Monday, June 18, 2012

In Town for ALA? Don't Miss Crystal Cove, the Real-Life Setting of MOONGLASS!

I am BEYOND excited that ALA is coming to Orange County this year!  Anaheim is, for all intents and purposes, right in my backyard, so the fact that so many amazing authors will be there is seriously giddy-making for me.  And all of the librarians and book lovers who will be attending? Even more exciting!

I feel a definite pride in welcoming you all to Southern California, and as a local, want to share the place I am most proud of.  Crystal Cove is not only one of the best kept secrets around here, it is also the place that inspired my debut novel, MOONGLASS, and a must on your list of things to see while in SoCal.  Not only can you check out the real-life setting of the story, but you can grab a shake at the legendary Shake Shack, comb the beach for sea glass, and watch the most beautiful sunset you've ever seen.

And, if you're a fan of the book, you can get a firsthand peek at the real-life place!

One of the most special things for me about writing MOONGLASS was being able to set in a real place, and one that I love at that. It's actually a State Park, and if you haven't come for a visit yet, you must. It's a place made of magic. Really. There is something so poignantly beautiful about Crystal Cove that I can’t define it in any other way. I grew up in the mountains, but I love this place like I’ve been here my whole life. Being here is like falling through a crack in history and going back in time to a place that captures the beauty of simplicity. From the crash of waves over the rocks to the tumbling-down cottages and serene sunsets, this place inspired MOONGLASS in every sense of the word. Below are a few pictures I snapped while I was writing it.  I dare you to look and not want to come for a visit.

The "Beaches Cottage," where the movie was filmed.  Also the inspiration for Anna's mother's cottage.
The iconic sign in front of the artist's studio.
One of the tumbling down cottages and the boat that inspired the Crystal Crawler's story.

 The tidepools where Anna and Tyler meet...
Sunset at the Cove. My favorite time of day!

Sea glass found on one of my many beach "runs".

There are so many AMAZING events going on at ALA this year, and I know many people won't have a chance to slip off to the beach, but if you do, you know where you should go.  In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about Crystal Cove, you can visit

Hope to see you all at ALA!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Presents Amanda Ashby

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors which I've recently had the great honor to join. Check these posts for the latest releases!

This week I'm so happy to introduce to you Amanda Ashby and her middle-grade series, SOPHIE'S MIXED-UP MAGIC.  Books one and two of the series are both out this week, and you'll definitely want to check them out!

Be careful what you wish for…
After eleven year old Sophie accidentally gets herself turned into a djinn, she starts to think that it might not be so bad after all. (Of course, that’s after she gets the whole orange skin problem sorted out.) Who wouldn’t enjoy having the power to grant wishes! But when Sophie develops RWD (Random Wish Disorder) and can’t STOP granting wishes, things get more than a little mixed-up!

And that spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E…

As Sophie gets used to her magic, her relationship with the adorable Jonathan Tait is blossoming. There’s only one problem: Jonathan’s twin sister, Melissa. She’s a total mean girl who seems intent on making Sophie’s life miserable. On top of that, Melissa somehow seems to sense that Sophie has powers–and manages to bind Sophie to her in a totally self-serving way. Can Sophie figure out a way out of this–without ruining her chances with Jonathan?

About Amanda:
Amanda Ashby was born in Australia and after spending the last sixteen years dividing her time between England and New Zealand, she’s finally moved back and now lives on the Sunshine Coast. When she’s not moving country, she likes to write books (okay, she also likes to eat chocolate, watch television and sit around doing not much, but let’s just keep that amongst ourselves, shall we?)

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Her latest release, Fairy Bad Day, has been selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012 and is a SCBWI Crystal Kite Award finalist for the Australia/NZ region. To find out more, please go to
And now, for a peek into her writing world...
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?
I used to play solitaire on the computer before I started writing but that was a bit disastrous and could go on for ages so I had to stop it. These days I just need some Diet Coke and my playlist!
Is there a time of day you like to write best?
During the day, though my first few books were written at night after my kids had gone to bed, but now that they are in school I can finally work when the sun is out!
Where do you write most often? 
I tend to pick up my laptop and follow the sun around the house. I do have a study desk but it tends to be covered in bills and junk so I don’t tend to use it very often!
What things do you always have on hand when writing? Special pens, notepads, snacks…
Diet Coke, snacks and often a pad full of scribbled down ideas that I’ve made the previous night (and which I can never read because my writing is so messy!)
 How do you stay focused when writing?
I don’t! In fact most of the time I have no idea how I ever manage to finish a book since I’m pretty erratic. My only saving grace is that when the story is flowing I can write a lot in a short period of time (followed by long periods of laziness!!)
 What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?
The Internet, definitely!
 Describe your perfect writing day:
Getting 3-4k written while the kids are at school as well as squeezing in a walk!
Amanda, thank you so much for stopping by! I will definitely be ordering the Sophie series for my middle school library.

Want more Amanda? Visit her at:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Bookanista Thursday!

It's been SO long since I've done a Bookanista post. Too long.  I miss recommending amazing books, and the good news is that I'll be back at it soon!  In the meantime, I hope you'll check out all of the Bookanista goodness and recommendations going on this week around the blogs:

Stasia Ward Kehoe is blown away by DINOSOARING

Jessica Love celebrates SECOND CHANCE SUMMER

Nikki Katz is crazy about Holly Black’s Curse Workers series

Shelli Johannes-Wells shares a guest post by SURRENDER author Elana Johnson

Shannon Messenger champions ALL THESE LIVES--with a GIVEAWAY!

Gennifer Albin swoons for A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHTMARE.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit Presents: Elana Johnson and SURRENDER!

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors which I've recently had the great honor to join. Check these posts for the latest releases!

I'm SO excited today to be featuring one of the most awesome people in the writing community, Elana Johnson.  Elana's second novel, SURRENDER is out today, and you don't want to miss it.  Check it out:


Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...

You can Purchase your copy here.

AND, because she's so awesome, she's also hosting an awesome Spectacular Seconds GIVEAWAY   giveaway this week! You can enter to win one of five signed sophomore books by Beth Revis, Ally Condie, Veronica Roth, Kristi Cook, and Kim Harrington. CLICK HERE for all the details and to enter.

About Elana: Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

And now for my favorite part--a little peek into Elana's writing world...

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?

I like to go back 5-10 pages and read what I wrote during my last session. This helps re-immerse me in the world and the voice. Dude – the voice! I also like to draft really fast, so I don’t forget where I am and what’s happened.

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

Between 9 pm – midnight. I love being awake when everyone else is sleeping. There’s something peaceful about it. Freeing.

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

I write in the “cockpit.” It’s this table shoved against a wall in my kitchen, well, here. Just look at it. And that’s clean!

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

Headphones and iTunes. I need to block things out sometimes. I do like to have sour patch kids or Swedish fish nearby, but that doesn’t always happen.

 5. How do you stay focused when writing?

Self-imposed deadlines. Otherwise, I’d languish on twitter and blogs. On top of the deadlines I make for myself, I email other people and tell them about my plans. They hold me accountable and that helps me to stay focused on what I need to get done.

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

Words with Friends. Once I found out it was on Facebook, I was a goner.

7. Describe your perfect writing day:

The husband and kids are gone for the day. I sleep late. Pour myself a big bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. Open the computer and turn on iTunes. Check email. Open document. Write in 1-2 hour spurts, with breaks for lunch and social media (Words with Friends!). Repeat all day. Stay up late. Ah, bliss.

That does sound like bliss...and you deserve nothing less!  Thank you so much for stopping by and congrats on your Spectacular Second!