Monday, March 23, 2009

Time to Read

I sort of have a rule against writing a book and reading a book at the same time. Really, the reason is that I find it too confusing. When I'm writing, my head is totally immersed in my characters and my story -- no room in there for anyone else's. And when I'm reading, I really like to get involved in that story, and think about those characters in the space in between when I reading about them. So yeah, too confusing.

But I've spent most of the past year, writing and revising, non-stop. I've taken a break to read a book or two, here or there. Once I even broke my rule and read a book while I was writing -- but then a character in the book I was reading and a character in the book I was writing were coincidentally both named Stella. Totally confusing. And I ended up having to change the name of the character in my book, just to get away from the image of that other Stella, in the book I was reading. See, even my explanation is confusing.

So right now, I'm printing out a revised draft of my adult novel to send back to my agent tomorrow. I'm also stewing over this new YA novel I just started, and I just happened to glance at the to-read pile on my night table. It's getting ready to topple, and I decided I must take a small break from writing just to begin to tackle it.

Here's what's on top: Up first is The Nightingale by Morgana Gallaway. I met Morgana a few months ago -- she lives just down the road from me -- and strangely enough our debut books both came out in February. Plus, this book looks really interesting, and I feel guilty that I haven't read it yet. Then I've got Freaked by J.T. Dutton -- this one was just released from Harperteen, and I read the first chapter on Amazon and really loved the writing. From there, I've got Goldengrove by Francine Prose (My editor sent this one for Christmas and I'm intrigued -- it looks like it has similar sister themes to The September Sisters), Shelter Me by Juliette Fay (My mom told me this is a must read.), and Life Sentences by Laura Lippman (I read a few really good reviews of this one.) And, in case you're keeping track, I'm still only on page 75 of Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed. Yes, I know -- I started this months ago!

So what's in your to-read pile?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Music and Writing

As I've been doing interviews in the past few months for The September Sisters, one question I've been getting a lot is about music, more specifically, what kind of music I listen to while I write. And I've been giving the rather boring answer of none, because I like quiet while I write. Music only distracts me.

But I've been revising my adult book like a crazy women for the past few weeks, and it occurred to me recently that although I don't listen to music while I write, I sometimes do have particular songs in my head while I'm writing. Right now, it's "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson -- totally the theme song for the book I'm revising. Which is funny, because it doesn't even necessarily encapsulate what the book is about overall, but the part I've been working on is the relationship between the main character and her husband, and I keep picturing her singing this to herself as I'm working on her dialogue. Weird, huh? Oh, and right now I'm taking a little revising break, but I still can't get the song out of my head.

And speaking of music and American Idols, did anyone else want to cry for poor Alexis at the end of the AI elimination tonight? She so did not deserve to go home yet. Right????

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tucson Festival of Books!

I have my first in-person author appearance and book signing tomorrow, at the Tucson Festival of Books! I'll be doing a panel discussion with the fabulous Janette Rallison and Jill Wolfson at 1:00 PM, called "Finding Inspiration: Writing Books Teens Will Read." Then I'll be signing books, immediately after at 2:00 PM.

If you're in the Tucson area, stop by and see me, and check out the rest of the festival, too, which looks like it's going to be awesome, with 400 authors!!

I'm so excited -- not only do I get to spend the whole day with other authors, readers, and book-lovers, but also my husband is on kid duty all day. One whole day out of the house. By myself. With books. I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

And the blog tour continues. . .

I've been having so much fun stopping by other people's blogs for chats and guest posts, that I'm going to extend my unofficial blog tour! I'm lining up dates now for April and May, so if you're interested in getting involved, send me an e-mail: . I also have a few more books available for contests AND I've got about 900 very awesome bookmarks lying around, too!

Speaking of contests: It's your last chance to enter to win a signed copy of The September Sisters over at Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf and YA Book Realm, and Kelsey at Reading Keeps You Sane is hosting a contest this week as well!

As for my latest blog tour stops, I'm talking about the evolution of my title (it's a pretty twisty evolution!) over at Reading Keeps You Sane, my love for American Idol over at Shalonda's Blog, and my life as a band geek over at The Not So Closet Geeks (All week is Geek Fest over there, and it's really fantastic, so check it out!).

And American Idol -- awesome tonight, no? Who'd you vote for? I must admit, I voted for six of them! How will I ever decide what to do this year?!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Back to Writing

I know I've been slightly absent from the blog world this week, but earlier in the week it occurred to me, after a few crazy busy post-release days last week, that I had some actual revising to do. Oh yeah. Right! I'm a writer! Funny, how I lost that for a little while in all the swirl of release madness.

So I've spent some time this week dissecting my latest work-in-progress. It's a novel for adults, and after a little time away from it, I'm seeing it with new eyes. My agent read it a few weeks ago, and pointed out that my main character wasn't likeable enough. And now that I'm going through it again, I see exactly what she meant. Which is funny, because when I wrote the first draft, I saw the main character in my head as this really nice person. But now on the page, I see how she's coming across as too cold. I have a habit of doing this, not being able to see my characters for who they really are until someone else points it out to me. I wonder if I'm the only writer that this happens to?

I did have some more release stuff going on this week, too. An interview with The Frenetic Reader and a guest post over at Look at That Book. Next week I'll be participating in Geek Fest over at The Not So Closet Geeks, On the Outside over at Reading Keeps You Sane, and I'll be doing a guest post with Shalonda.

Last night, I went to Barnes and Noble to sign all their stock copies of The September Sisters! So if you're in Tucson, The Barnes and Noble at the Foothills Mall now has signed copies of the book out.

Fellow Novel Girl, Lisa Patton, also sent me this picture of The September Sisters on the shelves at Davis-Kidd bookstore in Nashville. Yay! I'm in Nashville!