Friday, April 30, 2010

Signing in Columbus, Ohio Tomorrow (Saturday)

Hey y'all! Just wanted to let you know that tomorrow, Saturday, I'm taking part in the big signing at the Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, OH.

The signing will be at the Hyatt Regency Downtown and it runs from 11:00-2:00.

I believe there is a $5.00 fee at the door (or something similar). There's more information at (including a list of authors there - there will be tons including some superstars of YA (Melissa Marr, Holly Black, Ally Carter, Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Kelly Armstrong, Heather Brewer, and many, many more!)

Thanks Ally for letting me steal all thi info from her blog!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mac Freedom

Okay, so I've known about Mac Freedom for a while but was never really interested in it.  Essentially, it's a program that will lock your computer from the internet for whatever period of time you specify.  If you want to go online you either have to wait until that time is up or you have to reboot your computer.  It's SUPER easy to use.

Honestly, I never though I'd need this program.  Sure, other writers raved about it, but I've always been able to pretty much restrict myself to writing when necessary (usually the closer I get to a deadline, the more restrictive I become).  I've been known to turn off my wifi during writing sprints if necessary but I always thought that if I totally disconnected from the internet -- and such disconnection was beyond my control -- that I'd just spend that time wondering about what I was missing (and checking my iPhone for email instead).

And the thing is, I *know* there are times when I'm in the middle of a scene and a new email comes in and I go check it and when I finally get back to the scene I've lost momentum.  I've done this countless times.  And even if I force myself *not* to check the email but to finish the scene then there's just this little gnat buzzing in the back of my head that there's an email there's an email there's an email.

I also know that I have a tendency to go flip around through twitter or email when I'm stuck on a scene and what I really should be doing is forcing myself to work through the stuck bit.  Sometimes it's too easy to distract myself when what I really need is to not be distracted.

I don't even know why yesterday or the day before I tried Mac Freedom.  Maybe I was more distracted than usual but for whatever reason I booted the program up (I'd already downloaded it ages ago) and gave myself 30 minutes of Freedom.  Essentially all that does is just stop your computer from connecting online (my computer was still connected to my home network so I could continue to back up and access the time capsule).

Suddenly I didn't have to worry about interruptions.  I didn't have to worry about *me* interrupting myself.  Sure, I had one point where I really wanted to double check research online but waiting 30 minutes to do so is hardly a hardship.

It's hard to express what the feeling was like when Freedom kicked in.  The best I can explain it was that there was just this calm silence filtering over everything.  Suddenly, the part of my brain that's wondering what's new online and what I'm missing just... vanished.  I thought it would get louder and more insistent but apparently even that part of myself can last for just 30 minutes.

It really was like silence.  That's exactly what I felt at the time: calm silence.  Life didn't have to jostle around in my brain: it was just me and my story and everything else could just wait half an hour.

I've used Freedom several times since then -- in fact, my new routine is to play around online (see eg. now) and then lock down for 30 minutes and write and then play around online.  So far it's really worked: I've written over 9k words on my new project since coming home from New Orleans a few days ago.  (I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I'm still in the honeymoon phase with this project :)

So yep, I was a total skeptic and thought I didn't need an external program to help me focus but it turns out that whether I need it or not, it sure is nice to have.  Now I actually get a little tingle of excitement when I open up the program because it feels like I'm about to go on a date with my manuscript -- just the two of us and no distractions :)

PS: I have a free trial version, I can't tell from looking at their website if you can try it out before donating $10 to unlock the full version.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Signing in New Orleans this Saturday with Maggie Stiefvater and Jackson Pearce

Last year I went to Savannah on a writing retreat with the Gothic Girls and it was awesome.  This year I'm headed to New Orleans with several of the same authors and I'm anticipating that it will again be awesome.  I'm totally planning on badgering everyone there to let me read their books (Tessa Gratton's Blood Magic and Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement (I've already read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce - loved it!) and Maggie Stiefvater's Forever (I already know she ain't gonna let me pry that out of her fingers, sigh!)).

To kick the week of right, I'll be joining Maggie and Jackson at Octavia Books on Saturday, April 17th from 4-6.  I hear Maggie will be putting on a show that may involve rolling around the bookstore.  We can only hope!  I'll be signing and answering questions (and watching Maggie roll through the aisles).

For the rest of the week, I shall be basking in the joy of being around other creative types.  There's something just so joyous in being surrounded by other authors and talking about craft, goals, ideas, careers, stories.  Just thinking about it has me excited beyond belief!  Also, hopefully, there will be writing.

I'm actually working on two different books right now.  One of them I can't seem to get out of my head and I've oddly been hand-writing it.  I've wanted to handwrite a book for ages and even spent an entire afternoon driving around town looking for *just* the right journal with *just* the right type of paper.

What happens?  I find two perfect journals, buy six different pens and then end up writing in an old spiral notebook with a pen I found tucked in the couch cushions.  And naturally, being the superstitious fool that I am, when I needed to find another spiral to write it, I went to three different stores all over town looking for the EXACT same kind (in different colors).  And for some reason I'm writing it back to front (not the story, but physically I started writing in the back of the notebook).  I do not understand myself sometimes.

Anyway, because of said superstition I don't want to say too much about the book.  It's like a secret and though I stink at keeping secrets, this one I like to have rattling around in my brain.  When I talk publicly about this book I always call it "the wrong book."  Because it is the wrong book.  And yet, I shall continue to poke at it because I'm enjoying it and if I learned anything from writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth it's to not worry about the right book or the wrong book and just focus on telling a story you're passionate about.

Luckily, I'm also super excited about the other book I'm working on which I'm hoping will soon become "the right book."  The problem with not being an outliner is that I tend to spend days and weeks moaning and wailing as I wait for the seed of an idea to develop enough to make sense.  At least by now I've come to realize that this is my process and so I haven't agonized quite as much.  I've just taken my spiral notebooks outside and tooled around on the wrong idea, waiting for the right one to solidify.

Today I wrote a synopsis of the first quarter of my new idea and so I'm waiting to see what JP says before going forward.  It's caused me to bounce around quite a bit in excitement... thank goodness I have a mega-chat tonight to take my mind off the waiting!

Speaking of the megachat: here are the details:  I'm off to poke at my synopsis some more... I'm one of those people who gets mongo excited about new things and I'm just hoping my excitement doesn't wear off and that the shiny will still seem shiny :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Yes, there's a third book in the series! Plus, three short stories in 2010

One of the questions I've been asked a bunch lately is what's next.  I'll update my website soon, but here's the scoop: there's a third book in the series and it should be coming out in Spring 2011.  It's already written and the title is The Dark and Hollow Places.  I've seen a cover comp and in total love -- can't wait until I'm able to share it!

I also have three short stories set in the World after the Return (the same world as The Forest of Hands and Teeth and The Dead-Tossed Waves).

Antho title: Kiss Me Deadly: 13 Tales of Paranormal Love
Antho editor: Trisha Telep
Release date: July 27, 2010
Short story title: Hare Moon
Short story description: my story is about Sister Tabitha from The Forest of Hands and Teeth when she was Mary's age.  It answers a few more questions about the village, the Sisterhood and Tabitha's motivation.  As it turns out, she was quite the passionate teen :)

Antho title: The Living Dead 2
Antho editor: John Joseph Adams
Release date: September 2010
Short story title: Flotsam & Jetsam
Short story description: right around the time of the Return, when no one really knows what's going on, a group of seniors go on their senior cruise and infection breaks out on the ship.  Two boys escape in a life raft -- one of them's infected.

Antho title: Zombies vs. Unicorns
Antho editors: Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
Release date: September 21, 2010
Short story title: Bougainvillea
Short story description: set about ten years after the Return on the island of Curacao, a girl discovers what it takes to survive as pirates threaten.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Come chat with me this Thursday!

This Thursday, the fantabulous Mundie Moms are hosting a chat with me at 9pm EST.  Their blog is here for details!

I promise updates and photos soon... just have to download pictures from my camera :)  It's been nice being home from tour, trying to catch up on things, watching the yard EXPLODE with new growth which is threatening to take control of the house.  I'd planned on having most of April to myself to write and get organized but it looks like those plans might change...

In writing news, I've been working on a book that I've been super excited about for months.  The only problem is that it isn't want I'd planned on writing next.  So... there's that.  Jake had an appointment with the vet this morning and, as predicted, got a bit antsy about the whole needle thing so they've had to sedate him.  I'm not going to lie, it's a little unsettling being home without him, wondering how he's doing.  Poor beast.

Everyone was like "oh, he'll be so sweet when he's home and all woozy!" and to me that sounds like just about every other day.  He'll just climb up on the couch and pass out and that will be that -- typical afternoon for Jake.   Perhaps I'll pick up a book and snuggle up with him :)

Anyways, come hang out tomorrow night and chat!

Monday, April 05, 2010

And the winners of Nine Rules are.....

read this book!!
Thanks to everyone who entered my contest for an autographed copy of Sarah MacLean's amazing romance Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake!  The winners are:

Email me at with where to mail the books and if you want them personalized, to whom!

And congrats to Sarah on a fantabulous debut!  For the rest of you, pick up her book anywhere books are sold!! You won't regret it!