Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Forest - Wald der tausend Augen

Hey Y'all!  This is yet another drive by posting.  I'm rounding the bend in revisions which means I'll pretty much be offline most of the rest of the week.  However, I'm still sending updates via twitter!  I'm also hoping to get some free time this weekend to attend our local con (one of the reasons I didn't head off to BEA!).  Last year was the first time I went to Con Carolinas and I loved it!  If anyone's in the area I hope to see you there!

So when I sold The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I sold world rights which means that Random House Children's Books has been the one marketing all the foreign rights (and how all that works is for another post - lol).  Anyway, they've been doing an AMAZING job.  I pretty much figured that anything past the sale of the book was gravy -- I totally didn't expect anything more.

And I have to say, that like a lot of authors, one of the best things about selling foreign is getting the foreign covers.  I've already shown y'all the UK/Australia/NZ cover for FHT (and if you want a sneak preview of the cover they did for DTW (which is gorgeous!) then you can find it on the FHT facebook page that my UK pub, Gollancz, put together).  And while procrastinating the other day I found my German listing complete with cover!  Wahoo - it comes out over there August 9!  I've been drying to share it with y'all!

It's just so cool to see all the different ways to approach this book.  And I feel so completely and utterly lucky and blessed by the cover gods for all three so far - love love love them all!  What do y'all think?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: One Wish by Leigh Brescia

Hey Y'all!  Happy belated Memorial Day!  Today's stop on the debs blog tour is another North Carolina author Leigh Brescia and her debut novel, One Wish.

About the book:

Overweight Wrenn Scott desperately wants to be popular and snag a hot boyfriend. Her amazing voice (for once) overshadows her weight when she lands a lead role in the high school musical. Pushing to get thinner by opening night, Wrenn's waistline shrinks as she learns all the wrong ways to lose weight from a new "it-girl" friend in the show. By opening night, the old Wrenn has almost disappeared. After a crisis reveals her weight-loss tricks, Wrenn realizes there are much more important things than being thin, popular, or even dating a hunk. 

About the author:

Leigh Brescia grew up in North Carolina, spending most of her days playing in the woods behind her home and imagining she was a princess. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Communication from Mount Olive College and her Master’s degree from Fort Hays State University. She currently teaches online English composition courses for three universities, and an online “Writing Novels for Young Adults” course for UC Irvine.

When she’s not grading papers or writing, she enjoys reading and watching movies. She sings when she’s in a good mood and has killed every plant she’s ever owned. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and her three-year-old.

The interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

All of them! The truth is each one has superseded the last. I was excited when I got the message about WestSide wanting One Wish. I was excited when I saw the contract. I was even more excited to see my cover; more excited than that to see proof pages. I practically freaked out when my box of ARCs arrived, and now that I’m seeing my pre-order page pop up on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, that has become the highlight so far. I’m assuming when my author’s copies arrive I’m going to self-destruct. :)

Is there anything you can't write without?

All I need is my laptop, some classical music, and milk and chocolate.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

As terrific as make-out scenes are, my best writing days are the ones where characters fight. It’s amazing how quickly words fly from my fingertips when someone is yelling . . . I’m not sure what that says about me, though. So . . . if I’m stuck, all I have to do is make a character mad.

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

This is from my currently untitled WIP:

And yet here I was—torn: wanting to pull him closer, saving him, and at the same time wishing I could hop on the back of his motorcycle and, for once, allow someone to save me.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

I’m not really attuned to the zombie world, but you know, anti-fast zombies would, in many ways, be preferable. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Happy Birthday JP!!!

So today is my fiance, JP's, birthday.  His last year in his twenties (yes, he's younger than me).  Happy Birthday!!!

Someone asked me a while back why I mention that I live with JP in my bio.  I was fairly surprised by the email (mostly surprised that someone would notice my bio and care enough about it to take the time to email me).    I guess I never really thought that much about it when I wrote it, in the same way I didn't think that much about including my cats or dog in the bio.  I kind of feel like a lot of authors include their significant other, where they live and what pets they live with.  I always thought it was sort of the formula for author bios.

Anyway, it did get me thinking about why I'd put that info in there.  I mean, I already dedicated the book to him and gave him a special shout out in the acks -- why also mention him in the bio?  I guess this also dovetails into the question I'm asked a lot (esp from family) about when he and I are getting married.  It's strange to me -- as if somehow our commitment to each other would be different if we had the state sanctioning our relationship.  I mean, we share a mortgage -- these days I feel like that's a lot harder to get out of than a marriage.

And yet at the same time, I know just how important that piece of paper (the marriage certificate) is because massive amounts of money, ire and time are spent debating which relationships get it and which don't.  I feel sort of bad that JP and I haven't gotten married because we actually *can* get married when a lot of people in love can't.  Why haven't we?  Time (time to plan it much less when all the family can all get together), money (they're frigging expensive), the weight of expectations (everyone has opinions on a wedding) etc etc.  I don't know, I guess I wake up each morning and go to bed each night not questioning my commitment to JP or his to me -- I don't need the label.  I guess I understand why other people do need to be able to label us and it makes me a little sad that they somehow think our relationship isn't as serious as it can be because of it.

Of course, I didn't mean for this to be a post about marriage, I meant it to be a post about JP!  Here's why I included him in my bio: because he is my life.  We're one of those disgusting couples who can literally spend all our time together and we never get tired of it.  He's an amazing man -- someone who gets up early to write because he loves it, who goes to bed late so that he can edit my WIP, someone who puts his everything into his job and clients -- always trying to be better.  He's wicked smart (his law school grades would make you sick) and amazingly patient and kind (as shown by his care for Daphne, our brain damaged dog).  He's a great lawyer and he's a phenomenal writer and I'm a lucky lucky woman that he loves me.  He's also pretty darn good looking (and did I mention younger!?).

So happy birthday, JP and I look forward to sharing MANY MANY more.  And yes, family, I promise we'll get married soon :)

Debs Blog Tour: Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Hey Y'all!  Sorry to be late with my post!  I'm still deep deep in the revision cave (or rather, the revision room with Sarah MacLean and Mari Mancusi (we have a chocolate fountain!))!  Today's author on the Debs Blog Tour is Aprilynne Pike whose debut, Wings, hit shelves early this month!

About the author:

Aprilynne Pike has been spinning faerie stories since she was a child with a hyper-active imagination. At the age of twenty she received her BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho. When not writing, Aprilynne can usually be found at the gym; she also enjoys singing, acting, reading, and working with pregnant moms as a childbirth educator and doula. Aprilynne currently lives with her husband and three kids in Utah, and dreams of warmer climates.

About the book:

Aprilynne Pike's WINGS is the first of four books about an ordinary girl named Laurel who discovers she is a faerie sent among humans to guard the gateway to Avalon. When Laurel is thrust into the midst of a centuries-old battle between faeries and trolls, she's torn between a human and a faerie love, as well as her loyalties to both worlds.

The Interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

I think the most exciting moment was getting my original call. Wings was my second book that my agent tried to sell and just that morning, I seriously had convinced myself that I needed to give up on this stupid and fruitless writing dream. Within the hour Jodi called to let me know that Tara, my editor, wanted my book.

Is there anything you can't write without?

My trusty laptop. Some people can do the writing by hand thing, but I totally can't. I need my computer!!

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

Explode something. I'm actually not very good at make-out scenes. I tend to re-write them several times. Exploding? I'm good at that.:)

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

At one point one of my characters, David, says to Laurel, "“We’ve proved it scientifically—you’re amazing. I’m just human.”

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Anti!! That girl scares me!!

I also asked each author to link to a post about their path to publication, if they had one, and Aprilynne pointed me to her FAQ page on her website so go there for more info!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The End of an Era -- goodbye Amy!!

Hey Y'all!!  Tap & Gown is out today!! HOORAAAAYYY!!  I've been so excited about this day for a long time because I get to run to the bookstore and re-read the final installment in Diana Peterfreund's Secret Society Girl Series!  I'm usually not a fan of re-reading but I honestly love to re-read Diana's books. Part of that is because, as one of her critique partners, I read the drafts in chunks and love to be able to sit down and peruse the whole thing in one final sitting.  But the other reason is because I'm just flat out a fan of her writing.  Amy is a fantastically clever and smart character and I find myself giggling and falling in love with her every time I read a book in the series.  Also, I dig the romance and suspense!

I know it's a crazy day for Diana, having the final book of her first series out, but it also pretty fun for me too (hey, that's the best part of being friends -- I get to live vicariously!).  As most of y'all probably know, I've been a fan of Diana's for a long time.  When I was getting back into writing in 2006 hers was one of the first blogs I started following.  And no lie: I wanted to be like her when I grew up!  I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am now if not for Diana -- for her encouragement, her friendship and aid in navigating the book world, and just for being a dang good friend.  Thanks Diana :)

So a HUGE congrats to Diana for the final act in her series -- it's brilliant!  And I know that all her Amy fans are going to TOTALLY love Astrid!!!

And for fans of the series, Diana has an awesome series of posts that are dossiers of the characters on her blog.  There's also a great fan video for the series on the fansite here.  Go forth, buy the book, buy the series and read -- you won't be sorry!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia by Cindy Pon!

Hey Y'all!  Sorry for so many blog tour posts recently -- we had some rearranging which means I've had quite a few in a row.  Today I'm hosting Cindy Pon, Wednesday I'm hosting Aprilynne Pike and then I'll have two more before the month's out!  I've also been a little laxer on posting other content cause... well... those revisions.  BUT, you can always follow me on Twitter where I try to post regularly through the day!

Alright!  On to todays guest, Cindy Pon!  And I have to say, I totally blame Cindy for my lack of sleep -- I went to bed EXTRA early last night because I knew it would be a long week and then what happens?  I stay up EXTRA late reading Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia.  I gotta tell y'all, I haven't finished it yet but I've really really loved everything so far!  I'll post more when I'm done!

And also -- isn't this a gorgeous cover?  Not only that, but Cindy was the artist behind the paintings for each chapter header (she is a wicked talented artist!).  Silver Pheonix received a starred review from Booklist and was also recently named one of Booklists's 2009 Top Ten Sci Fi/Fantasy Books for Youth. Also, Cindy has a great book trailer here.  Without further ado, let me introduce Cindy and her beautiful and captivating debut novel, Silver Phoenix: Beyond the Kingdom of Xia:

About the book:

On the day of her first betrothal meeting--and rejection--ai ling discovers a power welling deep within her. She can reach into other people's spirits, hear their thoughts, see their dreams...and that's just the beginning.
ai ling has been marked by the immortals; her destiny lies in the emperor's palace, where a terrible evil has lived, stealing souls, for centuries. She must conquer this enemy and rescue her captive father, while mythical demons track her every step. And then she meets chen yong, a young man with a quest of his own, whose fate is intertwined with hers. Here is a heart-stopping, breathtaking tale for fans of action, fantasy, and romance--of anything with the making of legend.

About the author:

Cindy Pon was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and her family immigrated to California in 1980, settling in the suburbs of Los Angeles. She began writing stories before she was officially declared English proficient. She received her bachelor's from the University of California, San Diego, and also earned a master's from New York University. The author is a student of Chinese brush painting, and her love for the art is reflected in her storytelling. Cindy Pon lives with her husband and two small children in San Diego, California.

The Interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

seeing my gorgeous book jacket. i got tears in my eyes!

Is there anything you can't write without?

having at least an inkling of what comes next.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

probably explode something. ha! make-scenes
are not easy to write!

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

"Chen Yong sat hunched near the flames, his broad shoulders folded forward, in a posture of reverent prayer."

i choose this because it is from a favorite
scene in SILVER PHOENIX. also because i have a crush on my hero. =)

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

ANTI! they will eat my brains if they are fast, no?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: Waiting to Score by J.E. MacLeod

Hey Y'all!  Todays's stop on the blog tour is J.E. MacLeod with her debut novel, Waiting to Score !

About the book:

Zack Chase, new in town, gets a crash course in the dangerous, fast-paced lives of local teen athletes. A good-looking, book-loving hockey star, Zack’s also expected to be a womanizing, alcohol-abusing party animal, but it’s not who he is. As jealous, obnoxious team captain Mac hounds him, Zack falls for Goth-girl Jane and befriends her teammate brother, both with their own secrets. Tragedy strikes and affects them all in this true-to-life debut novel, giving readers an insight into the lives of high school students and athletes.

About the author:

J.E.’s  path to becoming an author was a windy one.  After college, she wrote advertising copy for radio and then television and eventually moved on to work in sales and marketing for too many years.

After having a son, J.E. followed her dreams and wrote her first book.  Once she started writing YA, she felt like she’d found her home and has been writing it ever since. J.E. lives near the Canadian Rockies with her husband and son and a new puppy named Meeko. She does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says “eh” a lot.

The Interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

I like firsts, so first time things have been the best adrenaline rushes for me. It's hard to pick one when there are so many great firsts along the journey (first phone call with a real live editor, first revision notes from my editor, first ARC, first real live book, first review and on and on!) but the phone call with my agent telling me I had an offer on my book that was probably the most exciting step.  I hung up the phone and started singing and dancing around the room. It was a great moment.

Is there anything you can't write without?

Hmm. I don't really require much in the way of physical things. Some caffeine is always good. But, since my books usually go boldly into teen issues-- I can't write without honesty! I try to be as authentic as I can be to my characters if that makes sense. Some things Zack, my main character SAID I cringed about, but I was writing in his voice not mine. I think that's the most important thing to remember. It's writing in a character's voice or world, it's not me.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

Hmm. Neither, really!  I usually just write a note to myself  and highlight it-- like  SOMETHING PROFOUND HAPPENS HERE  and keep going and go back to the part that stuck me later when I've had time to think about it outside writing time.

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

Hmm. I like different lines for different reasons that may sound weird out of context. Let's see. In my book titled Faded Genes at this point in time, a young teen is angry with her Mom's boyfriend. Her Mom is pregnant with her boyfriend's child. My favorite line is a question she asks him..."A condom?"

“Hey, ladies, sorry I’m late.” Simon picked that moment to swoop up to the table. He looked back and forth at us, his big charming smile fading a little. “Did I miss something?”

“A condom?” I said.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Ohh. I like YOUR Zombies, Carrie. Even though they scare me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday News Dump

Hello all!

Today is a mish-mash of news and tidbits.

First, go buy Dull Boy by Sarah Cross.  One of my fave books this year and you won't be disappointed.  Seriously, do it.  You'll thank me!

Second, today -- and today only -- is Debsness!  Click the link for a chance to win!

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Third, not gonna lie, I've been having fun reading rumors about the movie rights for The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Yeah, it still feels crazy weird to say "movie rights" and the title of my book in the same sentence.  And also, just a reminder - Seven Star Pictures has an option at this point (no guarantees on the movie) and they haven't done any casting.  Though that does make me wonder... who would YOU cast?

Fourth, Random House Mondadori has picked up the Spanish rights to The Forest of Hands and Teeth (to be published in Spain and Latin America).  Hooray!

Fifth, apparently we're in the sixth printing of the book.  And I realized that the author copies I got are all second printings which means I've actually been nabbing any first printings I find at bookstores (and yep, it's VERY surreal to buy my own book - lol!)

Sixth, am revising The Dead-Tossed Waves.  That's prob why my blog posts have been on the short and listy side lately :)

Seventh, but that doesn't mean I don't still keep up with Twitter and Facebook -- in fact 140 characters is about all I can muster some days!

Finally, I just wanted to send a HUGE MASSIVE thanks to all my readers -- for buying/borrowing the book, reading it, reviewing it, talking about it, etc.  In fact, thank you to all readers out there that keep our YA author/reader/blogger community so vibrant!  Y'all rock!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph

Hello all!  It's Debs Blog Tour time but before I get to the meat of this post I wanted to give a huge shout out to Sarah Cross who's fantabulous debut, Dull Boy, hits shelves today and to Aprilynne Pike who's debut Wings, just took the #6 spot on the NYT Bestseller List!  Congrats!!

Now on to Danielle Joseph and her debut, Shrinking Violet!

About the book:

Shrinking Violet is about high school senior, Tere Adams and her one dream-to be a DJ. By day she is paralyzed when she has to talk to people, but at night, she rocks, doing mock broadcasts in her bedroom. Her confidence is further eroded by her mom, who still sees Tere as the chubby, pale kid, the other children called Snowball. Mom thinks that Tere’s dreams are just silly fantasies, but her new husband, Rob, offers Tere an internship at his top-forty radio station. Her best friend, Audrey, the only person truly aware of Tere’s vast music knowledge, encourages her to take the job. From there Tere must learn to come out from behind her mask. In doing so she confronts the bullies in her life, stands up for herself and falls in love.

About the author:

Danielle was a college DJ for five years on the Gyroscope, a world music show, and interned at several top Boston radio stations. She has taught Creative Writing and English to Middle school students. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami with her husband and two young sons. She is addicted to flip flops, chocolate and YouTube. These days when she’s not writing, you can find her cruising around with the tunes blaring and her internal DJ hard at work.

The interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

I really have enjoyed the whole ride but it was really cool to recieve my author copies a couple of weeks ago. I had a big box from Simon & Schuster waiting for me on my front steps when I arrived home from picking the kids up from school. And there's nothing like the smell of brand new books!

Is there anything you can't write without?

There is nothing specific that I have to have but I do often enjoy a cup of coffee, tea or Diet Coke when I write, depending on the time of day. And for some reason if my office is nice and clean I feel like I'm more productive.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

I'd probably choose the make-out scene because I haven't had any explosions in my novels as of yet. I even googled kissing techniques once. that was fun!

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

"Revenge. And I didn't even inflict it. How sweet it is."

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Definitely fast zombies and if they have a sense of humor, that would be a real plus!

You can find out more on Danielle's website or you can follow her on twitter here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Zombie Ants

Someone asked me if the animals in my books can be infected and turned into zombies.  I think this is an issue that all zombie writers must face and I distinctly remember sitting down and pondering this issue.  A few things sealed the decision for me: zombie cows, zombie mosquitos and the whole pesky idea that the world's ecosystem would likely fall apart if all animals became zombified.  So in my world, animals are safe from becoming infected.

But that doesn't mean that I'm still not fascinated with the idea of "what if" animals could become infected. One of my fave board games, Zombies, has an expansion pack called "Zombie Dogs" (and yes, this means that I actually have a bowl full of plastic glowing zombie dogs in my house (Rarely do I think about the fact that my family reads this blog, but when I write a line like that I wonder if they just shake their head and wonder about me...)).  And no, this expansion pack should not be confused with the Zombie Clowns expansion (you see why I love this game!?).

Zombie turtles I think I could deal with.  Zombie cats would likely just be as lazy as real cats (and we all know the way you trap a zombie cat is just to print out a fresh 300 page manuscript -- they can't resist!).  Zombie wasps would really suck.  Zombie cockroaches.... wait.... there'd prob be no difference.  Zombie elephants?  And of course we already know about the zombie unicorn.....

See how fun this thought experiment is?  Seriously, I really do love trying to come up with the craziest zombie animal I  can think of (and please feel free to leave your own thoughts on best/worst zombie animal in the comments!).

So of course I loved it when more than one person sent me a link to this article on zombie ants.  I'm just saying... one day....

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Sarah Cross + YAY Dull Boy!!!

Today is debut author Sarah Cross's birthday -- HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!  It's also the week her book, Dull Boy, comes out which is just way awesome.  I met Sarah through the 2009 Debutantes and let me tell you, she is just flat out one of the coolest people I know.  She's also the funniest.  I swear, every email I get from her or blog post I read leaves me almost crying from laughter.  I wish more than anything I could be an iota as clever as she is.

So naturally, I was super curious to read her book, Dull Boy.  I never really read comics growing up (the book is a super hero origin story) and so I wasn't sure how I'd like her book (or if I'd get it).  I got the ARC one evening when I was smack in the middle of deadline craziness and I started to read it.  And I couldn't put it down.   I'm serious, I was going on basically no sleep and wanted nothing more than to drift off and this book kept me riveted.  Clearly, the bottom line is that I LOVE THIS BOOK!  And I really really want everyone out there to read it because there's no way you won't love it too -- I can totally promise you that.  Just read her blog or check out her website to see how awesome this book and her characters and her voice is.

Don't just listen to me!  Kirkus says that Dull Boy is "a funny teen-super-team origin story" and is a "good bet for all teen sections" and just today Publishers Weekly describes Dull Boy as engrossing and also says, "Like the best superhero stories, Cross's novel has crisp action sequences and a good sense of humor, but also gets deep into the fears and struggles of teenagers who simply don't fit in."

So happy birthday Sarah Cross!!  And happy "it's almost your book's birthday" too!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Hey Y'all!  Sorry for posting this a little late - I spent the weekend in the mountains and accidentally left my power cord at home.  Ooops!  So that means I took a bit of a forced vacation (and I read If I Stay and started Suite Scarlett - yay!).  Today I'm excited to bring to y'all another debut novel, Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman.  Since it's set in a coastal Carolina town I'm totally picking it up -- I'm always partial to picking up a locally set book :)  I'm thinking I'll read this one over Memorial Day when I'm at the beach!

About the book:

What if the guy who took your breath away was the only one who could help you breathe?

Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels and working at the library. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.

This debut novel has it all—an endearing, funny, hopelessly romantic main character, lots of down-home Southern charm, and a sunny, salty beach setting that will transport you to the Carolina coast. 

About the author:

Cheryl Renée Herbsman lives in Northern California with her husband and two children, but she grew up in North Carolina and often spent summer vacations at the Carolina coast. Like Savannah, she fell in love as a teenager, and like Savannah and Jackson, she and her boyfriend carried on a long-distance relationship. They are now celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary.

The interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

I have to say there are many exciting moments. But I think it all really started with the call from my agent saying she wanted to represent me and that still stands out as one of the best.

Is there anything you can't write without?

I can only really write in a private, quiet space. It's hard for me to go deep enough inward to hear the story in public places like coffee shops or parks.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

indulge in me-time, go for a walk, eat chocolate :)

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

This is something Savannah says in Breathing:
"I know it's only dreaming. But I reckon if you go on and act like something is real, sometimes it just believes you."

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Hmm, I'm thinking fast zombies sound pretty scary, so I'd have to say anti :)

Friday, May 08, 2009


I couldn't be more ecstatic to share the news that I've sold the film rights to The Forest of Hands and Teeth to Seven Star Pictures!!!!!!!  Super SQUEE!!!

Here's what Publishers Weekly says about the deal:
Alan Nevins of Renaissance Literary & Talent has just closed film rights on Carrie Ryan's YA novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Nevins, who brokered the deal on behalf of Jim McCarthy at Dystel Literary, sold the book, which Delacorte Books for Young Readers published in March, to Seven Star Pictures (K-11, forthcoming). Nevins said the book, a zombie thriller set in colonial times about a girl who lives in a religious community in the woods and is equally worried about a zombie invasion and her planned marriage, is in line to "do for zombies what Twilight did for vampires." Supposedly Seven Star is developing the project for an-as-yet-unnamed A-list starlet, and fast-tracking the project with a first draft of the screenplay already in the works.
I totally still freak out just reading it!  Haha!!  It's also cool that Seven Star has added a little blurb about the project (complete with awesome photo) here.  Which, let me tell you, seeing that makes it feel totally real.

For those of you who are friends on facebook, you might remember me posting a while back about having a really good day (complete with picture) here.  That was the day I found out that all of this might be happening and the pic was taken when JP and I went out to celebrate!   It was, indeed, a really great day :)

So hooray!!!!  And huge thanks to Saundra Mitchell for answering my stupid questions and then making art to celebrate :)  Hugs and squees all around!!!!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Best. Video. EVER! Lara Zielin's Editing Letter.

Dudes.  I'm not kidding when I say this is one of my favorite videos ever.  Not only is it directly on point, it's really well done and HILARIOUS.  Basically, it's author Lara Zielin singing a song karaoke style to Corey Hart's "Never Surrender" about her editing letter for her book Donut Days.

Totally awesome and has made my day each time I've watched it!
Alas, you will never find me singing in public so extra kudos to Lara for that!!  (you can find a direct link to the video here).

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Great Flood of Aught Nine

So yesterday afternoon it started to rain (and thunder and lightning).  And it didn't really stop.  I figured we might start running into trouble when I noticed that the water running down the street was hitting the back of a car parked in front of our house and pouring into the yard.  We live on a park, just up the road from a little stream, and neighbors across the street are actually in a flood plain.  So when I saw them walking down barefoot to look back at the park, I thought we might have a problem.  Plus, I started to notice that cars would drive past our house and then turn around which meant the road might have flooded.

When JP got home from work we suited up (yay that I still had my sister's wellies from my trip to Ireland!) and went out to take a look.  Wow.  We figured the stream would be just a little high.  Nope, the ENTIRE park was flooded.  We're talking a river that's usually 10-15 feet below really steep banks had flooded.  Not only that, but fire and rescue was there with huge rafts because they had word that people had been trapped in the park (and I saw a guy going jogging in that direction right when the storm started --  not smart!)

Here are some pics we took (only had the iPhone hence no zoom).  The first is fire & rescue walking along the path.  Yeah, all that water?  So not supposed to be there.  It was as high as my wellies (and had snakes!!).  I'm standing on another path that's about 50 feet from the edge of the smaller creek and looking toward where the creek meets the river.

The second pic is looking out over the soccer fields.  If you click and make it bigger you can see that the water is almost to the top of the goals.  Our house is to the left, the river is WAY off to the right.  When we left the park (after the water had receded a TON) we saw kids swimming on the soccer fields.

The third pic is after the water started to recede (had stopped raining for about 20 minutes at this point.  This is the creek in front of us and beyond that is the parking lot.  To the right is the river.  In the distance you can see a car that got trapped by the water.

Totally crazy day!  What was funny is that I think we met more of our neighbors yesterday staring at the water than we have ever before.  As the rain eased, people just started pouring from their houses to come down and tell stories about the last time the park had flooded (no real consensus as to when that was, but it's only done it 3 times in 40 years according to one guy).

As far as we know, no one was injured in the park though apparently they had to pull some people out of the water.  It was definitely surreal to be sitting at my desk and see the fire trucks go by with the big orange rescue boats on top.  Anyway, that was my day yesterday!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

How we come up with ideas

One of my favorite blogs to reads is Pub Rants, agent Kristin Nelson's blog.  Every morning for years I've gone to her blog first thing and I've learned a ton about the industry from her.  I also credit her for being one of the reasons I'm where I am today.  Back in Spring 2006 she ran a fun little contest that I ended up winning -- the prize was a partial critique.  Problem was, I didn't have a partial.  This is what really got me laser focused on writing and what prompted me to start Dead Bodies and Debutantes (and then I wrote The Forest of Hands and Teeth when I needed a new project but couldn't get the protag of Debs and Death out of my head).  Incidentally, I "won" another contest she held (pitch critiques) and ended up getting a partial request which is how I became friends with Diana, without whose help I doubt I would have never subbed FHT.

See -- it really all does go back to Kristin (crazy, right?).   Anyway, one of the things I loved most about her blog (particularly before I sold) was reading what editors are looking for.  I found this peek into editor's wants fascinating.  I love speculating about the market but I was also one of those writers who tried to be aware of what's selling.  I spent a lot of time trying to come up with the most marketable ideas I could.

I've mentioned before that when I wrote FHT I was utterly convinced there would be no market.  I was positive that not only would agents auto reject my query, but that they'd pass it around so everyone could get a good laugh.  In fact, one of the reasons I even queried my agent, Jim , is that I knew he's recently sold an adult zombie book and therefore wouldn't laugh at the word "zombie" in my query.  When I was writing FHT sure there was The Zombie Survival Guide and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, but as far as I knew, zombies were never going to be a trend.

FHT was really the first time I wrote a book without caring about the saleability or the market for it.  I just loved the story and was tired of writing things I'd think would sell only to find out they wouldn't.  (Actually, now that I think about it I wasn't totally blind to some aspects of the market -- I knew I wanted it to be YA and so every time I tended toward a plot point that was too adult my critique partner would reign me in.)

So you can imagine how strange it was for me to catch up on Kristin's blog and find that in a recap of The London Book Fair she mentions how the UK is looking for "literary zombies."  My reaction was similar to one of the comments -- really?  literary zombies are a "thing" now?  Two commenters point out examples of literary zombies: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and FHT (thanks Mari Mancusi!).   And so suddenly I just had this utterly surreal moment of thinking of myself a few years ago reading Kristin's blog trying to learn as much about the market as I could and I know I would have been that anon commenter saying "truly, am I the only one who laughed at literary zombies?"  Really, could there be an aspiring author out there checking out that list going "hmmm... literary zombies..." and it getting their minds whirring?  I mean that would be awesome, but also totally surreal.

I really admire authors who are able to look at what editors are looking for or what's going on in the market and capitalize on it, especially since I spent so much time trying to do that and never could.  It's REALLY hard to do and so when an author's able to pull it off I think it's totally awesome.  One of those authors is Aprilynne Pike, whose debut WINGS is out today (to a ton of buzz and fanfare).  She's talked about how she came up with the idea in interviews and in her podcast (here) but essentially she was reading on Kristin Nelson's blog about the B&N buyer predicting faeries to be hot in YA.  That's what led Aprilynne to put two and two together -- she'd always loved faeries, she wanted to write YA and BAM - she decided to write a faerie YA book.  She then spent a lot of time crafting a unique spin, wrote the whole thing in less than two months and sold it in a four book series!

I love her story because I feel like it's something I tried so hard to do and failed (hey, even if I failed at least I now know the thought process wasn't totally skewed).  But I also love her story because ultimately it's so different than mine.  I love that two people can have a different approach and both succeed.  I think it just goes to show that everyone's path in this business is different!!

Hopefully all that makes sense - lol.  But the bottom line is ultimately, congrats to Aprilynne for her debut Wings!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter

Hello All!  Like I said, I have lots of 2009 Debs coming to visit this month and today I bring you Sydney Salter's debut, My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters.  I totally love this cover and everything I've read about this book makes me want to run out and pick it up!  

About the author:  

Sydney Salter held a variety of jobs before becoming a full-time writer, including her brief stint delivering pies and flowers, wrecking vans, and destroying wedding cakes in Reno, Nevada. Sydney now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two big Bernese Mountain dogs. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and, of course, baking and decorating cakes (but not driving them anywhere).

About the book:   

Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels wakes up on the first day of summer vacation with her same old big nose, no passion in her life (in the creative sense of the word), and all signs still pointing to her dying a virgin. In spite of her driving record (it was an accident!), Jory gets a job delivering flowers and cakes to Reno's casinos and wedding chapels. She also comes up with a new summer goal: saving for a life-altering nose job. She and her new nose will attract a fabulous boyfriend. Jory survives various summer disasters like doing yoga after sampling Mom's Cabbage Soup Diet, enforced-mother-bonding-with-crazy-nose-obsessed-daughter night, and discovering Tyler's big secret. But will she learn to accept herself and maybe even find her passion, in the creative (AND romantic!) sense of the word?

The Interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

Getting the final offer call from my agent. I was in the airport about to fly to SCBWI LA and it was so amazing to celebrate with my writer friends. Having my husband fly to LA for the weekend and meet me with champagne in the hotel bar wasn't too bad either : )

Is there anything you can't write without?

I try really hard to avoid writing rituals because I think they give us too many excuses not to write. I do love to drink tea while I write, though.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

I have yet to explode anything--hmm, maybe I should rethink that. I do like writing about falling in love, though.

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

"My friends had blossomed big and bold like the flowers on the Katie Bakes! van, while I struggled like the weeds in the middle of a cracked driveway."

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Bring on the speedy zombies, please! 

Friday, May 01, 2009

Suite Scarlett, Wings, and Third Printings

A friend's book came out today (Aprilynne Pike's Wings) and so decided to take a trip to my local Borders so I could take a picture and share in squee-tastic news. Also, I got a big honking coupon for Borders I could only use today :) I arrive at my local Borders only to find that the copy of Wings they have has already sold, but they had some at the other Borders and did I want to head down there? D'oh! I didn't even know there WAS another Borders!

So I snapped a photo of my book on the Original Voices stand (wahoo!) and headed on down the road. And of course I'm thinking (rather than listen to swine flu news, though had there been news of the zombie swine flu I'd have been paying rapt attention!) and it occurs to me, "You know what other book just came out?  The paperback of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson, one of my favorite people (and clearly one of the funniest.)"  And this got me even MORE excited about heading to this famed new Borders (even though it is far far away from home).

I arrive and what do I find?  More copies of The Forest of Hands and Teeth sitting up by the information desk!  So I ask if I can sign stock and I meet Lisa who is a fabulous bookseller and takes time to wander the shelves with me as we ooh and ahh over our favorite books (and I tell her about how Maureen Johnson is going to trapeze school as I nab my copy of Suite Scarlett).  Just about that time, another bookseller lets me know that they just got in more copies of my book and did I want to sign them?  When they come out I do what I always do - glance at the copyright page - and LO AND BEHOLD!   It's from a third printing!!

What a great day!  Not only do I get to find out fun news like third printings, but I get to dish books with a fellow book lover and I get Suite Scarlett and I get my friend Aprilynne's debut!!

I've feel like I've known Aprilynne forever, following her blog from before either one of us was agented or sold a book.  Not only was it just really awesome to be able to follow the news of her finding a fab agent and selling her series to Harper Collins, but I also got to become friends with her when we became debs.  We've been able to go through this whole process together.  She's really supported me when I needed it and I couldn't be more thrilled for her that her debut, Wings, is finally out!  I know she's going to have a fabulous release week :)

So have fun in trapeze school, Maureen and congrats on your release Aprilynne!

Debs Blog Tour: Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie

Hey y'all!  I have lots of authors stopping by on the Debs Blog Tour in May!  First up is C. Lee McKenzie and her debut, Sliding on the Edge!

About the book: 

Shawna Stone is a heartbeat away from making the worst mistake anyone can. She’s close to taking her own life. Kay Stone is a grandmother Shawna has never known, and at sixty-four Kay feels there is little left in her life to look forward to. When they are thrown together they circle each other in a crucible of secrets and distrust until saving a doomed horse unites them and gives each a reason to live.

About the author:

A native Californian, C. Lee McKenzie has always been a writer, but to eat and make contributions to children's college funds, she’s also been a university lecturer and administrator. Lee’s written and published non-fiction articles, both in her field of Linguistics and Inter-cultural Communication, and in general readership magazines. For five years Lee wrote, edited, and published a newsletter for U.S. university professors who were managing global classroom issues. Since she turned in her academic hat and began writing for young readers, Lee’s fiction and non-fiction works have been frequently published in the award-winning e-zine, Stories for Children, and Crow Toes Quarterly has published her ghostly tales. Sliding on the Edge is her first young adult novel. Writing for teen readers keeps Lee in touch with the young members of her family, and allows her to re-visit those wonderful years in life when everything is possible. When she isn’t writing, Lee’s hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos, California.

The Interview:

What's been one of the most exciting moments in your journey to publication?

It has to be when the editor said she wanted to publish my book. That was huge and nothing's really topped that. Seeing the ARC was next, especially with the super cover by Michael Morgenstern.

Is there anything you can't write without?

That would be my morning coffee. I can write almost anytime, anywhere, with anything, but don't tell me I can't have java when I start.

When stuck on a story which do you choose: write make-out scene or explode something?

Definitely I explode something. I've blown up bank vaults, hoarded mounds of pirate "bling," even cow patties. Very freeing this blowing up stuff.

Can you share a favorite line you've written either in this book or a WIP?

It's my first line in Sliding that I really like. "Something's wrong." That's how I felt when I began to write the book about self-abuse.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Do they have a fast gear? I'm going with anti on this one, just in case I'm ever chased by one of them.