Friday, April 25, 2014

Five for Friday

Happy Friday!
Can you believe it's almost May?

Here's what I'm obsessed with/getting ready for/having fun with, this week:

1. Still flying high from yesterday's PM announcement about IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, coming in 2016 from Soho Press. A girl. A boy. Two families that stumble upon a fountain of youth. And the crazy things that happen when you're stuck at 17 and searching for the boy you love.

Yeah. I kinda love it. I bet you do, too.
Tuck Everlasting meets Veronica Mars.
That's all I'll say for now.
(except that the blurb itself is on yesterday's blog post if you haven't seen it!)
Also that my agent, Jen Rofe, totally rocks.

2. Getting ready for this weekend's Houston SCBWI conference. I'm honored to be part of the local faculty, critiquing manuscripts. And looking forward to all the panels and sessions and just hanging out with authors, editors and agents. Yay!

3. Just ordered some fun giveaways for the A-WORD launch. Can you say cowboy boot keychains? They're seriously adorable. (Okay, I tried to type 'adorbs' but you know, I think I am officially done with the cloying cuteness of that word. There, I tossed that out there. Now you know.)

4. Finally watched most of The Trouble With the Curve w/Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams. Predictable. But sweet. A perfect rainy day/cleaning the family room/getting my head together before I leap into another project kind of movie.

5. Vampire Diaries is still holding my attention. There are far too many plot threads going on, some of which drag me from what I want to watch which is the Elana/Damon/Stefan triangle, but no matter. I'm still a fan. I do believe I could be a fan of The Originals, too, but I will need to actually watch more than the one ep I perused months ago. And it seems that perhaps this summer I need to catch up on Agents of Shield, which after its hiatus turned into a much stronger show. Sometimes, things just have to simmer a bit until the writers hit their stride. And I think this is one of them.

What are you doing/reading/watching this week?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, coming in 2016 !

And so the secret news can finally be announced!

Up today on Publisher's Marketplace:

THE SWEET DEAD LIFE series author Joy Preble's IT WASN'T ALWAYS LIKE THIS, pitched as Tuck Everlasting meets Veronica Mars, about a girl, a boy, a fountain of youth, and what happens when you're stuck at 17, again to Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen, for publication in Spring 2016, by Jennifer Rofe at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency (World).

Yay yay yay!!!

More soon!
But you're intrigued, right? I know you are!

Thanks a zillion times over to the lovely, brilliant, nurturing team at Soho Teen/Soho Press who somehow keep wanting to write books with me. I couldn't be happier about this one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What I'm Reading Tuesday and Getting Ready for THE A-WORD

So far, April is not exactly, as the poem says, "the cruelest month" but it certainly has been the busiest! It is now officially less than a month until THE A-WORD (Soho Press) on 5/13 and less than month until the A-WORD Launch Party at Blue Willow on 5/17 and less than a week until the SCBWI Houston conference where I am once again honored to critique manuscripts, which I have been reading and pondering and scribbling notes on. It is -- as of yesterday-- also exactly one year until FINDING PARIS hits the shelves from Balzer and Bray.

In fact, yesterday Harper Collins sent me my Author Questionnaire! This always makes me both giddy with excitement and also panicked. Because it asks questions that in essence say, "What hugely famous people do you know who will say nice things about you and this book and thus make people buy a bunch of copies?" Okay, it asks other stuff, too. But that's part of it. You'd think this wouldn't phase me by now. You would be wrong.

But still! Another book! The crazy wonderful of this is NOT LOST ON ME.

But I have not  yet posted my TLA post and so that will come tomorrow. Like I say, it's been a busy few weeks.

Also just bought tickets for the Grand Ole Opry for when we're in Nashville this fall. I am on the fence about this, but I am told I will love it. So there you go.

And now on to what books I'm obsessed with this week!

  • Want a lovely, thoughtful, gorgeously illustrated picture book with an amazing story and message? Then pick up a copy of GRANDFATHER GANDHI, co-written by my talented Austin friend Bethany Hegedus and the grandson of Gandhi, Arun Gandhi. There is a post-9/11 story behind this book and it is just as moving and magical as the book itself. 
  • Still plowing my way through book 2 of the Outlander series. Jamie and Claire. Scotland! Romance! War and rebellion! Weird historical facts about lice and medicine and childbirth! Scottish dialect that sticks in my head and makes me say to the dog, "you're such a wee piggie" and then try to speak Gaelic!
  • Alternately also reading two prized galleys I picked up at TLA: WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart (to whom I shall always be grateful for blurbing Sweet Dead Life) and THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jen Mathieu, a talented and brilliant debut author from right here in Houston. (in fact we'll be signing together, along with Kristin Rae, on 6/28 at a co-sponsored event at BOTH Murder by the Book and Brazos Books!)
Both are must reads. LIARS has an enormous marketing campaign behind it so you've probably heard about it. Something has taken the main character's memory of a horrible accident and she is trying to piece things together. There is wealth and secrets and life-long friends and a love gone wrong and a powerful family and so much more. Mostly it's the writing. You may actually guess the secret early on. But Emily Lockhart's prose and style just thrill me. Such a cleverly crafted book.

Likewise for ALICE. Mathieu has hit it out of the park on her first book and it's receiving a very warm welcome. Multiple narrative voices. A small town. A girl named Alice about whom there are salacious and abundant rumors. And the truth that lies somewhere in between.

Actually it's a good pairing, these two books. And it's been interesting reading both while finishing the edits for FINDING PARIS, which is also about family secrets….

What are you reading this week?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Five For Friday

And somehow it is Friday again!
Actually, it is technically still Thursday night. It's me and Jimmy Fallon -- who just told his 2nd Vladimir Putin joke-- and my laptop and this post. And the dog, who is snoring. Yes, this is the glamor life of an author.

Anyway, Friday!
So what am I obsessed about this week?

1. Just read THE OTHER SHEPARDS and WHERE I WANT TO BE, both by Adele Griffin. Brilliant! Simply brilliant. She explores family and loss and desire and achieves this delicate otherworldliness that just blows me away. Did I say brilliant? Times a zillion. An amazing talent, and if I'm lucky, I'll snag a galley of her upcoming ADDISON STONE (Soho Press, August 2014)

2. Popovers! Ordering a popover pan from Crate and Barrel. Popovers! I want to make popovers! It looks easy and I still have this luscious memory of the popovers and butter and salt they served with my fig Old-Fashioned at the bar at BLT at  Camelback Inn in Scottsdale. Okay yes, this was like 3 years ago! But I've been too busy to follow through. It is hard being both lazy and obsessed, I tell you. These huge puffy yummy popovers with melty butter.

*Oooh. It's now me, snoring dog, Jimmy Fallon and also Daniel Radcliffe. Hello little Harry Potter!

3. Game of Thrones Season 4! Starting Sunday. Now my only worry is: Exactly how many days are left on my free 6 months of HBO? Or will Comcast cut me off just as the opening credits roll? I shall let you know. But Game of Thrones! You are almost here!!

4. Secret News!!! I have secret news!!!
Okay, enough shameless self promotion. But seriously! Secret news. I have some. And I'm really excited about it.

* Ooh! Daniel Radcliffe is a fan of the Food Network! He watches Chopped! Harry Potter watches Chopped! Just like me. (let me note here that Chopped makes me very nervous. Because it's all: Okay, here is a baguette, corn, some kind of horrible fruit no one has heard of, canned haggis and gummy bears. Make an appetizer. You have 20 minutes. This makes my heart race. I'm all: Good God almighty, what is that ugly fruit? And haggis? In a can? I think I would puke. And then I'm all: Hey, I hope someone uses the ice cream machine or starts a fire or cuts their finger. Yeah. Chopped. I love it. I have this idea that we need to put YA authors on Chopped. Yup. Me (since it was my idea), John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Maggie Stiefvater all opening our mystery baskets. IT COULD HAPPEN*

5. It is only a month until THE A-WORD comes out! That's the weird thing about books: It's months and months or often years until a book arrives. And it feels like it's never going to happen and you wander along all la la la and then you're like "crap!" It's almost here. And then SLJ says some nice things and you're pretty happy. Which is a relief when it's book 2 in a series.

*Jimmy Fallon and Daniel Radcliffe are wearing jumpsuits and playing sticky balls* In case you were wondering.

Happy Friday, my lovelies!!
If you're at TLA, please, please don't let me be alone in the Author Area signing line. Come get a galley of A-WORD on Thursday morning at 11. Tell your friends. I will give you candy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

GETTING READY FOR TLA and Houston Writer's Guild

Excited about TLA next week. Couldn't go last year and so I'm revving up to hang with librarians and teen readers and my publishers and fellow authors and wallow happily in books, books, books. It's always such an energizing experience and I'm thrilled to be there!

On Wednesday 4/9, our YAHOUs (YA HOUSTON) group is hosting a meet and greet at Overlooked Book's Pat Anderson's booth 2522 from 2-3. Pat is an amazing and tireless supporter of Texas authors and illustrators! We adore him!

Later than afternoon, from 4-6, I'll be with the wonderful gang from Soho Teen at Twig Books, signing  SWEET DEAD LIFE and maybe some A-WORD galleys, too! Yes, it's Soho Teen Afternoon and here's the link:

Thursday 4/10 brings a variety of events including TT4L and the Texas Tea with YA Authors events, both at the Grand Hyatt.

And for the first time, I'll be in the author area on the Exhibit Hall Floor, signing galleys of THE A-WORD (which arrives from Soho Press on 5/13) from 11-11:40

If you want an A-WORD galley signed by me, this is your opportunity!
And honestly, I'd love to see you! I've signed at TLA before, but always in the publisher's booth, so this is a bit daunting. I don't want to be that girl with no line! Please come say hi!

And just to round things out, on Friday, I'll be hanging out at the Book Festivals of Texas booth 2243 from 9:30 - 10 ish, signing SWEET DEAD LIFE and soaking up a few last hours of TLA!

And then, if things aren't busy enough, I'll be at Houston Writer's Guild conference on Sunday 4/13, presenting the post-conference workshop on Building Your Author Platform. We shall be using legos. Okay not really. But I'll be dishing the story of how I went from teaching Julius Caesar 6 times a day to author with books on shelves. It will be fun, informal, and hopefully informative as well!

Happy Wednesday!