Friday, August 28, 2009

(Another) Fact on Friday

I don’t know what it is about blogs and secrets: why it’s so easy to confess things on virtual paper and then send it out into this sphere of nothingness.

Maybe it’s because I think no one is reading it? Possibly because it’s therapeutic. I mean, there’s nothing like a good confession, Right?

So far, I’ve confessed that: I cheated to pass Algebra II, that I was my own secret admirer once, that I have a thing for guys who can pull off eyeliner, and that I faked a sprained ankle . . . twice.

Last week, I admitted that I wanted a Quinceañera.

This week I have a new confession. But first, a story:

When I was in the sixth grade, I wanted nothing more than a horse of my very own. I had taken some riding lessons, and spent my free time “practicing” in the backyard (i.e. prancing around in my breeches, slapping my leg with a crop). I *loved* horses. For Christmas that year, I asked for a horse (of course). I begged, I hoped, I prayed . . . and on Christmas morning, when I woke up . . .

I heard it: stomping, whinnying; the sound of a horse waiting for me. My horse.

But when I went outside, I discovered that it wasn’t my horse at all. The sound was coming from the yard beside me; the girl next door had gotten a horse . . . not me.

I was Devastated. Distraught. Crushed. I mean, imagine having your hopes shattered like that. And on Christmas morning, no less!

And now for my confession:

All a Lie.

Yeah. I invented this story to make people feel sorry for me. I was in the sixth grade and having a tough year. The worst part is, not only do I remember this lie: I actually remember telling it to people (*face palm*). The truth was that I was 12 year old emo, trying to figure out why my friends were acting so “mature” when I didn’t even know what the word meant. They wanted to talk about boys, and I still wanted to play with my Littlest Pet Shop. Seriously. Loved that thing. . . .

Ironically, that was the same year I faked a sprained ankle (the first time) and was my own secret admirer. Say it with me now: Attention. Starved.

Okay, so the point of this blog is to inform you that my twelve year old me was a Big Fat Liar. Trust nothing she said.

And so . . . I feel like, for the sake of karma, I should apologize to the world for my sixth grade year.

To that friend: I’m sorry I lied to you. I mean, it wasn’t even a plausible story: my neighbors were in their sixties, and there wasn’t another girl on my entire street . . . or room for a horse, for that matter.

To that guy who was accused of sending me love notes: I’m sorry everyone blamed you. I remember your face turning really red. But you know, you didn’t have to be ashamed; despite the fact that I was a pathological liar, I considered myself a catch. Truly.

And to my mom: I’m sorry I dragged you to the doctor and made you pay for a cast I didn’t even need . . . twice.

The good news is: I’m past that now. I’m *So* Mature! Besides: any tendencies I may have to fudge the truth are exhausted during my writing time.

This is one narrator who *can* be trusted.

(Thank Goodness.)

Have a Fabulous Friday!!


Friday, August 21, 2009

Fact On Friday

Here is your random fact on Friday:

When I was fourteen years old, I decided I wanted to have a quinceañera.

(This is an important rite of passage and religious ceremony in Hispanic cultures in which a young girl becomes a young woman. It is celebrated on her fifteenth birthday.)

I am the first to admit that I didn’t quite know what a quinceañera was at the time. All I saw were beautiful dresses, monstrous cakes, dates, and dancing. . . . (sigh) It was my fantasy.

It didn’t matter that I wasn’t Hispanic . . . or Catholic. . . .

Um, yeah. I was never quite able to talk Mom into that one. . . .

That’s probably a good thing.

Oh, who am I even kidding? I’d *so* have this dress on right now if I could get away with it. . . .


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School

The sales are in full swing. Boxes of crayons and glue and multi-colored folders can be purchased for mere pennies on the dollar. Stores are moving summer clothes to the 70% off racks and making room at the front for sweaters and vests and tights. . . .

This can only mean one thing: Back to School.

For some, school has already started. For others, it will start in the next few days (or weeks, for the luckiest ones).

Teachers are heading back for in-service and workdays; students are crossing the final days of summer vacation off the calendar. . . .

There’s the inevitable flurry of angst and excitement:

Did I change enough from last year to be cool? Will I be popular this year? Will so and so fall in love with me? Will I ever really learn to add and multiply letters? (For me, the answer to that last one was a resounding no.)

I always thought of summer as a catalyst for change, but how much can happen in two months? Were things ever really that different when I started a new year?


Today I had “back to school” flashbacks. Those butterflies flittered in my stomach. My palms started sweating. . . .

Then I remembered: I’m twenty-seven years old. I haven’t started a new school year (as a student) in years. . . .

And I breathed a *huge* sigh of relief.

Those of you who are gearing up for 2009-2010: I wish you the best. Hang in there. :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Megan Frazer is Here!

Hey ya’ll!

The year of the Deb continues! Today I have Megan Frazer on the blog! Megan is celebrating the release of her new YA novel: Secrets of Truth and Beauty.

About Secrets of Truth & Beauty

Secrets of Truth & Beauty -- When Dara Cohen was little, she was crowned Little Miss Maine. That was then. Now Dara's seventeen and she's not so little anymore. That's just one of her many problems. Another is that her control-freak mom won't get off her case about anything. Yet the one that hurts the most is the family secret: Dara has an older sister her parents tried to erase from their lives.

(Doesn’t this sound awesome?)

About Megan Frazer

Megan Frazer studied English literature and creative writing at Columbia University. She lives with her husband and baby in Maine, where she is a high school librarian. She loves cheese and cooking, and both of these make their way into Secrets of Truth & Beauty. She was not, however, ever in a beauty pageant.

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?

Megan: I really liked the ending, and had a great time writing it, too, but, of course to talk about would give some things away. There's a scene where Owen is filming Dara, trying to help her with her autobiography project. They are riffing off each other, and their dialog flowed really naturally both in terms of writing it, and, I hope, as it reads.

Me: Oh, awesome! Dialogue is my favorite thing to write. 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?

Megan: I'm working on more contemporary realistic fiction. I wouldn't mind trying magical realism (I'm not 100% sure where the line is between urban fantasy and magical realism, but I like things that are real with just a touch of magic, or just a little bit off from our real world).

Me: All of those subgenres make my head spin! Finally: Who is your writing hero and why?

Megan: Oh I have so many. I think Rick Moody's language is amazing. I am in awe of Joyce Carol Oate's ability to write so much in so many different formats. As for YA authors, John Green's characters jump off the page for me. And Sara Zarr does aching pain so well.

Me: Those are some great picks!! I (heart) John Green.

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

And . . . Secrets of Truth and Beauty is officially on sale! You can buy it here:

Megan will be chatting with Deva tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Megan!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Shana's Signing!

I know! It’s been too long, but I’ve had a psycho week, I swear. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. (Deep Breaths.)

The good news?

I finally got to meet Shana Norris today at her book signing in Kinston!

I *loved* SOMETHING TO BLOG ABOUT and can’t wait to read her newest: TROY HIGH.

(Actually, I’ve already started reading it because I couldn’t bear to stick it in my “stack to be read.” I’m sorry to all of the books that got bumped back, because I’m sucked in already!)

Anyway, Shana is just as adorable and sweet and down to earth in person as she is on her blog ( and in her vlogs. We actually met online through NaNoWriMo about two years ago, and we’ve been following each other ever since. It was awesome to finally meet her in person!

Her family was great, too! They all showed up in support. Thanks to her husband, who was our “official photographer,” and a special shout out to Heather, who cracked me up!

It was a great afternoon! Here are a couple of pics:

And if you haven’t checked it out already, scroll down for Shana’s interview and to read more about TROY HIGH!

Have a great weekend!!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Shana Norris is Here!

Hi Everyone!

Today I have fellow Eastern NC author Shana Norris on the blog!! Shana is celebrating the release of not her debut novel, but her YA sophomore! Shana’s debut novel, Something to Blog About, was released in 2008. I have it, and can attest that it’s a *great* read! That’s why I’m *so* looking forward to reading her newest: Troy High!

First, the basics. . . .

About Shana

Shana Norris is the author of Something to Blog About, a Book Sense Summer 2008 pick. She lives in eastern North Carolina, with her husband, two dogs, and three lazy cats that rule the house.

About Troy High

Based loosely on The Iliad, Troy High follows the Trojans and Spartans as they declare war on the football field. After the beautiful Elena—who used to be the captain of the Spartan cheerleaders—transfers to Troy High and falls madly in love with Trojan football star Perry, the Spartans vow that the annual homecoming game will never be forgotten.

Doesn’t this sound great?? On to the interview!

Me: I know that Troy High is based on Homer’s The Illiad. For those of us who are completely inept when it comes to Greek literature (I think it’s all those crazy names!), explain some of the similarities we can expect to find between the two stories.

Shana: The most obvious is that the main conflict in the story revolves around the Helen of Troy love triangle. There are two groups fighting each other, the Trojans and the Spartans, but in Troy High the battlefield is a football field. The main players of the Trojan War—Agamemnon, Menelaus, Hector, Paris, Odysseus, and Achilles—are included in the story in modern day hormone-crazed teenage versions. And yes, there’s a Trojan horse!

Me: Awesome! Can I read Troy High instead of The Illiad and still pass my English quiz?

Shana: Ha! Probably not. Unless your teacher is willing to accept an answer involving high school football and homecoming dances. ;)

Me: (lol) It’s a good thing I’m past all that, then, because I’d much rather read your version. Where did you get the idea? Or, what made you want to do this re-telling of such a classic tale? (Hey—even though I don’t “get” it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate it!)

Shana: I’ve always LOVED Greek mythology. I wanted to change my name to Persephone Athena at one point, LOL! I also really love modern day retellings of old stories and so I knew I wanted to write one of my own some day. The idea for Troy High came to me when I was reading a website about Greek mythology (yes, I’m geeky enough that I just read that stuff for fun!) and I thought about how the Helen of Troy story is a great love triangle. I thought about how to turn this story into something that I would write and the idea for the Trojans and Spartans being two rival high schools slipped in there as I brainstormed. My high school had a huge football rivalry with another local school, so I could pull all my memories of pep rallies and football games to work into this epic school battle.

Me: Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Shana: There are two characters that I particularly enjoyed writing. The first was Elena, the Helen of Troy character, just because she’s bubbly and happy, even with all of these bad things going on. She just has a bright outlook on life that things will work out as they’re meant to, so it was fun to write about a character that has that continued optimism throughout the book and since she’s so popular and a cheerleader, it was fun to step out of my bank geek comfort zone and imagine being her.

The other character was Hunter, the narrator Cassie’s oldest brother. He’s the modern day version of Prince Hector of Troy. Hunter is the leader—he’s the oldest is his family and he’s the star quarterback of his school. Everyone looks up to him and expects greatness from him, but inside he has a lot of doubts. The thing that really struck me as I read The Iliad was how much weight was put on Hector’s shoulders, with everyone depending on him to save them. I kept this in mind when I created Hunter. I enjoyed exploring his mind and his motivations for the things he does. He’s also really moody, so whenever I needed to work out some annoyances I could just write about Hunter, LOL!

Me: What was the writing process for this book like? How long did it take to write it? Where do you write?

The first draft of this book was actually my NaNoWriMo project for 2006! So I wrote the first draft in a month, but it was messy and ugly and the finished product looks almost nothing like the original. After I wrote it and edited it a bit a couple months later, I sent it to my editor to read over. She gave me a ton of feedback and we talked a lot about what needed to be changed. So much needed to change that I just went back and rewrote the entire book without looking at my original draft at all. That took a couple months of rewriting before it went back to my editor again.

I have a laptop specifically for writing (basically because it’s too slow to do much else!) and I write usually at night and on weekends at home while sitting on my couch or in bed. Sometimes I bring my laptop to my day job and write during my lunch hour, but it’s hard to concentrate because coworkers always want to talk to me and interrupt my train of thought. So I’ve basically given up writing during work lunch hours unless I’m on a tight deadline and absolutely have to.

Me: I love NaNoWriMo! Give us one of your favorite quotations/paragraphs (this can be from anywhere!) as a teaser here:

Shana: Most of my favorites require a lot of set up to fully get, but this one is pretty short. It’s part of the scene where Elena (Helen of Troy) and Perry (Paris) first meet. Perry’s sister, Cassie (Cassandra the Seer), is the narrator and is one of the few people who doesn’t fall for Perry’s smooth attitude:

“What grade are you in?” Perry asked Elena.

“I’m a sophomore,” she told him.

“Oh, a young’un,” Perry said, grinning. “I’m a junior.”

I rolled my eyes. He talked as if he were a decade older than us. “You’re just about ready for the retirement home, aren’t you?” I asked.

Me: (lol) Troy High sounds so great! And Readers: guess what?? I will be stalking Shana this weekend when she signs copies at The Book Depot in Kinston. She will be there on Saturday (August 8th) from 1-3, so if you’re in the area be sure to stop by!

You can visit Shana on the web here:
And here:

And you can buy Troy High on Amazon:

Or . . . you can wait and come out with me to see Shana on Saturday!

Thanks for stopping by, Shana!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Cary!

My random number generator picked you to win the signed copy of One Wish!! I will send you an email shortly.

Thank you to everyone who entered! There will be other contests throughout the year, so keep checking back!


P.S. Be sure to drop by on Monday! Shana Norris, author of Troy High, is coming over to tell us about her new novel!