Tuesday, November 10, 2015

That Time I Went to McAllen Book Festival

I don't know why I have never been down to what we in Texas call the Valley, but until this weekend, I hadn't. I didn't know what I was missing. I was missing amazing people and amazing food and landscape that was clearly different than where I lived. A library created in what had been a Wal-Mart- turning a consumer concrete jungle into a gorgeous space for people to read and create and research and learn and listen and even eat!

Let me say it right here: I love McAllen, Texas and all its surrounding cities! I had the best school visit at Fossum Middle School. I got to work and visit with amazing librarians, including Mary Rodriguez and Elizabeth Hollenbeck and Dawn Rapoza! And mostly I got to talk books, books, books, with adults and kids and everyone in between. Plus the best Mexican chocolate mocha latte I've ever had.

A few pictures for you:
Paneling with Jennifer Ziegler and Lindsey Lane

talking books with Lindsay Cummings and Chris Barton and lots of people!

A chamoy Margarita. 

Enchiladas Poblanas with mole sauce.

Fossum Middle School super librarian Mary Rodriguez

Even Gale likes reading FINDING PARIS

McAllen Library with Lindsay Cummings and Ray Villareal

Carolyn Flores teaches me and Lindsay how to draw a frog.

That time everyone wanted an arc of IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS! 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Five for Friday! And IWALT Bookmarks!

So Soho Press is still keeping the cover for next year's  IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS under wraps as best they can. ARCs are sneaking into the world to early readers/blurbers, and the come January to everyone else. But they approved these awesome bookmarks, created by my friend and writing partner Kristin Rae!

Yeah, they're pretty awesome and they hint so nicely at the cover while still not giving it away, so look closely! Very excited!

And in #2, a quick photo recap of last week's Texas Book Festival which was supremely awesome and such an honor to be part of!

Catching some sun with capitol behind us with me, A.G. Howard, Cory Putnam Oakes, Mari Mancusi, PJ Hoover

Our Blood is Thicker than Water panel in the signing tent: me, Heather Demetrios, Renee Watson

And yes, that is Margaret Atwood. 
Meeting fellow Soho author and all around awesome author and human and very tall guy, Adam Silvera

3. It is still summer in Houston. It should move on to Fall. Like NOW.

4. Looking forward to Comic Con Austin and then McAllen Book Festival and then some time to just write, write, write.

5. And between all the above and a brief jaunt to Florida to just hang on the beach in Ft. Walton where it's just you and the white sand and the birds and the sea turtles and it's heaven, I am also now getting better from strep throat/sinus infection. But yeah, it was worth it! 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Book Review: SAY WHAT YOU WILL by Cammie McGovern

As soon as I heard Cammie McGovern talking about her books at Houston's Blue Willow last week (she was touring with Julie Murphy), I knew this was an author who should have already been on my radar and somehow wasn't. It happens, I know. So many books; so little time. But I grabbed a copy of SAY WHAT YOU WILL, her debut YA title from 2014 and took it to the beach with me this past weekend and promptly devoured it.

SAY WHAT YOU WILL is about many things: Friendship. An over-protected but brilliant girl whose cerebral palsy traps her in a body that she accepts and tries not to let define her but which doesn't let her have the physical freedoms that would make life easier. A boy with OCD, whose fears and anxieties trap him as well. A star-crossed romance. The good, the bad, the ugly of living in this world -- of loving and losing and making mistakes and pulling yourself up. The difficulties of overcoming perceptions and fears. The terrible things we sometimes do to the people who love us, often because we don't love ourselves enough first. How hard and miraculous it is to find someone who truly 'gets you.' About how easy it is to mess up and miss opportunities to find your tribe, your people. And as main character Amy calls one of her favorite themes (and it's one of mine, too!): Oddballs finding each other. It is not by accident that Amy's favorite book, referenced more than once in the novel, is Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon, the story of three misfits who meet in a hospital.

This is a beautiful, beautiful book. It is gorgeously written, gentle and thoughtful. Amy and Matthew are as imperfect and damaged yet perfect and wonderful as any two characters I have ever read. Their story broke my heart, pieced it back together, then broke it again and eventually let me know that while a happily ever after might not in their future, their story is not over. First love is like that. It is often painful and intense and confusing and wonderful and awful all at the same time.

McGovern creates fully rounded characters in SWYW. The reader learns exactly what it is like to live with CP or OCD; their disabilities are deftly drawn in ways that don't always happen in novels. But be sure: this is not an 'issue' book, although in less capable hands it could be. It is real and heartbreaking and encouraging and one of the best books I've read this year, YA or other. I cannot wait to dig into McGovern's newest book,  A Step Toward Falling, just out from Harper Teen.

I'm sitting here looking for a quote to end this review and I'm feeling teary-eyed again in the best of ways just flipping through the pages of this wonderful, wonderful book! And here's your quote, from near the end, but it doesn't ruin anything, just gives you a sense of the words:
"They sat like that for a while, hands intertwined on top of the book. If he spoke, he knew his voice would betray him. It would crack and break and he'd start to cry. So they stayed just like that, as the light through the window drained from the sky."

For more about the brilliant Cammie McGovern, go to

Thursday, October 1, 2015



MY bonus Rafflecopter Giveaway is on for another few hours so scroll down and enter!

And as a bonus for stopping by this leg of the tour, I am giving away a set of my SWEET DEAD LIFE series!

Just enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below! I will let you know if you are the winner once YASH is over!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Coming on 10/1 is the FALL YA SCAVENGER HUNT!

To see the rest of the teams go HERE !

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fall Five for Friday

It's fall, although the Texas weather doesn't believe it. We're still in the 90s and although we had a taste of cooler weather a couple weeks ago, temps have hiked back up and now it's an endurance contest.

But in hopes of that still elusive blue norther, I give you five of my favorite fall things:

1. Sweaters, hoodies, sweat shirts, jackets. Yeah, I'm in love with outerwear. I really am. I'm having a love hate thing right now with the ponchos that have returned to the racks. I like them in theory. But it's an awkward thing to wear. Pretty if you're standing up. Meh if you're walking and it's twisting around.

2. Boots. I love boots. Moto boots and cowboy boots and tall boots and well, boots. It's no wonder that Jenna Samuels in my Sweet Dead Life series loved her red cowgirl boots.

3. Pumpkins in general, and gourds and leaves that turn color. Last year we actually got fall color here, which was honesty thrilling. But pumpkin spice everything? Including pumpkin spice lattes? Not so much. A real pumpkin. Yes. Pumpkin frosting and middles of Oreos? Nope.

4. Texas High School Football. Friday Night Lights for real. Absolutely nothing like it. Professional football pales in comparison. it really does.

5. The Renaissance Festival and cooler air and dare I say it? Being able to open the windows and have an actual breeze slip in.

What do you like about fall?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five People I Love Today

Gonna be hard to keep it to five. But let me squoosh some together:

1. The guy who fixed my pineapple lamp (it was the socket) and made it work all spiffy again. I LOVE my pineapple lamp. And I was sad that it was all blinky. Now it is PERFECT. And the lady, in the same store, who waxed eloquent on the subject of bathroom lighting ("think of it as the jewelry. Pick your faucets first, then your mirrors, then your lights"). Well who knew? And so project master bath is actually moving forward and who knew I could be so excited about countertops?

2. Entrepreneur/author Bethenny Frankel because she is knows how to reinvent and knows her flaws and her strengths and even if you are reading this and scoffing about 'reality TV' let me say that she inspires me to get it done, to believe in myself, to pick up the pieces when I fail, to keep a keen eye on the world's absurdities, and  to laugh because laughter is awesome. 

3. Julie Murphy for writing DUMPLIN' and for telling the world that women can take up as much space in this world as they want or need to. 

4. Colleen Thompson, who writes kick ass romantic suspense (among many other genres) and who also does a lot to keep my head on straight and remind me to keep my eyes on my own work because that's the only thing I can control!

5. And all the team at Soho Press, with whom writing books is an honor and a pleasure. Soon they will start giving you sneak peeks at next year's IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS and I can hardly wait! Here's a little teaser description: Part thriller, part murder mystery, part fairy tale in the vein of Tuck Everlasting, comes a story of accidental immortality, star-crossed romance, and a forever-seventeen-year-old girl who won't give up the search for the boy she loves.

Yeah, you want to read that, don't you? Well it's coming on 5/17/16.