On Wednesday evening, Jennifer Ziegler and I are road-tripping to Houston for the 2009 Texas Library Association Conference. I’ll be participating in a panel with John Green and Wendy Lichtman called Do the Math: A Formula for Teen Reading on Thursday morning at 10:00. Jenny will be signing at the Random House Booth on Thursday from 1:00 to 2:00. Then we’ll be at the bar, tossing down margaritas discussing abstract literary concepts with other authors.
My classmate Rachel is part of Barrel of Monkeys, an arts education theater ensemble in Chicago. Among other things, they teach creative writing to under-served students, and adapt students’ stories for the stage.
And now, thanks to Rach [who (whom??) is also singing background], I can’t get one of the songs out of my head. The actual title of the song is My First Girlfriend, but like all good 90’s styled R&B grooves, it needs to have an alternate name.
With all the press the Delacorte Dames and Dude Society has been getting, I figured it might be a good idea to actually talk about my Delacorte book, Saving Maddie. Of course, the book doesn’t come out for another year, and it isn’t even listed on Amazon yet, but why let a little thing like purchasability stop me.
First, here’s the cover:
Let’s just say I’m…curious about what the response will be concerning the cover.
Personally, I love the cover, and so does my editor. I think it gets across everything the novel is about.
So what is the novel about?
As I’ve stated before, I hate describing a book. I never know if the person is asking about the plot or the theme or the characters or whatever.
And, in general, I suck at summaries.
So until I get the official flap or catalog copy, you’ll have to do with my rag-tag description of the book.
I’m pretty sure I’m late on this, but for a while there the 25 Random Things About Me Meme was all the rage on Facebook. And I kinda sorta ignored all those tags I got. But never fear — now that my Vermont College of Fine Arts packet is out the door, I’m happy to present my 25 random things.
1. When I was growing up, my brother and I shared a car. Jenny, the Mighty Topaz — a dirty red, ’87 Mercury Topaz. She was like a lot a women I knew in my younger days; temperamental, prone to overheating, always wanting me to give her money. But just like any good woman, whenever I need her, she was there…except for that time she broke down in Chunky, Mississippi in the middle of the night.
2. When I was in the first grade, I had a dream that the Cat in the Hat was trying to kill me. Except he was wearing a lampshade instead of a hat. And he was firing invisible bullets.
3. I’ll be on a panel with John Green and Wendy Litchman at TLA this April. The good news — people will come because they want to hear John Green. The bad news — people may come because they ONLY want to hear John Green.
4. I have the preliminary cover for Saving Maddie. I’ll probably post it sometime next month.
5. My pants size in high school was 29” / 30” waist by 34” inseam. My pants size now is 30” / 31” waist by 34” inseam.
6. Mrs. V hates when I bring up my clothing size.
7. When I was in college, a girl thought it was sexy to insert her tongue in my ear. The entire time, I kept wondering if I had remembered to clean my ears that morning. 8. I like meat. I hate it when people steal meat from my plate (you know who you are).
9. If I go too long without writing, I’m not a nice person to be around.
10. I worry that I worry about the wrong things.
11. I have a love / hate relationship with all of my jobs.
12. I once worked as a fundraiser for the University of Oklahoma. I would call people and ask them to donate money to the school. Some people were nice. Others hung up on me. And some people cursed me out. Either way, I had to end my call with a “thank you.”
13. I probably curse more than I should.
14. The idea of having a baby thrills me.
15. The idea of having a baby terrifies me. (FYI, we are not pregnant)
One of the most exciting things about being an author is not only seeing my own books in print, but seeing other books by authors I know in the bookstores. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see all of these books face out at one of the local Barnes and Noble here in Austin:
Eternal (Candlewick, 2009) by Cynthia Leitich Smith. The summary: At last, Miranda is the life of the party: all she had to do was die. Elevated and adopted by none other than the reigning King of the Mantle of Dracul, Miranda goes from high-school theater wannabe to glamorous royal fiend overnight.
Meanwhile, her reckless and adoring guardian angel, Zachary, demoted to human guise as the princess’s personal assistant, has his work cut out for him trying to save his girl’s soul and plan the Master’s fast-approaching Death Day gala.
In alternating points of view, Miranda and Zachary navigate a cut-throat eternal aristocracy as they play out a dangerous and darkly hilarious love story for the ages.
With diabolical wit, the author of Tantalize revisits a deliciously dark world where vampires vie with angels — and girls just want to have fangs.
Golden Girl: A Bradford novel (Simon Pulse, 2009) by Micol Ostow. The Summary: Spencer Grace Kelly has it all, and then some…especially with two new arrivals at prestigious Bradford Prep: Spence’s ex-boyfriend and first love, Jeremy, and Regan Stanford, a frenemy with a mysterious past.
Shadowed Summer (Delacorte, 2009) by Saundra Mitchell. The Summary: Nothing ever happened in Ondine, Louisiana, not even the summer Elijah Landry disappeared.
His mother knew he ascended to heaven, the police believed he ran away, and his girlfriend thought he was murdered.
Decades later, certain she saw his ghost in the town cemetery, fourteen-year-old Iris Rhame is determined to find out the truth behind “The Incident With the Landry Boy.”
Enlisting the help of her best friend Collette, and forced to endure the company of Collette’s latest crush, Ben, Iris spends a summer digging into the past and stirring old ghosts, in search of a boy she never knew.
What she doesn’t realize is that in a town as small as Ondine, every secret is a family secret.
I’ve never been one for creating New Year’s Resolution, but being that I’m too lazy to get some writing done right now, I figured I’d share a few thoughts on what I’m hoping to accomplish next year.
1) Hire someone to update my website: I started my website in July of 2005, using good-old html and Notepad. I’m relatively happy with the design, but the source code is a pain to update, and quite frankly, my time is probably better spent writing books than writing code. I’m also hoping to get my blog better integrated into the website.
2) Spend more time with family and friends: 2008 was a killer year. I spent way too many late nights trying to beat a deadline. My schedule looks much, much better this year, mainly because in July I’ll…
3) Graduate from Vermont College: All my critical work is done (more on this later this month), so now that I’m focusing mainly on my creative work, things should go a lot smoother.
4) Finish a new novel: Note that I didn’t say sell a new novel. Don’t get me wrong, I fully intend to have another book under contract by the end of the year (hopefully sooner), but much of the hocus-pocus of publishing is out of my control. However, I can control what I produce at home, in my office, on my laptop.
5) Take more chances with my work: I’m itching to do something new, something different, although I don’t really know what “new” or “different” is yet. Maybe more short stories. Or a picture book. Or a pop-up book about breasts and man-parts (my classmates will get this).
6) Read Octavion Nothing 1 and 2.
7) Do a better job at cheering on other authors: I sometimes get so wrapped up in what I’m trying to accomplish, I forget about what other authors are trying to do. There are some really great authors out there, and I want to make sure that they get their time in the spotlight.
8) Finish a joint-project with a classmate: One of my classmates and I have been talking about working on a joint MG project for almost a year now, and mostly because of me, it hasn’t gone much further than a few outlines and sample pages. I’m hoping that as things calm down, we’ll be able to work on this novel.
9) Find the drive to consistently get up at 5:00 in the morning: Ever since I turned in my last round of edits for Saving Maddie, I’ve been reluctant to get up in the morning for my usual writing routine. My goal this year is to get up and out of the house by 5:50 AM at least four days a week. This would give me almost two hours of fresh writing time before work. (And look for another post in a few months concerning motivation.)
10) Clean up my office: Seriously, it hasn’t been cleaned, dusted or vacuumed in over a year. My desk is covered with papers, books, and random receipts. Mrs. V won’t even stop foot inside my office at this point.
Hmm…on second thought, maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.
A little over a year ago, I received an anonymous comment concerning my role as a YA author. Well, it took a while, but I finally responded at A Crowe’s Nest. Check it out and let me know what you think.