Chick Lit Teens





Shannon Messenger


Katie (you also get the treat from Moonstruck Chocolates!)



Winners, please go to the Contact Me page at to send me your address and let me know how many signed bookmarks you'd like (that you will actually use or give away). If you don't really want any, that's cool - no worries! I won't be offended.

Happy November!!