Sunday, April 24, 2011


Hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday week and weekend - Passover, Easter, whatever you might be celebrating!

So many great responses of librarian and book blogger love for the contest. I wish I had prizes for everyone; you all deserve them for your good answers. But the keeper of the contest hat - aka, the husband, keeps me honest! Only I really couldn't let him stop at picking just one, so I had him pick three!

Drum rolllllllll......

Grand Prize Winner: Rebekah Hatcher: who wins the signed copy of Haunted and a Haunted t shirt!

1st Runner Up: Margay: Who wins a Haunted t shirt

2nd Runner Up: Kristina: who wins signed Haunted/Dreaming Anastasia booksmarks and a signed poster.

If you could all email me at joy at joypreble dot com and let me know where to send, that would be awesome!!

And if you didn't win, coming up soon: A ginormous contest to give away the bounty I've been collecting at various events - lots of signed books by lots of really cool authors! Stay tuned!


Saturday, April 23, 2011


Winners to be announced soon! Thanks for all the amazing book blogger and librarian love! It makes me so happy... I can't do what I love - writing - without them!

Stay tuned....

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Back from TLA, Where Authors are Rockstars and a Haunted Giveaway CONTEST

TLA did indeed rock. And our new Sourcebooks Children's and YA Publicity Manager, Derry Wilkens (a Texas girl herself) rocks pretty hard, too! Got to hang with the Sbooks gang and author buds and mentors, eat great vegies at Threadgills and a piece of sweet potato/pecan pie and a killer cocktail at Moonshine Grill and bacon shrimp and cheddar grits at Bess's.... (most of that was in one day so please do not judge) Fabulous Texas writers were everywhere: Cyn and Greg Leitich Smith, PJ Hoover, Jessica Anderson, Kathy Whitehead, Janet Fox (who will always be an honorary Texan), Kelly Bennett, Dede Fox Ducharme (who is writing some amazing poetry these days) , Varian Johnson, Christina Mandelski, Crystal Allen, Dottie Enderle, Jenny Moss, Bettina Restrepo (I bow to her energy level!) and more. And I finally got to meet Rebecca Stead and tell her how much I adore her writing. Plus Ruth McNally Barshaw, whose doodles and drawings always make me laugh! (she is not a Texan, but that is okay)

If you came out to the Sourcebooks booth to say hi, get a book signed, get an "Authors are my Rockstars" tee shirt - thanks!

And let me say that I love being at TLA on teen day - packs of teen readers roaming the exhibit hall in search of books and swag. One group from Weslaco in south Texas had gotten on the bus at 2AM! And they were driving back later that day. That is book dedication!

I'm always thanking bloggers and librarians and this post is no exception: Jen Bigheart, Steph Pellegrin (Literary Lonestars), Michelle Flores (Windowpane Memoirs) Katie (Mundie Moms), and my Houston girl - Maria (Cari Blogs) - and many, many, many more. Plus librarians like Lois Buchman and the indomitable Terri Lesene (Professor Nana) - you rock the cause of literacy!

Of course, my Sourcbooks publicity peeps - Derry, Melissa, and Kay (who was back in Naperville but still an active presence) - make events roll smoothly and make sure I'm where I need to be when I need to be there.

And now the CONTEST!!

Wanna win a signed copy of HAUNTED and a HAUNTED t shirt??

Become a follower of this blog if you aren't already (and/or follow me on Twitter (@joypreble) and comment on the blog with an answer to this question: Why do you love book bloggers and librarians?

The best answers will go in the contest hat and winner will be chosen. I will post winner here on the blog and ask you to email me, so check back or I'll pick someone else!

Contest will be open through Friday 4/22 so enter now!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Amazeballs: Or How Much I loved Houston Teen Book Con

Houston Teen Book Con was this past Saturday at Alief Taylor High School. If you weren't there, you missed the time of your life! Deb Caletti gave a moving key note about her love of books. The school was filled with librarians and students and readers of all sorts and stripes. 21 authors and graphic novelists hung out and chatted about books and reading and why we write and how we write and stuff we love. The ladies of Blue Willow - Girl Boss Valerie Koehler and the indomitable Cathy Berner, who has championed me and my books more times than I probably deserve - created the most wonderful event ever. A squadron of volunteers and librarians and the amazing Lisa Stultz made sure it all went smoothly. Plus there was ice cream. (which I didn't get cause I was signing. But that's okay!)

I will be flying high from this for days to come. My co-panelists -Rachel Hawkins, Saundra Mitchell, Stacey Kade, Andrea Cremer - you all rocked my world. Seriously - I love these women!! And Ben the Armadillo. I love Ben, too.

Okay folks. Gotta grade research papers. Gotta pack up for TLA. Gotta write book 3. Next time I'll tell you about SCBWI and my lovely editor Leah Hultenschmidt - who I got to meet in person this weekend! Very cool.

Come to the Sourcebooks booth on Thursday at 10 AM. I'll sign a book for you. Haunted or Dreaming Anastasia! Plus there'll be chocolate. But only if you get there early!

til next time...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tales from the Road

I swear I absolutely never post twice in one day, especially when I should be finishing book 3 and finishing Dracula before my students do (okay that was overly optimistic on both our parts) and a zillion other things. But the brain - she kept on telling me stories as I zipped here and there because honestly there's a special special set of neuroses when you've been traveling a bunch and have a new book out and so, in no particular order, here's the stuff I haven't been saying while I've been posting pics and thanking everyone who really really deserves to be thanked:

  • I am now convinced that every major American city has better rock radio stations than Houston. Even conservative SLC. Why is that, Houston? Hmmm? Yeah, yeah, I know - maybe radio is dead. But when you're spending your time in rental cars, this is something you notice.

  • Renting a car past midnight even if you have a reservation is not always a happy experience. The very tired woman at the Budget counter insisted that I accept a ginormous white van that would have been perfect for transporting the middle school of a small academy or doing bakery deliveries. Let's just say that by 1 AM I'd worn her down and scored the Ford Focus. I am still not sure whose victory this is.

  • My stock answer to every single bookseller, CRM and school headmaster who has been asking me, "Where's your driver?" is now "You're lookin' at her." Then we both spend a few seconds contemplating the amount of books I will have to sell to rate that elusive thing called 'media escorts.' Conversely, I can blast Metallica as loudly as I like in my Focus or my Kia.

  • To the woman next to me on the plane yesterday, here's the full story: I'm an anxious flier. And I've been flying a lot lately. I'm not crazy anxious. I just have these thoughts like, "Shit. Look at those gorgeous snowy Wasatch mountains I've been so crazy for. Can this metal tube actually fly over them? Or will we just get mostly over them and go down in a blaze of glory and have to eat each other like those soccer players in the Andes? So yes, when you kept you cell phone out and said in a cheery sing song voice to the guy next to you - the one you insisted provide you with a full body massage for the entire 3 hour flight - "I'm breaking the rules," I was probably not the best ear for that message. My rational brain knows that your texting probably wouldn't send us plummeting in the Wasatch range. But still there I was saying, "So is there a reason you don't have to put your cell phone away and everyone else does?"

  • On my California trip, while waiting for a signing at B&N, I was chatting with agent Jen. Some real live teens traipsed by us. "Tell them to come to your event," Jen says. "Ehhh, ahhh, maybe," I say. "What's the worst that could happen?" asks Jen. "They'll say no." At which point I explain that in my brain, this is NOT the worst that can happen. The worst is that they were planning on going but now that I've asked them, I seem kinda creepy and desperate and they change their minds. It takes a special mind to come up with this scenario.

  • Oatmeal, fruit, toast and coffee should NOT cost $8.95 even if it's the hotel dining room. Conversely, it was very very good. As was the hamburger and fries I ate at the hotel bar - and which cost only a dollar more than the oatmeal. Plus there was beer available. And basketball on the big screen. And a fascinating assortment of tired businessmen. Yes - I was the only chick. But I'm okay with that.

  • There is a special place in heaven for the overnight desk clerk at the Marriott who sold me my Hagen Daaz coffee and nuts ice cream bar at 1:30 AM and did not cast a single judgmental look my way when I finally arrived in the above described Ford Focus.

And so it goes. Back out on the local road this week. Will report more.

Of Bison and Books: My Visit to Salt Lake City UT

Back from Salt Lake City. Flew in Wed. nite very late - like midnight late - so it wasn't til the morning when I realized that my hotel room looked out onto the Wasatch mountains. Mountains and mountains - covered with snow! I live in Houston. We are flat. We barely have inclines. We are at sea level. So this is thrilling. Especially when I drove up to Layton for the Barnes and Noble event and a day with fellow 2k9er and all around fabulous author/human Sydney Salter. They're even higher altitude there - close to 5,000 feet! And the mountains are right in your face. It's glorious! So to recap: Thank you McGillis School in SLC for a fabulous visit and to Headmaster Vince for bringing his family out to The King's English later. McGillis School is a wonderful place, and I got to visit with the entire middle school, where we talked books and characters and writing and Russian folklore and even Star Trek and Buffy. The best morning ever! And later that night, The King's English bookstore hosted me for a reading/signing. I adore this store. Thank you Rachel, for my tour of all the secret nooks and crannies. And to all the SLC book bloggers - including Catie (MeowMix85) and Heather (FireandIcePhotos) - who came to hang with me. SLC supports writers! Friday Sydney Salter and I went to see the bison on Antelope Island. (Sydney's take: "It's an only in UT experience: a salty lake with an island and bison.") And later, I hung out and signed books for the Friday nite crowd (including some local SCBWIers) at the Layton B&N. Thanks to all the staff for making me feel welcome - including Pete, Tammy and Dan. Plus I got to the zoo and saw a baby elephant, had some really stellar Indian food with Sydney and her daughter, and saw a panhandler holding a sign that read "Ninjas killed my family. Need $ for kung fu lessons." Next week - Houston Teen Book Con on 4/9 and also SCBWI Houston conference on 4/9 (quite the balancing act) - and a visit from editor Leah, who's speaking at SCBWI. My Teen Book Con panel is me, Rachel Hawkins, Stacey Kade, Andrea Cremer, and Saundra Mitchell!! Plus so many other great authors will be there including Deb Calletti, Lauren Myracle and Ellen Hopkins! Would love to see the Houston folks! And on 4/15, I'll be signing at the Sourcebooks booth at TLA in Austin at 10AM. Hope to see you there!
Above is me and the McGillis school gang Above are bloggers Catie and Heather, me, and Rachel at The King's English
Above are the mountains from my hotel parking lot
Above are bison roaming at the edge of the Great Salt Lake with mountains beyond

Another bison, more close up. This is a free-ranging herd of about 100, I think.