Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chatting for Real :)

Game on this week!  I'm chatting over at Eve's Fan Garden (yes, we are confirmed!) tonight!  We're going to be talking about OUTSIDE IN and my books and writing - this is your chance to ask questions and get a response pretty quick :)  I do answer all my emails, but right now I'm....let me check......a little over 2 weeks behind on my reply time.

Wednesday March 30, 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  Here's the link:

In other news - today is It Stinks to be Luke Day - my son's cousins declared this day a few years ago when they were all together and now they celebrate it annually - which involves giving him a hard time and playing pranks on him.  My son has a pretty good sense of humor and I think he likes the attention since he's the one who reminds us of it every year :) 

There's nothing like hanging out with your cousins when you're growing up - they're not underfoot all the time and annoying like siblings, they're more like friends, but with benefits.  I still remember all the fun things I did with my cousins growing up.  My favorite thing was at my cousin's Frank's house.  My Aunt and Uncle had a couch that rocked in their rec room/basement - all of us would pile on the couch except two rockers and we would pretend we were on a ship at sea.  At first the sea was gentle - rocking slightly, then we would always hit a storm and the seas would become violent.  The first two people thrown off the ship had to be the rockers for the next voyage.  LOL - we always had one cousin who clung to the frame for dear life until we turned the couch upside down and shook it!  I'm amazed no one broke any bones and that my Aunt and Uncle allowed us to abuse their couch like that!

Anyone else have a favorite cousin memory?

Last thing for my OHIO readers - I'm going to be in Dayton this weekend for 2 signings - see below for details:

April 1, 2011 Book Signing at Books and Company (The Greene Shopping Center on 4453 Walnut Street, Beavercreek, Ohio 45440, 937-429-2169) 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Part 1 of the Harlequin Teen Trio Tour ;> I will be signing books with fellow authors, Julie Kagawa (The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen) and Mara Purnhagen (Tagged, Past Midnight, One Hundred Candles)! Also there will be three other YA authors there as well: Julia Karr; XVI, Lisa Roecker; Liar Society, and Sara Bennett Wealer; Rival.

April 2, 2011 Book Signing at the New and Olde Pages Bookshoppe (856 Union Blvd, Englewood, Ohio, 45322, 937-832-3022) 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Part 2 of the Harlequin Teen Trio Tour ;> All three of us will be signing together again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Iron Fey - Author Interview + Giveaway!

Now don't get use to all these blog posts in one week ;)  However, I have another special guest today.  Julie Kagawa author of the popular and excellent Iron Fey series!!  This is also part of my countdown to Ohio, where I will be having two signings near Dayton, Ohio with my fellow Harlequin Teen authors, Mara Purnhagen and Julie.  We will be there next Friday, April 1, and Saturday, April 2nd - please go to my appearances page for more details:

Back to my guest.  Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series consists of, The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, and the recently released, The Iron Queen.  I read the first two and LOVED them - the main character, Meghan Chase is a great spunky girl and you know me....I'm all about the characters! These books are filled with wonderful characters like His Royal Iciness.  I also thought the iron fey were an unique addition to the world of fairy.  I'm reading The Iron Queen now.

And leave a comment with your email addy by next Thursday, March 31st and be entered to WIN a signed and personalized copy of the first book, The Iron King.

Take Ten with Julie Kagawa:

1.) What made you want to write the Iron Fey Series?

I’ve always loved faeries, but when I started writing The Iron Fey series, I wanted to do something a little different. In many YA faery novels, there’s always Mab and Oberon, the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, and they all mention the Fey’s aversion to iron. Well, what if there was a type of faery that not only was immune to iron, but born of it? And so the Iron Fey came into existence.

2.) Which authors inspire you?

You do! Also, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Terry Brooks, and Joss Whedon. (Okay, so Joss isn’t technically an author, but his writing does inspire me.) Poison Study is one of my top tier fantasy books, mostly because of a certain dark assassin.

[Maria: I'm honored :) and I have to agree about Joss. He rocks!]

3.) Why YA fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

I’ve tried to write in other genres. It just doesn’t work. I’ll start a story about a nice, normal person with a nice, normal life, but eventually elves, dragons, vampires, ect. start showing up on their doorstep, and this nice normal person would freak out and have a nervous breakdown and then somehow they’d find themselves dressed in armor and riding a unicorn. So I just resigned myself to writing fantasy. Lol, not really. I just love the genre. Growing up, all I read were novels like Dragonlance, Lord of the Rings, and The Sword of Shannara, which influenced me a great deal. I think I’ll always be drawn to it.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Meghan Chase and Prince Ash?

I’ve always been intrigued by stories of the ordinary person called to do something extraordinary. At the beginning of The Iron King, Meghan was a normal teenager struggling to fit in. At the end of The Iron Queen, she is so much more. I think her character arc is the most interesting thing about her. As for Ash, he’s a dark, broody Unseelie Prince who falls for a human girl. ‘Nuff said.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

Well, three times a week I go to Kung Fu and Kali class, which I LOVE, especially when we put on armor and hit each other with sticks. When I’m not at class, most evenings you can usually find me on the couch playing video games. (Right now I’m obsessed with Dragon Age 2 and have completely fallen in love with Fenris. Wear your geekdom proudly.) I’m a manga/anime lover, and I also enjoy drawing, painting, and of course reading.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

I did mostly online research, read a little Brothers Grimm, and watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream for inspiration. I learned several methods for dealing with the fair folk, so if you find yourself plagued by a bogart or leprechaun, I know how to make them go away.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Wait, scratch that. For awhile, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but that changed sometime before my teen years. Throughout high school, all I wanted to do was write. I would even hide notebooks behind my textbooks during class, writing when I was supposed to be taking notes. My poor teachers; I probably drove them nuts.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

I start writing in the morning (After checking email, twitter, blogs, facebook, my other email account, goodreads, ect. This can take awhile.), and usually don’t stop until my hubby gets home around 5:30. Since I write full time, I consider this my job and I must put in the hours, but its nice to show up to “work” in pjs. One of the perks of being a writer. :D

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

I do have an office with a lovely desk all set up for writing, so of course I use the end of the table sitting right next to it. I wish I could be one of those authors who go to coffee shops and bookstores to write, but I’m so easily distracted by people and movement and birds hopping on the sidewalk that I have to stay home.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

I just finished the first book in a new YA series, this one set in a post-apocalyptic world. With vampires. :)

[Ohhh....sounds scary- but I've no doubt it'll be another gripping read!]


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Not Chatting after all :(

Looks like they forgot about the chat over at Eve's Fan Garden.  I can't blame them as the last time, I was the one to forget.  I didn't get a link that should have tipped me off - but I did get an email, confirming the time and date.

Oh well.  If you showed up, I'm really sorry!  

NEW UPDATE!  We did reschedule for Wednesday, March 30th at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time!  I hope everyone will be able to make the new time.  I already received my link for next week - that's a good sign :)

Chatting and other news

Tonight I'm doing a live chat over on the Eve's Fan Garden website.  I will be there starting at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time so if you want to chat about OUTSIDE IN and my other books, come join us.

Here's a link: 

As most of my family knows, I'm a crow - I love sparkly things and can't resist jewelry.  When I found out a lady who is living in Japan is making jewelry with sea glass and that all the profits are being donated to the earthquake relief just make my little crow's heart flutter!  For my fellow crow's ;>  here's the website if you'd like to check out the beautiful and reasonably priced creations:

Also - for my French readers - INSIDE OUT has been released this month with the title, Enfermée (which translates via Google Translate to Enclosed).  The publisher is featuring the title on their Darkiss fanpage/website on Friday, March 25th with a Q&A and some other things.  For those who can read French, you can go here:  for the home page - but I'm not sure where the fanpage is located.

Here's their Facebook page:

Last thing - OUTSIDE IN should be out in the UK now!  It's so fun to see all these other editions of my books and how the covers are different.  The UK one for INSIDE OUT, which is very similar to the French edition is how I imagined the cover art - Trella in the pipes.

And I updated my contest page to include a contest for OUTSIDE IN - as usual, Jessica, a very loyal reader who's been a supporter back when POISON STUDY was out in hardcover and the ink was still wet - ;> sent me her answers first.  She had been watching my website for the update :) Basically the contest is answer 20 questions about OUTSIDE IN and I'll mail you a signed book label to put into your copy of the book.  And your name then goes into a box and four times a year I'll draw a name of a winner of a signed copy of the book. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Past Midnight - Author Interview + Giveaway!

Two more weeks until I travel to Dayton, Ohio and get to meet Mara Purnhagen in person! She's a fellow Harlequin Teen author whose third book, One Hundred Candles was released last month. It's the second in her Past Midnight Series. 

The first is Past Midnight and I loved this book.  So fun and creepy.  The main character, Charlotte Silver just wants to be a regular teen, but her parents are famous paranormal investigators.  I enjoyed a break from the dysfunctional family dynamic to a more quirky family :)  I have both One Hundred Candles and her first book, Tagged on my TBR pile - my goal is to have them both read before April 1st.

To celebrate the countdown to the Harlequin Teen Trio Tour in Ohio, I invited Mara here for a Take Ten interview.  As an added bonus - if you post a comment by Friday, March 25th, you'll be entered to win a signed and personalized copy of Past Midnight!

And now onto Take Ten with Mara Purnhagen!

1.) What made you want to write the Past Midnight Series?

A: I’ve always liked ghost stories, and I’m interested in the practical explanations behind so many supposed hauntings. I wanted to combine spooky with science.

2.) Which authors inspire you?

A: There are so many! I was completely absorbed in Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” series and I’ll read anything by Laura Lippman. I’m discovering great new authors every week. I recently read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins and loved it.

3.) Why YA fantasy? Is there something special about fantasy that draws you to write in the field?

A: I feel like there’s more freedom for me to make the rules about the world my characters live in, and that’s something I really like.

4.) What do you find most interesting about Charlotte Silver?

A: That she is so connected to her family. Her world revolves around her parents, older sister and cameraman. They work together as a team, and have a unique dynamic. They count on one another. They love and respect one another, but they can also drive one another crazy.

5.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?

A: My favorite way to relax is to curl up on the sofa with a good book. I love music, too. Overall, I’m happiest at home, but I do love to travel when I can.

6.) Did you have to do any special research for this book? What did you learn that you didn't know before?

A: Yes, I had to research the different kinds of equipment used in paranormal investigations. I didn’t know that there was so much out there! The tools are very sophisticated, but interpreting the results they garner is still more of an art than a science.

7.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?

A: I have always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was very young. I started keeping story journals in the seventh grade and wrote my first complete short story in the eighth grade. I originally thought that’s what I would do: write short stories. But I also wanted to try my hand at writing a novel. It seemed like such a risk, though. What if I invested a year of time and energy into a project that went nowhere? What if I failed? I didn’t tell anyone because I was worried that if I did not succeed, people would be asking me, “whatever happened to that novel you were writing?” for the rest of my life. In the end, I’m glad I took the chance to get serious about writing a book.

8.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?

A: Half of my writing process involves no writing at all! I need to spend time thinking about my characters and setting and plot. I keep a notebook for jotting down character traits and chapter ideas. Although I don’t outline, I need to know where my first chapter will begin. That’s the most important thing for me: nailing the first chapter. If I start it right, the book takes on a good flow.

9.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?

A: I have claimed a corner of the guest room as my office. I always like to have my desk located directly next to a window, and I need to have a Simpsons desk calendar close by. It’s my lucky charm. I also have a laptop. At night, I like to write in the living room.

10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?

A: The Past Midnight series comes to a conclusion in September with the release of Book Three, Beyond the Grave. Right now, I’m working on the second novella in the series, and I’ve begun a new project that I’m excited about—but can’t reveal just yet!

What a tease!

Links to Mara:


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Putting things in Perspective

So Friday I whined about being in a funk (thanks to all who posted comments - they helped so much!).  I whined about rejection and low sale numbers.  Then I learned about the tragedy in Japan and like a punch to the gut - it put my life in perspective in an instant.  My problems a mere grain of sand on a beach in comparison.

My heart goes out to all those people in Japan who are struggling in the wake of such a tragedy.  If you are able to donate or help the rescue efforts,  please do so.  Here's a link to the American Red Cross, but I'm sure there are dozens of agencies who are collecting donations:  The American Red Cross made an initial 10 million dollar donation to help Japan yesterday.

And to follow up on Friday's post with some good news - I finished the first draft of TOUCH of POWER last night - yippee!!  It needs a major overall to clean it up, but, for me the hardest part is the first draft - the rest is fun :)  The other bit of good news is I sold that fairy story that was rejected to another anthology.  Yay!  I emailed Trisha Telep, who is the editor for a few of the other anthologies I'm in (Eternal Kiss, Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance, and the upcoming Corsets & Clockwork).  At first she said she just filled her fairy anthology, but two days later she had an author drop out and she took my story for her Wicked Pretty Things due out in September.

Another link :)

Interview & Giveaway:

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Funk

So I'm trying to finish TOUCH OF POWER and revise it, but it's going slow. Usually when I get to the big climax/ending, the words just pour out.  Perhaps it's the distraction of promoting OUTSIDE IN or the effort to write/finish a short story for an anthology that was rejected!  Can you say bruised ego? ;>

And to top it off - I finally received sales numbers for INSIDE OUT - they're dismal, horrible, terrible...take your pick.  For those hoping for a third book - I doubt my publisher will continue with this series unless my #s go up.  And it explains why many bookstores aren't carrying copies of OUTSIDE IN :( 

Spring is almost here and with it spring school sports.  Which means I turn into my children's private chauffeur.  Yes, son is 16 - but just, it'll take 6 months for him to get his license.  On a happy note - he had a blast at his surprise party :)  Boys are so easy - they played outside for 4 hours, inhaled pizza and drinks, played inside air hockey and foose ball for 2 hours then went home.

I'll stick with the happy note - perhaps it will get me out of my funk.

Some links to contest, interview, and reviews:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday, Friday, Friday

You know the saying that bad things happen in threes?  Seems 3 is my number this last week and not all bad...depending on how you look at it :)

This past week - I discovered way that we have a skunk living in our window well and that even if a window's closed tight, it doesn't stop the stench when a skunk sprays.  We're in the process of evicting Mr. Skunk. That's 1. We had a freak wind storm with gusts that lifted our very heavy trampoline and sent it into our neighbor's tree, bending it like a paper plate.  That's 2.  And I had three deadlines all due on March 1st (which is one of those bittersweet things - glad I have work, but swamped) I met one deadline, so far :(  That's 3.

On the flip side, I've had three good things happen this week :)  Business Woman Magazine (a local print mag) published it's March issue with me on the cover!  The article about me is just lovely, the author, Lynda Hudzick did an excellent job.  Here's a link if anyone would like to see and read the magazine (just clink on the cover and it'll open in a new window - you can read the whole thing!):  That's 1.  I found out I'm going to Australia and New Zealand for a book tour (see Thursday's post for details :).  That's 2.  And this weekend is my baby boy's 16th birthday!  WAH!  I can't believe it's been 16 years - the time just flew by.  We're having a surprise volleyball/pizza party for him tomorrow.  That's 3.

And I want to thank Mindy for sharing her story - she has made me realize how precious every moment with my kids is and I've been spending more time with him - much to his chagrin - I've learned there are three different ways to roll your eyes (1 - the quick "I hope mom doesn't see roll," 2 - the exaggerated roll with sigh and shoulder action, 3 - the close your eyes and then roll.)

Last thing - Trella is blogging over at Harlequin's Paranormal Romance Blog today - there's a 10 question quiz to test your knowledge - and a give away of a signed set of Inside/Outside books from me.  So go check it out and have a great weekend!  I know I'll be busy :)

Link to blog: 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

BIG NEWS for my Australian and New Zealand readers :)

This is excerpted from my recent email newsletter blast :)  Sorry, but I have to finish a book!

Only one month until INSIDE OUT is released in Australia! That's big news...right? Uh...I have a new website page dedicated to my Australian releases and any news regarding them. Already know that....hmmm....How about the Study books will be released as a box set in March? Not that exciting? Or perhaps the fact that OUTSIDE IN is due out in July 2011, and I inserted the fabulous cover art below? Still not what you would consider big?

Well what do I have to do? Come down there? All right...fine.... I'm coming to Australia and New Zealand for a three week book tour!!! YAY! I'm super excited! I'll will be there in August 2011!! I don't have all the details yet, but when I do, I'll blog about it, post the info on my Australian Page (, and include it in my newsletter of course!

I want to thank all my Australian readers who wrote letters to my publisher asking them to bring me to your country. They worked! You done good - now give yourselves a pat on the back and welcome to my growing army of book commandos!