Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who is that Masked Man?

So when you've got a book coming out, your publisher generally assigns you to a publicist. At my level of the game - nobody special, definitely no longer a child prodigy, didn't write about vampires, doesn't sparkle in the sunlight or know anyone who does - this is often a crap shoot. You get who get and he/she adds you to their list and occasionally communicates about your book. For the most part, you're on your own, baby. It's just the way it works.

But as with many things this year for which I am humbly and profoundly grateful, that's not exactly how it worked for me. Oh, I've worked my butt off promoting - still am in fact, with many many miles still to go - but I've had a partner in crime. He's smart and funny and genuinely awesome and after a little hesitation on both our parts (cause seriously, it's like here you go; you two figure it out), we discovered that we made a good team. Together we created the Dreaming Anastasia Blog Tour That Ate the Universe. He dragged me kicking and screaming into the Twitterverse and nodded sagely when I discovered that I sort of liked it there. He told me that the HuffPo people would find me amusing and he was right. He drove an hour through rush hour traffic to be at one of my signings. Even brought his dog. He read my novel once because he was assigned to, and then he read it a second time just because. He makes sure I know stuff I need to know. (trust me, this is huge!) Sometimes, as I've said on this blog before, he nags. Usually he's polite about it. I tell him that to my other writer friends, he's a rock star. Mostly he doesn't let this go to his head. Or maybe he does. Because my favorite story about Publicist Paul is how he looked the very first time I met him. Which you can see below.

Til next time..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Odds and Ends

If you're signing at Borders during the Christmas rush, it's nice to have some school friends visit
  • Taking a break from the writing, writing, writing that I STILL can't tell you about. (Gee, Joy, could you hint any more annoyingly and repetitively? Probably not.) Never did post a pic from my Borders signing on 12/12, so there it is above. Had a lovely time visiting and signing and occasionally - as seems to be my norm - directing folks to bathrooms, neighboring toy stores, whatever. I don't even get thrown by these requests anymore. In fact, I rather enjoy them.
  • Still liking my Kindle, although my pal Barrie Summy has another take on the whole subject, which you can read here: Barrie is awesome and funny and a talented writer and I shared some delightful wine and conversation with her this summer at SCBWI LA.
Okay - back to writing.
More soon. A whole pile of end of year thank you's is on the horizon...
Til next time..

Monday, December 21, 2009

Waffles Shaped Like Texas and other Stuff

Slipped away with husband for the weekend and some very badly needed R&R. Headed up to Bastrop, which is not far from Austin and hung out at the Lost Pines Resort where one can relax, swim in the heated pool, ride horses, hike trails in the nearby nature park, eat delicious meals including brunch with waffles shaped like Texas, go on hay rides, get a massage, make s'mores in the fire pit at night with the other guests, sip adult beverages when the mood strikes, and other relaxing stuff. Even managed to write for a couple of hours at some point. Now that's a weekend!!

Now it's back to work while school is off. I am writing, writing, writing. And did say writing? More on that soon. I know I said that last time. But the wheels of publishing work slowly at this time of the year. So I must be patient. You too!

But something I CAN talk about is that to my absolute shock, I am in LOVE with my new Kindle. I did not think I'd take to it so well and easily. I'm a book person I said to everyone. Books feel good. They smell good. Nothing will replace them in my heart. Well, not so much the truth. Okay, I still love books better. But this sleek little book shaped creature is quiet and efficient and easy to read. I purchased Julie Powell's Cleaving and it downloaded in an instant. Woosh. There it was. (and woosh there was the charge on my Amazon acct!) When I stop reading, it remembers where I stopped. It can also do all sorts of nifty things like let me annotate but so far I'm not so good at those. I'll be able to send it manuscripts if I want. Subscribe to magazines and newspapers if I'm so inclined. Kindle I love thee!! Who would have thought?

Also loving Cleaving, which surprised me by being about Julie Powell's maritial traumas in addition to her months as an apprentice butcher. She is phenomenally brave, I think, to discuss her affair with the man she calls 'D' with such brutal candor. I have not really had the time to read any reviews so I don't know how the rest of the world is reacting to this latest book, but I've been blown away by how she just lays it all out there - although sometimes left feeling that maybe I don't need to know quite this much. (But I am learning a heck of a lot about how to break down a lamb) Anyone else reading this? Let me know what your thoughts are.

And speaking of thoughts, chime in about Kindles, Sony E-reader, Nook. What do you guys think?

Til next time...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dreaming From the Rooftop

Big Al, me, and Mark Hayter at Hastings, getting ready to film From the Rooftop ep

So last Friday night, I hung out with my pal and former teaching colleague Mark Hayter and his brother Big Al. Mark's humor column From the Rooftop has spawned TV episodes of his same goofy, folksy humor, some of which are currently airing on Friday they were filming at the Hastings in Conroe and Hayter called to see if I would guest star as, well, me - author of Dreaming Anastasia. I told him I'd see if I could manage the role. I'll let you all know when it airs. And if I'm still in it when it does. Pretty much, they dosed me with coffee and told me to be myself and then asked me a bunch of questions which I think I may have answered. Or not. I think we did a fake book signing somewhere in there, too, followed by Mark and Al pretending to sign books that weren't theirs. There was also a bit with one of the baristas. (It was two for one night at the Hastings coffee bar, by the way. Starbucks! You need to adopt this idea. Soon) There may have been other bits, but by then I was chatting with Mark and Al's sister Jill and Mark's wife Kay. So I probably missed something. I am clearly not cut out for television diva stardom. Or maybe I am. If the episode airs, you'll judge for yourself. It is possible that I was hugely amusing. Jill laughed a couple of times as I remember...

Anyway, I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, check out Mark's blog here: He's a great writer, a great history teacher, and an all around good guy. Al's kind of nice, too.

And stay tuned for my own big announcement. That's all I'm saying for now.

Til next time...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Appreciation Day - one day late!

Me and agent Jen at our Bellagio breakfast last year

Yesterday was unofficial Agent Appreciation Day - at least that's what author Shari Green told me. So here I am - a day late with the whole thing. Had a good reason or two, but I won't bore you with them. I'll just get down to business.

Why do I love my ABLA agent Jen Rofe?

Let me count the ways:

1. For our first official meeting, we had waffles and fruit and coffee at the Bellagio Cafe in Vegas. How can you not love someone who feeds you waffles? On Christmas Eve Day? In Las Vegas? I just had to work not to associate her with my subsequent losing streak on the slot machines.

2. She lets me whine. A lot. And then she never fails to tell me to pull up my big girl panties and get on with things. Which I do.

3. She has mad cowgirl skills.

4. She is a pit bull when it comes to standing behind her clients' work.

5. She has wickedly wonderful editing/critique skills.

6. Did I say she knows how to ride, rope and barrel race?

7. She took me on as a client in the middle of Hurricane Ike. When I had no phone or electricity. Somehow she found me anyway.

8. Sometimes when she gets really excited while reading my books, she texts me to let me know exactly where she is in the manuscript. One time she did this while at a wedding rehearsal dinner.

9. She negotiates like a mad woman! This is a good thing.

10. She has an internal chill-o-meter and so I know when she gets goosegumps that I'm on the right track.

I could go on and on but I have a book to finish.

Jennifer Rofe!! You are da bomb! The princess! The crazy cowgirl! My favorite valley girl! Have another Chai Latte on me!

Okay, back to work.

More on that soon.
Til next time...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On the road - Houston style

Me and some of the Banff school girls

Did my first Houston school visit today and all I can say is WOW! Banff School rocks! Thank you to Mrs. Granberry's classes for being such a great audience. You read Dreaming Anastasia! You took Mrs. Granberry's quiz! You researched the Romanovs and Baba Yaga and wrote about how those are reflected in the novel. And you even came up with fantabulous questions to ask me! All school visits should be this wonderful. I had a great afternoon chatting, laughing and giving away awesome swag. We even had a Dreaming Anastasia trivia faceoff for the final t shirt!

So again, thanks Banff for hosting me!

Til next time...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Let it Snow and Upcoming Events: Borders! Signing!

Yes, it's snow on the windshield. Real snow. In Houston. The earliest snow in recorded Houston history.
Okay, so up here in the northern burbs we didn't have too much. And I had to take the picture through the windshield because otherwise you really couldn't see the flakes. But still. Snow! What a great day yesterday was. The administration even decided that we should have our December fire drill early so everyone could get outside while the getting was good. So out we all went about 1:30 into the cold and snow. Joyous! I had forgotten how happy snow makes me. All smiley and giddy. Until it piles up in giant frozen heaps and I lose my car in a drift that is, as as happened in my past life in Chicago. But yesterday's snow was just plain fun.
Beyond that, I'm absolutely bursting with great news... which I can't actually tell anyone yet. But soon, my gentle readers. Soon. Let's just say I'm going to be very busy for awhile.
And other than that... if you're in the Houston area, come on out next Saturday 12/12 to the Borders in Market Street in The Woodlands. I'll be signing Dreaming Anastasia from 2-4 PM and I'd love to say hi! If you've never been up to Market Street, it's lots of fun - great shops and restaurants and a cool park and a movie theater. And a wonderful Borders with a fab YA section upstairs... and me signing books. :)
til next time...