Monday, March 30, 2009

We Have a Winner!

We have a winner!

After a careful selection from Baby Girl . . .

I’m happy to announce that . . .

Thao Tran is the winner of the signed ARC of One Wish!!

Congratulations, Thao!

And thank you to everyone else who entered! Keep checking back, because I’m planning another giveaway soon!

Remember that One Wish can be pre-ordered from

Or . . . check your local independent bookstore or Barnes and Noble after April 23rd!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Carrie Ryan is Here!

In continuing with the fabulous Debs Tour, today I have the fantastic Carrie Ryan on the blog!

About Carrie Ryan

Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time. She lives with her writer/lawyer fiancé, two fat cats and one large puppy in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

About The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is about a young girl named Mary growing up generations after an apocalypse in a village surrounded by fences protecting them from the Unconsecrated, zombie-like creatures inhabiting the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Cut off from the rest of the world and told they are the last survivors of the Return, every part of her life is controlled by the religious order called the Sisterhood. As Mary starts to fall in love with someone she shouldn’t, she learns the extent of the Sisterhood’s power and starts to discover more of their darkest secrets. When the security of the fences is threatened and her world is thrown into chaos, Mary must decide what she’s willing to risk to find out if there’s life beyond the Forest.

Sounds awesome, right? Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so:

"Mary's observant, careful narration pulls readers into a bleak but gripping story of survival and the endless capacity of humanity to persevere...Fresh and riveting."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

That review is starred, people. Starred.

But enough of that! On to the Interview!

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of the novel/what was the part you had the most fun writing?

Carrie: All my favorite scenes are spoilers! There's a scene where one of the characters dies and it was really hard to write because I was just so sad but I also loved writing it because I got to pour all this emotion into it.

Me: Oh no! That sounds both terrible and exciting! P.S. Readers: if you want to know more about that spoiler, head to the FAQ section of Carrie’s website!! Back to the interview: So what kinds of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

Carrie: Right now I'm revising the sequel/companion to The Forest of Hands and Teeth called The Dead-Tossed Waves which will be out in Spring 2010. I'm also just about to get started writing my Spring 2011 book.

Me: Excellent! I love sequels! And finally: who is your writing hero and why?

Carrie: I have so many writing heroes! One of my favorites is Christopher Pike because I loved reading his books as a teen. He taught me to love reading (and how to read fast!)

Oh My Goodness! I read one of his books when I was a pre-teen . . . I can still see this girl’s dead face pressed beneath the ice. It freaked me out!! Good choice, though. :)

Readers, you can visit Carrie at her home on the web:

And . . . The Forest of Hands and Teeth is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Carrie will be chatting with Saundra Mitchell tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Carrie!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ARC Giveaway!

With one month left until One Wish is released, I thought I would do a little giveaway!
I set up a fans page on Facebook. Anyone who joins the group by midnight (Eastern) on Saturday, March 28th will be automatically entered to win a signed ARC of One Wish!

The group is here:

The winner will be chosen at random by the guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online . . . even though I haven’t asked him yet. He’ll do it for me, though: he always comes through.

Anyway . . . the winner will be notified on Monday, March 30th!!

Thanks y’all and Good Luck!

(Feel free to link this giveaway to your personal blog. The more the merrier!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Heather Duffy-Stone is Here!

Today I have Heather Duffy-Stone on the blog! Heather is celebrating the release of her debut novel: THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU.

First. . . .

About This is What I Want to Tell You

The stories people tell are always about the things we left behind, and about the things we wish we could do again. The real story isn't about what you know; it's about what you wish you knew then. When my brother and my best friend fell in love—that was the end of everything I knew.

Fraternal twins Nadio and Noelle share a close connection—and as Noelle's best friend since they were five, Keeley Shipley fit perfectly into their world. But everything changes after Keeley spends the summer before junior year at Oxford. When Keeley returns, Nadio falls in love with her. Noelle, ripped apart by resentment, sees her as an ungrateful rich girl. But Keeley has a painful story that she can't tell yet. As Nadio and Keeley hide their romance, Noelle dives into something of her own—a destructive affair with an older boy.

Beautifully presented by dual narrators in a haunting stream of memories, this is the deeply moving story of how secrets can consume a friendship—and how love can heal it.

About Heather Duffy-Stone

Heather Duffy Stone writes stories and essays that are mostly inspired by high school—either her own or someone else’s. This Is What I Want to Tell You is her first novel. She has lived in Vermont, England, Los Angeles, rural New York and Rome, Italy. For now she cooks, sleeps, explores, writes and teaches in Brooklyn, New York.

On to the Interview!

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of the novel/what was the part you had the most fun writing?

Heather: I absolutely love the very last scene—it was the first one I wrote. It’s where everything sort of comes together and falls apart. And I loved writing about the food and tattoos—those are at the heart of the book and the details were so much fun.

Me: What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

Heather: I’m working on a project right now about a girl who comes to spend the summer in New York with her father, who she’s never known. She meets someone—he’s a graffiti artist and a recent immigrant. He came to this country from a civil war and refugee camps and yet he can't be here legally. Over the course of the summer she learns many things about her father and about this boy—who ultimately creates his own identity and guides her through the city with his street art. It’s about their love story but its also about the immigration system and family and creating your own identity through your art. I’m really into it right now…

Me: That sounds amazing! And finally, who is your writing hero and why?

Heather: This question could have so many answers. My friends Hillery and Bianca are sisters and poets and writing infuses every aspect of their lives. I learned how to read growing up with them, and their mother who is a novelist, and how to let writing be a part of everything else that I do. I admire any writer who writes every day—I want to be able to do that. And actually, just this week I read with Eliot Schrefer, author of The School for Dangerous Girls—and he has such a range of voices, such a range of really successful projects and I really admire that.

Me: Awesome! Your friends sound fabulous!

Readers. . . .

You can visit Heather at her home on the web:

And . . . THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Heather will be chatting with Sydney Salter tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Heather!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Looking for Divine Inspiration

I deleted the ending to my WIP (work in progress) last week, and I’ve tied a few things together since then, but I still haven’t found that big bang ending I’m looking for.

In fact, I only wrote like, 50 words last night. The majority of my writing time was spent staring at the computer screen with this fantastically blank expression on my face.


Hate those days.

Am hoping for a bout of divine inspiration v. soon, even though I routinely tell my students that you can’t wait for inspiration to strike . . . you just have to write.

I. Am. Such. A. Hypocrite.

The good news is I’ve rediscovered The Cranberries. “Dreams” is my power song. Thank you, You Tube.

I seriously think a chick flick is in order: something fabulously YA, like “What a Girl Wants,” because, in my humble opinion, Colin Firth *is* divine enough to inspire.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Neesha Meminger is here!

Today Neesha Meminger is on the blog!! Neesha is celebrating the debut of her YA novel: Shine, Coconut Moon.


About Shine, Coconut Moon

Samar–a.k.a. Sam–is an Indian-American teenager whose mom has kept her away from her old-fashioned family. It's never bothered Sam, who is busy with school, friends, and a demanding boyfriend. But things change after 9/11. A guy in a turban shows up at Sam's house–and turns out to be her uncle. He wants to reconcile the family and teach Sam about her Sikh heritage. Sam is eager, but when boys attack her uncle, chanting "Go back home, Osama!" Sam realizes she could be in danger–and also discovers how dangerous ignorance is.

About the Author

Neesha Meminger was born in India, grew up in Canada, and currently lives in New York City with her family. All of her writing explores the inner landscape of her characters, and how it merges or conflicts with the outer. She writes stories of women and girls defining themselves and shaping their own destinies within the confines of their day to day realities.

(This is the short version. To read the long version, go here:

On to the Interview!

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of Shine, Coconut Moon or what was the part you had the most fun writing?

Neesha: I had the most fun writing Great Aunt Maggie's birthday scene. I loved all the details and the festivity and really got lost in the details. It was a large, Irish family gathering, so I asked some Irish folk to weigh in on Irish family gatherings (having little experience being Irish, myself). I realized, however, that many of the details were not that different from big Indian family gatherings. After that, I was able to really immerse myself in the scene. It was great fun.

Me: Sounds exciting! What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

Neesha: I've finished a fun, humorous romance novel and am now working on a paranormal with some time travel. I'm loving this third project and might foray a bit more into the paranormal if this works out well.

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Neesha: Octavia Butler. She was able to accomplish what I dream of: to combine wonderful storytelling with the real and relevant issues of our time. Her worlds are incredibly real and suck you in in such a complete way. I trust her completely as an author and am willing to follow her threads wherever they might lead.

Me: She sounds fabulous! I must put her on my “to read” list!

Readers, you should know that Shine, Coconut Moon is getting lots of love from reviewers (and I do mean LOTS of love!).

Kirkus says: "This straightforward and ultimately reassuring novel reads like an older Sikh version of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and will fill a niche in any school or public library . . . "

Publisher's Weekly says: "Debut novelist Meminger raises complex questions of identity, but avoids moralizing or spelling out answers for readers, who will likely be hooked as Samar takes a second look at her relationships with her boyfriend, friends and family, while seeking a better understanding of herself."

Booklist says: "This novel is especially poignant as our country continues to deal with prejudice against [South] Asians and individuals from the Middle East. Readers will be drawn to Sam's story and her struggles to make sense of and combine two cultures. This admirably explores identity and difference through the voice of a girl who thinks she is a 'typical' teenager."

Way to Go, Neesha!

You can visit Neesha at her home on the web:

And . . . Shine, Coconut Moon is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Neesha will be chatting with Cheryl Renee Herbsman tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Neesha! You’re awesome!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Buyer's Remorse!!

I wore a hole in the knee of my jeans last week. I’m kinda particular about jeans because I have long legs . . . I can’t wear traditional dept store jeans: I prefer Eva boot cut Express jeans . . . my size Long.

They’re fairly pricy, considering (65 bucks+ on a good day), and it’s hard throwing around that kind of money when I have bills to pay and a book habit to feed. Still, Express jeans are SO good to me. I can wear them and wash them nonstop for like, a year and a half (or until I get a hole in the knee) so I figure I get my money’s worth.

I went shopping this weekend, and decided that maybe 65 bucks was too much to spend on a pair of jeans. Plus, Express had reorganized their store, and their jeans selection was *not* what it use to be. Long story short, I made the fatal mistake of buying regular department store jeans.

Yes, I tried them on, but it’s three days later and I am clearly having buyer’s remorse (after I removed the tags and washed them, no less). They’re long, so they fit lengthwise, but they came in odd sizes. I went one number up, and they were too tight (I’m assuming juniors’ sizes are different from ladies’?). Then I went the next size up. Keep in mind I’m now three numbers up from my traditional size. (Sigh.) I have to pull them up whenever I stand, and I can’t bend over too far or . . . FLASH!

And they’re all new and stiff.

Why can’t I just stick with what works? Honestly. I’m not at all obsessive about clothes, but I am so the denim person. I should’ve considered it an investment. I’m wondering how fast I can wear a hole in the knee in this pair. They were on sale, so maybe the quality isn’t what it should be.

The good news is I still have a few back-up pairs of semi-retired Express jeans that I snagged during a 2 for 1 sale. That makes me feel slightly better. I will be pulling them back out.

Also, the fact that my new pair is a size and a half larger than my last pair is doing *nothing* for my self confidence. I should either eat lots ice cream today to make up the difference, or throw them in a hot washer.

Or . . . maybe ice cream first, and then the washer! :)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

J.E. MacLeod is Here!

Today I’m thrilled to have my writing friend and publishing sister, J.E., on the blog! J.E. is celebrating the release of her novel, Waiting to Score.

. . . . . . . . .

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog tour post to announce that Waiting to Score is an *awesome* book (yes, I was lucky enough to get to read it before the masses!) and I’m *so* excited that it’s on sale!

Okay. Back to the interview . . . but first:

About Waiting to Score

Zack Chase, new in town, gets a crash course in the dangerous, fast-paced lives of local teen athletes. A good-looking, book-loving hockey star, Zack’s also expected to be a womanizing, alcohol-abusing party animal, but it’s not who he is. As jealous, obnoxious team captain Mac hounds him, Zack falls for Goth-girl Jane and befriends her teammate brother, both with their own secrets. Tragedy strikes and affects them all in this true-to-life debut novel, giving readers an insight into the lives of high school students and athletes.

. . . . . . . . .

Another hijack!

(Even though it’s written from a guy’s point of view both guys and girls will love this story. It’s not a hockey book: it’s a book about friendships and relationships and choices. Guys: Zack is totally cool, and definitely someone you’d want to be your best friend. Girls: Zack is . . . Sa-Woon!)

Okay. Back to the real post:

About the Author

J.E.‘s path to becoming an author was a windy one. After college, she wrote advertising copy for radio and then television and eventually moved on to work in sales and marketing for too many years.

After having a son, J.E. followed her dreams and wrote her first book. Once she started writing YA, she felt like she’d found her home and has been writing it ever since. J.E. lives near the Canadian Rockies with her husband and son and a new puppy named Meeko. She does not live in an Igloo or play hockey, but she does love maple syrup and says “eh” a lot.

Let’s get on to the official Interview! Eh? (Hoping I used that in the appropriate context!)

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of the novel/what was the part you had the most fun writing?

J.E.: This sounds really awful but my fave part of the book is when one of the characters dies. Fave in a 'sometimes when I'm sad I like to watch sad movies' kind of favorite. I really love that character and writing some of the scenes that led to the tragic choice was cleansing for my soul.

Me: That was one of the parts of the book where my mouth dropped in astonishment. It completely took me by surprise: didn’t see it coming at all. V. sad, but such a good lesson for teens who pick up the book and read about it.

What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

J.E.: I have two contemporary and edgy YA's that are done, one still in revision stage. One is a girl POV and one is a boy POV. I also am working on a YA that is more an Alias tone. I have another paranormal YA in my files that I'd love to work on. So many ideas, so little time. I would love to tackle an MG story idea too, and have a chapter book I want to write. Someday.

Me: I hear you! And finally: Who is your writing hero and why?

J.E.: I have lots of writing heroes. One is John Green because he is so obviously great at writing, but also because he's done so much for the contemporary YA genre. His vlogs are flippin' awesome too.

Me: (sigh) He’s amazing! Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to swoon at the thought. . . .

Readers: You can visit J.E. at her home on the web:

And . . . Waiting to Score is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

It doesn’t disappoint! I promise!

J.E. will be chatting with Danielle Joseph tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by J.E.!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sarah MacLean is here!

Sarah MacLean is on the blog!! Sarah is celebrating the debut of her novel: The Season.

About The Season

Seventeen-year-old Lady Alexandra Stafford doesn't fit into the world of Regency London — she's strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and she absolutely loathes dress fittings. Unfortunately, her mother has been waiting for years for Alex to be old enough to take part in the social whirlwind of a London Season so she can be married off to someone safe, respectable, wealthy, and almost certainly boring. But Alex is much more interested in adventure than romance.

Between sumptuous balls, lavish dinner parties and country weekends, Alex, along with her two best friends, Ella and Vivi, manages to get entangled in her biggest scrape yet. When the Earl of Blackmoor is killed in a puzzling accident, Alex decides to help his son, the brooding and devilishly handsome Gavin, uncover the truth. It's a mystery brimming with espionage, murder, and suspicion. As she and Gavin grow closer, will Alex's heart be stolen in the process?

Romance and danger fill the air, as this year's Season begins!

About the Author

Sarah MacLean is the author of THE SEASON, a YA novel coming in March 2009 from Scholastic. She grew up in Rhode Island, where she spent much of her free time bemoaning the fact that she was more than a century too late for own Season. Her unabashed addiction to historical fiction helped to earn her a degree in European History from Smith College before she moved to New York City to pursue a career in publishing. After receiving a Masters in Education from Harvard University, Sarah returned to New York, where she lives with her husband, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She is currently working on a series of regency-set romances to be released in 2010 from Avon/HarperCollins.

On to the Interview!

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of the novel/what was the part you had the most fun writing?

Sarah: The carriage scene . . . which didn't actually exist until the second draft of the book. . . . Now, of course, I can't imagine that scene NOT existing . . . probably because I had so much fun with it!

Me: What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

Sarah: I actually have three adult romances coming from Avon/HarperCollins next year...the first one is due to my editor in I can tell you about that one! It's a Regency-set romance...the heroine is a 27-year-old spinster who has spent her whole life dreaming of adventure and romance...and finally decides to take matters into her own hands. She makes a list of the 9 things she would do if she didn't have to face society...or the consequences. And then she does them. Oh, and there's a dreamy rake in there, too.

Me: Sounds exciting! Finally, who is your writing hero and why?

Sarah: It's probably no surprise that it's Jane Austen. Her voice is amazing...her ability to write sentences as an omniscient narrator that also sound like they're coming from from the mind of the character. She knows her characters so well, she can speak as author and subject all at the same time. It's completely incredible.

Nope! No surprise there!

You can visit Sarah at her home on the web:

And . . . The Season is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

And in stores! I saw it in the Greenville Barnes and Noble!

Sarah will be chatting with Sydney Salter tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Today Cynthea Liu is on the blog! Cynthea is celebrating the release of her book: “The Great Call of China.”

You know the routine:

About The Great Call of China

Chinese-born Cece was adopted when she was two years old by her American parents. Living in Texas, she's bored of her ho-hum high school and dull job. So when she learns about the S.A.S.S. program to Xi'an, China, she jumps at the chance. She'll be able to learn about her passion—anthropology—and it will give her the opportunity to explore her roots. But when she arrives, she receives quite a culture shock. And the closer she comes to finding out about her birth parents, the more apprehensive she gets. Enter Will, the cute guy she first meets on the plane. He and Cece really connect during the program. But can he help her get accustomed to a culture she should already know about, or will she leave China without the answers she's been looking for?

About the Author

Cynthea spent her formative years in Oklahoma and Texas where she was a Whiz Quiz member, an Academic Decathloner, and a spelling bee champion. (Yes, she was very popular.) After attending college on the East coast, she worked at a corporate job where she mastered PowerPoint and racked up thousands of frequent flyer miles. Eventually, she traded in her suit for sweats to do the fun stuff–writing for children. In addition to PARIS PAN TAKES THE DARE and THE GREAT CALL OF CHINA, Cynthea's nonfiction book WRITING FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: A CRASH COURSE (how to write, revise, and publish your kid's or teen book with children's book publishers) is available in paperback.

On to the Interview!

Me: Without giving away too many spoilers, what is your favorite part of the novel/what was the part you had the most fun writing?

Cynthea: There's a water fountain scene I really enjoyed putting in the book. Who wouldn't want to be near a hot guy against a gorgeous backdrop of lights, music, and water streaming everywhere in pretty patterns. *Sigh*

Me: (Sigh) I am *so* there! What kind of writing projects are you currently working on? Or, if you aren't working on anything new, is there a different demographic/genre you wouldn't mind tackling in the future?

Cynthea: I'd really like to tackle the Easy Reader market. There's an innocence there that I'd enjoy capturing in new stories that would appeal to this younger age group.

Me: That sounds like fun! And finally, who is your writing hero and why?

Cynthea: My mom is my hero for everything (sorry, Dad. Love ya, but Mom always wins this one.) Problem is, Mom doesn't do much writing and assembly language doesn't count! (Inside joke for computer geeks). Anyway, I do admire quite a few writers but no one shall be named here for fear of annoying other writers who think they should be on my list. Who needs that sort of pressure? :)

Me: I agree! Like we don’t have enough to worry about already. Readers, if you’re still skeptical about this book and/or Cynthea, you must fly, not walk, here: and watch her movie. It proves that she is fabulous, and *will* convince you to add The Great Call of China to your “must read” list.

In the meantime, you can visit Cynthea at her home on the web:

And . . . The Great Call of China is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

On top of that, her next novel, Paris Pan takes the Dare, will be available in June! Go Cynthea!

Cynthea will be chatting with Deva tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by!

Monday, March 2, 2009

A garbage truck came through at 6:45am today. The noise woke up my child, who then woke me.

In my house, we enjoy our sleep. NO ONE is up at 6:45. If at all possible, baby girl and I sleep until 9:00. (I know. Some of you are like, “Wah wah you poor thing I was up at 4am feeding the goats. . . .” Whatever. I work from home, and we all stay up late at night therefore we are allowed to sleep in.)

Still, I’ve come to dread Mondays more than usual, because not only is it my busiest grading day, but I’m running on 5-6 hours of sleep. Not good.

On top of that, half the state got slammed with snow, and what do we get? 48 hours of torrential downpour that flooded my yard and tiny, insignificant flurries that aren’t even sticking. They’re adorable, but come on! How about some accumulation?

UGH! AND I have to go to the grocery store. I think I’m going to make a chocolate pudding pie and wallow in all my Mondayness.

The irony is (sorry, back to the garbage truck thing) they aren’t even picking up MY trash!! I’m up at the crack of dawn, and I *still* have to take my trash down the road to the dump. (Sigh.) I will be glad for Tuesday.

(And Wednesday, because Cynthea Liu will be on the blog!)

I hope your Monday has been *fabulous*.

(Oh! The flurries are falling faster! Yay!)