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.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Interview with Sydney Slater

I'm so excited to have Sydney Slater here again. Her book, JUNGLE CROSSING, came out the first of September.

Here's a what you can expect when you read her book.

Thirteen-year-old Kat can think of dozens of good reasons not to go on a boring family vacation to hot, grungy Mexico. Number one: missing her friend Fiona’s minicamp. If she’s not there, she’ll begin eighth grade as a social reject. And it looks like she’s the odd girl out on vacation, too. When Kat’s parents arrange for her and her younger sister, Barb, to go on a teen adventure tour, Barb makes more friends than she does. The only person who will talk to Kat is Nando, a young Mayan guide (who happens to be quite a cutie). Each day as they travel to different Mayan ruins, Nando tells Kat and Barb another installment in the original legend of Muluc, a girl who lived in the time of the Ancient Maya. The dangerous, dramatic world in which Muluc lives is as full of rivalry, betrayal, jealousy, and sacrifice as Kat’s world at school. And as she makes new friends and discovers new treasures in Mexico, Kat begins to wonder: Is she willing to keep sacrificing her self in exchange for popularity?

About the author:

Sydney Salter’s fascination with Mayan culture started when she was six years old and climbed down a steep, dimly lit stone staircase to the elaborately carved tomb of King Pacal who had once ruled Palenque. Visiting Mayan ruins, walking through fragrant Mexican market places, watching women wash clothes in a river, and chasing lizards in the jungle ignited the spark in Sydney’s imagination that led to writing Jungle Crossing. Sydney now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two dogs. She loves reading, writing, cooking, and traveling—especially to Mexico where she can explore ancient Mayan ruins and swim in underground rivers. Sydney is also the author of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters.

When she stopped by I asked her some questions so readers could know a little more about this writer.

Tell us a little about your path to publication.

I joke that my publication journey has been about as tangled and rocky as one of the jungle paths in my story. Jungle Crossing is the first novel I wrote, but it took a lot of learning and three more manuscripts before my fourth, My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters, was accepted for publication. All that writing taught me the importance of revision (I always returned to Jungle Crossing when I completed another manuscript). I also learned the value of networking with other writers and publishing professionals through conferences and workshops. It took me five years of consistent hard work to get published.

What gave you the idea for Jungle Crossing?

I wanted to teach my daughters about Mayan culture before a family vacation to Mexico I think I really needed an excuse to finally attempt my dream of writing a novel--since my daughters were only six and two at the time!

Is there any one part of this book that you really love? That is, a scene that you particularly liked writing and still enjoy reading? A bit of dialog that you adore? Some description that you wrote that you still say, "Wow! I wrote that!"

I especially love two parts--and both of them take place at the tops of pyramids. One I had to completely rewrite when a friend told me that they had recently closed El Castillo in Chichen Itza to tourists. Uh-oh! The new scene ended up being far more dramatic and emotional. The other one which happens at the very end includes words I wrote in my travel diary after I climbed the Nohoch pyramid in Coba.

Thanks Sydney. Enjoyed your visit.

Be sure buy your copy of Jungle Crossing and enjoy the adventure and visit Sydney at her website.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Coming into fall and the end of my Outdoor Blogging posts. I hear sighs of relief out there. This is my last one, so just pretend you've enjoyed my attempts at abandoning the computer chair for more time out in the real world.

Inspite of the drought I've managed to keep some flowers alive. These Dahlias aren't fabulous, but they do give me some cut flowers. The rest of the garden is planted in either Mediterranean (drought resistant) or native plants. No water=no roses or fuchsias. It's way past time for California to take heed and switch from those water guzzlers to plants that need little to no water in the dry season.

Now, coming tomorrow will be an Interview with Sydney Salter, so if the flower stuff is creeping you out, take a look tomorrow when Sydney talks about her new book, Jungle Crossing.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I went out today and stayed out until late to attend a birthday celebration for a long-time friend. The event turned into more than a party with excellent food and good company.

Because my friend still works with international students she arranged for traditional Korean drums to be played. Unfortunately, I don't have the beautiful setting to share with the drummer doing her thing under the stars with candles and trees sparkling with lights.

The next best thing is the drummer in a classroom. Still it's a wonderful performance. Lee Kyoung-mi has studied traditional Korean drumming for 15 years. What a performance.