Monday, February 28, 2011

Simpatico (and Other Good Things about Meeting Online Friends)

One of the coolest things about going to writers conferences has been the opportunity to meet online friends in person. I was so fortunate to meet up with Heather McCorkle at SFWC11 last week. Sweet, generous, thoughtful, and funny, Heather felt like a forever friend. I miss her like nuts, but we talk all the time now. As for Shannon Messenger, we've met before, but last week was the first time rooming together. And, OMG, total FUN. Shannon is awesome and funny and has no fear. Throughout the entire conference, she boosted my confidence and encouraged me to take chances that paid off. We laughed well into the night and paid for it the next morning with next to no sleep. Worth.It.

DSC01883Heather, Me, Shannon

DSC01927Shannon, Heather, Me

Try to ignore the fact that my boots don't match. I didn't want to bring another pair of boots. Lame.

Monday, Shannon and I had an extra day in San Francisco without the worries and time constraints of a conference. The sun was out, the cold was lying low, and I'm fairly certain birds were singing. It was a perfect day to meet up with a couple of our fellow Bookanistas: Cory Jackson and Veronica Rossi. Duuuuuude, it was the shiz. Veronica and I discovered we had a ton in common, down to where we'd lived as children. I'm pretty sure she's my California twin. Actually, her laugh is a little like mine, too (I may be making this up. I'm not sure. But let's say it is. Clone, I tell you. CLONE). She's got a smile that never ends and a heart just as big. Cory was so fun, so vivacious and full of joy. You won't meet a kinder person. Plus, she had this Kate Spade bag with this typewriter lettering on the outside that made me drool. I'm not even a bag and shoes sort of person! Okay, I am.

181953_114135668661532_100001952982406_110035_5834772_n Cory, Me, Veronica, Shannon

After lunch, Cory gave Shannon and me a tour of San Francisco that led us straight to sugar, my very favorite thing in the whole world.

DSC01982 Kara's Cupcakes is the bomb-shizzle

DSC01987 Just before I licked the display case

We also got to see where Cory's asthma doctor was. And where Francis Ford Coppola lives. Unless I'm mistaken, I think they are the same person.

The green building is the important one.

Oh, also, this thing. I can't remember the name. But it's not very famous, I don't think.

DSC01957 Shannon, Cory, Me

And, uh, this.

DSC01970 Lawn art...
Yes, that's what you think it is.

And this untimely bit of advertising

DSC01915"Where holiday magic begins"

We had so much fun, and by the end of the day, my face hurt from smiling so much.

 Ghirardelli Square

I was very sad that Veronica wasn't able to accompany us on the tour of the city (and that Heather had to leave the night before). But next time! Next time. Or you guys can come to Indianapolis. We'll eat corn and stalk John Green together.

Seriously though, it's always a little scary to meet up with online friends. Not only might you discover that twenty-three-year-old Betty is actually fifty-two year old Bubba with a beer gut and a roll of duct tape, but WORSE you might discover they don't LIKE YOU. That's the fear, anyway. But Heather, Shannon, Cory, and Veronica? Dang, I wish they were neighbors. We'd throw a kickass block party. Especially if one of us stuck a robot on our lawns.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

One, a Bookanista Review

So, Bookanista news!

**Our own Gretchen McNeil (and yeah, I totally claim her. OURS OURS OURS!) has a cover for her book now! Take a look!


Isn't it glorious? POSSESS will be released by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Fall 2001

**And our own Christine (Ours Ours Ours!) Fonseca's advanced reading chapter of 101 SUCCESS SECRETS FOR GIFTED KIDS was just released to be consumed. Devoured. Savored! It's brilliant. I know it's really for the kids to read, but I fully intend to read the book right along with my daughter. It's due for release May 1, 2011

**And now, for today's review. This past weekend, I was fortunate to meet the talented Kathryn Otoshi, author and illustrator of a number of picture books. During a workshop at the San Francisco Writers Conference, Kathryn read ONE out loud, and I fell in love with this book. Seriously. It gave me shivers. Read on and see why.

ONE by Kathryn Otoshi

The Reading Room summary: When the colors cannot get along, One shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences. Full color.


I rarely review picture books. It's not that I don't love them. It's just that I'm a YA writer and there are so many YA books and only so many Bookanista Thursdays in which to review them. So it has to be a particularly special picture book for me to review it. And let me tell you, this one is it. The illustrations, though simple, are quite lovely and colorful. It would draw any child's eye. But it's the story that sold me. Because although ONE is in many ways educational, teaching kids counting and colors, it also deals with the issue of bullying.

I know, right? How does an author pull those elements together? Not without serious thought, I'm sure. The basic premise is that the color red is bullying all the other colors, but blue especially. And no one will defend Blue or do anything about it. Until one day One arrives and stands up to Red. No matter what Red says, One will not back down. This is enough to encourage the colors, one by one, to stand up to Red and be counted. And in the end, Blue finally finds his voice, too, and lets himself also be counted--Blue finally sees his own worth and understands that he, too, has value. And all it took was One to stand up to the bully.

It's a pretty powerful message, I think. Mob mentality works both ways--to create bullies, but also to bring them down. In keeping silent, all the colors aided and abetted the bullying of poor Blue. But once One spoke up, and then all the rest and the rest, the mob of "worthy" colors knocked Red down to size.

Of course, it's cool that this book will also help kiddos learn to count and recognize colors, but the message behind it makes this book stand out. Bullies exist at any age; you never know what your child is facing on the playground or at preschool--your child may not even realize that he's being bullied. ONE can open up that conversation with the tiny tot. And given that bullying is a huge issue, it seems there's no age too young to discuss it. My hat's off to Ms. Otoshi. I'm impressed with this one (this ONE).

ONE is currently available for purchase.


Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting!

Elana Johnson is tickled pink for The Liar Society
LiLa Roecker is blown away by A Touch Mortal
Shannon Messenger can’t lie about her love for The Liar Society
Shelli Johannes-Wells burns for AngelFire
Scott Tracey is more than a touch impressed with A Touch Mortal
Myra McEntire is A Touch Mortal this week
Beth Revis tells the truth about The Liar Society
Christine Fonseca is leveled by Leverage
Jessi Kirby soars for Across the Universe
Jenn Hayley adores The Liar Society
Shana Silver can’t imagine you not reading Imaginary Girls
Katie Anderson wants to be Like Mandarin
Matt Blackstone loves The Hate List
Stasia Ward Kehoe falls head over heels for Fall for Anything
Sarah Frances Hardy sings her praises for Mockingbird
Veronica Rossi thinks Unearthly is otherworldly
Michelle Hodkin champions A Dog's Way Home

** Click here to join The Bookanista Book Club at The Reading Room where you can check out all the books we're buzzing about!


LisaWolfson In sad news, the literary world lost a major talent yesterday: YA author Lisa Wolfson, known as LK Madigan, has lost her battle with cancer. Go here to read a beautiful tribute from her literary agent Jennifer Laughran. My heart goes out to her family and all those who knew and loved her.

LK Madigan's Final Blog Post

Monday, February 21, 2011

In the Midst

The San Francisco Writers Conference is technically over, but Shannon Messenger and I decided to stay an extra couple nights, so I'm still gone.

But I have a few minutes at 2 AM to come visit with all of you, so I thought I'd share just a few of my thoughts from the last few days.

Miscellany of the San Francisco Writers Conference 2011

San Francisco in February  is colder than a witch's foot in brass socks. Who knew?

Shannon and I have the same toothbrush and toothpaste. Surely, this is a sign. That we need to get a second toothbrush. Or we're soul mates.

We were fortunate to meet the lovely Heather McCorkle. She laughed at my stupid jokes. We were fast friends.

I have suffered immensely without Coke Zero because some conference head chose to hold the event in a hotel without a gift shop, coffee shop, or soda machine. We only have a $5 can of soda in the mini bar, and we're not cracked in the head enough to bonfire our money. The Evian was $6.50. HEllo. But we finally found a coke machine in the basement of the hotel in a parking garage. AND it would only take quarters and for some reason also nickels. But we didn't have enough so we had to go back up and get change for our dollar bills (by this time we were ready to corner anyone with coffee on their breath). So we finally got some sodas and did a little celebration dance in the middle of the parking garage, tanked down our drinks, proclaiming how revived we felt, only to realize that my can of Diet Coke  (because they didn't actually have Coke Zero) was actually caffeine free. Go me.

Yesterday we listened in on a pitch to a major editor because we're avid eavesdroppers, only to realize that the guy wasn't pitching a book, not exactly--he was pitching a religion. The guy (who Shannon now refers to as the beret man...because he was wearing a beret) said he was starting a new religion and wanted to influence the youth of America, and in order to recruit teenagers he wanted to write a young adult book. This editor deserves major kudos for not even blinking an eye while she listened, though she just happened to be out of business cards to give him right at that moment. Strangely enough, she convinced beret man to go out and buy one of the books they had published.

Shannon sleeps with a stuffed elephant. Seriously. I have photographic evidence. Lucky for her, I forgot my memory card adapter.

Heather ate the purple cauliflower. Granted, Shannon and I egged her on to eat it. She did not like it. We figured she wouldn't. But she was a good sport. She didn't puke it up at ALL.

I learned a lot about San Francisco, like some parts of the city smell a little like skunk. But I didn't see any skunks anywhere. Weird. Shannon assures me this is normal. For San Francisco. Heather assures me it's also normal at Weezer concerts.

We ate at the same restaurant three nights in a row. Mainly because it was close. Two of those nights, I ate the rustic potato soup. The third night, we tried to find someplace else, but we got lost. Very lost. After stumbling our way up mountains, we ended up back in the same place. The coat check guy said, "I was beginning to think you wouldn't come." Actually, he didn't. But it was all over his face.

Every time Shannon walks out of the room, I fall asleep (Without-Shannon Narcolepsy) I recommend getting one of her for jet lag. Wish I could take her home with me. But I can't convince her to leave California and move to Indiana no matter how much popcorn and soybeans I offer her. She hesitated when I told her we have a trampoline. It was not enough. Apparently, trampolines are not as good as Disneyland.

I'm gonna miss you, Shannon. I'm gonna miss you Heather. I'm NOT gonna miss you, farty lady pretending not to stink up the place during our workshop.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Okay to LOVE Your Writing

Hello? Hello? Is anybody out there?

My blogging is as scattered as my mind has been lately. So, yeah. For sure, thanks for sticking around, bloggie friends. I'm so glad you're here. So happy to see your comments, especially.

The thing is, okay, I've been working frantically in preparation for this conference I'm going to tomorrow  with Smexy Shannon Messenger (San Francisco Writers Conference). It's sort of a big deal. Probably the coolest one I've been to yet. And by coolest I mean terrifying. But, at the same time, I've been trying to get some beta reading in, and you know, taking care of real life stuff, which can be such a drag but also way awesome and exhilarating, too (dude, you know you love a clean bathroom). Oh, and I'm working on a new manuscript which is by far the most kick ass story I've ever written. Like seriously, it's one of those where you go back and reread your own writing and can't believe your brain came up with that.

I'll probably come back to it after I'm finished with it and want to slice open a vein because it's so crapulous. But for now, I'm swinging high, reveling in my brilliance. Did I mention it was kick ass?

No, I'm not giving anything away. But the setting is, oh my word, so freaking awesome, you have no idea.

There are no vampires, though. Or angels. Or mermaids. Or zombies.

Just something...else.

Dun dun dunnnnnnnn...

Okay, I'll stop now. *slaps self*

Seriously's okay to love your writing. Don't be ashamed. If you're in this business, I'd like to believe it's not just for all the riches and Oprah fame, right? It's not just because there's so much glory in being an author. It's not just because it's fun to tear your hair out and sob when the rejections come in. You gotta believe that you're good at this, people--and getting better and better.

Step one: Love to write.

Step two: Love what you write.

You don't have to love it all the time even half of the time, but let your writing be your happy thought, knowing that you are capable of something truly great. If you're waiting to publish before you claim your confidence, you may be waiting a long time. But if you love what you write, there's a chance that feeling about your work just might be catching.

Oh oh oh oh! I have news!!! One of my fellow Bookanistas Corrine Jackson has just sold her first book!!!!

Her YA contemp IF I LIE will be published in Fall 2012 by the Simon Pulse imprint at Simon & Schuster!

CONGRATULATIONS, CORY!!!!! So so so so happy for you!

Be sure to go see Cory and congratulate her! While you're there checking out her journey to publication, why don't you hook her up with a new bloggie friend by clicking on her follower button? You're gonna love her.

Also? Shannon and I totally get to meet her this weekend in real life along with another Bookanista Veronica Rossi (whose trilogy beginning with UNDER THE NEVER SKY will be published Winter 2012 by Harper Collins). So excited to meet them!


Happy trails and all that...

See ya on the flip side.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Loco for Like Mandarin

Not a lot of Bookanista news today. No new members, no babies, no new Bookanista releases at the moment. Just fab reviews for you. Today I'm reviewing LIKE MANDARIN.

Check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting:

Bookanistas_logo Elana Johnson raves over BIRTHMARKED

LiLa Roecker is going bonkers for BETRAYAL

Christine Fonseca is dizzy for DELIRIUM

Shannon Messenger features WHERE SHE WENT plus an ARC Giveaway!

Beth Revis is remembering MEMENTO NORA

Jessi Kirby is sweet on XVI

Shana Silver is pumped for BUMPED

Carrie Harris gets hexed by HEX HALL

Rosemary Clement-Moore is enraptured by WARPED

Katie Anderson covets the cover of Myra McEntire's HOURGLASS

Corrine Jackson is dazzled by I AM NUMBER FOUR

Stasia Ward Kehoe leaps for LEVERAGE


LIKE MANDARIN by Kirsten Hubbard

Like Mandarin

Goodreads summary: It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

My Review

The very first thing that captured my attention in LIKE MANDARIN was the prose--so lyrical and poignant and intense. Every page packed a punch and had me rereading lines over and over to better absorb the beauty. Hubbard paints such remarkable images with her words--images that are startling in their lush simplicity. There's one image in particular that comes to mind from the very beginning, that of Mandarin as a child looking intense and far too old-soulish for her young body--an image which just grabs you by the throat and sets the tone for the entire book.

The story is actually told through Grace's point of view, which was a bold move on Hubbard's part. For one thing, Mandarin appears to be (at least on the surface) the most interesting character. She's the one with all the problems, the attitude, and the mega guts sans glory. Grace, on the other hand, is not one to challenge the status quo, just getting by until one day she can go off and do something important (leaving her mother, an irritating, wealth of humiliation, behind). But even though the story is named after Mandarin, the issue at hand isn't really Mandarin at all. It's Grace and her search for identity (with and without her mother), which is spurred on (and possibly hindered) by Mandarin. For a YA novel, this was a brilliant choice. Establishing one's identity is the bane of adolescent existence. And as troubled and possibly dangerous as Mandarin is, she doesn't doubt who she is or what she wants. So even though Mandarin has a story, it plays out on the sidelines. Ultimately, we get to witness Grace's evolution, her coming into being and all the difficult steps and stumbles it takes to get there. Through Mandarin's eyes, this story likely would have felt more adult and  more hopeless. But through Grace, just like her name implies, there is a sense of hope (even in those low moments).

So, let me just say...freaking fantastic characterization. So sharp, so genuine. Both Mandarin and Grace are such distinct characters, shaped from seemingly different molds. Yet their stories are so perfectly intertwined, often running parallel.

Here's what Mandarin does for Grace: just by her existence, Mandarin helps Grace to uncover how unhappy she really is. Mandarin embodies (and reflects outwardly) that discontent and pain that Grace carries around inside of her all the time, and Grace can't help but respond to that. Indeed, both of them suffer a claustrophobia which is so intense it's palpable--but it's in response to different things. Mandarin feels trapped in the rinky-dink town--a feeling I know all to well. That feeling of desperation to just get out, not because there's anything inherently wrong with the town or even it's size, but because you are wrong in it. Grace's claustrophobia is probably even more tragic, though, because the thing she's desperate to escape is herself. And she sees something in Mandarin that makes her think perhaps that's her ticket to do just that. But what she will have to discover, if she's ever to find her identity and self-respect, is that strength cannot be given from one person to another. It can only be borrowed.

LIKE MANDARIN is a soft, graceful sort of book, like the stir of a warm breeze, but just as eloquent and refreshing. So moving, and so breathtakingly timeless. It will resonate with teens and adults who remember their teens for years to come.

Available March 8, 2011.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Blame the Cheese on the Nyquil

So, I got a good 15k words in over the weekend. Not as much as I'd intended, but I've been battling plague, and you KNOW how it is dealing with that. Locusts and all that jazz.

Here's hoping the gnats run off and the boils dry up before my conference next week. To that end, please let's take a moment of silence.


Sorry. I meant screaming. I'm a little nervous.

Anyway, it's 2:00. As in AM. It makes me punchy.



So, I'm here to announce the winner of the signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY.


Don't fret if the winner isn't you. I mean, I don't have another Roecker ARC, but  The Liar Society comes out March 1.



Here's the winner.




Down below.






Like down here.















Happy birthday, Grandma!!







It really was my grandma's birthday this weekend.








Happy birthday, Cousin Bean!!!







Her birthday, too. She's twenty now. Like in grown up years.




And the winner is:







HEllo there, sweet thing.

I know this looks like Zac Efron. But I swear, it's Jared Leto. I took the picture myself.







Not really.


Let's compare.




Okay, so they look nothing alike, but they both really are Jared Leto. Down with Zac!


Wait, is Zac Efron old enough to drink now? I have lost track of time. When was High School Musical? Hm. I will reserve judgment on Zac until I know his age. It's important, you know.




Why did I resort to Twitter Hashtags?



And the winner is:






You sort of expected a picture of a woman now, didn't you?


Like to make things even?


Give me a sec.











Born June 8, 1933.




LiarSociety_small And the winner of the signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY is




(for real this time)


(Except the ARC doesn't actually have this cover. Sorry. But it's still fabulous.)



Amanda Furman!


Congratulations, Amanda! Please email me with an address to send your ARC. Now that the tundra seems to be behind us, I should be able to get out to the post office.

Thanks so much to all who entered, tweeted, facebooked, blogged, et cetera et cetera. You are all gracious and magnificent and I adore you. Air kisses and waves  to all of you (I have the plague, yeah?) I truly wish I had enough prizes to go around. But, okay, there were a lot of you who entered. I'm not sure Mark Zuckerberg has enough money to give prizes to all of you. Okay, he probably does. But when I asked him to contribute, he totally went all, "I'm sorry, I already have established charities I donate to." And then he goes, "Are you pranking on me? Is this a scam?" What.Ever. He totally just did that to get me off the phone. Or maybe he's mad at me for waiting so long to see The Social Network.

I need to stop blogging at 2 AM probably. Especially while sick.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Bookanista Look at SCRAWL

So, I had no intention of reviewing or blogging or doing anything online that did not directly contribute to my writing projects today. BUT. The Bookanistas took on a few new members, and I wanted to give them a proper welcome. So.


So glad to have you join our group!

While I'm here playing welcome wagon to our new members, I figured I might as well review a super book I just read. To be honest, I'd never heard of it when it was sent to me. I wasn't sure what to expect. Then I started reading it and was captivated. It's not like any book I've read before--the POV, especially. But even the structure, which is journal-like, had a really original feel to it. My review is below.

Be sure to check out what the other Bookanistas are highlighting today as well:

Elana Johnson thinks Delirium is dope
LiLa Roecker falls for Between Shades of Grey
Christine Fonseca soars Across the Universe
Shannon is hosting an epic Invasion giveaway
Shelli Johannes Wells is giving some Liar Society lovin'
Myra McEntire is spreading some cover love for Siren and Undercurrent
Beth Revis is thanking her fellow Bookanistas
Megan Miranda falls for Dark Goddess
Bethany Wiggins is Entice(d)
Jen Hayley and Shana Silver ignite for Angelfire
Matt Blackstone convinces us That Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You
Carrie Harris marvels over The Mockingbirds

SCRAWL by Mark Shulman

Goodreads summary: Tod Munn is a bully. He's tough, but times are even tougher. The wimps have stopped coughing up their lunch money. The administration is cracking down. Then to make things worse, Tod and his friends get busted doing something bad. Something really bad.

Lucky Tod must spend his daily detention in a hot, empty room with Mrs. Woodrow, a no-nonsense guidance counselor. He doesn't know why he's there, but she does. Tod's punishment: to scrawl his story in a beat-up notebook. He can be painfully funny and he can be brutally honest. But can Mrs. Woodrow help Tod stop playing the bad guy before he actually turns into one . . . for real?

Read Tod's notebook for yourself.


Here's the thing about this book: I sort of didn't want to like it. It's about--and written in the voice of--a bully. And I can't abide a bully. So, I didn't want to sympathize with one. I certainly didn't want to like one. But you know, through the course of reading SCRAWL, I did both of those things. Something else happened too: I began to understand Tod.

But Tod isn't your average ham-fisted, blockheaded bully either. He's intelligent, clever, and ridiculously funny. His drip-dry humor was just the sort I usually go for. His voice steals the show and had me turning pages just to see what he would say next. Knocked my slippers off to read him and the way he approached the universe (the writing is quite sharp as well). But it really saddened me, too, because in seeing his sarcasm and his self-deprecation, you also see his unflinching inward look at the ugly reality that is his life. SCRAWL is a vivid portrayal of the ways in which environment can affect more than just a person's ability to feed and clothe himself. You see how deprivation, poverty and neglect affect more than just the physicality of a person.

It's easy to vilify a bully, I guess. Certainly, they're bullies and awful and their behavior shouldn't be tolerated. EVER. But SCRAWL doesn't ask us to tolerate the behavior. It merely says look twice and try to get an idea of why. In reading the story of this particular bully, a person who is clearly not evil or malicious--merely a survivor (and SCRAWL seems to make a distinction)--you can't help but feel hopeful. Because if you understand the why, you might stand a chance at not only protecting the victims of bullying, but maybe also save the bully (and in turn, all potential future victims). In reading the entries from Tod's journal, I felt this blooming sense of surprise. For one, it had me cracking up. Seriously funny stuff--I was so taken by the voice. But also, I was starting to really root for him. Though I cringed at those moments where he would relapse and be an arse, I felt a need to cheer when he would rebound and take a few more baby steps forward. Even though he's telling the story, Tod himself didn't seem to be able to see how his life was changing through the pages of his journal, but the teacher--and the reader--clearly do. And you can't help but hope hope hope that he'll progress and change and become a better person, even though you know his life's not going to miraculously change.

But SCRAWL isn't just a journal. Not only does it not really read like one, it's an actual narrative complete with dialogue that unfolds in a serial way, headlined by the date. But  it's not just Tod's story either. Certainly, he's the star and anti-star of the show--you see his triumphs as well as his weaknesses, his flaws, and his seriously poor choices.  But through his eyes and a few conspicuous notes jotted down in the "margins" of the book, you also get to see the teacher that has forced him to keep up this journal in detention. In this way, you begin to see the power of a little attention, care and affection. Through a few secondary characters within Tod's story, you also get to see the transformative powers of love (or something kind of like it) and friendship. So, while SCRAWL is a funny, poignant, sometimes really sad story of a bully; it's ultimately the understated story of a bully's redemption--and a story of hope.


Today, February 3, is the last day to enter to win a Signed ARC of THE LIAR SOCIETY by Lisa and Laura Roecker. You have until midnight to get in your entry form (and tweets, FB posts, comments, etc.). Good luck!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I know. I haven't been blogging.

In my defense...
it's genetic.
 unreliablebutfun Click on image for source

I've been busy writing. I know, it's no excuse. Yes it is. But I've got this ├╝ber conference coming up in less than three weeks (with sweetie peetie Shannon Messenger), and I'm working frantically to finish up some projects. Just want to be prepared with a whole arsenal of awesome, you know? Like, if someone says, so what have you been working on in addition to this super-fabtastic manuscript? I could rub my hands together in glee and give them my oh, you don't know the half of it look, and then unleash my long list of superfly Carol-pie.

Gotta be prepared, you know?

So, to that end, I'll be blogging probably only sporadically. Writing comes first, right? But I've read a couple of really great books recently, so I'll try to post those reviews soon. Also, I have some writing posts planned and another giveaway ready to go. Good stuff coming up.

Okay, some cool news:

Shelli Johannes-Wells is having a Pay It Forward contest as a nod to Suzanne Young for having given her a jumpstart in her writing career. The prize? A personal recommendation to her agent, Alyssa Henkin at Trident Media, to help you get out of  the slush pile. In order to win, you have to enter your YA/MG pitch (up to four sentences) in her comment section.  In publishing, whatever boost you can get is practically gold. So GO HERE to check out the details. Contest ends this Friday, Feb 4.

LiarSociety_smallest ALSO, if you haven't entered yet, make sure you GO HERE to enter to win a Signed ARC of Lisa and Laura Roecker's YA mystery THE LIAR SOCIETY. Giveaway ends tomorrow, Thursday Feb 3! So HURRY!

FINALLY, if you're new to my blog...Helloooooo! Huge thank you to new and old bloggie friends alike. Happy to have you! *Tips hat*