Monday, December 13, 2010

Closed for the holidays!

The 2 weeks leading up to Christmas are my favorite. They're also the most hectic! So I'm locking the door and flipping the sign to closed here on the blog (I know, I know. My posting has been pretty lame to begin with) so I can focus on things like reading, wrapping presents, writing, watching reruns of The Vampire Diaries, trying to get my 3 year-old to calm down enough to actually sleep (he's just a tad bit excited about Santa coming) and just soaking up this awesome time of year has to offer. I hope you're all able to do the same!

I plan on popping back in to post some of my favorite books of this year as well as the ones I'm dying to release in 2011. Like WITHER, DELIRIUM, STARCROSSED, Book 3 in the HUSH, HUSH Saga (We can call it TEMPEST no more!)

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I need your book suggestions!

If there's one thing I miss about being a kid (among MANY other things) it's the crazy jump out of your skin joy on Christmas morning. Opening a pile of presents then having a blast playing with all the new fun stuff I'd been dreaming about for months.

This year I'm looking forward to doing just that because I'm getting....

A Kindle!

So I will definitely spend the rest of the day playing with my toy. I thought I had a big list of books I wanted to buy but my mind appears to have lost that precious information. (probably had to make room for all these ideas for my next WIP I'm brainstorming on)  I'll post what I have so far and if you wouldn't mind I'd really appreciate suggestions on what books I *need* to add. Thanks!

Anna and the French Kiss

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Need a good book to read?

Then come join me in a read along of BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver! Click here for details. This is my second time reading this book and I just purchased 2 copies as Christmas gifts. I think tells you just how much I love it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dear Santa,

Here's a little sampling of what I hope to
find under the tree this Christmas.

Who says you have to grow up?
*Just in case you want any of these lovelies for yourself or any of
my wonderful friends or family stumble upon this post,
I made it so you can click on the images to find out where to purchase!*

I've heard this series is awesome. How could it not be with that box design?

I refuse to give up my real books but a Kindle is awesome
for proofing your own work and for those times when you
 need to read a book and can't wait to go to the store.
Wait, that mightbe a bad thing...
*Please provide a very large amout gift card if you purchase this item*

Harry Potter mug set. Need I say more?

So I can proudly display my love of The Hunger Games.
Even at the grocery store.

Of course, I already own all the Harry Potter books but I've drooled
over the complete hardcover box set since the last book came out.

I. Must. Own. This.

Where else would I store my vervain?

Because every mom should have a cool bag to carry around all their
uncool stuff like diaper cream and crushed cheerios in.

What are you hoping to find under your tree?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stefan's Diaries! What are you reading?

Here's what I started reading tonight!
(SO excited they used the
Stefan from the show on the cover)

Is anyone else out there enjoying a good book this weekend?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

She did it. She really did it! Coming soon to a book store near you...

One of the best perks of being on  Twitter is the personal connections to be made. I've met some truly incredible people there, one of them being Miranda Kenneally. She has to be one of the most dedicated and hard working writers I've ever met. We're talking ninja-like editing skills, people. Thanks to Twitter, Miranda and I swapped pages as we worked on our current projects a few drafts back, and I owe a lot to Miranda for helping me get my book started off with a strong foundation. BUT who cares about me! Today I want to share some super awesome news about Miranda.

She has a book deal!!!!!!

Please visit Miranda's blog for the full scoop on SCORE and to congratulate her and her rockstar agent, Sara Megibow. It's awesome to see something this great happen to someone who has worked so hard to deserve it. And I can promise you this is just the beginning. On top of her fabulous writing Miranda has oodles of ideas waiting in the wings so there are sure to be many more books from Miss Miranda. (There's one more in particular that I hope the world gets to see)

And what celebratory post would be complete without a funny photo?

Yep, that's me on the L and Miranda on the R with the infamous Vordak at ALA back in June

Congratulations Miranda!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What brought such a BIG author to our SMALL town area

Yesterday was epic.

My sister and I had the opportunity to spend some time with the incredibly talented, super nice, generous and way fun author, Lauren Oliver. To say that I love her books, BEFORE I FALL and the upcoming DELIRIUM (out in Feb 2001) is an understatement. And after meeting her in person I can say she's as fabulous as her writing.

The writing, the concepts, the plot, the characters---all genius.  Lauren brings the "why can't I come up with a concept like that?" to a whole new level. Which is why meeting her was such a thrill. I spent a good deal of time this morning writing about this for our Fallenarchangel blog so I thought I'd just share that link. You can find that here. It's inspiring and touching to see an author reach out to a community through her book and to help set forth a positive chain of events that stem from a tragedy.

Here are a few pictures. We had our books signed and were given the BEST treat...If we look all fangirly and delirious with the cover its because we were!

Lauren showing off the amazing cover jacket to DELIRIUM before her lecture
began at the Scranton Cultural Center. We were totally drooling over it!
 Tomato face sisters rejoicing over the fact that Lauren GAVE US the amazing
cover jacket. She even signed it with a great little inside joke from earlier in the day.
(Yes, I spelled delirious that way on purpose)
Library Director: Shu Qiu, my sister, Jenn, Lauren and I after the dedication of the
renovated children's room at the Dalton Community Library

If you've read BEFORE I FALL and loved it as much as we have or haven't had the chance to read it yet, we'd love to have you join us later this month when we do a read-along over 2 weeks followed by a live chat with Lauren. More info on that here. There's no doubt we'll do something like this for DELIRIUM as well. I've been fortunate to read it and I have no doubt that it will be one of the biggest books of 2011! Swoon.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seventh "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest. Count me in!

As a YA writer I was thrilled to see that the Guide to Literary Agents Blog is focusing on YA in their seventh "Dear Lucky Agent" Contest. I'm getting ready to send off my entry tonight. What about the rest of you YA writers out there? If you haven't heard of it before click here for the details. It's a great (and free) opportunity to have your work read by an agent (Tamar Rydzinski from The Laura Dail Literary Agency) and the chance to win some great prizes. Did I mention you only have to submit 150-200 words and a one sentence pitch? How easy is that?

A big thank you to Tamar for taking the time to judge this one and to Guide to Literary Agents for hosting. Best of luck to all of you who are taking part in this one!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Book Birthday to Crescendo!

Wishing an extra special book birthday to Becca Fitzpatrick
on the release of CRESCENDO today!
Go pick up a copy if you haven't read it yet.
It's a heart racing, twist-turny, sexy, dangerous ride you can't miss.

Since we (my sister, Jenn, and I) can't be with Becca to celebrate (lucky Becca is on her way to to the UK to tour for the next few weeks!) here's my little tribute to the big day. If you follow us at Fallenarchangel you may recognize this picture since we used it for a bday slideshow we made for Becca's birthday. Nothing wrong with a little recycling! haha

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Veronica Mars, revisions, my epic fail, and why today rocks

Since I like to end on a good note let's start with my epic fail.

This blog.

I went from posting several times a week to about once or twice a month. Yikes. Total fail on my part. So a big thank you to those of you have stuck with me and kept reading the few posts I've made lately and especially those of you who have commented. Clearly, I need to get back on track and get posting again. Stick with me!

*rubs hands together* Now for the good stuff.
What the hell took me so long to watch Veronica Mars?
I've heard awesome things about VM for years but it wasn't until an agent made a remark that was about my MC having a Veronica Mars vibe that I finally got with it and started watching. I'm about 7 episodes in (and trying not to weep at the fact that it was ever cancelled) madly in love with Veronica and the show in general. Not only am I having a blast watching it, but I've had all kinds of ideas to improve my WIP. I've woven more mystery into the plot and focused on maintaining that smart and tough, yet relatable vibe my MC had in the beginning. (How dare she go soft on me in the middle like that?)

Geez, if I'd known a TV show could provide that much inspiration and breakthrough I would've watched it along time ago. Better late than never. So glad I'm on top of the pure genius that is The Vampire Diaries TV show. Speaking of Vampire Diaries--if you haven't got yourself a copy of the soundtrack that came out today, go NOW. It's fantastic! I'm plan on listening to it while I work on revisions today.

And a very big Happy Book Birthday to BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the kick-ass sequel to BEAUTIFUL CREATURES. I was lucky enough to read an advance copy and it's amazing. Ethan Wate is one of my all time favorite characters. Ever.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A reader in training

Yes, he's mine...and there's even a scar drawn on under that hair

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

(Not) Moving right along

At first I thought it was summer. Longer days, no school, family around, a later bedtime for the boy to fit in all the swimming and fun of the warm weather and going out, totally cut into my nightly writing time. But here we are a few days until October and I'm still poking along on my WIP. What the heck? At first I thought it was a problem that I needed to correct. Immediately! But the more I thought about it the more I realized my slow and steady pace was a good thing. Not in the long run, of course, but at the time I knew I could use a little balance.

I'm not the most patient person in the world so the fact that I'm not blowing through revisions has helped me sit and digest the changes as I go. But as much as I love learning to be patient and rational about things and will carry that with me going forward, I think it's time I get my ass in gear. October is it!

So I'm hoping some of you can help me ditch this snails pace. I'm sure I'm not alone in the summer writing slump so what do you all plan to do now that fall is here to get focused and motivated? I want to finish these revisions by the end of October so that's my first goal. (more to come!) Any suggestions? I love word count goals but with a hefty revision like this that won't work. Pages per day? Time spent working on it each day? I'd love to know what works for you at each stage.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My very first writing workshop!

I meant to share this post immediately following the actual workshop last weekend BUT a great thing happened. I was more concerned with actually writing (ok, revising) my actual story than a blog post. Now that's some serious inspiration! I could leave this post at that and you'd know how fabulous I thought the day was but where's the fun in that?

For starters, it was way cool just to be in a room of writers. People who paid actual money and for some drove hours to be there. It was a combined workshop for writers who focus on writing for children and teens. The morning session featured Lindsay Barrett George, an incredible author of award winning children's books. Not only has she written over 16 books but she illustrated them as well. It was incredible to hear about her journey. I was a little uncertain about sitting there for 2 hours and listening to someone talk about picture books. I write gritty YA books so this was way out of my zone but Lindsay was a blast and held my attention every last second she spoke. She had us a do an exercise using only 5 words or so to write a book. Wow. I was blown away by the creativity of the other writers and realized how challenging it is to write a 30 page book. Yeah, I think I'll stick with my 300 pagers.

After a quick lunch they had a critique session for anyone who wanted to bring the first 2 opening pages of their WIP. I think it ended up being about 8 of us. So glad I did! The workshop organizer read the pages and the 2 presenting authors gave feedback. I was thrilled they liked my pages and felt the story started right into the action and made you want to read more. They only had 2 small suggestions---my drunk frat boy's dialogue was a little too wordy for, well, a drunk frat boy and I had a pair of floating eyes (one of Maria's Nitpicks I'll explain next!). And I was way impressed with the other pages that were read. Most of them had me wishing for more. I'm still thinking about one in particular. Now that's a book I want to read!

The afternoon session was all about Maria V. Snyder, author of the amazing Study series, Glass series and Inside Out and soon to be released, Outside In books. And the reason I discovered there was a killer writing workshop in my own backyard. Maria's first book, POISON STUDY, released in 2005 so I'm pretty late in the game reading it but once I read that first one I devoured the next 2 and the companion series in weeks. I'm a HUGE fan of her writing so to have the opportunity to sit and listen to her speak about how she does it was a dream come true. And I wasn't disappointed.

Maria provided us with a handout that listed the common nitpicks she sees even in published books. Awesome tips. Gah, and I was so guilty of many of them! One that stood out (and who hasn't seen this in nearly every book you pick up?) is the floating eyes. Here's something I found in my WIP.

My eyes shot up.

Whoa. Where did those eyeballs shoot up to? Yikes.

I had no idea what to expect and didn't to look all fangirly so I kept my stack of 6 of Maria's books hidden in the car. But when I saw that she brought books to sell/sign I was all over it and got all 6 of them signed. For any of you who have read Poison Study...I met the women who created Valek! haha And if you haven't read Poison Study, do it now. It's one of my favorite books and series.

A big thank you to Katie at Pennwriters for organzing such a great workshop and to both Linsday and Maria for taking the time to share their knowledge and passion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My love/hate relationship with September

My biggest issue with September is that it means fall is on its way. As beautiful as the dazzling rainbow of gold, rust, red and purple leaves are, I can't help but remember in two seconds they will all fall off the trees leaving nothing but sad looking tree skeletons in their wake. I love the lush green of summer and the longer warm days. The fireflies and campfires. Swimming. Fireworks. Sigh.

BUT...this year I'm looking forward to poor September and the rest of the fall season a little more than usual.

My son will be going to school 3 mornings a week. (Its only from 9-1130, but still) Which means I get to spend all of that time writing at the library. Summer kicked my ass this year and I got off schedule big time with my writing routine so I'm very excited to have this designated Internet free time to get back to spending regular quality time with my characters. Even the fact that the sun sets earlier and the weather will grow colder doesn't seem bad. It means we'll be stuck in the house and earlier bedtimes which all points to getting back to more writing time for me.

So this year I say, bring it on September! And October, you're mine.

Besides, its sort of hard to hate something that can look this pretty.

Friday, August 27, 2010

My non-review of Mockingjay plus what you MUST read next

For someone who spends all of her time reading and writing, I suck at writing book reviews. I'm always paranoid I'll give something important away and spoil the story for someone and it takes me FOREVER. So, in honor of that little random fact about myself, I give you my non-review of Suzanne Collin's, Mockingjay, the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy.
A W E S O M E.

Mind-blowing, shocking, non-stop suspense and action, get the drift. If you haven't read these book you need to. You MUST read these books. I finished MJ on Tuesday night (ok, Wed morning at 2am if you want to be specific) and haven't stopped thinking about it since. I can't even start a new book yet. I'm consumed with the sheer brilliance of Suzanne Collins and the world she's created. And clearly I run my mouth about these books any chance I get because when my son's pediatrician called to setup his allergy blood work she thanked me. Haha, she thanked me for suggesting she read The Hunger Games back in March. Turns out she took my suggestion and fell madly in love too and got her mom and sister hooked. Awesome.

One thing that has helped me cope with the ending of these books is reading one of, if not, the best opening chapter of any book. Ever. And it comes from the fabulous Beth Revis' debut novel, Across the Universe. Be prepared to freak out and obsess over the need to read the rest of this book after you check out the first chapter. WOW. Check it out here! I guarantee you'll be hooked. Plus, Beth totally rocks...and so does her cover. Swoon.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Right book, Right Time (not mine)

While there's nothing to report regarding my book (I'm still working on the MG while I wait to hear back on submissions) I seem to have read the right book at the right time.

I've heard great things about POISON STUDY and the other Study books by Maria V Snyder. The first one came out in 2005 so I realize I'm way behind on discovering these fabulous books, but in this case I'm glad. As soon I finished the first book earlier this month, I went to check out Maria's site for more info on her and her books, and got a fantastic surprise. Maria is part of a workshop for childrens/YA writing in a town less than an hour from here!

So on the second Saturday in September I'll be attending my very first writing workshop with one of my new favorite authors. I love when life works out this way. Serendipity, baby! I get to learn from the woman who created Valek? *fangirl giggle*

If you haven't read any of her books I highly recommend them. I'm half way through FIRE STUDY and ordered the companion books STORM GLASS and SEA GLASS. The third book, SPY GLASS, releases Sept 1st.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm giving away an ARC of MATCHED by Ally Condie!

Since I'm a sucker for sharing a good book and I was fortunate enough to score 2 copies of MATCHED by Ally Condie, I'm going to make this a super easy contest. (sorry, I can't part with the personalized signed copy)

All I want is to know a little about you. I have a bunch of new faces in that little followers box and I'd like to know more about you. Are you a writer? A reader? What are you reading? How did you find me? Anything goes. All you need to do is be a follower (new or old) and leave a comment telling me something about you and you're eligible to win MATCHED. How easy is that? I promise that from page one you'll be hooked...

Contest guidelines - Open Internationally
*Contest will close Monday, August 16th at midnight EDT

1.You must be a follower
2. You must leave a comment sharing a little something about you
3. If you're google profile doesn't have contact info then please leave an email address in your comment.

And in case you haven't heard about this awesome book here's some info from Dutton Juvenile (Penguin). It doesn't release until November! How gorgeous is that cover and wait until you see the actual one, it's all shimmery and futuristic-looking.

Society matched them, but love set them free.

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate...until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Whatcha reading?

I'm reading THE LIGHTNING THIEF by Rick Riordan. Yup, still in middle grade mode to prepare for my own MG boy adventure book I'm starting this month. Love Percy.

But I couldn't resist starting one of the books I've heard so much praise for, POISON STUDY by Maria V. Snyder. I don't love reading more than one book at a time but there are just too many great stories out there and not enough time. ; )

What about you? Reading something good? I'm nosy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back with something awesome!

I may have been MIA the last week or so here, BUT I have something very special to share. Through Fallenarchangel, the site my sister and I run, I was able to do a Q&A with one of my favorite authors, Sarah Rees Brennan--author of THE DEMON'S LEXICON and THE DEMON'S COVENANT. She's a blast! And shared tons of great info (and is hilarious) on her books and writing in general.

Click here to read it.

She even gave us a cookie (teaser) from upcoming Book 3 with some sexy Nick time. Eeee!

And for all of you fellow writers, Sarah has been gracious enough to leave the comment section on that post open for writing questions. She'll stop back in Tues/Wed to answer them and anyone who is a US resident and enters will be eligible to win of 5 sets of both of the first demon books! A big thank you to Simon & Schuster for that.

Free writing advice, sexy demon teasers, free books...doesn't get any better than that!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Is someone playing a joke on me?

All I can say is THANK YOU, Becca. This is like the coolest thing. Ever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Fabulous First Conference Experience

*Forgive the formatting of this post if it's whacky. I tried for an hour to get the spacing right but Blogger refused to cooperate!*

If there's one thing I've learned in my 31 years its to go into things with low expectations. I did that this past weekend when I went to ALA. (a conference held this year in DC for the American Library Association) It more than made up for not being able to attend BEA. The weekend was awesome. My low expectations were totally blown away.

I started out leaving home at 5am Saturday morning and making the typically 4.5 hour drive in about 3. Yes, I drive rather fast, but at the hour on a weekend the traffic was fantastic. Once I got to the hotel I met up with Krista and Miranda (by the way, Miranda's husband is a seriously bad ass driver! He wove through that crazy downtown graduation traffic like a pro) Thank you for the rides, you two!

Before I let the pictures speak for themselves I have to say how amazing it was to meet and hang with Miranda and Krista. It was incredible to sit and chat in person with such talented and fabulous people. Love you girls! The combination of being with such great fellow writers and experiencing ALA has got me all kinds of motivated to work on my own writing. I didn't get to as many signing as I would've liked, but I got books signed by Melissa Marr, Ally Condie, Andrea Cremer, Carolyn Mackler, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, and even two MG authors for my niece. Eeee! Now time for the pics...

An overview of some of the exhibit floor

Krista showing off some of her ARCs and purchases

A few of my books

Vodak with Miranda and I. Mwahaha!

John Green and David Levithan signing. You want to talk about a line!

Simon & Schuster booth. YAY for CRESCENDO love!

Getting my ARC of MATCHED, signed by author Ally Condie. The day after
getting it and I'm already half way through this book and it's AMAZING!

Meeting two of my favorite authors of two of my favorite books!
Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia,

Miranda, me, and Krista heading to the Stacks
More fun with Krista showing her finds

The only thing that could have made this weekend any better was having my sister be able to come along and seeing them handing out CRESCENDO ARCs. And, of course, having Becca there to sign them! Missed you girls. BEA 2011, baby!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So excited!

Eeee I'm so excited to hit ALA this weekend! I'll be getting up at like 5am Saturday then driving 4 hours (if I don't have any major issues) but I get to meet Miranda and Krista and more and hopefully a few authors in the exhibit hall. It's so worth the drive and early rise. This is my first writing/book/trip type event on my own. I was lucky enough to go meet Becca Fitzpatrick at a teachers convention with my sister (really wish she could come this time!) last year, but this time I'll actually be going in the exhibit hall and spending the weekend there. Can't wait to share the details next week.

Also, every excited about the way I used my Borders gift card. The last one is for my son, but I have to admit to loving Toy Story 3.