Monday, May 31, 2010

My first interview and coming up in June...

The fabulous Dorothy Dreyer asked me to do an interview about my background and writing on a blog she created to support other writers. Seriously, how great is she for taking time to do that? I'm so excited about my WIP that I was thrilled to have the chance to chat a little about it and she asked fabulous questions so if you have a second stop by and check it out here. Thanks!

Hope you're having a wonderful long weekend too. Mine has consisted of writing, hanging with the family, a cook out, cocktails, our own little mini fireworks show in the driveway, and some shopping. So it's been awesome, just wish we could extend it a few extra days.

Stay tuned because coming up in June I'm introducing my new beta reader for my first MG book I'm working on this summer. She's 10! I'll also share my journey of stepping outside my comfort zone to write something that includes no romance, no cursing, and definitely no sexual tension. Gasp. Nothing but adventure, fun and friendship. Which means I'm either out of my mind or brilliant... just please don't let me watch or read any Harry Potter because I'll surely reconsider.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I used to be a Grey's Anatomy fan, but over the last few months it lost its appeal, at least for me it did. (most every other show did once the Vampire Diaries came on)

But I stuck with it.

And after watching the season finale last night I'm glad I did. WOW. Every muscle in my body felt all sore and stiff, my stomach was all tied up in knots and I thought I might have nightmares, but it was all worth it because that was the best episode of Grey's in years. Talk about redemption. I'll be back next year because of that one episode. Which got me thinking about redemption in books.

I'm not talking about characters redeeming themselves, I'm talking about the actual story---the writer. Because as a writer I try to make every word count, every scene count, every chapter count, but we all know that doesn't always happen. I've read books I wasn't so sure about. Maybe the story didn't suck me in or maybe I didn't connect with the MC all that much, but by the time I closed that book, I loved it. Something happened along the way and whether it was page 25 or page 225 the story redeemed itself enough to keep me reading.

The funny thing about redemption (in my opinion) is that can erase all the other "stuff" that made it less appealing, unfavorable, or whatever in the first place. The finale of Grey's kicked such emotional ass (including my own) that I pretty much forgot what it was that I didn't like about the other ten or however many shows were on this season prior. I haven't forgotten that beef---why so many repeats? The important thing is I'll be back and if this was a book I'd without a doubt read the second.

Any one else have thoughts on this? Have you ever read a book you didn't love or even like but kept reading anyway and ended up loving?

If you watched Grey's don't give any spoilers we so don't want to taint it for anyone who recorded it to watch later. *cough, cough* Like my sister, Jenn. Ohh but what did you think? Crazy, right? After the first shot I wasn't sure I could even watch the rest!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The sandbox: An unlikely source of inspiration

I had no idea when I took my son to the playground, or rather two playgrounds, on Saturday that I'd find inspiration for my writing. I write older YA books so hanging out at the sandbox and sliding board wasn't exactly the place I thought I'd be struck with an idea for one of my stories.

To avoid sounding like a lurker I won't go into too much detail of the conversations I couldn't help but overhear (hey, there was only one toddler swing and it was RIGHT next to a teenage boy and girl sitting on swings and talking and my kid REALLY loves that swing) or tell you how cute and funny I found it when two tween girls were dropped off followed by a tween boy (who was clearly one of their boyfriends) and then proceeded to play on the playground equipment and flirt like crazy. But I'm not ashamed to tell you I snuck a shot in while I was snapping pics of my son and nephew on the swings (YES, the couple or friends or whatever they were moved after we crashed in, followed by two other kids that didn't care that they were totally spoiling the moment)

Anyway I got this shot but it was way better in person but of course I couldn't take the picture normally because that would've made me look like all creepy and stuff. *Gasp* Taken from the proper angle it would've been an awesome book cover image!

How cute are they? My mind started racing with all sorts of ideas of what they were talking about, feeling, why they were there in the park under the tree (well, we know they were forced to retreat to the tree since all the screeching children encroached on their privacy).

Now please tell me I'm not the only crazy "adult" who gets hit with this sort of inspiration from being around real life young adults. Because apparently 8pm is the designated time for teens to overtake the playground near my sister's house. In the span of five minutes, I saw two teenage girls sit on a bench and start some serious conversation (tears and all), a flock of giggling girls attempt to take a photo of themselves on the slide, and one who thought swinging higher than any human being has ever gone would get the attention of the group of boys playing basketball.

In order to avoid being arrested or banned from the park I'll leave my camera at home, but I'm so bringing a notebook next time I take the boy to the playground. Anyone else have fun observations or conversations that have inspired your work?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is it fall yet?

We haven't even hit summer yet in Pennsylvania and already I find myself craving the falling leaves and bushels of apples. Do I hate the warm weather? Am I a freak for carving pumpkins and raking leaves? Umm, no. Not at all. In fact, I love summer.

But for the love of God why must we have to wait all summer for The Vampire Diaries to come back on?

I haven't been this smitten with a TV since My So-Called Life! Never have I seen such insane plot twists. As a writer I'm constantly blown away by the sheer genius of the folks who write this stuff. And that says a lot coming from a girl who can spot the killer on like page 1 in most books, or sense a hookup just from reading the summary. Basically, it's super hard to surprise me in a story (TV/movie/book), but just about every week Vampire Diaries shocks me. And more than once each episode.

You've missed out if you didn't watch this season but the good news is you can go back and catch up this summer and be ready to faint with the rest of us come fall. Trust me, you won't be sorry.

Team Stefan or Team Damon...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

If I don't get much writing done you'll know why...

I could kiss whoever it was at Little Brown who agreed to
send us this ARC for Fallenarchangel. I'm jumping out of my skin to read this one!

I loved THE DEMON"S LEXICON and though I'm only
on page 102 of this one I can safely say I'm obsessed...

Gah! S&S even sent the paperback of THE DEMON'S LEXICON with THE DEMON'S this new cover with bad ass, sword fighting Nick!

The only tough decision was deciding which book to start with. In the end I went with THE DEMON'S COVENANT since it releases in two weeks and BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS comes out in like 6 months! But I know for sure I'll be starting BD by the end of the weekend with
how fast I'm reading Demon's. Sigh. I'm in book heaven right now.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spreading the Awesome - Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

*Update: the book giveaway is officially closed. Thank you to all who entered and commented.

When I found out what the fabulous Elana Johnson had planned for the "Spreading the Awesome" blog day today I knew I had to jump in. Hello, a day of love for the books we want to share with the world? I'm all about it. There are dozens of titles I could suggest but I knew right away that I wanted to talk about, BLEEDING VIOLET, a YA Paranormal by Dia Reeves. It's deliciously dark and crazy and one of the most original stories I've read in years. I wanted to slap the main character, Hanna, more than once but you can't help but love her. She's a force to be reckoned with. And Wyatt...just wait until you meet Wyatt. (and how gorgeous is this cover?)

Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

When I contacted Dia about featuring BV here she was awesome enough to not only answer a few questions but to offer a copy of BLEEDING VIOLET for one lucky person who makes a comment on this post today. Thank you so much, Dia!

How did you come up with the freaky unique creatures in BV? They’re fantastic! Thanks! I get my creature ideas from Discovery Channel. Animals in the real world are so freaky, I just build the pretend animals around them. The hardhead creatures are kind of like scorpions, the lures are like amoebae—it’s all based in reality.

The setting for BV, Portero, TX, is one crazy place. If you found yourself there would you stick around and check things out or run for your life?
I’m the kind of girl who screams if a grasshopper gets into the house, so I don’t see myself handling monsters very well. My characters tend to be a lot braver than I am. One thing I do like about Portero, though, is how close the community is and how they look out for one another.

You have a new book called, A SLICE OF CHERRY coming out by S&S in January of 2011. Can you tell us more about this story?
It’s about two outcast sisters–daughters of a notorious serial killer–who decide to put their murderous genes, and latent powers, to good use by only killing people who deserve it. So a lot of people get killed in really weird ways, but it’s not really about the killing. It just tickles me to use violence as a way to highlight more mundane issues like coming of age and the importance of family and first love and all that stuff. Yes, I’m weird, I know. ;p

I saw in your bio that you’re a librarian. (Awesome career by the way!) Does your job influence your writing? It must have been a blast to see people checking your book out.
I’ve never seen anybody checking my book out. If I did, I wouldn’t say anything. I’m still really shy about being a writer. My librarian job and my writing job are very separate. I never mix the different parts of my life.

As a fellow YA writer I confess to struggling when writing some of the controversial stuff (language, sex, drugs/alcohol) when it comes to how far I can take it so I really admire the way you handled the strong themes in BV. Did struggle or face any criticism on this at any point?
While I was writing it, no. Now that it’s out in the world, yup. A lot of people don’t think it’s appropriate for teens and yadda yadda yadda, but even if BV had been squeaky clean, people would have just found something else to criticize. No one escapes criticism, but I don’t mind being criticized for having written something I’m proud of.

For more fun information on Dia and BLEEDING VIOLET stop by and check out Simon & Schuster's page as well as her personal website.

Don't forget to leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win your very own copy of BLEEDING VIOLET courtesy of the author herself. This is one book you don't want to miss! For another great book recommendation on the Spreading the Awesome tour visit Yamile Mendez's blog to read about SHADOW OF THE WIND by Carlos Zafon. For the complete list of participating blogs (interviews, giveaways and more) click here. A big thank you to Elana and Dia for allowing me to share this incredible book and author!

*Sorry, this giveaway is open only to those with a U.S. mailing address.