Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Five

1. Have begun creating wedding album of the best. wedding. ever. Prodigal son and bride are adorable. Yup. So happy.

2. Edits. Edits. Edits. Or as editor Leah likes to call them, "merciless edits." But oh so worth it.

3. Vampire Diaires last night. Oh yes!! Oh Stefan. Oh Damon. Oh Jazz Age flashback. Oh secrets. Love. Fangy love.

4. Yes I am still watching Real Housewives of BH. Yes I am a teensy bit ashamed of my Housewives habit. But Anderson Cooper watches. So if it's okay with Coop...

5. Hart of Dixie... eh. I'll give it another ep. But as much as I love Rachel Bilson, I'm not believing her as a doctor. Sorry.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And the Winner Is

And the winners of fabulous paranormal YA books by fabulous
Texas authors are:

Drumroll please........

Tillie N - wins a signed copy of Jennifer Archer's Through Her Eyes

Chloe Sumner - wins a signed copy of Sophie Jordan's Firelight

Both Tillie and Chloe (as well as some others!) correctly identified the Cynthia Leitich Smith trilogy titles in my post as: Tantalize, Eternal and Blessed. Bravo! I wish everyone could have won, but the contest hat reminded me that there were only tw0 prizes this time. Stay tuned for more contests soon! And I will also be giving away all sorts of fabulous swag at Comic Con in Austin in November. More on that soon, too!

Congrats, ladies!!

And please email me at joypreble at gmail dot com with your snail mail so I can send your prize!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Who Shares Your Day?

I like birthdays. My birthday, your birthday... birthdays are good. I debated this post -- a bit ego-centric-- then thought what the heck. When friends surprise you with a cookie cake with really yummy pink frosting after a bunch of you go out to dinner and you even indulge in a retro Mai Tai solely because it comes with a little paper umbrella, I say celebrate! As I established here, I believe in cake. I believe in ordering dessert.

Over the past few years, I discovered that a statistically impossible number of the staff at the high school where I've been teaching share my birthday. So I hope that Lisa, Carlanda and Darla are having a super birthday, too!

And since I'm the geeky girl who loves factoids and especially loves knowing that famous people share my birthday (I'm even excited that agent Jen shares, if not my birthday, at least my birth week), I can proudly announce that September 26th is the day that the following fab and diverse humans came into the world over the years: tennis star Serena Williams, Melissa Sue Anderson (she played Mary on Little House on the Prairie), actress Linda Hamilton (Terminator), Olivia Newton John, Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Winnie Mandela, composer George Gershwin, philosopher Martin Heidegger, poet TS Eliot, Pope Paul VI, actress Donna Douglas (who played Ellie Mae on the original Bevery Hillbillies) and my fave of all - Johnny Appleseed!

Last day for the giveaway contest in honor Cynthia Leitich Smith. Check it out here!

So who do YOU share a birthday with?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Graphic Novels and Guilty Pleasure TV

As always, last night's visit to Blue Willow Bookshop rocked! As did the indomitable Cynthia Leitich Smith and her husband Greg, talented and adorable and also with a new book! That's Cyn's new Tantalize: Kieren's Story, a graphic novel posing with us. Kieren is a secondary character in Tantalize and now we get to see his own story in this very fascinating art form.

Hadn't thought much about graphic novels lately. But Cyn described the creative process and the close collaboration between writer and artist, much closer in many ways than the relationship between author and illustrator when creating picture books, at least as the model currently exists in publishing.

Speaking of Cyn, contest still going on in her honor to win signed copies of Jennifer Archer's Through her Eyes and Sophie Jordan's Firelight! Check it out here, but only through Monday.

Missed Vampire Diaries last night (do not spoil it for me anyone!) so I'll have to catch up on line. Oh Damon! What shenanigans were you up to while I wasn't watching?

Also missed SMG's Ringer this week and will have to find that, too! I'm hooked enough to keep going.

And yes, I haven't broken my Housewives habit yet --- but am awaiting the return of Bethenny Ever After, or whatever it is she'll call the new season.

Secret Circle -- I'll give you a few more eps, too.

What are you watching this season? Let me know!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mentors, Cynthia Leitich Smith, and a Cool Texas Contest!

I've been blessed with lots of mentors in my writing career: agents, editors, critique partners, other authors. They've taught me, supported me, told me when I needed to do better, found me opportunities and collaborated with me on creating my career. When the world of publishing seemed only to tantalize me, these folks showed me the path. For this, of course, my thanks is eternal.

One of those fine folks is Austin writer, Cynthia Leitich Smith who will be at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston tonight at 7 PM.

Cyn is brilliant, generous and funny. Like me she has roots in both Chicago and Texas, which I suppose means she votes early and often and knows how to wear cowboy boots. (if that isn't funny to you, look it up. Sometimes we have to work for humor around here, people!) I have to have undying love for the person who blurbed HAUNTED as "Spooky, sassy, sinister, and sexy!"

You can visit Cyn here:

She has written many, many books from picture books to middle grade to YA paranormal. Tonight she'll be signing and promoting her newest, Kieren's Story, a graphic novel.

But Wait!! A Tricky Contest!!

In the above post I have included the titles for three of Cyn's YA paranormal books!! If you want to play today, email me (you must email!) at joypreble at gmail dot com and tell me those titles and the phrase in the post in which I hid them.

I'll put the names of all who get it right in the contest hat and since Cyn is a local Texas writer, I will be giving away signed copies of two other Texas writer books: Firelight by Sophie Jordan and Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer!

Contest will be open through Monday 9/26 (which is also my birthday!)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What's Up Wednesday: Follow Your Dream Version

What's up with me is that I had an amazing time last night talking about "Following Your Dream" and publishing with the North Houston Gamma Phi Beta alum chapter. That's me in the pic saying something to A&M chapter alums Jaz and Kristin. Kristin, it turns out, shares my love of Vampire Diaries (Damon, oh Damon) and Jaz is a Joss Whedon fan. Plus everyone else was awesomely nice and there was chocolate cake.

I've documented my publishing journey story here on the blog many times, so I won't repeat that speech. But I came up with a follow your dreams metaphor while I was talking and that I will tell you. It is no secret that I'm sort of a late bloomer when it comes to writing professionally. Took my sweet time transitioning from teacher to writer and now I can't imagine why. But I'm not unique in that. Lots of us do lots of things that aren't our passion for long periods of time for various reasons. Last night I compared it to eating carrots when what you really wanted was a piece of chocolate cake. You eat like a bucket of carrots, right? And eventually you eat the cake (at least I do) because that's what you really wanted but by then you're too full of the 'good stuff' to really enjoy it the way you might have if you just dug in.

When I first met my wonder agent Jen Rofe, she told me, "Always order dessert." I think she knew I was a girl who agonized about ordering dessert. Looked longingly at the dessert. Shared bites of other people's desserts. As a metaphor for following your dreams, this too is apt. Eat the damn dessert. You might even enjoy yourself.

I can list some of the other stuff I talked about: Work smart; network; say thank you a lot; find mentors; be willing to risk; have faith.
But I think it come down to this: eat the cake first, the carrots second.

Monday, September 19, 2011

How Magneto Got His Hat and other Monday Thoughts

Finally got to see X Men First Class this weekend, and yes, I agree - it's the best X Men movie yet. Because my mind works in mysterious ways, I did, however, find myself mentally drafting a picture book: How Magneto Got His Hat. Clever, right? I hear you shouting oh, yes, Joy.

Am on a Sourcebooks Fire readathon (while carefully not bending the spines!) of YA books that I'll be giving as prizes next month when I teach a teen writer's workshop at South Montgomery County Library right here in the northern burbs of Houston. Am currently alternating reading Geoff Herbach's Stupid Fast and Julia Mayer's Eyes in the Mirror. I kinda like doing that - alternating realistic fiction with paranormal. More on both of these soon.

Writing, writing, writing this week. The Sweet Dead Life is almost done. Today I'm revising, tidying up... probably will be doing that all week. I find this is when I always want to cling to a manuscript like it's a child I just can't bear to send off to school. Anyone else have trouble letting go of a book once it's time to press send?

And very excited to see the ever fab Cynthia Leitich Smith when she visits Blue Willow this coming Thursday night! Love Cyn! Love Blue Willow!

Happy, happy to see some well deserved Emmys go to Kyle Chandler and the writers of my beloved FNL!

And oh my, four RHONY fired for the new season! Jill, Kelly, Alex and Cindy are going bye bye. Oh the tacky drama. Oh the guilty pleasure.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Philosophical Friday

It's been that kind of week - the kind where you think too much... or maybe that's just me. Been writing 2-4 thousand words a day to make my deadline so I think it just gets the brain cooking and mulling.
Here's one for you: I write about choices a lot because in real life I agonize over them. If I was a total believer in zodiac stuff, I'd tell you that its 'cause I'm a Libra and we Libras like that scale in balance. We tend to overthink and freeze. If I do this... but if I do that... Some call it being contemplative. Others say it's waffling.

Here's a choice I agonized over that I'm glad, glad that I made: I am writing full time this year and picking up part time gigs here and there where I can to make ends meet. It's scary, but it feels absolutely right. My creative energies are in the right place. Frequently I run into former colleagues. Too often they (generalizing here to protect people's right to privacy) tell me some form of "I'd quit/retire but hey it's a paycheck. So you, um, write all day? Like that's all you do?"

So yeah, I guess it was time.

Watched The Vampire Diaires season opener last night. Oh Damon. You are sooo good inside. Really, you are. And (spoiler coming) that scene where Stefan calls Elana. And we just see the look on his face. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Dontcha just love it?

Am very excited to tell you more about Again and Again soon. How anxious I am to let you find out how the Anne/Ethan romance turns out.
And very excited to tell you about The Sweet Dead Life. A different book. A Texas setting. And some guardian angel shenanigans.

Soon my little pretties. Very soon.
Have a great weekend all!
And if you're a choice waffler, comment here and tell me all about it. We choice wafflers need company.

And in the Mac vs PC debate.... Mac has won. Now it's Pro vs. Air. I'm thinking Pro.
Husband is soo a PC guy. It's like I'm bringing a cat into a dog house or something. He will have to get. over. it. dear boy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Got to meet the fabulously talented Ilsa J. (for Joy!) Bick last night at Blue Willow Books, as she tours with the first of her YA post-apocalyptic trilogy, ASHES.

This won't be a full book review because I'm only half way through, but I haven't been able to put the book down, which says a lot! ASHES tells the story of Alex - orphaned when her doctor mom and cop dad are both killed in the same helicopter crash, then devastated by a brain tumor diagnosis. "The monster" as Alex calls it is untreatable and inoperable and killing her. It has already taken her sense of smell and thus many of her memories - so much is triggered by smell - with it. She decides to call the shots. She'll go camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (she's a skilled and frequent camper) alone. Maybe she'll come back. Maybe she won't. She is a tough and brilliant girl, Bick's Alex. And then the EMP hits. Electromagnetic pulse. Possibly more than one. Possibly on purpose - a type of warfare. And the world as everyone knows it is duly destroyed.

No one is the same after the EMP - not people, not animals... but not all in the same way and not all at once. The changes are strange and horrific. Let's just say that if you're very young or very old, you've got it good. Any from puberty to oh, 65 - well, not so much. And a bunch of teenagers take on some, well, not so pleasant eating habits. Not exactly zombies. Not exactly not.

And then there's Tom, the soldier who home from deployment in Afghanistan...

Tonight Bick -- a former soldier and a child psychiatrist who's worked in prisons and is also the daughter of a Holocaust survivor -- told us that she wanted to explore both the worst and the best in human behavior. Placing her story in the context of world destruction definitel amps up the possibilities. What do people do/how do they behave when their own survival is on the line? I agree with Bick that we never know until it happens to us. (this is something I've talked about extensively in classroom settings when teaching works such as Elie Wiesel's Night.)

ASHES is a gory but fascinating read so far. It's pulling hard on me this week, which is impressive since I have to finish my draft of THE SWEET DEAD LIFE before editor Leah sends me my edits for AGAIN and AGAIN and it's crazy time here in the writing cave.

Check out ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick -- who is also a delightfully smart woman who can talk about everything from Star Trek to film to literary tropes to Freudian analysis and Wisconsin history, including but not limited to the German POW camps in the US during WWII!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What's up Wednesday

Lame title. Best I can do.
In brief order:

  • The final book of the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy, AGAIN and AGAIN, has a release season! Fall 2012 and you will find out what finally happens with Anne, Ethan and the gang. Lots of romance. Some time travel. More Baba Yaga. More rusalka terror. An old baddie in a new form. And kissing. Lots of kissing. Squeee!!

  • Reading Ilsa J. Bick's ASHES. Holy dystopian cannibal/zombies/what's up with the dogs/is that a cult I smell, Batman!! Excited that Ms. Bick herself will be at Blue Willow tonight!

  • Writing, writing, writing. So much writing I am doing these days.

  • Choosing a new laptop. Have sniffed the Apple KoolAid and now it seems the debate is Mac Pro vs. Mac Air. Feel free to advise.

  • Still doing happy dance about The Sweet Dead Life. (see previous post)

  • Preparing talks for two women's groups on topic of "Following Your Dream" Cheers to that!

  • Crossroads Blog Tour 2 is coming soon!! Stay tuned! So. Excited!!

  • Thank you to Sheri Larsen of Writer's Ally for hosting me the past two days! There's a signed Haunted giveaway... Check it out here

  • A few weeks ago I managed to snag tickets for Adele!!

  • So I watched the new SMG show Ringer last night. Am not totally hooked, but will watch again. Cause Sarah talking to Sarah? Gotta see how this turns out!

What's up with you this Wednesday?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

And May I Announce

DREAMING ANASTASIA trilogy author Joy Preble's THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, in which a sixteen-year-old stoner returns from a fatal car accident as his dying sister's guardian angel and helps her solve a vast family mystery, to Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Press, for publication in Spring 2013, by Jennifer Rofe at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).

I am so excited about this book and so thrilled to finally get to tell you about it!!
More soon!