"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Former Debut: Jody Feldman, Class of 2k8

I will admit the Class of 2k8 holds such a special place in my heart! I loved being a part of this class so much! I can't believe it's been four years since 2008! Like all the debut groups before and after us, our class had a wonderful bond. And much of that was due to our fabulous co-presidents! I've already featured Marissa Doyle, and today I am thrilled to feature our other co-president, Jody Feldman!

*****


Name: Jody Feldman
Debut Group: Class of 2008
Debut novel: THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES


 Hi, Jody! I miss you!



PJH: Okay, so it’s been nearly 4 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

JF: It’s like trying to catch up with anyone after several years; so much has happened, but so little to report. Second book, check! The Seventh Level came out in 2010. House remodel requiring a four-month move-out, check! Been back in for about a year. New books, check! Gollywhopper Games 2 and Gollywhopper Games 3 (titles not yet set) coming out in 2013 and 2014.


THE 7th LEVEL by Jody Feldman (Greenwillow, May 25, 2010)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

JF: You sign your first contract with all that swagger, then you realize how little you know. Being in something like the Class of 2k8 works on so many levels to give you the support you need whether it’s commiseration, celebration, or especially navigation of the author world. The added exposure doesn’t hurt either.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

JF: You cannot and should not know and do everything; therefore,
Do not obsess focus so much on the factors you can’t control. I’d always heard you can’t build a career waiting for reviews or suggesting schemes to your publisher’s marketing department. Of course you want to, and of course, that type of support helps. So while I still try to reach teachers, librarians and booksellers, I work even more (as my wise editor suggested) on the most important task – writing an excellent next book.


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

JF: I’ve always wanted to try my hand at writing a romantic-comedy for the big screen. I’ve always wanted to eat pasta in Italy and spend a week on a wind-swept terrace in the South of France. I’ve always wanted to paint something, and I’m not talking about a wall or ceiling or house exterior. All of which could happen in the next five years. Or maybe something else will instead.

THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES by Jody Feldman (Greenwillow, March 4, 2008)


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

JF: This business has its mysterious ways. I wrote The Gollywhopper Games as a stand-alone. Okay. Yes, of course, I daydreamed about writing a follow-up, but never seriously. And never did a Book 3 creep into in my greatest dreams. But one librarian read the book and suggested it here and there, and this little book that could found its way onto one state list then 16 or so, and that generated enough steam to warrant a couple sequels. Who knew? I sure didn’t. I just wanted to write a book that some kid might want to read all the way through.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

****

Bio:
Jody Feldman blames her 7th grade English teacher (justly or not) for turning her away from writing, yet the world mysteriously led her back. She is the author of The Seventh Level and The Gollywhopper Games. Coming soon, Gollywhopper 2 & 3 (HarperCollins/Greenwillow). You can find her in St. Louis, MO, at www.jodyfeldman.com or as jodyfeldman on Twitter.

*****

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What I'm Reading: RENEGADE by J. A. Souders

From the second I saw this in the Tor Teen Book Buzz at ALA Midwinter, I wanted to read it. Not only did it sound fantastic, it looked fantastic (see (1) below). So color me excited when I got my hands on a sweet ARC to read!

RENEGADE by J. A. Souders (Tor Teen, November 13, 2012)




Here are five things I have to say about RENEGADE:


1) I adore this cover! It's seriously one of the most intriguing (and beautiful) covers I've seen in ages. From the colors to the hair, dress, and body language of the girl, it completely drew me in and made me want to read it.

2) There is repetition in the novel done for effect, and I loved it. Seriously, it brought a smile to my face as I turned the page and started the new chapter. I enjoyed looking for the small changes and seeing where the story diverged. And it totally helped me understand and sympathize with the main character, Evelyn.

3) So I'm guessing this is the start of a trilogy, and lots of times, in the first book of a trilogy, we're left wondering at the end, "how did things ever get like this?" It made me so happy that RENEGADE explained the world and how it had come to be in its current dystopic state. Sure, that may change or we may not have the whole truth, but for now, I have my explanation and am happy.

4) I have to mention the romance, because I really loved seeing how the main characters were pushed/pulled together. I enjoyed watching their trust of each other grow alongside their feelings. Neither character is perfect. Both have some serious issues. But together, they are fabulous!

5) It's like MATCHED meets SERENITY, under the ocean. RENEGADE is packed with adventure, betrayal, deception, and romance. Highly recommended for girls (and boys who enjoy this type of book), seventh grade and up, fans of dystopian fiction!




Source of book: From publisher by request


From Amazon:

Since the age of three, sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters has trained to be Daughter of the People in the underwater utopia known as Elysium. Selected from hundreds of children for her ideal genes, all her life she's believed that everything is perfect. Her world. Her people. The Law. But when Gavin Hunter, a Surface Dweller, accidentally stumbles into Elysium's secluded little world, Evelyn comes to a startling realization: Everything she knows is a lie. Her memories have been altered. Her mind and body aren't under her own control. And the person she knows as Mother is a monster. Together with Gavin she plans her escape, only to learn that her own mind is a ticking time bomb...and Mother has one last secret that will destroy them all.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Creepy Dolls: A Writing Guide

I posted this last week over on the ADR3NALIN3 blog, but in case you missed it, here it is!


***

Possibly we all have one. The doll that creeps every single person who walks into the house out. Yes, my kids have had friends sleep over who have asked to be driven home in the middle of the night because of said doll.

“Wait, what?” my mom says. “I bought you that Jeri Anne doll from J. C. Penney years ago. I thought you loved her.”

Well, the truth is that she scares everyone. My daughter’s friends ask to have her not only moved out of the bedroom, but moved far, far away. Best if she’s up high on a shelf where she can’t get to anyone. My son’s friends insist she looks like a clown. A very scary clown.

But she’s only a doll. A sweet, little doll.


Okay, she is freaking creepy.

What is it about dolls that adds the complete creep factor?

I've decided to categorize dolls into a few categories for easy reference when you are including them in your next novel.


1) THE PRETTY DOLL
Imagine 21" Madame Alexander dolls when you think of this one. These dolls are trendy. They are dressed in the latest fashions. Their hair is styled exquisitely and may have jeweled barrettes holding it in perfect place. (btw, never brush this doll's hair.) They have fancy names like Scarlett and Cissy and Jacqueline. They know they are better than all the other doll.

Because of the beautiful nature of this doll, she is the creepiest when dripping with blood, has messed up hair, and when her gorgeous clothes have been torn. Her clothes may hand in rags on her, her panty hose may be snagged, but she always maintains something to show her beauty, such as the rhinestone barrette in her messed-up hair. It is the small, beautiful details that will stick with readers long after they have turned out the light.

 Part of my personal doll collection...in my bedroom.
I've only had a handful of nightmares.
Yes, I do have Star Trek Barbie and Ken.


2) THE FAMILY HEIRLOOM
This is the doll with the missing eyeballs and patchy hair. Her clothes may be long gone. She may have lived in a smoking house and have yellow stains from cigarette smoke. Her face may be bleached from the sun. Every single person who comes in the house averts their eyes when they see this doll, because why would anyone have her? She should have been land fill fodder long ago. But, by God, she is an antique, and there is no way her family is getting rid of her. She may have even come over on the Titanic and made it into a lifeboat.

In scary stories, this doll is best for close-up shots. She is already creepy enough without having to do anything extra special. Focus on the empty eye-socket. Use her to build up the creep factor before anything else happens.

Possibly we can superglue her?

 
3) THE POSED DOLL
This doll is taken care of so well, the family dog is jealous. She is dressed in perfect period clothes. She has a perfect period family, all dressed in clothes to compliment hers. She is always posed in a way that screams, "I am so sick of sitting here in this same rocking chair. Please free me." Her dress never has a wrinkle in it. It is steam ironed nightly and she is dusted with only the finest feather duster. Wherever she sits is not acceptable seating for guests. She gets first dibs.

Because of this infinite stage of posing, this doll is creepiest when her head spins around. Or when she suddenly is not in the same rocking chair she was in before but has somehow moved across the room to hang with the other dolls. She is subtle. It may take a few movements on her part to finally get noticed. And by then, it will be too late.

Do you think the tea is cold yet?


4) THE FRIEND DOLL
If you have a girl child, this is the doll she may consider her best friend. It may dress like her. It may look like her. You have probably spent many a hard-earned dollar making sure this doll makes your daughter happy. Your child may have tea parties and invite friends over with similar dolls so they can all play together. This doll goes on playdates with your child. This doll is almost like your child.

Because this doll is like a best friend, betrayal becomes the scariest thing. When this doll turns creepy, she begins to talk. She threatens her owner. She repeats canned phrases over and over again in the most horrific way. She does not want to be like her owner. She wants her own identity. She is sick of tea parties and matching clothes. This doll wants revenge.



Got any more categories for me? I'd love to hear them. 


And for those who can't get enough dolls, I leave you with...

CREEPY-ASS DOLLS by Stacey Leigh Brooks (Krause Publications, May 8, 2011)




DIARY OF A CREEPY-ALL DOLL by Stacey Leigh Brooks (Krause Publications, July 31, 2012)



Okay, this Tumblr cracks me the heck up!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Five on a Friday

Happy Friday, all!

Here are my Friday Five (plus one extra)...


1) I mentioned I was going to be guest-blogging on Tor.com about the cover of SOLSTICE. You can find the guest blog here!


2) In a few weeks, the Austin SCBWI Digital Symposium is coming up! I wrote a guest blog about the importance of being able to "Do it Yourself!" that you can find here.


3) I have postcards for SOLSTICE! If you are interested in any, please email me, let me know how many you want and where to send them, and I will get them out!




4) I interviewed Gretchen McNeil for The Enchanted Inkpot! Please check it out here and show Gretchen some book love!



5) This week, we're happy to welcome our first Featured Sweetheart of the fall, librarian and blogger, Naomi Bates, over on The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels blog! You can learn all about Naomi here!


6) I'm busy reading THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray (Little, Brown, September 18, 2012).


Hope you all have a happy weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Former Debut: Jeri Smith-Ready, Class of 2k10

Today I'm thrilled to welcome as my former debut the very prolific Jeri Smith-Ready! Jeri has some fantastic books out, and I'm honored that she's stopped by for a visit.

Hi, Jeri! Thanks for being here!


*****

Name: Jeri Smith-Ready
Debut Group: Class of 2k10
Debut novel: SHADE (SHADE trilogy Book 1)


SHADE by Jeri Smith-Ready (Simon Pulse, May 5, 2010)



PJH: Okay, so it’s been 2 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

JSR: Writing, writing, and more writing! I finished the SHADE trilogy (Book 3, SHINE, came out in May 2012). Mostly finished it, that is—I still have a novella, “Shattered,” from Zachary’s point-of-view coming out next year, and there may be a further short story or two from other characters as I have time to write them. I’m also wrapping up my adult vampire series this December with LUST FOR LIFE (WVMP Radio series Book 4).

As sad as I am to say goodbye to two series, I’m thrilled to be moving on to new characters and stories. My first YA stand-alone novel will be released in early 2014 from Simon Pulse. It’s still in the early stages, so it doesn’t have a title yet, but I can tell you that it’s a contemporary (no paranormal whatsoever) with a boy main character. After years and years of fantasy series told by girls, this is a welcome change and an exciting challenge!

SHIFT by Jeri Smith-Ready (Simon Pulse, May 3, 2011)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

JSR: Definitely the support network. Publishing can be such a roller coaster, and no one wants to ride a roller coaster alone, right? It’s essential to have people to celebrate the good news with and commiserate with over the bad news.




PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

JSR: I’ve never been good at taking advice, and I’m probably even worse at giving it. Always, always, always give advice a critical eye rather than accepting it at face value. What’s right for one person might not be right for you.

But I would strongly suggest finding a way to manage your time. (This is my biggest problem, so it’s “do as I say, not as I do,” okay?) You probably wrote your debut novel at your own pace, but your follow up novel will have a deadline, and you’ll have to promote your first book. These events are likely to occur in the same week! So find a way to balance, because for most of the year, a professional author doesn’t have the luxury of going into a cave to write the next book. There are appearances to do and blogs to write and email to answer, not to mention taxes to file and, oh, I don’t know, a family who might like your attention.

SHINE by Jeri Smith-Ready (Simon Pulse, May 1, 2012)


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

JSR: Five books in five years sounds luxurious (I’ve been writing one-and-a-half to two books a year for as long as I can remember, and I’m ready to cut back for sanity’s sake)! But seriously, I have several ideas I can’t wait to tackle, all YA. I’m also planning more short fiction, featuring both new and familiar characters.

I would LOVE to live in Europe again for a year. I think travel is one of the most important things a writer can do. Nothing stimulates my imagination and makes me love life more than the sights and sounds and challenges of a new place.




PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

JSR: I love to chat with readers on Twitter, and so do my SHADE characters! Follow us here:

Jeri: http://twitter.com/jsmithready
Logan: http://twitter.com/keeley_logan
Zachary: http://twitter.com/moore_zachary
Martin: http://twitter.com/connelly_martin
Aura (Special occasions only, as her presence makes things QUITE awkward between Zachary and Logan): http://twitter.com/salvatore_aura

SHADEboys on tumblr: http://shadeboys.tumblr.com


PJH: Thanks so much for being here!


*****

Bio:
Award-winning author Jeri Smith-Ready lives in Maryland with her husband and two cats. Her plans to save the earth were ruined when she realized she was more of a “problem maker” than a problem solver. To stay out of trouble, she keeps her Drama Drive strictly fictional. Her friends and family appreciate that.

 When not writing novels for teens and adults, Jeri she can usually be found—well, thinking about writing, or on Twitter. Like her characters, she loves music, movies, and staying up very, very late.

*****


Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What I'm Reading: TEN by Gretchen McNeil

Concept alone should be enough to make you pick up this book! Add that to the fact that Gretchen McNeil is just pretty much awesome, and this book should move to the top of your TBR stack!

And please head over to THE ENCHANTED INKPOT where I am interviewing Gretchen today!

TEN by Gretchen McNeil (Balzer & Bray, September 18, 2012)



FIVE THINGS ABOUT TEN:

1) There is nothing better than when a book keeps you up late, late, late into the night reading. Such is the case with TEN. Seriously, as I got closer to the end, I honestly could not stop reading. I had to know what was going to happen. I had to know who the killer was!

2) No, I didn't guess the killer ahead of time. At all. And do you realize how cool that is? Sure, looking back, the clues were dribbled in beautifully, but I completely fell for the red herring. Really well done, Gretchen!

3) Concept is boss! Ten Teens. Three Days. One Killer. Yes, I know, this book will sell on concept alone. But then the book completely delivers a bundle of awesomeness.

4) I love the fact that Gretchen was not afraid to take risks with her characters. These people have some serious hardships and flaws, and they play into the story beautifully.

5) In short, TEN is Agatha Cristie's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE meets 13 REASONS WHY. It's perfect for boys and girls and a great fit for almost any genre of interest. It's mystery. It's realistic. It's drama. It's romance. TEN has something for everyone. Highly recommended!



Source of Book: From author by request

****

About TEN:

And their doom comes swiftly.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?
 


Monday, September 17, 2012

SOLSTICE Cover Reveal! And a Huge Giveaway!

Woot! Woot! The time is finally here! I am so excited to share the cover for SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013) with you guys!


“Solstice is one red-hot read—it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author


I'm guest blogging over on Tor.com today, talking about my inspirations for SOLSTICE that made it onto the cover. (Yes, some are totally nerdy, but did you expect anything less?) By the way, do you guys read Tor.com? The place is filled with the best posts ever, and I am super honored to be guest blogging there today!


I want to offer up a special thank you to the bloggers who are helping me spread the word about SOLSTICE today! You guys are seriously the best, and I owe you all margaritas!



About SOLSTICE:

Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom. 

Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.


Yes, I also want to share the full dust jacket of SOLSTICE because I can't stop looking at it :)





I admit to being a total dork. My editor sent me some beautiful copies of the cover, and I couldn't help but take this picture while at my local Barnes & Noble. Any guesses as to which book I covered up to take the picture? :)

Solstice, not yet published, but already in the wild!


Thank you all so much for all your support! And what better way to celebrate than with a contest? How about three awesome prizes: 2 sets of five books each for US residents, and a $20 gift card to the online bookstore of your choice open to everyone (so long as I can easily buy it for you if you are international).

10 BOOKS
$20 GIFT CARD
THREE WINNERS!


PRIZE PACK #1 (US only):


An ARC of MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH by Bethany Griffin (Greenwillow, April 24, 2012)
An ARC of CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion, May 15, 2012)
An ARC of THUMPED by Megan McCafferty (Balzer & Bray, April 24, 2012)
An ARC of ILLUMINATE by Aimee Agresti (Harcourt, March 6, 2012)
An ARC of FALL FROM GRACE by Charles Benoit (Harper, May 8, 2012)



PRIZE PACK #2 (US only):



An ARC of GLIMMER by Phoebe Kitanidis (Balzer & Bray, April 17, 2012)
An ARC of THE INFECTS by Sean Beaudoin (Candlewick, September 25, 2012)
An ARC of ECHO by Alyson Noel (St. Martins Press, November 13, 2012)
A Paperback of THE WOOD QUEEN by Karen Mahoney (Flux, February 8, 2012)
An ARC of IMMORTAL CITY by Scott Speer (Razorbill, April 3, 2012)



PRIZE #3 (US and International):


$20 GIFT CARD to the online bookstore of your choice


*****

It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on September 29, 2012
2) Book prizes are US only. Gift card is international.

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and thank you all! Okay, do you mind if we look at the cover just one more time?


xxx-ooo

Friday, September 14, 2012

Cover Reveal for SOLSTICE is coming!

I absolutely can't wait to share my cover for SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013) with you guys! I've been seeing some pretty awesome sketches over the last couple months, but the final cover is actually here!

So please stop back by on Monday at noon EST! I'll be doing the cover reveal here along with some other awesome, fantastic blogs around the Internet (did I mention how much I love book bloggers?). And because the cover makes me so happy, I'll also be hosting a giveaway of massive proportions (or something like that)!

So until Monday, you guys can gaze upon my dummy cover for a final few days...



Hope your weekend is filled with all things awesome! Me? I'm looking at copyedits, chainmail, and hopefully a little bit of Wizard101. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Former Debut: Amy Fellner Dominy, Class of 2k11

Today, I'm so excited to feature a Former Debut with a brand new book to celebrate! Congratulations, Amy! We are all celebrating with you!

So here's Amy to catch us up on debut groups, books, and what she's been up to!

*****

Name: Amy Fellner Dominy
Debut Group: Class of 2k11
Debut novel: OyMG


 Hi, Amy! Congratulations on your new book!



PJH: Okay, so it’s been 1 year since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

AFD: Well, there have been lots of new things in the past year. New shoes (there are ALWAYS new shoes), new gray hairs, and yes—a new book! In fact, my second book arrives this month on bookstore shelves (and the kindle/nook/ipad airwaves.) It’s an upper middle grade called Audition & Subtraction. To read a summary, click here.


AUDITION & SUBTRACTION by Amy Fellner Dominy (Walker, September 4, 2012)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

AFD: It’s nearly impossible to summarize the “Class of” experience because the group did so much for me in so many areas. But I can tell you this: It is, by far, the single BEST thing I did for myself and my writing career. No exaggeration, either. The friendships and support continues even now that we’re graduates. Makes me want to go find the authors who started this and give them all a huge hug.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

AFD: When I sold OyMG, I thought I’d reached the finish line. That I’d “made it.” Now, I realize that I just reached a new starting line. My advice is to just soak it all in, learn what you can, do what you’re comfortable with and don’t beat yourself up over the rest of it. Mostly, I’m referring to marketing and promotion. Talk about a whole nother world! I had no idea what to expect and I tried to do everything. (Bad idea!) Most importantly, surround yourself with people you can share things with—good and bad.


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

AFD: I’d really like to publish one book a year—that’s my goal on paper. The other goal that I keep in my head is I want to write books that make me proud. Seems like a given, right? But sometimes I find myself wanting to write something “popular” or something “big.” I’m not even sure what that means, but it’s a messed-up way to think because I end up with stuff I don’t even like myself. It’s like I told my kids when they were in school. They’d bring down their homework on crumpled paper, full of mistakes and I’d point to their name at the top. When something has your name on it, it represents you and you ought to be proud of it. (Of course they rolled their eyes at me.) But that’s what I want to do as an author. So if I can write things that matter to me and keep publishing, then I’ll be happy. (Not that I’d turn up my nose at the title “best-seller.”)


OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy (Walker, May 10, 2011)

PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

AFD: In honor of the release of Audition & Subtraction, here’s a little teaser. You can find an excerpt on Amy’s website here, but this is the First Five. (The first sentence of the first five chapters.)

1. “Death by bikini.”
2. The guy heading our way on a skateboard was no dweeb.
3. “You alone?”
4. In the fifty-two days since Dad had loaded two suitcases in his truck and drove off, my house had become a weird place to be.
5. Five more minutes.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

AFD: Thanks PJ! Best of luck to you, too. And cheers to the Classes of 2k!

*****

Bio:
Amy Fellner Dominy worked as a copywriter in the advertising business for twenty years before leaving to earn her MFA as a playwright. Her plays for adults and children have been staged in various cities around the country. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with her hubby and two teenage children. Amy is also the author of OyMG (Walker, 2011), distinguished by the Association of Jewish Libraries as a Notable Book for Teens. Visit her at www.amydominy.com.

*****

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fun Quizzes for a Monday Morning

If you find yourself looking for a fun way to start the day, head over to The Enchanted Inkpot! I've pulled together some fun quizzes about fantasy books we all love. See how well you do!


And happy Monday!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

In which I've already done the talking!

Every so often I do one of these interview things and then totally forget about it, and then a Google alert (yes, I use Google alerts. I admit it. But that is a good topic for ANOTHER day) pops up and tells me something has been posted about me online. Sometimes those are good things (like nice reviews), sometimes those things suck (like suck reviews), and sometimes there are awesome little professionally edited videos from interviews of the past.

So here are two that turned up this week. These were filmed at the Writers' League of Texas* conference back in June and are through a group called Author Learning Center. The Author Learning Center has gobs of these fantastic videos online (the vast majority of which are other people, not me!).

I'm sure none of you guys will enjoy watching these as much as my mom, but still, here they are for your viewing pleasure.  :)


Here I am talking about how I used to be an engineer (and trust me, I totally still think like one).



And here I am talking about the wonderful, beautiful thing that was Tor buying my YA novel, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 2013).



*The Writers' League of Texas is a great group and totally worth joining if you live in or around the Austin area.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Former Debut: Joy Preble, Class of 2k9

Okay, so if you read my blog at all, then you know I adore Joy Preble! She's not only a fabulous author, she is such a wonderful gal, too! We just celebrated the release of Joy's third novel last month, and today I am happy to welcome her back to the blog as my former debut!

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Name: Joy Preble
Debut Group: Class of 2k9
Debut novel: DREAMING ANASTASIA


 *hugs* Joy!


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 3 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

JP: I think the better question would be, what haven't I been up to? It's been a wild ride since '09. I think it has for many of us. Since Dreaming Anastasia came out, I've also been lucky to write and publish the other two books in the trilogy: HAUNTED released in February 2011; ANASTASIA FOREVER is coming on August 7th 2012. I like to remind newbies that this series sold to Sourcebooks one book at a time. So don't give up! It happens in different ways. During this time, I've been through 4 editors and 3 publicists, which has made the journey a bit rocky at times. But miraculously, editor two, Dan Ehrenhaft, is now my editor again, this time at Soho Press, where I am incredibly fortunate to be publishing my fourth YA novel, THE SWEET DEAD LIFE, which arrives in May 2013, as part of the inaugural list of their new Soho Teen imprint. In addition to that, I have a short story in a mystery anthology for Soho, called WHO DONE IT, which comes out February 2013, and edited by the very brilliant Jon Scieszka!

But the book stuff is only half of it: Just as DREAMING started to take off in early winter of 2010, I was suddenly diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Basically, in the same week in February, 2010, I was offered a contract for book two and received the cancer diagnosis. It was not an easy time. It was such a set of extremes that my agent and I actually ended up doing this sort of dark humor joking that went like this: Should we tell them I have cancer? What will happen to the sub rights negotiation? And stupid stuff like that. The good news? Surgery, followed by radioactive iodine treatment and so far, two years later, I am still cancer free!

At the end of the 2011, though, I decided to give up full time teaching and try out full time writing. So far so good. I don't know if I'm more productive, but I'm not grading 175 Julius Caesar essay while trying to finish copy edits, so that is a good thing, I do believe! I'll keep you posted on whether I can stay away from the classroom.

Beyond that, my son got married; we rescued a 40 pound basset boxer mix who is sweet but crazy, and because I wasn't teaching, I actually traveled to Wyoming and Montana last October - the first time since kindergarten that I wasn't in school.


ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 1, 2012)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

JP: You don't have to go into the abyss of first time publication alone. You have this amazing group of men and women accompanying you and bolstering you on the journey. And I think it really is a case of 20 + brains being so much better than 1. Collectively, we figured it out: marketing and editing and developing a platform and balancing writing with being a public figure and the inevitable ups and downs and losses and rewards of this brand new career. In the process, you will develop life long friends -- deep, deep friendships with these people you never knew but now can't imagine ever being without.

THE SWEET DEAD LIFE (SoHo, May 2013)


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

JP: As that British WWII poster says: Stay Calm and Carry On.

Really, I think that's the best advice. Keep writing. Believe in yourself. Network, network, network. But don't try to do it all. You can't. If you hate blogging, embrace a form of social media that you enjoy. Learn the industry. Read. Read. Read. Be your own best advocate; don't be afraid to ask. The worst that can happen is someone will say no. That said, don't be whiny and greedy and awful. No one enjoys bad author behavior. Ever. Say thank you. Say it a lot. Thank your editor, your copy editor, your publicists. Thank everyone. Starbucks cards are everyone's friends. And no more than two glasses of wine in public. You'll thank me for that last one.


HAUNTED by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, February 1, 2011)


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

JP: As my stories above probably demonstrate, you really just never know. Five years is a long time. But if I had my way about it, I would sell and publish at least one new book or project of some sort each year. After I go to Ireland this fall, I would add five more places to my places I've traveled list: specifically Italy, France, Israel, Spain, Australia. I would also finally sign up for and regularly attend yoga class and perfect standing on one foot for at least a minute! And since this is my dream status, I would also sell multiple foreign rights, a movie deal, and oh yeah, finally get my bathroom remodeled and my bedroom flooring redone. Which would make me very happy.


DREAMING ANASTASIA (Sourcebooks, 2009)


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

JP: 

5 Reasons to read the DREAMING ANASTASIA series:

  1. The Anne/Ethan romance.
  2. Baba Yaga the witch
  3. Crazy Russian mermaids
  4. I destroy a lot of cool Chicago landmarks. Gleefully.
  5. Ethan's sexy tattoo.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!



*****

Bio:
Joy Preble is the author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA series (Sourcebooks), which blends paranormal romance with historical fiction. The second book, HAUNTED, is out now, and ANASTASIA FOREVER is coming in August 2012. Another paranormal – about a sixteen-year-old stoner who returns from a fatal car accident as his sister’s guardian angel – THE SWEET DEAD LIFE – is set in Houston and slated for May 2013, from Soho Press. Joy grew up in Chicago, where she dreamed of being a back up singer but settled for becoming a writer so she could get paid for making up stuff. She now lives with her family and a crazy half-basset/half- boxer in Texas, where she frequently gets into wild rumpuses and other mischief. When she’s not writing, you can find her eating guacamole, fighting her Bravo Channel addiction and insisting that Twizzlers are a food group.

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Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Former Debut: Bettina Restrepo, Class of 2k11

I admit I love doing these interviews with former debuts! I look forward to getting the emails, putting the posts together, finding out what everyone is up to, and just keeping touch in general!

Today, I'm so happy to feature Bettina Restrepo who not only is a kick-butt writer, but she's just an awesome person all the way around!

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Name: Bettina Restrepo
Debut Group: Class 2k11
Debut novel: ILLEGAL, 2011
Debut pic book: MOOSE AND MAGPIE, 2009


Hi Bettina! I hope to see you again soon!


BR: It’s been 17 months since Illegal came out, and just three weeks ago I turned in my option novel, Telenovela. I have been surviving life with its many ups and downs. All I can say is that debuting two books in two years in two different genres is too much. Currently, I’m mastering the fine art of taking a nap while trying to appear busy. Occasionally, I walk the dog while thinking about writing.



Love this!


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

BR: That you have an invisible support group surrounding you. Although 98% of our friendships have existed online, it’s like I speak to these people daily over a cup of coffee. I learn. I cry. I throw imaginary rocks, but mostly I love my classmates for the support they have shared.

Having debuted my picture book alone, I didn’t have a sounding board. I would think out ideas, imagine they would be great, and half way through execution wonder – ‘is this even worth my time?’


ILLEGAL by Bettina Restrepo (Katherine Tegen Books, March 8, 2011)

PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

BR: Marketing/publicity – You will have to do most of it and pay for it out of your pocket. It will take twice as much time as you think and you’ll never know if it paid off. I wish there had been a magical scale that would ding everytime I did something right.


MOOSE AND MAGPIE by Bettina Restrepo (Sylvan Dell, June 10, 2009)


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years?

BR: I’m trying to learn to pace myself so that I don’t kill myself with the publishing process. I’d like to improve my craft so that I can write beautiful books that also entertain. If anything, I plan to write slower and deeper. Hopefully, those books will go to market but I’ll be content if they come from the deepest part of my heart.




PJH: Anything else you want to add?

BR: Read Illegal with a teenager and see what discussion points arise.

BR: Read Moose and Magpie with a 1st grader and laugh at some crazy moose jokes.

BR: And, when Telenovela comes out, it will probably have a different name – but read it to see how many lies it takes to get to the truth.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

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Bio: 
Bettina received her Bachelor of Science in speech communication from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. She flunked economics her freshman year and decided a business degree wasn’t a good idea. She found literature and writing were her best fit. For fun, she played cymbals in the band. She spent many years in the corporate world being an Internal Auditor and wearing pantyhose (not fun). She is married, lives near Dallas under the disguise of “Mommy”.

*****

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!



Saturday, September 01, 2012

Chainmail update

Because I am seriously addicted to this new hobby! I've ordered colored wire, gold wire, lots of wire. I want to make chainmail forever :)

My top is coming along nicely. I plan to outline it in gold rings, but the basic shape is now here!

Sorry about the sassy pose. It was actually not intentional :)

Hope you all have a great holiday weekend!