Saturday, December 10, 2011

Writing Workshop in Charlotte

Hey Y'all!  Just wanted to let you know about a writing workshop I'll be giving at the Myers Park branch of the Mecklenburg County Library (Charlotte, NC) on Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM.  Here's a link for more info!

I hope to see you there!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Teen Read Week in Florida! [updated with B&N event]

I love Teen Read Week and I also love the sun which is PERFECT because I'll be spending the latter half of Teen Read Week in Florida this year! WAHOO! You can find all the details on the flyer below or by checking out the events page of my website.  I hope I'll see y'all there!!!

UPDATED TO ADD! I'll also be doing an event at the Melbourne, FL B&N on Friday at 6PM! It's the perfect time of year to be talking about zombies so I hope to see you there!  More details here.

Monday, October 03, 2011

A few odds and ends on events and stories

I've been writing a lot recently and when I write I tend to go blog quiet because I don't really know what to talk about.  I've never been comfortable sharing details of what I'm working on and all my other blog ideas get turned into tweets or forgotten.  But I can say that I've just finished up another short story (not set in the Forest of Hands and Teeth world) and I'm excited about it and the other stories I'll have coming out in the next while!  In fact, I should probably write a whole post about my upcoming short stories... I'll start working on that!

MEANWHILE, I have odds and ends to share!

First up, EVENTS!  I'm leaving first thing in the morning (Tuesday) for Detroit to meet up with Melissa Marr and Jennifer Lynn Barnes and then we're driving to Lansing, MI to meet Simone Elkeles, Rachel Caine and Melissa de la Cruz for the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour! WAHOO!!  Here are the details.

I was so lucky to be able visit Schuler Books and Music for The Dead-Tossed Waves tour and it's an absolutely fantastic store full of really wonderful and passionate booksellers.  I'm so thrilled to be returning!!

I'll also be traveling to Florida the weekend of October 21-22 to celebrate Teen Read Week with a bunch of visits scheduled.  Preliminary details are here and I'll update my appearances page as soon as I know more!  I can't wait!!!

Another event that will be chock full of YA/MG authors is YALLfest in Charleston, SC the weekend of November 11-12.  Check out all they have going on here.

Then in December I'll be giving a teen writing workshop right in my backyard in Charlotte, NC.  I'm really really excited about this and will post more info when I have it.  The Myers Park Branch of the Mecklenburg County Library system will be hosting and the event will be open to area teens.  Yay!

Next, I've had a few recent RELEASES!

ENTHRALLED: Paranormal Diversions, a collection of stories edited by Kelley Armstrong and Melissa Marr just came out last week!  You can read more about it and order it from your local indie here.

My short story is SCENIC ROUTE and is set soon after the zombie apocalypse that leads to The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  It's about two sisters who hide out on top of a mountain where they think they're safe and plan for the day they can take the ultimate road trip.

I'm really happy that this anthology has been getting some fantastic reviews!  Of Scenic Route, VOYA says, "the suspense and violence of which will please fans of The Forest of Hands and Teeth" and Kirkus says, "allows for the sometimes-neglected horror implied in paranormal stories to be spotlighted, as in Carrie Ryan's zombie thriller, 'Scenic Route.'"

About the collection as a whole SLJ writes, "These consistently well-written stories offer something for every taste, whether it’s dark, edgy, and violent or funny and sweet."

So congrats to Kelley and Melissa for putting together such a strong anthology and thanks for letting me be involved!

Another recent release I have a piece in is DEAR BULLY.  You can learn more about it and order it from your local indie here.  This is a collection of tons of YA/MG authors talking about bullying and their experiences.  My contribution, Dear Caroline from Canada, is a letter I wrote to a girl I became friends with on a cross-country bus tour of the US.

Caroline really changed my life that summer though I'm sure she has no idea.  She taught me to not listen to gossip, to stand up for people and to be compassionate even if it risks your own reputation.  Now if only I could find her to send her that letter...

So I guess I now need to go put some laundry in, run errands and pack before heading out to Detroit in the morning!  If you're in the Lansing, MI area come out to the Smart Chicks tour tomorrow evening!  I promise it will be loads of fun!!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Foretold Announcement!

I have news! Super exciting news that I've been sitting on for ages but that I can finally finally share!  I sold a book!  An anthology, actually, and I'm so in love with the authors involved that I can hardly contain myself!  The title is FORETOLD and it's a collection of stories about prophecies and predictions that will be coming out in the Fall of 2012.

Here's the official announcement from Publishers Marketplace:
NYT bestselling author Carrie Ryan, ed.'s FORETOLD, an anthology about prophecies and predictions featuring stories by Laini Taylor, Jen Lancaster, Meg Cabot, Richelle Mead, and Michael Grant among many others, to Krista Marino at Delacorte, for publication in Fall 2012, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.  

Here's my response: SQUEEEEEEE!!!!

Here's the list of authors as it stands now (this isn't the final list -- once it's final I'll make sure to post the updates)!

Meg Cabot
Richelle Mead
Jen Lancaster
Michael Grant
Laini Taylor
Heather Brewer
Lisa McMann
Kami Garcia
Margaret Stohl
Matt de la Peña
Malinda Lo
Diana Peterfreund
Saundra Mitchell

This entire experience has just been a total dream and I still pinch myself when I get emails from these authors because I'm such a huge fan of their work!  It's been truly awe-inspiring to have had the chance to work with such wonderful and creative and just flat out amazing writers.  I can't wait to share their stories with you because they rock!

I promise that when I have more info to share (covers, details, etc etc) I'll post them here!  YAY!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Impact of One Person

There are two things that led me to start this post.  First was a video by John Green about the impact author Ilene Cooper had in his life by mentoring him through the writing of Looking for Alaska.  Second was the news that my former high school director, Bill Dingledine, was in a cycling accident that sent him to the ICU.  The good news is that it looks like he'll be okay - thank goodness he was wearing a helmet! 

In his video John says that the only reason Looking for Alaska exists, the only reason he has a job writing books, etc., is because of Ilene and it made me realize that all along the paths of our lives there are people who have such influence on who we are and where we're going that without them... we wouldn't be where we are.  

Bill Dingledine is one of those people for me.  

I like to think that when you begin a story it's like you're standing at the base of a tree and you look out at all the myriad of branching possibilities before you with no clear path where the story will lead you.  But when you get to the end of the story -- way out onto the very tips of one of those highest branches -- you can look backward and see the inevitability of the path to where you've come.  There is a direct line from the base of the tree, through all the splits and choices, to where you are now.

Life is like this too.  And when I look back over the many forks that have led to where I am today I realize that Bill Dingledine was there guiding my way and helping me forward.  He was a teacher and an administrator who encouraged all students and made every one of us feel unique and important.  I remember sitting in his office when he called Williams College to find out if I'd been admitted early decision (which means he's the one who got to give me the good news).  

When I found myself home from college one summer without a job, Bill hired me to teach SAT prep classes for him (he'd moved on from his job at my former high school to running The Princeton Review in my hometown).  It was through this job that I learned confidence in myself and in standing in front of large groups of teens which has proven hugely useful for when I'm on tour.

He encouraged my interest in cycling and let me tag along for races, helping out where I could.  When I graduated from college he again offered me a job which led to me teaching the LSAT which led to me scoring high enough on that test to get into Duke Law (which led to me meeting my husband, falling in love with zombies and writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth).  And throughout all of that Bill probably wrote a dozen letters of recommendation on my behalf: for various schools, for jobs, for fellowship applications.

In essence, Bill was always a cheerleader and he never once told me "No, you can't do that," or "No, I don't have time for you."  And there's so much more that I learned from Bill as well.  He's someone who volunteers at the local Soup Kitchen every week and someone who shows a tremendous amount of compassion.  And as you can imagine, being the head of a high school with a last name like Dingledine probably wasn't the easiest thing in the world but he was always willing to laugh at himself -- volunteering to be the fall man in school skits if it was for a good cause.  He showed up to soccer games and field hockey games and school plays not just to cheer on his own kids, but to cheer on all of us.  

Sometimes I think it's the way of teachers and administrators that they put so much effort into their students and then we go out into the world and we tackle life and so often we never realize the impact of those individuals on our lives.  The English teacher to encouraged us to keep writing (Mrs. Carter), the Biology teacher who instilled in us a love for the macabre (Mr. Titmus) or the first grade teacher who so enthusiastically loved all her students that we couldn't help but take risks, knowing she was there to support us and catch us if necessary (Mrs. Cochran).

Too often we grow up and forget to thank those people who helped us get where we are today.  It shouldn't take hearing that they've been in an accident to do so and while I've thanked Bill in the past, I'm not sure he knows just how much he's impacted my life.  I wouldn't be who I am and where I am if it wasn't for his boundless love and support and for that I am eternally grateful.  Thank you, Bill for being such a loving mentor, ardent cheerleader, and for being so giving with your time and energy!  I know I'm not the only one whose life you changed.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Night in Paris

When the waiter at the restaurant overlooking Notre Dame suggested my husband and I stay for un cafe or another glass of wine, perhaps we should have listened.  I'd been sitting with my back to the river and he had a perfect view of the oncoming storm.  Hand in hand, JP and I strolled across the bridge while to our left the clouds gathered.

"Those clouds look ominous, maybe we should go back?" one of us suggested but the other waved the idea away.  We'd already been caught in the rain once today and scurried under one of the bridges crossing the Seine where we stumbled on an impromptu street magician show.  It turned into a entertaining foray -- damp Parisians and tourists huddled around a man with fewer teeth than buttons on his morning coat as he spent time queuing up C+C Music Factory on his iPod.

"We'll just dash back under a bridge if the storm breaks," we decided as we moved farther and farther away from the shelter of the restaurant awning.  Besides, the hour-by-hour weather forecast we'd checked that afternoon indicated the night should be clear.

The first drops hit as we crossed the bridge from Ile de la Cite to the right bank of the Seine.  We ran for the steps down to the waterfront only to find them barricaded with a guard to dissuade entry.  Our next best option was a row of trees dotting the road.

"It can't storm as hard as before," one of us said as my husband put his back to the tree, tucking me in his arms while the spread of branches above kept the first stirrings of rain from reaching us.

When the wind began and the water came at us sideways, we knew we were in trouble.  We were still against the Seine and the other side of the street was nothing but a parade of blank facades -- not an awning or overhang to be seen.

There was a moment we both wondered if this would ruin our night.  It had already been such a fantastic day -- we'd arrived in Paris just before noon and had time to stroll around this brand new city before settling into a hotel that was even better than we'd imagined.  We'd spent the afternoon wandering -- every street a wonder of beauty and history that was overwhelming in scope.

I stood on my toes and kissed my husband, in the rain, under a tree during a storm in Paris.  We both laughed.  What does a little bit of rain matter when you're in love in a city that's designed for such a thing?

We assumed we were as drenched as we were going to get before we stepped out of the ineffective shelter of the tree.  We were wrong.  But somehow, that didn't matter.  As we strolled along the streets, cars splashing by, we wondered when the last time was we'd played in the rain.  Suddenly it felt so adult-ish to fear a bit of falling water -- we felt free and giddy as we passed by bus shelters packed full of half-dry people huddled against the wind swept drops.

Eventually the rain ended and the night cleared as we made our way back to the hotel holding hands.  A few people tucked neatly under umbrellas laughed at us when they scurried past but we weren't the ones to feel sorry for.  We were loving this night!

We stopped at a light and glanced across the street where a large stone arch stretched between construction sites and, on a whim, we decided to cross and check it out, not sure where it led.  As we walked through the stone entrance we found a group of Parisians, huddled away from the last dregs of rain and passing around bottles of red wine in white plastic cups.  Their laughter echoed, following us as we stumbled into a massive courtyard.

The rain washed everyone from the streets, those few who remained were still tucked under anything that could afford a bit of shelter.  But we were already soaked so what did a few wayward drops mean to us?

That's how we found ourselves, utterly alone, in the Cour Carree of the Louvre.  It was breathtaking, even more so for being totally unexpected.  We'd known we were close to the Louvre but during the day it had been so packed with tourists it was impossible to know that such a courtyard even existed.  It was by total accident we'd ended up here now.

Lights reflected off the fountain and puddles as we walked around, gazing through windows at ceilings covered with frescos.  With damp fingers we held hands, strolling through the night wondering what life was like hundreds of years ago when the ornately decorated walls protected kings and queens.

When we made our way into the Cour Napoleon, known for its steel and glass pyramid, a few more people were tempting the post-storm night, most of them setting up cameras to capture the emptiness.  We strolled among them, marveling how just hours ago this space had belonged to thousands who crowded through it and now it belonged to so few.

It felt like the night was ours, that Paris belonged to us.  The weather was clearing, the Eiffel Tower glowing bright across the Seine.  We tried to take a picture but the night was still too dark around us and besides, the memory burned deeper than any photo could capture.

Friday, July 01, 2011

ALA 2011

WOW!  I feel so crazy lucky to have had the chance to attend three library-focused conventions this year: ALA Midwinter in San Diego, TLA in Austin in April and ALA Annual in New Orleans.  At each one I had the chance to meet so many amazing new people and run into old friends.  Also, since I’m terrible at saying good-bye, it’s been kinda nice being able to say, “I’ll see you in a few months at the next convention!”

And of course, as usual, I totally neglected to take many pictures (why do I always fail at this!?).

ALA began for me on Thursday, flying into NOLA and meeting Jackson Pearce at the airport (we were renting a car together).  Jackson rightly pointed out that somehow we’ve ended up seeing each other every two months for several years… it just seems to work out that way (which makes me quite happy since Jackson is so much fun!). 

We drove into the Garden District where friends had rented a house so in a sense the whole trip was part writing retreat and part ALA.  The house was really awesome -- one of those big rambly types with bathrooms hidden in odd nooks.  Plus it had a pool table/ping pong table that got lots and lots of use J

Friday I headed down to Beau Monde to meet Laini Taylor, her husband and editor for beignets.  So tasty and fully of powdery suger goodness?  We ambled around the French Quarter for a while as I tried not to fangirl all over Laini because I’m such a massively huge fan of her writing.  Then it was off to lunch with another friend, an afternoon hanging out in a hotel lobby (which turned out pretty great because  got to meet some very cool people) and a stealth invite to a party that night (including dancing which I haven’t done in ages and let me just say, there are some NYC pub folk who can seriously dance J)

Saturday was another full day at the convention, stalking down ARCs, meeting people, fangirling over authors…. Typical stuff J  I felt like every time I turned around there was someone new to meet.  And because everyone there shares the same love of books it sometimes feels easier to just introduce yourself to a stranger (I pounced on a few people from my home states of NC and SC).

That night I joined Tessa Gratton and we headed off to the Random House Children's Books party during which there was much revelry and fun (with bonus MardiGras beads!).  From there a group of us including James Kennedy and Daniel Kraus headed off to a long dinner at the W Hotel with Jackson Pearce, Natalie Parker, Tessa, Brenna Yovanoff, Cassandra Clare and Javier Ruescas which included much merrymaking.  (Again, how do I fail at taking photos of these things?).  And yes, I ate fried alligator.  And bananas foster (which came with waffles... is that normal?)

Sunday was yet another day hitting the floor to see the likes of Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle.  We ran into Jennifer Lynn Barnes which was awesome because I love her and it somehow TOTALLY escaped my attention she'd be there.  So we grabbed her and Jo Whittemore for lunch -- such a treat!

And yes, if you're starting to get the impression that these events are my definition of utopia, I think you're right: good food, good people, good books... seriously, what could be better?

Monday was a day off at the house (we did manage to track down some shrimp poboys) with much revelry.  This is a group of writers who have been doing retreats for several years now and it's always really wonderful to touch base because we always make sure to talk goals and dreams and where we are in our careers/life and where want to be.  

Tuesday I had the great fortune of running into AS King, Eric Wight and Snow Wildsmith in the NOLA airport and even greater fortune of being able to sit with Snow for the flight home!  

I got to stay at home for one whole day and now I'm at the beach to celebrate the 4th with my in-laws and then it's up to another beach to spend with my family.  Of course there will be much writing because deadlines loom... but at least I'll be writing with a fantastic view :)

In fact, my mother-in-law just announced it's time to go crabbing so I'm taking my rancid turkey neck and heading off to the creek!

Thanks to everyone in NOLA and at ALA for making the entire even so utterly fantastic! I can't wait for next year :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


So sorry for the delay in posting some of these winners -- I've been caught up writing and doing little else all week :)  It's been one of those weeks where I'm so immersed in the book that at the end of the day I just sort of stare off into space blankly, no words left for conversations.

Without further ado, the winners of my recent giveaways!  Winners, email me at carrie [at] with your address and I'll drop these in the mail!  If I don't hear from you by Thursday, June 23 then it might be a while before I'm able to send the prizes (I'll be out of town for a while).  Let me know if you'd like the books/audiobooks autographed to anyone and if so, what name.

Winning an ARC of Enthralled: Alex Bennett from More Than Just a Book!

Winning the audiobook of The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Emily (left the comment at 7:22PM)

Winning the audiobook of The Dead-Tossed Waves: jpetroroy

Winning the audiobook of The Dark and Hollow Places: S. F. Robertson

Thanks to everyone for commenting!  I'd just created an account and now I have a huge list of great titles to check out!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Trial by Fire, Chapter 3

I'm so excited to be hosting a sneak peek of Jennifer Lynn Barnes upcoming book Trial by Fire!

If you don't know Jen, she is awesome both as a person as a writer.  She's wicked smart, crazy cute, super nice and just someone that I look up to immensely.  She's also phenomenally talented (her The Squad books are still some of my favorites) and one of the many things I just thought was fascinating about Raised by Wolves, the prequel to Trial by Fire, is how dead on Jen gets the pack dynamics of her werewolf world.  Which of course shouldn't be surprising since she studies pack dynamics, but still -- it's was really really cool and fantastic!

This week I'm part of a chapter trail to celebrate Trial by Fire's release on Tuesday, June 14th!  To read the first two chapters go here: Chapter One at Ally Carter's Blog & Chapter Two at Sarah Rees Brennan's Blog and for chapter four check out Rachel Vincent's blog tomorrow!  So, without further ado here's Chapter Three of Trial by Fire!

Trial By Fire
a Raised by Wolves Novel
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


After—but only partially because of—the bombshell I’d dropped on the boys, Thanksgiving dinner proved to be a tense state of affairs. Casey had to leave the table twice: once when Mitch’s hand brushed Ali’s as he reached for the salt, and once when Katie started bawling and Mitch was the one to reach out and distract the temperamental little miss from the indignity of being stuck in a high chair. As for Devon and Chase, they were acting even more high-strung than Ali’s ex.

Apparently, my distraction had worked a little too well, leaving the two of them closing rank around me, like the Thanksgiving steak—a vaunted Were tradition—might leap off the table at any moment and attempt an assassination.

It was just a dream, guys.

I sent the words to the two of them through the bond, thankful that I’d mastered this part of being an alpha and didn’t have to worry about other members of our pack overhearing.

I’m fine. I’m going to be fine, and if either of you move your chairs even a centimeter closer to me, you’re going to be picking stuffing out of your hair while trying to pry my foot out of your you-know-what.

The humorless expression on my face sold that threat. I wasn’t some weak little human girl anymore. For that matter, I’d never been some weak little human girl. I was a survivor, I was their alpha, and I could take care of myself.

“Ouch!” The cry escaped my mouth before I could stop it, and on either side of me, Chase and Devon leapt to their feet.

“Problem?” Ali asked mildly, amusement dancing in the corners of her eyes. Given the whole Casey thing, I didn’t think she had call to be in such a good mood, but what did I know?

“No problem,” I said darkly, rubbing my shin. “Somebody just accidentally kicked me under the table.” I narrowed my eyes at Lake, and she helped herself to another T-bone and smothered it in steak sauce.

“Wasn’t an accident,” she said cheerfully.

“Lake.” Mitch didn’t say more than his daughter’s name, and she rolled her eyes.

“It’s not like I shot her.”

There was a retort on the tip of my tongue, but I was pretty sure Lake had kicked me because she’d picked up on my saying things she couldn’t hear, and I really didn’t want to open up that topic of conversation to the table at large. The boys’ overprotective act was conspicuous enough as it was.

Note to self: in the future, I needed to be more careful about how I changed the subject.

I’ll tell you later, Lake, I said silently. Promise.

Lake met my eyes and nodded, all thoughts of further under-the-table violence (hopefully) forgotten.

I reached out to dish up seconds, and the door to the restaurant opened. Casey crossed the room and slid back into his seat, composure regained. Even though I’d gotten used to his presence, something shifted inside my body. I took a long drink of water and gave my pack-sense a chance to acclimate again, only this time, it didn’t.

Foreign. Wolf.

Through the heavy scent of homemade gravy and pies baking in the oven, I couldn’t even pick Casey’s scent out of the crowd’s, but what I was feeling now had nothing to do with the five senses and everything to do with my psychic bond to the Pack. The niggling sensation persisted, and the longer I waited for it to pass, the larger it got.

Foreign. Wolf.

That was when I realized that I wasn’t sensing Casey. It was something else. Someone else.

Across the table, Mitch glanced toward the door, and then he looked at me.

“Get the kids to the back,” he said.

I turned immediately to Maddy, and with the quiet efficiency that had always made her a leader among the Rabid’s pint-sized victims, she ushered the others away from the table, even Lily, who let loose a comically high-pitched growl at the thought of being separated from her food.

“Now, Lily.” I added my voice to Maddy’s, but my thoughts were on Mitch, who’d already started reaching for the gun he and Keely kept behind the counter.

Ali didn’t ask what was happening. She didn’t have to. Within seconds, she had Katie in one arm and Alex in the other, and she met Casey’s eyes.

“Are you staying or coming?” she asked him calmly.

I could see the temptation of going with Ali warring with Casey’s lupine desire to prove himself—to Ali and to the rest of her pack.

“This is Cedar Ridge business,” I told Casey quietly. “We’ve got it covered.”

The dagger eyes Casey shot me in that moment made me realize that he hadn’t forgiven me for being the straw that broke his marriage’s back.

He wouldn’t ever forgive me.

Foreign. Wolf.

Right now, I had bigger issues than Casey.

“If I asked you to come with us, would you come?” It took me a second to figure out that Ali was addressing that question to me, not Casey.

I didn’t answer.

Ali started again. “If I told you to come, would you— You know what? Never mind, but if there’s a hair out of place on your head when I get back, be forewarned, I will kill you, alpha or not.”

With those words, Ali followed Maddy and the rest of the younger kids back into the kitchen, out of sight and, hopefully, out of harm’s way. After a long moment, and another glare in my direction, Casey retreated, leaving only five of us to meet the coming threat.

Devon, Lake, Mitch, Chase, and me.

Foreign. Wolf.

This time, the feeling was so strong that it brought me onto the balls of my feet. There was a foreign wolf on our territory. My territory. He’d come without permission, on an evening when the bar was closed. Teeth gnashed in the recesses of my brain, painting the walls of my mind red with blood as I realized the potential for this to end badly.

Very badly.

The werewolf Senate hadn’t been happy with the idea of a human alpha, and there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t think about the fact that I had something most male Weres wanted very, very badly.

Maddy. Lake. Lily, Katie, Sloane, Ava, Sophie . . .

Their names blended together in my mind, and the adrenaline pumping through my veins turned angry and cool. Most werewolves were male. Natural-born females, like Katie and Lake, survived to birth only because they’d been half of a set
of twins, and most packs didn’t have more than a handful of females, period.

Ours had nine, all of them young, none of them mated. As long-lived as werewolves were, most wouldn’t have batted an eye at the idea of taking possession of a female and waiting a decade or two for her to grow up.

If I had to, I’d tear this intruder to shreds with my bare hands to keep our girls safe.

“You even think of telling me to turn tail and hide, and I’ll laugh you out of Montana proper.” Lake’s words left no room for argument, but we both knew that if I wanted her to leave, I could make her leave. That was what it meant to be alpha.

I met Lake’s eyes. “Wouldn’t dream of it,” I said. Alpha or not, forcing my will on someone else wasn’t what it meant to be me.

An alien smell—snake oil and vinegar, feces and blood—permeated the thick wooden door, strong enough that even my human nose could make it out, and though none of the five of us moved, the shift in the room was unmistakable. My pack was ready to fight, and I was ready to let them—and to do what I could to back them up—but whoever the intruder was, he never crossed the threshold of the door.

There was a loud thump outside, like a duffel bag being dropped onto cement, and then a high-pitched gargle—half choke, half whine—filled the air.


The smell—and the meaning behind it—finally registered, and I pushed my way through my werewolf bodyguards until the only thing standing between me and the door was Mitch.

“Someone’s hurt.” I said those two words like they were all that mattered. For a moment, I didn’t think Mitch was going to get out of the way or even open the door. He’d spent a long time living on the periphery of Callum’s pack, with Callum his alpha in name only. Mitch wasn’t used to taking orders, and even though he’d joined our pack shortly after Lake had, I wasn’t used to giving them to him.

Please, Mitch. I met his eyes.

With a slight nod and his gun at the ready, Mitch opened the door. I didn’t push him, didn’t rush it, but when Mitch knelt down next to a heap of bones and fur, I couldn’t hold back any longer. I was beside him in an instant—not within biting range, but close enough that I could make out every inch of this ravaged Were’s body.

He looked like he’d been taken apart piece by piece and sewn back together—badly. He was stuck halfway between his human form and his animal one, and the patches of skin that weren’t covered with fur were angry and red, welts layered over bruises layered over burns.

Why didn’t he finish Shifting?

Bile rose in my throat with the question. Weres healed extremely quickly, but you couldn’t Shift and heal at the same time; it was like trying to eat while throwing up. That explained why the body in front of us was still battered to a pulp, but not why its owner had let himself be caught in the throes of Shifting for any extended period of time.

Without meaning to, I moved my gaze to Chase. The expression on his face was completely impassive. Even I couldn’t read it, but I didn’t need to, because the last time I’d seen a Were caught between one form and another, Shifting back and forth with excruciating results, it was Chase. We’d been hunting the Rabid who’d Changed him into a Were, and the monster had turned the hunt back on us, infiltrating Chase’s head.

“Is somebody doing this to him?” I kept my voice low, and it was almost drowned out by the heavy, tortured breaths coming from the porch. “Should I try to break off the connection?”

That was what I’d done to free Chase from the Rabid. I’d gone into Chase’s head, taken the connection the Rabid had formed when he’d Changed him, and snapped it in two.

If I had to, I could do it again.

“No.” Mitch’s voice was sharper than I’d ever heard it. “This wolf isn’t yours, Bryn. Unless you’re wanting war, you’ll keep your little alpha nose out of his pack-bonds. Not all alphas are as forgiving as Callum when it comes to other people stealing their wolves.”

I felt like Mitch had slapped me, like I was stupid and young and completely incompetent as an alpha and a person.

“Whose is he?” I asked quietly, trying to place the wolf’s scent but thrown off by the smell of blood and the mewling sound now making its way out of the creature’s monstrous hybrid mouth.

Mitch didn’t reply; instead, he pointed to the creature’s neck. “There’s what’s keeping him from Shifting.”

My eyes adjusted to the darkness on the porch, and I saw the object Mitch had referenced: a long, thin metal shaft that glowed in the light of the nearly full moon.


“Dev?” I could have removed it myself, but impulsive or not, even I wasn’t stupid enough to think that my going that close to an injured Were was a good idea. Whoever he was, the mass of flesh and bones on our porch was out of his mind with pain, and pain had a habit of making Weres unpredictable.

If Devon got bitten, he’d heal in a matter of moments. If I got bitten, I might never heal, and if I got bitten badly enough, I’d end up either dead or Changed—and neither one of those was a future I would particularly relish.

Devon walked forward, and without waiting a beat, he knelt, closed a hand around the shaft, and pulled. Most werewolves were allergic to silver, but as in many areas of life, Devon was an exception. As he jerked the hated object out of the wound, the injured Were reared back, and I heard teeth snapping and the sound of flesh—though whose, I wasn’t sure—giving way.

Chase came to my side, and I thought of that moment of quiet in the woods—how fragile it had been, how fleeting.

Dev tossed the silver rod to one side. “We’ll want to pick that up,” he said, almost absentmindedly. “Wouldn’t want one of the kiddos to get ahold of it.”
Our visitor’s body registered the silver’s removal. It shuddered and finally gave way to one form.

Human form.

If I’d been horrified before, I was sickened now. There wasn’t a piece of flesh that had been left untouched, and for a moment, I thought I might throw up or cry or both.

The injured Were was a boy. Not a man, not a threat. A boy—maybe a year or so younger than me. All business, Mitch bent and hefted the boy into his arms, eliciting a high-pitched whine more lupine than not.

“Tell Ali I’ll need medical supplies,” he said. “Lake knows where they are.” With those words, Mitch turned to carry the boy away, leaving the rest of us standing there, slack-jawed and tense.

Lake was the first to snap out of it, and she hurried back to the kitchen to relay the message to Ali. Chase’s eyes followed Mitch’s progression, and I could see the gears in his head turning as he analyzed the situation. He ran a hand through my hair, assuring himself with every light touch that I was all right, convincing the wolf inside him to still.

Devon didn’t move, and this time, I said his name silently.


After a long moment, Devon managed to drag his eyes away from the blood seeping into the wooden planks of the porch. His fists clenched, and he turned toward me. “Bryn.”

There was a wealth of information in that one word, and I knew that whatever Devon said next was going to send a tremor through our pack, like static feedback or a punch to the gut.

“I caught his scent, and it wasn’t pretty.”

I waited for Devon to make a comment about Calvin Klein cologne or something equally flippant, but he didn’t. Instead, he cut right to the chase.

“This kid is from the Snake Bend Pack, Bryn. His alpha is Shay.”


Remember to check out Rachel Vincent's blog tomorrow to read the next chapter and to pick up Trial by Fire on Tuesday!

Bonus! I'm also going to follow in Ally Carter's brilliant footsteps and offer a bonus gift/prize/offer of an autographed (by me) advanced reader copy of Entrhalled, the smart chicks short story collection featuring Jen, me and a whole bunch of awesome authors!  At the end of the week I'll draw a random name from the comments to this post (both on blogger and LJ) - as usual you get an extra entry for tweeting/facebooking/linking to this chapter (just make sure to put that information in the comment so I can give the bonus entries).  Enter by midnight EST on Friday June 17th to win!

Thanks to Jen for letting me celebrate the release of Trial by Fire which comes out in only two days!  You can order it here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Friday, June 03, 2011

ConCarolinas Weekend!

It's that time of year again - ConCarolinas weekend!  Yay for my local SFF conference!!  JP and I came across this conference several years ago and we've loved going since!  Because it's small there are a bunch of regular attendees (who totally rock) and it's super awesome to have the chance to hang out and catch up.

So if you're in the Charlotte area, I totally recommend this conference!  I won't be selling books there but please feel free to grab me in the hallway (or before/after panels) to chat, sign stuff, etc.  (And since someone asked, I don't charge a signing fee).

Here's my schedule:

Fri 09:00 pm: Twilight: Love it or Hate it? - Olmstead room


Sat 10:00 am: Magic in the City - Trends in paranormal/urban fantasy fiction.
Sat 12:00 pm: Writing for the Web - Blogs, tweets and other web-based musings (where I'll be hanging with the other participants in the Magical Words group blog).
Sat 03:00 pm: Learning to Write - A new panel of guests give their advice to novice writers.

All of those panels will be in University Ballroom A.

Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Go Team Audio (+ a contest!)

June is audiobook month and I'm super excited to celebrate!  I couldn't be more thrilled that Listening Library released audio versions of all three of the books in my Forest of Hands and Teeth series.  It's super surreal to hear my words coming out of someone else's mouth -- I think it's the closest I've ever come to understanding how others interpret and internalize what I've written.

You can hear for yourself what I'm talking about!  Here's a sample from The Forest of Hands and Teeth:

Here's The Dead-Tossed Waves:

Here's The Dark and Hollow Places:

And to celebrate Audiobooks month I'm giving some away!  To enter just comment on this post (and if you're looking for something to comment about I'd love to know what your favorite audiobook is and/or where you tend to listen to audiobooks).  I'll be picking winners with a random number generator on Friday, June 10th.  You get an extra entry for tweeting or facebooking about this contest (don't forget to comment letting me know about your tweet or facebook entry).  The prizes: I'll be giving away a copy of each of my audiobooks.

Happy Audiobook Month!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some days, you panic. And then you keep going.

Sometimes you have those days of writing when you're intricately describing the way veins in a leaf can bleed through cells of liquid green and then you pause and you think to yourself... wait, maybe I don't want veins in my leaves, maybe my leaves should be needles instead.

And that makes you think, wait... maybe I don't want to be describing leaves, maybe I should step back and look at the tips of the branches, the way they knot and gnarl.  Or maybe I don't want to deal with the spindly twigs, maybe I need to back up the camera more, gaze up at the canopy and blur the green.

Or maybe... maybe I don't want to be writing about trees at all.  Maybe I want to be writing about flowers, great gopping mounds of color and petals dripping with ants.

But what if that's not right either?  What if I don't want to be writing about nature at all?  What if I've found myself waist deep in all these chapters having to do with leaves and I'm meant to be writing something else.  What if I've no passion for leaves anymore?  I just found myself writing them because I walked past a tree one day and thought, "Oh, that's passing interesting," and I started writing and now months later I have a treatise on these stupid leaves that aren't even right?

What if it's wrong?  Not just every word, but every concept, down through the roots of it poisoning the soil?  I've been mucking about in notions of leaves, shifting their hues, turning them dry and brown-edged and then back to wet sticky green trying to find what fits the story -- so obsessively wrapped up in the details -- when the entire concept could be totally wrong.

What if I'm supposed to be writing something more... better than leaves?  More passionate, more noteworthy, more interesting, more original.  But now I have all these words about leaves, what am I supposed to do with them?  Burn them and use their smoke to signal for help?  Start over and ignore that in a month I might wonder why I'm wrapped up in the way color shifts down the shaft of a cat's hair plucked from its tail and wonder if I should instead be describing the softness of white on a cat's belly or what if I should be writing about dogs and not cats or what if I shouldn't be writing about animals at all?

There are days like this, where the panic is so high in your throat you can taste it every time you breathe.

Libba Bray wrote something about it recently that was so perfect that when I sent it to my husband he said, "Yep, that sounds like you."  Libba said you have to keep going and she's right.

I've learned to take a night off, let dreams replace the taste of panic in your mouth.  It's always better in the morning and if not better, it's at least clearer.  What looked like a yard of stale leaves after a late autumn storm might be more like a massive pile of possibilities waiting to be jumped into.

Sometimes you take a wrong turn and you end up talking about leaves when maybe you should be talking about flowers or cat hair or some other detail any one of a millions paths could lead to.  In revisions I always say you should question everything -- there is nothing sacred in the draft.

Maybe tomorrow I'll love my leaves.  Hopefully.  But tonight I shall go out, spend time with friends, let the dark of night shutter the trees from my view.  I've had enough of leaves today.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Reading Life

One of my goals this year has been to read more.  I know that may sound strange given my profession, but I started realizing last year that I just wasn't reading enough.  When I was growing up I'd devour books on the weekend, usually staying up until all hours of the night.  Then, once I hit college I sort of... stopped.  Sure I read for class but I rarely read for pleasure anymore.

Part of that was guilt -- the feeling that if I was going to read anything it should be the mounds of homework I was always behind on.  Part of it was also my perceived lack of free time.  Once I graduated I spent more time reading and the year before law school I practically lived off books as food -- I chewed through several a week.

Law school was a lot like college -- I felt that if I were going to take the time to read it should be the mounds of course work (again, I was always behind -- even if I was up to date with the assigned reading there was *always* something else to read such as study guides and outlines).

And that's when I realized how busy life could be (though I'd later learn it could get a WHOLE lot busier) and that if I wanted to have books in my life I had to make time for them.  No longer was reading something I could binge on during a slow Saturday.  That's when I made the conscious decision to read before bed every night.

Let me tell you... this step, almost more than anything else, made me feel like I was turning into my parents who always read before sleep.  And now I realized why they did that -- there was no other time in the day. For a while this step solved my problem -- it got me in the habit of reading daily and I slowly made my way through the books on my to-be-read pile.

But last year I realized this short bit of reading time was no longer enough.  I'm drowning in books so much that my to-be-read piles have become more like mountain ranges (as I type this I have 25 unread books just sitting on my coffee table, five tossed on the couch next to me, a dozen on my ereader and towers of them lined up against my dining room wall -- not to mention the bulging bookcases and stacks on every other horizontal surface in the house).

I could probably break the books down into categories: craft books, research books, friend books, CP books, blurb books and then general reading books (books that look good, recommended books, books to stretch my horizons, etc etc etc).  But even then it's hard to prioritize what to read next (though CP books almost always skip to the head of the line -- I've read three in the past two weeks).

So I decided I needed to find more reading time.  The first step was figuring out where I spent my time and how to shift it around and right away I noticed something: because reading is something almost always fun, it never feels like work.  And because it doesn't *feel* like work I have a hard time allowing myself to focus on it during the work day even though it's something I should be doing for my job.  I'd find myself haunting message boards or reading blogs before I'd put down the computer and pick up a book.  For some reason, just being at the computer feels more like work that lounging with a book.

Really, all I had to do to find more reading time was (a) acknowledge it's part of my job and (b) allow myself to take the time to read.  Simple, right?  Sometimes it is -- especially editing CP books or skimming through craft or research books.  Other times I have to make the conscious decision to step away from the computer and pick up a book.

At the end of the day I realized it comes down to this: prioritizing reading.  During my tour I was talking with one of the media escorts who pointed out that if everyone gave up watching Wheel of Fortune (or some other 30 min show) every day and read instead they'd get through several books a year.  I'm constantly talking to people who lament their lack of time to read but when you ask them about TV they'll go on and on about all the shows they watch.

I know how easy it is to let a reading life slip away -- to queue up the DVR rather than flip open a book or to think there are other things that have to come first.  I've been there and sometimes I'm still there.  This year I pledged to be more conscious about how I spend my time -- to think about what I prioritize and then divvy up the hours of the day accordingly.

I prioritize reading -- reading broadly, trying new books outside my comfort zone, trying to keep up with my obligations while still expanding my horizons.  My day reflects that: I read first thing in the morning, last thing at night and hopefully more time in between.

Every day I choose to live a reading life and I hope that each of you choose to live your life according to your priorities as well, whether that be reading or some other passion.

Friday, May 06, 2011

It lives!

I live!  I have much to blog about but I've been lacking the time to actually sit down and write said blogs.  And I haven't wanted to short-shrift my blog readers so I've ended up just sort of letting the days pass in blog silence.  Sorry!

This same thing happened last year when I left for tour -- I tried to stay on top of things, tried to blog and tweet but then as time stretched thin I was lucky if I had a chance to speak to my husband before collapsing into bed at the end of the day.  I just did a quick calculation and discovered that since mid-December I've been away from home more than I've been at home (in the last 137 days I've been away 71 of them and home 66).

Perhaps this accounts for the messy state of my house?

And of course I'm leaving town again.  Sunday I head to Weslaco Texas to speak and the next weekend I'll be at the Edward's Memorial Library near Charlotte (hear that NC peeps?  I'll be talking nearby!  They'll be selling books!  Come out!  Details here.)

I've truly had amazing times with all the travel -- so much that it's difficult to put into words (and to find the time to wrangle said experiences into words).  For example, last weekend I was the keynote speaker at Richland County Library's Kids in Print reception where they unveiled a truly fantastic literary magazine full of kid's poems, stories, photos, pictures, etc.

A friend of mine recently said that the best thing you can do in the world is find your tribe -- those people who are like you in so many ways.  The librarians at the Richland County Library are totally my tribe (if they'd accept me).  Seriously -- some amazing people down there (Columbia, SC -- my husband's local library growing up) and an equally amazing library.

In my scant time at home I've been diving back into the book I'm working on.  I'm still in the obsessive plotting/craft stage which necessitates me taking lots of long walks as I figure out bits and pieces.  Thankfully it's been *amazing* weather here and the park behind my house has a wonderfully sloping expanse of lawn that's perfect for lounging and pondering.

I've also read some great books!  I shall share them!  First, I'm a MASSIVE fan of Sarah MacLean.  She gets better and better and the only thing I don't like is having to wait for more.  Her latest Regency set romance, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart just came out.  It's awesome (and isn't YA, FYI).  Go forth and purchase and love it as much as I do!

Second, I think I may have been remiss in posting about Saundra Mitchell's The Vespertine.  This one has been out for a few months and I still can't stop thinking about it.  She is a gorgeous writer and this one is full of yummy romance.

Third, Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler.  I've actually had the first of this series, Hunger, at home and haven't read it.  But Rage caught my eye and I started it on a whim and WOW.  Her writing is stunning and the character is fascinating.  I couldn't put it down -- truly phenomenal on all levels.  This isn't a book for the faint at heart -- it's tough and raw and can be brutal emotionally but it shouldn't surprise anyone that these are the kinds of books that really stick with me.

Fourth: Wither.  I actually read this several months ago (and blurbed) and it's finally out!  Lauren DeStefano's writing is also very wonderful and I loved the claustrophobia of her dystopia.  I'm definitely looking forward to the next in this series.

I know there are other books I've read and loved recently but they're scattered throughout the house and it's time for me to get back to working on that next book.  I still hope to blog more about the amazing tour and other exciting things!  Sorry for the long absence!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Original ebook release: Hare Moon

So remember how I mentioned I had some exciting secret projects?  Well I can finally talk about one of them - yay! Last year I wrote an original Forest of Hands and Teeth short story for the Kiss Me Deadly anthology.  This year, after a bit of revision with my editor, Delacorte Press packaged the story as a standalone ebook you can now download!  It's a prequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth about Sister Tabitha as a teen.

Here's the cover (which I LOVE):

And here's what it's about:
Tabitha can’t shake the feeling that something exists beyond the fences of her village. And when she sneaks out, past the gates and down the path into the Forest of Hands and Teeth, she meets a boy who teaches her heart things she never knew. But love in a world surrounded by so much death doesn’t come without its sacrifices, and Tabitha gradually realizes just how much she’ll have to give up to live among the Unconsecrated.

From New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan comes an original story of love after the Return.      
And here's where you can buy it for only $1.99!!: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

I really loved writing Sister Tabitha's story.  I realized as I revised The Forest of Hands and Teeth that we only got to see Tabitha from Mary's point of view and in Mary's eyes, Tabitha was nothing but overbearing and incapable of understanding her.  To me, though, Tabitha was much more complicated.  She had a reason for withholding information from the villagers and every action she took came out of love and a desire to protect the village.  I wanted to understand how she got to be that way, what led her to take on the mantle of ruling this village so rigidly and why she believes so much in choice while not allowing those around her to truly make their own decisions.

So I wrote her story as a teen.  As it turns out, Sister Tabitha was once a very very passionate young woman who had her own choices to make.  When she begs Mary to stop dreaming about what lies beyond the fences, she has her reasons.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Dark and Hollow Places trailer!

Squeee!!!  I'm so SO excited to present the trailer for The Dark and Hollow Places!  This is the short version, 15 seconds (not sure if I can share the reason for that yet... will have to ask but it's VERY VERY exciting).  I think there's going to be a longer version released in the future and I'll definitely link to it when it comes out.

This is a scene taken right from the beginning of the book and I love it!

The Dark and Hollow Places officially released Tuesday and I've been having a total blast on tour, Thanks Chicago and Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (first tour recap post coming soon, I promise!).  Thank you to everyone who has come out to say hi and hung around to chat about our favorite books (I'm keeping a running list of your reading suggestions!).

If you're in Chicago, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Spartanburg, SC or Austin, I'm coming your way soon!  Click here (my blog) or here ( for more details!

And of course, you can always pick up a copy of my book at any of the following places:  Random House | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Borders | Walmart and your local indie!

What do you think of the trailer?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Birthday And Details About Tonight!

The Dark and Hollow Places comes out TODAY! 

I will be in Ft Lauderdale tonight for the Launch Party at The Museum of Art.  Please note that this event starts at 6pm (not 7pm as I had previously listed).  If you're in the area, come join us!

Don't forget to pick up your copy of The Dark and Hollow Places (ahem, or two or three... they make great gifts!) today at any of these fine establishments:  Random House | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Borders | Walmart

The next stop on the tour is Chicago.  Be sure to check my Events page for information on tour times and locations.  I hope to see you soon!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yay for makey-outy scenes!

I'm super excited to welcome all you treasure hunters to my blog, especially since it's for a cause I believe in: the makey-outy scene.  So, in honor of Cassandra Clare's treasure hunt for the scenes too hot to include in the trailer for City of Fallen Angels I thought I'd give a brief teaser of a kiss from The Dark and Hollow Places, the third book in my Forest of Hands and Teeth series, which comes out TOMORROW!
We're twirling so fast now that the force of it tries to pull us apart, but he holds me tighter, snowflakes spiraling around us.  I let my head fall back and revel in the joy that erupts from every part of me for the first time in so long.

Finally, he stops and we stand there hiccuping and gulping frigid air.  He reaches out absently and tucks a wet strand of hair behind my left ear, his fingertips just barely brushing my jaw.  For a minute I forget to tense, forget to care that the hair was there to cover my scars, to hide me.  For a minute I feel normal.

I don't let hesitation crowd my mind.  Instead I let the buoyant freedom of the moment overwhelm me and I stretch up onto my toes and push my mouth against his.
And no, I'm not telling you who the guy getting kissed is :)  If you want to read more, starting tomorrow you can pick up The Dark and Hollow Places at the following places: Random House | IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Borders | Walmart

Also, if you live in or near Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Cincinnati, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Phoenix or Los Angeles I'm headed your way for tour starting today!  Click here to find out where I'll be and come say hi!

So, now the clue you're looking for!  Hello, treasure hunters! Your letter is : L

Your next blog is Kami Garcia and Margie Stohl, authoresses of Beautiful Creatures. Go!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Waiting for my real life to begin

This past weekend I attended a Colin Hay concert (you probably know him best as the singer for Men at Work).  He's AMAZING in concert -- hilarious and talented.  Seriously, if you ever have the chance to see him I highly recommend it!

So one of the songs he played was, Waiting For My Real Life to Begin, which is probably familiar to a lot of y'all:

And as I sat there listening to him the words really began to sink in and I thought about my life and where I am.  I've been asked a lot recently about how I became a writer -- when I knew I wanted to become one and what I did about it.  I know I've shared a lot of that story here before: I never realized I *could want* to become an author until I read an interview with a romance author in which she said she started writing when she read a book and thought "Hey, I could do that."  I read those words and thought, "Wait, I could do that too!"

But I was in high school.  I felt too young to write a book.  So I waited.  And when I graduated from college I started working on my first book and after a couple of years I put that aside to attend law school (which I don't regret in the slightest seeing as how that's where I met my husband... and also? I just really loved law school -- call me a nerd :)

I always thought I was too busy to do anything else in law school other than be a student.  AHAHAHAHA!  Once I started practicing law I realized just what it was to be busy.  And I had this moment where I thought: I don't want to be doing this, practicing law, for the rest of my life.  So I asked myself: if I could do anything, what would it be?  The answer was easy: an author.

The next question became: what was I going to do about it?  Because I really was busy, probably busier than I'd ever been at any other time in my life.  And that's when I realized I had a choice: go after my dream of being a writer or let it go.  I didn't see a sense in always saying to myself, "This is what I want more than anything else but I just can't be bothered to do anything about it."

Because there's a part of me that thought: what would have happened if I'd just kept writing through law school?  Looking back I realized that I had the time -- I could have done it.  I just didn't.  I made excuses.   If I'd written all through law school maybe I'd have gotten published, maybe I wouldn't have, but at least I'd have been farther along towards my ultimate goal.

And I realized: I don't want to wake up in five years and ask myself the same question.

It's funny how we do that with dreams: put them off.  I wonder if we're afraid to chase them down because we fear they won't taste as sweet or because we're scared we can't catch them.  I'm not going to lie, there's a terror in holding your dream in your hand because if you break it, you have only yourself to blame.

It's easy to tuck your chin to your chest and plow through life.  I do it: focus on today's tasks and then tomorrow's tasks, and then the ones after that as the days roll past beneath me.  Listening to Colin Hay sing the words, "I'm waiting for my real life to begin," made me step back and look at the larger picture -- how all the days piece together.  You hear all these cliches about how life isn't a dress rehearsal, etc., and often they're meaningless but then there are those moments when you understand exactly.

I'm thankful that five years ago I decided not to wait for my life to somehow arrange itself to my liking.   That I'm not waking up today and wondering, "What if I'd just started writing a book five years ago?  Where would I be?"

Monday, March 14, 2011

On signed books, tour stops, memory, and other things

In one week I leave for The Dark and Hollow Places tour!  Wahoo!  I can't wait to visit Miami, Chicago, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Austin!  All the details are here.  This will be my fourth time in Chicago which is kind of neat because I feel like I have friends there now -- so many familiar faces and it's always cool being able to catch up :)  I'm also very excited about the new stops to meet new readers (and see new places)!

However, if I'm not stopping in a city near you or if you're not able to come out, you can still get a personalized/ autographed book.  My local indie, Park Road Books, is fantastic and only a few miles away which works out perfectly!  At any time in the year you can place an order with them and I'll swing by to sign it.  You can also pre-order a signed copy of The Dark and Hollow Places and they'll get it in the mail to you -- I'll be dropping by probably on Saturday, March 19 to sign them all so just make sure you get your order in before then (otherwise, I won't be able to sign any until I'm back in town on April 18).

Here are the details about ordering a signed book.  Essentially it's as easy as giving them a call: 704-525-9239 and placing the order!  Make sure to let them know how you want it personalized!

Okay, topic two is my signing policy.  The venues hosting me go through a lot of planning and work to pull off these events even though they always make it all look so seamless and effortless.  These booksellers are passionate about books and I couldn't be more honored that they're willing to expend some of that passion on my behalf.  Therefore, I like to ask anyone coming to hear me speak -- if you're going to get a book signed, please purchase a book from the store.  Every store has its individual policies on signings and so you'll want to check with them about what you can bring to be signed, etc.

Here's my policy: I'll sign anything (well, within reason - lol - if you have a massive stack I might ask you to run back through the line again so other people have a chance to get through).  Or if you just want to show up to hear me talk and ask questions and not get anything signed, that's great too!  But I would love it if, to show support for the store, you'd purchase a book from them (purchasing ahead of time is fine or purchasing someone else's book works too). Again, the store's individual policy on these things trumps mine so always check with them if you have a question!  Thanks!

Finally... I have a bad memory.  I joke about this a lot but it kind of gets both scary and frustrating when I'm traveling.  I'm terrible with names -- HORRIBLE -- which is embarrassing and I'm sorry if/when I'm not able to remember yours.  However, I do have a good situational memory which means that I just have to connect all the dots in my head so please, when you come up to meet me just remind me who you are.  Tell me your twitter handle or your blog name (because I have a visual memory I'm likely to remember your handle picture - lol).  Please don't think that because I can't remember your name, I don't remember you!

I can't wait to see y'all!  Only one more week!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

On finishing a series

Okay, so I missed Teaser Tuesday - oops!  Before I get to the meat of the blog, announcements first!
  1. Don't forget to enter for a chance to win one of 10 signed ARCs of The Dark and Hollow Places! The giveaway ends this Sunday, March 13th!
  2. I'm headed out on tour!  Over the course of many weeks I'll be in Miami, Chicago, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Spartanburg SC and Austin!  I'm so excited for all of these visits and would love to meet y'all in person!  Here's the whole schedule!
  3. Teaser Time!!  The first TWO CHAPTERS of The Dark and Hollow Places are up online!  Click here for the Chapter Sample from Random House Children's Books (link opens a .pdf file).
  4. And not to forget about the recent release of The Dead-Tossed Waves paperback, I shared five bits of trivia about that book on Suvudu here.
  5. The fantastically wonderful and NYT/USA Today/International bestselling author, Rachel Caine, blurbed The Dark and Hollow Places which thrills me to no end!!  She wrote:
"Carrie Ryan has penned a story of the undead that magically, unexpectedly transforms into a painful, beautiful, aching story about life. I can't say it more plainly than this: I loved it. I wish I'd written it." - Rachel Caine, bestselling author of The Morganville Vampires
I can't believe that The Dark and Hollow Places comes out in 12 days.  TWELVE DAYS!!  It's funny because I've been asked a lot lately how it feels to have this series draw to a close which is a tough question to answer.  First of all, I still have some short stories set in that world coming out this year but also... I feel like since I finished writing the book in 2010 that it ended a long time ago.  I'm already excited about what comes next!

But honestly what it feels like is this... have you ever just focused on one day and then the next and suddenly you look up and a week or a month has gone by?  That's what the release of The Dark and Hollow Places feels like.  I've been putting one foot in front of the other and suddenly... the series is done.  It kind of snuck up on me!

The past couple of days I keep looking up and realizing... soon I'll have three books on the shelf.  THREE BOOKS!  And there will be more coming (not in this series, but more!).  This is a dream come true!  Sure, I wanted this to happen, I've worked for this to happen, but when I sat down to write The Forest of Hands and Teeth over four years ago (actually, 1589 days to be exact since I have the email I sent to myself when I thought of the first line) I never every thought I'd be here.  I dreamed I would one day make it here... but I probably wouldn't have taken the odds it would have happened like this :)

So how does it feel?  Overwhelming.  I think that's one reason that I can only lift my head up from the day to day and look around every now and again because otherwise I'll be stunned into inaction.  I feel too lucky, almost as if it isn't fair.  There's still so much more ahead of me that I'm crazy excited about, but sometimes it's nice to sit here and realize... wow.  Three books.

And I wouldn't be here without y'all, so thank you!

Now to put my head back down and motor through the rest of my looming to-do list :)

Friday, March 04, 2011

The Writing Life Part 2: reality

Recently, I posted what I expected or dreamed my life would be like writing full time.  I think the fact that it took me twelve days to post the follow-up should tell you something :)  Here's the reality:

Wake up -- I'm actually impressed this happens at a reasonable hour.  I don't set an alarm but I've learned that I pretty much get out of bed just after JP leaves the house in the morning (which can throw me off if he leaves early for a meeting).  He still doesn't believe this is the case (me actually getting out of bed) and he's been known to email me when he gets to work to see if I'm at my computer.1  He doesn't know I put my iPhone on the bedside table because I'm wise to this trick of his :)

Some mornings I'll read in bed because sometimes that's the only time I'll get to read all day and I've fallen SO VERY BEHIND.  Or because I'm reading a book I can't put down which is always an awesome experience.  Once I'm up, I drag on clothes -- whatever's handy (aka yoga pants and a t-shirt).

Let the dog in.  Give the dog his pills.  Follow dog around to ensure he swallows said pills (usually not a problem).

Check email -- I'd like to do what John Scalzi has done and put a moratorium on email until after my words are written but... I'm not that disciplined (yet - I live in hope).  Checking email first leads to wails of despair at how very far behind I am and then I try to get through some of them.  I might spend an hour on this.  At the end I've accomplished much less than I feel I should have.

Listen to cat barf.  Finish up email real quickly before going to clean up barf.  Forget about barf.

Cook breakfast -- lately I've been on an eggs kick.  So I go cook eggs and then eat them while reading the news.  Send snippets of news to JP which inevitably start email conversations that trickle back and forth through the day.

Remember cat barf -- go find it and clean it.  Ignore Dog's sad look that I wouldn't let HIM be the one to clean up cat barf because in his world that's considered a delicacy.  Let dog out.

Check to-do list -- yes, sometimes I add things to my list just so I can check them off and feel accomplished.  Here's a sampling of my current to-do list:

  • sign and mail books to editor
  • mail books from contests (figure out contests and what to mail)
  • send paperwork to mortgage company for refinance
  • clean house for appraisal (took a solid day)
  • design/order tour schwag
  • update website (yay! it's in the works!)
  • email two friends to set up dinner/lunch
  • taxes (collect and organize all data -- print out bank statements)
  • take Jake to vet for hip analysis (turns out he has a torn ACL, which means I must research repair options and schedule surgery)
  • figure out how to get people to new facebook page
  • answer interviews (STOP AVOIDING some interview questions just because I'm crazy late on them and so very very embarrassed)
  • set up goodreads contest (figure out if page was fixed).  Check in on Goodreads contest, tweet about it.
  • check in on contracts for secret project (yes, SECRET PROJECTS!!!)
  • call for estimates on home repair
And then of course the perennial stuff: go to store, drop off/pick up dry cleaning (to be fair, JP usually does this but mostly that's because he's the only one with dry cleaning), go to the gym (ahahahaha, this still makes me laugh), run errands to post office, drop by local indie to set up pre-order signing, blog, etc.  There's also the bigger stuff: revising short stories and books, writing short stories and books, etc.  And also things like reading for blurbs, reading for friends, reading for research, critting, etc.

Let the dog in.  Move coffee table out of the way so that dog can approach the couch from the other side in order to avoid the Mean Sleeping Kitty (it's either that or listen to him whine and our dog is a Champion Whiner).

Try not to stress about phone interview from newspaper.  Keep checking the clock to make sure I am Prepared and Ready for phone call when it comes.  Do interview, totally enjoy it and hang up with sense of excitement and glee.

Attempt to make some headway on the to-do list -- realize around 2pm that (a) I haven't eaten and (b) I haven't written (well, written on any of my writing projects).  Figure out food -- whatever I can scrape from the cabinet.  Realize I can't go out in public because I'd have to shower and that would take Too Much Time.

Skype with friend re: book (mine or theirs, take your pick).  Friend has AMAZINGLY perfect idea for the idea I've been toying with.  Drop everything to write up a synopsis and send it to my amazing agent.

Dog barks: UPS man here!

Turn on MacFreedom to enforce some internet-free quality time.  Get words written.  Hopefully.

Agent's emailed back!  Engage in banter with him about exciting idea.  Remember yet again how much I adore my agent (Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich).  Day dream about exciting idea.

Aim to go to the gym at 4:00 before the after-work crowd.  Perhaps arrive at 5:15 along with the after work crowd.  Fight way onto elliptical and read or listen to writing podcast.  Eavesdrop while in the sauna.

Or, due to aforementioned timing, just turn on the xBox kinect and dance :)  Dance, dance, DANCE!  Realize how out of shape I am after fifth pass through Poker Face and pledge to hit the gym tomorrow.  Or, if it's a gorgeous day, I'll take a walk (can't wait for dog's knee to be fixed so he can join me again).   

Get back to writing.  Neighbors are home -- dog wants out so he can bark at them.  Let dog out to bark because he only has one week of freedom before surgery and eight weeks of being cooped up for recovery and he should have fun while he can.

Spend two hours trying to cobble HTML into a facebook landing page (it worked! Check it out here! And while you're there you could always hit the like button :)  

JP comes home.  Run towards the door with dog in excitement to see him (dog stops to pick up a toy offering making me feel empty handed).  Babble about day because I like to Talk and I haven't been able to do Enough of It today.  If it's still light out, maybe take a walk through the park.  If it's late, throw something from freezer into the microwave and sit down to eat, watch an hour or so of TV and then read before bed.  

Rinse.  Repeat.

That's pretty much what my days this week have looked like.  The week before last I travelled Thurs-Fri which involved a delayed flight, missed flight, and sprint through the airport to catch the last leg home.  I think all told I figured I'd been traveling for 21/39 hours.  BUT, I was able to get a big chunk of a short story written during all the delays and that made me Very Very Happy!

This post describes what I call a "drafting" day when I'm not overly crunched by deadlines.  My revising days always look different and my "Deadline Is Looming days" put a lot more emphasis on the writing.  Right now I'm waiting on edits from my editor and am trying to tie up a bunch of loose ends before heading out on tour so my days are a bit more scattered than they are otherwise.  Or at least, it feels that way.

I shall have more to say on this topic soon (and feel free to ask any questions in the comments!)

1 BTW, he doesn't really check in on me to make sure I'm working -- this is really a joke between JP and I more than anything else. I'm extremely lucky that, because he also writes, JP understands the ins and outs of my job and is phenomenally supportive.