Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post Christmas Review

This year is the third one that we didn't give any gifts that required wrapping. For this Christmas we had twenty redwood trees planted in different family members' names and gave our immediate group a trip to Carmel with several nights of sitting by a fire and eating homemade dinners. One night we invited neighbors and some people we'd only just met for an evening of food and conversation. 

When I talked to friends many said they hadn't given or received the traditional gloves, ties, shirts either. Many baked special cookies and cakes, and what a treat those were over the holiday. One told me that somebody had given her a sewing machine. My mouth gaped because this is a person who has never even sewn on a button. She smiled and explained. The machine when to an Afghan woman in her name. Ahh!

So I wondered if this could be a trend due to some increasing awareness about the perils of consummerisim? Is it due to knowing more about and caring more about the struggle of people in war-torn countries? Is the cultural tradition of gift giving returning to the original spirit that inspired it? Or is this a fad that will go away once our economy stabilizes and the war is no longer the top story? And what gifting did you and your family and friends do this year? Maybe you have a tradition that doesn't involve credit card debt. Just curious. Just wondering about the world outside my own small circle.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So Bish Denham did this tagging thing to me and I'm ready to spread the joy around the blogosphere with some of my friends. Apologies to all, but it doesn't take toooooooooo long.

1) What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have? The last thing I wrote is my latest YA novel. The first thing I wrote was a rambling angst-filled saga about someone (probably me) trying to find her way in life. I don't think it had an end, just a beginning and very tedious middle.

2) Write poetry? Of course. Doesn't everybody? It's that short stuff, right?

3) Angsty poetry? I think most of them are titled Angst.

4) Favorite genre of writing? I love to write Middle Grade fantasy, but I seem to be publishing realistic YA.

5) Most annoying character you've ever created? I think it would have to be the school principal in Sliding on the Edge. Robbie Green annoyed me a lot while I was putting him on paper.

6) Best plot you've ever created? I think it's my Middle Grade novel about three boys on a quest. I love that plot.

7) Coolest plot twist you've ever created? Thinking here. Not coming up with a real cool twist, unless I count the story where one of my protagonists discovers that a long-believed fact is actually fiction. Is that twisty and cool enough?

8) How often do you get writer's block? No blockage. I just get writer-weary and can't sit at the keyboard anymore.

9) Write fan fiction? Uhhhh. Ummmmm. I don't think so.

10) Do you type or write by hand? I type--often with my eyes closed. I have some pleasant surprises that way.

11) Do you save everything you write? I think I do. I'm not sure. I've got notebooks with scribbles all over the place. Everything else is on hard drive or disk or something like that.

12) Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it? Not so far.

13) What's your favorite thing you've ever written? I think it's still that MG quest story. I loved the dragons in it.

14) What's everyone else's favorite story you've written? I have a lot of comments on my short ghost stories that came out in Upstart Crow mag.

15) Ever written romance or angsty teen drama? I think that's what's coming down from head at the moment. Kind of a surprise to me.

16) What's your favorite setting for your characters? Wherever they get in the most trouble and have to work themselves out of.  I like it when the setting and the character(s) are totally incompatible.

17) How many writing projects are you working on right now? Three.

18) Have you ever won an award for your writing? Yes. My husband gave me a kiss.

19) What are your five favorite words? .Ostentatious, perambulate, claustrophobic, conciliate, perspicacious. They all roll around on your tongue and sound pretty even if no one knows what they mean.

20) What character have you created that is most like yourself? There's a horse I rather think resembles me in my philosophy.

21) Where do you get your ideas for your characters? They pop up about three a.m. and won't go away. If they do happen to disappear, they either found another author or weren't ready for the page.

22) Do you ever write based on your dreams? Sometimes, I think I do. It's hard for me to separate my dreams from what I'm thinking about while I'm trying to sleep.

23) Do you favor happy endings? Absolutely. I especially want my good people to arrive at the place they need to be.

24) Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write? Yes. I try. Sometimes I'm surprised that I make stupid mistakes while I'm writing. You know, the to for too or the it's for its.Kind of embarrassing when one of my editors marks those.

25) Does music help you write? I need 100% quiet.

26) Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head. "We don't answer the door for the witches and goblins . Only one ghost  is  allowed to enter." Just wrote that yesterday.
Okay, now who to tag?

I have to tag Mel Higgins.
I have to tag Nan Marino.
I have to tag L.K. Madigan
I have to tag The Book Pixie

Monday, December 14, 2009

Finishing off the Year

The book events for 2009 are over, at least for me.  I'm sure there are other 2009 Debs out there at book stores and in libraries, so I hope you'll look for them and attend their events if you're in their area.

I'm moving on to "What's Next." And with that in mind I thought I'd put down some of the things that are on my mind for 2010. Notice I'm avoiding the word "Resolutions." I can never keep them, so I've given up making them. I do have a list of things that I'd like to do after the Holidaze has cleared and I can think of more than family, and friends, and gifts, and food.

Here's my list so far:

1) Finish book two, like, really FINISH it and stop dabbling with it.
2) Hike Garrapatas again.
3) Take that trip to Tibet that I postponed in 2008.
4) Throw out all my clothes that are from the '80's and crammed at the back of my closet.
5) Re-connect with some good friends that aren't living nearby anymore and catch up on our lives over a long coffee break.

I have more, but I think I should get a head start on the #1 item of my list, so it's back to writing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holidaze Events

Here we are. From left to right: Me, Lauren Bjorkman, Jon Yang, Cheryl Herbsman. Unfortunately, Sarah Quigley left before we snapped this picture.

Well, it has been a wonderful month for the 2009 Debs. Here on the west coat alone we have been at so many events. Each one has been different, but each one has been really exciting. Nothing is better than connecting with readers.

What seems to work the best for us is to do a short presentation about our books--5 to 8 minutes at the most. At the Menlo Park event Cheryl Herbsman presented a short workshop on Voice and Tone and the responses from the audience were amazing. Some good writing happening among our young people. I did a short bit on Dialog and again the dialog some of the teens produced was excellent.

Getting the audience involved is the best way to have a fun and successful book signing.

If you have some other suggestions, please send the ideas. We have another gathering of YA authors at B&N, Tanforan Shopping Center, Saturday Dec. 12, 2-4. We can always use ideas. If you're available to attend, please come to say hello.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Big Night

Another presentation is happening. This one is at the Menlo Park Library and I'm sharing the work with Jon Yang, Sarah Quigley, Cheryl Herbsman and Lauren Bjorkman. Keplers, a number one Indie, will be there to do some video taping and we hope to see a lot of readers, writers and bloggers in the audience.

Cheryl and I are doing a mini workshop that will involve some role play, so the audience will have the chance to be a part of the fun.

When this event is over I'll share what we did and how it worked or didn't. Check back and let's talk "Successful Events."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Why Do You Write for Young Readers?

Last month I asked, "Why Do You Blog?" and your answers were really interesting. This next question is, "Why Do You Write for Young Readers?" It certainly isn't a new one for any of us who glue ourselves to the seat of our computer chairs and create stories, but I love to hear the reasons. They are usually similar, but always have a unique twist--we're a varied group, that's for sure.

So, I'll start.

I think my answer is somewhat like my answer to "Why Do You Blog?" because in both cases I started for one reason and ended up continuing for another. I wanted to write a book about a troubled teen for others like her or for others who might know someone like her. I wanted my teen to not only survive and overcome a lot of bad stuff, I wanted her to find her heart and her direction in life. I thought that if she could succeed, others who read her story might find the courage to do so as well. Actually, I had writing one book in mind and then I'd take something like a trip around the world. :D

Now, I'm hooked. I love writing about and for teens who are troubled or working through life issues or growing into adulthood as we all must. This writing has introduced me so many wonderful people of all ages and all backgrounds. I've learned how much I don't know about my craft and the highs and lows of being a published YA author. I'm enjoying the experience. I'm enjoying YA literature. I'm enjoying the authors. So my short answer is: I'm enjoying myself -- a lot.

Now it's your turn. Why do you write for young readers?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Round II Christmas Gifts

Well, today is the end of the contest for L.K. Madigan's Flash Burnout, and what a time we had with it! Mike Jung is one determined contestant who met his match with Zoe Alea. The judges had so much fun with the Twitter battle that they made me order another signed copy and call Round I a tie.

So a tie it is, Mike and Zoe. You will each have L.K.'s great book in time for Christmas if you send me your snailmail addresses in time.

Now it's time to start vying for Cheryl Herbsman's novel, Breathing. Round II starts December 2 and closes December 15.  In case you missed the post with the rules, here they are again.

Create the most interesting linked posts to this offer and Tweet ever-so-succinctly, but well. Leave a comment on this post with the URLs for your posts. DM me on Twitter whenever you do a Tweet @cleemckenzie

I hope this round is a much fun as the last one.

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Tired But Happy Blogger Reporting to Duty

There are not enough English words to describe a hike in Yosemite and English has more words than any other language in the world. Well, that's hard to determine, but possible to speculate.

Anyway about words . . . I don't need many to tell you what I feel.

Sculpted Granite.
Thank you.

This is not Haiku, but maybe next time.

Photo Credit.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I'm taking a break. It's time to get outside and do some hiking, so I'm off to Yosemite for a few days. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

When I come back it'll be time to end the first CONTEST for the free signed copy of Flash Burnout. Looking forward to sending that to someone. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why do you Blog?

Someone asked me why I blogged and my answer surprised me. I started to say that I do it because I've written a book and want to build a readership and a following; then I changed my mind. That may have been why I "started" to blog, but that's not why I continue to blog.

I enjoy the writing and I enjoy stopping by other blog sites to visit people who share that passion. How great to read what's happening on Ramble Street with Nan Marino. I've known her for several years now. We've shared manuscripts, watched the books we edited for each other debut, discovered that we have a lot in common and care about each other.

It's great to stop by Mel Higgins' blog and see what funny Veggie Contest she's doing or what she has to say about writing and living and being Mel. We've also exchanged manuscripts and coffee and a conference. I'd never have known Mel if I hadn't been blogging and sharing writing online.

If I need a mini vacation I zip over to Bish's beautiful island and learn about the flowers and fruit and imagine the sea around me and the sand between my toes. Lovely.

Once in a while I crave music or some family stories and that takes me to Kelly's lively blog where I'm always greeted by her smile and warm heartedness.

I learn a lot when I pop into Market My Words and read Shelli's posts about her writing, interviews with agents, other writers and agents.

There are a lot more and next time I feel the need to answer the question, "Why do you blog?" I'll post about all those other writers who share so much with me and who make blogging worth the time and effort.

I'd love hear why you blog. What keeps you writing and posting?

Oh, and about that free Christmas gift. Mike Jung is obviously going to win Flash Burnout if you let him. He must want to read L.K. Madigan's book in the worst way--quite a compliment to that author.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Gifts

I know. I know. Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, and I'm on about Christmas, but let's face it these few weeks between now and December 25th are winged and involve jet propulsion.

I just happen to have a lovely autographed copy of L.K. Madigan's Flash Burnout and one of Breathing by Cheryl Herbsman.  I'm  willing to part with these great books, but only because I have my own copies.

So here's the deal: You can win Flash Burnout between now and December 1st.  Whoever does the most interesting linked posts to this offer and tweets ever-so-succinctly, but well, can have L.K's  book by early December.

You can win Breathing between December 2nd and December 15th by doing the same kind of linked posts and tweets. You'll have Cheryl's book before Christmas.

Just leave a comment on this post with the URL(s) for your posts. DM me on Twitter whenever you do a Tweet (@cleemckenzie).

Oh wait! There's more. I still have two pewter horse bookmarks and those will be my runner up prizes. 

The judges from previous contests are eager and ready to start doing judge stuff again, and they remain as impartial as ever, unless you can smuggle chocolate frosted cream puffs in somehow. Ahem. I'm not above that kind of bribe myself . . . No! Wrong!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Writers Writers Writers

The audience was large and enthusiastic at Books Inc. Friday night. L.K. Madigan read from Flash Burnout and four other YA authors read from their novels. There were at least five other YA authors in the audience: Sarah Quigley (TMI), Cheryl Herbsman (Breathing), Heidi King (Sea) and others I didn't catch. Sorry. I was so busy listening, watching, chatting. I'll do better next time.

Anyway, here are the Debs doing Deb stuff.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Another Book Signing

This time it isn't mine. I'm going to see L.K. Madigan (Flash Burnout) and have her sign my book. Should be fun. It's a Not My Mother's Book Club event and Jen Laughran throws a great party.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Holidaze with the Debs

We are pleased to announce Holidaze With the Debs, a series of author events in the U.S. and Canada this holiday season. At bookstores, libraries and schools in the New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Toronto areas, members of the 2009 Debutantes will talk about their own books and other 2009 favorites. A full list of events is available below.

"Publishers are working with shrinking promotional budgets in this economy," notes Rhonda Stapleton, author of STUPID CUPID (Simon Pulse). "As first-time authors, we know that much of our promotion is going to have to come from us, and over the last year we've also learned how much fun it is to do events together. So we're especially excited to be able to talk to readers directly this holiday season."



Dec. 6, 1-3 p.m.
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th St.
New York, NY
Including: Megan Crewe, Sarah Cross, Deva Fagan, Neesha Meminger, Kate Messner, Shani Petroff, Jon Skovron, Michelle Zink


Dec. 5, 1-3 p.m.
161 N. Weber Road
Bolingbrook, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin

Dec. 5, 7-9 p.m.
The Book Cellar, Inc.
4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, IL
Including: Cynthea Liu, Saundra Mitchell, Aprilynne Pike, Kristina Springer, Darcy Vance, Lara Zielin


Dec. 5, 3-4 p.m
588 Francisco Blvd. West
San Rafael, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley, Jon Yang

Dec. 8, 7 p.m.
Menlo Park Public Library
800 Alma St.
Menlo Park, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang

Dec. 9, 12 p.m.
Petaluma High School*
201 Fair St.
Petaluma, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang
* Open to the public, but visitors should check in at the school office when arriving

Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m.
Barnes &Noble
119 Colma Blvd.
Colma, CA
Including: Lauren Bjorkman, Cheryl Renee Herbsman, Malinda Lo, C. Lee McKenzie, Sarah Quigley, J.A. Yang


Jan. 9, 2 p.m.
Eaton Centre
220 Yonge St.
Toronto, Ontario
Including: R.J. Anderson, Megan Crewe, Sarah Ockler, Rhonda Stapleton, Lara Zielin

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Appearance

Well, it happened and I survived. I actually had fun hanging out with Malinda Lo and Cheryl Herbsman. (They're my bookends in this picture.) Each of them gave great presentations and the audience was very appreciative. They asked a lot of excellent questions and the program went over the usual time allotted for this Friday Forum.

Friday, November 6, 2009



I posted this in November of 2009! Imagine. I was discumboobled even then. Maybe it should have been discombobulated? At least this year I'm aware that one isn't a word anyone recognized. It must have been a wild 2009.

So here's my Deja Vu Post.

Is that how you spell it? See? Totally out of it here.

Tonight is another book signing APPEARANCE and I'm still putting together what I want to say. Then there's company arriving, my mom who needs some TLC, the cat with a hairball issue, and a leaky toilet. I haven't blogged in days. I'm wearing my baseball hat all day because I can't use Halloween as an excuse for my hair anymore. My Tweets have turned to Chirps and when I looked at the garden from my window one of my patio chairs is floating in the fish pond.

Anybody have a system that keeps writing, family, pets, house, and personal hygiene needs under control? If so, please send ASAP!

In the meantime, wish me luck with tonight.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Interview with Jon Skovron


Thanks for the visit, Jon. Tell us about Struts and Frets.

More than anything, Sammy wants to play guitar in a famous indie rock band. The problem is that his front man is a jerk who can't sing, his bassist is a burn-out who can't remember the songs, and his drummer is just out to lunch. But Sammy needs this band because it's the only good thing he's got going. His father skipped out before he was born, his mother is an overworked therapist with a drinking problem, his grandfather is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimer's, and the girl of his dreams is dating his jerk lead singer.

Now that jerk lead singer has entered them in a Battle of the Bands contest to win free studio time and guaranteed radio play. Sammy has two weeks to get them to sound like a real band, or face public humiliation in front of the entire local indie music scene.

About Jon Skovron

Jon Skovron is an insatiable music geek who can play eight instruments, but none of them well. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, has lived all over the US, and now resides with his wife and two sons in Washington, DC. His short stories and reviews have appeared in publications like Jim Baen's Universe and Internet Review of Science Fiction. Struts and Frets is his first novel.

Can you give us some inside tidbits about the real Jon Skovron? Like, of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

This one might shock you a bit, Lee: Vanity Fair by William Thackeray. I don't know if I believe in past lives, but I definitely feel a very intense connection to Thackeray's work unlike any other author I've ever read. What's weird is that, stylistically speaking, we're nothing alike as writers.

You don't surprise me, Jon. You are unique, so your tastes must be as well. You make me want to take another look at Thackeray.  Now I'm expecting another unique reply to this question. What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Heh, other side of the coin...Morpheus from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. He might just be the coolest character ever written.

Unique and interesting. So, after chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

I don't like chocolate and I don't believe in writer's block. Usually if I'm feeling blocked, it's because I should take a break from writing and fill the creative well. That's when I go on movie-watching or graphic novel-reading marathons.

Great answers that let your fans have some insights into the author of this super book which is now available at AMAZON and Barnes & Nobel.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Book Signings, Part VI

Just when I thought I'd really stopped going on about Book Signings, I hear a story that has a great lesson in it for all of us and have to share it. This came from an avid reader who goes to meet a lot of authors and loves to buy signed copies of their books.

Here's what happened to her last week. She'd heard about a new cookbook, with the theme of home cooked food and family. The ad announcing the book signing read, "Author will be at XXX from 2-4 pm." My friend arrived at 3 and the author had already left. When she asked the bookseller what had happened, the woman said, "Nobody was here, so the author didn't want to stay any longer."


And here's why. My friend belongs to Slow Foods, and her chapter was interested in promoting this author's new book by featuring some of the recipes at their functions and on their web-page. Oops!

Moral: Stick around for the time you promised even if nobody's there to buy your book.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Interview with Kristina Springer

Kristina Springer's The Espressologist debuted October 27, so welcome to the bookstore shelf, Kristina.

About The Espressologist
What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?

About Kristina Springer
Kristina Springer has a Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Illinois State University and a Master of Arts in Writing from DePaul University. Her first novel, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, was published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on October 27, 2009. Her second novel, MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS, also from FSG, will be published in the fall of 2010. She lives in a suburb of Chicago, IL with her husband Athens and their four small children Teegan, Maya, London, and Gavin.

Can you share a little insider information, Kristina? Like ,of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

Confessions of a Shopaholic. The research for that one had to be AMAZING. :-) But really, I adore all of Sophie Kinsella's books-- she's just so funny and clever. The whole Shopaholic series is fantastic and of course there was also a movie made from her book. Bonus points for that.
Along the same line,  what fictional character do you wish you could be?

See questions #1. Becky Bloomwood-- the Shopaholic. And not just because she gets to shop so much and has such great fashion sense (which I would love to have!) but she's funny and endearing and sweet too. And even thought it gets her into lots of trouble, I like how she just does what she feels like and suffers the consequences later. I'm so totally the opposite. I worry about everything being just right and done on time. If I'm late for something it seriously makes me ill. So it would be nice to not worry about things so much for awhile!

Now here's the real insider kind of question: After chocolate, what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

I drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. A trip to Starbucks for an iced mocha or pumpkin spice latte usually recharges me.

Thanks for having me!
Thanks for being here.

The Espressologist is available at Amazon and at Indiebound

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Book Signings, Part V

 When I first started appearing at book signings I expected a mixed audience: young adults, some middle graders who read YA, and older people like parents and interested writers. I thought I get questions about how I found my publisher or what "surprises" I'd experienced during my journey to publication. And I did.

I also had questions about who my favorite author was or what my favorite book was, and those I was prepared to answer. However, I wasn't expecting some of the questions that people asked.  Here are few examples of questions you might have to field.

Q: Where is Sweet River? (Sweet River is the fictional town in my novel.)
Bad Ans:     In my head.
Better Ans: When I imagined Sweet River, I saw a small Sierra Nevada town similar to Auburn, CA.

Q: What part of your story is autobiographical?
Bad Ans:  Are you kidding?
Better Ans: The only autobiographical part is a small portion of a scene where one of my characters says her grandmother used to bake her a cake for her birthday. That's true. Mine did.

Q: How did they get the horses back?
Bad Ans: Uh. Well, Er. Let's see.
Better Ans: In my mind they stopped the trailer at the rest stop and rescued them. (None of this is in the book.)

Q: Do you know Shawna?
Bad Ans: Of course. I created her.
Better Ans: I don't know her really, but I know her as a character I wrote. In fact, I kind of like her. She's still in my mind a lot.

Q: What happened to Kenny?
Bad Ans: How should I know?
Better Ans: In my mind he continues to live at the horse ranch and be Kay's support.

Q: Does the Sunday Boy marry Shawna?
Bad Ans: I didn't think that far ahead.
Better Ans: It's quite possible they will have a continued relationship, but since she's only sixteen I can't imagine marriage yet.

What you see is that readers sometimes enter into a story so much that the characters and where they live become real to them. Interestingly enough these questions didn't come from younger readers, but from older adults.  Can you think of possible questions that readers might ask about your books--ones that might reflect this kind of involvement? You might think about them now, so you won't come up with some of the Bad Answers I did at first.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book Signings, Part IV

. . . then there's the STAR TREATMENT book signing, the kind of book signing authors dream about.

I was invited, along with thousands of other facebook denizens, to a ticketed event. Here's part of that invitation.

"Free numbered tickets for a place in the booksigning line will be available at 6:30 pm; one ticket per customer in line. Seating for the presentation prior to the signing is limited, and available on a first-come, first-served basis to ticketed customers only."

I picture a red carpet with a throng of avid fans pressing toward the book store door, clutching their cash and demanding to be the first to buy THE BOOK. (Sigh)

Do you have any book signing fantasies? What would be your idea of a smashing book signing event? In the meantime, I'm off to find a roll of tickets to stash away for my "limited, first-come, first-served ticketed customers."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Book Signings, Part III

I didn't plan to do such a long series of posts on book signings, but your questions have been so interesting that I thought I'd press on with yet another one. This is in response to a question about the size of the venue.

Space at small Indies isn't a problem at all. Here is the venue for Montclaire's A Great Good Place for Books. You can see it's "cozy," but the turn out was great for two reasons: people from different ages came and during the Q & A there were a lot of questions.

At larger venues like Books Inc. in San Francisco space was definitely not an issue and the turn out was about 40 people: teens, bloggers, and adults. Jen Laughran did a lot of publicity and offered refreshments. The theme, Debutantes, included tiaras for fun.

Here's another event with five of us (L to R. Sarah Quigley, me, Malinda Lo, Cheryl Herbsman, Jon Yang) at Corte Madera's Kidlitsalon hosted us. This audience was mostly people who wanted to publish either their illustrations or their novels. Some bloggers came as well.

So you can see that the venues are as varied as we are with our books, and the size of the venue isn't something to be concerned about. Getting the word out is.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Signings, Part II

I don't do book signings where I sit at a table in a bookstore. Even if I did and followed the experienced writers' guidelines, like come with balloons and candy, walk around cornering customers and thrusting your book into their hands, that kind of event would be pure hell for me.

I love to do book signings that involve panel presentations in front of a group of readers/writers. It's fun to talk about my journey to publication, my book, why I wrote it, and some of my little "surprises" after publication.

What I've found is that by doing a panel with two or three other YA authors, we have a varied audience, a surprisingly good turnout, lots of questions, and a chance to network with bloggers as well as book sellers.

Here's how we structure our cooperative events:

1) Each writer talks about 15 minutes. This talk includes what I've said in the first graph and usually a short reading from his or her book.

2) Sometimes we talk about our favorite characters and why they are so appealing, reading excerpts to give the audience an example of that character. We change this topic depending on what the book seller wants. Some other options: effective dialog, building tension in a scene, description to set the mood.

3) The wrap up is Q & A that usually lasts another 10 to 15 minutes.

4) The bookseller usually offers some kind of snack and beverage, so even after the Q & A and the signing, people stay and there's an opportunity to talk.

Does anyone agree/disagree with me on the "table in the corner" event? Have you had good experiences doing that kind of signing? How about readers? Do you go over to the authors in the store and talk to them? Just curious.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Signings, Part I

I can't believe that most of November and December is going to be all about book signings. I'm excited and somewhat terrified at the work ahead. I went though tons of notes about what to do and what not to do when making appearances, and here's what I've gleaned as the key points for a successful book signing experience. I'm calling this Part I.

First, it's a lot about pre-planning.

1) Contact the person in charge where the signing will take place at least 10 weeks in advance.

2) See what marketing you can do that will enhance the booksellers efforts. Do this about 6 weeks in advance.

3)About 5 weeks ahead be sure there aren't any problems with getting your book to the store, library or wherever.

4) Send out press releases or media kits about 4 weeks before the signing. Coordinate this with the bookseller.

5) About 1 week ahead check with the seller again re: the details. e.g. do you have enough books?

6) The week of the event, try to have some media coverage: radio spot, newspaper piece with a different twist on who you are or what your book is about.

Part II coming soon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Interview with LK Madigan

FLASH BURNOUT is here and it's fabulous. L.K. Madigan has written one fine book. It's funny. It's poignant. It's a "connect-with" kind of story that teens will love.

Having the author here today is a special treat because I was one of the fortunate members of The Garett (a group of fine YA writers) who read Flash Burnout as it developed into the novel you're going to love.

Here's a little bit about the story.

Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who's a girl. One of them loves him, the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa's long-lost meth addicted mom.

In a tangle of life, death, and love, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of loyalty.

So who is this author?

L.K. Madigan is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, who finds it odd to speak in the third person. Therefore:

Hi. I am married with one son, two big black dogs, hundreds of books, and a couple of beaters, I mean vintage cars.

While you're hanging out here, give us a little insider stuff about the person, L.K. Madigan. Tell us of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

I’ve been sitting here staring at the blank screen for a long time … which must mean I can’t think of a good answer.

So what I’ll say is that I wish I could write a really excellent mystery someday, like FINGERSMITH. I admire the gorgeous prose and the many deep, dark secrets, and the satisfaction of the ending. I’d like to be able to knit together that many plot threads so neatly, and create the kind of tension that makes readers fear for the well-being of the characters.

Here's one that may be easier . . . or not. What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Hermione Granger. :-)

I'd like to be Hermione too, just to have people call my name. Now here's a deep, deep secret kind of question. After chocolate, what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

It’s not food, it’s drink that helps with writer’s block … strong drink! No, I’m kidding. I drink coffee or iced tea while I write.

Whatever works. And what you're doing seems to be doing the trick.

Be sure to visit L.K. Madigan's web site to find out more about the author and her work. Whatever you do pick up your copy of Flash Burnout today. It's on Amazon or at 

Sunday, October 18, 2009


I've been rewriting all month, so thought while the experience was fresh I'd share a few ideas about what I've found useful.

I've come to love and appreciate what you can accomplish during rewriting--streamline the plot, deepen the characters, clean up those dangling participles and comma splices. All kinds of improvements are possible inside this slow, but necessary process.

As to what works, this is truly subjective.

What seems to work for me is the chapter by chapter technique. First I have my premise written and in front of me; this has to state exactly what the story is about--what happens, who it happens to, and what changes. (I always write this one to two sentence premise BEFORE I begin writing in the first place.)

I read chapter by chapter and make notes about what happens in each one, when and to whom. Once that's done I'm able to see if I have events out of place, or if I have any "ho hum" chapters where the story doesn't move forward, or if I've repeated something I don't need to repeat. About now, I might find my premise doesn't match the book. So what to do? 1) Adjust the premise. 2) Adjust the book. 3) Both.

When I'm satisfied that my premise and my book are on the same track (a very gleeful moment), I focus on my "embellishments"--all those threads that I want to weave into that "Red Thread" or "Premise" to give it texture. A writer friend recently gave me a great idea and when I tried it I was pleased that this technique shortened this part of my rewrite.

I shrank my manuscript by single spacing and reducing my font, making it a more compact piece. Then I went through one thread at a time--an important bracelet, a toy with special meaning etc. I made each thread a different color font, so it was easy to note where they were mentioned, if it appeared too frequently or not frequently enough, if it added to the story as I intended.

With each pass through the manuscript I'm always on the look out for shallow characterization. I dump descriptions that don't do more than give, for example, eye or hair color for no reason. If a character talks, it should be to show who s/he is. If a character talks, that dialog has to move the story ahead. By the time I've "finished" rewriting I want each of the characters to be a person I might know in the real world. Actually, by the time I'm finished (sometimes a bit elusive this finished business) I do know them and they are real in my mind.

I love to let a manuscript marinate after I think it's exactly how I want it. A few weeks being tucked out of sight does wonders, so when I return to read it again I see it with fresh eyes.

Happy rewriting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Visit from Beverly Stowe McClure

Beverly Stow McClure's Just Breeze has arrived. Take a look at what it's all about. Then grab your copy or copies for the holiday season of gift giving.

Just Breeze

My name’s Breeze Brannigan. I’m thirteen and in the eighth grade. Have you met my friends? I’ll be writing about them from time to time. They each have their own page.

I’d also like to hear about you. What kind of music do you like? What are your favorite movies and TV shows? Do you have a favorite book?

Now you know exactly what I look like. That’s me on the cover. You see what I’m saying about my hair, huh? I’m the envy of every clown in the universe.

Adios for now. (I’m practicing my Spanish.) Do you speak other languages? I don’t very well, but am trying, so I can understand Cam, who either is an alien from the planet Hunky Guys or else he’s from another country.


Woo Hoo! Just Breeze is now available from the publisher’s site . You can also find it at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and other book stores. Books make great birthday presents, gifts for best friends, and Christmas will soon be here. Buy a copy for all your friends. Pick up one for yourself too.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Interview with Lauren Bjorkman

Lauren Bjorkman is here!! And she comes with her debut novel, MY INVENTED LIFE which just came out this September.

Want a preview of My Invented Life? Read on.

Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Enquiring minds need to know.

Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.

My Invented Life is set in a small California high school during rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy.

Here's a quick look at who Lauren Bjorkman really is.

Lauren Bjorkman grew up on a sailboat, sharing the forecastle with her sister and the sail bags. Against all odds, they are still friends. She enjoys making things up, chocolate in large quantities, and anything that makes her laugh. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband, two sons, and a cat that plays fetch.

While Lauren was here she answered some questions that give a little more "insider" information about her.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

I've been asked this before. The answer keeps changing based on my mood. This week, I'll say Crank by Ellen Hopkins because I'll never write a novel in verse, and she does it so beautifully.

What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Doesn't this scenario sounds fun: sailing through the air on a soft orange peach, snacking on scoops of juicy fruit, while arguing with a witty giant centipede? I'll go with James, from James and the Giant Peach.

After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

Popcorn, maybe. Noisy chewing has a way of relieving my stress levels. It totally bugs my husband, though. So I have to do it in private. Which allows me to go off by myself and escape into a good book at the same time.

Be sure to order Lauren's book at AMAZON or one of your favorite Indies.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Kids Write Too

I've been collecting poetry from kids that either I know or, after reading what they write, would love to know. Today I thought I'd share one of those with you. This is from my nephew and appeared in the local Yuba-Sutter Living.

I am from . . .

I am from candles
From Fabreeze and Windex
I am from the tan giant
That protects me from the rain
I am from the flower
the daisys
whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.

I'm Christmas and Thanksgiving
from Pa and Grams
I'm from jokes and laughs
and from fun and gags.

I'm from Santa and the Boogie man
and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
I'm from Easter
I'm from Yuba City and Ireland
turkey and chicken
From my uncle skydiving
and breaking his leg
beach campfire
in my heart
and on the wall

Bearson Smith, age 11

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Well, it's here! I know some of my friends are already warming up their keyboards, getting ready for the NaNoWriMo challenge. Hats off to you, writers!

I'm not taking up the November challenge, but here's something I stumbled onto. It's called Write or Die. And it's kind of "fun" because you get to chose just how insane you want to be while cranking out the prose. There's the kamikaze zone that should strike fear into any hesitant fingertips. If you stop typing too long, your words start to disappear. OH NO!

Take a look and test it out before the big day and share what you produce under pressure. I'd love to see the results. Bet it's great and has a touch of the frantic. Just what you want to keep us readers turning the pages.

Monday, October 5, 2009


What? I just looked up from my computer and somebody put pumpkins on my deck. Where did summer go and can anyone get it back please? I hate to sound whiny, but I haven't checked off my July Must Do Without Fail list.

I'm in the middle of a massive, er make that, a messy re-write. I started and stopped writing a non-fiction piece that I really wanted to do before fall . . . '08, and I haven't kept up with my favorite bloggers this past month.

And there's more: The 2009 Debutantes are putting together a National Holiday Tour that will see a lot of us doing signings and panels all of November and December. I thought I had a lot of time to get ready for those events, but now with October's untimely arrival that's simply not the case. I feel like the White Rabbit. Gotta go. I'm late.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cynthia Leitich Smith and Me

I had a wonderful mid-week treat this morning. Cynthia Leitich Smith tagged me on facebook to let me know she had posted my interview with her.

This was very exciting.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One Lesson

It's September and it's back to school month for most kids in the U.S. Here's a U-Tube link that I think is a great way to celebrate back to school.

It's a lecture by "only a child" to the adults in charge. She delivers quite a lesson.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Interview with Jackson Pearce

Another Deb! Another great YA book! Today it's JACKSON PEARCE talking about AS YOU WISH.

Welcome, Jackson. What's your novel about?

Seven months ago, Viola's boyfriend told her he was gay—moments before she was going to lose her virginity to him. Heartbroken, Viola has resigned herself to near invisibility, until she inadvertently summons a young jinn out of his world, Caliban, and into her own. Here he will remain until she makes three wishes.

Jinn is anxious to get back to Caliban, but Viola is terrified of wishing, afraid her wishes will be manipulated into curses. Jinn knows that should she wait too long, the Ifrit, guardians of earthbound jinn, will press her to wish by hurting those around her.As they spend time together, Jinn can't deny that he's slowly falling in love with Viola, blurring the lines between master and servant. It's only after Viola makes her first wish—for a popular boy to love her—that she realizes the feelings are mutual.

With every wish Jinn's time with her diminishes, but the longer she waits to wish the greater danger she's in from the Ifrit. Together, Viola, Jinn, and Viola's ex-boyfriend try to outwit the Ifrit while dealing with their own romantic complexities and the alcohol-laced high school social scene.

JACKSON PEARCE is twenty-four years old and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with a slightly cross-eyed cat and a lot of secondhand furniture. She recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in English and a minor in Philosophy and currently works for a software company even though she auditioned for the circus (she juggled and twirled fire batons, but they still didn't want her). Other jobs she's had include obituaries writer, biker bar waitress, and receptionist.

In addition, Jackson coaches both colorguard and winterguard at a local high school; she's taught over four hundred students since starting six years ago. Coaching provides the greatest "research" for writing YA that she could ever ask for and has introduced her to some of the most unique characters she's ever met.

Jackson began writing when she got angry that the school librarian couldn't tell her of a book that contained a smart girl, horses, baby animals, and magic. Her solution was to write the book herself when she was twelve. Her parents thought it was cute at first, but have grown steadily more concerned for her ever since.

Buy your copy today. Available on AMAZON and at your local INDIE.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Shrinking Violet--Sweet!

Shrinking Violet is running a Contest. Want to join?

Check it out and have some fun. Four people win: each receiving a $25 gift certificate to iTunes or the bookstore of their choice.

So how can you win?
1. Post a review of Shrinking Violet on or B & 2 points
2 Blog, Tweet or Facebook about the Save Shrinking Violet Campaign 1 point for each mention
3. Take a picture of yourself wearing a sweater and mimicking the book's cover (you must have the book in the photo too). 2 points

Contest begins at 11pm on Thursday, September 24, 2009 and ends at 11pm on Thursday, October 15, 2009.
After you enter, you can either email Danielle at or leave her a comment on her blog.

Look for Save Shrinking Violet!

Check out Danielle Joseph's website and order your copy of Shrinking Violet at Amazon or your favorite Indie. It's a super teen read.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Pam Bachorz


This is a BIG thrill for me. I read and critiqued Pam's story before it became a book, so in some small way I feel like I've been a part of the process from manuscript to published novel. Welcome, Pam.

CANDOR came to the world on 9/22/09 and here's what it's all about.

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he’s found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He’s got them all fooled: Oscar’s the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he’s made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar falls in love. He must choose whether to let Nia be lost to brainwashing—or to sacrifice himself.


Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees. Her mother is not happy that Pam’s degrees are stored under her bed.

Pam lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband and their son. She likes to read books not aimed at her age group, go to museums and theater performances, and watch far too much television. She even goes jogging. Reluctantly.

As far as she knows, Pam has never been brainwashed. Or maybe that’s just what she’s supposed to say.

I ask almost the same questions of all the Debs, but none of their answers are ever even close to the same. We are such a diverse group and that's one of the interesting things about knowing them. So let's find out some not too personal, but interesting things about Pam.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

UNWIND by Neal Shusterman. Awesome concept. Brilliant execution with gut-wrenching scenes. I drooled with jealousy from start to finish.

What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Oh, probably Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, though I'm probably not designed for early 1900s life. I'd like to be Anne in her "Avonlea" and "Island" periods (fans of the book know what I mean!). Things got too sad for her starting with "House of Dreams".

After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

Lollipops of all flavors, and sometimes candy canes.

Be sure to visit Pam at here website and hurry over to Amazon or your favorite Indie to by your copy of CANDOR.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jennifer Brown Interview

Hey! Today Deb JENNIFER BROWN is here, giving us a glimpse of her book, HATE LIST, released the first of September.

About Hate List

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things they hated. The list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

About Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown is the author of HATE LIST, a YA novel coming out in September 2009. As a two-time winner of The Erma Bombeck Global Humor award and weekly columnist for The Kansas City Star, as well as Saturday Featured Blogger for, Jennifer spends a lot of time dressing up her dog for laughs and thinking of new ways to works words such as "Puh-lease" and "Ch-yeah!" into sentences. Jennifer grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri area, where she still lives with her husband, three kids, and whole herd of uncooperative pets.

It's really good to have you visit, Jennifer. Readers kind of like to know a little about the authors they read, so here's some questions to give them a little insider info.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

The Stephanie Plum series, because they're just so much fun... and talk about characters who really jump off the page! Ranger! *purrrrr*

What fictional character do you wish you could be?
Cinderella, because no matter how many different ways her story is told... it always ends happily ever after.

After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

I look forward to reading your book. Readers, be sure to check out Amazon and your favorite Indie for HATE LIST.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Have any of you had an attack of the phobias? You know those creepy ideas that slip under the door sill while you're writing that book.

I haven't had a phobia attack in a long time, but it happened today so I thought I'd share the few I enjoyed.

I encourage anyone who is experiencing or has experienced something like this to jump in with a contribution. Also if you have a counter-phobia or a spell or a potion or a good shrink don't hesitate to share.


1) I'm not really a writer, just a poseur with a pen and business cards.

2) Rewriting is really code for slash and burn.

3) Nobody will ever read what I write.

4) I'm writing the worst book in the history of writing.

5) Agents are sniggering about my query letters.

6) Reviewers are inviting thousands to a book burning ceremony in my honor.

7) Editor are posting my first chapters as examples of what not to do. They're "forgetting" to remove my name.

8) Librarians are avoiding me, even when I just need directions to the copy machine.

9) My publicist is sending out negative press releases.

10) My last rejection came from myself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SCBWI Authors at the Sonoma Book Fair

The day couldn't have been more beautiful--low 80's weather, under the shade of a redwood tree, surrounded by people who love books. The best part was being able to catch up on writerly and not-so-writerly stuff with three SCBWI writers.

Here we are posing with our books and display. From left to right: Me, Cynthia Jaynes, Cheryl R. Herbsman, and Malinda Lo.

Alicia and Zoe (Teen Bloggers who rock) came by to say hello, making the fair even better than beautiful.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interview with Kate Messner

Kate Messner is here today, telling us a little about herself and giving us a peek at her new book, THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z.

Its great to have you visit, Kate. What's this new book about?

Gianna Zales has a lot on her plate this fall – a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, a mother who’s turned into the junk food police, a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi, and a grandmother who leaves false teeth in the refrigerator. Worst of all, she’s left her 7th grade leaf collection to do at the last minute. It’s a monster project, and Gianna will miss cross-country sectionals if she doesn’t meet the deadline. She’ll need the help of her geeky friend, Zig, and some brilliant ideas of her own to pull it off.

Gianna Z. sounds like a delightful character and what young reader could resist reading about her quirky family. Now for fans, here's a little background on the author.

Kate Messner grew up in Medina, New York and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a television news producer and reporter in Syracuse, NY and then Burlington, VT, before going back to school to get a teaching degree. These days, Kate is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher. She has helped hundreds of kids work on leaf collection projects and likes sugar maples and catalpa leaves the best. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and kids and loves spending time in the woods.

Kate also gave us a little more insight into who she is when she took time to answer these questions.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

I adore Beverly Cleary's RAMONA books and would love to have kids remember one of my characters the way I remember her!

I don't know anyone who doesn't admire Ms. Cleary. She gave us such fabulous books to read. What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Last week I was wishing I could be Calpurnia Tate because I was having serious grandfather-envy. I'd love to go poking around in the woods with her GrandDad. I'd also love to be Hermione Granger - magic is cool.

I'm so glad you said that. Magic is what makes the world absolutely delightful IMHO--well, magic and chocolate! Sooooo after chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

As much as I love chocolate, usually, it's not food but a good long run or a shower that gets me thinking in the right direction again when I'm stuck.

It's been great to have you visit. Readers, Gianna Z. is here, so be sure to buy your copy now.

It's available at your local Indie and at Amazon. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Philosophy 1A

As writers I’m sure you spend a lot of time balancing family, work, and writing. I know I often feel like a high-wire act edging my way across with a balancing bar in hand and praying there’s a safety net below.

I was taking a break the other day–no family, no work, no writing– and I stumbled upon a great article about philosophy. Remember that first-year course in college when you learned about existentialism and then had to figure out how to pronounce it?

I had the idea that if I re-visited some of those master thinkers I might figure out how to do a better balancing act. I’m not sure if it will work, but I’ll share what I came up with and you can let me know.

Kant: “Categorical Imperative”

Whenever you make a moral decision, test it by asking what would happen if everyone did what you’re considering doing.

Simple Writer Me: What would happen if everybody failed to meet a deadline? The consequences of that sent me back to my re-write almost immediately.

Hume: “Causation”

People (writers included) often base their decisions on how past events have linked up, one causing the other. They believe that if something happened a certain way in the past it will happen that same way the next time. However, Hume maintained that’s necessarily true. Not all balls thrown will break the neighbors window.

Simple Writer Me: Not all queries to agents will be rejected. I wrote another query.

Descartes: ”I think, therefore, I am.”

You can’t prove that you exist by simply touching your head. You have to think about who you are to truly be alive.

Simple Writer Me: Writing is thinking. When I’m writing I’m truly alive. I wrote a chapter.

Aristotle: “Golden Mean”

Find a half-way point between two vices to be truly balanced.

Simple Writer Me: I can write and forget work and family or I can write for a certain number of hours, take care of work for a certain number of hours, and enjoy my family for a certain number of hours. I created a schedule that is flexible , but fair and balanced.

My scheduling effort satisfied Kant’s Categorical Imperative (If everybody had a fair and flexible schedule, the world would be so much easier to live in.) It followed Hume’s Causation (Just because other schedules haven’t worked . . . ), and was in line with Descartes’ idea too because I had a lot of thinking about who I was– writer, wife, mother, daughter, forced laborer–while I created that thing!

I’m feeling very virtuous and much more balanced.

Helpful? What other philosophy might help us meet the challenges of writing and everyday life?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I've done one week of RAP: Jennifer Jabley (Lipstick Apology), Malinda Lo (Ash), L.K. Madigan (Flash Burnout), and J. E. McCleod (Waiting to Score). Today I'm visiting Verla Kay, FB, and LJ to conclude my RAP week.

This had been fun.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Waiting to Score, Review

Waiting to Score

The strength of this young adult book lies in the pacing and character development. None of the people and none of their stories are predictable and you relate in some fashion to each of them--even the bad guy.

I would recommend this for teens (both male and female), for parents, and for teachers. There's a lot to pay attention to in J.E. MacLeod's book.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Random Acts Of Publicity 2

My friend L.K. Madigan is soon to have her debut novel, Flash Burnout, appear on bookshelves. You can also pre-order at Amazon and be among the first to read her poignant, funny, and very excellent young adult book.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Word of Mouth

It's rumored that Malinda Lo's debut novel is out and that it's fabulous in the re-telling of a very traditional fairytale.

She'll be signing books on Sept. 10, 6-8 at the LGBT Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco.

Interview with Jennifer Jabley

Today we're in for a LIPSTICK APOLOGY. Author JENNIFER JABLEY'S debut novel, a mystery with heart, was just released.

Here's a little glimpse of what a great story you're in for when you open Jennifer's book.

Four little words written in lipstick mean Emily must say goodbye to everything she knows. Emily Carson has always been a good girl. So when she throws a party the night her parents leave for vacation, she's sure she'll get busted. What Emily doesn't know is that her parents will never return. That their plane will go down. And the only thing left amidst the wreckage will be a tray table with the words: Emily please forgive me scrawled in lipstick - her mother's last words.

Now it's fall in New York City and Emily's trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her public tragedy captures the attention of more than just the media - and soon two very different boys at her new school are pursuing her: the cute, popular Owen, and the quirky chemistry partner slash pastry-baker-by-night, Anthony. But even with such delicious distractions, Emily can't let go of her mother's mysterious apology. Does she have the courage to face the truth?

With help of a whole new kind of family - one that includes a make-up artist to the stars, a teen hand model, and a wacky hairdresser - Emily must choose between the boy who makes her forget it all, and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately, heal.

Jennifer Jabaley was born in New York and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in chemistry and received a doctorate from Southern College of Optometry. A part-time optometrist and mother of two, Jennifer began writing her first novel after a phone call from her sister sparked an idea for a story that lingered in her mind and stirred her creative juices. LIPSTICK APOLOGY will be released in August of 2009 by Razorbill. Jen lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia and is currently at work on her second book.

She stayed around a bit and answered a few questions, so her fans will know a little more about her. My questions aren't the greatest, but Jennifer has some super answers anyway.

Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?

Wow, there are several, but my top choices would be:
"The Center of Everything" by Laura Moriarity because her character development is so great.
"Walk Two Moons" by Sharon Creech because I love the way she smoothly blended two stories.
"Something Borrowed" by Emily Giffin because I feel like she takes chick lit a step up and everyone I know who has read it relates to the story in some way - and that is just amazing.

You're giving me more books to add to my reading list, Jennifer. Here's another sort of literary question.

What fictional character do you wish you could be?

Gosh, that's hard. How about Mia from The Princess Diaries? It would be pretty cool to be a modern day princess. Oooh, or how about Elle Woods from Legally Blonde - to be beautiful and rich and show the world you are smart too! Plus, she has really great clothes.

Love the clothes!

Every writer I've ever talked to has writer-block at some time, so after chocolate what do you eat to make the writer-block pain go away?

Hot Chocolate from Starbucks or a mint chocolate chip milkshake from Dairy Queen (maybe it's all the sugar that gets my mind working!)

Thanks, Lee!

I should thank you. It's been wonderful having another great Deb here.

Be sure to order your copy of Lipstick Apology now and enjoy another 2009 debut novel. It's available at Amazon and your local Indie.

Also visit Jennifer at her website to see what else she's up to.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Random Acts of Publicity Week

How would you like to do something fun? This is probably what a lot of you do anyway or would like to do and just never get around to it.

Take a look at Random Acts of Publicity Week and join in, starting Tuesday, Sept.8th for a week of sharing reviews, links, comments about books that matter to you.

Now I have to choose among so many delicious books and fabulous writers. That is going to be the hard part.