Friday, May 30, 2014

Five for Friday

Simply cannot believe it is already Friday, but 'tis true. Head has been buried in writing --some on new secret project, some on IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS--which you won't see until spring 2016 (from Soho Press), essentially 2 years from now. In writing land, that's like, um, tomorrow. I love those heady moments when a story is new and fresh and anything is possible. They make up for those moments like yesterday when you've written a synopsis five times and it's still not working. One of the great mysteries of the author life-- how you can write the whole darn book but the synopsis makes you want to curl up in the fetal position and weep. (which possibly I did)

In no particular order, here's what I'm obsessed with this week:

1. The dog's recovery from her UTI. I will not tell you how much the vet bill was. Let us say that the hubs and I could have flown somewhere. Together. But she is perking up now, Miss Lyla. And seems to find the taste of her new pro-biotic sprinkle quite pleasing. I, on the other hand, think it smells like flowers and rear end. Which, you know, are good smells when you're a dog.

2. Book 4 of Outlander. I said I'd take a break and read something else. I read something else but also kept going. Cause Jamie and Claire are in America now. The New World! And I feel like I'm there with them. And Gavin Hayes just got hung and now Jamie and the other Scots are singing a Gaelic tune to him in the tavern. And so it goes in this addictive series.

3. Maleficent. The movie. I never want to like Angelina Jolie. I really don't. But I think this movie is going to rock. Now I just need to find the time to see it.

4. Upcoming events that I'm really excited about! A library book club visit in Austin! (Will report soon). A signing at Katy Budget Books this Sunday with my girls Sophie Jordan and Christie Craig (CC Hunter). I'll be signing the new A-WORD (Soho Teen) and also SWEET DEAD LIFE and more!

5. And this line of Ciersi's from Game of Thrones. "Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls." 
Enough already, world. Seriously. Enough.

There's much more, of course, like how I wish I was at the Children's Author Breakfast at BEA, which so loved attending 2 years ago. Or how I think Crossbones might be worth watching. And how if you're not watching Watch What's Happening Live with Andy Cohen on Bravo, you're seriously missing out on amazing live television. I am not joking.

Tonight is the launch party at Blue Willow for my buddy and debut author and fellow YAHOU, Jennifer Mathieu. THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE is going to be huge. It is a phenomenal new voice. It's out next week from Roaring Brook. Jen will be touring with Fierce Reads. She is funny and whip smart and a fellow NU grad. She writes like a dream. Pick up this book!

Okay, that was way more than 5, right?
Happy Friday!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Of Popovers, Moscow Mules, Rene Magritte and reasons Houston rocks

So I didn't peek. And I added a bit more milk and a tablespoon of melted butter. And the popover quest succeeded!

Yes, this is what you get from just flour, milk, eggs, salt and butter. And I'd bet you don't need the snazzy popover pan, but since I have it…

Sunday found me at the Menil Collection in Houston -- a free and gorgeous art museum. It's the last week of the Rene Magritte exhibit. I have loved Magritte and his surrealism for as long as I can remember. We spent a lot of time at Chicago's Art Institute when I was growing up and his painting called Time Transfixed (below) was one I visited every time And what do you know -- it was part of this retrospective exhibit. Actually there was even a second exhibit with his later works. Now I'm obsessed again…. Plus the Menil. Quiet,  with lovely wood floors and amazing filtered lighting… Live oaks and gardens and the Cy Twombly gallery across the street. (I was the ONLY ONE in the entire Twombly gallery. That was crazy, but I don't know if people even know it's there…) And the Rothko Chapel and a million other reasons that Houston is really one of the unsung coolest cities (except for the weather) around.

Also, there is this- a Moscow Mule--a Mad Men inspired vodka cocktail served in a copper cup (why, I'm not exactly sure). Vodka, ginger beer, lime, sugar... I first saw it at the kid lit party at the Arctic Bar in Seattle during AWP. And first ordered one this week. I'd imagine a popover or two might go well with a couple of these pretties…

Friday, May 23, 2014

THE A-WORD LAUNCH and other Friday stuff

Can you believe that THE A-WORD has been out for over a week now? Well it has! Blog tour is in full swing. In fact, one of my favorite guest posts is up today at The Book Rat, a pictorial overview of Jenna Samuels' Texas world: Homecoming mums! Kolaches! A&M 12th Man! Copperhead Road line dance! And other cool Texas-y stuff. Check it out here:

And THE A-WORD Launch party happened last Saturday at Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston! Here are a few pics:

Me and the lovely Houston book blogger/all around brilliant human Kate Sowa

Thanks a million zillion to Valerie and Cathy and the rest of the Blue Willow staff and to the many, many of you who came out to support me and THE A-WORD! Clearly you seemed to be having a good time from that last picture above!

This coming Tuesday, 5/27 at 6 PM,  I'll be at Barnes and Noble in The Woodlands TX with authors Varsha Bajaj and Christina Mandelski! Book shenanigans will ensue. Would love to see you! Here's the link:

So yeah, it's been a fun few days.
I'll count all of the above as #1 of the Friday Five.

Here's the rest of what I'm obsessed with this week:

2. Just read a galley of the very talented Kari Anne Holt's forthcoming RHYME SCHEMER, which will be out this fall from Chronicle. It's a middle grade novel in rhyme with stolen poetry (you'll see!) about a bully become bullied. Kevin's story just hits you in the gut hard. I LOVE this book. I expect HUGE THINGS from this book. Put it on your list. NOW.

3. MOVIES! X-Men! Chef! Want to see them both this weekend. I'll let you know if it happens. IT BETTER HAPPEN.

4. Attempt #2 coming tonight on homemade popovers. Received my coveted popover pan for Mother's Day and the first exploratory batch was tasty but did not rise much. I think I peeked too much. Or I have an old, crappy oven. Both of which are true. I will conquer you, popovers!

5. I got to see the cover comps for next year's FINDING PARIS. I cannot show them to you. You probably won't see the cover til the fall. But holy mother they make my heart sing!!  FINDING PARIS is my book that will be out 4/21/15 from Balzer and Bray. A girl. A boy. A missing sister. Dark secrets. And a road trip from Vegas to LA and on from there.

Til next week!
Have a lovely Memorial Day if you are in the US.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


My delightful writer friend Holly Schindler has a new YA coming out soon, called FERAL! As today is INDIES FIRST STORYTIME DAY, we thought it would be a great day to give you all the opportunity for an exclusive sneak peek at FERAL!!


Click here!

And because I know your'e going to adore what you see, you can pre-order by clicking here!

It's that easy!


Friday, May 16, 2014

Five for Friday

Can you believe that pub week is almost over? Crazy!

Here's the five:

1. THE A-WORD blog tour continues. See previous post for al the links! THANKS so much to all who are hosting/reviewing/generally spreading the word about these crazy TEXAS angels!! I'm so glad I'm starting to see some Bo Shivers love out there, too! Let me know what y'all think of BO!

2. Launch party for A-WORD this coming Saturday 5/17 at 2 PM at Blue Willow Bookshop! Cookies, fictional sibling trivia, q/a about A-WORD and COWBOY BOOT KEYCHAINS! You want to be there. Yes you do! Here's the link:

3. Flying through Voyager, which is Outlander #3. I cannot believe that I am reading these 1000 page books back to back to back to… Well, let me say that there have been some jump the shark moments here and some places that I would honestly edit the heck out of. But still. Jamie and Claire. And Young Ian, who is stealing the show… until he gets stolen by pirates. And Jamie forgetting to tell Claire that he'd kinda, sorta married the woman who'd tried to get Claire killed as a witch. And the penicillin she's snuck back to the 1700's, along with a plastic wrapped stack of pb and j sandwiches…. I still love it.

4. Godzilla? Are we going to see it? I think I am. But it's FIOS that I'm waiting for. Because Gus and Hazel. And John Green's dialogue. And all of it. Soon.

5. Vampire Diaires season finale. DAMON!!!! OOOOOOOHHHHHH NOOOOOOO!

Happy Friday all of you! Come to Blue Willow if you're in Houston!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


The A-WORD BLOG TOUR begins tomorrow! Click below to see the entire tour. As the posts go up, the links will go live! There will be fun and reviews and giveaways!!

THANK YOU to all the wonderful authors and bloggers who are hosting. You will see the official blog tour banner on their site! It looks like this:

And again, the link to the blog tour list is:

Thanks to SOHO PRESS and my fearless publicist, Meredith Barnes, for arranging!

And more giveaways to come on my own blog, soon!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


It’s here! It’s here!

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014—the birthday of THE A-WORD, the sequel to THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, both from Soho Teen/Soho Press.

Let’s let the publisher’s blurb do some of the speaking. (I got to write it, so I think I trust it to tell you what to expect!)

It's been almost a year since Jenna Samuel’s stoner brother, Casey, bit the dust and returned as her guardian angel. A year since Casey and his “angel boss,” Amber Velasco, saved Jenna’s life and helped her foil the bad guys— more or less. A year in which Jenna has solved the true mystery of the universe: how to get one Ryan Sloboda to ask her out.  

Jenna’s feeling mighty cheery about life and love. But Casey, whose doomed relationship with Lanie Phelps (who has no idea her boyfriend is, well, dead) isn’t doing much to distract him, has his own big question: Why is he still hanging around?  

Bo Shivers, a heavenly head honcho Jenna and Casey didn't even know existed, might have the answers. Bo knows something big is coming. Something that might just change everything for Jenna Samuels, who once again finds herself up to her non-winged shoulders in heavenly secrets of global proportions—just as she’s finally found the perfect Homecoming Dance dress.

First dates and first kisses. Football games. Global-sized mysteries. Earthbound angels who aren’t happy about it and the loves and losses they’ve left behind. A sibling story. And the big questions of the universe. All told by sassy, smart-mouthed Jenna Samuels, one of my favorite characters I've ever written. As Kirkus observed, "wherever Jenna goes, trouble seems to follow."*

That’s THE A-WORD.

Welcome to the world, my pretty book.
And huge thanks to my lovely publisher, Soho Press, and my ever patient editor Daniel Ehrenhaft for allowing Jenna Samuels to kick up her cowboy boots once again!

Your job, dear reader? Buy a copy today. Give another copy for a gift tomorrow.  Spread the A-WORD! Because we all still want that SWEET DEAD LIFE movie, right?

Official blog tour start Wednesday. 
And some giveaways from me are in the works as well!
Stay tuned.

*Btw, in case you don't know, I do believe this quote is the reviewer's thinly-veiled reference to one of my favorite old time movies, Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows -- a story about two irrepressible best friends (one played by Hailey Mills, who also starred in a zillion Disney movies and the original Parent Trap) in a Catholic boarding school who get into all sorts of crazy hijinks, much to the chagrin of the Reverend Mother, played by Rosalind Russell. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN: A Debut Novel by Kristin Rae hits the shelves

Happy Book Birthday to Kristin Rae's WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN, which debuts today from Bloomsbury!

I've known Kristin for awhile now: We write together, eat cupcakes together, and do all the other 'authors in the wild' things that one would expect. It's been a true pleasure to watch her journey from finishing WISH to querying agents to signing to selling to today, when she officially joins the tribe and her first novel arrives into the world. (In truth, it's been sneaking out there for a few days, as first novels often do, thrilling everyone with sightings at this bookstore and that)

WISH is a wonderful, fun summer (or any season!) read and I can hardly wait to buy my own 'real' copy. Because we all want to go to Italy like main character Pippa and meet cute boys and learn about who we are beyond our parents' vision for us. Plus gelato. Lots of gelato. And a kiss or two because how sweet are kisses in Italy with cute boys?

Cheers to Kristin Rae! Keep an eye on this up and coming author. She is on fire with ideas and you are going to love them all.

Here's the full Amazon blurb:

The summer before senior year of high school. It’s supposed to be one of the biggest summers of her life, but Pippa is headed to an art program she has no interest in. The one saving grace is it’s in Italy. And when the opportunity strikes, she decides to ditch the program and travel Italy accomplishing her own list of goals. Things like swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, eating a whole pizza in one sitting…and falling in love with an Italian boy!

As she explores the famous cities of Rome and Pompeii, Pippa finds herself falling for two boys: a local guy she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student who keeps disappearing and reappearing at the strangest moments. Will Pippa find her true love before her parents find out the truth about her summer program?