Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jennifer Brown is Here!

Hi Everyone! Today I have the fabulous Jennifer Brown on the blog! Not only is this girl freaking hilarious, she’s written an amazing debut novel. I can say this because I’ve read it, and it’s fantastic! Critics are raving, I swear. So . . . after you read this interview, you should head on down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy. This is one that will stay with you for a long time.

You know the rules:

About Hate List

Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things they hated. The list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

(Hijack: Doesn’t this sound amazing? It doesn’t disappoint!)

About Jennifer Brown

Jennifer Brown is the author of HATE LIST, a YA novel coming out in September 2009. As a two-time winner of The Erma Bombeck Global Humor award and weekly columnist for The Kansas City Star, as well as Saturday Featured Blogger for, Jennifer spends a lot of time dressing up her dog for laughs and thinking of new ways to works words such as "Puh-lease" and "Ch-yeah!" into sentences. Jennifer grew up in the Kansas City, Missouri area, where she still lives with her husband, three kids, and whole herd of uncooperative pets.

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?

Jennifer: I had the most fun writing the therapy sessions with Valerie and Dr. Hieler. The doc is really kind and caring and smart and intuitive, but he's also kind of a jokester. The scenes felt nice and light to me, and a way for Valerie (and the reader) to take a breath a bit.

Me: He was great! He definitely worked to get Valerie back on track. 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?

Jennifer: I'm currently working on another YA novel. It's going to have a similar feel to Hate List, but is, of course, about an entirely different subject. I'm also working on a women's fiction project. That's the genre I started writing in, and I sometimes miss the lightness of it.

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Jennifer: Oh, I have so many! No fair making me choose one! Probably the one who pops into my head first would be Maya Angelou, because her writing seems so brave and lyrical... it's like every word was agonized over before being chosen. There's not an "and" or "the" out of place. And when she speaks... it's like every syllable is important. You know the phrase, "I could listen to her sing the phone book?" Yeah, I could totally listen to Maya Angelou read the phone book... and would come away feeling like a better person afterward.

Me: Awesome!

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

And . . . HATE LIST is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Jennifer will be chatting with Neesha tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Jennifer!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Hi Everyone!

I’m finally back in town after my trip to the SIBA (Southern Independent Bookseller’s Alliance) Trade Show in Greenville, SC.

Long drive (which I shouldn’t complain about since technically I was chauffeured by the guy I’m sorta married to but not allowed to talk about online). Great hotel (I mean, it’s always a good thing when you can see your reflection in gold in the elevator. I’m so spoiled. Again, thanks Dude!). Fabulous signing!

I had a great time meeting booksellers and readers and catching up with some old BEA friends (and meeting some new ones!)

Thanks again, Dave, for getting such an awesome event together!

A lot of booksellers seemed excited about One Wish, which is always a good thing.

AND . . . in the hour before my signing, guess what I managed to snag?


I swear, perks of the job: free Advanced Reader’s Copies of books that haven’t even hit stores yet. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Here’s what I managed to snag:

Struts and Frets by Jon Skovron (2009 Deb!)
Shadow by Jenny Moss (2009 Deb!)
Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (sequel to Suite Scarlett, which I loved!)
The Hole We’re In by Gabrielle Zevin (I met Gabrielle in NYC, and just finished
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, which was fabulous!)
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
The Sky is Every Where by Jandy Nelson
Wish by Alexandra Bullen
Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (*sigh* John Green!)
Through the Heart by Kate Morgenroth
Becoming Jane Eyre by Sheila Kohler
Tangled by Carolyn Mackler
Captivate by Carrie Jones
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

AND, as if that wasn’t freaking awesome enough, I managed to score a SIGNED FIRST EDITION of Aprilynne Pike’s WINGS. Signed. First. Edition. I was actually going to buy it, because I knew it wasn’t free. Turns out Harper was going to give them away Sunday. When I mentioned that Aprilynne and I were both 2009 Debs and I thought she was fabulous . . . the Harper Rep handed me a copy. Of course, I told her she didn’t have to do that (while I was squealing on the inside), but she insisted. SO Sweet! My new best friend, really!

So . . . it was a successful weekend. I had a great time signing, and indie booksellers: You know you’re Awesome!

Can’t wait to sink my teeth into all these amazing books! In the meantime, I have to work the rest of the weekend to catch up (since we left Friday), and baby girl brought home a nasty cold from SC.

More than halfway through first round revisions on the WIP! Still plugging away!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Kate Messner is Here!

Today I’m happy to have Kate Messner on the blog! Kate is celebrating the release of her new novel: The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z!

About The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

Gianna Zales has a lot on her plate this fall – a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, a mother who’s turned into the junk food police, a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi, and a grandmother who leaves false teeth in the refrigerator. Worst of all, she’s left her 7th grade leaf collection to do at the last minute. It’s a monster project, and Gianna will miss cross-country sectionals if she doesn’t meet the deadline. She’ll need the help of her geeky friend, Zig, and some brilliant ideas of her own to pull it off.

About Kate Messner

Kate Messner grew up in Medina, New York and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a television news producer and reporter in Syracuse, NY and then Burlington, VT, before going back to school to get a teaching degree. These days, Kate is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher. She has helped hundreds of kids work on leaf collection projects and likes sugar maples and catalpa leaves the best. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and kids and loves spending time in the woods.

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?

Kate: I loved writing the scene that takes place on the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Ripton, Vermont. We spent a glorious fall day hiking there during my research, and writing that scene was a joy, not only because of the fun I had describing the trail but also because of what that setting brought out in my characters.

Me: Sounds magical! I *love* that kind of writing research: it’s the best! 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?

Kate: I'm working on revisions for my next middle grade novel with Walker/Bloomsbury. SUGAR ON SNOW is about a girl from a small-town maple farm who earns a scholarship to figure skate with the elite in Lake Placid. It will be published in Fall 2010.

Me: YAY! You’re definitely keeping busy! Finally: who is your writing hero and why?

Kate: I have a bunch of writing heroes - including many of my friends on LiveJournal who keep me going every day. I love the writing community here. Other heroes? Laurie Halse Anderson and Jane Yolen, both of whom are kind, wonderful people and incredibly diverse in their writing talents, too.

Me: I *adore* my LJ friends, and I totally agree about Laurie Halse Anderson. She’s fantastic!

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

And . . . The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Kate will be chatting with Sydney tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Kate!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Book Signings!

I just wanted to take a moment to say that I had a fabulous time at my signing at Page After Page in Elizabeth City this past weekend!

And . . . a special shout-out to Sarah, who stopped by to chat with me and was just . . . the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. :)

If you’re a bookseller/author and will be at the Southern Independent Booksellers Association (SIBA) trade show/meeting this weekend in Greenville, SC: I will be signing at the WestSide Booth on Saturday.

More details to follow!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Megan Crewe is Here!

Hi Everyone! I have another Debs post for you! Megan Crewe stopped by to talk about her debut novel: GIVE UP THE GHOST.

(I read the ARC, and it was awesome! Definitely unlike any ghost story I’ve read before. Highly Recommended!)

About Give Up the Ghost

Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...

About Megan Crewe

Like many fiction authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she has yet to make friends with a ghost, though she welcomes the opportunity.

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 pretty much love any time Cass and Tim are interacting, particularly the scenes at his house and at the end.

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?

Megan: Right now I'm working on a YA urban fantasy novel. Considering dipping my toes into historical and science fiction in the future.

Me: Who is your writing hero and why?

Megan: Roald Dahl. He managed to write books that are silly and bizarre, but also deeply moving (consider DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD and the end of THE WITCHES), and his world-building and eye for detail was amazing.

Me: Awesome!

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

And . . . GIVE UP THE GHOST is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

Megan will be chatting with Heather tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Megan!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Facts on Friday and a Book Signing

Hi Everyone!

This is just a quick note to let you know that I’ll be reading/signing copies of One Wish tomorrow (Saturday, September 19th) at Page After Page Bookstore in Elizabeth City (NC).

I’ll be hanging out at the store from 11:00am-3:00pm, so stop by if you’re in the area (or don’t mind the drive!).

Your facts for this Friday are as follows:

Fact #1: Whenever I’m nervous, I talk way too fast and tend to ramble on and on and on about nothing. Then, when I leave, I think of a million things I should have said, shouldn’t have said, or should have said better.

Fact #2: I just checked my closet, and I have nothing to wear. (Ack!)

Have a great weekend!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Fact on Friday

I just spent a fabulous day at the zoo.

My fact for this Friday: Gorillas kind of creep me out.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Jennifer Jabaley is Here!!

Hi Everyone!

Today I have Jennifer Jabaley on the blog! Jennifer is celebrating the debut of her YA novel: LIPSTICK APOLOGY. (Which, btw, I’ve read and is FANTASTIC!!)

You know the routine. . . .

About Lipstick Apology

Four little words written in lipstick mean Emily must say goodbye to everything she knows. Emily Carson has always been a good girl. So when she throws a party the night her parents leave for vacation, she's sure she'll get busted. What Emily doesn't know is that her parents will never return. That their plane will go down. And the only thing left amidst the wreckage will be a tray table with the words: “Emily please forgive me” scrawled in lipstick - her mother's last words.

Now it's fall in New York City and Emily's trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Her public tragedy captures the attention of more than just the media - and soon two very different boys at her new school are pursuing her: the cute, popular Owen, and the quirky chemistry partner slash pastry-baker-by-night, Anthony. But even with such delicious distractions, Emily can't let go of her mother's mysterious apology. Does she have the courage to face the truth?

With help of a whole new kind of family - one that includes a make-up artist to the stars, a teen hand model, and a wacky hairdresser - Emily must choose between the boy who makes her forget it all, and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately, heal.

About Jennifer Jabaley

Jennifer Jabaley was born in New York and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey. She graduated from James Madison University with a degree in chemistry and received a doctorate from Southern College of Optometry. A part-time optometrist and mother of two, Jennifer began writing her first novel after a phone call from her sister sparked an idea for a story that lingered in her mind and stirred her creative juices. LIPSTICK APOLOGY will be released in August of 2009 by Razorbill. Jen lives in Blue Ridge, Georgia and is currently at work on her second book.

Ambitious, Right? I envy her!

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?

Jennifer: My favorite part of LIPSTICK APOLOGY is the end. It's sort of cheesy but I love it. Someone told me the ending reminded them of "A Wonder Years" episode and that to me was a huge compliment.

Me: That is a compliment in the highest form! I loved the Wonder Years! I loved the ending of LA, too! 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?

Jennifer: Actually I am crossing into a new genre: I'm working on an adult chick lit novel. I've finished my first draft but have lots of work still left to do!

Me: That is awesome! Good luck! And finally: who is your writing hero and why?

Jennifer: Hmm, that's tough. I'm going with Judy Blume for many reasons. First, she and Beverly Cleary were the first authors I really fell in love with. I devoured their books! But I think Judy Blume is amazing because after all these years her novels still touch upon universal themes of a girl's coming of age. And she really pushed the limits when at that time in publishing many authors were playing it safe. She's been an advocate against book banning and I respect her for that work.

Me: Great choice!

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

And . . . LIPSTICK APOLOGY is officially on sale. You can buy it here:

It comes highly recommended by yours truly!!

Jennifer will be chatting with Sydney tomorrow at:

Thank you so much for stopping by, Jennifer!

Fact on Friday and a Movie Recommendation

Yesterday, I went into the playroom and found a missing container of Reese’s Pieces. They were in the “refrigerator” of baby girl’s plastic kitchen. Yeah, it’s pretty obvious who the culprit was. My mom, who was there at the time, asked: “Why are you so surprised? When you were a teenager you kept a tub of cake icing in your bathroom.”

To which I responded: “What? Are you serious??”

I did not remember this—at all. But once she mentioned it, yeah, I have a vague recollection of hoarding a tub of Chocolate Betty Crocker icing in a bathroom drawer.

For a late-night chocolate fix, I guess? Who knows?

Of course, now I’m all like: “Aren’t you supposed to refrigerate those things after opening?”


I saw a fantastic movie last night. I don’t think it was in theaters; as far as I know it went straight to DVD. Still, it’s a “Hot New Release” at Blockbuster, and I highly recommend it. They’re calling it a “Romantic Comedy,” but there’s some drama mixed in, too. Seriously: there are some “laugh out loud” moments, and some times you might need a tissue, which is the perfect combo, in my opinion.

There are some quirky moments: you have to employ a bit of imagination, but love stories don’t get much better than this. And really, I could think of worse things than staring at James Franco for an hour and a half.

Have a great weekend!