Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
See all those books? They were all gone by 4 PM
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
And now on to the post:
Somewhere in between the relentless pace lately - not that I'm complaining, just observing - I've had to shut things down on occasion and just read. Does anyone else do this? (I know you do. Just fess up!) When the going gets too rough, I retreat with a book for a bit and I'm always better for it.
Not quite done yet with Megan Frazer's debut YA The Secrets of Truth and Beauty, but it is lovely. Dara Cohen discovers that she had a sister, Rachel, that her parents have kept a secret from her. Mom and Dad have deemed Rachel dangerous. Unstable. Whatever happened with Rachel was a rebellious teenager - before Dara was born - it was enough to sever the ties irrevocably. When an incident over a school autobiography project triggers Dara's own conflict with her weight, her life, and her distant and demanding parents, she searches out Rachel. What follows is a journey for everyone involved.
I am loving this book. Frazer's prose is sharp; her narrative skills impressive. She's got a keen eye for characterization, such as the moment when Dara first sees Rachel and notes the few strands of grey in her hair, thus letting the reader know that the years have taken their toll. Or the moment when Rachel realizes exactly how much she'd been cut out of her family. Heart-breaking stuff, but also, I'm sensing, ultimtately uplifting and life-affirming.
I won the ARC of this one at an SCBWI meeting in June, but hadn't gotten to it yet. Now I'm just frustrated that I don't have time to just read and read.
Of course, Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver continues to stick in my mind, too. That scene in the candy store. Oh my! Werewolf loving. Passion, passion, passion. And just a darn good storytelling ride.
And my beloved 2k9er's are slamming into the fall YA scene right now. Megan Crewe's Give Up the Ghost is amazing. Cass sees dead people. Including her own sister. The living "breathers" as she calls them - well, they're not quite as fun. But Cass learns to embrace life in Megan's tale, even as she both uses and helps the ghosts around her. I loved Cass because she seemed totally real to me - prickly and unlovable some of the time. It made me love her all the more. This is a great paranormal read and I adored how Megan set up the perameters of what ghosts could and couldn't do.
Lauren Bjorkman - who has had an amazing life during which she actually spent some of her childhood years living a sailboat! - is about to release "My Invented Life," which is also on my to read list and as far as I can tell, witty and funny and thoughtful all at once. Here's the synopsis:
Roz and Eva are sisters, friends, and rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and landing sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly, a few obstacles stand between her and her dream. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Inquiring minds need to know.
Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.
MY INVENTED LIFE is set in small California high school during the rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy.
And finally, October brings Lauren Strasnick's Nothing Like You - the story of Holly Hirsch, grieving for the death of her mother, who can't let go of a one night stand with Paul and whose life spirals out of control from there. I've read the ARC of this one twice - it was just that moving.
So here's to a little reading therapy! When the going gets tough, the reader in me just curls up and lets someone else tell the stories for awhile.
Til next time..
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Kara and Karissa and Me - My original readers
Talking and reading and generally looking shiny
Me and former students. Aren't we adorable? And what's that pretty book?
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
First the thank yous and links to those who have already been doing their thing. (And let me say that this is honestly only a partial set of thank yous. There are on-going contests, such as Tascha Cullen's at Bloody Bookaholic http://bloodybookaholic.blogspot.com/ and Marta Morrison's nice review (it was my first ever) at TeensReadToo and the on going Dreaming Anastasia vs. Bran Hambric giveaway smackdown at http://bookalicio.us/2009/08/my-first-give-away-dreaming-anastasia-bran-hambric/ So if I miss you in this round of thank you's, it's only because I've already shouted out to you earlier. Trust me, Momma raised a polite child; I am virtually hugging all of you every second of the day!
So: Thank you, Janet Fox, (Faithful, Puffin, 2010) for asking me such thoughtful interview questions at your Through the Wardrobe And thank you Kristi at Story Siren for letting me post about my beloved Class of 2k9 and all things internet inspired. Story Siren Thank you Ever Read for a nice review EVEREAD and The Book Resort for asking me some very different and amusing questions including chunky vs. smooth! Marta’s Meanderings deserves an enormous shout out for a thoughtful and wonderful review and for talking up Dreaming Anastasia. Big Thanks to Katiebabs at Babbling About Books for a very thoughtful review and of course to Casey at A Passion for Books for review, contest and the opportunity to chat about Baba Yaga! Day by Day Writer let me post about my writer's journey and of course I'm as big of a fan of Kate at Neverending Shelf as she is of me! Review, interview, contest. Just too wonderful!!
Lots more to come. The ones that are definitely scheduled for now are:
Sunday, September 6thYA Books CentralMonday, September 7thDolce Bellezza Books & Literature for Teens Tuesday, September 8thShelf Elf The Shady Glade Wednesday, September 9thDebbie’s World of Books Bookalicio.us Thursday, September 10thUltimate Book Hound Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf Friday, September 11thSarah’s Random MusingsSaturday, September 12thCindy’s Love of Books Presenting Lenore Always Riddikulus Sunday, September 13th Jenn’s Bookshelf Carol’s Corner Monday, September 14thA High & Hidden Place Looking Glass Review Karin’s Book Nook Tuesday, September 15thShooting Stars Magazine Library Lounge Lizard Wednesday, September 16thBook Journey The Book Pixie Thursday, September 17thThe Compulsive Reader BildungsromanFriday, September 18thBooking Mama BriMeetsBooks.com Saturday, September 19thThe Written World Hope’s Bookshelf Sunday, September 20thBook Nut Hope is the Word Monday, September 21stZoe’s Book Reviews Homespun Light Teen Scene magazine Tuesday, September 22ndGalleysmith Once Upon a Bookshelf Wednesday, September 23rdCafé of Dreams My Friend Amy (9pm EST author chat)Thursday, September 24thThe Brain Lair Ms. Bookish Friday, September 25thLori Calabrese Writes Mrs. Magoo Reads Saturday, September 26thRamblings of a Teenage Bookworm Fantasy Book Critic Sunday, September 27thInto the Wardrobe In the Pages Monday, September 28thBeth Fish Reads Reverie Book Reviews BookLoons.com
So keep posted!
And if you're in the Houston area, my Launch Party Signing is next Saturday, 9/12, 2PM at The Woodlands Mall Barnes & Noble. Come say hi!
Til next time...
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
A little over five years ago I began writing the book that eventually became Dreaming Anastasia. It has been a long journey between then and now. Reams of paper, lots of copier ink, a couple of computer apocalypses, two agents – the current one being the fearless Cowgirl Jen- two editors – the current one being the fabulous Mr. Tiger Beat, Dan Ehrenhaft - a copy editing team that simply rocked, the boy genius who forced me to tweet called Publicist Paul, some sleepless nights, an amazing group of people called the Class of 2k9, a generally patient family who realized that this wasn’t just a whim and that I was going to see it through no matter what, a stiff neck from too much typing, and a few too many glasses of wine when the need arose.
Along the way, I learned a lot of things, the most important one being that I should believe in myself. I want to say that I always did, but I realize now that that’s probably not the truth. I wanted to, but the leap of faith that required was pretty darn scary. Because once you leap, there’s no going back. My life changed completely and utterly in many ways. I am better for all of them. People I had never met took a chance on me and this crazy story about a strong, kick ass girl who had the power to change history and a handsome stranger who didn’t really know as much as he thought he did and a bad guy with a crazy secret and a fairy tale witch. It was part fantasy and part fairy tale and part historical fiction and part romance. It had a strong literary element – which as we all know doesn’t sell well most days – and three narrative voices. It will come, my agent at the time said. But I sensed it wouldn’t be easy. (okay the six months of revision was probably a clue) But as we are fond of saying in the publishing business, it just takes one offer. One person to take that leap of faith with you.
That person was my original editor at Sourcebooks, Lyron Bennett.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I hope you all enjoy this story as much as I do. It’s a fine, rollicking tale of love and loss and hope and regret and the desperate need most of us have for second chances. It’s about the power of blood and the power of secrets and about what people do for both of those. It’s about stories within stories and layers within layers and the things we do for the people we love. And okay, Ethan is really, really hot!
Welcome to the world, Dreaming Anastasia! Happy birthday. May you have a long and prosperous life.
With all my love,
PS- And to my favorite NYC girl, Michelle Andelman – I owe you! Seriously!