Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

I am in the cave. Doing that writing thing. Whew. My brain is frying hard. But. A break is needed since I reached my goal for the day. Word count wise.  And so. A quick blog. A quick blog with my current writers brain. Scattered.

True Fact- There are mini chocolate bars in my home and I have not eaten any of them. Today. Yet.

True Fact- Since we last spoke, I have became addicted to Drop Dead Diva on Netflix. OMG I love this show so frickin' much.
True Fact- I feel like Halloween is over already  since we had our Halloween party last weekend. Tonight I will go out with Superson and his buddy and my buddy to trick or treat for a short while. Then all the decorations come down.

And now, some pics of Halloween past before I move on...

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Most Amazing Gift For An Author

One of the things I try to remember as an author is that no story is for everyone. What speaks to one reader may say something completely different to another. It's a personal thing and everyone has their own tastes and preferences in stories.

That said, one of the very best parts of being an author is hearing from readers who connected with a story. I've been fortunate enough to hear great comments and even have had requests for sequels or questions about what happened next. To me it's awesome that a story I wrote was vivid enough readers want to know how lives turn(ed) out or what happened later!

If you think notes like this don't make a writer's day, think again! Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself.  It's AWESOME.

When I'M NOT HER first came out, I invited my friends to a launch party, a celebration for me sticking in there and getting a new book out in the world. It was a great chance to celebrate I'M NOT HER. I dare say I really love the book and wanted to share my happiness and accomplishment with "my peoples". It's hard to brag about my own work, but I am pretty proud of I'M NOT HER.

Paula, one of my girlfriends who was at the launch, (who is always great for my writing ego and a good publicity person as well) passed the book on to her friend and her daughter read the story.  Well, this teenager, Hailey Bell, not only wrote me the most beautiful note, a hand written note about the book, but she is also a talented artist and she drew me a picture from the novel.  First of all the note brought tears to my eyes and then the drawing. Wow!!!

It touches my heart to say the least.  Later, not long ago, I got to meet her in person (at my IF I TELL launch). I even got to give her a hug! She's a beautiful (much taller than I thought) girl with a warm open heart and lots and lots of talent. Thanks so much to Hailey for honoring me with the gift.

Without saying too much about it and giving away a spoiler....this is Hailey's version of a drawing by the character Nick in I'M NOT HER.  If you've read the book, you'll know that this is a drawing that won a major prize.

Thanks again to Hailey for such a wonderful drawing! It hangs on my wall and is an amazing amazing gift!

Monday, October 17, 2011

If I Tell, Who I Kissed and More


I've been a little quiet on the blog front, but the good news is that I've been writing. Book 3- aka - The Peanut Butter Book which according to a note from my editor MIGHT be called WHO I KISSED (kind of loving that title now).

It's an engaging book to work on and includes some cool Parkour scenes, one I worked on yesterday.  I only hope it's going to be as good a book when it's done as I want it to be while I'm drafting! I'm hoping for lots of emotional response from readers and maybe even some tears like with I'M NOT HER but I think the ending might be a little more resolved and happy in this book! Oh writing. You are so fun and yet so hard.

I spent the past weekend celebrating IF I TELL, my second Sourcebooks title.  My lovely friends joined me on Friday night at Chapters/Indigo for cupcakes. I signed some books and chatted and caught up and had a great time. I do admit to feeling kind of bad making people come out again so soon after the launch of I'M NOT HER, but you know, it's not often that authors get to actually publicly celebrate our writing so I thought, what he heckles Jannie. Let's do it again!

On Saturday I was at MONKEYSHINES Bookstore, a funky and fun independent Children's Book store in Calgary.  Sue, the owner, was so gracious and amazing. If you are in Calgary and are intending on picking up IF I TELL, I'd LOVE it if you could go to her store for copies!!!

I was thrilled to see Jan Markley, another local author and another amazing woman with deep passion for Young Adult literature- Betsy Fraser. She's kind of a YA rock star in my eyes, and I was so pleased both came by.

Now, it's back to getting the next book written and off for another run outside. Okay.  Here goes!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goals. On running. And writing.

Today I went for a run outside and it was hard. Actually it kind of sucked. But I did it. My cheeks were bright red and hot after and my lungs hurt after the first five minutes. But I did it. It made me mad because I've slacked off of it for MONTHS and I'm back at a beginning point in the running. AGAIN.

I always want to make great running goals. Like a half marathon. That would be so cool. But I always forget one important thing.

I hate running.

I'm quite bad at it. Or maybe it's just that I believe I'm bad at it that makes it true.  After five years or so running on and off I can still pull off a 5km run with no problem. Okay. Some walking intervals and lots of internal grumbling, but nothing too bad. (That's 3.11 miles for my American friends.)

But I want to go further. 10km.  So how do I do it? In some ways, maybe I believe I can't do it.  Or I just don't want it bad enough. Something always stops me from getting past the 7km mark, and I always fall back on the comfort and ease of a slow 5km.

But it's pretty easy to liken running to writing.

The more you run, the easier it becomes.  Writing. Yes. The same.

Right now I am in the process of writing my third Sourcebooks novel. I have a deadline when it has to be done. This is new for me. Having a book sold that isn't finished yet I mean.  We want to get the book out next year, and that makes for a quick turnaround.  So in order to meet my deadline, I have daily writing goals. Weekly writing goals. And doing it every day like this keeps me inside the story and forces me to write even when I don't feel like writing.  Like today.  I have been putting off my writing all day. Well. I was busy this morning and had some chores that had to be done, but I know I HAVE to get my word count in and I'm not there yet.  But I did get in the run. Actually what I did was change up the order.  Usually I exercise while my son is swimming. But today I ran during writing time and will write during exercise time.

But the run made me realize how easy it is to get things done when you break them down into smaller chunks.  I broke my runs into smaller intervals today and it made it easier for me. I know if I keep it up I'll be back to my 10:1 intervals (which is the way the Running Room taught me to run) I KNOW I CAN run 10km. I just have to want it a little more. I have to DECIDE I want it.

I will finish the book. That I WANT. That I NEED. Break it down until I get the first draft done and then for me comes the fun part- the revisions. That is when I am so immersed in a book that I have to be forced back to real life.

Let's see if I can a similar thing with running goals. How about a 10km in a Spring Race? Half Marathon in the Fall? By this time next year, Book 3 will be complete and launching out into the real world. How about my half marathon?? How about it, indeed.

Shall you check back with me. Let's chat at book launch #3.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

If I Tell - Jennifer R. Hubbard

Jennifer R. Hubbard is the author of contemporary YA novels The Secret Year, which is about a secret relationship and a sudden death, and the upcoming Try Not to Breathe (Viking, 2012).

Are you good at keeping secrets? Why or why not?

I think I'm good at keeping private things that should be private. To oversimplify: Privacy is about keeping confidential what is nobody else's business. A secret is something another person has the right to know, but is being kept from him or her.

Do you easily forgive friends for their mistakes? What is something you could never forgive a friend for?

Betrayal of trust is very difficult to get over. I like to think I'm a more forgiving person now than I was years ago. But there's a difference between forgiving and condoning--for example, if a relationship is abusive, there's no need for a person to continue to take abuse.

Let’s just go ahead and stereotype you for a moment, okay! What kind of a teen were you, as in what “group” did you associate with?

My friends were good in school; they tended to be in the band rather than on the football team; some of them played Dungeons & Dragons. I liked to dance and spent hours on the phone. I also worked on my writing after school, and sold my first short story while still in high school. I don't know what "category" that would make me.

Describe your fave teen outfit.

T-shirt and jeans.

If you could go back to high school knowing now what you didn’t know then, what is one thing you would change? What do you wish you could have told your teen self

"Relax: things really do get a lot better."

Friday, October 7, 2011

Digging Sourcebooks for the GREAT COVER!

So it's October.

I know, I catch on quick, right? I love this month. Well. I love this month when the snow doesn't come early and bug me. There's plenty of time for that. I am anti-snow right now. And so far, so good.

October is the month I was born. And while I've never really been all about my birthday, I do love an excuse for cake. So yeah, that's good. Then there's HALLOWEEN and my son is a huge fan. We have a party every year, and yes I admit I go a little overboard sometimes (*always*).

This year October was also special because of the release of IF I TELL.

I'm seeing lots of reviews on IF I TELL because it's been on Netgalley and hopefully people start picking it up in stores or purchase it for their ebooks.  (subtle begging or blatant? You decide)

Anyhow, the one thing that I'm not really seeing discussed on blogs or in reviews, something that I thought might come up is how absolutely wonderful and COOL Sourcebooks was about the cover.
As in the authenticity of the model.
If you follow book news and YA news, you'll remember past controversy when publishing houses "whitened" up cover models.  So I was really thrilled when I saw the first comp for IF I TELL and it was really clear that the model is biracial. She actually resembles the Jaz I had in my mind when I wrote the book.  Awesome hair, naturally thin and BIRACIAL skin tones!!

Fabulous job I must say to the wise folks at Sourcebooks.  And they are a wise and wonderful bunch over there. I couldn't be happier to be a part of the Sourcebooks Fire Team!

Hello Jaz!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

IF I Tell- Maureen McGowan

Maureen McGowan is the author of the YA novels, Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer. Maureen’s always been making up stories, but sidetracked by a persistent practical side, it took her a few years to see the light and channel her energy into writing novels. After pummeling her sensible side into submission, she quit her career in finance and hasn't looked back.

Aside from books and writing, she's passionate about art, dance, films, fine handcrafted objects and shoes. Maureen takes her shoes to a lot of movies in Toronto, Canada.

So what about secrets? Are you good at keeping secrets? Why or why not?

Maureen: Oh, I so wish I could unequivocally answer yes. I'm very good at keeping other people's secrets. Secrets where I know the person who shared the information would be devastated if I anyone else knew. But I'm not so good at keeping my own secrets. People know way too much about me.

Ha ha, I think that's awesome. I love people who tell all about themselves!! Do you easily forgive friends for their mistakes? What is something you could never forgive a friend for?

Maureen: I think I do... I can't think of any specific things (other than major crimes against people I love) that I couldn't forgive a true friend for. I suppose if a friend purposefully said something negative about me in public (online) that would be hard to forgive. But I can't really imagine any of my true friends doing that.

Let’s just go ahead and stereotype you for a moment, okay! What kind of a teen were you, as in what “group” did you associate with?
Maureen: Oh, this is a tough one for me. I hung with a bunch of groups in high school. If I have to pick one, I'll go with "brain" or "brownnoser?" I got really good grades and didn't get into much trouble. But I also was on a lot of athletic teams (jock) and was in the Musical and choir (nerd).

Jock/nerd/brownnoser. Describe your fave teen outfit.

Maureen: This will date me. I was totally into the Annie Hall look. Except more often with skirts/kilts instead of the pleated slacks she wore. (I'm too short to pull of pants like that.) Imagine me in a man's shirt, skinny tie, skirt, cable tights, loafers. Sometimes a vest over top. Occasionally a cool man's hat. That was probably my favorite teen outfit.

I think it still sounds cool. Have you seen the hats they're wearing these days. Man hats. If you could go back to high school knowing now what you didn’t know then, what is one thing you would change? What do you wish you could have told your teen self?

Maureen: I wish I could have told my teen self to have more confidence, especially around boys. I remember this one time when I was in grade 9 or 10 and in the halls after hours in my gymnastics uniform. One of the older, really popular boys smiled at me -- really smiled at me. I think I sneered back, thinking he was making fun of me in some way. Now I look at photos of me back then and totally know why he was smiling. I wish I could have realized it then. LOL.

Yeah I hear you. Listen up teen girls. You are HOT. Work it!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

If I Tell- Sydney Salter

Today to talk secrets, we have a wonderful author and a wonderful person as well, Sydney Salter.  Confession. My fave name for a girl is Sydney. I always wished I was named Sydney.

 Sydney Salter writes middle-grade and young adult fiction. She is the author of My Big Nose & Other Natural Disasters, Jungle Crossing, and Swoon At Your Own Risk. Sydney lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, lazy cats, big hairy dogs, and a pair of quiet tortoises. When not writing, Sydney likes to read, think up adventures, experiment with new recipes, sample exotic chocolates, hike with her family and go to movies and rock concerts with her husband.

I love your books so much!!! Thanks for stopping by. So. Right to it. Are you good at keeping secrets? Why or why not?

Sydney: I am good at keeping secrets because I'd rather hear juicy new stuff than tell someone what I already know!

Love juicy new stuff too! Do you easily forgive friends for their mistakes? What is something you could never forgive a friend for?

Sydney: I consider learning to forgive people--even for awful behavior--one of the best life lessons I've learned. I could forgive a friend for anything, although that doesn't mean forgetting what kind of person he/she can be. I don't always continue to hang out with those I've forgiven, but at least I'm not carrying around a bunch of bitterness and resentment.

 Ah yes, the life lessons. Bitterness turns inward, best to move on! Okay. Let’s just go ahead and stereotype you for a moment, okay! What kind of a teen were you, as in what “group” did you associate with?

Sydney: My Biology teacher once called me a "smart rah-rah." I floated between the jocks and nerds, known, but not super popular.

A smart rah rah. I think it's a compliment. Smart and cheery! Full of pep! It fits!! So describe your fave teen "rah rah" outfit.

Sydney: A little red overalls mini-dress that I wore with a yellow spaghetti-strap tank. Combine that with my fluffy 80s perm & I felt SO cute!

You were so cute I bet.  Oh 80's hair. I wonder if you'll ever come back. If you could go back to high school knowing now what you didn’t know then, what is one thing you would change? What do you wish you could have told your teen self?

Sydney: I would have believed in myself and not worried so much about my flaws (duh, we all have them!). I would've told myself what I'm telling my daughter who starts high school this week: the key to high school is self-acceptance. Quiet confidence combined with genuine friendliness is incredibly attractive! And anyone who judges you based on the circumference of your thighs (or nose-width, in my case) isn't worth knowing, anyway.

True dat. And I think you have a lovely nose. And genuine friendliness! Thanks so much for stopping by Sydney!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

IF I TELL- Judith Graves

Judith Graves is the smart and sassy author behind the young adult paranormal trilogy SKINNED. Library technician, singer, songwriter, author, and book club haunter, Graves loves all things a bit creepy. Thankfully, her sidekick, and lick-the-boogy-man-to-death labrador retriever, Weeping Willow, is always nearby.

Welcome Judith! I was lucky enough to meet Judith at a library presentation she did in OKOTOKS, ALBERTA (where I just happen to be appearing at 7pm on MONDAY!) Judith was an amazing presentor and is a very talented author and a really nice person as well!

So do tell Judith! Are you good at keeping secrets? Why or why not?

Judith Graves:  I am to a certain extent. If the secret involves some delicious and twisted surprise for a friend, I’m likely to spill the beans or set off their internal alarms with cryptic remarks or wayward grins. However, if the secret is that of a personal confidant, I consider it “in the vault” and sealed forever.

Much like me.  Good secrets are so much easier to spill imo. So. What about forgiveness? Do you easily forgive friends for their mistakes? What is something you could never forgive a friend for?

Judith:  Chocolate and a sincere apology go a long way to ensuring we remain friends, but once trust is broken, things will never really be the same again.

Note to mistake makers in Judith's life, stock up on chocolate! So. Let’s just go ahead and stereotype you for a moment, okay! What kind of a teen were you, as in what “group” did you associate with?

Judith: I had a blast in my teens because I didn’t have one particular group. I walked the fringe of many. I got along with the nerds, the drama crowd, dancers and musicians, but I also hung out with the goths and loners. The only group I avoided like the zombie plague - the jocks. Ironically, I ended up falling madly in love with and marrying one of their ilk. My husband (who is now a high school history teacher and basketball coach) and I would have HATED each other in high school. Go figure.

Ahh ha haha. That totally cracks me up. So then describe your fave teen outfit.

Judith:  Since I didn’t belong to one particular crowd and therefore assume their related costume – my style was a mish-mash of everything and anything. I did favor vintage finds and would often offset a trendy bit of fluff with a used classic from Value Village.

Ah. The mash of the mish. I am pressing the like button!! So, if you could go back to high school knowing now what you didn’t know then, what is one thing you would change? What do you wish you could have told your teen self? P.s. It probably shouldn't be that you're going to end up marrying a high school coach.

Judith:  I would have gotten out of private schools a lot sooner. My world opened up when I convinced my parents to send me to a public school for my senior year. What would I have told myself? Enjoy those skinny jeans while they last, kid. Thanks, Janet, this was a blast from the past.

Ah yes. Skinny jeans. Only the young can rock them really well.

Twitter: @judithgraves

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