Monday, October 31, 2011

Can you Keep a Secret?

Writing is like flinging yourself on the psychiatrist's couch every day, digging deep and uncovering your view of the world. Sometimes until I write a certain situation for a character, I'm surprised at how I feel about it. How would someone's guilt over long ago events inform his or her behavior many years down the road? (something I mine with Ethan in Anastasia Forever -formerly Again and Again- the final of the Dreaming Anastasia trilogy. He's been haunted by lots of things but one in particular and the twists and turns all lead him on a particular path. I won't spoil it beyond that, but I hope you'll find it fascinating) This is thing about secrets -- very little stays secret forever, even if its trapped in the recesses of your own heart. Eventually things rise to the surface --- often to bite us in the ass!

In the book I'm working on right now, all of my main characters have secrets. And all of them will be impacted by the secrets of the others as well -- those things that we just don't or can't tell. I've been thinking about this a lot lately -- that no one can really ever know another person completely -- that there will always be some hidden secret layer that has not been exposed. In some ways that's a good thing -- those surprise centers are needed, even with those we love most. IMHO.

Of course there's a dark side to it too, which is what makes it so fun to write about. Right now the Madoff family -- Bernie's wife Ruth, a son, the daughter in law who was married to the son who recently took his own life --- have been on the talk show/news/interview circuit with a book (or maybe it's two books?) telling their side of the scandal. Essentially, they are professing that they had no idea what Bernie was up to, had no idea the thousands of lives he was ruining by his investment scheme.

I keep wondering about this, both personally and as I write --- could you live with someone so close and intimately and not know that he/she was intrinsically dishonest on such a large scale way? My husband says yes -- he believes that a spouse could be unaware. We live our lives, do what we have to do, get caught up on our own myriad of details and yes, he says, it could happen. (let me interject here that these are those moments where husband kicks himself for ever getting into these chats with me... cause then I was like, "Hey! Do you have a secret? Huh? Huh? Huh?")

But I think I agree with him. I think... well, I think you just never know. You think you know. You hope you know. But you could be wrong. At least the part of me that crafts novels believes this. That we aspire to be better than that, but sometimes people just aren't. Not me of course! Not the man whose birthday cake I will be baking later today, the one who always buys me my special purple and green grading pens at the beginning of each school year and was seriously bummed that I was working from home this year and thus not in need of my special bag of back to school prizes! But other people... lots of people.... characters I create in my head... They've got secrets.

So what do you think? Could the people we know best keep dark secrets from us?

Happy Halloween! Beware the zombie apocalypse!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet at the Crossroads Finale and Live Chat

It's been awesome being part of the Crossroads Blog Tour for the past week. Thanks to Judith Graves for creating and Social Bridge Media for promoting and cheers to my fellow Crossroad gang: authors Shannon Delany, Carrie Harris, Kitty Keswick, Linda Joy Singleton, Dawn Dalton, Jeri Smith Ready, Amanda Ashby, Stacey Kade, Judith Graves, Angie Frazier, Kiki Hamilton, Lucienne Diver, Jackie Morse Kessler, and my fellow Teen Shiver Texan, Rachel Vincent. And of course, me!

Thanks also to our fabulous and generous blog hosts: Book Faery, Confessions of a Bookaholic, A Simple Love of Reading, Book Swarm, Kid Lit Frenzy, Narratively Speaking, Electrifying Reviews, Just Your Typical Book Blog and Late Bloomer Online. Your love of books and authors is what keeps us all going.

Plus of course to our readers who participated. Hope that many of you win awesome prizes!

Tonight we'll be live chatting, courtesy of another Texas pal, Katie of Mundie Moms. The link is: and the festivities begin at 8 CDT (CST). Come on by. We'll talk!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In a Romance Mood

First let me remind everyone that today is day 6 of Crossroads Blog Tour. Full schedule is listed two posts back or click on the icon on the right side of the blog. Prizes! Swag! And a live chat tomorrow nite at 8 CDT hosted by Mundie Moms!! Thank you!! Tomorrow I'll have the link and the details for how to join us.

Waiting for both editors to send back manuscripts so I've been forging ahead with a new project. A contemporary romance/mystery... and it's put romance on my brain. I'm not really much of a girlie girl -- never have been. I'm not jonesing for the roses and the fancy dinner and the princess treatment.

But sometimes, the whole Cinderella story just makes you smile. Especially in musical form. Old Rodgers and Hammerstein get it just right. Plus singing. And crowns. And a dress with a fur collar. And a prince.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If it's Tuesday

it must be time for happy endings.
Have you seen Serendipity? I love this movie. Every bit of it. But especially the happy, fate-driven ending.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More Crossroads and Upcoming Events

Happy Monday! New to the Crossroads Blog Tour? Click on the banner above to find out how to play! Swag!! Grand Prizes!! Amazing paranormal authors including yours truly!! Arranged and sponsored by Judith Graves and Bridge Social Media!

My schedule for the rest of the tour is:
10/24: Book Swarm

Thank you to all these amazing and intrepid bloggers for their support!! You rock!!!

And in the coming days: more on Austin Comic Con and my fellow Writing Ninjas of Texas!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Crossroads Day 2

Will post the remaining Crossroads Blog Tour 2 schedule in a longer post tomorrow. But for now, my hosts today are A Simple Love of Reading and Jessica Estep at Confessions of a Bookaholic .

Go! Check it out! Win prizes!!
Want to find out about the whole tour? See yesterday's post.

Happy Sunday, everybody!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Welcome to the Crossroads

Welcome to day one of the Crossroads Blog Tour! Click on the icon above to get info about the entire tour, authors, swag, grand prizes, etc! A multi-author paranormal event to lead us on to Halloween!!

Today, I am being hosted by Tori at Book Faery. Thank you Tori and please click on the link in the previous sentence to find out what Tori and I talked about!

Glad you could meet us at the Crossroads! And thanks especially to Judith Graves, whose website is at the bottom of the Crossroads banner. Those Canadian authors rock, eh? :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's Up Wednesday

  • Just did my first blog post over at Teen Shiver. Also another contest, so go check it out!

  • The adopted bassett/boxer year old so still a puppy has exhausted herself and is finally asleep -ish at my feet so I can work. Shhhhh.

  • It's cold outside! In Houston. But still in a drought.

  • Wrote my first re-done chapter yesterday for the new WIP. I thought it would never come to me, but finally, it did.

  • Go buy a copy of Lauren Myracle's Shine. Let the National Book Awards folks know that asking her to withdraw from the competition because somehow they couldn't tell the difference between Shine and Chime, by two diff authors w/very diff. names was hurtful and destructive and just kinda silly.

  • Our YAHouston (YAHous) group is really shaping up and you will start hearing and seeing us very soon. Anyone interested in group signings, literacy events, workshops? Let me know! YAHouston is a Houston YA author collective. We are: Joy Preble, Mary Lindsey, Crystal Allen, Lynne Kelly Hoenig, Chris Mandelski, Sophie Jordan, Dotti Enderle, Jenny Moss, CC Hunter. Go YAHous!!

  • And I'm back at work. Exhausted from this puppy thing. And trying to learn how to be a dog person.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ten for Tuesday

Let's number 'em:
1. Wrote my email wrong on yesterday's winner's post for the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon contest.
If you won, send me your email at joypreble at gmail dot com

2. The whole National Book Award debacle/cluster? My writing idol Libba Bray says it best here.

3.My new macbook pro ate something it didn't like during down load and is now in the apple store hospital. Feel free to send cards and flowers. Can you say warranty?

4.Counting down to Thursday's Teen Writing Workshop at South Regional Library here in The Woodlands at 6 PM. If you're between 13-18, please join me!! But call and register. And there will be prizes galore! Sourcebooks sent me a huge bag of their latest YA's to use as giveaways!!
5.Found some great zombie glasses on Amazon that I'm going to order for Austin ComicCon. Amazon lists them as a Beauty item! But of course!

6.Am outlining the new WIP. Yes, you heard that right. Taking my time at it, too. But I am officially itching to get started writing.

7. Exciting Soho Teen news! You can now read a sampler of the first 30 pages or so of six books (including THE SWEET DEAD LIFE by yours truly) that will be part of the new imprint in Spring 2013. Go here to check it out!

8.Count down has begun to the Crossroads Blog Tour 2, starting on 10/22!

9.Cooler weather is coming to Houston for the first time since, um, January!!

10. My agent, Jen Rofe, is a made of awesome cowgirl!

Monday, October 17, 2011

If it's Monday You Must be a Winner

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon contest!! Your answers were amazing! The winner of the signed copy of PJ Hoover's Emerald Tablet is Christine, who told a fascinating Hollywood tale!
The signed copy of Jessica Lee Anderson's Trudy is Carrie, who had another fantastic road to Kevin Bacon!

And Valerie Kemp wins the signed (by me!) copy of HAUNTED for her star-studded 6 degree tale.

Sir Bacon would be proud!
All winners need to email me with your mailing address at joypreble at gmail dot com.
Thanks for playing!!

In other news, I'll be conducting a Teen Writer Workshop at the South Regional Library on Lake Robbins Rd. in The Woodlands, TX, on Thursday 10/20 at 6 PM. If you're 13-18, call the library or go over there to register. Not only are we going to write together, but I'll be giving away an entire bag of Sourcebooks YA titles that my editor Leah Hultenschmidt and my publicist Kay Mitchell have sent as prizes!!

And Comic Con in Austin is coming.... More on that soon.... the Ninja Writers of Texas will be going crazy at our booth. Zombie jerky, zombie contacts, zombie glasses, mermaid costumes, greek goddess costumes, Baba Yaga t shirts... plus me, PJ Hoover, Mari Mancusi, Jessica Lee Anderson, Kari Ann Holt and more... November 11-13... Austin Convention Center.

And click on the Crossroads icon on the blog sidebar to find out how to play and win as Crossroads 2 revs up on 10/22!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Dance Party: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon Contest

Who doesn't love Footloose? Who doesn't want to dance like a fool when that music comes on?
And who wants to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon in honor of the original Ren from the 80's classic? Thought you'd say yes!

Okay, here's how to play, in case you've been living under a rock all these years and have never tried to see how close your connection to Sir Bacon is. I'll go first: A few weeks ago when I was in Malibu with my daughter in law's mom (aka my bestie Pennie), we parked in front of Julia Roberts' house to go to the private beach. (long story, but let me say it was fabulous) Julia Roberts starred in Flatliners with Kevin Bacon. This makes me 2 degrees from Kevin Bacon.

Comment and let me know how many degrees it takes you to connect yourself to Kevin Bacon and I'll put you in the running for three possible prizes -- a signed copy of my very own HAUNTED, and signed copies of books by two of my Ninja Writers of Texas Austin Comic Con cohorts, The Emerald Tablet by PJ Hoover and Trudy by Jessica Lee Anderson.

Contest will run through Sunday night and I'll announce the winner on Monday.
Until then, let's dance:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Author Interrupted

In between projects. I haven't been in between projects for awhile. Okay that's a lie - I'm not exactly in between, I'm just waiting for editors to confirm that what I've sent them either sucks or shines and so.... here's what one does when one is in between:

  • got my hair highlighted

  • worked on my materials for two conferences and the teen writing workshop I'm giving next week. (if you live in Houston and are between 12-18, come to South County Library on 10/20 at 6!! There will be prizes!)

  • Started getting ready for Austin Comic Con!!! I get to eat zombie jerky off KA Holt's fingers!

  • Made folders with plastic sleeves for various parts of my life that needed organizing.

  • began to dig out the crap in my office. Oh the piles of crap.

  • learned how to safely remove flashdrive from new macbook pro (the one thing I've found so far in which pc really excels is in anal retentive safety instructions)

  • watched last night's ep of Ringer. I don't think I even know what's going on anymore and I'm curious how they could maintain this level of confusion through more than one season but I love watching SMG so it's all good. SMG and her not so dead twin's stepdaughter smiling and washing WHORE off a white picture. Could it get any better?

  • Got tired of DWTS. It's okay if it's rigged. But does it have to be so obvious? And this comment is from the woman who watched Skating with the Stars!

  • Speaking of SWTS, I have also spent time reading about the maybe or maybe not lost at sea/our GPS stopped functioning with Bethenny Frankel and her crew. And Bethenney I LOVE you, I really do. But why was your therapist on the cruise? Is that what people do these days? What does this mean for me? I don't even have a therapist. But I might go on another cruise some day (although what could equal the Bachelorette cruise from last March, the one where we headed out from Long Beach as the tsunami hit California? No cruise I know of), and what will I do. Maybe I need a therapist. So I can tell her/him that I can't afford to take him/her.

  • Organized my tax receipts (early!) while watching Ringer... and beyond...

  • Got excited by the three commercials for Vampire Diaries during Ringer. The teaser dialogue goes something like this: Stefan -- I'm going to have to feed on you Elana! And there's a timer! And I'm sweating for some reason! And Klaus is still a bastard! And I bet Damon will save the day! And damn your neck looks inviting!

til next time...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meet Me at the Crossroads

Revving up for the Crossroads Blog Tour 2, starting on 10/22 - 10/29, created by the fab Judith Graves of Class of 2k10. I LOVED doing this last year and I'm even more excited this year. We've got an all star paranormal author cast: Not only yours truly and Judith Graves, too, but also Shannon Delaney, Carrie Harris, Kitty Keswick, Linda Joy Singleton, Dawn Dalton, Jeri Smith Ready, Amanda Ashby, Stacey Kade (with whom I had the privilege of appearing at Houston's Teen Book Con last spring), Angie Frazier, Kiki Hamilton, Lucienne Diver, Jackie Morse Kessler and Rachel Vincent! Plus amazing bloggers who are hosting us and more on them in a later post!

Click on the icon above for all the deets. Swag, giveaways, signed books.... it's going to be a spookalicious run up to Halloween! Yay!

Beyond that, it's been revision land here. Just pressed send on my Again and Again revisions back to editor Leah at Sourcebooks. Title might be changing by the way. I won't spill the beans yet, but I think you will love! I am so excited about book 3 of the DA series. Everything you've been wondering about comes together here and the romance... well, let's just say I've had fun writing.

And speaking of Sbooks, I'm reading my buddy Janet Gurtler's I'm Not Her and I cannot put this book down. I posted an interview with Janet awhile back before the book came out in the spring. But I hadn't read. Now I am and I'm ripping through the pages of this story of how bone cancer turns a family upside down, particularly the two sisters -- Kristina the gorgeous athelete/popular girl who finds herself suddenly ill and the narrator Tess, quiet, artistic, geeky, and suddenly the center of attention when her sister gets sick. I'm about a 1/3 in and it's an amazing read. Having dealt with serious illness myself, I know that it does impact family, relationships and pretty much everything in your world. I love the small moments in Janet's book -- such as when Tess feels momentarily guilty for thinking her usual mean sister thoughts about Kristina or when she's angsting over an art contest and then shifts to think of her sister's condition. It soooo accurately hits that range of emotion.... illness doesn't happen only to the person who gets cancer.

If you haven't picked up I'm Not Her (or Janet's newest book, If I Tell, also from Sbooks), you need to!

til next time...

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Great Divide

Last January I had the idea that maybe possibly it could happen--- I might be able to take a leap and write full time rather than teach. That come this past September (well August for us), I would work from home, pound those laptop keys and pick up part time gigs as needed. And as such a leap of faith needed some celebrating, I also decided that I needed to do something that I have never been able to do -- take a trip during the fall. Thus the idea of Yellowstone, WY, and MT was born. I booked three nights at the historic Old Faithful Inn. And crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

This past week, the hubs and I packed our layers and headed to Bozeman, MT and then on to the park. If you have never been -- and neither of us had -- let me say that you must go. It is beyond amazing. Geothermal wonders abound - the whole thing is basically an active volcano and there are geysers and hot springs and fumaroles and mud pots and sulphur smells and mud volcanoes everywhere. Sign after sign reminding you that the crust is fragile and you damn well better stay on the path. (we did!) Bison, deer, wolves, elk... we saw a lot of animals, a lot of boiling water and mud and steam, steam, steam. There's a Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and water falls and rapids and it's crazy beautiful and has its own set of noises and smells and your brain goes blank with the huge wonder of it all. When you stay at Old Faithful Inn (built in early 1900's) you get a front row seat for the most famous geyser. It goes off every hour or two, but each afternoon/early evening we grabbed a cocktail and sat on a bench on the second floor balcony and enjoyed the show.

But the thing I most wanted to do was to stand on the Continental Divide. There's something just freakin' amazing about doing this and I got to do it twice as we explored the lower loop of the park. There's a lake there - Lake Isa. And half the lake flows into the Pacific and half flows into the Atlantic and I am the geek girl who was just blown away by the wonder of that - esp. because the WEST side of the lake flows EAST and the EAST side of the lake flows WEST... at least according to the sign. We stood there, hubs and I and took it all in. The interconnectedness of nature and life and people. How small we are, really, and how fragile this world is and how important it is that we take care of what we have. We thought a lot about all this. A truly spiritual experience, this Yellowstone. That and the thrill of peeing in an outhouse when it's 39 degrees out... Plus dinner and lots of wine in Bozeman MT with my pal Janet Fox and her husband later in the week...

Check this one off the bucket list. But I'll be checking it again because I am not done with this place.

What's on your 'bucket list'? Comment and let me know!