Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To Tweet or not to Tweet?

Well, actually, it's no longer a question. Publicist Paul (do ya like the alliteration?) has twisted my little girlie arm and as of yesterday, I've jumped on the Twitter train. (There was something about how four people in Slovenia had now read my 2k9 "You Know You're a Debut Author When" post and other peer pressure of that sort) So if you want to follow me, you can find me @joypreble in Twitter land. Pretty quiet out there right now - me and a couple of writer friends, my Sourcebooks peeps and okay, Ashton Kutcher. Why? Because I could.

And if anyone reading this could tell me in 160 characters or less (or whatever the tweet count is; I'm a newbie so I don't remember) why you like or dislike tweets, I would be every so happy.

Til next time...
(and check out the 2k9 post link!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Big Old Texas Thank You

To Book Splot and also a bit belatedly to The Ravenous Reader for choosing Dreaming Anastasia as their Waiting on Wednesday picks! You guys rock! (or, since this was titled a Texas thank you - y'all rock! Seriously!) When you're a debut author nothing is more crazily humbling than to have people excited about the premise of your novel, the cover of you book and all the stuff in between. Especially when most debut books have had - as I've recounted in this blog - lengthy journeys to get to the shelf. It is majorly exciting and a true, true honor to have people you don't even know get jazzed right along with you. So for everyone who is championing DA or any book for that matter - thanks! The world of books - of readers and writers - has been my favorite place for as long as I can remember, but YA readers are a special, special group. And fantasy readers - we're a enthusiastic, loyal group. Okay, so are romance readers and those who like alternate history. And all of that is part of the wacky world of Dreaming Anastasia. Plus a little Russian folklore! So getting to be part of that on the other side - the writing side - is thrilling beyond words.

Til next time...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Want to win a copy of Dreaming Anastasia?

Total awesome coolness points to the fabulous Darcy Wishard at Lounge Lizard who's hosting a giveaway contest for Dreaming Anastasia today, as part of the equally awesome Shooting Stars Mag's YA Book Carnival. (shout out to Lauren!)

Answer a few exciting questions, link up to Lounge Lizard and you're in the running! Plus you'll get to find out about other contests/giveaways for other YA books, which is an added amazing bonus!

There's a time limit, so get thee to Mr. Linky right away and let me know that you did! (or keep it to yourself, but it would be fun to know!)

Til next time... when there will be more Dreaming Anastasia news!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Coffee, coffee, coffee... Chinese food and Olympic countdown!

So there's the official Olympic countdown clock. And some really amazing Chinese food just so you loyal readers can know what I've been doing and eating in the land of caffeination- otherwise known as our trip to Vancouver and Seattle. Seriously - you folks in those cities know how to do coffee and tea - and let me say, I indulged over and over. Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Tim Horton's, Blenz... plus a bunch of others not of the chain variety. Just walk five feet and you pretty much trip over a coffee shop of some sort. Which is just fine with me.

We flew into Seattle and then drove up to Vancouver, showing our passports at the border now that this is required. (kind of adds a touch of excitement to the whole process) And then we began the tourist thing in earnest: aqua bus to Granville Island; Robson street, Stanley Park carriage ride, Aquarium, neighborhood walks, followed by tram ride up to the top of Grouse Mountain in Vancouver; Space Needle, Harbor and Locks cruise, Pike Market, and lots of neighborhood walks in Seattle.

And the coffee. Did I mention the coffee? Plus a really spectacular Assam Chai tea in Vancouver at Blenz. They scoop it out loose and make their own mesh tea bag thingies...
Of course, I wandered bookstores in both cities; looked for those 2k9 books on the shelves.
But mostly, we (husband and I ) just enjoyed being somewhere else. Honestly, we'd both been so crazy busy the past couple of months that I'd actually planned very little. And by little, I mean nothing. Normally, I'm anal Annie about vacations. The Bataan Death March of planners. This time we stepped off the plane in Seattle and headed to the Enterprise booth and I was thinking, huh! All I've got with me is the map quest for how to drive to Vancouver and honestly, it's a straight line so I probably didn't even need that. (okay, we had hotel reservations. I guess I planned a little) But no schedule. No agenda. We'll figure it out when we get there, I thought.

And we did. I had no idea that the Art Museum in Vancouver was hosting an amazing Vermeer/Rembrandt exhibit on loan from Amsterdam. But it was. So we went to it. And not long after that, got to watch as a group of Iranian students and Iranian Canadians protested their current elections on the steps of that same museum. And listened to talk of the same over Chai tea at a coffee house a few blocks away. I had no idea that a baby beluga whale had just been born at the Aquarium. But it had. And we got to see that seven day old, still wrinkly baby nursing on its mother. I discovered something called Montreal smoked meat at the market on Granville Island. I love this stuff... and the Chinese food in the picture above. Had some of that in Vancouver, too. And it kicked butt! I had no idea that the Deadliest Catch boats are harbored in Seattle or that I'd see The Wizard. And the Sleepless in Seattle house on the water. Saw that too. And the big warehouse thing the Real World Seattle people lived in. And I discovered that for some weird reason there's a statue of Lenin in the Fremont neighborhood. And a troll under the bridge. Who knew? Not me!
I could keep rambling. But you get the picture. Travel. Wandering. Meeting and talking and going places you haven't been. Stumbling into a tiny little tapas restaurant with decent Sangria. Chatting up a cabbie about his thoughts on the upcoming Olympics. As Melissa Marr is fond of saying, it "fills the well." Takes you out of your life for awhile and lets you walk a different path.

So I guess the question for today is: Where should I go next?

Til next time... (when I will post some Dreaming Anastasia updates!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I heart Sarah Dessen

In my summer reading post the other day, I did not mention the book that I've been pining for, which is Sarah Dessen's newest, Along for the Ride. It comes out on June 16th, I believe and I will be grabbing a copy as soon as I possibly can.

If you are not a Sarah Dessen fan, well, you should be! Just Listen is my favorite, followed by The Truth About Forever, but honestly, I love everything she's written. Her characters speak to me in ways that no one else's do and I think it's because I'm by nature a perfectionist who has trouble with change but still courts it because I know it's good for me or simply because the fates shove me toward it. I live in Texas, nowhere near where I grew up and where "my people" are, and so I've had to cobble together new family with friends and neighbors. I know what it is to have my world change in an instant, and not always in a good way. And Sarah Dessen's fiction speaks to these things. Characters whose lives are disrupted; who are forced to reckon with the hard truths of their situations, who find love in unexpected places and people. Who have to be pushed out of their comfort zone into something they never expected to love. Not all of what happens results in perfect happily ever afters. But every word, every description feels real, authentic.

If you ever read this post, Sarah Dessen, it was your writergirl live journal that I stumbled upon a couple of years ago when I was still an unpublished author with huge dreams and a messy life. I still make sure I read your Friday Five. I can only wish that someday I can master the craft as you have! I read about your love of those deviled eggs and basketball, and just today about your tangerine purse and trip to BEA and I'm encouraged. Of the many writers who've inspired me, whose way with sentences has awed me, you have always been top of my list. One of the things I try to do as I move from debut author to author - hopefully - of that second and third book - is to find the truth in the human story, the truth as I see it. Dreaming Anastasia is in part about imperfect people who make mistakes and then have to deal with the aftermath, as I guess we all do.

So here's to summer and here's to Along for the Ride. I can hardly wait!

Til next time...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Summer Reading

School's. Out. For. Summer! And that means my head can unwind from research papers and lesson plans and book talks and wondering why an administrator just asked Johnny to leave the room and bring his back pack now! even though I have a fairly good idea of what that means and so does everyone else although we won't discuss it because they prefer to imagine that I live in some rarefied atmosphere where I just read Wordsworth all day long and possibly a couple of long sentences from Proust and might not understand.

But back to the summer reading. Mostly this summer I need to finish my WIP and develop some workshops I can do for school visits and the like and plot out some signings and other things because like it or not Dreaming Anastasia will hit those shelves on September 1st and I better get ready. More on my travels later this week in another post. I'm plotting and planning some great events and I'm excited to share. DA and I even got a nice mention in Publisher's Weekly post BEA article, although they called me Joe not Joy. But whoever I am, Dreaming Anastasia still got a mention which was honestly so exciting it took my breath clean away.

Summer Reading! Stick to the point!

Here's what's on my current list.
  • Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
  • the ARC i just won at the SCBWI Houston meeting of Megan Frazer's Secrets of Truth and Beauty
  • Eternal by Cynthia Leitich Smith, which is her sequel to Tantalize and which I've had since TLA but just haven't had the time to read even though I've been dying to!
  • the debut Wings by Aprilynne Pike. Bought it when I went to the fabulous Blue Willow Book Shop in Houston to bring them my own ARC and say hello
  • Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb. I met Margot very briefly at TLA and in those brief seconds I knew that whatever she wrote it would be both funny and poignant and standing in Blue Willow flipping through Cures, I was delighted to find that I was not mistaken. (I'm usually pretty good about reading people although on occasion I'm decidely awful but even then I'm always better at people than I am at trends. I was the one, btw, who said with absolute assurance that no one would ever want a Tickle Me Elmo or a beanie baby...)
  • Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
  • Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman
  • My Big Nose and Other Disasters by Sydney Salter
  • Initiation by Susan Fine
  • Watersmeet by Ellen Jensen Abbott

Those last five, in the spirit of full disclosure, are some the books by fellow 2k9ers that are out now and that I have not yet read. I love all our books, but the YA's are obviously my thing and I'm very much looking forward.

Beyond that, I plan on indulging my taste for romance with some Nora Roberts and this new wedding series she's doing. Yes, I've watched the Lifetime movies, too. The books are way better.

What's on your summer reading list? Please let me know!

Til next time...