Thursday, September 23, 2010


I was always confused by this category in Jeopardy because it was never about nice-smelling stuff in a dish on the coffee table. Turns out it's an incredibly useful topic that says, I have no time to actually organize my thoughts/trivia questions into a real category.

Thus, the title of this blog entry. I do apologize.

1.) I am plugging away really hard finishing up the final self-edits on Book 4. I've seen copy-edits for Illusions and am really excited about them! I should have news about the cover reveal soon. That's the end of the book stuff.:D

2.) We are doing a HUGE giveaway over at the Debs in celebration of Banned Books Week and, particularly, in support of our lovely Deb, Sarah Ockler, whose book, Twenty Boy Summer, is currently being challenged alongside Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut. I'm of the opinion that the best way to fight censorship is to make censored and challenged books available to people who choose to read them. So we are giving away 38 (yes, thirty plus eight) copies of Twenty Boy Summer over at the Feast of Awesome. Check it out. You have a week to enter.

ETA: Little, Brown (Sarah's publisher) has joined us on our giveaway and upped the number of copies to 100!!! LOTS of books to win now!! Go enter!!!

3.) Eric Herman is my new hero. He has these funny songs with videos that my kids--all of them--just adore! . . . and the fact that they are on a continuous play loop has nothing to do with it. *whistles innocently*

4.) I haven't gotten them organized into a post yet, but next week I will be hosting a giveaway of a bunch of signed books. Stay tuned!

5.) Cold cereal is the greatest substance on earth and I believe God invented it to be that ambrosia stuff and then the devil put it in my cupboards to tempt me to eat it three times a day. Corn Bursts are particularly evil this week. I think they call audibly to me.

6.) Apparently microwave popcorn is toxic. *crunchmunchcrunchmunch* What?:D

7.) I'm signing at Changing Hands Bookstore (Tempe . . . near Phoenix) tomorrow with Sophie Jordan and Kiersten White. Come see us! And take swag. I have a lot of leftover swag from my Spells tour. I'm an overplanner, what can I say?:D

8.) Um . . . is eight enough? I'm going to call eight enough.

Thanks everyone for still reading this blog while I got through crazy writing time! It's will get better, I promise!! And, well, if you get tired of me not updating, wander over to my Twitter. I'm an addict over there.:D


Monday, September 13, 2010


I wanted to make sure you guys know about what I suspect will be my last two signings of 2010. (On a side note, I can hardly believe 2010 is almost over. I swear it was 2009, like, yesterday!!)

Okay, on Friday, Sept. 24th at 7:00 PM I will be signing at Changing Hands Bookstore with the lovely, and recently titled NYT Bestseller, Kiersten White, author of PARANORMALCY, and Sophie Jordan, Romance and YA author of FIRELIGHT, both really awesome supernatural books! (Dragons and faeries and vampires, oh my!) Please come see us, it should really be a blast!

Then, on Monday October 18th, at 7:00 PM, also at Changing Hands Bookstore, I will be signing with Linda Gerber (if you haven't read her DEATH BY . . . series, you should! It rocks! But on this trip she will be celebrating the release of her newest book, TRANCE) and, oh, a little author some of you may have heard of, super amazing bestseller, Lisa McMann of the WAKE series including WAKE, FADE, and GONE! This should also be a really awesome night. (I know I'm looking forward to it! *wink*)

I love group events not only because it is much less pressure than going solo, but because I get to meet new authors and readers get to be introduced to books they might not have picked up off the shelf! Plus we always do some Q&A and it is fun to hear about multiple authors' experiences. So I would love to see you at one . . . or, hey, both! . . . of those events if you are in the greater Phoenix area.

And if you don't live around here, don't worry! I don't know exactly where I am going, but I have been informed that I will be doing more traveling for the release of ILLUSIONS next year! Hopefully I'll be coming to a city near you!


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

It's A Good Day!

This post has nothing to do with writing whatsoever; you have been warned.:D

About six years ago my husband and I got into Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles. I'm not normally a gamer, but I enjoyed this one, and my hubby was super-patient with my incompetence because he really liked getting to play a game with me! Over the course of the two months or so that it took us to beat it--playing in our free time at night after our daughter and charge had gone to bed--I got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself! Near the end of the game we encountered a boss called the Zombie Dragon. Basically, you had to wait for the dragon to stick it's neck out of its nest, and use a joint spell that you both cast concurrently to turn it to stone, and then beat on it. Oh, and you had to fight multiple (really hard!) little bad guys *while* doing this. It was SO hard! We spent about two hours one night trying to beat him and died about a gazillion times. And then, finally, with tiny specks of life left in both of us, we managed to kill the stupid boss! The animation of his death throes started and my husband and I collapsed against each other and laughed.

It was the only reaction you could have. Such a huge relief that all you can do is laugh in glee that it is finally over!

Keep that story in mind--I'll come back to it.

I have a son named Gid. He is so cute and snuggly and great! . . . And when I count the trials in my life, I count him first.:D He is by far, my most difficult child. My mother calls him hurricane Gid and often marvels at how much trouble he manages to make (and she has five kids, so she knows!) I have a stay-at-home husband and even with two of us at home every day, we can hardly keep up with him. High. Maintenence. Child.

He likes movies . . . for fifteen minutes or so. He likes his toys! For about ten minutes. He just will not stay focused on one thing long enough to actually give me a chance to sneak away and get anything done. Getting the dishwasher unloaded and reloaded in the same sitting is a miracle in our house. Which is why it usually gets done after the Gid goes to bed. It's why pretty much anything productive gets done after he goes to bed. (Also, why I work behind a locked door while I am drafting and he still will sit and yell at the door often enough.)

But there is one thing he LOVES. YouTube. He will watch YouTube (usually clips of Pixar movies or LOLcats) for an hour. Only problem, he doesn't know how to use a mouse. So you have to either come back every two minutes and start a new video for him, or sit there with him the whole time. Either way, not productive for me.

We have tried to teach him to use the mouse multiple times. (Who am I kidding, I've been trying to get him to use a mouse for a year!) I mean, Aud learned how to use a mouse at two and Bren even a bit before he turned two. Shouldn't three yo Gid know how to use a mouse by now?!!??:D But no luck.

Yesterday Gid declared himself finished with dinner and trounced upstairs to watch YouTube, because his sister had been doing the honors of switching videos for him before dinner. (Thank you Aud!!!)

I kind of shrugged and said, "Well, I'm not turning on shows for you--we're all still eating."

A minute or so passes and I hear sounds coming from the loft upstairs where the computer is. I turn to Kenny and say, "I think he just started a video."

Kenny listens for a second and was like, "Well, it was probably just paused. He knows how to use the space bar."

Back to eating.

A few minutes later I hear a distinctly different sound. "Kenny," I say, hardly daring to hope, "I think he started a new video."

We both peek out of the kitchen up at the landing and sure enough, he has started a new video for himself.

We stand there while the video finishes and I swear, we were both holding our breath. And our little troublemaker carefully edges the mouse over a new video and clicks.

Kenny and I stepped back into the kitchen, collapsed in our chairs, and started to laugh. He watched his very own videos for fifteen minutes. That has never happened before. My son is grasping the concept of how to use a mouse!

And Kenny and I just kept laughing. At one point he looks up at me and says, "You know, I feel like we just beat the Zombie Dragon again." Which just made us laugh harder.

So today I put him on YouTube again and he watched Pixar videos for about half an hour while I folded bedding, towels, and blankets, and put away all three of my kids' baskets of laundry. All at one time. I think I can safely say that since I have had three kids, that has never happened.

It is a good day!

One of the things that we are really excited about is that in another week or so when he has really gotten the feel for the mouse, we can put him on which taught my other two kids to read. (and is the "secret" behind my son teaching himself to read at age two. Not that hokey Teach Your Baby to Read memorization system, real phonetic reading. Yanno, the kind they do in school.) If you are a parent and haven't seen this site, please go check it out! It is deceptively simple and kids love it!

Gid already loves Starfall (and can tell you what sound all the letters say), but I have to sit and do everything for him and the fact is he will learn better if he can do it himself. Also, yanno, an hour of uninterrupted chore time. Or writing time. Or whatever.

My son knows how to use a mouse. Seriously, the possibilities that opens up for both myself and him are rather staggering. The computer is the most important learning tool in our home and my son just unlocked that door for himself.

Take that, Zombie Dragon!


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

What's In A Name?

First, an announcement.

The third book in the Wings series will be titled...


I know it was a long time coming, and I apologize for that. But now that it's public knowledge, you might be interested in why the book remained untitled for so long. You also might not, in which case you will want to skip the rest of this entry. :)

When I first sold Laurel's story, I had titled all four books. The original titles were:

Autumn Wings
Winter Spells
Spring Enticements
Summer Illusions

The plan was for each book to take place during the season in the title, but fairly early on I realized that this wasn't going to work. Furthermore, the sales team at HarperTeen pointed out that with the books tentatively releasing annually during the early summer months, "Autumn" and "Winter" might not draw much of an audience.

So we scrapped the titles and tried to think of new ones.

One serious contender for the first book was Forget-Me-Not. We thought perhaps each book could have a flower name, but while Forget-Me-Not seemed like a decent replacement for Autumn Wings, naming the rest of the books proved more difficult.

We tried on a lot of titles--some serious, some not. Flower Girl and Petalwings didn't make the cut. I was only kidding when I suggested Roots and I'm pretty sure my husband was only kidding when he came up with Venus Boy Trap, but some days it was just easier to think of silly titles than serious ones. :) (My mom suggested Petal Pushers and I told her she was dating herself.:D)

After much deliberation, my fabulous editorial team settled on simply dropping the season from the title and calling the book Wings. Sadly, the struggle for evocative titles had scarcely begun.

I did enjoy some respite, as there was no rush to title the rest of the books. For a while, books 2 through 4 were just called Spells, Enticements, and Illusions. It was suggested early on that Enticements didn't stand on its own, though, and for about a month we called it Enchantments. Somehow that title made it to Amazon Canada, and from there to the rest of the Internet... but it was actually vetoed pretty early on. Like, six months before Wings even came out. (Yanno, ancient history!;))

Spells, however, stuck to Book 2, and eventually HarperTeen gave me permission to announce the title. Which I promptly did! And one month later, I was told that we needed a different title. I was worried, because I'd already announced the title, and I didn't want readers to be confused!

But there wasn't much to be done but brainstorm, and the process began anew. Should we continue with one-word titles? Should we keep the word plural? Wings was both a metaphor and referred to a particular passage in the book--was there something similar we could use from Book 2? It was either my editor or her assistant who came up with Essence, and I prepared to announce the new title on my blog.

And then it was Spells again. I don't know where in the process Essence got trapped--sometimes booksellers express concerns, sometimes it's sales or marketing, you'd be amazed how many people have to "sign off," literally or figuratively, on decisions like this sometimes! But everyone went back to calling Book 2 Spells, and that's how it was released.

So hopefully that explains why I was reluctant to announce Illusions until the title was finally finally final! I would hate for someone to miss a release because they were looking for something with a different name. And sometimes I was very jealous of other authors who managed to get their titles finalized early on in the process! But then again... it's hard to complain about a publishing team who works hard to get things just right.

Now, before you go asking for the title of Book 4: it doesn't have one yet. :) My hope is to post the final cover art for Illusions before Christmas this year, and while I still don't have a firm release date, you should still be able to expect Illusions to arrive at your bookstore around May of 2011.