Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bookanista Thursday: A Very Special Cover Reveal...

This week, it is my extreme privilege to show you something awesome and shiny and new. And totally striking. I'm sure you remember Elana Johnson's kick-ass dystopian, POSSESSION, with its stark white cover..

Now have a look at the gorgeous new version you'll be seeing on the paperback:

It's beauteous, no? The fabulous font, the color-drenched background.  I adore this new look.  It still has the same stark feel as the original, but with more depth and pop to it.

And...are you ready for this? Here is a first look at SURRENDER, the sequel to POSSESSION, which hits the shelves in June!

Again, I am totally down with the color-drenched background, and I thing the turquoise echoed in the hummingbird is just gorgeous.  I also love, love, love the look of the jar.  It's almost like ice or something.  Just beautiful.

What do you think???

I cannot wait to have all this pretty on my bookshelf!

When you're finished admiring POSSESSION's new look, head on over to the other Bookanista Blogs and see what books they're talking about this week!

Christine Fonseca brings you a special Guestanista review of SPRINKLES & SECRETS Shannon Messenger delights in DEAD TO YOU – with giveaway
Beth Revis interviews TEMPEST author Julie Cross – with giveaway
Jessi Kirby takes a shine to the SURRENDER and new POSSESSSION covers
Jen Hayley gushes over THE GIRL WHO LOVED A CITY
Veronica Rossi is crazy for INCARNATE
Nikki Katz marvels at A MILLION SUNS
Gennifer Albin is on fire over CINDER
Tracy Banghart is all about THE OTHER LIFE
Jessica Love wonders at THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hilary Wagner mourns over THE DEATH OF YORIK MORTWELL -- with giveaway
Stasia Kehoe adores IN HONOR


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit: Featuring Lucienne Diver and FANGTASTIC!

I was thrilled a few weeks back when an invitation to join a group called the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit landed in my inbox. For those of you not familiar with this awesome group, it's web ring of YA authors dedicated to bringing you the latest news about YA releases and interviews with the fabulous people responsible for them.

Being new to this whole business of being a writer, I'm thoroughly fascinated by how other people do it. And I mean on a daily basis--what their writing day is like, where they work, what they snack on, listen to, procrastinate with. I love when I get a peek into these highly individualized worlds, so when I get to feature authors from the Circuit, that's what I will try to give you!

Today I'm happy to have with me Lucienne Diver, author of the popular Vamped series, and her latest book, FANGTASTIC!

What do you wear to face down a cadre of killer kids? 

Gina Covello would rather be working on her manicure than missions for the Feds’ paranormal unit to which she’s been recruited.  That changes when a group of killer kids takes out a family in the sunshine state and disappearances begin to plague the lifestylers who only play at the kind of existence our fanged fashionista leads.  She and her crew are sent undercover into the vampire clubs…which turn out to be run by real vampires.  While Gina’s BFF Marcy hangs with the steampunk-styled Burgess Brigade that spawned the killer kids, Gina herself is supposed to get in good with the fanged fiends behind the scenes, even to the point of playing double-agent, offering to hand over her powerful boyfriend Bobby.  Her playacting threatens to become a bit too real when she discovers things about her spy handlers that make her wonder whether she’s truly on the right side of the battle between Feds and fangs. 

What Readers and Reviewers are Saying about FANGTASTIC:

“As ever, Gina's feisty, funny narration carries the day. Gina never fails to please, as she strides down the runway of afterlife with just the right mix of humor, make-up advice, youthful lust that never crosses the line and a kung-fu style all her own. This one doesn’t miss a beat.” Kirkus Reviews

“Perfect for teens and adults, this is a book to share, savor and revisit. ReVamped is full of smart, spot-on dialogue, engaging, authentic characters and a plot that’s so much fun it’s impossible not get swept up.” —

"VAMPED is a total delight!  Diver delivers a delightful cast of undead characters and a fresh, fast take on the vampire mythos.  Next installment, please!"   — Rachel Caine, New York Times bestselling author of the Morganville Vampires series

“Diver uses wit and adventure to hook readers with this teen vampire story.” —VOYA

“Have you ever wondered what it would be like if Cordelia Chase got turned into a vampire? If you have, look no further than Vamped for the answer. It's like Mean Girls with fangs, with witty dialogue and more pop culture references than you can keep up with.” – Wondrous Reads
“Diver takes vampires to a whole new level.” —I Just Wanna Sit Here and Read

About Lucienne:

Lucienne Diver is the author of the popular Vamped series of young adult novels (think Clueless meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  School Library Journal calls the first book, “a lighthearted, action-packed, vampire romance story following in the vein of Julie Kenner’s “Good Ghouls” (Berkley), Marlene Perez’s “Dead” (Harcourt), and Rachel Caine’s “The Morganville Vampires” (Signet) series.” VOYA has suggested that the books “will attract even reluctant readers.”
Her short stories have been included in the Strip-Mauled and Fangs for the Mammaries anthologies edited by Esther Friesner (Baen Books), and one of her essays appears in the anthology Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperTeen).

And now, to find out a little bit more... 

1. Do you have a pre-game writing warm-up? Something you do before you write to help get you in the right frame of mind?

Coffee. It’s impossible for me to write without coffee. Aside from that, I don’t really have a routine. I try to write first thing in the morning, before my inner editor wakes up and starts getting in my way. I’m better when I write unselfconsciously and can just channel the characters. My inner editor is for the revisions stage of things, and boy, is she harsh!

2. Is there a time of day you like to write best?

Oops, I jumped ahead on this one.

 3. Where do you write most often? Do you have a picture you wouldn’t mind sharing of your writing space?

I love the dock at our lodge. Peace, quiet and beauty!

4. What things do you always have on hand when writing? Special pens, notepads, snacks…

For some reason, I can’t write creatively on the computer, though I can write articles, letters and, of course, interview answers that way. I need a spiral bound, college ruled notebook (I doubled my output when I went from regular to college-lined, because I still felt the need to fill the same number of pages, but had twice as much to show for it). I also need several pens. I run them out of ink like nobody’s business. A drink is also crucial, because the worst thing in the world is to have to get up when you’re on a roll because you’re choking on air. Oh, I’ve done it! Then again, I can trip over stray air molecules as well…I’m talented that way.

5. How do you stay focused when writing?

When I’m on a roll, it feels like I’m really just sitting back, listening to the characters. I can keep writing until my time is up (sadly, I can only carve out an hour each weekday) or until my characters hit a point when they’re unsure what comes next. When they don’t know, I don’t know. We all have to stop and figure it out.

6. What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?

My puppy! I have an adorable apricot colored cockapoo (a cocker spaniel/poodle mix) who thinks that if anything is going to be in my lap, it should be him. He’s been known to push my notebook aside to settle in or to fall asleep on my Kindle to keep my attention focused where he thinks it should be. If it isn’t that, it’s that he must go for a walk or play fetch or…. Yeah, there’s a good reason I write on that dock. It’s the only way I can get anything done!

7. Describe your perfect writing day:

I’m in one of the Adirondack chairs at the dock early in the day, when it’s still cool. (I live in Florida.) An iced latte is by my elbow, the breeze is blowing, though not too hard, and the pen in hand is smooth and full of ink. Heaven. It doesn’t take much.

Thank you so much for stopping by Lucienne! You've got one of the prettiest writing spaces I've ever seen!

If you would like to find out more about Lucienne and her books, you can find her here:

Vamped Series Music Video:

Publisher:                         Author:


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bookanista Thursday!

It's Thursday, which means the Bookanistas are raving about their latest favorite reads.  No post for me this week, as I am busy writing away, but be sure to check out what books the other Bookanistas are talking about on their blogs!

Christine Fonseca introduces some fabulous reads for 2012
Stasia Ward Kehoe takes a shine to A MILLION SUNS and UNDER THE NEVER SKY
Veronica Rossi adores EVERNEATH
Debra Driza is in a frenzy over LARKSTORM with giveaway!
Katy Upperman sings the praises of BEFORE I DIE
Shannon Messenger delves into DOUBLE with an arc giveaway

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bookanista Thursday: HOW TO SAVE A LIFE by Sara Zarr

One of the things I'm most looking forward to in 2012 is reading.  Reading books that make me feel and think and imagine.  HOW TO SAVE A LIFE has been at the top of my TBR pile for a while, and I'm so happy I kicked off the year with it.  What a beautifully told story this one is.  Exactly what I was hoping for!


About the Book:

Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.

Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.

Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.

My Thoughts:

Where to even begin?  The universals, I think, because these are the things at the heart of this story.  In subtle, spare prose, Zarr gives us a story of rediscovering love and trust, overcoming fear, and finding strength in opening up.  How to Save a Life is told in the alternating voices of Jill and Mandy, two vastly different people whose lives converge when the story begins. 

Mandy is running in a lot of ways.  Away from her mother and her mother's boyfriend, from a life that hasn't been kind to her, and a future without any hope for something different.  She first comes off as dreamy and naive, but as her chapters unfold, through memories of her old life and observations about her new one, its obvious that Mandy possesses the great hope and strength of someone who is not only a survivor, but the kind of person who is able to see those qualities in others, even when they can't see them themselves. 

And Jill desperately needs someone to see those things in her.  If Mandy is running, Jill is standing still, her life stalled out since her father's death.  She hides from it, behind a facade of strength that has distanced her from her life before, and all of the people in it.  Her pain is still raw, but buried in layers of dark clothes, heavy makeup, and biting sarcasm.  But there's still a part of her that wants to hope, and love, and heal.  And what I loved most about this story was watching that happen, bit by bit.  

The beauty of Zarr's storytelling is that it's so sincere. The characters thoughts and emotions, the poignant scenes and observations that had me tearing up and reaching for the kleenex--all of this is written with such honesty and heart.  It's the thing I admire most about Zarr's writing.  There's a quiet grace about it that seeps in as you read, and echoes softly long after the story has ended.

When I sit down to read a new book, my hopes are always the same.  I want characters who tug at me heart and make me feel, and a story that casts a new light on life and all of its universals.  This is a story like that.    

You can read more about Sara and her books on her website, her blog, or by following her on Twitter!

And don't forget to check out what the other Bookanistas are talking about this week!

Elana Johnson offers musings on her Bookanista moments

Stasia Ward Kehoe delights in FIVE FLAVORS OF DUMB

Nikki Katz is crazy for ASHFALL

Debra Driza adores ANGEL FALL

Lisa and Laura Roeker fall for SHATTER ME

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Joining the Ranks: The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit!

I was thrilled a few weeks back when an invitation to join a group called the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit landed in my inbox.  For those of you not familiar with this awesome group, it's web ring of YA authors dedicated to bringing you the latest news about YA releases and interviews with the fabulous people responsible for them.
Being new to this whole business of being a writer, I'm thoroughly fascinated by how other people do it.  And I mean on a daily basis--what their writing day is like, where they work, what they snack on, listen to, procrastinate with.  I love when I get a peek into this highly individual world, so when I get to feature authors from the Circuit, that's what I will try to give you!
Today I'm happy to have Eileen Cook with me.  Her book, UNRAVELING ISOBEL just came out yesterday and is already getting rave reviews.  Check it out:
"Thrilling and creepy, super sexy, and so very hilarious." --Lisa McMann, bestselling author of the Wake trilogy

Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

About Eileen:

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. 
She was also kind enough to answer my questions about her writing life:

1.        Do you have a pre-game writing warm-up?  Something you do before you write to help get you in the right frame of mind?

Does aimless internet surfing looking at cute puppy pictures and sordid celebrity stories count?   I don’t have any formal rituals to get me into the game, but I do like to have access to a cup of tea. 
2.  Totally. Is there a time of day you like to write best? 
I seem to be the most creative in the afternoon, so that’s the time I try and do most of my “new writing.”  I use the morning for responding to email, do edits and generally catch up on random things that need to get done.
3.  Where do you write most often?  Do you have a picture you wouldn’t mind sharing of your writing space?
I tend to write most often in my office. It was the old sun porch on our house that was closed in and insulated.  I’ve got a great view of the backyard so I can look out and yell at the dogs when they start digging holes.  My office is also open to the living room so I can see the fireplace, which is nice this time of year.

4.       What things do you always have on hand when writing?  Special pens, notepads, snacks…
Across from my desk is my grandfather’s old typewriter. He got it in the late 1920’s when he went off to Notre Dame.   When I was growing up he would type regular letters to me on it and when I would visit I would “play” writer in his office on it.  When he passed away I dragged it home with me.  It’s made from cast iron and weighs a zillion pounds, but I like to look at it while writing.
5.        How do you stay focused when writing?
Most days I don’t have too much trouble staying focused.  I’m usually invested in the characters and what’s happening so I want to see how things unfold. Then there are the days when everything seems to distract me.  Dust motes in the air are distracting at that point.  I try and remind myself that I can’t fix a blank page and stay focused. When that doesn’t work, I assume my brain is trying to tell me something and let myself take a break.
 6.        What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?
I can take procrastination to an art form. My two primary distractions are reading and knitting.  Reading I consider to be research, so I tell myself that I am sort of working and it should count. I can’t lie to myself about my yarn addiction. I like the very tangible sense of progress. Some days you can write all day and have nothing to show for it.  With knitting I start with a ball of yarn and after a few hours I have something- a scarf, socks, part of a sweater. It makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something. 

7.        Describe your perfect writing day:
The perfect writing day is when suddenly the pieces of an idea all click into place and I know exactly where the story is going.  Days where I get to write “the end” are also pretty enjoyable

Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us a peek into your writing life Eileen.  And congratulations on Unraveling Isobel!!!

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at

You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: So Much to Look Forward To!

I fully intended to do a 2011 wrap up post, but the last days of it flew by me in a blur.  A lot like the year as a whole!  And it was such a good one for so many reasons.  But now I welcome 2012, and it's with open, hopeful arms.  This year is already shaping up to be a fun and busy one!

The first order of business will be to finish up my draft of my third novel.  I am in the thick of writing it right now, so if I go a little quiet for the next month or so, you'll know why.

After that, my calendar has started to fill up with events I can't wait for:

February 25th:  Passion and Prose Conference in San Diego, featuring keynote speakers Meg Cabot,
                         Christina Dodd, and Gail Carringer.  If you're interested in attending, check out the
                         link for full details!

March 10-11th: The Tuscon Festival of Books I will be joining a fabulous lineup of authors for this
                         event.  I will be the one walking around in complete awe of that many writers
                         I admire gathered in one place.

April 18th-20th: Texas Library Association Annual Conference. This will mark my first visit to
                           Texas,   which I am beyond excited about.  And this conference? Heaven. I will
                           be there with my red boots on!

Speaking of red boots, that brings us to May, which is the pub month for IN HONOR!  This is the thing I'm most excited about this year.  I cannot wait for you to meet Honor and Rusty and take their road trip with them.  There is much good stuff planned to go along with the release of this book, good stuff I can't share just yet, but will soon!

I hope you all had a fabulous year in 2011 and are looking forward to an even better one in 2012!