Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake -- a must read! (plus giveaway)

Fabulous indeed!
I love this book.  That's all there is to it.  And it's out today so you should all go out and read it.

I've been a romance reader much of my life (from teens on).  During the year before I went to law school I discovered Julia Quinn and devoured her entire backlist, falling in love with Regency.  But once I started writing YA, I spent most of my time reading YA and hadn't picked up a romance novel, much less a Regency, in several years.

That changed when I picked up The Season by Sarah MacLean.  I met Sarah as a fellow Deb in the 2009 Debutantes and The Season was everything I loved about romance novels.  I stayed up late reading, I swooned and grinned and giggled and re-read passages just to experience the thrill over and over again.

As much as I love The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake tops it.  I was lucky enough to read it on my computer and I was so in love it that when my mom told me it was time to go shopping, I lugged my computer along so I could read in the car.  I could not put this book down.

Sarah MacLean reminded me why I loved reading romance novels.  Her heroine Callie is someone that I just instantly wanted to succeed -- not just in love but in life.  And her story isn't just about love, but about finding out who she is and what she wants.  And the hero, Ralston.... yummy with his own issues to overcome.

When reading this book, I felt every emotion on the page.  I was enthralled and in love and did I mention I swooned?  I love this book so much I've been dying for it to come out so I can spread the word.  Thanks to Sarah MacLean I've fallen in love with romance and Regencies again.  Thanks Sarah... now I'm dying for the next one!!!

In honor of this fantastic book, I'm giving away two autographed copies of Nine Rules.  To win, leave a comment below for an entry.  For extra entires, blog, tweet or facebook a link to this entry (another extra point for every time you use a copy of the cover when you blog, tweet or facebook).  Remember to tell me in the comments if you linked and if you used the cover image!  Contest ends Sunday at midnight!

Congrats on the release of such an amazing book, Sarah MacLean!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Last day of DTW tour - San Francisco

I always wanted to be on a NYMBC poster!
Wow, so I really thought I'd have more free time to blog while on tour but apparently not!  Today is my last day and I'm beyond excited to be topping off the tour with a visit to Not Your Mother's Book Club.  This is one of those things that I've watched so many authors do and I've always wanted to do it myself -- I'm gobsmacked that I actually get to now!  Squee!

I have only a smidge of time before I have to run out the door to some stock signings.  The tour so far has been fantastic and after that little "there's too much wind so no one can leave NYC" incident, the weather has been gorgeous.  I know it feels lame to blog about the weather of all things, but it's made me want to move to each and every city I've visited so far.

Tomorrow I fly home and try to organize my life which I don't think is going to be easy.  I have the blog to update with all sorts of amazing pictures and stories, I have taxes to complete, emails to return, interviews to complete, two short stories to copy-edit and a fiance to spend time with (not to mention two very ornery cats and dog).  Of course, JP is preparing for a big trial so who knows when I'll actually see him, even if I am in the same city again :)

And now thinking about going home makes me very very sad that this is all coming to an end and a sad blogger isn't a fun blogger so I think I'll sign off now.  Thanks to everyone who's come out to say hello and I can't wait until tonight!!! YAY!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

DTW tour: day ? - I'm still here.... somewhere

They drove from IN to Schuler Books!
Hey y'all!  I'm writing from Detroit mere hours before getting ready for a Zombie Prom tonight.  Yes, that's right -- ZOMBIE PROM!!!!  I can't tell you just how thrilled I am about this event and I promise to take pictures.  Yesterday I had a fantastic time up in Lansing at Schuler Books.  Krys and Whitney put on an amazing event (complete with pizza) and the crowd was just so great.  Earlier in the day I had a fun time at Haslett High School where the students grilled me on surviving the zombie apocalypse.  Perhaps it makes me a very strange person, but I always love debating various survival techniques.

Let me tell you, Lansing goes all out for St. Patty's Day.  Michelle (media escort) and I drove through Michigan State and there were green-clad students EVERYWHERE -- dangling from roofs, sprawled on lawns, furniture on sidewalks and lots and lots of green beer.  It was a gorgeous day so I totally understood the urge to be outside -- the entire place had such a festive feel to it.

Backing up a bit... Last week I was in NYC and apparently, it got quite windy.  So windy, in fact, that all modes of transportation were rendered inoperable.  I was supposed to fly out to Chicago on Saturday night and all was going according to plan when someone careened into the airport restaurant (I'd just ordered dinner) to say basically all flights were cancelled.  Yup, it was true.

Amazing publicists Kelly and Jessica totally kicked in and went above and beyond trying to reroute me (there was an event scheduled for early afternoon in Chicago I really REALLY wanted to make it to).  Of course, NYC had been canceling flights to Chicago all day so the earliest I could get there was Monday afternoon (just in time to fly to Detroit). So we decided I'd hop a train to Philly and catch a flight there.  I book it to Penn Station incidentally ending up with tickets on two different trains.  And then I wait.  With everyone else.

note the Eat, Prey Love sticker
I love this picture of us all staring up at the boards cause the girl in front of me is crossing her fingers so hard, clearly hoping the DC train boards.  When the board listed a track for us to board there was a quick cheer by the crowd and then crazy stampeding to the tracks (I'm surprised no one was crushed).  I made it to my seat and settled in.  And waited.  And waited.  For five hours.

Turns out, power was down on the tracks.  We were lucky to be in the station -- there were trains stuck out on the tracks with no power (which means no bathrooms - ick!).  After a while I realized how surreal it is to be an author who writes about post-apocalypse worlds to suddenly be in a situation where there was no escape.  Sure we were allowed to leave or go up to Penn Station, but there were definitely moments when I thought "there could be zombies up on the street and I'd have no idea."

There were plenty of people trying to find cars or flights or any other way out of the city who couldn't (rumor was the NJ turnpike was shut down).  Makes you realize how fragile our infrastructure is and next time a readers asks "would everything really fall apart that fast?" I can say "well, wind make it impossible to escape NYC!"

Also, I'd forgotten that when you throw strangers into a situation where things go wrong, they often become friends.  I ended up selling a copy of FHT to an Australian on the train :)
Me and adam talking zombies

Finally, we gave up and I stayed at a hotel and took a flight out the next morning.  When I landed in Chicago I went straight to my event with Adam Selzer, author of I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It.  Totally awesome book which I loved.

After that was dinner with a few very awesome and funny folks (and yummy food).  Yeah, I totally dug out my phone and shared pictures of my dog and cats.  I'm that kind of person, apparently.

On that note... it's time for me to prepare for the zombie prom.  You know you totally want to go!!  I promise to recap more soon!  Thanks to everyone who has come out to see me -- I've had so much fun meeting fans and chatting!  Y'all rock!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

me on tour... blog tour that is

My Dad tells me that I need to be blogging more.  I agree.  However, this won't be a long post because I still have a few miles left to go before I can sleep.  Right now I'm writing from Detroit having just come back from a signing at the Borders in Novi and polished off a dinner of blue cheese and bread that I stole from the little "snack room" down the hall (which has free diet cokes... this could spell trouble for me over the next two days!).

warm welcome at Jefferson JHS
So I promise to blog in the next day or two about everything so far which includes getting stuck on a train (and selling my book to an Australian in the process cause hey, there's always a bright side) and having some really and truly fabulous visits.  One thing I've learned on my trip is that media escorts totally rock -- they are just fascinating people with endless stories!  Also it's been really REALLY amazing to talk to fans and hear their thoughts and questions about my books -- nothing is really cooler than that.

Anyway, I'm just popping in today to share some links.  Today I kicked off a blog tour with the wonderful New York Times Best Selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith.  Read my interview with her here.  I also wrote a Big Idea piece for John Scalzi's blog about The Dead-Tossed Waves.

Over the next few weeks you can find me in the following places with guest blogs, interviews and top ten lists.  Thanks to everyone for hosting me!

3/16: Cynsations
3/17: The Book Smugglers
3/18: MTVNews.com “Hollywood Crush”
3/19: The Page Flipper
3/20: Through A Glass, Darkly
3/21: readergirlz
3/22: Mundie Moms
3/23: Cheryl Rainfield
3/24: Just Blinded Books
3/25: The Story Siren
3/26: Bildungsroman
3/27: Beautiful Creatures

Tomorrow I'll be at Schuler's Books and Music for a pizza party at 6 (yum!!) and on Thursday I'm going to a Zombie Prom (!!!!!) hosted by the Barnes and Noble in Rochester Hills (prom starts around 5 and my talk around 7 I *think*).  So can't wait for both of these events - squee!!!

Also, just a note to say that for some reason I'm not able to send mail from my work account (the one listed on my website) away from home so if you're wondering about the radio silence... that's why.  Sorry!!

And yes, Dad, I'm still alive :)  If you want to know what's going on in between blog posts you can follow my tweets here.  I tend to update them more often (easier to tweet on the fly).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New event in Chicago!

Hey y'all! Wanted to let you know about a new event just added to the schedule in Chicago. I'll be at the Harold Washington Library Center (400 South State Street) from 2-3 on Sunday (tommorrow), talking, signing books and hanging out! Hope to see you there!

Friday, March 12, 2010

DTW tour: day 3 - hello NYC!

looks apocalyptic, eh?
Hey y'all!  I'm writing from my hotel room in NYC!  My publicists are really spoiling me because this is my view (last night I sat on the window seat and talked to JP with the lights of the city -- it was really quite awesome!)  It was my first time ever taking the train and while I'm very used to how planes work, the train was something new.  Of course I ended up sitting backward but even that was okay because there was lots of space, great people watching, and a table for me to work (oh, also? the woman announcing the trains totally did the "AAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL aboard!" which was awesome!)

Yes, we got 2 double orders
Once in NYC I trekked down to the Random House offices which always fill me with a special kind of glee.  I wish I had a picture of my publicists Kelly and Jessica greeting me, but they had a sign with "New York Times Bestselling Author"on it in big red letters which was just hilarious and awesome.  I got to hang out, sign some books, catch up, thank people in person and just absorb the wonderful feeling of being surrounded by books and people who love books.  Then we all headed to dinner complete with table-side made guacamole and pomegranate margaritas -- totally awesome!

Brilliant Editor Krista
Sneaky publicist Kelly snuck away when we ordered dessert to tell them about my hitting the NYT list and that it was also my editor Krista's birthday.  So when the chocolate cupcake and churros came, one plate said Congratulations and the other said Happy Birthday!  So fun!  This is why I love working with all these women - they never miss a detail :)

Friday was lunch with my agent Jim who is always so much fun to hang out with.  We grabbed sushi and caught up on everything which is just so nice to be able to do in person.  Then I signed stock at the Union Square Barnes and Noble (where I spent so much time hanging out the summer JP worked in NYC and we lived nearby).

lunch on Thurs - pretty!
Friday afternoon was back to the Random House office to meet more people and sign more books (I still get a total thrill out of signing books!).  Then we headed off to Manhassett for the signing.  This was one of those crowds that was so fun to talk to because they were really into it.  One boy even said that he'd never been a reader before and his mom gave him The Forest of Hands and Teeth and it turned him into a reader -- that he loves books because of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Seriously, I almost broke into tears right then and there and gave both him and his mom a hug.  Totally TOTALLY amazing.

Tomorrow I'm SUPER excited about the event at Word in Brooklyn.  Apparently it's listed as one of the six events to make Your Perfect Weekend in Time Out New York magazine - eep!  They're serving zombie doughnuts at the event -- I can't wait to see what those are :)

zombies + paula abdul = perfect weekend.
I also think we've added an event with the Chicago Public Library on Sunday -- when I get more info I'll be sure to post it!  You can also follow The Dead-Tossed Waves facebook page for the most current info.

Thanks to everyone who has come out (esp in the cold rain today!) and said hello in person and to everyone who's emailed or tweeted!!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

DTW tour: day 1 - we have a launch!!

Yo ho ho
Hey y'all!!  I'm writing to you from overcast Baltimore (it's totally fine that it's overcast because yesterday was amazingly gorgeous!).  Even though the tour didn't start until yesterday, I flew up early on Sunday so that I could hang out with my pal and critique partner, Diana Peterfreund (she blogs about the visit here, including picture of me looking like I'm about to eat her dog's brains).  Yesterday, as per my amazingly organized and detailed itinerary (thanks Kelly and Jess!!) she drove me up to Baltimore where we strolled down to the docks near the hotel and partook of Maryland crab soup with a wonderful view.

Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for the signing and what should have been a calm ordered afternoon turned into a circus.  First, the room was 90+ degrees which meant we had engineers coming in and out (couldn't switch rooms for some reason).  That was fine, I got to hear some pretty funny stories about things gone wrong in the hotel :)  Then someone came and dropped off wine and cheese -- always appreciated and happy-making :)  And then the phone rang about seven times -- the front desk with a package, the engineer checking in, etc.  Thank goodness Diana was here to field everything as I ran around trying not to get nervous!

Emma Joanne and I
Trusty rent-a-pal and escort Craig picked us up and drove us out to The Childrens Booksstore for the launch of The Dead-Tossed Waves!!  They had signs up, books displayed and were just wonderful.  It's a great little bookstore that has that feeling when you walk in that makes you want to just stay and sit and read.  I prob read a little too fast (I'm still not used to reading my own work out loud) and had just a total blast talking to everyone.  I even got to run into a family who'd been at my The Forest of Hands and Teeth launch in Greenville and a few other people I'd chatted with online.

All in all it was a fantastic event -- I really adore when everything's relaxed enough that we can all sit around and chat and have fun!

Eat. Prey. Love.
Then it was back to the hotel where Diana and I set off in search of more food.  As it turns out, there's a gorgeous Barnes & Noble in an old building near the harbor-area and so we stopped by to sign stock.  That's where I got my first glimpse of the book dump in real life and there was much squee-ing from me :)

Today I'm supposed to be catching up on blog tour posts but don't tell my publicist that I might sneak out this afternoon to go explore that really cool ship and make a visit to the National Aquarium right down the block.  I LOVE aquariums and don't want to miss this one :)

Tomorrow I'm off to NYC!!  Here's the info on where I'll be and when!!

Thanks everyone for all the love yesterday -- I can't tell you how amazing it was to open my email or twitter feed and see the mentions of The Dead-Tossed Waves!!  It really felt like one huge party that lasted all day :)  I also woke up to find out that my local paper, The Charlotte Observer, had an article about me on the front page!  And then I saw that MTV reviewed DTW and had wonderful things to say!

I'm sure I'm forgetting all sorts of stuff I planned to blog about today :)  I've been trying hard to keep posting to my twitter feed though!  Thanks again y'all for sharing all this with me!!!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Williamsburg vacation

Living in the South-East growing up, both JP and I went to Williamsburg at some point or another for history class and I'd pretty much not given it much thought beyond that.  But then for our first Valentine's day while in law school JP surprised me with a trip up there and it sort-of became our new tradition.  It's amazing how easy it is to slip away from the real world when you're there -- to take the time to stroll around outside and take pictures of cows and talk about what life would have been like then or share stories or convict a fictional woman of being a witch (for the record, JP and I voted not guilty and had an absurdly in depth conversation afterward about the evidentiary burdens of such things -- you can take the girl out of the law but not the law out of the girl apparently).

We've stayed somewhere different each year and this time we stayed at a tavern right on the main street.  Tiny room but nothing beats stepping outside and seeing a gang of fife and drum players going by. It just feels like stepping into another world, especially when it's the dead of winter and there's hardly anyone else around so the place feels like it belongs only to the ghosts and us.

We did a bunch of walking around, drove the Yorktown and Jamestown loops enjoying a sunny sky and spent the obligatory afternoon at the Williamsburg Winery (where JP proposed to me two years ago).  We ate lots and LOTS of yummy food :)

We also played this game called Once Upon a Time which was awesome!  Basically, there are two decks of cards: one with endings and one with people, places, descriptions, etc.  You deal an ending to each player and then a mish-mash of the other cards and the object of the game is to tell a story using your cards to get to that ending (and you can interrupt other players at certain times).  Winner is the first to play all cards.

We set a fire in the tavern common room and turned down the lights and opened a bottle of wine and jiggered the rules a bit -- basically we had one common ending ("And for all I know they may be dancing still") and we chose cards from our hands and passed them to the other player and they had to use that card to continue the story.  It ended up being really amazing -- probably took a couple of hours to tell this story that we got totally wrapped up in.  One of the best nights ever!

Sometimes it's nice to step into another world to get away from it all :)

Today I'm in Baltimore hanging with the fab Diana Peterfreund before The Dead-Tossed Waves comes out tomorrow and the official tour starts.  SQUEE!  Oh!!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

New York Times!!!

I have news!! I'm so crazy happy and excited and overwhelmed and just flat out giddy to announce that the paperback of The Forest of Hands and Teeth just debuted at #8 on the New York Times Best Seller List!!!! HOLY COW!!  Even more awesome and cool is that Cynthia Leitich Smith also debuted on the list at #5 for her book Eternal!  How wonderful that we get to share this experience together!!

Here's how it all went down... I was racing around Greenville with my mom all day Wednesday picking up some last minute things for the The Dead-Tossed Waves tour (like a suitcase, socks, shoes) and I finally got in the car to drive home around 4:00pm.  Since I'd been out of town for a long weekend with JP, I called my friend Diana to chat and catch up during the drive.  About five minutes into the call I saw a 212 number flash on my screen and said something like "Oh, that's New York calling - I should get this" (I still always get such a thrill when I see the 212 number - lol).  I figured it might be my publicist calling to chat about release details or whatnot.

Nope, it was my editor Krista.  So here's the thing -- I know that a call from your editor around 5ish on Wednesday afternoon/evening often means one thing: the NYT list released and they're hopefully calling with happy news.  I've had some great friends go through this but it never ONCE crossed my mind this could be the reason for Krista's call.  NOT ONCE!

This was the gist of the call:

Krista: I have some good news!
Me: Ooh exciting!  What? (thinking that perhaps she got a review or numbers or something fun).
Krista: Guess who's a New York Times Bestselling Author?
Me: Who? (thinking it odd that she'd call to tell me about another author of hers hitting the list).
Krista: You are!
Me:  What?!?! NO!
Krista: Yes!
Me: No!  What? You're kidding.  That can't be right.  Trust me, that isn't right.
Krista: (laughing) It's true!  You're number 8!
Me: No way!  What?  No.  I don't believe you.
Krista: Yes!
Me: NO! What?!  NO!!!  Seriously?  OMG!

This went on for a while until I basically started screaming and almost sobbing and having a hard time catching my breath while going 80 mph down the interstate.  Stunned doesn't even begin to capture the feeling.  Neither does euphoric or elated.  It was just one of those pure states of emotion where I felt like my body might explode in a burst of happy light.  

And then I got to call my friends and family and let them know and hear them scream like I had!  Honestly, being able to share the news with so many people who've supported me and loved me through it all was just about one of the best feelings ever (and included serenades from the back of a taxi :)  I can't thank my friends, family, agent and editor and publicist and everyone else at Random House Children's Books enough for all their support and encouragement and just awesomeness!  And thanks to y'all and all readers and booksellers and buyers and teachers and librarians -- I'm honored and grateful and so amazingly thankful!

So that's my news!  My pinch-me-can-this-really-be-true news!  I made it home and JP took me out to dinner to celebrate with champagne and I've been floating ever since!  Incredible amazing feeling!

And that's just part of the awesome week it's been!! On Monday RHCB released the book trailer for The Dead-Tossed Waves and I think it's stunning!  The kiss -- oh that kiss -- is just sooooo perfect and hot!

I feel so lucky to now have to fantastic trailers for my books!  Thanks RHCB!!!

Also cool: Random House has set up a fan page for The Dead-Tossed Waves on facebook - you can find it here.

I still feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get things in order before I leave for the tour on Sunday (squee!!!).  I have to do fun things like get taxes in order, iron clothes and pack!  But I'm just so excited and smiling and crazy happy!  More squeees!!!

Thanks all of y'all for sharing this with me!!!  And thanks for buying my book!!  I can't wait to meet so many of y'all in person during the tour!

(Just a note that Friday is the last day to pre-order signed copies of FHT and DTW in order to have them shipped on release day!  You can keep ordering after that but if you want them personalized they won't ship out until the end of March when I get back into town to sign them (likewise with any SASEs I get after I leave for tour on Sunday).)