Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Signing Saturday, December 12 at B&N on Haywood Rd in Greenville, SC

Hey Y'all!

I'm doing a signing in my hometown this weekend!  Just in time for the holidays!

When:  Saturday, December 12th from 2pm-4pm
Where:  Barnes & Noble on Haywood Road
What:  me signing, perhaps reading from The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves (I'll have the ARC of DTW there if anyone wants to flip through it), and of course giving out zombie finger puppets and candy!

Stop by and say hello!  And if you don't live anywhere near Greenville and would still like to purchase a signed/personalized copy of my book, you can find out how to order it here!

Thanks and I can't wait to see y'all there!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Won't someone please think of the children?

I'm so proud and pleased to live in a world where young girls are never sexually abused.  Where women in high school or middle school aren't raped.  Where teen boys never contemplate suicide (or, heaven forfend, actually attempt and accomplish it).  I'm blessed to live in a world where there's no bullying, no cyberbullying, no eating disorders or emotional abuse.  Where girls don't stick fingers down their throats and slide knives or blades over their skin intentionally.  Where teachers don't sleep with students, where fathers don't sleep with daughters, where no one under consenting age has sex, thinks about sex, comes close to having sex, gets pregnant, gets a disease, has an abortion or has a child when they're still in their tweens.  How lovely that all girls and boys are virgins throughout middle and high school.  That nary a drop of alcohol or a whiff of drugs passes their lips, their noses, their veins.

Surely each child at every school is well loved, well nourished, well cared for.  Well clothed and well mannered with bright futures ahead that don't involve peer pressure and binge drinking and drugs and gangs.

Clearly none of those terrible things ever happens in the lives of REAL teens.  So why would we ever need books about such horrid and odious happenings?  Why would we allow such texts to enter the hallowed halls of our children's schools?  Or, worse, to actually be offered on a list of recommended reading?  Or even more awful to contemplate, used in a classroom?  Forget that such books may have won awards or received starred reviews or been included list after list.  Forget that teens have written to authors in tears, in gratitude, in awe that some of those books have changed their lives.  That some of those books have saved them.

We don't need those books anymore!  Therefore, we don't need them in our classes, in our schools or in our libraries.  Hasn't anyone ever wondered what would happen if we let our perfect, pure, untouched and untarnished teen minds read such smut?  They might contemplate drugs or sex or suicide.  Clearly, all it would take is one page - one paragraph - of Laurie Halse Anderson's book Wintergirls to change even the healthiest girl anorexic!  No girl today would ever have such thoughts otherwise!

Won't someone please think of the children?  What are we teaching them with these books?

Unless... unless we've somehow failed.  Unless we missed something.  Unless there are teens out there that are in trouble.  That have faced obstacles that their parents don't know about.  Unless there are teens out there with secrets -- secret pains and secret fears -- that they can't take to their mother or father or sister or priest or teacher.  Maybe they're ashamed.  Maybe they're afraid.

Maybe they need to be shown that they're not alone.  That you can survive abuse.  That you can overcome bullying and peer pressure.  That your friends could be facing these issues.  That you can find help.  Or even, what happens when you don't.

Maybe we need to have more faith in teens that reading a book won't brainwash them.  That maybe instead it will expand their horizons.  And maybe as the adults of the world that's our job - to show them the world and be there to answer questions and support them.

I get it.  I understand that its easier to keep teens in the dark.  It's easier to believe that teens aren't dealing with these difficult issues.  What parents want to introduce their precious child to all the bad things in this world?  What father wants to explain what rape is?

But I need to make this clear, and this comes from my experience and from my friends experiences and from the teens I've talked to: this stuff happens.  And it happens to teens and tweens far younger than any of us would ever want to contemplate.  They deal with these issues whether we want them to or not.  This is life and life can really suck and it can be messy and dangerous and sad.  And hiding from it doesn't make it go away.

So whenever someone screams "Won't someone please think of the children" and then they propose banning books or removing them from the classroom or the library, I want to ask them what they think it accomplishes.  Because not talking about the difficult issues in this world doesn't make them not exist.  Not letting teens read about them doesn't mean teens are somehow not going to face them.

We're not protecting anyone by keeping them ignorant.  And banning books or pretending this stuff doesn't happen is the height of ignorance.

Thank you to the authors who write about these difficult topics and to those who fight to keep them in schools.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Autographed copies of The Forest of Hands and Teeth for the holidays! (or any other time)

In case y'all are interested in a personalized and autographed copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, I've partnered with my awesome local indie to make it happen.  Park Road Books will be happy to take your order, giftwrap it (I've seen the paper - very pretty!), and ship it to you for the holidays (or any other time!).  I live about two miles from the store and love any excuse to stop by (in addition to so many books they have a cute dog!!) so they just call me up and I head over to sign - easy peasy.

Here are the details:  just call Park Road Books at 704-525-9239 and tell them you'd like a signed copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth.  Make sure to tell them who you want the book made out to (and how to spell the name) and if you want a specific message included.  Super easy!

Who doesn't want zombies for the holidays?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Still not here, AASL & NaNo

I feel like I should have a sound file of crickets chirping for when this page loads since I haven't been around in a while.  I promise to get back to regular blogging... I just have this issue of my deadline to contend with first.  What's funny is that I have a ton of blogs in my head - it's what I tend to think about when I fall asleep at night.  If only I could direct wire my brain to my laptop...

I had a fantastic time in NYC an amazing series of school visits with my local library system, a very happy (though damp) Halloween and I just need to upload pics so I can share them.  I promise... soon!

I'm super excited about this week because it's the AASL Pit Stop in my hometown (at the Charlotte Convention Center) and I'll be signing at table 10 from 12:45-2:15 and then will be signings at the Follett Library Resources Booth from 3:30-4:30.  But this also means that a TON of friends are coming to town and I'm just stoked to see them all!

It's also the beginning of NaNo - yay!  I'm not officially entering because I already have a WIP but I'll still be churning out words with the rest of you.  I have a special fondness for NaNo since that's when I started writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth back in 2006.

Speaking of NaNo and writing... I have much of that to do today so I must get back to it.  Happy writing all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Squee! ARCs of The Dead-Tossed Waves!

OH HAPPY DAY!!  I got a knock on the door from FedEx and look at what I found!!

Advanced Reader's Copy of The Dead-Tossed Waves!  Wahoo!!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Upcoming events in the Charlotte area this week!

Hey Y'all!  I had an AMAZING time up in NYC and I can't wait to tell you more about it... but my first pass pages for The Dead-Tossed Waves are due today which means I'll have to wait until tomorrow or Weds before I fill you in on all the details of my trip :)

But I did want to tell y'all about a few events I have this week for Teen Read Week!  Tomorrow I'm doing two visits to the Freedom Regional Library, but I'm not sure those are open to the public.  The other two events definitely are open to the public and I'd love to see you there!
What: Discussion and signing for Teen Read Week
Where: Davidson Branch of the PLCMC
When: Friday October 23, 6pm-8pm

What: Discussion and signing for Teen Read Week
Where: University City Branch of the PLCMC
When: Saturday October 24, 3pm-5pm

I'm really looking forward to these!  And here's my question for y'all as I'm putting together my program.  Usually I've spoken to groups who've read The Forest of Hands and Teeth already and I'm fairly certain that some of these groups won't have.  What do you like to see in an author presentation (if you've read their book or if you haven't?). Thanks!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NYC trip this year and last year

This time last year I was typing up my resignation letter.  Okay, I was probably staring around my office a bit freaked out and a lot excited about the step I was about to take (and I was also probably cramming in as much CLE as I could to keep up my law license which I still have active).

Actually, I was freaking out about the pending trip to NYC to kick off my pre-publication tour.  Yep, I quit work on Friday and on Sunday I was in New York with my friend Diana Peterfreund (we must have hit like five bookstores that day) and going out to dinner with Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld.  That Monday I met my editor and publicist in person for the first time, did my first school visits, attended a meet and greet at Random House Children's books where I met so many amazing people, grabbed a drink with my agent and editor, headed to an awe-inspiring dinner that was just so perfect in every way there's no way I could ever describe it (and where thankfully I got through my speech without crying or hyperventilating) and then capped off the evening having drinks with my agent.  It was a divine whirlwind that exceeded every day dream I ever could have had.

Tomorrow I'm going up to New York again.  And what I love is that this time, my nerves are a lot lower (though still there!) and my excitement is through the roof!  I can't wait to see everyone again and perhaps not be quite so overwhelmed and speechless (though really, I don't see any way to walk into the RHCB's offices and not be stunned).  This time I'm pretty sure I'll be able to eat something during the meals we have planned (last time I was WAY too nervous to eat which is a shame because the dinner they planned had fantastic looking food!).

Squee!  I'm so excited!  And there's nothing more fun than being able to be excited without freaking out :)  Now of course I just have to go pack :)

Once again, here are the details of my event up there, and there will be a signing afterward!  Can't wait to see y'all there!!!
When: Thursday, October 15th at 7:00pm
Where: The Barnes & Noble at 86th and Lexington Ave
Who: Me, Scott Westerfeld, Michael Grant and James Dashner
What: a panel discussion about the growing "post-apocalyptic teen fiction" genre plus a signing

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Event in NYC October 15th!

Hey y'all!  I'm super excited about an upcoming event I'm doing with Scott Westerfeld, Michael Grant and James Dasnher!  Here are the details (and here's a link to the event page):

When: Thursday, October 15th at 7:00pm
Where: The Barnes & Noble at 86th and Lexington Ave
Who: Me, Scott Westerfelt, Michael Grant and James Dashner
What: a panel discussion about the growing "post-apocalyptic teen fiction" genre

I've heard rumors that this will be recorded and might even be streamed live so that could be awesome!  I'm assuming there will also be a signing afterward but will confirm that for sure in the next day or so.

I can't tell you how much I've been looking forward to this event!  Not only because I love all these authors  but also because I'm so excited to see what they have to say about writing in post-apocalyptic worlds.  Oh, and I'm also SUPER excited to be going to New York -- so many people I'm hoping to run into!!!  So you all totally have to come!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why we need books

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before and if I have, bear with me as I tell a brief tidbit again.  I went to a religious high school and one of our graduation talks was from a bishop.  He said something I'll never forget: he asked us to constantly question our faith.  If we questioned our faith and lost it, then it wasn't strong to begin with and if we questioned and retained our faith, then it was that much stronger.

I think this is something that's applicable to all areas of our life which is why I find it so puzzling how many people want to restrict information, especially through banned books.  Perhaps it's because I grew up in a fairly open household where our curiosity was supported but really I think it comes down to this: if the only way you can keep people believing what you want them to is to deny them access to other points of view, then not only do you not trust those people but you certainly don't trust the strength of your own message.

This is why I find the notion of banning books utterly absurd.  Sure I understand that books can have really mature content, that they can say things that you might personally disagree with or even find morally abhorrent.  But denying people the right to read those books doesn't fix anything, it just keeps people ignorant and unable to form their own opinions.  If you're afraid of the message in books, afraid of what someone might think or learn then read them together and discuss about the issues raised, don't ban them.

In my book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary is raised in a very strict society where all information is restricted -- there are no books (except for one).  Because of this, the ruling class is able to control absolutely every belief held by those in the village.  It's done out of fear: fear that if left to their own devices, if allowed to learn and come up with their own points of views, they might rebel.  They might wonder if there's life outside the fences.  They might question authority and might even begin to determine for themselves how they want to live their lives rather than having it dictated to them.

It's no surprise that so many dystopian novels have societies with restricted information and a lack of books.  Control the information and you control the people.  You stop them from thinking for themselves.

Because, really, that's all banning books does: it freezes society's ability to question authority.  It keeps us docile.  In control.  Ignorant.

And to me, that's the opposite of how we should live life.  We should question everything and we should encourage teens especially to question it all.  We should have faith in them -- in all of us -- that armed with as much information as possible, we're going to make good decisions.

Because if we don't believe that, we're all in way more trouble than I thought.

This is why this week and every other week of the year, we should speak out against banning books.  We should support all books and we should support the readers of those books and be there to listen and talk about challenging content rather than covering it up.  These are our future mothers, senators, presidents, coaches, teachers, authors, bankers, uncles: we should hope that they grow up with open minds and the ability to think for themselves so they can teach that next generation to do the same.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Covers!

I've been dying to make this announcement and some of y'all have already seen these out on the web, but I'm getting new covers for both The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves!  The new FHT cover will be on the trade paperback (out February 9, 2010) and might possibly on future hardcovers. The DTW cover will be on the hardcover (out March 9, 2010) and the eventual paperback release (prob in 2011).

I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have two new fantastic covers!  What do y'all think?

And here's the cover copy for The Dead-Tossed Waves:
Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She's content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse.

But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry's mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing.

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother's past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time to make the donuts

So I'm in drafting mode: writing book three (still sans title).  This means I walk around with my head in the sky a lot doing strange things like baking cookies and downloading dance music.  I get crazy urges to move furniture around that JP has to talk me out of (trust me when I tell you there was a very long and detailed conversation about that yesterday when I asked him how upset he'd be if I went ahead and moved the couch in my office to prepare for the new couch we're probably getting in a few weeks).  It's been kind of dismal weather here, so I haven't been able to get out and wander around.

I've hit that point in the book I always hit where I panic and gnash my teeth.  I'm hopefully going to get through it soon.  I totally agree with whoever said that each book you write teaches you how to write THAT book, but I also find that the more I write, the more I find patterns and sometimes patterns can be comforting.  It's nice to know that for my other books I hit this point in the drafting and made it through.  It's nice to know that when all is said and done I have a wonderful agent and fantastic editor and smart beta readers to help me wrangle it into the story I want it to me.

Recently, my critique partner, Diana Peterfreund (of the killer unicorn Peterfreunds) wrote a blog post about her writing process that I thought was absolutely fantastic (go read it here).  She has to get the scene right the first time in order to move forward and I'm just the opposite -- I learn so much about the story during the drafting that I regularly have to go back and rewrite whole chunks of my book.  And now that I think about it, the parts that I tend to rewrite are the parts I'm drafting right now.

I think some people would think "this is the part I'll end up having to rewrite" and get stressed out.  For me it's a relief to know that what I do now doesn't set everything in stone.  I can still fix and change if I go down the wrong path.  You know I've used the analogy before that I think of writing as going down a long series of hallways closing off doors that represent all the possibilities in your book.

Now that I think of it more, I wonder if those rooms I'm closing have more than one entrance.  So maybe I close the door from THIS hallway, but who knows if I'll double back and find another way into that room later.

See, this is what I do when I'm at this stage of writing the book -- I read craft books, I think about my own style, and I write blogs trying to figure it all out :)  Speaking of craft books, anyone have any good ones to recommend?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NC Literary Festival

Wow!  Let me just say again, wow!  I had a total blast at the North Carolina Literary Festival this past weekend.  It was the first festival I'd ever been to (that I could remember) much less spoken at, so I was definitely nervous for the weeks leading up to it.  This spawned some panicked "what do I do!?!" emails to friends who were thankfully quite calming and helpful.  One even suggested I check out YouTube videos of other authors speaking at festivals and this was awesome advice.  So I watched a bunch of authors at the  National Book Festival in DC and it was so much fun (and I learned a lot!).  One of those authors was RL Stine and I payed particular attention to him because he was the one taking the stage right before me (!!).

Let me pause here and say that when I was a teen, I had two go-to authors.  These are the ones that every time I went to the store or library I went straight for their latest -- these are the authors who really helped foster my love of reading (and taught me to speed read because I refused to sleep until I got to the end of the book!).  One of those authors was RL Stine so the fact that I'd not only be in the same town, but also be taking the stage after him was flabbergasting.

So I arrive in Chapel Hill, check into the Carolina Inn (they hand you a fresh-baked choc chip cookie on check-in - huzzah!).  And who do I see (other than Anna Deavere Smith who I recognized as the national security advisor on the west wing) but RL Stine!  He comes walking in and I hyperventilate a bit.  But I'm cool and collected and go to the media room to print out my schedule cause I'd forgotten it.  But then walking back to my room he's standing alone at the elevator.

And yeah, I was totally THAT girl.  I said "I'm sorry, are you RL Stine?"  And he turned surprised and said, "Yes, how did you know?" and that's about when I turned into a puddle of fan-girl mess.  Seriously, I babbled about how I was taking the stage after him and I was a reader because of him and am a huge fan and he's like a rockstar to me, etc etc.  He asks the title of my book and I tell him and he says "Oh yeah!" and had heard of it.  OMG!   The elevator comes twice and he stays to chat and finally I let him go and I return to my room where I collapse on the bed in fangirl bliss.

Until the hotel brought around truffles and sparkling water -- seriously awesome hotel!  I head down to the author reception and have a brief moment of panic because I clearly know no one, but I meet some seriously awesome people like Jenna Black, Virginia Kantra, and John Claude Bemis and have a chat with Sarah Dessen (more fangirl swooning).  That night's keynote was given by Anna Deavere Smith and it was amazing and thought-provoking and just wow.

The next morning I hung out in the author hospitality room meeting people and chatting and stressing.  RL Stine was there again and gave me advice and then it was time for me to go on!  I sort of blank out when I talk so I have no idea how that went.  I was mostly happy that most of the 6-8 year olds cleared out to get RL Stine's autograph (I had no idea what I'd talk about to them!) and I had a chance to meet a few readers before my talk -- totally totally amazing.  And then it was over, I signed some books and met some great people and that's all she wrote!

All in all it was a totally exciting weekend!  And hopefully having done that will make me a little less nervous for the future :)  Apparently, according to The Gourmez, my talk was good!  Yay!

And I met RL Stine who is totally my hero.  Totally totally awesome!  Next time I'll take my camera :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog tour: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater!

I've been remiss on my blog tours recently and will be remedying that situation over the next two weeks!  Today I bring you New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater talking about her recent release, Shiver!

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

The cover. Hands down, it was one of the things I was most nervous about. As an artist I have very annoyingly firm ideas of what is Pretty and what is Not, and I was terrified that I would get something that didn’t match the book. And then my editor said, “Okay, take a look, it’s not done yet, and you can tell us if you don’t like it . . . “ and it was drop. dead. gorgeous. Just like the book -- subtle, genre undertones, and just so artsy. I loved it. I’d never seen anything like it but it didn’t look entirely out of place, either.

Is there anything you can't write without?

Music. I have to have music on, or my brain won’t settle. It has to match the book, too, or I just sit in my chair and jive. There’s definitely writing music -- music that makes me settle down and deal with my plot -- and there’s Maggie music -- music that makes me get on my desk and rock. Obviously I am careful to only play the first while on deadline.

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

Can I not do both? Honestly my default setting is angst. When in doubt, reveal some troubling and hopefully crippling element of a character’s past. That ought to get the juices flowing. And lead to either making out or things exploding.

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

I'm sort of a fan of this description of James sleeping, from BALLAD:

James slept like he did everything else; totally intense, like it was a competition and he couldn’t let down his guard for a minute. His scribbled hands were pulled up to his face, his wrists turned to face each other in a sort of weird, beautiful knot. His knuckles were white.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

I am pro angst zombies. I don’t care if they go fast or if they go slow, just so long as they feel bad about it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Upcoming event: NC Literary Festival

I'm super excited that this weekend I'll be attending and talking at the 2009 North Carolina Literary Festival!  I'd love for y'all to come out and say hi!

WHAT:  2009 North Carolina Literary Festival
WHEN:  September 10-13 -- I'll be talking on Saturday, September 12th at 3:50pm
WHERE:  UNC Chapel Hill campus -- my talk will be at the Children's Stage

I'll be talking about how I came up with the idea and world of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, reading a bit from that and also probably a little from The Dead-Tossed Waves and maaaybe even a small snippet from my work-in-progress (book 3) if there's time.  I'll also be answering questions and signing books afterward.

This is my first literary festival ever and so of course I'm a little nervous.  I'd love to have some friendly faces there!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

RAMPANT winners!!

Hey Y'all!!  Sorry for the delay in announcing the winners, I had to get copy edits finished and there were so many entries that it took multiple days to write all the entires down and draw a winner!  Without further ado, the winners are.....

Yay!  Email me at carrieATcarrieryan.com and let me know where to send the books and how you'd like Diana to personalize them!  And everyone else, thanks so much for entering and sharing your team preferences!  For those of you who are still on the fence, there's now a third option:

Yes, that's right, the ZOMBICORN!  I totally need to find out how to get this as a poster for my office wall.  Seriously?  Who DOESN'T want a zombicorn on their wall?

I'll be holding another contest giveaway soon and promise to be more prepared to handle that one :)  Thanks again to everyone for entering!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First DTW review!

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

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

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

RAMPANT out today!! (plus a giveaway!)

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Foreign Sales!

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

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

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

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

Smart Chicks Kick It Tour

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

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

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Time - how long from idea to publication

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

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

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

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

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

So the long and short of the timeline is this:

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

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

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

Monday, August 10, 2009


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

Monday, August 03, 2009

Who would you cast?

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'd forgotten (again) how strange and difficult it can be to start writing a book.  I go through this every time (well, except for when I started The Forest of Hands and Teeth because that sort of came out of nowhere and was just an experiment).  And yet, every time I forget.

I've described writing as being a series of hallways with infinite numbers of doors.  Each time we write a word, we make a decision, we start closing those doors.  In the beginning, every possibility exists and in the end (hopefully) you look back along the course of the book and realize that there really was only one path all along.

Except that before you start writing, it's hard to even figure out which hallway you're in.  Where to start walking!

It's funny for me because this is probably the first time that I've really had a clear picture of what I want the book to be.  I know the characters (except for the pesky detail of one of their names which is driving me insane), I know the tensions, etc.  I've been super excited about this book ever since I turned in the proposal.  But I feel like I've got this character and she's staring at me and I'm staring at her and we're both just trying to figure out how to dive in.

Trust me, she's been ready to dive in for quite some time.

It's just made me realize that when you're in the middle of writing a story, you have the weight of all the words you've already written behind you.  You already have the characters set in time and place and circumstances.  For example, when I had Mary et al on the path outside the village, there were only a limited number of things that could happen to them.  But in the beginning... limitless possibilities.

And the beginning sets the course for the entire book.  The obstacles you set up now will come back around at the end, the character arc's established, etc etc.

How do y'all approach beginnings?  Usually I'm a huge proponent of BICHOK -- butt in chair, hands on keyboard -- when it comes to writing.  But with beginnings... I tend to do a lot more meandering.  I have to stop distracting myself and just spend time thinking.  Lots of lounging about which many people call "napping" and which I like to call "working."  After all, at the edge of sleep and awake I find the mind kind of lets go and all sorts of possibilities open up!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MTV on FHT (and who would you cast?)

Am I the only one that when I think of MTV and MTVNews I see the little typewriter wheel spinning across the screen stamping out each letter?  Boy that reminds me of hours upon hours of watching music videos growing up!  And... er... lots of reality TV now :)  So you can totally imagine what went through my head when I saw a google alert for The Forest of Hands and Teeth on the MTVNews website.

Well, a lot of things went through my head, and then I started holding my breath as I always do when I think I'm about to read a review.

And then I jumped up and down and ran around the house when I read Sabrina Rojas Weiss describe FHT as "a pretty freakin' amazing, empowering and absolutely thrilling young-adult post-apocalyptic zombie love story."

Squee!!  Empowering!!  You can read the entire review here!  So yeah, you can imagine how much of boost that gave me right in the throes of revisions!  Thanks MTV!!!!!  To make things even better, they're apparently going to do another post this week or next asking for dream-casting for the movie!  I can't wait to see what people come up with!!  I'll post the link once it's up!

I also promise to post more about The Dead-Tossed Waves, the companion to FHT, soon!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Free Books! Summer of Seven is here!

First off, the winner of Satirica is Katterley!!!!!!!  Email me your address (to carrie [at] carrieryan.com) and I'll have it shipped to you!

Second, today starts the Summer of Seven!  Seven debut authors giving away seven books during seven days during the seventh month of July!  Let me tell you, rocking books on this list!!  We'll be giving away a book each day and at the end of the week, two people will win the ultimate prize pack: one collection of all seven books with their US covers and one collection with the UK covers!

So yes!  Lots and lots of books being given away here!  How can you be entered to win?  Go here!  And while you're there, check out all the free stuff!  Interviews, downloadable bookmarks, even a summer song!  It's just our way of kicking off your summer right!

Here's the official contest entry blurb from the website:


Voting begins July 1st, 2009.

You want to win free books, but how, how, how do we achieve that? It's so easy. Starting July 1st vote for Team US or Team UK- and we'll enter you to win one of two prize packs!

US Prize Pack features all 7 escape with 7 books with US covers, and the UK Prize Pack features all 7 escape books with UK covers where available. But you only win if you vote!

Voting will open from July 1st, 2009 - July 7, 2009. Prizes will be awarded July 8th, 2009. Come back and see us soon!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Do you Daydream? (also giveaway reminder!)

First off, don't forget to enter the contest from yesterday here.  All you have to do is post on that entry congratulating JP for becoming a finalist in Writers of the Future and you're entered to win a short story collection that has one of this stories!

I have all sorts of bubbly things going on that I don't know if I can talk about but rest assured, there's been lots of me bouncing around.  I'm not sure anything will come out of the exciting things except that it's sparked many a lovely day dream which is always nice.

JP and I were talking about this over dinner last night as he's a big fan of the "don't count any chickens until they hatch" philosophy.  And I totally agree with him -- I'm not really counting chickens.  I'm just sort of playing with the eggs -- holding them up to my ear, rattling them around a bit to see if anythings inside, etc.

I think some people are more like him -- afraid somewhat of day dreaming about things for fear of them not happening and then what?  Me on the other hand -- day dreaming is how I fall asleep at night.  It's funny, I think the only down side to having my first book out is the inability to day dream about it any more.  For YEARS I spent my falling asleep time day dreaming about getting The Call.  I can't even begin to tally up the different scenarios that I played out in my head.

Incidentally, the real thing was even better and I wonder if that's one reason why I still allow myself to day dream -- because I haven't been let down by reality?  It's funny, in my every day life I tend to be someone who can always point to the worst case scenario (which can be infuriating when you play against me in Risk but also made me a good attorney in some ways).  And yet when I close my eyes and daydream, it's always about the best case scenario.

Maybe I'm just able to separate my day dreams from reality, or maybe it's that I have a fundamental belief that things tend to work out in the end.  So even if my day dreams don't come true, it's not necessarily a bad thing -- it's just a different path.  Maybe I also separate my day dreaming from "wanting."  Sure I'd love the things I day dream about to come true, and I do to some extent want them to come true, but there's just not that NEED there.  Life will go on even if they don't come true.

To me, it's just about the day dream.  Something nice and fun to ponder while falling through the edge of sleep.  And who knows, maybe those years of day dreaming about getting the call pulled double duty as goal visualization.

What about y'all?  Do you day dream?  If so, what do you dream about?  If not, why?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

JP, a writer of the Future, other news, and a giveaway!

So, the big happy news first!  JP, my fiance, is a finalist in the 2d Quarter of Writers of the Future!  This is awesome news and I couldn't be more excited, thrilled, ecstatic, happy for him!  Go JP!!!!!  To celebrate, I'm giving away a copy of Satirica, a collection containing one of JP's short stories.  To win, comment congratulating JP and I'll choose a winner Monday night!

In other news, I turned in my very own short story (which JP has informed me is not short at all seeing as how it's cresting 10k words) and just got line edits back from my editor for The Dead-Tossed Waves.  I also got an invitation to contribute another short story to an anthology and am pondering what to write about next -- anyone have any burning questions about the FHT world they'd like addressed in a short story?

I know I've been totally remiss in recapping the awesome adventures of the Gothic Girls trip to Savannah.  My only excuse is being sick but really it's that I've become addicted to Twitter which has caused my blogging itch to be more satisfied.  Anyone else found that Twitter's caused their blogging to go down a bit?  All of the other Gothic Girls have posted such wonderful recaps of the week that I've had a hard time finding a way to describe it nearly as well as they have!

Also, I have that whole deadline thing again which crimps my time a bit.  But in honor of the Gothic Girls (and my deadline) here's an awesome video that was part of a student's senior project at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Hmmm... stop motion as procrastination eh?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Giving it away for free (the only time Mamma would approve)

Serena Robar is giving it away for free the entire month of June. That’s right. A book a day, every day in honor of her latest book release Giving Up the V. All you have to do to is sign up for her newsletter and you're entered to win. Enter once and you're in the running to win a book every day the entire month of June!!

And in honor of all the free books, I asked Serena to answer a few questions!  Thanks for dropping by Serena!! :)

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

I would have to say the actual call from an editor, wanting to buy my book was a pretty sweet thing.  Finally, I thought, my work is being recognized in a positive light and not with another rejection form letter. Writers get rejected. A lot.  You gotta have thick skin or this industry will eat you alive.

Is there anything you can't write without? 

I started my writing career with two kids in diapers. There were interruptions galore, but I managed to get the books written.  Now that they are older and don’t need me as much (Typing this I should point out I have been interrupted three times as school is now on summer break) I find I need bigger blocks of uninterrupted time.  I will leave and write at the library or if I am on deadline, I will hide out at my husband’s office for the weekend.  It’s tough to keep being pulled away from your train of thought I often look back at the early days and wonder how the heck I managed.

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

I hate being stuck.  When I am, I will usually write a scene that will be placed in the book later.  Something that flows easily because I had envisioned it earlier.  It’s usually the first kiss, get together scene.  Totally makes me happy and usually helps unblock the previous scene J. So yeah, bring on the lovin’.

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

I love opening lines.  I think they really set the tone for an entire book.  My current release, Giving Up the V begins like this:

Where does the underwear go?  I instantly want to know she doesn’t have her underwear on and why it has to be put somewhere.

In Giving Up the V our heroine is at her first GYN visit and she is suffering the age old dilemma put forth to every woman since the beginning of GYN visits. Where does the underwear go?  The underwear is the last thing you take off so where do you put it?  On top of your tidy folded clothes or hidden underneath? Where you put it says a lot about a person.  I suggest picking up Giving Up the V to see exactly what I mean.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies? 

Hah! Totally depends on my goal at the time.  Am I itching to become a zombie or do I want to make my escape? I think in all fairness zombies should be slow, but then where is the conflict in that?  Slow zombies just breed complacency.

About Giving up the V:

 What's So Wrong With Waiting?

Spencer Davis just turned sixteen. But unlike most hormonal teenagers who seem obsessed with sex -- like her entire crew of friends -- Spencer just doesn't get it. She'd rather wait for the right guy and the right moment. But that moment may be arriving sooner than she'd thought.

Enter Benjamin Hopkins, a new transfer student who seems to have his eyes on our V-card-carrying heroine. He's gorgeous, funny, suave, athletic, and capable of making Spencer's knees wobble with a single glance. Spencer has never felt this way about anyone before, but is Ben truly V-worthy?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Signed copies of The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Hey y'all!

When I've been out an about the past few weeks I've tried to stop by and sign stock whenever I can, so if you're looking for a signed copy of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, try the following bookstores:

Charlotte, NC:
Park Road Books (in Park Road Shopping Center)
Barnes & Noble (by SouthPark Mall, The Arboretum, and Carolina Place Mall)
Borders (by SouthPark Mall and off Rea Road)
Joseph Beth Booksellers (at SouthPark Mall)

Savannah, GA:
Barnes & Noble (Oglethorpe Mall)
Books a Million (Abercorn St just down from B&N)

Macon, GA:
Barnes & Noble (The Shoppes at River Crossing, Riverside Drive)

Atlanta, GA:
Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)
Barnes & Noble (Northpoint Pkwy and Mansell Rd in Alpharetta)
Books a Million (Canton Marketplace - 575 & Hwy 20 in Canton)

Greenville, SC:
Barnes & Noble (Woodruff Rd and Haywood Rd)

If you look for The Forest of Hands and Teeth at most Barnes & Noble locations and can't find it on the shelf it's hopefully stocked on a table of "New and Bestselling Science Fiction & Fantasy" (one reason I hit so many B&N for stock signings!)  Thanks to all the booksellers I met and talked to over the past few weeks -- y'all totally rock!!!

Anywhere Else:

If you don't live anywhere near any of those locations or if you can't find it and you'd like an autographed and/or personalized copy of FHT, you can order it from my local indie, Park Road Books.  Let them know if you want it personalized, etc., and they'll call me to come down and sign it for you!  They're only a few miles away and I'll take any excuse to visit a bookstore :)  You can email them at books [at] parkroadbooks.com or call 704-525-9239 and they'll set you up!  A huge thanks to the folks at Park Road Books for offering to do this for me!

I'm also starting to schedule some things in for the fall and will let you know when I have details!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: catching up with Sarah Ockler and Mandy Hubbard

Hey Y'all!  Lots of blog posts coming this week -- where to find signed copies of FHT, recap from Gothic Girls retreat to Savannah, etc etc.  But first, since I've been gone for a while I have two debs blog tour posts to catch up on.  First is Sarah Ockler and her debut, Twenty Boy Summer and the second is Mandy Hubbard and her debut, Prada & Prejudice.  I have to say, both of these look like awesome summer reads!!

About Twenty Boy Summer:

While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

About Sarah Ockler:

Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah's first novel. Visit her online at www.sarahockler.com.

The Interview:

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

There have been some amazing exciting moments on this journey, like finding an agent and seeing the cover for the first time and getting reader emails, but the one thing that stands out as most exciting is the thing that officially kicked off my career as an author... gGetting "the call" from the 212 area code (New York City) that Twenty Boy Summer had sold to Little, Brown!

Is there anything you can't write without?

I have my rituals and preferences, like incense and classical music and my 3-legged lucky writing pig Chancho, but I *can* write without them if I had to. I try to be flexible, because inspiration often strikes at really inconvenient times! All I really need is a pen and something to write on!

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

I choose to... write an explosive make-out scene! So far, I haven't blown anything up in my books, but I'm open to the idea, especially if there's making out after. We'll see. ;-) In my opinion, any kind of fireworks are good for stories!

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

From Twenty Boy Summer: "Summer seems to arrive with us, as though the entire place has been asleep since last September, awakening only as taxis and rental cars line up to deposit us along the beach -- families with toddlers, college kids on break, retirees seeking to warm themselves under the California sun, and our own motley crew. Together we break upon the pier like a tidal wave as she rubs her winter-sleepy eyes, stretches, and turns on the coffee for us."

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

Pro. I don't hold on to most of the traditional "rules" for zombies and I love when writers or artists take a fresh, new approach. So, bring on the Gabrielles! ;-)

I asked Sarah to share a recap post of her road to publication if she had one and the link is here.

Thanks Sarah!  And now on to Prada & Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard:

About Prada & Prejudice:

Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England...

About Mandy Hubbard:

Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming—and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.

The Interview:

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

Holding my ARCs. It was So exciting to see the way the entire thing comes together as a package... and to read it as a book and not a word document!

Is there anything you can't write without?

I can, but prefer not to write without Diet Coke. MMM.

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

Make out scenes.

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

The first line of SHATTERED, a literary tale I'm still toying with, is "I lie in pieces on the floor." Something about that still yanks me right into the story.

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies? 

Anti! I dont want any zombies outrunning me. 

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Demon's Lexicon is made of win!

I have vanquished the revisions!  Long live the revisions!  Actually, the lovely Heidi Kling is reading it right now and making wonderful comments.  Must say, it's hard to watch her read and gasp and worry about someone other than (a) me and (b) my editor reading this book. *quiver*  It's scary to let go of things like that.

So yes, big check mark next to the "revisions" on my to-do list.  In celebration I'm in Savannah at a writer's retreat and pretending to write while actually just hanging and talking.  With big plans to read read read.  Actually my big plans are to revise a short story.  Yay more revisions!

Speaking of reading, I've been remiss in lauding from on high Sarah Rees Brennan's debut novel, The Demon's Lexicon.  It came out on Tuesday and let me tell you: fantastic book.  Sarah is brilliant at injecting humor in all the right places -- and good humor.  She's also fantastic at creating really hot characters that you fall in love with and care about.

This is one of those books that you're totally going to fall in love with.  I read it on the flight down to Curacao in January and the flight just flew by (haha).  And Sarah herself is a totally awesome person and I couldn't be MORE thrilled that her book is finally out and I can proclaim its brilliance from the rooftops.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Debs Blog Tour: Dull Boy by Sarah Cross

Buy this book.  Seriously, do it.  I know I've said it before and I plan on saying it many times again -- DULL BOY is one of my favorite books this year.  I was in the middle of revisions a few months back when I got the ARC and I thought I'd just read a few pages before dead.  Half the book and 2am later and I was HOOKED.

Sarah Cross's voice is just awesome -- her characters say and do things I wish I said and did in real life (or could even write).  Dull Boy is witty and touching and just flat out fun.  Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed with this book -- I plan on reading it again on my upcoming beach trip because it's just that awesome!

About the book:

Superpowers are awesome -- unless you actually have them, like Avery does. There's only so much he can pass off as "adrenaline" before people start to get suspicious. Probably it's best to lie low, so guys in white lab coats don't come to carry him away, to find out what makes his freakish body tick. Who wants to be vivisected? But flying under the radar becomes a whole lot harder when you can actually fly. It's dangerous to be different, so for now he'll pretend to be normal, unremarkable Avery -- a dull boy -- anything to keep his secret safe.

What he doesn't expect is the horrifying truth about where his powers came from, who else might have them, and the madness of one villain's plan to turn this superpowered dull boy into something even more powerful and amazing.

About the author:

Sarah Cross has saved the world, like, five times since fifth grade — and you didn’t even notice. Learn her secrets at www.sarahcross.com.

The interview:

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

Seeing the interior design for the first time. The designer, Jason Henry, totally blew me away with all the cool details he chose. I love my lightning bolts! (Flip through the book to see what I'm talking about.)

Is there anything you can't write without?

My sanity. Too much noise and too much heat make me crazy.

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

It depends on the book. :)

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

"Vivisection leaves a bad taste in my mouth."

Finally: pro fast zombie or anti fast zombies?

I like my zombies slow and shambling. :)