A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Signing books surrounded by donations for SafePlace

The cake I didn't get to try. It was red velvet!

Brooklyn, my lovely trailer actress.

My fellow Washington Author Peeps: Marissa Meyer, me, Daniel  Marks, Megan Bostic, Kiki Hamilton and J. Anderson Coats.

Fabulous books donated for the raffle.
I have had a lot of really great days in my life; high school graduation, my wedding, the birth of each of my four kids, but I have to say, today ranked among the best days of my life. Today I celebrated the launch of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL at Fireside Bookstore in Olympia. I was surrounded by my husband, my kids, my baby brother and his family and many many of my friends and fellow writers.

Thomasina talking about SafePlace
The store completely SOLD OUT of my books. There was food and cake and I got to talk about my book and sign and sign and sign. It was all kind of surreal and amazing.

I also collected donations and money for a wonderful local women's shelter, SafePlace. Thank you to Thomasina for coming in to talk about the shelter and thank you to SafePlace for all the work they do. Thank you to my publisher, Walker/Bloomsbury and my agency, Nelson Literary, for providing books for the raffle for SafePlace.

My happy teen helpers!
I only had a few regrets 1) I didn't get to talk to anyone very long. 2) I was so busy signing books that I didn't get to try the beautiful cake I got from Wagner's Bakery. (Apparently my sixteen-year-old son took the last piece. 3) I didn't get any pictures with my husband, my kids, my brother or many of my friends who were there. 4) I wish I had brought some kind of sign-in book so I would always remember who was there.

Overall though, it was truly one of the best days of my life. A dream I have had for so long finally came true.

Thank you to all who helped with my launch party; my husband David, my kids David the Younger, Sabrina, Zach and Daniel, special helpers Elizabeth, Chelsie, Monica, Ashlyn, Dallin, Jennifer and so many others. A huge thank you to Jane at Fireside Bookstore and her husband Ed for making this such a lovely night. I am truly blessed!
My fabulous red shoes and Daniel Marks, um, lovely red shoelaces.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Child of Paper

It is now 12:01 am PST. April 24, 2012; a day I have looked forward to for a very long time. The counter I've kept my eye on for so long has zeroed out to "Now Available" and my first child of paper has been set out in the world.

 In case you don't get what I'm talking about I'll scream it out loud: BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, MY DEBUT NOVEL, RELEASES TODAY!!! (Friends on the East Coast did you hear that???)

Do you have any idea how cool that is? Do you have any idea how much that FREAKS. ME. OUT. My first child of paper is available to anyone who is willing to pay money for it, or who checks it out from the library, or who borrows it from a friend, or a relative or some stranger on the street. My hard-fought, long-poured-over words, and they don't even need my permission to read it. YIKES!

Like any other mom/author, I'm worried about how my child will be accepted by the big, bad, outside world. Yes, the ARCs have been out for months, it has been available on NetGalley, and I have already seen both positive and negative reviews, but until now I felt like me and/or my publisher had some control over who got to see my baby. And now we don't.

Total strangers will be reading it, and that scares me, but here's the REALLY scary part, people I know will read it to. In fact, I'm having a launch party tonight, and all these wonderful, supportive friends who have listened to me talk about my book and who have followed me on my journey to this point will be able to own some of my words, actually own A LOT of my words, and maybe even a little piece of me.

And what if they don't like it?

There are just about hundred million unknowns in this business of this (I know, I stayed up counting them all last night). One of them is that everyone's taste, experience, and opinions are different. Thank God for that, but that also means someone could love me and hate my story, and that has to be okay.

I'd probably prefer that they don't tell me how much they hated it AND I'd probably prefer that they don't tell me what I should have done differently, (at least not right up front) and I'd probably prefer that they don't mention such and such typo/mistake/continuity error on page such and such, but I have to be okay with that too. Because in the end, it's just a story. (And yes it was painful for me to write that last sentence. AND yes my brain is screaming "No, it's not just a story it's MY STORY.)

I think everyone gets that this is hard for me, but at some point I know I'll have to let my child of paper go. It was out of my hands months ago, I wrote and re-wrote, plotted and revised, and re-read it so many times that I almost have it memorized so yes, it's still with me. Just today, driving home from the store I thought of something I should have done differently. I had one of those slap myself in the forehead, "why didn't I think of that earlier?" moments. Since a number of copies have already been printed and shipped I don't think my publisher would be happy with me if I asked them to change/add that thing I thought of today. I have to let it go. (Okay, but I'm thinking that maybe I can have a "deleted scenes" or a "what-if" section on my website and then I can add that piece that came to me today. I can, right? Right? I know, I know, let it go.)

In the book "THE ARTIST'S WAY by Julia Cameron, she says something like, "A book is never finished, it just ends in an interesting place." I know that's true. I also know that a book never really starts from the beginning, it just picks up in an interesting place.

I think life is a lot like that. I can remember the day that I sat down and began BREAKING BEAUTIFUL with just the thread of an idea, but it didn't really start then, any more than it's starting now with an official launch date. The ideas, experiences, and stories that I used to build my story have been around for a long time (probably even longer than I have). The same goes for anything else I write. As I think about today, I realize that it is neither an ending or a beginning it's just an interesting place to be.

And as scary as that is, I think I like it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trailer Debut

I'm so excited to share the book trailer for BREAKING BEAUTIFUL. Because I was a broadcasting major and because creating videos has been one of my hobbies, I had the trailer for this book in mind before I ever finished writing it. When the time finally came to do the trailer, I wrote a script and was ready to move forward, but then my husband got his diagnosis of MS. It took some time for us to get back to real life after that. I had to scale everything back and focus on the really important things.

When I finally had the time and energy to think about it again, I knew I had to do something more simple than what I had originally planned. It all worked out fo the best. Scaled back or not I'm so happy with the way it came out.

I'm so grateful to everyone who helped, my husband who did the videography, my lovely actress Brooklyn who endured every crazy thing I asked her to do, Steve, the North Thurston high school librarian who helped me get in to "shoot" the locker scene and my extras, David, Chelsie, Melissa, Jennifer, Josh, Ben, Jesse, and "best creepy voice ever" Tristan. Thank you!

So without further self-gushing, I present my book trailer for BREAKING BEAUTIFUL which releases in LESS THAN ONE WEEK!!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Top Ten Signs that you are a "Directioner" Mom

I've done a lot of self-promotion on my blog lately. (Check the counter to the left. We are getting CLOSE to the release of BREAKING BEAUTIFUL).
The "One D" Shrine

But today I decided I'd do something fun and random and possibly embarrassing to my teen age daughter to change things up a bit.

I blogged in February about my now 14-year-old daughter's rock star crush on the band ONE DIRECTION. As I've seen this band sweeping the nation, the world, and my house, I thought it would fun to come up with a David Letterman-style top ten list, so here goes:


10. You know the difference between a "Directioner" and a "Diretionator."

9. You stayed "Up All Night" or at least later than usual to watch Saturday Night Live for the first time in ages, and had to change the channel a couple of times. (Were the skits always so raunchy?)

8.  You have to accommodate your daughter's new eating habits; no spoons and carrots every day in her lunch.

7. You know exactly what time on Saturday morning pre-sale tickets for their 2013 US Tour go on sale.

6. At least one wall of your house is covered with ONE DIRECTION posters.

5. You know exactly where in the world "The Boys" are on their current tour.

4. You refer to them as "The Boys."

3. You're staring to think Harry is cute in a non-creepy-30-something-mom kind of way.

2. You're trying to figure out how to plan a wedding for your daughter that includes five grooms.

1. You have "That's What Makes You Beautiful" constantly running through your head, and it reminds you of your beautiful daughter.
Maybe it's just me, but as fast as this group is sweeping the world I can't be the only "Directioner" mom out there. If you have more to add to this list (and I certainly do) I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rock the Drop, Results

So today was the day to "Rock the Drop"  in honor of Support Teen Lit Day.

I chose two books to "drop;" my book, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL and SING ME TO SLEEP, my sister-in-law's book and a favorite of mine.

Here's how it went down:

I started with SING ME TO SLEEP at the Lacey Public library. I may have over-thought this one. First I decided that the grandmother statue might like something new to read, after all she's had the same pile of books on her lap for as long as I can remember.

But, I decided it was too hard to see it there, so I put it on the bench next to the statue.

 It looked really nice there, but I was worried about our unpredictable Washington weather and the fact that it was so close to the actual book drop. I thought someone might pick it up and try to return it to the library. Being the dutiful library patron that I am, I went inside and asked a librarian. She suggested I put it here:

It worked! I went to look up a book on the library computer and when I came out SING ME TO SLEEP was gone!

Next it was time to "drop" my book. I really wanted to find a good home for it. I kind of felt like I was leaving my baby in a basket at someone's doorstep with a note that said something like, "Pease love me." It took me a while to figure out where I wanted it to go.

I waited all day until I went to my daughter's Freshman orientation night. I went upstairs to the library, and again, I asked a librarian. He suggested this ugly gold chair:

Apparently it's well-liked by the morning library regulars. I felt like I was giving my baby a good home.

And while I was "Rocking the Drop" in Lacey Washington, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL was out for a lunchtime stroll with my editor. She found a lovely place to leave it:

 Madison Square Gardens. I'm a little jealous, my book seems to be hanging out in cooler places than I am.

This is what I love about book people. We love books so much that we're willing to give them away, just because we want to share the joy that they gave to us. How many other industries are so willing and happy to give away and loan out their product?

If you find any of these books I'd love to hear from you!

This was fun. Let's do it again next year.

Did you "Rock the Drop?" Did you find a free book somewhere randomly placed today? What do you think about this whole idea?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

I'm Rocking the Drop, Are You?

Tomorrow I will be joining with readergirlz, the Class of 2k12, and many others in the YA community to celebrate Support Teen Lit Day, by "Rocking the Drop."

This is how the whole thing will go down: Dressed in all black I will go out at midnight and under cover of darkness... actually, I'll probably wear normal clothes and go out sometime tomorrow after all my kids are in school, but I will be leaving a copy of my book, BREAKING BEAUTIFUL, and some of my friends' books in various locations around town where teens have been known to hang out. I'll take pictures of where I left the books and post them here as soon as the deed is done. 

Teens in Thurston County (and throughout the country) this is your chance to get your hands on some great (and FREE!!!) reading material. Keep your eyes open. The books I leave will have my bookmarks and contact information. I hope that whoever finds them will contact me and let me know how they liked the book(s).

Check out how you can "Rock the Drop" by clicking on the picture above.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


My official BREAKING BEAUTIFUL blog tour kicks off tomorrow!!! Thank to Kari and Corrine with Teen Book Scene for putting this together.

You can find out more about me, my characters, and BREAKING BEAUTIFUL at the following blogs for the next four weeks:

Monday, April 9: Kari at A Good Addiction (Character Interview: Blake)
Tuesday, April 10: Rummanah at Books in the Spotlight (Author Interview)
Wednesday, April 11: Kate at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read (Review)
Thursday, April 12: Jessica E at Confessions of a Bookaholic (Character This or That: Allie)
Friday, April 13: Nicci at Paper Dreams (Review)

Monday, April 16: Amber S at Me, My Shelf and I (Character Interview: Caitlyn)
Tuesday, April 17: Corrine at Lost for Words (When I’m Not Writing)
Wednesday, April 18: Rummanah at Books in the Spotlight (Review)
Thursday, April 19: Heather M at Proud Book Nerd (Character This or That: Blake)
Friday, April 20: Heidi at The Readiacs (Review)

Monday, April 23: Bailey at IB Book Blogging (Character Interview: Andrew)
Tuesday, April 24: Kate at I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read (Author Interview)
Wednesday, April 25: Amber S at Me, My Shelf and I (Review)
Thursday, April 26: Nicole at Books Complete Me (Character This or That: Caitlyn)
Friday, April 27: Heather M at Proud Book Nerd (Review)

Monday, April 30: Hannah at Paperback Treasures (Multicharacter Interview)
Tuesday, May 1: Heidi at The Readiacs (Tens List)
Wednesday, May 2: Bailey at IB Book Blogging (Review)
Thursday, May 3: Nicci at Paper Dreams (Character This or That: Andrew)
Friday, May 4: Jessica E at Confessions of a Bookaholic (Review)

Thank you to all the fabulous bloggers who have put this together! I think I speak for all authors (especially debut authors) when I say I couldn't do this without you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Many Hats of a Debut Author

I feel like I'm in the last stretches of a marathon and I didn't realize how many hills would be at the end of my race. BREAKING BEAUTIFUL comes out in (checks official counter) nineteen days,and thirty-five(ish) minutes.


There is still so much to do! When I (naively) submitted my query almost two years ago, I didn't have any idea the amount of work that would be involved in making this book thing happen or how many different roles I would have to take on before my book even came out. I think everyone (me included) has this idea that an author sits around in his/her pajamas daydreaming and creating worlds of fiction. Then they submit their art to their editor, tweak it a bit (again in their pajamas), and then sit back and collect royalty checks.

A dream job, right?

Um, not quite.

I've had many jobs in my life, from waking up early to milk cows, to working with handicapped children, to electronic editing, but I don't think I've ever done anything that was quite this mentally taxing or required me to take on so many different roles. Except perhaps the mommy thing I've been doing for the last sixteen years.
(Incidentally, the "mommy thing" is another job that is often misunderstood and often done in pajamas, mostly because you don't always have the time or energy to get completely dressed).

In the last week alone I've played graphic designer, publicist, event planner, video director, mail-room associate, web designer, accountant, and blogger all while continuing to be a mom, and trying to complete my second novel for a May deadline.

 To give you an example of what I've been up to, (including a few "life" things thrown in) the past week or so:

Monday: Answered e-mail. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Probably shouldn't do this.) Worked on the design for the poster to advertise my launch party. Decided on the number of books to be ordered for my launch party. Cleaned my house in preparation for the arrival of our latest Japanese exchange student.

Answered e-mail. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Sometimes a big lift, sometimes a downer.) Re-cleaned my house. Met with the librarian at my son's high school to talk about an author event in May. Went to conferences for all four kids. Went to a welcome potluck and met my Japanese daughter for the week, Mirei. Gave a presentation on disability awareness at my son's cub scout pack meeting.

Sent poster off to my agent, editor, and my publicist at Walker for approval. Worked on guest blog posts. Answered e-mail. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Maybe not healthy.) Directed my lovely voice-over actress, Brooklyn, as she recorded her part for my book trailer. Had her try on the red dress that I may or may not use in the trailer. (Depends on how it works out.)

Answered e-mail. Took the approved poster to Minute Man Press, a local printer. The nice manager there, Renae, showed me all my mistakes and told me how to fix them. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Okay that's kind of become a daily event.) Did some actual writing on SHARDS OF GLASS.

Answered e-mail.  Made a list of all the people I need to send my author copies to; friends, family members, bloggers, and a few charity auction winners. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (I have a million other things I should be doing, why does this keep creeping up?) Bought envelopes to mail them. Finally got some writing in. (Not in my pajamas.)

Answered e-mail.  Cut the ugly white border off 1,000 (literally) swag stickers. Put books and swag into envelopes to mail. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Enough already.) Took my daughter, son and my exchange student to Seattle for some sight-seeing.

Relaxed with my family and played games with our exchange student. I don't work on Sunday, I need that day for church and family stuff and to mentally recharge.

Met with Jane, the owner of Fireside Bookstore, where my launch party will be held, to figure out where to set up tables and audio-video equipment. Got the name of the person at the restaurant next to the bookstore to see if they can do appetizers for my launch party. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Not because I'm vain or anything I just, you know, want to know what advance reviewers are saying.) Mailed off packages of author copies and swag. Made updates/changes to my website.

Worked on SHARD (again, not in my pajamas.) Worked on guest blogs. Stalked myself on Goodreads and checked all my Google alerts. (Okay, you get the idea.) Listened to a webinar about diet and MS with my husband. Put together a picture album for my exchange student as a good-bye gift.

Said a tearful good-bye to Merei. Went through all my loosely filed receipts to get everything ready for tax appointment at 4:00. Went back through bank statements and e-mails to figure out mileage and put expenses in a spreadsheet. Beat my head against the wall because I hate this kind of stuff. Swore to keep better records next year. Tax appointment. Trip to Trader Joe's to find non-gluten food for my husband's new MS diet plan. Did laundry and packed for family trip to Seaside Oregon (including shooting the final footage for my book trailer.) Didn't even have time to stalk myself on Goodreads and check all my Google alerts.

Wrote this blog post!!!

Whew! Not much of what I did this week could be done in my pajamas and not a lot was actual writing. So, I guess I'm still looking for that job where I sit around in my pajamas and daydream all day. In the meantime, I'll continue to be an author, the job I used to dream about, (and still love) even if it's more work than I ever imagined.