Monday, January 31, 2011

My Bookshelf Giveaway and Other Stuff!

Is it really and truly the end of January already??? Wasn't it JUST Christmas? I guess it's true what they say about time moving faster as you get older!

I had some free time on Saturday, and thought I'd get ahead of things and start on another My Bookshelf Giveaway post. I ended up getting time to draw names and take new pictures, so my latest contest went up on Saturday. I didn't want those who aren't around on weekends to miss it, so here's a little peek at this week's bookshelf:


Oh, but you must go to THIS POST to enter to win.

And oh yes, here are the winners from last week, once again...

BABY PROOF goes to Kimberly S.!
 
THE BEST OF THE FIRST LINE EDITORS' PICKS goes to jhitomi!
 
THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA goes to Irish!



And if that's not enough book-winning fun, stop by Deb Marshall's blog. There's an interview with yours truly, and she's giving away a copy of LOSING FAITH to one random commenter!

Happy Monday, everybody!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Bookshelf Giveaway!

Wow, I've had lots of entries for My Bookshelf Giveaway! So I've decided to give away THREE books off the shelf this week. The winners have a week to contact me with their mailing address, and if I don't hear from them, the books go back on the shelf next week.

This week's winners are:
BABY PROOF goes to Kimberly S.!
THE BEST OF THE FIRST LINE EDITORS' PICKS goes to jhitomi!
THE SEARCH FOR WONDLA goes to Irish!

Send your mailing info to me at d(at)denisejaden(dot) com

And now onto this week's bookshelf!!!


 Click on the photo to see it closer, or here are a couple of closer-up shots:







Again, because the main aim of this contest is clearing my shelves (and blessing you!) and because I'm not made of money, I have to keep this to U.S. addresses only. Help spread the word for extra entries!

Good luck and happy choosing!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Four!

1. I am getting SO organized! I hope it lasts. Fly Lady says to shine your sink each day. I haven't had time to go on her site and research what she means by this, which sinks, etc., so I've just been keeping all of them clean. I've also taken the scary journey into my bedroom closet and come out alive!

I admit, my house is looking much messier for all my effort. I have boxes upon boxes piled up and ready to give away though!

2. I'm reading a great book right now. PARTY by Tom Leveen. Tom is a fellow Class of 2k10 member, and what I love about this book? It has several different points of view (11, I think), but they all revolve around the same story, and they're all interesting! I thought it would be difficult to get into each of the heads of the point of view characters, but it hasn't been. I've always wanted to try writing a book like this, with multiple points of view where each one reveals something different that the reader wants to know. It's inspiring me...

3. I'm still working away for my outline on FINDING HOPE (a companion novel to LOSING FAITH). It's proving harder than I thought. In my first NaNo draft of the book, it was heavily focused on the parent-figures. I knew that had to change, but I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out a satisfying ending for the book now.  By the way, I'm also looking for suggestions of companion novels that I can read to study the form a bit. If you have any that you've enjoyed and could mention them in the comments, I would be grateful!

4. I've been mostly eating well lately and my reward (because I'm all about The Celebrating) is to go for Thai food this weekend. I love Thai food. And Mexican food. And okay, Italian too. I've been consciously cutting most sugars out of my diet lately, and now I just find myself craving very flavorful, savory foods instead.

What's up for your weekend? Or as Ashley would say in PARTY...What's the go?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Plot Whisperer

I don't know if you've heard about this, but if you're a plot-challenged writer like me, this is an amazingly helpful website. Martha Alderson is The Plot Whisperer, giving new tips on her blog each week on plotting.


Martha also has a YouTube series on plotting. I just started listening and applying her wisdom to my latest work in progress and it's really helping me sort things out!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Bookshelf Giveaway!

You may have suspected this was coming...

With all the reorganizing I'm doing around my house, eventually I will have to do something with my overflow of books. Ugh. I know that if I wait until whichever month is slated for attacking my living room, I'll simply be required to pull out a few empty boxes and purge, purge, purge.

I can't bear the thought.

So my aim is to work at this slowly over the next few months. I'll post an image of my latest books available for giving away each week. All you have to do is comment on which one you'd most like to win and I'll pick at least one winner and add at least one new book to the shelf each week. Feel free to spread the word via Twitter, etc, for extra entries. (Fine Print: Some books may be advance copies. Some may be signed by the author. Most are in great condition, but the odd one may be a bit worn. I can only mail to U.S. addresses for this contests, otherwise it costs me too much to clear my shelves!)

Here is today's bookshelf to choose from:






Click on the image to see it a bit better, or here are a couple of closer up images:
I'll also try to shift some of the books around a bit each week in case it makes them easier to see.

Happy choosing!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Organization For Dummies (like me!)

I used to be pretty organized person. Honestly. I used to work in secretarial/administrative, and people used to come to ME to help get them more organized and on top of things. I remember when I was young, I had a secret dream of working in, or even owning (gasp!)an office supply store. Seriously.

I've fallen off the wagon. In a big way.






Okay, that's not really mine...but it could be!


I could blame this fall on the other pack-rats in my home, but where would that get me? Personal responsibility - that's what will solve things! And the truth is, I HAVE been having trouble organizing and purging my own things. So I've been reading up a little on getting organized, both in my writing and my life, and asked around the social media sphere. Here's some ideas I've been given (thank you to all my facebook/twitter friends!!)

1. Flylady.net - I went on this site once years ago. I've been kind of afraid to go back. I was "just not in that place." But now I am. I'll try it. I'll take the plunge.

2.Use a Mom's Calendar. While I like this idea, I certainly love the idea of having ONE central calendar, I'm pretty happy with my online Google calendar. It syncs to my iphone and sends me email reminders about things (and since I check my email about every thirty seconds, that's a pretty handy feature!)

3/ Here's some great advice I'll just put in as a complete quote, because I definitely couldn't say it better: "Remember that any fantastic system doesn't work for everyone. Be prepared to tweak or completely throw out whatever system(s) you start with. Accept any "failures" to stick with a system as real life & an opportunity to change the system. Know that you will never feel like the quest for organization is done & that's ok! You will always seem more organized to onlookers than to yourself!| - Thank you, Allison Paul! I will be back to read this again and again, I'm sure!

4. Create a clone, or even better, create a few! I admit, this would help immensely! If anyone figures out the formula for this, please let me know!

5. Turn off the Internet. Well, obviously I'm still here, so THAT didn't work! LOL. But honestly, when I get busy on a writing project, I use Internet/Social Media time as a reward. After say an hour of solid work, I'll allow myself five minutes on Twitter, or something like that. Goals and rewards work well for me!

6. And here's what kick-started the whole idea of getting organized this year: my mom sent me the following link (do you think she was trying to tell me something?) http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifehack/12-months-of-clearing-to-create-a-great-2011.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LifeHack+%28lifehack.org%29   Seriously, though? This looks ATTAINABLE to me! I can do this! (Though I admit, I still cannot even get to my bedroom closet in order to clean it - BUT January's not over yet!!)

On the writing front, my best organizational tool so far is Scrivener. And they've just come out with a Beta version for Windows (the real version should be out soon). It's fabulous for organizing, when you're in the organizing stage of your writing, moving scenes around and such.

As I said above, I'm also big on goal-setting. I generally set monthly goals, and usually pretty ambitious ones. I set for about three months in advance, since it can be difficult to tell beyond that what I'll be in the mood for, what work I'll have from my editor, and just generally what my life will be like at that point.

Right now my goals are these: Finish an outline for FINDING HOPE by January 31st. Write the next draft by the end of February. Read through and send out to critique partners in mid-March. Finish another draft of PERFECT AIM by the end of April.

Of course that may be altered when I get my next set of notes from my editor. But it's still good to have a plan. At least it's good for me.

Do you have a plan for the next few months? Do you have any organizational tips for dummies like me, or do you like any of the above ones?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Four!

1. I forgot to mention with the song I posted yesterday, the artwork on the video was done by a young guy, a teen I think. It always really inspires me to see young people stepping out creatively, and I plan to post more things like that as I come across them. I hope you'll find them inspiring too!

2. I hope to get back to writing today! I've had about a week off, and not only is it all I can stand, it's all my family can stand. Have I mentioned how I get grumpy when I'm not writing? I plan to get back to working on my companion novel to Losing Faith today. It's tentatively titled FINDING HOPE and it's in Tessa Lockbaum's fun and fierce point of view!

3. I'm also working on a novel-writing course. In February I'll be working with a local homeschool co-op. There's somewhere around 175 kids involved and each student gets to choose three classes to take over eight sessions. Each parent teaches on class and helps with another (and we get one block free for coffee time). I offered to teach novel-writing to high school students, and as my helper role, I've been assigned to web design, which I'm very excited about. I once taught myself html from a large textbook, but it's all a little hazy. My website (www.denisejaden.com) is something I designed myself and upkeep, but I'm lazy and use a program that does most of the work for me.

4.  One other thing I'm happy to be back to is audiobooks! It's been a while since I've had a chance to listen to one, and I just started on EXTRAORDINARY by Nancy Werlin. It's an interesting recording, as it has different voices interspersed for different characters that appear from time to time. I'm finding it odd listening to a recording in third person too. It's been a while since I've read a book in third person. I am enjoying it.

What are you reading these days? Any recommendations?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

William and Kate!

A good friend of mine co-wrote this cool new song that I wanted to share. It's a wedding song dedicated to Prince William and Kate Middleton.And the video that goes along with it is fabulous. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wandering Wednesday

This week I'm being interviewed over at Sherrie Petersen's blog. Not only is Sherrie a fabulous person with a fun blog and a great following, but we also share the same fabulous agent! Sherrie just recently signed on with the awesome Michelle Humphrey. So make sure to check out this interview, with really interesting questions, I might add, with my agent-sister.

Something else I haven't done in a while is mentioned where else you can find me online.


I love to blog, and Facebook is fun, but my true love lies with Twitter. Seriously, I have so much trouble pulling myself off of there. It's just so quick and easy and I love that it's so easy to keep up on so many people quickly there.

You can find me here: http://twitter.com/denisejaden and if you follow me, and your profile doesn't make you look either creepy or like you'll be constantly trying to sell me something, I'll most definitely follow you back!

Facebook. I'll be honest, I don't get on there very often. But I do have an automatic feed that will let you know when I've been blogging. I'm very slowly working on developing an author page on there, which I promise will be much for fun. But for now, you can friend me right here: http://www.facebook.com/denisejaden?ref=profile

Blogger. This is the main blog that syncs with my website, but I almost always cross-post to LiveJournal. If you've found me on LiveJournal today, feel free to drop in here and follow my Blogger blog as well. http://baskinex.blogspot.com/

LiveJournal. Are you on LJ? If so, drop by and add me as a friend and my blog will automatically come up on your Friends List. http://denisejaden.livejournal.com/

Find me on GoodReads here: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2919206.Denise_Jaden  Feel free to rate Losing Faith, or add it to your to-read list, or even post a review. My secret goal is to get Losing Faith up above a 4.00 rating, but don't let that influence you...

You can check out my profile on Authors Now for more information about presentations, etc. http://www.authorsnow.com




Okay, apparently my Skype An Author Page is having some issues. I am trying to enter the digital age, however, and make myself available for virtual visits. Watch my blog for more details of when I get this back up and running.

Update: I think it's working now! Here's the link: http://skypeanauthor.wetpaint.com/page/Denise+Jaden

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

More Love For Lisa

I've been reflecting a lot on how Lisa Madigan must be feeling as I've been praying for her and her family. I've felt like I wanted to do something more, though. Yesterday I posted on the Verla Kay Blueboards about this and was given a link to this fabulous project that is being put together for her...


 
Don’t you just love how friends join hands in troubled times...how, even when our own lives are touched by shadows, we find Light when we're together?

We share a common link of friendship, one that connects each of us to to L.K. Madigan. Our friendship is steeped in joy, in gratitude...and now, a tinge of sadness. But we've found a way to stand together in light: A book of love for Lisa, written and illustrated by her friends.
Lisa loves photography, as evidenced by her award-winning novel, FLASH BURNOUT, and the lovely images she posts to her blog. So we're compiling an album for her: one that demonstrates the many ways we've learned that lesson. First and foremost, it'll include her friends' photographs--pictures that symbolize all the ways are lives have been (and continue to be) touched by Lisa's. And of course, there will be room for your poems, personal anecdotes, and illustrations.
Be aware that we're working on a tight timeline: the submission deadline is this Friday (1/21), 8:00 p.m Eastern. If you'd like to participate, here are the project particulars. 
·         Email your contribution to Tiffany Trent, with a cc to Melodye Shore 
tiffanytrent AT @ msn DOT com  and newport2newport AT gmail DOT com
·         Use this subject line: "For Lisa"
·         Be sure your project is included as an attachment! (High-resolution jpg files, PDF and/or .doc files are acceptable.)
·         In the body of your email, please include your name and how you'd like to be credited (i.e., first and last name, first name and last initial, initials only, anonymous, or...?)
·         Briefly explain the story behind/significance of your photo (optional)
·         You must also include this statement in the body of your email message: By emailing this submission, I've certified that I own sole copyright of the attached photographic image(s) and/or written materials. I've also granted permission for my work to be included in an album, as well as other tributes (print and electronic/online).
Over this next weekend, Tiffany will assemble the album, which will be sent to Lisa via FedEx next Monday (1/24).
Share the love, spread the word! Please feel free to cross-post this to your blog, or to help spread the word via Facebook and Twitter.  Be careful not to include Lisa in your messages or postings—we’d like this to be a surprise!
NOTE: The 2009 Debutantes are hosting a give-away contest, featuring L. K. Madigan's books. It's another way to show our love and support for Lisa, so be sure to stop by.

ALSO OF NOTE: [info]saputnam started an online candlelight group for Lisa, which you can access here. We invite you to pause and reflect...and perhaps light a candle of your own.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Spreading the Love for L.K. Madigan's Books

As I mentioned in an earlier post, L.K. Madigan announced some heart-wrenching news last week.

One of the best things I've done as a debut author was unite with other debut authors. I'm sure you've heard me talk about The Tenners and the Class of 2k10. Lisa Madigan was a 2009 debut author and she also united with her peers, called The Debutantes: Feast of Awesome.

In support of Lisa, The Debs are spreading the love for her and her books by giving away forty complete sets of her books! FORTY! Each winner will receive both Flash Burnout and The Mermaid's Mirror. and to enter, you simply have to help spread the love.

how, you ask? consider:

1. adding her books onto your goodreads shelf.
2. blogging. linking, tweeting about this giveaway.
3. adding reviews to sites or on your blog if you've
read lisa's novels. vlog about it!
4. if you've already blogged about lisa's books, why
not do so again? =)
5. telling your friends about lisa's books if you've read them.
6. buying her wonderful books for yourself, for a friend.
7. checking them out from your local library, requesting them
if they aren't carried.
8. generally spreading the Book Love, however and any
way you can.

then comment in this post at www.feastofawesome.com on how you shared the Book Love (with appropriate links to blogs, twitter, goodreads, etc) to enter for a chance to win one of forty sets we're giving away. this contest is open to US mailing addresses only and will run through MONDAY, JANUARY 31, when winners will be chosen by random. though they may favor entries that took more thought and effort. good luck! please help us show lisa how much we love her!



Flash Burnout was L.K. Madigan's debut novel.  It's no secret that I loved this book. It's deftly written in such a realistic male point of view, and it's the perfect mix of serious subject matter and laugh out loud humor.


Flash Burnout went on to win the Morris Award in 2010, given to the best young adult debut novel written in the past year, so I'm not alone in my praise of this novel.

Here's the information you may need to recommend Flash Burnout to your local library/bookstore:
Title: Flash Burnout
Author: L.K. Madigan
ISBN: 978-0547404936

You can add it to your GoodReads to-read list here.
You can find it on Amazon right here. (The paperback is only $7.99 and well, well worth it!)



I have not yet had the opportunity to read Lisa's second book, but here's the short synopsis:


Lena has lived her whole life near the beach — walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves — the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf. But her father — a former surfer himself — refuses to allow her to take lessons. After his near drowning years ago, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something keeps drawing Lena to the water . . . an ancient, powerful magic. And one morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman — with a silvery tail. Now nothing can stop Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon . . . what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life forever.


Sounds awesome, right?
If you want your bookstore/library to order it, you'll probably need the following information:
Title: The Mermaid's Mirror
Author: L.K. Madigan
ISBN: 978-0547194912

And here's where you can find The Mermaid's Mirror GoodReads Page.  (Go add it to your to-read books right now)
And here's where you can find it on Amazon.  (It's only $10.88 for a hardcover. Seriously. Buy new to support the author).

I hope you'll support Lisa's books in whatever way you can. And keep supporting Lisa with your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Four!

It's been such a long time since I've been able to do a Friday mishmash of stuff. I'm not sure if it will be four or five or more today, but I'm sure I have lots to share.

1. I finished my MASSIVE revision of APPETITE FOR BEAUTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This deserves a million exclamation points, believe me! If you've ever read an earlier version of this story, I doubt you'd recognize this one. But I do believe it's a much better story now, and I sent off the revision last night, so now I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear back from my editor on it.

2. UGH. My family's been sick, and it feels as though I'm having some not too pleasant feelings in my own stomach this morning. Because I haven't had much time to blog, you haven't had to endure all the gross details of the places I've had to clean puke out of in the last week or two, but let's just say I'm spending the day taking extra-good care of myself in hopes that I can avoid the whole nasty thing.

3. My dad and I have been brewing wine together. I got a wine kit for Christmas, and I've never brewed wine before, but it's really not that hard! And siphoning the wine each time we have to switch containers is no hardship either (hehe).  I'm just glad my revision is done before I have an endless supply of wine sitting around my house. That could have been bad!

4. Someone was recently asking me about March Madness. If you haven't been around my blog for the last year, let me explain. Last March we did a NaNoWriMo-esque challenge, where anyone who wanted to participate could set a challenging writing goal for themselves and try to meet it during the month of March. There was plenty of camaraderie, as we had check-in points where we could share our progress and cheer each other on each day. Plus, there were awesome prizes! These prizes were not based on how much you wrote, but just on how often you checked in and involved yourself in the cheerleading process.

I have a project I need to get back to soon, and so I'm seriously thinking of doing March Madness again this year. Any interest? I'm also looking for people who might want to use their blog as a check-in point (I'll have some specific rules of how this has to be done, so if you're interest, make sure to send me an email at d(at)denisejaden(dot)com so I can get you the details).

I think that's all for today, folks. Going to lie down with my cup of tea and a good book...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful Thursday: Perspective From Lisa

I wasn't going to put time into writing up any kind of lengthy blog post before I finished my revisions. However. Yesterday, I read this post by L.K. Madigan.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I don't know L.K. Madigan. I've read and loved one of her books, I've seen her around the blogosphere, but I've never actually met or exchanged emails with her. In fact, I know her so little that I did not even know her first name is Lisa.

Still, her post hit me really hard. It makes me angry when any life is cut short, but especially one that has been attacked repeatedly. The kicker in all this, is that Lisa is the person who originally started the idea of Thankful Thursday on her blog. Her first one is here. I've been using the idea of Thankful Thursday for a long time, not even knowing where it had been started.

Today I have a brand-new perspective on the idea of thankfulness. Lisa, being thankful all along the way, even in the midst of her horrible circumstances...she inspires me. I've always believed that thankfulness breeds more things to be thankful for, and I still believe that. I still believe in miracles and I still believe in prayer. I'm thankful for all of these things and I'm especially thankful I've had this glimpse into Lisa's new found perspective.

Today I'm not thinking about books or sales or if my revision will be good enough. I'm not thinking about how messy my house is or how lame my homeschool lessons have been lately. The whole thing makes me realize how deceptive and distracting everyday life can be from the things that really matter.

I'm a person of faith, and I will be sending up prayers of healing and peace and comfort for Lisa. Even if that's not something you feel you can do, I hope you'll spend some time just being thankful for what you have in Lisa's honor today. I wonder...if thousands of people around the YA-lit blogosphere all switched their perspectives to being thankful at the same time...I wonder if it would make a difference in the universe.

And what a legacy that would be for Lisa!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

GCC Presents Laurie Faria Stolarz and DEADLY LITTLE GAMES!

I'm happy to welcome another new Girlfriend from the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit, Laurie Faria Stolarz. Laurie's latest release, DEADLY LITTLE GAMES, is releasing this week from Disney/Hyperion Books for Children

Synopsis: High school juniors Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: they both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to see the future through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control. Camelia’s gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn’t yet comprehend. Before either one has a chance to fully grasp their abilities, a new danger surfaces, but this time, Camelia is not the target. Adam, a familiar face from Ben’s past, is drawn into a puzzle he can’t solve. . . and his life is on the line. As the clues pile up, Camelia must decide whether to help him and risk losing Ben or do nothing and suffer the consequences. But in these games,who can be trusted?

 
From DEADLY LITTLE GAMES:
With only a few minutes of class remaining, I close my eyes again, still picturing Adam’s mouth. I try to imagine what he would say if he knew what I was doing. Would he suspect that I was interested in him? Would he think it was weird that I remember so much detail about the moment that night inside his car? Would he tell Ben what I was up to? I take a deep breath and try my best to focus on the answers. But the only words that flash across my mind, the ones I can’t seem to shake, don’t even address the questions at all. “You deserve to die,” I whisper, suddenly realizing that I’ve said the words aloud.


Praise for the TOUCH series:
DEADLY LITTLE SECRET
Texas Tayshas List, 2010
Reluctant Reader Quick Pick Nominee, 2010, American Library Association
Teens@Random, Favorite Book of 2009


DEADLY LITTLE LIES
Reluctant Reader Quick Pick Nominee, 2011, American Library Association
Gold Star Award, TeensReadToo.com, 2009
Children’s Book Council’s 2010 Teen Choice Book of the Year Nominee

Author Bio: Laurie Faria Stolarz is the author of Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, Project 17, and Bleed, as well as the bestselling Blue is for Nightmares series, which has sold nearly 750,000 copies worldwide. Born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts, Stolarz attended Merrimack College and received an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston. For more information, please visit her Web site at www.lauriestolarz.com.



Interview with Laurie:
1. Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Deadly Little Games is a suspenseful young adult novel, packed with drama, romance, and intrigue.

2.  Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
My favorite character is Ben because he has so many dark secrets; because he’s a good person at heart, though he has the potential to do evil.

3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
Never pay readers fees of any kind.  Always do your homework regarding to whom you’re sending your work.

4. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I loved writing stories as young person.  They were usually psychological-thriller-ish.

5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens.

If you'd like to pick up a copy of DEADLY LITTLE GAMES, you can find it on Amazon or at your local independent retailer.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh, The Irony of it All...

As many of you probably know, I'm working on revisions for one of my novels, APPETITE FOR BEAUTY at the moment. There's a lot of irony that has surrounded this process for me, and when I was telling my husband about it last night, he said, "You should blog about that!"

So here I am.

First of all, I refer to this book as "Book 2" because it seems like that's what all authors refer to their second published book as, whether it's part of a series or not, whether it's the second book they've actually written or not. But this actually IS my second book. I've written eight novels to date, and I'm always going back and revising various ones as I find inspiration. LOSING FAITH  was my fourth written novel. APPETITE FOR BEAUTY has been in the works for over six years,and so I'm *thrilled* to finally see it make its way toward publication.

But some of the process has been...interesting. First of all, I waited for a couple of months while my editor had the book to hear of whether or not they liked it. That's pretty normal. The part that's not normal? On the same day that my editor phoned to make an offer on the book, I ran into an old friend of mine who had inspired one of the main characters in the book. I hadn't seen this friend for about 20 years prior to this day! Seriously. Coincidence?

The next big irony for me was that during the revision process, which has been almost an entire rewrite of the book, I was sinking into a regular state of despair, not really believing I was capable of making the book into what my editor was looking for. And right at that time I was asked to speak to kidlit writers at a local event. The topic? Maintaining Joy on the Path Toward Publication and Beyond. Well...I did the talk. And you know what? It was very cathartic and full of perspective for me. I realized how much I really had maintained my joy, even when I didn't really see it. I realized how important my writer friends are to me. The talk actually brought me much more joy than anything else.

A couple other little interesting things concerning this book...It's another sister story. In this book the main character watches her older sister struggle with a severe eating disorder. I have not been dieting or anything, but as a byproduct of this huge revision, I suddenly started to notice how many meals I was missing unintentionally. And with that, I was dropping weight. This scared me a little, as the topic in my book is quite serious.

And finally, the other day I knocked my hand on something, I don't even remember what, and I got this little scar on my forefinger:



I don't know how well you can see it here. It's not really a big deal. It's the exact location of it that's a big deal. Much of what I've learned about eating disorders for research for my book comes from a close friend of mine who suffered for years. Something she showed me in one of her more honest moments was the scar on her hand, which she referred to as her "bulimic scar". (If you think of sticking your finger down your throat 20 times a day, you'll understand). It was in the exact same location that I now have a scar.

I believe in getting into character when I write, but this is getting ridiculous!

Anyway, I don't know what's next for the string of ironies that have been following this book, but I wanted to share those so far. Have you ever had something very interesting or too coincidental line up with the writing of one of your books?

Oh, The Irony of it All...

As many of you probably know, I'm working on revisions for one of my novels, APPETITE FOR BEAUTY. There's a lot of irony that has surrounded this process for me, and when I was telling my husband about it last night, he said, "You should blog about that!" So here I am.

First of all, I refer to this book as "Book 2" because it seems like that's what all authors refer to their second published book as, whether it's part of a series or not

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

GCC Presents Eileen Cook!

 I'm thrilled to welcome my good writer-friend from Vancouver to the blog today, Eileen Cook! My total-rock-star editor saw me tweeting a couple of weeks ago about how much I wanted to read Eileen's latest book, THE EDUCATION OF HAILEY KENDRICK, and she sent me a copy! So I'm in the midst of it right now, and I can tell you that it is full of all of the awesomeness I've come to expect from Eileen and it certainly deserves all the praise it's been getting!



About the Book:
Hailey Kendrick always does exactly what's expected of her. She has the right friends, dates the perfect boy, gets good grades, and follows all the rules. But one night, Hailey risks everything by breaking a very big rule in a very public way...and with a very unexpected partner in crime. Hailey gets caught, but her accomplice does not, and Hailey takes the fall for both of them.

Suddenly, Hailey's perfect life--and her reputation--are blowing up in her face. Her friends are all avoiding her. Her teachers don't trust her. Her boyfriend won't even speak to her for long enough to tell her that she's been dumped.

They say honesty is the best policy--but some secrets are worth keeping, no matter the cost. Or are they?

Reviews:

"Hailey may be an A student headed to the Ivy League, but when it comes to taking a chance on life, she’s clueless. She’s also enormously appealing and great company throughout this breezy read. Yes, it’s chick lit, but of the highest quality—like a gourmet truffle. Cook has whipped up a real treat.” --Kirkus starred review

"Cook effectively builds both Hailey's (justified) feelings of rebellion and the social dynamics of her ostracism, especially in her growing friendship with a challenging townie, Drew, who supervises her punishment working with the janitorial staff....Cook coaxes considerable empathy for the otherwise privileged Hailey as she abandons the achievement treadmill to explore her independence." --Publishers Weekly

About the Author:
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com. Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

The Interview:
1. Welcome, Eileen! Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Like I don’t have enough problems trying to get things to fit into a Twitter length. I’m going to go with: Risk, Identity, True Love, and Funny.

2. Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
There is a character named Drew who I have a bit of a crush on. He’s a bit of philosopher and I love his approach to life which is very carpe diem (seize the day). I love people who jump into life with both feet. As someone who can be a bit risk adverse, I  admire those who go after what they want full speed ahead.

3. What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
 READ!  Books are the best writing teachers. The more you read the more concepts such as how to structure a story become easier and natural. My second piece of advice is to go for it. When I was starting out and reluctant to send any of my work in because it might be rejected a writing mentor told me “I hate to tell you this, but you are already not published. The worst thing that is going to happen is that you still won’t be published.” That was exactly the kick in the rear I needed.

4. What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I’ve always written. I had zillions of stories that I started but never finished (I was great at the beginning part, but then didn’t know how to see it through to the end.)  I also kept a diary on and off for years. When I re-read it now I realize I was pretty boring. There were a few really bad poems, but even then I knew poetry wasn’t going to be my skill.
5. What's the last book you read that you really loved?
 I loved a book called Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Bradley. It’s a murder mystery set in 1950’s England where the sleuth is a young girl.  I’ve just started Revolution by Donnelly and it seems great so far.

If you haven't yet had a chance to pick up one of Eileen's books, what are you waiting for??? THE EDUCATION OF HAILEY KENDRICK releases today, in bookstores everywhere!

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Contemps Challenge, Part Deux!

Just Your Typical Book Blog is hosting a second Contemps Challenge - encouraging reader/reviewers to read 18 of 20 of our Contemp books and link your reviews to enter to win some awesome prizes.

Find out more information at JUST YOUR TYPICAL BOOK BLOG, and happy reading!!!