Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hanging out with Christina Mandelski

One of the awesomest (yes, it can be a word. Why? Cause I said so) things that happened in April when I went to TLA was getting to know Christina Mandelski. She writes! She loves cake! (We had a bakery in the family for years. My Aunt Dina and Uncle Leon - both skimming about 5 feet tall - ran it, and here is Chris writing about Sheridan Wells, queen of the cake decorators! ) She is funny and adorable! She actually lives not far from me! She is beffies with my breakfast buddy Crystal Allen. (who is also adorable and funny and smart and lives a little farther from me but really loves cake, too)

Speaking of cake - Rao's Bakery on Cypresswood in Spring, Texas makes kick butt cakes; we had Italian Cream and Red Velvet slices at critique group last night. I am still on a lovely sugar high. (And in case you think the northern Houston suburbs do not produce anything but cake and heat and fire ants - which is partially true - let me briefly digress to say that the Klein School District has also produced some phenomenal actors that you see regularly on tv. One them is the son of family friends. For his privacy, I will leave that a mystery. BR will appreciate it. Oops. Yes, it's true, Jim Parsons (Sheldon on Big Bang Theory), Ben Rappaport (who starred in the now defunct Outsourced and has also been on Broadway! And who looks exactly like his dad except w/out the beard), and Matt Bomer (the highly hot star of USA's summer series, White Collar) - all products of high schools in the Klein ISD right here in otherwise boring Spring, Texas. We are a happening place.

But back to Christina Mandelski - well, she's not quite from the rarefied atmosphere of Spring, actor capitol of the world - but she's pretty close and darn cool and she stopped by the blog today to chat.

Here's what Amazon has to say about The Sweetest Thing:

Product Description
A delicious confection for Sarah Dessen fans

In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.
But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

And here's a few words from Chris herself:

When It Rains, It Pours

It’s hot here in Houston, and dry. But the week before last, after something like 150 days, it finally rained. The morning started out dark, long rolls of thunder ambled across the wide Texas sky, and then the sky opened up. Facebook statuses rang out the news – “OMG, it’s raining!”, and “What’s that stuff falling from the sky?”.

It was only rain, but it felt a little bit like a miracle.

Ironically, not too long ago, I felt like my writing was in a drought of its own. My novel released on May 10th, I finished a manuscript and was revising, but my mind kept returning to the question, what’s next?

It’s a scary question for any writer, published or not. When will that next great idea come? Will it come? Or am I totally dried up?

I wasn’t asking for a miracle. The idea didn’t have to be a fully-formed (though that would have been nice), it didn’t have to have a title, or even a main character. It just had to be something that got me excited, a brief squall, if you will. Just enough to dampen the old creative soil and allow something to sprout up.

But back in May, nada. Crickets. My creative reservoir was on empty and I saw no chance of precipitation in the forecast.

Until one day in New York (where I was attending BEA with my Class of 2k11 peeps), when I met with the head of my agency. He’s a cool guy, who I thought would want to talk about my book, my career path, business stuff, you know? And he did, a bit, but more than that, he wanted to hear about my next idea (I had a few lame ones to share, which he proceeded to help me flesh out).

We covered a lot of ground, but I found, when the meeting was over, that my mind had camped on one particular phrase he’d used, comparing one of my ideas to Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie To Catch a Thief (one of my favorites). I hadn’t thought of it like that, at all, but he was right.

Rumble, rumble, was that thunder I heard in the distance?

The rest of my time in New York, I couldn’t get my mind off of that idea. It burrowed its way into my brain and began to grow – sitting in JFK airport, in the midst of awful delays (terrible storms in the northeast), I joyfully took notes on everything from plot points, to the main character’s name (I’ll call her Diana, because she’s on the hunt to find out who framed her dad). I made some headway, and Monday morning, I was in my chair at home, writing with abandon.

In the course of a week, I’d gone from dust bowl to my cup runneth over. Not that it’s the best idea ever, not that I won’t completely gut it in revisions. It’s too soon to think like that. For now, I’m just enjoying the relief of a dry spell that’s ended.

Writing is weird that way, don’t you think? If you’re in a drought of your own at the moment, I urge you to keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t get discouraged. Read a book, bounce ideas (no matter how lame you might think they are) off of writing friends, and wait. There’s thunder in the distance, the rain is coming, and if you’re lucky, it’ll grow something beautiful.

Thanks so much Joy, for letting me commandeer the blog today!

Thanks back, Chris! Want to find out more about The Sweetest Thing (on shelves now from Egmont USA) and Christina Mandelski? Here's how:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Musing on Monday

Taking a little lunch break while dashing to the finish line on Again and Again. But as I've just crammed some salad in my mouth and the tea is about done brewing, this is going to be quick. Lunch lasts approximately five minutes when I'm on deadline. Although compared to meeting this deadline while teaching six classes, it's a piece of cake. Well sort of. Okay, I've got note cards everywhere and it's chaos here. But it's coming along. For you, gentle readers. All for you!

A peek into Joy's brain:

  • It is our anniversary on Friday. I need to get the hubs a gift. Other than my fabulous presence in his life.

  • I've watched bits and pieces of Falling Sky. I think it's growing on me.

  • It does not however, have the guilty pleasure pull of Covert Affairs. How much am I in love with Augie? When he took off his shirt last week and called Annie "Sugarplum." *dies in a good way*

  • The wedding we went to this weekend in the Texas Hill Country included at least five choices of pie.I also think I ate my weight in ridiculously tasty jalapeno poppers. Plus a gorgeous bride and groom. And boot stomping dancing. And mason jars and lots of long neck beer choices. And the prodigal son and the new wife were there with us. So cute.

  • I need to see Super 8. Really.

  • In November I will be at Austin Comic Con! More on that very soon.

Til next time...

Sunday, June 26, 2011

and the winner of the autographed FORGIVEN is

Sylvia Sanchez!!

All of you had amazing answers to what place inspires you. But the contest hat has picked Sylvia, who responded with this:

Sylvia Sanchez said...
All life I always dreamed of moving as far away from home as I possibly could and when I graduated high school my dream came true. I left my home in NYC and went to a very small college in Florida called Saint Leo University. It was the first time in my life that I was truly happy and made me feel proud of myself. Everytime I feel depressed I just visit and it puts all my doubts about myself right out of my mind.

My most favorite place in the world and the place that inspires me is a beautiful lake behind my dorm at Saint Leo. To me its the most magical place. Living in the Bonx, I really never had a place to about nature but looking out at the lake made me realize how much more there is outside of new york waiting for me to find it.

My nephew Raymond came to visit me once while I was at Saint Leo and I took him to my lake so we can relax under the weeping willow trees and talk. Raymond is autistic and has never been to a "normal" school but confessed he dreamed of going to college but knew he had to go to a regular high school in order to do it. We talked for hours and while siting on the shore an alligator floated by (since this was florida no one thought to warn me of huge reptiles living in my backyard) and for some strange reason it inspired Raymond to try for high school saying "if the gator can live here and not eat me then I can go to can happen"

That day on the lake was over 8 yrs ago but Raymond went to High school and graduated. he is attending community college.

Congrats Sylvia! Please email me with your mailing address and Janet will send you your book!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Buffy Factor

I call it the Twilight effect. Happens to many of us who write YA with paranormal romance elements. A reviewer will comment that this character or that character or this plot development or that one is influenced by Twlight. Write a love triangle? You're just trying to cash in on the Team Edward/Team Jacob thing. Have a character who's immortal or invincible or some such, even if he's not a vampire? Edward. You're trying to make him be Edward. Yup. No doubt about it. Girl character torn between her normal life and the paranormal craziness that she's stumbled upon? Bella wannabe. You hack, you.

This is the power of Stephenie Meyer. Her readers often assume that there was nothing before her. And possibly nothing original that can come after. I get it. I really do. And I'm cool with it. I love the Twilight books, too, although Bella is sometimes too passive for my tastes. Now if she attacked her dad once she turned into a vamp? I'd be on board with that. It would put a little muscle into the journey toward that HEA.

The problem with this line of thinking is that books take years to get onto a shelf. A novel that hit the shelves this month or last year, or even the year before, most likely came from an idea developed four or five or more years before that. That is - pre-Twilight. Or at most, concurrent with the first book's release. Any similarity is just that whole "good ideas float through the air and a bunch of us catch them at the same time" theory.

Except - here is something that I have noticed. Many, many of us who have broken into the business in the past few years do have something in common. Buffy. As in BTVS. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

For the uninitiated, here's the basic blueprint: One girl chosen to slay the vampires and save the world. Mentored by her Watcher, Rupert Giles. Supported by her Scooby Gang -brilliant, funny and loyal Willow, goofy guy pal Xander, Queen Bee cheerleader Cordelia (who is braver than she knows). And in a heart wrenching star-crossed lovers relationship with a 200 year old vampire with a soul named Angel. Add in some star quality baddies like Spike and Dru and creator Joss Whedon's unique and memorize-worthy dialogue and you've got the show that I lived and breathed for seven years. And so, it seems, did about every other author over 25 that I meet.

So here's the question: Does it resonate in our writing? I'd say a resounding yes. The campy movie came out in the earlier 90's but the show began on the fledgling WB Network in the spring of 1996. I found it during the episode in which Buffy was attempting to balance going on a date with a normal guy and perform her Slayer duties. All in one night. It was funny, scary and poignant all rolled into one. I was hooked. And over the years, it was like a tutorial of storytelling - of how to mix pathos and humor and horror, how to hit the right funny beats, how to arc a series and characters and make it all blend.

Not every episode worked. (The Zeppo was lost on me) But the two parter in season two where Buffy gives in to her passion and sleeps with Angel only to discover that this "moment of true happiness" has a loophole of causing him to lose his soul, return to his evil vamp ways and start killing all her friends - it's two of the best hours of television ever. When it came to Buffy, Joss Whedon was the master of giving the viewers what they wanted most - in this case for Buffy and Angel to seal the deal - and then ripping it away from us in the most emotionally horrific way possible. This was, after all, a show that for the first three seasons was a metaphor for high school as hell. The end of that same season topped that perfection: Willow returns Angel's soul to him, but Buffy has to kill him and send him to hell in order to save the world from the demon Acathala. "Close your eyes," she tells her poor bewildered re-souled lover. And then she stabs him with a sword.

So what do you think? Notice any Buffy parallels in current YA? Let me know what you think.

Grrr. Arrgh.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Which I Interview Janet Fox about her new YA, Forgiven. Plus a Contest!

Janet Fox is not only an amazing writer, she is also an amazing friend. We buddied up during our Class of 2k9 debut author days and have stayed that way ever since. At that time, she lived in College Station, Texas, which was only about an hour or so from me. It was Janet who introduced me to the Austin writing crew, including Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith and Varian Johnson, among many others. We’ve had many writer adventures together, Janet and I - appearing together at conferences, hiking the aisles at TLA, exploring the wilds of Oklahoma City and Disney World. (You have to love the NCTE folks for placing last year’s conference in Orlando!) So it’s my absolute pleasure to host her here with her newest book – Forgiven, which is a companion to Faithful and on shelves now!

AND PLEASE READ TO THE END. Janet is giving away a signed copy of Forgiven. The contest is explained below.

Here’s the Amazon product description of Forgiven:

Product Description
Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

And here’s what Janet had to say when we sat down at our laptops to chat:

Joy: So tell us a little bit about why you decided to mine the character of Kula for a companion novel to Faithful. What was it about Kula and her story that kept speaking to you? Did you always know that you might write Forgiven?

Janet: I didn’t know that I would write Forgiven until about six months before the novel was due. But Kula was a favorite character from the time she sprang out of my imagination. I loved her feisty spirit and her flaws – her bull-headed stubborn personality appealed to me. I could see through her superficial defensiveness to what I knew was an open heart. That’s why I had to tell her story: I wanted to know what she’d do when I put her in a difficult situation.

Joy: Forgiven is set with the backdrop of the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. Tell us what drew you to that setting and time period.

Janet: I have an MS in geology, and I’m fascinated by natural processes. When it came time to write Kula’s story I wanted her to be in a place that was challenging, and what better challenge than suffering through a major natural disaster? The world has seen its fair share of natural disasters lately (although I obviously had no idea how resonant an earthquake would be). But I also knew a bit about the San Francisco earthquake and I admired how the people of the city rose up afterward and rebuilt her. I love that perseverance. And I love the rapid change of society of the early 20th century.

Joy: You definitely have a thing for strong women characters who have to learn to use their inner strength and find their path. Is this something you consciously think about?

Janet: Not consciously, but I do admire strong women (and thanks for that lovely compliment!) My own mother was a strong woman with a very lady-like veneer, and my grandmother, my father’s mother, was a true pioneering spirit, so perhaps I inherited their willful natures. I do think it’s important for me to write about strong girls, because I firmly believe that tween and teen readers today need to see strong female role models taking on challenges and not just letting the guy be the hero who solves the girl’s problems for her.

Joy: As a writer, I'm always fascinated with the journey to publication. Has the second book journey been the same as the first? Any notable differences?

Janet: The biggest difference between Faithful and Forgiven was how quickly I had to write the second book (six months from start to finish.) I couldn’t have done that if I had to start from scratch; I already knew Kula and the time period so I was able to pull it off. Now I’m writing a novel that requires a new load of research and this journey is very different – I have more time, and it’s a very different story with a very different protagonist. But the primary difference for me is that these subsequent books were already bought by the publisher. I feel lucky because this gives me the courage to try new things, knowing that my editor will guide me, as long as I produce the best possible work.

Joy: I know the next novel you're working on is also historical fiction. What attracts you to this genre? What advice might you give prospective writers who are crafting a work of historical fiction?

Janet: First, I do love the research. It’s so much fun to find interesting tidbits of history – to feel like I can “live” in another time. And second, I love making history relevant: finding those places where historical and contemporary issues collide and overlap, and helping teens/tweens see that there is truly something to be gained by understanding the past. For prospective writers of historical fiction I suggest that they read widely in the genre of historical fiction, and also once they decide on a period they’d like to write about, to read novels or pieces actually published in that period, which gives a great sense of the “voice” of that period.

Joy: Stuff you need when you write? (tea? a special chair? chocolate? music?)

Janet: I need silence. I love the “idea” of working to music, but in fact it drives me nuts. I can write anywhere, any time, as long as I have silence. And coffee in the morning. And the ability to walk around once every hour or so and talk out loud to myself.

Joy: You've recently moved to Montana. Is your writing different now that you're looking out the window at the mountains rather than the concrete of College Station, Texas?

Janet: Actually, no. I feel like I plunge down a rabbit hole when I write and I only rarely look out of it. Even when I’m wandering around talking to myself, my inner eye is focused on the scene I’m writing. Having said that, once the end of the day rolls around and I finally gaze out the window, I am deeply inspired by – in love with – the mountains and the big skies of Montana.


Comment on this post and answer the following question: Janet finds much inspiration in places in the West, especially Montana, where she now lives, not far from Yellowstone National Park. What place or places inspire you? How? Why?

We’ll place the best answers in the contest hat and pick a winner for the autographed copy. Contest is open through Friday, June 24th.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Five for Friday

A few years ago, the city of Houston paid some marketing company huge bucks to come up with a promotional scheme to get more tourists to come here. Their slogan, after months of brilliant scheming? "Houston is Hot"

Really, marketing people? Really?

It *is* hot right now - hitting 100 again all weekend. Supposed to break by mid week. And finally, finally, rain. It has not rained in two months. They are actually spraying water on the power lines because they're getting too hot. Who knew?

Beyond the heat, here's what I've got for you this morning:

1. Woman was just on Today Show discussing her on line shenanigans with a certain now ex-congressman from Brooklyn. " You knew he was married. Do you feel sorry?" asks Anne Curry. "No," says woman. "It is what it is. All that has made me who I am now." Really? And what is that?
2. Top Chef Masters still makes me happy.
3. I am in huge crushing love with Augie the blind CIA guy on Covert Affairs.
4. You are all going to love Again and Again. Which I need to finish by 7/15. I am about to enter the crazy zone. Beware.
5. Tina Fey's autobiography Bossypants is hysterically funny. Read it!!

Til next time...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And the Winners Are

Wow! Since this contest was mainly about PJ Hoover and her new YA dystopian, Solstice, I put her in charge of the contest hat! And I guess she's just magic, cause we ended up with 5 winners!

Drum Roll Please.......

The winners of the Solstice trading cards - one for each character and all with uber cool secret codes and special stuff - are:

Jim Danielson
Lieder Madchen
April X

And the winner of Solstice Trading Cards AND a signed copy of Haunted (from yours truly) is...


Congratulations to all! If you are reading this, please email me your addresses at joy at joypreble dot com so we can send your prizes.

And stay tuned to this blog for a guest post and giveaway with Janet Fox, in honor of her new historical fiction YA, Forgiven, which is the companion book to last year's Faithful. And later in the month, I'll be hosting fellow Houston YA writer, Christina Mandelski, whose debut novel is the fabulous The Sweetest Thing.

Plus lots more... Trust me, it's going to be one amazing blogalicious summer!

And coming in the fall, I am very, very excited to announce that I will be going to Austin Comic Con in November!! More soon, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Solstice Contest Closed

Thank you to all who entered and told me and PJ Hoover what you do when it's hot outside! (Did you notice that it is still pretty hot out, btw? At least here in Houston, where it's gonna hit 100 at least twice this week. Again!)

Your entries are headed into the contest hat. (which I've been wearing to protect my pretty face from the sun)
We will announce winners soon!

Stay cool my friends!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

PJ Hoover's new book Solstice totally rocks - Plus a Giveaway

Yes, dear readers, another giveaway. Just go with it. I have no idea what’s making me so delightfully generous. Possibly I’ve just lost it with this crazy hot weather we’ve been having. Even for Houston (where we’ve basically got just two seasons – summer and February), this has been a bit extreme. We hit 100 in late May and seem to have skipped right over June and July and gotten stuck in August. Okay, it’s dipped back into the mid 90’s this week, but seriously, it’s hot. Where is Al Gore with that power point when you need him?

And speaking of global warming – which we just were, in case you didn’t catch on – I’ve got a really hot treat for you today, gentle readers! My pal PJ Hoover – Texas Sweetheart, Austin writer, all around cool chick who does hip things like appear at Dallas Comic Con – has written a new book called Solstice. Our mutual literary agency, the fabulous Andrea Brown Literary, has published it as their first front list ebook, which is also way cool. (note how I’m throwing in the word cool to juxtapose with the hot? I am just that good of a writer)

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

Piper's world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.

But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper's life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she's drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she's ever known.
So in honor of the Solstice release, PJ and I thought we’d something different.

First – our giveaway. If you want to win some Solstice trading cards, comment on this post and let us know your favorite things to do when it’s hot outside. (remember this is a family blog!) I’ll leave the contest open until Monday 6/13. And just for good measure, I’ll send the winner an autographed copy of Haunted, too!But before you post, here’s our surprise. It’s too hot for me to come up with questions, so I asked my character Anne Michaelson – the feisty hero of Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted – to have a little chat with Solstice’s Piper. Seems they have a lot in common, these two. Check it out below! And don’t forget to enter the contest!

Anne: When I met Ethan I thought he was totally hot, but honestly? He was sort of stalkerish and intense. It took me a while to realize that what I felt for him was way different than I’ve ever felt for anyone else. And then he went away and I started going out with Ben because I wanted someone normal and uncomplicated - which complicated things even more. Mr. Danger vs. Mr. Normal – but they’re both really awesome people. How about you and the whole Shayne/Reese thing? How did you end up with two guys in the picture?

Piper: Hey Anne, thanks for asking! Like you know, it is a bit of a challenge dealing with two guys, especially when they’re both pulling me in opposite directions. I mean, before I met Reese and Shayne, my mom controlled every single thing I did, and Reese was such a rule breaker; it was kind of awesome. Sure, I knew I was doing things I shouldn’t, but for once, it felt nice to be in charge of my own life. And then there was Shayne. Everything about him made me feel more secure except for the fact that he would never tell me the truth about anything. That, and he was a little overprotective.
So there I was with two guys, and they were both pretty hot. And the best part: they were both in love with me. Are you curious what I did about them? I hope so!

Anne: More than curious. We’ll have to talk later. Seriously. But first, another question, and let me just preface by saying I see where you’re coming from. My life has turned into one huge Russian fairy tale these days – and a happy ending is not necessarily guaranteed! I’ve made this bargain with Baba Yaga, who’s a totally unpredictable witch with iron teeth and removable hands. I’ve discovered that I’m related to a pretty cranky Russian mermaid called a rusalka. And in book three, I’m going to face off with a guy named Koschei the Deathless who basically can’t be killed. How about you? What’s up with all the Greek mythology?

Piper: This girl I know, Melina, she gave me a birthday present when my mom wasn’t around. My mom would have freaked if she found out. She’s so overbearing. Anyway, after Melina left, I opened the present, and it was this gorgeous, ancient, Greek box. You can probably guess where this is going. Yep. Like Pandora, I opened the box. Sigh. Maybe I shouldn’t have, because the next thing I knew, my whole world divided. All of a sudden Greek gods started showing up at the most unexpected places and paying all this attention to me. Who knew? I thought global warming was our biggest issue, not mythological domination.

Anne: And I thought I was the only one on the wacky life train. Possibly Baba Yaga isn’t the only scary thing out there. And I’m sorry your mom keeps freaking. I get that, you know. Family stuff is pretty harsh for me lately. Since my brother David died, my parents haven’t been getting along real well. I think my mother’s developed an eating disorder. And now that my mom knows some of my secrets, well, I think it’s making her even more freaked out. Plus if she had to pick, she’d definitely want me with Ben and not Ethan which is totally not her business, by the way! I know you and your mom are having some issues, too. Any suggestions for how to work it all out?

Piper: I have this total love/hate thing going on with my mom. I mean, on the one hand, she’s really awesome in that she loves me more than anything. On the other hand, her love is so intense, it’s pretty much an obsession. I can hardly go to the bathroom without my mom watching. It’s so bad that back when I was 13, I actually ran away and refused to come home unless she let me go to public school. Which she did. But she calls me every day to make sure I’m still alive. So you want advice on how to deal with a family situation? Unless you want to run away, too, I don’t have anything useful to offer.

Anne: Nope. Not gonna run away. So let’s change the subject to something, um, lighter. What's on your ipod right now?

Piper: Well, in my world here in Solstice, we all actually have something called a FON (functional operating node). So on my FON is DON’T FEAR THE REAPER by Blue Oyster Cult

Anne: Your perfect day?

Piper: It has to be hot, and the sun has to be shining, and it’s best if my mom is out of town and a gorgeous guy asks me out. Oooh, you have to read about it in Solstice! It’s totally hot!

Anne: I think I’ll do that. Then I’ll loan the book to Tess. Speaking of my bff – she and I just had like, an hour long debate - peanut butter or chocolate?

Piper: Peanut butter because with global warming and all that, chocolate melts too fast.

Anne: You’ve the quite the global warming obsession, right? But maybe for good reason

Piper: It was great talking to you, Anne! I hope we can do this again sometime!

Anne: Ditto.

PJ Hoover’s Bio:P. J. Hoover first fell in love with Greek mythology in sixth grade thanks to the book Mythology by Edith Hamilton. After a fifteen year bout as an electrical engineer designing computer chips for a living, P. J. decided to take her own stab at mythology and started writing books for kids and teens. P. J. is also a member of THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS. When not writing, P. J. spends time with her husband and two kids and enjoys practicing Kung Fu, solving Rubik's cubes, and watching Star Trek.
Her first novel for teens, Solstice, takes place in a Global Warming future and explores the parallel world of mythology beside our own. Her middle grade fantasy novels, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, and The Necropolis, chronicle the adventures of a boy who discovers he’s part of two feuding worlds hidden beneath the sea.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Indie Love Winners!!

Before I announce the lucky winners, let me say thanks again to Lisa and Laura Roecker for spearheading the 'spread some indie bookstore love' event. As much as I love my local B&N and Borders - and all the wonderful CRM's and managers and booksellers who support me - I have a soft spot for the small, independent stores that champion books, readers, and authors. They are my heroes!

Also, your responses made it clear that many, many people are not close to *any* bookstore - chain or otherwise. If it's not stocked at Walmart, you're getting your books on line... or not at all. This speaks volumes - and not in a good way. I hate that just this handful of buyers is controlling what we read. The Dreaming Anastasia series has gotten - admittedly - amazing placement in the big box chains. (Sbooks marketing team, you are gods!) But if there's not a B&N or Borders (whatever is left) near you, then you don't get the choice to choose these books unless you stumble into them on line. (yes, my 1,000 Twitter followers are obviously not as powerful as my fantasy brain would like to think.)

Food for thought...

But now..... drum roll please.....


The signed copy Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall goes to Emmie, who hangs out the Hastings in Witchita Falls. Emmie, in the words of Rachel herself (yes, we are friends! Feel free to be in awe), "Amazeballs!"

The signed copy of Sarwat Chadda's Devil's Kiss goes to Chey, who loves a store called DowntownBooks and worries that it will stay open. Chey, Sarwat (yes, another friend! I am so popular. Yep, that's what you're thinking) wants to tell you, "Brilliant!" and offer to buy you a cuppa cream tea next time you're in London. (oh wait, that's what he promised me)

I will be emailing both winners later today.

And stay tuned later this week for my fabulous post ever when I let Anne from Dreaming Anastasia and Haunted interview Piper from PJ Hoover's new YA Solstice. This interview is HOT!!!

til next time..

Friday, June 3, 2011

Winner of Bettina Restrepo's Illegal signed ARC

is Pam Zollman!!!

There were many great responses and Bettina and I thank you for your participation!
Pam's response to the question: Would you cross the border illegally to find your family? reflected bravery on many levels!

Enjoy Illegal!

And the rest of you - make sure to get your own copy as well.

Other books to put on your list:
Janet Fox's Forgiven - out now from Penguin
Crystal Allen's How Lamar's Bad Prank Won Him a Bubba Sized Trophy - out now from Harper Collins
and of course - if you haven't read Haunted, my sequel to Dreaming Anastasia, it's out now from Sourcebooks. A little magic. A little romance. A really crazy, malevolent Russian mermaid.

And check out previous post for ongoing contest to win signed copies of Rachel Hawkins' Hex Hall and Sarwat Chadda's Devil's Kiss!!