Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

There's trick or treating over on the Debs blog!! Go check it out!!

As you can imagine, I love this time of year! JP and I pull out the decorations -- Heckle and Jeckle our wisecracking bats. The ghost pirate. Marcus the carcus (he glows!). The bloody handprints, the lit up skeleton arms around tombstones (and of course we were growing that huge weed patch in the front flower bed for the ambiance of the graveyard look...). I've bought more candy than kids we could ever hope to expect. I have plans to clear a path through the swaths of mail blocking the front door and light a fire (not light the mail on fire, though that would certainly clean tings up a bit).

That it's Friday makes it even better -- JP will hopefully be home from work in time to help answer the door. We can stay up late watching Halloween appropriate movies. Plus, it's just a gorgeous day here! That perfect crisp fall weather than makes you want to breathe deep and full.

This weekend I have big plans to set up my home office (let's hope the motivation sustains me). If there's one thing I've realized over the past week, it's that I need to create some space specifically for work -- a place I can walk into and switch on the "I'm working" mindset. I'm also looking forward to organizing so much stuff that's scattered around the house... finding a spot to put business cards, chocolate bars, the huge blow up of my book cover (squee!).

And of course, with all the extra Halloween candy I expect to pretty much enjoy a lovely sugar high for the next few days... all hail Halloween (and zombies)!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GalleyCat and NaNoWriMo

I was super excited to see The Forest of Hands and Teeth in GalleyCat! And I really loved the article - yay :) One of the things mentioned is that I started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2006. Well... it's that time of year again! I've already signed up... have you??

In other news, Diana Peterfreund has posted the GORGEOUS cover of her YA Rampant. This is the book about killer unicorns that is coming out in the summer and I CAN'T WAIT! Diana also worked on this book during NaNo 2006 and in fact, that's around the time we started as critique partners since we were both branching out into fantasy YA. It's crazy to think that what we both started as NaNo projects in 2006 will be coming out in 2008!

So yes, NaNo is in the air...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Website is live!

YAY! My website is up!! I love love love it! What do y'all think?

So, a year ago, right after I'd sold The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I knew that I wanted to have a website and that I probably wouldn't have the time (or skills) to set it up myself. I started looking around at various sites to get a feel for different looks and designers. Usually, I would love a large chunk of a designer's portfolio, but there would be a few sites that I was more "meh" about. Until I started looking at Xuni's sites. Her designs are exactly what I always wanted: clean, clear, dynamic (without being overwhelming) and just gorgeous. I love the look of all of them!

I was thrilled beyond belief that she had space to take me on as a client! But I had a terrible time coming up with images of what I wanted. And then one day I was up in the mountains with JP's family and his brother had a fancy new camera. It was a misty, foggy fall morning and I asked if he'd be willing to take a few forest shots and he agreed! They were (and still are) perfect and those are the shots that Xuni used as the placeholder page (which I also LOVED). They're also the shots that make up a good chunk of the header for the site. So that makes my website even more special to me that my fiance's brother is the one who took the forest pictures!

Xuni has been a total dream to work with! She took my barest hint of ideas and turned them into an amazing site that is exactly what I wanted. At every step she's gone above and beyond and I can't thank, or recommend her, enough!!

So stop by, take a look, and tell me what you think! And if you have thoughts or FAQs, send them my way!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Back from pre-pub tour

I got back on Friday from my pre-pub tour to NYC, Chicago, San Fran and Seattle and I'm still speechless. I've been trying all weekend to figure out how to encapsulate it all but to no avail. So it might take me a few blog posts to get through it all -- it was a busy and amazing week!

First, I have to thank Kelly and Jessica who put everything together -- they were on top of every detail at every step. And also a huge thanks to Elisabeth Irwin High School, Washington Irving High School, Jefferson Junior High School, Naperville Central, Santa Clara High School, The Girls' Middle School and the Shoreline Library for their hospitality and to all the students who took the time to meet with me -- it was a TOTAL blast! I also loved talking with all the booksellers, librarians, teachers and book lovers who took the time to have dinner and chat about my favorite topic - books!!

And a huge YAY that I got to meet my editor, Krista, and agent, Jim in person!! It was totally awesome! I only wish I'd had more time with them both!

I'll admit I was nervous going into the week. Even though I'd once taught some classes, I just wasn't sure what to expect. What if the students didn't ask questions? What if it was just endless silence as I stared at them and they stared at me? Thankfully, the ever fantastic fellow Delacorte Press debut author Saundra Mitchell designed a wrapper for some Hershey's bars for me and I went to the schools armed with chocolate. Turns out, chocolate is an excellent motivator :)

For real, talking to students was about the most fun I've had in ages. I think I may have gotten addicted to it! They asked amazing questions and had insights into the book that were just mind-boggling. I really really hope I get the chance to do more school and library events in the future! Here's a pic of me with students at Naperville Central in Chicago (and they have such a cool class!!).

I so wish I'd taken more pictures, but thankfully Kelly took a few shots of the table decorations in NYC. I told you -- the details were awesome!

More to come! Monday starts my first day at home as a full-time writer -- so exciting!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Last day rambling

It's my last day of work! I feel like I have so much I want to blog about but at the same time, I feel a little scattered trying to finish up things at the day-job and prepare for the pre-pub tour. So please pardon the rambling :)

It's funny, I've known this day was coming for a while but it's still a little sad. I still don't really feel totally ready for it. I'm going to miss JP dropping me off for work in the mornings, I'm going to miss the view (the sunset is amazing). For the last year I've spent my days on the 46th floor looking out towards the mountains. I'm going to miss the zing of the high speed elevator, the quasi-free Uptown parking. I'm going to miss the people, meandering by offices to catch up, chatting with my secretary about her son and non-existent wedding plans. I'm going to miss the buzz of it all.

I remember when JP and I were talking about this possibility -- me quitting my day job to write full time. I remember him saying "you're going to miss your superwoman identity -- the woman who can work as a lawyer at one of the big firms in town and be an almost published author." He's right. And it was really interesting to think about how we define ourselves. I really do/did love being a lawyer and thinking of myself as one. But the reality is, I couldn't do both.

There's a part of me that finds it ironic that I'm still going to be paying off my student loans to Duke Law School even when I'm no longer practicing law. There's a small part of me that wonders "was it worth it to go to law school?" Unequivocally yes. Not only because I loved it and because I love talking and thinking about the law, but also because that's where I met JP.

And I wouldn't be where I am today without him. It's funny how life works out that way.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Quitin' my day job, Episode II

Just over a year ago I wrote a post about quitting my day job. At that time I was just moving from one firm to another (and moving from litigation to "wealth transfer" or trusts & estates).

This time I'm quitting my day job for real. Yep, I'm taking the plunge into being a full-time writer. I handed in my notice on Monday and my last day is a week from tomorrow. Then I leave for the pre-pub tour and when I come back... I'll officially be a full-time writer!

It's totally crazy! I alternate between thinking "is this for real?" and "OMG, what am I doing?!" And honestly, it still all feels so unexpected. But I had to face the reality that I just couldn't keep doing both jobs and giving both everything. Something had to give.

It's kind of ironic -- the law job I have now is my dream job. It's high end and challenging work at a fantastic firm. And only one thing really could make me want to leave it: lucking into my ultimate dream job of writing. It's also a little ironic that I started at this firm exactly a week before my fantastic agent offered me representation. Talk about a crazy year.

And I'm so thankful to JP who's supporting me 100%+ (though he has promised me that come hell or high water I will be out of the bed and starting my day by the time he leaves for work :) Also, I'm so used to having a hyper-structured day where every 6-minute increment is accounted for -- I think it's going to take some work to transition away from that and find a writing schedule that works (and if anyone has advice on this -- please share it!)

But hopefully having more time means I can blog more, I can finally get my website up, I can write more and read more. It's a total dream come true and I couldn't be more excited!!

Crazy how much can change in a year!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pre-Pub Tour and Book 2 Done!

Hey Y'all!

Exciting news! At the end of October I'm heading out on a pre-publication tour for The Forest of Hands and Teeth!! I am SO excited about this!! Ever since I got the news a while back I've been pinching myself like crazy :) I think they're still finalizing the details, but right now I'll be spending the week of October 19th in NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.

It's just going to be so strange to talk to people who've read FHT. And it's going to be super cool to talk to people who love books, especially YA books. I've never really talked to a lot of booksellers, librarians and teachers so I can't wait to get their take on things (and get some good recommendations!).

My other fun news is that yesterday I turned in Book 2! It does have a working title but I'm superstitious so for the time being I'll keep referring to it as Book 2 :) Now it's back to waiting to see what my editor thinks. I didn't have to turn in a synopsis or outline so she really has no idea what she's getting (thankfully my agent and beta readers liked it!).

A while back Steph, Reviewer X, asked about the Sophomore Slump and it's a good question. I wanted to wait until the book was turned in (didn't want to jinx myself) before I tackled it so I'll be blogging about that soon. I just have to gather my thoughts a bit :)