Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mandy Hubbard is Here!

Today I’m thrilled to have Mandy Hubbard on the blog! Mandy is celebrating the release of her debut novel: Prada and Prejudice

First, the basics:

About Prada and Prejudice

Fifteen year old Callie just wants to impress the popular girls when she buys a pair of Prada heels on her class trip to London. She didn’t plan on tripping, conking her head, and waking up in 1815! Now she’s wearing corsets with her designer pumps, eating bizarre soups, and breaking up engagements. If only the nineteen year old Duke of Harksbury wasn’t so bloody annoying, she might have a little fun in Austen-Era England…

About Mandy Hubbard

Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming—and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.

And now: 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?

Mandy: Anytime in which Callie had to really "play the part" of a prim and proper regency girl--with an audience-- was fun for me. There's a scene that takes place in the drawing room where Callie is asked to play the piano (because her alter ego Rebecca is said to be a wonderful player), and all Callie can think is, "I hope they like chopsticks!"

Me: OMG! (lol) That is hilarious! 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?

Mandy: I'm in the midst of writing my Nascar novella for Harlequin (comes out June 2010), and drafting a paranormal romance. Soon I'll be getting to work on my second YA with Razorbill, too, that should be due out Summer 2010. It's still to-be-determined!

Me: Awesome! Who is your writing hero and why?

Mandy: Probably Stephen King--and I don’t even read his (fiction) books! I love his attitude-- it's so refreshing the way he speaks his mind. His memoir/non-fiction book, ON WRITING, was particularly fun.

Me: A lot of Debs picked him! I LOVED ON WRITING! But I’m like you: I’ve never read his fiction. The movie adaptations scared/scarred me enough, thank you.

Readers . . . You can visit Mandy at her home on the web: http://mandyhubbard.com

And . . . PRADA AND PREJUDICE is officially on sale. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Prada-Prejudice-Mandy-Hubbard/dp/1595142606/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228166029&sr=8-1

Mandy will be chatting with Sydney tomorrow at: http://www.mybignose.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for stopping by, Mandy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NYC Post! (Finally!!)

Okay, I know, I’m pathetic. I still haven’t blogged about my NYC trip. In short? We all had a blast.

On Friday night we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). We spent a few hours browsing (weaving through the crowds) and glimpsing works of the masters. Baby girl recognized a painting from her “Baby Art” video, so we snapped a photo. The guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online got to see the photography floor, so he was happy. The “Mom” (who is an art teacher) gave us the “unofficial tour.” My favorite?

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
(I’ve actually always called it Melting Clocks, though)
















When we were done we headed to Burger Heaven, and yes, their burgers really were Heaven.

On Saturday while I was at BEA the fam went to the Museum of Natural History and Central Park. That night:

Shopping on 5th Avenue!!

Yes, we went into Sak’s, which was WAY CRAZY!! I was actually browsing around when I saw this glorious white scarf that I would’ve LOVED to own. Picked up the price tag: $1400.00.

I am so sorry, but that decimal is in the WRONG place. Fourteen Hundred Dollars for a SCARF!! It was beautiful, though. Not three car payments beautiful, but beautiful enough.

My mom kept hissing at me to stop touching things. (Like I was 7 and not 27, duh!)

We saw Rockefeller Center, and NBC Studios, and wouldn’t you know there was a crowd standing outside the Rainbow Room. Turns out Prince Harry was in town. His black SUV was parked out front; it was roped off, with a dozen guys in suits and earpieces swarming around.

I stood there for about 30 minutes to get this:

















I know. He was in a rush. There was no “shaking of the hands.” It’s him, though, in the khakis and black blazer. I know it, because I was there. If it was his brother I may have fainted, because yes, at one time I really thought that if I wrote him a letter he would fall in love with me and I could be a Princess (but that’s a whole ‘nother story).

On Sunday we went to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, which were both very cool. Then we went to the World Trade Center Museum (which made me want to cry) and Ground Zero.

Afterwards we went to the Toys R Us in Times Square, where the guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online ran into Phil Vassar (a singer whose name I didn’t know but songs I did). He was shopping with his kids.

We also went to Macy’s where I saw a GORGEOUS necklace within my budget that I didn’t buy and I’m now kicking myself over. I can’t find it online or in Raleigh. Grr! I am cursing the “rational” part of my brain that said I don’t need to buy everything I see. I wanted that necklace. And now it’s gone forever. ANGST!

I did get something else, though. The guy I’m sorta married to but yada yada yada bought me a “Happy Book Signing” gift in the form of Louis Vuitton.











You can tell I’m not used to carrying around tiny pieces of leather that are hundreds of dollars, because I haven’t taken it out of the pouch it came in, and it’s tucked away safely in my purse. I’m too nervous to actually use it. It’s awesome though, and I like to talk about it, I um, just don’t pull it out v. much.

(Blog Hijack! If you have a moment, you should head to the Louis Vuitton website. The guy advertising their Father’s Day collection is smokin’ hot.)

So that was our trip in a nutshell. It was a busy weekend, and there were so many things we could have done but didn’t have time for. We are definitely heading back, though, because although I’m a country girl at heart, a taste of big city life never hurt anyone.

Have a Great Day!

Love,
~Leigh~

Friday, June 19, 2009

Vocab and Reviews

Today’s blog has a two-fold purpose: to work on your vocabulary and discuss reviews.

First up: your vocab words for the day . . . .

insipid, pandering, insulting, vapidity, superficiality, infuriating. . . .

I could ask you to look these words up, but that would be boring, and the truth is I’m not interested in improving your SAT scores. You’d get a much better idea of what each of these words means if you simply look up the latest review of One Wish in the Sacramento Book Review and posted on Amazon.

Before you read any further: I’m okay. I’m laughing. I’m smiling. Really, I am. :)

Why? Because this comes with the territory. I knew when I wrote One Wish that if it was published I would have to go through rounds and rounds of edits. I knew that one day I would proofread galleys. I knew that I would see Advanced Reader’s Copies, and that soon the day would arrive when I could hold a real, live hardcover copy in my hands.

I also knew that there would be reviews: Good ones . . . and Bad ones. So far I’ve been fortunate: I’ve gotten great blurbs from Alyson Noel, Mary Beth Miller, and Amanda Ashby, and both the School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly had nice things to say.

So let’s pretend I’m actually good at math. In a writer’s world (and we writers are notorious for being pathetic with numbers) reviews look like this:

Bad Review = Good Review5 (to the fifth power)

If I wouldn’t have failed Algebra I the first time around and had to repeat it, or cheated my way through Algebra II before happily passing College Algebra with a D, this might mean something like this:

One Bad Review is the equivalent of Five Good Reviews. This means that it takes Five Good Reviews to equal One Bad Review; that One Bad Review carries as much weight as Five Good Reviews.

Do you see how terrible at math I am? It shouldn’t be this way at all. A review is a review, and one Bad Review shouldn’t detract from the Good Reviews: it’s a review.

Still, it’s just another one of those things that we’re fairly neurotic about (along with Google Alerts, vanity searches, Amazon Rankings, and which retailers “bought in”).

We seek this kind of information out, and then we berate ourselves when we find what we’re looking for. This, I have come to realize, is part of the process.

Unfortunately, bad reviews are part of this journey, and that’s okay. Am I glad that this particular reviewer thought One Wish was insulting and infuriating? Not really. But the beautiful thing about writing is that it’s subjective: what one person loves, another may hate; what one person relates to, another may not.

The fact is that every book isn’t for every person. And what fun is a world where everyone’s opinions are the same? That would be boring. In no way are we required to love everything we hear or read or see. It’s what makes us individuals.

What I’m trying to say is: don’t worry. I’ve read the review, and while at first I wracked my brain trying to remember if I’d done something absolutely horrible to the reviewer in a former life, I realized that it’s just one opinion. The book wasn’t for her; it’s not the end of the world.

And now I can scratch another thing off the list of this amazing journey that is being an author: I got my first scathing review. Yes, it stung a bit, but it doesn’t take away from the good reviews, or from those who read One Wish and liked it.

It’s been said that, when faced with a bad review, an author must seek out the positive and forget the rest. In this case, the reviewer thinks I’m a decent writer. Because of this, there is always the possibility that, while One Wish wasn’t for her, my next novel may be just what she’s looking for. (Fingers Crossed!)

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sarah Ockler is Here!

Hi Everyone! Today I’m welcoming Sarah Ockler to the blog! Sarah is celebrating the release of her debut novel TWENTY BOY SUMMER.

Without further ado. . . .

About Twenty Boy Summer

While on vacation in California, sixteen-year-old best girlfriends Anna and Frankie conspire to find a boy for Anna’s first summer romance, but Anna harbors a painful secret that threatens their lighthearted plan and their friendship.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER is a debut YA novel that explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

About Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler wrote and illustrated her first book at age six—an adaptation of Steven Spielberg's E.T. Still recovering from her own adolescence, Sarah now writes for young adults. After several years of wandering between New York City and Denver, she and her husband Alex now live in Upstate New York with lots of books and an ever-expanding collection of sea glass. Twenty Boy Summer is Sarah's first novel.

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: I really loved writing the "party scene" and its aftermath. Without being too spoiler-y, it's a scene in which main character Anna finally starts to let go a little bit, to find her way through some of the grief that's haunted her after losing Matt, but before too long something happens and everything gets messed up again. I love diving into those crazy emotional roller coaster scenes!

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: My next two projects are both young adult contemporary, like Twenty Boy Summer. I really love the voice and style of YA, but I would love to take on something new within the YA genre, like a boy book or a fantasy.

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Sarah: Anais Nin. She told the truth during a time when it wasn't all that popular for women to do so. I love her writing, her style, her raw emotion and honesty. Whenever I'm in a slump, writing or otherwise, I spend a few nights with Nin's Diaries and I'm okay again. There's just something about her and her work that I admire and adore.

That is so Awesome!

Readers . . . You can visit Sarah at her home on the web: http://www.sarahockler.com

And . . . TWENTY BOY SUMMER is officially on sale. You can buy it here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316051590

Sarah will be chatting with Saundra tomorrow at: http://www.saundramitchell.com/blog

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday!!

It’s Friday! Finally! Thank goodness for that. This week has flown by, as I have been positively SWAMPED. No time for updates. My “to do” lists runneth over. I’m thinking I need a personal assistant. Unfortunately, I am a hoarder when it comes to my hard-earned money. I will take the insanity so I don’t have to give up the cash. Priorities.

Here’s some randomness for your Friday afternoon:

1. Thanks to “the grandparents” for the birthday money!! (Gotta love them!) I spent most of it at Sephora and Barnes and Noble.com. New books are on the way (woot!). My “to be read” stack is piling up. (And here I was annoyed last week because I missed so many great ARC’s at BEA. Still sorry I missed them, but I don’t know when I’d have time to read them . . . and yet I seem to make it.) Again: Priorities.

Enough of that.

2. Great news for me! I’m teaching a few American Lit classes this fall! Woot! Don’t get me wrong, I love my Comp classes: researching, writing papers . . . it’s all good, but I adore literature and discussing it with like-minded individuals. This will definitely be a breath of fresh air. I’m *so* excited!

My fall calendar has exploded, though, and my personal calendar (on the computer) barely has room for any new classes. Oh well. It’s literature, people. In the words of the fabulous Tim Gunn: Make it Work!

3. Speaking of which, I’m elated to see that a new season of Project Runway is up soon. I know it has switched channels (from Bravo to Lifetime?) so we’ll see what kind of changes are implemented. I did pass Bryant Park when I was in NYC, though!

4. Speaking of NYC, I still have to blog about what a fabulous time I had, and how I saw Prince Harry. Can’t we switch to a 25 hour day?

5. My brain is fried. I’m officially done for the weekend. Am off to enjoy the fam, forget the classroom, and maybe find a few extra hours to read and write.

I need a snack.

OMG it is almost dinnertime!!! Where have I been???

Have a great weekend!

Love,

~Leigh~

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sarah Cross is Here!

Hi Everyone! Today I’m welcoming Sarah Cross to the blog! Sarah is celebrating the debut of her novel, DULL BOY.

About Dull Boy

Superpowers are awesome -- unless you actually have them, like Avery does. There's only so much he can pass off as "adrenaline" before people start to get suspicious. Probably it's best to lie low, so guys in white lab coats don't come to carry him away, to find out what makes his freakish body tick. Who wants to be vivisected? But flying under the radar becomes a whole lot harder when you can actually fly. It's dangerous to be different, so for now he'll pretend to be normal, unremarkable Avery -- a dull boy -- anything to keep his secret safe.

What he doesn't expect is the horrifying truth about where his powers came from, who else might have them, and the madness of one villain's plan to turn this superpowered dull boy into something even more powerful and amazing.

About Sarah Cross

Sarah Cross has saved the world, like, five times since fifth grade -- and you didn't even notice. Learn her secrets at www.sarahcross.com.

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: There are some crazy, wacky scenes that had me giggling at my keyboard. Those were probably the most fun to write. :)

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: More YA fantasy. Although I intend to write a middle grade eventually!

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Sarah: Every writer who keeps striving to be better is my hero. That's how good books get made.

Awesome!

You can visit Sarah at her home on the web: http://www.sarahcross.com

DULL BOY is officially on sale. You can buy it here: http://www.amazon.com/Dull-Boy-Sarah-Cross/dp/0525421335/

And finally: Sarah will be chatting with Sydney tomorrow at: http://www.mybignose.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah! J

Friday, June 5, 2009

Danielle Joseph is Here!

Today is extra special (for me, at least) because I am officially the big 2-7. Taking off and enjoying the day. Treated myself to new nail polish, a bluish green that changes colors in the light. My toes shimmer. It reminds me of a peacock. I *heart* it!

Btw, if you didn’t see the BEA recap I posted yesterday scroll down.

And now, while I’m off celebrating, I leave you with an interview!!

Another fantabulous Deb, Danielle Joseph, is on the blog. Danielle is celebrating the release of her debut novel, Shrinking Violet.

About Shrinking Violet

For high school senior Teresa Adams, every day is an ordeal. She’s so painfully shy that she lives in dread of having to speak to anyone in the hallways or answer questions in class. But after school, in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks—doing mock broadcasts for Miami’s hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up, Tere surprises herself by working up the nerve to ask her stepfather to give her a chance—and finds herself The SLAM’s newest intern on one of the station’s most popular shows. Behind the mike she’s Sweet T, her sexy, confident on-air persona. To everyone’s shock—especially her mother’s—Sweet T is a hit. Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ’s awesome taste in music, making Tere wonder if it’s possible to be jealous of yourself. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest—and a prom date with “Sweet T” is the grand prize--Sweet T’s dream could turn into Tere’s worst nightmare. . . .

About Danielle Joseph

Danielle Joseph was a college DJ for five years on the Gyroscope, a world music show. She also interned at several top Boston radio stations while earning her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College. She has taught Creative Writing and English to Middle school students.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and two young sons. These days you can find her cruising around with the tunes blaring and her internal DJ hard at work.

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?

Danielle: I really liked writing the prom scene but I'll have to stop there or I'll reveal too much:)!

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?

Danielle: I have another book, Indigo Blues, coming out in the fall of 2010 so I assume I'll be working on edits for that soon. I also have a new project hat I'm working on called Graveyard Shift.

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Danielle: I am a huge fan of Judy Blume because I always looked up to her as a kid and she has such lasting power, her flame has not dimmed, she is as awesome as ever!

She *is* awesome!

You can visit Danielle at her home on the web: http://daniellejoseph.com/

And . . . Shrinking Violet is officially on sale. You can buy it here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Shrinking-Violet/Danielle-Joseph/e/9781416596967/?itm=3

Danielle will be chatting with Sydney tomorrow at: http://www.mybignose.blogspot.com

Thank you so much for stopping by, Danielle! Congrats on the release!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

BEA Recap

This is too long to post here!
Go to:

http://leighbrescia.livejournal.com/16099.html

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

An NYC Top Ten

So, I’m home, but I’m floundering among paperwork related to my *real* job, so there’s no time to post a real BEA update yet. In the meantime:

Top Ten Things I Learned in NYC

10. Traffic? I’d never *seen* traffic until we drove to Times Square.

9. There are no such things as turn signals, individual lanes, or other driving courtesies. The posted speed limit is merely a suggestion.

8. You can’t walk one block without hearing another language. It really is a “melting pot.”

7. The city doesn’t sleep. Seriously. We had to keep the AC on all night to drown out the noise.

6. Not to assume that cab drivers know where they’re going: especially if there are two or three hotels in the city with the same name.

5. Car horns are not cute accessories. They should be used . . . and often. I mean, seriously: as often as possible.

4. There’s nothing funnier than watching your mom get escorted away by Homeland Security over moisturizer and sun block. They were apparently too important to throw out.

3. You may run into famous people. Like Sarah Dessen. Craig Ferguson. Nicholas Sparks. Phil Vassar. Prince Harry. Yes. We saw them all. (I met Sarah and spotted Craig and Nick at BEA. The guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online met Phil (country singer) at Toys R Us in Times Square. Shook his hand and chatted. Did not get photo or autograph. Is kicking himself right now. We all saw Prince Harry leave the Rainbow Room at NBC studios. I snapped a photo . . . of his bodyguards.

2. NYC is really as awesome as all the clich├ęs say.

1. I *will* return.

More soon!

Love,

~Leigh~