Monday, May 31, 2010

Never Berate Your Mother For Googling You

Wednesday, the day of my first book reading/signing event my mom calls me at work.

Mom: Hey, I was Googling you and saw that you’re speaking at a private school in Atherton the day of the Kepler’s signing!
Me: Wha? *cold sweats. quickly googles self + the school name*
Mom: Do you see it? Right there under the principal’s message!
Me: Oh god! What the? I gotta call my publicist. *hangs up on mom*

My publicist is on vacation but I get another lovely Flux publicist who assures me she will get to the bottom of this. When she gets back to me the news is even worse: there has been some disconnect and I am actually booked at TWO schools on Friday. A private school with 5th through 8th graders and a High School.  It is Wednesday, and that night after work I have the book signing in town. This means I have to pack up the family and drive down to San Francisco the next night. But logistics are the least of my worries. My biggest problem is I HAVE NOTHING PREPARED!

I call the schools; I talk to the librarians who set up the events. I calm down a bit and head to my first event, right here in my hometown. It is packed! I’m shocked. I make it through even though I hate hate hate reading aloud.  I think I do okay but I get a call the next day from my good friend and physician.

Dr. R: *gushes about book signing*
Me:  *thanks her profusely*
Dr. R: So, I’d love to prescribe a little something for your speaking anxiety …
Me: *thumps head on desk*  Was it that obvious?
Dr. R: No, of course not! Only something a doctor would notice.
Me: I’m leaving town in an hour, how fast can you call it in to the drive-thru pharmacy?

So I get the anti-anxiety medicine at 5:30 at night on our way to San Francisco. We roll in at midnight. The next day I am at the Middle School in the morning. It’s a Catholic School so all the kids are in their cute little plaid uniforms, as polite and quite as can be. The gym seems huge and I am put off by the fact that I need to use a microphone. But all goes well, very well. They ask amazing questions and laugh when they’re supposed to and they all buy lots of books from the nice Kepler’s woman and I feel as if I’ve been wrapped in a big warm blanket of adorableness.

Then, the high school. I am told I will be in the Performing Arts Center and my knees buckle. I can hardly watch performing arts without being embarrassed—and now I am one? I thank my lucky stars for anti-anxiety medicine and pop one like it’s a Pez. I walk in to see what looks like Inside the Actors Studio sans James Lipton: an enormous stage set with a desk, a chair, and a microphone. And there is a spotlight. Right where I am supposed to sit. I can’t hide my shock and neither can my prescription Pez. The stage guy mistakes my shock for something else, like indignation at his setup.

Stage guy: Oh, don’t feel like you have to sit there the whole time! The mic is on a little stand, so when you want to get up and roam the stage, just take the mic with you. I’ll follow you with the spotlight wherever you go.
Me: *convulses upon hearing, “I’ll follow you with the spotlight”*  I can’t do that!
Stage guy: Okay, you can just sit then.
Me: No, I mean I can’t be up on that stage!
Stage guy: *looks at me like I am crazy person*
Me: Can I just sit on the edge of the stage?
Stage guy: *shrugs* I still have to light you.

Kids file in. Big kids. Like, adult sized. I read the short bit that I’ve been opening these things with. They clearly do not want to be read to. I fumble, I sweat. The teachers ask questions to be kind, the kids sit with arms folded. I lose 7 years of life up there. Finally, I forget about my book and turn the ship around.

Me: So what do you guys like to read?

The adult-sized children start to engage. They love to read. They tell me what they like; I give them some suggestions for other great books. One finally asks a question about my book, so I tell them some freaky stuff about the Mayan calendar. They pretend not to show enthusiasm but I can tell they kind of dig it. More questions are asked. The bell rings. I live, but have 90% more grey hair than when I started.

And yet, there’s more. That night I have a reading and signing at Kepler’s. Some kids from the private school are there, and tons of friends and family show up. Heidi Kling even comes by. Most astonishingly, people I have never seen in my life are there. Real live people who came to see me and get the book! I am flabbergasted and, most of all, grateful.

I live through the day. Kepler’s sells out of books. We all leave happy, but mostly happy that it's over.

And the moral? Never berate you mother for Googling you—it just might save you the embarrassment of inadvertently standing up two schools...

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

And the winner is...

I am so sorry I couldn't post the winner yesterday - I had two school visits and a bookstore event at Kepler's. What a day! More on that later, for now the winner of the five-pack of goodies is:


Please email me with your mailing address so we can get your bookstuff to you!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

High School Flashback - Author Christina Diaz Gonzales

So it’s the last day of the High School Flashback Tour, where five authors expose their teen photos and where five people will win five loads of bookstuff! Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered.

Today we’re flashing back to Christina Diaz Gonzales, author of The Red Umbrella. I’m reading it right now and it’s riveting—a fascinating look at a really frightening time in history.

A less frightening time in history is Christina's high school years. Look at this flashback picture! Where's the shame and humiliation? I would have sold my teen soul AND thrown in all my Journey albums to have looked like this is in high school!

Now for a few flashback questions. Christina, what clique(s) were you part of in high school? I floated among several group but my main group was the Majorettes/Dance Squad kids.

Please describe one outfit you absolutely LOVED but now that you look back on you cringe. I loved wearing double shirts and blouses with HUGE shoulder pads...I shudder thinking about it.

If you could give your teen self one piece of advice, what would it be? Be yourself and don't worry so much about fitting in.

Thanks Christina! For a more in-depth discussion with Christina about her publishing journey, please see my previous interview. And here's her gorgeous book:

In 1961, two years after the Communist revolution, Lucía Álvarez still leads a carefree life, dreaming of parties and her first crush. But when the soldiers come to her sleepy Cuban town, everything begins to change. Freedoms are stripped away.  Neighbors disappear. Her friends feel like strangers. And her family is being watched.

As the revolution's impact becomes more oppressive, Lucía's parents make the heart-wrenching decision to send her and her little brother to the United States —on their own.

Suddenly plunked down in Nebraska with well-meaning strangers, Lucía struggles to adapt to a new country, a new language, a new way of life.  But what of her old life? Will she ever see her home or her parents again? And if she does, will she still be the same girl?

Christina Diaz Gonzalez was born in a small Southern town, but moved to the big city of Miami when she was in high school. In high school she was a Majorette and had the silly nickname of Moose (the football coach gave it to her because she was small and the exact opposite of what people thought someone named Moose should look like). You can read more about Christina on her website

Leave a comment here to be entered in the drawing for the load of good stuff. Plus, you can enter on all five blogs! Today I’m over on Jen’s blog with my Prom 1984 photos. Pale skin, dye-to-match shoes, and acres of poly taffeta = a night to remember.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

High School Flashback - Author Kimberly Derting

It’s day three of the Young Adult Author High School Flashback Tour, which means you can laugh at us AND get a whole bunch of cool bookstuff. That’s a win/win, no?

Today I have the pleasure of flashing back to Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. I was totally scared to meet her for the first time because I’d read her book and wondered how any normal person could so richly narrate a serial killer. Happily, within minutes I found out she was she was hilarious and kind and completely uncreepy in every way. Now I'm a fan - of her and her book! 

Are you ready for the flashback photo? It’s a doozy, and it’s been hard to keep from posting this photo all over Facebook because it’s just so…so quintessentially Eighties in every way. The hair! The sweater vest! The abundance of mauve! Feast your eyes on this, my friends:

I think the photo says it all, but I'll ask anyway: What clique(s) were you part of in high school? 
I was a “preppy,” which meant I wore a lot of pink with my collars “popped” and spent a lot of time on my hair and makeup. 

Please describe one outfit you absolutely LOVED but now that you look back on you cringe…
I had these long pencil skirts that I wore with pumps and shaker-knit sweaters with big chunky belts (which were only for looks, of course).  Everything was in shades of pink or yellow or white…it was all very pastel.  And I really thought I was super hot.  Umm, yeah…hot…

If you could give your teen self one piece of advice, what would it be? 
Spend as much time as possible with your friends, the boys don’t really mean much in the long run.  Oh, and more mascara is not necessarily better mascara!

Well said, Kimberly!I could have used that mascara advice - in photos of me from the Eighties it looks like I have tarantulas on my eyes. 

Okay, flash forward! It's 2010 and that little mauve prepster is now a novelist. Regard:

A serial killer on the loose.
A girl with a morbid ability.
And the boy who would never let anything happen to her.

Check out The Body Finder's Amazon page for more about this riveting book. 

Kimberly lives in the Pacific Northwest, with her husband and their three beautiful (and often mouthy) children, who serve as an endless source of inspiration for her writing.  

To be entered in the contest to win five great prizes, simply leave a comment. All five of us will have winners, so be sure to enter at all blogs. 

For a look at my senior pic, in which I try desperately to pull off a nautical shirt with puffy sleeves, head over to Kay's blog. And check back tomorrow for a trip back to high school with Christina Gonzles in white go-go boots. The fun never ends!

And here, one again, are the goodies you could win (winner takes ALL of them!):

A signed copy of the Prophecy of Days and a tasseled bookmark from me.

A red umbrella and signed bookmark from Christina Gonzales (The Red Umbrella)

A tote bag and signed bookmark from Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder)

A glass slipper bookmark from Kay Cassidy (The Cinderella Society)

A fancy glowing pen, The Mark notepad, and signed bookmark from Jen Nadol (The Mark)

 Each of us will pick a winner from comments throughout the week so be sure to visit all five blogs for more chances to win.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

High School Flashback - Author Kay Cassidy

It’s day two of the Young Adult Author High School Flashback Tour in which you can win really great bookstuff! Five winners will be chosen Friday and each winner will get five cool book related prizes - all for just poking fun at us!

Today we get a Kay Cassidy flashback. Kay is the author of the fantastic new novel The Cinderella Society, a true Girl Power book that hits my sweet spot: secret societies + makeovers! But before we dive in to the book details, shall we hop in the time machine and set it for the 80s? Check this out:

Hi Kay! Nice Chevette Scooter - it's almost as shiny as your megawatt smile!
The picture is of me on my 16th birthday by my first car. It was technically my brother's car but he was away at college so I got to drive it until he came back from school and I got my own car. The thing I remember most about it is actually from being a passenger in the car. It was starting to rust out in the floorboards beneath the passenger side foot area and when my brother would go over a puddle, I would sometimes get splashed if the puddle was big enough. You'd think I would've learned from his Chevette woes, but no. My first car of my own was also a Chevette (aka "The Crappy Copper Car").

What clique(s) were you part of in high school?
I was really tight with my cheerleading team. We were largely a bunch of honor roll, non-partying athletes so we totally broke the cheerleader mold of the '80s. But I was never a very clique-y person. I sort of floated between groups for the most part. I was comfortable around just about everyone, except for the people who were hard partiers. I always felt like a big lame-o around them.  :-)

Please describe one outfit you absolutely LOVED but now that you look back on you cringe. 
Oh my gosh, I had this black cotton dress… three tiers that all fell above the knee… and this big, thick, copper choker necklace like something you'd see on Cleopatra? I thought it was THE STUFF. And it's funny because my best friend my senior year moved to our school during junior year and she later told me she always looked forward to when I'd wear that because she thought it was super cool too. I have a feeling we would laugh our butts off if we saw a picture of it now. Sooo '80s.

If you could give your teen self one piece of advice, what would it be? Stop trying to plan ten years down the road and enjoy the now. Seriously, life is going to happen whether you plan every waking moment or not.  But these friends, these moments, will only be here once. Take more pictures and just have fun. Oh, and write stuff down so you can use it later! Someday you will be a YA author and all that crap you're going through now? Gold, baby.  :-)

That's so right! And here's Kay's gold:

What a girl to do when the glass slipper fits, but she doesn't want to wear it anymore?

Sixteen year old Jess Parker has always been an outsider. So when she receives an invitation to join The Cinderella Society, a secret society of the most popular girls in school, it's like something out of a fairy tale.  Swept up by the Cindys' magical world of makeovers, and catching the eye of her Prince Charming, Jess feels like she's finally found her chance to fit in.

Then the Wickeds--led by Jess's arch-enemy--begin targeting innocent girls in their war against the Cindys, and Jess discovers there's more to being a Cindy than reinventing yourself on the outside. She has unknowingly become part of a centuries-old battle of good vs. evil, and now the Cindys in charge need Jess for a mission that could change everything.

Overwhelmed, Jess wonders if The Cinderella Society made a mistake in choosing her. Is it a coincidence her new boyfriend doesn't want to be seen with her in public? And is this glamorous, secret life even what she wants, or will she risk her own happy ending to live up to the expectations of her new sisters?
Go to Amazon to read more about The Cinderella Society!

Kay Cassidy is the author of teen fiction she wishes was based on her real life. She is the founder of the national Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM reading program for kids and teens and the host of the inspirational Living Your FiveTM web project.  In her free time, she enjoys yoga, movies, music, and reading.  Lots and lots of reading.  She hopes her debut YA novel, THE CINDERELLA SOCIETY (Egmont), will help girls embrace their inner Cindy.

Thanks Kay!

To be entered in the contest to win five great prizes, simply leave a comment. All five of us will have winners, so be sure to stop at everyone's blogs. As added bonus you can see me as a teen dressed as a wench over at Kimberly's blog. Sadly, that's not a typo.

Monday, May 17, 2010

High School Flashback - Author Jen Nadol

High School Flashback Tour is a fun week-long feature, with peeks at Young Adult authors as actual young adults! There will be four authors featured, each providing goodies for a great giveaway that five of you lucky ducks will win. Just leave a comment below and you'll be entered. (And be sure to visit all five blogs for more chances to win.)

Today I'm featuring Jen Nadol, author of The Mark (Bloomsbury). This was one of those "great idea" bookswhile reading it I just kept saying, "Why didn't I think of this? What a genius plot!" Seriously, people, this is a book you'll want! Total page-turner.

Now, shall we dig up some high school memories?

-- So, Jen, let's learn a bit about your high school years. What clique(s) were you part of in high school?  Cliques weren’t a big thing at my school.  It was really small and people didn’t divide up in the usual ways.  I hung out with cheerleaders, jocks, kids in College Bowl and on the bowling team, smokers and non-, people who wore pink, people who wore black…it was pretty random.

-- Please describe one outfit you absolutely LOVED but now that you look back on you cringe. Junior year I was really into wearing nylons with shorts in the winter.  Not sure where I picked that up, but it really didn’t look that good.

--If you could give your teen self one piece of advice, what would it be? Step a-waaayy from the hair salon.

Exhibit A:

Killer hair! I totally remember that hair do. I actually wanted it really badly but I had phorehead phobia and this particular style did not work with my Wall of Bangs. There's another great shot of Jen in High School here. I wish I could say I was shocked about the whole shorts over nylons in winter thing, but I am no stranger to that combo! We did that too, and I believe with all my heart that shorts over coffee colored nylons will never be cool again. Ever.

Obviously all that time in perm rollers did no lasting damage to Jen. Here's her great book:

When sixteen-year-old Cassie Renfield realizes the glow she’s always seen around certain people means death is imminent, she struggles to understand her “gift”.  How does the mark work?  Why is she the only one who sees it?  Most importantly, if you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them? Here's the Amazon link to read more.

Jen Nadol grew up in Reading, PA and has lived in Washington DC, Boston, NYC and now, in a 150 year-old farmhouse in Westchester County, NY with her husband and three young sons.

Check back tomorrow for a trip back to high school with Kay Cassidy. (Two words: Chevette Scooter.) For a choice 1984 photo of me, you can check out Christina's blog. Can you spot the macrame?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Five-Author Giveaway! Goodies Galore!

Starting tomorrow, five Young Adult authors/bloggers will be hosting the High School Flashback Tour and giving away five sets of goodies. In addition to getting a peek at what these authors looked like in high school and telling you a bit about their teen years, five people will win this haul of prizes:

A signed copy of the Prophecy of Days and a tasseled bookmark from me.

A red umbrella and signed bookmark from Christina Gonzales (The Red Umbrella)

A tote bag and signed bookmark from Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder)

A glass slipper bookmark from Kay Cassidy (The Cinderella Society)

A fancy glowing pen, The Mark notepad, and signed bookmark from Jen Nadol (The Mark)

All you have to do is come back tomorrow and have a good laugh as we flashback to high school! Each of us will pick a winner from comments throughout the week so be sure to visit all five blogs for more chances to win.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surprise Love – The Flash Mob

Although I can watch shows and movies about singing and dancing (Glee, Fame, etc.) I get kind of embarrassed watching musicals, even on TV.  And live theater? Forget it! I can’t be in the audience when someone breaks into song in the middle of a dramatic moment. Apologies to those who love musical theater, but I cannot seem to suppress my giggles.

This is why I’m so surprised at my love for Flash Mob musical numbers. I’m obsessed! This is how a musical should be—unpolished and surprising, complete with people who look completely confused by what is going on around them. There’s a raw energy about these videos that I adore.

Here’s a new one from Ohio State Student Union. Love that the University President got involved!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I feel a wee bit official...

My publisher has put up a little interview on their site. And they're giving away a free book as well! Gotta love free.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feline Panniculus Studies

Studies have shown that cats prefer to look defiantly at their owners while hanging their middle-aged cat tummies on Prophecy of Days - two to one over other YA novels!

(Thanks for the photo Graeme Stone, you made my day!)

UPDATE: It's not just for cats anymore! Dogs (like Hank, below) are becoming quite possessive of POD as well...

Thanks Peggy!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Are you sick of me yet?

A blogger from the Philippines has posted an interview with me on her blog.

Thanks, Precious! (That's her name, I'm not being overly familiar...)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Two Book Giveaways! Two Interviews!

I got my first review from a real, live, actual teen! Kirthi is 13 and fabulously well read. Her seriously detailed review, along with a subsequent interview of me (in which I reveal a secret obsession), is at her Pages Blog.

Also, the charming British author Karen Mahoney (The Iron Witch, Flux 2011) also has an interview over on her blog (in which I reveal details of what I would do in the off chance that I knew the world was going to end).

Both are featuring Prophecy of Days book giveaways and both are open internationally!

Thanks Kirthi and Kaz!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A fun little interview...

Bookaholic Tina of Fantastic Book Review has featured an interview with me. Tina always comes up with great interview questions. My favorite? “If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?” 
Thanks, Tina!