Thursday, August 27, 2009

First DTW review!

Whew!  Yep, I going to admit that it can get a little scary finding out that your book is going out into the world.  While ARCs of The Dead-Tossed Waves aren't out yet, the manuscript is.  I didn't even realize this until I got a fantastic note from someone at RHCB about it and that's when I might have maybe started to hyperventilate a bit.

I mean, of course I know that's one of the whole points of this gig: I write, a ton of people help make the book pretty and shiny, and then it goes out into the world to get read.  But somehow I'm always able to disconnect myself from that last step and forget about it.  Otherwise I end up in this really surreal situation as I type on the rough draft where I think "Will this word make it in the final draft?  Will someone somewhere read this phrase that I type while the dog kicks my keyboard and the cat begs for pets?"

So yeah, the whole "people are reading your book" part of the process sort of snuck up on me this time.  Surprise!  And yeah, I've been sort of holding my breath wondering what they're thinking.  Which means that I was utterly over the moon to see someone out there say that The Dead-Tossed Waves is even better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  WAHOO!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RAMPANT out today!! (plus a giveaway!)

Two words: Killer Unicorns.  Two more words: Out Today.  One last word: OMGit'sanamazingbookgoreadit.  Yes, I've been waiting for this book to come out for AGES.  In fact, when Diana and I first became critique partners back during NaNoWriMo in 2005, she was working on Rampant and I was working on The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Which I why I'm just to ecstatic that both our books have come out in the same year!  Squee!

So Rampant is about killer unicorns -- we thought they were extinct and they're not; we thought they were fluffy and rainbow farting and they're not.  They're vicious and can only be killed by virgin descendants of Alexander the Great.    This book is packed with action while at the same time dealing with so many huge issues that affect all of us (not just teens).  How do you figure out who you are and what you want in the world?  How do you balance everything thrown at you?  What choices do you make?

This book is tremendously thoughtful in addition to being totally thrilling.  It's a gorgeously layered book and I'm so excited it's finally out so I can share it with everyone!

Speaking of sharing it with everyone, I'm going to give away two personalized/autographed copies of Rampant.  To enter, post a comment on my blog or LJ telling me if you're team zombie or team unicorn (if you want to explain why, that's awesome).  If you want more than one entry, tweet (+1) or blog (+1) about Rampant or this giveaway.  There's also an AWESOME video for Rampant at so I'll give another point for linking (+1) or tweeting (+1) to that.  Just make sure to post a comment letting me know about the tweets and blog posts!

Contest closes Friday night!  Thanks everyone for celebrating the release of Rampant with me and congratulations Diana!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Foreign Sales!

Hey Y'all! This week The Forest of Hands and Teeth comes out in Germany - huzzah! The title over there is The Forest - Wald der tausend Augen and has an awesome cover.  The foreign rights department at Random House Children's Books has been totally amazing -- they've blown my mind multiple times and I honestly can't thank them enough for everything they've done!

Here's an updated list of all the places they've sold The Forest of Hands and Teeth (plus the audio edition):

Spain/Latin America
Platypus Publishing
Czech Republic
Mlada fronta
Pegasus Yayincilik 
Hagiang Comcul 

* just FYI, for my own records I'll be updating this chart as more rights sell!

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour

I'm so super excited to be part of a really awesome tour happening in September 2010.  Melissa Marr, Alyson Noel and Kelley Armstrong are putting it together and there are tons of other fantastic and totally squee-worthy authors involved.  The tour's still in the planning stages and you can still suggest cities and stay up to date on the latest news on the facebook page.  This is a tour totally focused on the readers and we definitely want your input!

I know it's going to be an awesome time... only problem is waiting the whole year before it happens!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time - how long from idea to publication

I read a review of my book the other day that found it "strangely similar" to another book that came out six months before mine. I have another friend who got a similar review -- comparing her book to another one that came out six months before hers (and in that one flat out accusing her of writing a "knock-off"). And another friend who's asked if she wrote about unicorns in her books to escape the current trend of "vampire, faeries, and zombies."

This got me thinking -- being surrounded by writers and the writing industry there's a lot that I take for granted about how things work. And I suspect that most of my readers know all of this too, but I figured there's no harm in writing up a short little post talking about how long this process really takes.

I know the exact moment I got the idea for The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Sure JP, my fiance, and I had been talking about a forest filled with zombies but I hadn't really planned about writing anything in that world. It was more of a thought exercise more than anything else because I'd become obsessed with zombies after he took me to the opening night of the Dawn of the Dead remake.

Anyway, on my way home from work one night a first line popped into my head and I emailed it to myself. It was Thursday, November 2, 2006 at 7:38PM. The subject line was "Meh" and the email said only: "My mother used to tell me about the ocean. She said there was a place where there was nothing but water"

Funny to see how during the whole process, that never changed! So yeah, my idea for a zombie book came late in 2006 and believe me, there was no zombie trend at the time. Trust me, I love zombies and had been scrambling for a long time to get my hands on any book or movie I could (as I've mentioned before, I was actually convinced FHT would never sell simply because it had zombies and who would want a book like that?).

So the long and short of the timeline is this:

November 2006: Start writing rough draft of FHT
April-ish 2007: Finish rough draft, start revising
August 2007: Start querying
September 2007: Sign with Jim McCarthy, my agent
October 2007: Sell FHT
January 2008: Final draft of FHT approved and sent to copy-editing
June 2008: ARCs arrive (and start getting mailed out)
March 10, 2009: FHT release date

Time from start of FHT until the book hit the shelves? 859 days or 2 years, 4 months, 8 days.

It's a long process (and I know that Diana began the preliminaries of working on her unicorn book in 2005). I've always been amazed by the synergy of the writing world. How we can go from almost no zombie YA books to a shelf of them in a year because that means that there were quite a few authors out there two years ago who almost all in a vacuum decided "hey, I'll write about zombies!" It's like how I know of about 5 authors out there -- none of them connected in any way -- writing about mermaids/sirens. It feels like there's this sudden zeitgeist where people are similarly inspired. And it's not just in writing that this happens -- huge discoveries in our world happen the same way. It's pretty amazing!

Monday, August 10, 2009


I can't tell you how tickled I was to see Unshelved, the comic set in a public library, tackle The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Awesome!  Here's the link!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Who would you cast?

Last week I mentioned that MTV (!!!!) posted a fantastic review of The Forest of Hands and Teeth and mentioned that they'd be following up with a "who would you cast in the movie" post.  Here it is!  They lead off by asking whether Kristen Stewart should play the lead role of Mary.

As I told Sabrina Rojas Weiss, I'm pretty terrible at trying to figure out who I'd cast in the movie versions of my books.  One reason is that I never really see the characters that clearly as people, and the other (contradictory) reason is that what I do see I have a hard time equivocating on.  So I know all these traits about my characters and then when I try to pair them up with an actor or actress, there's never someone exactly dead on.

That's one reason I was so stunned when I first saw the cover of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  She's a fantastic Mary.  Maybe not exactly what I saw in my head, but I can very much see her being Mary.  I feel the same way about Kristen Stewart -- I'd love to see what she could do!!

And of course as y'all know, I love to day dream :)  So who would you cast in the movie version of The Forest of Hands and Teeth?  Do you agree or disagree with who MTV chose?