Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dog or Dog?

When I left for my Authorpalooza book signing last night, my teen was babysitting a neighbor's kids, when I returned she was babysitting a neighbor's potential puppy (if the dad says yes).

It cracks me up that we call both of these animals dogs:

The Yorkie pup who weighs only ounces loves my 120 pound Bernese Mountain Dog, Jack. And would love to snuggle up with him. Jack isn't so sure.

And when I asked him to babysit for me while I write, he politely refused.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Enter to win the last bag of 2009 Debutante treats (click below):

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Here's what I've been doing while letting my manuscript rest, aside from, you know, taking a dorky picture of the story tucked into bed:

10. I cleaned my desk & found a whole bunch of things I should've done--oh, about six weeks ago.

9. I cleared away dangerous towers of clutter hovering on various surfaces around the house. I found more stuff I should've done, oh, about six weeks ago. I also found a book I've been wanting to read, but had lost amidst the clutter.

8. I made celebratory fudge. Twice. The first batch didn't turn out quite as creamy as it could have so I made another one the next day. That batch turned out so well that I really should make another...

7. I got back into my exercise routine. A necessary part of the fudge-for-breakfast diet.

6. I did some holiday shopping in a real mall, instead of going online to buy gifts every time I hit a tricky spot in the middle of chapter twenty-three. I realized that I prefer shopping online.

5. I finally wrote up comments for a manuscript from a promising new writer I met during a conference critique. I felt so guilty about making her wait for, oh, about six weeks.

4. I'm reading like crazy--novels, nonfiction, all kinds of stuff!

3. I'm finally cleaning my house--because I'm hosting the 4th grade book club. That's pretty much what it takes: company. And my 4th grader will be disappointed if I don't spread a bit more holiday cheer around the house before her friends arrive. So, I'll be decorating.

2. I tried to be really supportive about my mother's very color-coordinated holiday decorating. She's sorely disappointed and possibly perplexed about the fact that I don't care about that kind of thing. I just want her to read my manuscript. But I've promised myself not to nag her until this weekend. And her house does look great.

1. I've been working on a synopsis for the next story I want to write. For me, it's always about the next story.

What I haven't done: folded the laundry. I'm hoping that this will finally be the week that my family decides that the Great Matching Sock Hunt is actually a fun, challenging way to begin the day.

I plan to start revising tomorrow... because my manuscript hogs the covers!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Work-In-Progress: Finished!!!

Weighing in at 245 pages, 68,399 words--a completed YA novel manuscript. Yay!!! You can see this week's vlog at (if you happen to be reading this elsewhere):

Now I'm itching to revise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox (12)

The most exciting thing I got in my mailbox: my Swoon At Your Own Risk ARCS! And I'm sending them on tour.

If you're a blogger/reviewer, you can sign up to read a copy at 1 ARC Tours.

Here are the other books I received in the mail (I also read them this week):

Haven by Beverly Patt
A story about an unlikely friendship between a girl in a group home and a boy desperate for an ATV.

Why I'm excited:
Our last Class of 2k9 book has hit the shelves! I loved the authentic boy voice in this novel & I learned a lot about how the foster care system used to work (very sad!).

Shadow by Jenny Moss
A girl assigned to "shadow" her queen to protect her, finds herself on quite a journey in this story full of romance, mystery, and palace intrigue.

Why I'm excited:
I have to admit that I don't read many princess books, so I reluctantly picked this one up, having really enjoyed Jenny's first novel Winnie's War. And I just got swept away! I loved all the romance and the twists and turns in the plot.

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Guest Nose Jon Skovron

I'm married to an indie music-lover & last summer my daughter spent her babysitting money on an electric guitar, so it's my pleasure to welcome Jon Skovron, debut author of Struts & Frets this week. I can't wait to read this book!

Here's what Jon says about how appearances factor into his story:

One of the main characters in the story is a guy named Joe who puts forth that extra special effort to let you know that he is super bad ass. Piercings, tattoos, chains, spikes, steel-toed boots. He wants it make it absolutely clear that he is HARD CORE!

Another character is Rick. He is dead set on disproving every fashion stereotype about gay men. He is the shabbiest, scruffiest, and sometimes the smelliest dude in his group of friends.

A third character, Jen5, enjoys creating a sense of what she thinks of as label dissonance. She takes aspects of different looks or labels, like "skater chick" or "art chick", or "geek chick", and mashes them all together.

Teens experiment with identity so much and clothing is a huge part of that. It isn't shallow. What you wear really does change how you behave. Ask any actor.

About Struts & Frets
More than anything, Sammy wants to play guitar in a famous indie rock band. The problem is that his front man is a jerk who can't sing, his bassist is a burn-out who can't remember the songs, and his drummer is just out to lunch. But Sammy needs this band because it's the only good thing he's got going. His father skipped out before he was born, his mother is an overworked therapist with a drinking problem, his grandfather is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimer's, and the girl of his dreams is dating his jerk lead singer.

Now that jerk lead singer has entered them in a Battle of the Bands contest to win free studio time and guaranteed radio play. Sammy has two weeks to get them to sound like a real band, or face public humiliation in front of the entire local indie music scene. Buy the book on Amazon or Indiebound.

About Jon Skovron
Jon Skovron is an insatiable music geek who can play eight instruments, but none of them well. He was born in Columbus, Ohio, has lived all over the US, and now resides with his wife and two sons in Washington, DC. His short stories and reviews have appeared in publications like Jim Baen's Universe and Internet Review of Science Fiction. Struts and Frets is his first novel. To read more about Jon:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving from me and my ugly pies.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Congratulations to this week's Thanksgiving Giveaway winner:

Thank you so much for sharing your stories--I was really inspired by those of you who met lifelong friends--and significant others. Amazing! I hope I get to meet more of you in the future.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 45,117 words

Okay so here's this week's vlog--and I just realized that I'm wearing the same outfit I wore last week. But I swear that I searched through my giant pile of unfolded laundry to find it this morning. Okay, I'm off to write like crazy this week...

Did you hear my dog yawn in the background? Pretty funny!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Giveaway!

I've been especially thankful this year for my online friends (including you!). Navigating my debut year has much easier with the help of my friends from The Class of 2k9 and The 2009 Debutantes. So I'm giving away two books this week (and a turkey)! Prophesy of The Sisters is signed because I got to meet Michelle Zink in person. I'm still waiting to meet Lauren Bjorkman, but I loved laughing all the way through My Invented Life. I hope to meet her soon!

To enter go to and tell me if you've ever had a chance to meet an online friend in person (leave your contact info too). The deadline is Sunday, November 22nd at midnight. Anyone, anywhere, is welcome to enter--because being online makes the world a cozy place.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 37,794 words

Very slow writing week. I got off to a nice start, but then conference planning got in the way. But the conference was a lot of fun (wonderful speakers!) and I'm ready to get back to writing, writing, writing... Here's my vlog:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

First of all: the winner of my Thanksgiving giveaway a signed copy of Tricks by Ellen Hopkins:

(Watch for a new contest this week)

Now here's what came in my mailbox The National Book Award Nominees Edition:

Stitches by David Small
A graphic memoir of David Small's childhood.

Why I liked it:
The art is brilliant, the story heart-breaking. I do wonder who the ideal reader would be. Rather than pass it to my teenage daughter, I gave it to my psychologist Mom who is going to lend it to her abused teen clients.

Lips Touch Three Times by Laini Taylor
Three unrelated paranormal short stories, all linked by crucial kisses.

Why I liked it:
Absolutely gorgeous, must-read-passages-aloud-to-anyone-who-will-listen writing. I liked the second story best.

Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia
Three girls, one day of school, an impending fight.

Why I liked it:
Voice! Each of the three characters have wonderfully distinct voices.

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 33,533 words

Things got a little dismal toward the end of last week--on Thursday I only managed about 300 words while my daughters didn't try quite hard enough not to talk to me in the bookstore cafe... But then I retreated. Here's my vlog:

I think I look kind of nervous in this vlog--is it because I'm writing the MIDDLE of the novel now?!?!?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thanksgiving Giveaway!

I've had so much to be thankful for in my writing life this year that I'm giving away signed books (and a turkey--because he's just so cute) during the weeks before Thanksgiving.

This week I'm feeling thankful for my writing role models...

So I'm giving away Tricks by Ellen Hopkins. Not only does Ellen write gorgeous, heart-wrenching poetry, she connects with her readers with warmth and generosity--and really cares about them. I also admire the way Ellen gives back to aspiring writers. She does an incredible job organizing workshops and conferences as a Co-Regional Advisor for SCBWI in Nevada. She's been a real inspiration to me over the years.

To enter the contest, leave a comment telling me about one of your role models by Thursday, November 12th. I love Ellen Hopkin's books so much that I'll send Tricks anywhere in the world!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Here are some contests involving My Big Nose... Okay, that didn't sound right!

Kelsey at The Book Scout is celebrating her blog's anniversary with fun giveaways, including a copy of My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters. Click here to find out more!

Jordyn at Ten Cent Notes is giving away a playlist of debut author favorites--lots of fun songs (including the one I played over and over and over again while writing about that big nose). Check it out here.

Good luck!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Guest Nose L.K. Madigan

Today it's my pleasure to welcome L.K. Madigan, debut author of Flash Burnout. I'm really excited to read this one! L.K. says:

In FLASH BURNOUT, the main character is 15-year-old Blake, a guy who doesn’t spend much time thinking about his appearance. In one chapter, he comes back from winter vacation with a monster zit … but that’s really the only time he suffers over a physical “defect.”

It was liberating for me, not only as a writer, but as a recovering teenager, (!) to not pay attention to his appearance.

I spent soooo many hours during my own teen years obsessing over my height (too tall), my weight (too skinny), and my skin (bad). I guess those memories were so painful I was unwilling to inflict such angst on Blake. He made it through the story with only one zit. :-)

About Flash Burnout

Fifteen-year-old Blake has a girlfriend and a friend who's a girl. One of them loves him, the other one needs him.

When he snapped a picture of a street person for his photography homework, Blake never dreamed that the woman in the photo was his friend Marissa's long-lost meth addicted mom.

In a tangle of life, death, and love, Blake will emerge with a more sharply defined snapshot of loyalty. Buy a copy at Indiebound or Amazon.

About L.K. Madigan

L.K. Madigan is a writer living in Portland, Oregon, who finds it odd to speak in the third person. Therefore:

Hi. I am married with one son, two big black dogs, hundreds of books, and a couple of beaters, I mean vintage cars. Find out more at

Monday, November 2, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 22,089 words

I'm finally getting into the swing of things with the writing, now if only I could get the rest of my life to cooperate!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ordinary Superpowers

So I have this thing, a small power of sorts, that I call Line Luck. Yesterday, for example, I walked into the post office and found absolutely no one in line. But when I turned around to leave, there were ten people waiting all of a sudden. This happens to me a lot in grocery stores, movie theaters, Starbucks, etc. I wish I could fly, turn everything I touch into chocolate for 10 seconds a day... but at least I often avoid waiting in line.

What's your ordinary Superpower? What Superpower do you wish you possessed?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 13,199 words

I found a nice chapter-every-two days rhythm this week & I reached that 10,000-word celebratory hot chocolate mark. (If you're seeing this on Facebook, go to to see the vlog.)

Now off to write chapter six so I can sneak off to a matinee movie with my husband...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

Yesterday I took my 8th grader to buy her Halloween costume. Her choices? Slutty vampire, slutty Little Red Riding Hood, slutty GI Jane, slutty Leprechaun (that one came with "kiss my pot of gold" panties), slutty--well, you get the idea.

I couldn't help but feel grateful for the one little gem that arrived in my mailbox this week:

Nothing Like You by Lauren Stasnick
A seventeen-year-old grieving the loss of her Mom lets a one night stand become an ongoing thing.

I loved this book. I'm grateful for this book. Lately, I've been disheartened to read some beautifully written YA novels that treat loss of virginity with the same emotional resonance as wart removal. Better just get rid of it!

I don't want those kinds of sexual relationships for my daughters. The stakes are simply too high--pregnancy, diseases (rates are skyrocketing according my pediatrician friends), and the emotional consequences (my mom's a psychologist with a client list full of teenage girls). I want my daughters to find old fashioned true love.

So I can talk--blah, blah, blah--forever about making good choices. But Lauren does it without preaching. Readers will love Holly and feel all that pain along with her. I can't wait to hand this one to my daughter--who would have looked way too good in that slutty Leprechaun costume, by the way (after much searching, she found something that will cover her upper thighs). My mom is already planning to lend copies to her teenage clients (many of whom have gotten themselves into Holly's situation).

Hope you check it out too!

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Skin Deep

I'm usually pretty good at avoiding kiosk pitches at the mall. But somehow last weekend, I found myself letting a guy slather cream on my forearm. He talked the whole time about how the cream would slough off all the unsightly dead skin cells on my face. The 24 karat gold in the mixture would penetrate seven layers deep. Blah, blah, blah.

When my arm turned bright red as it reacted to all that gold, apparently, he turned to my teenage daughter. This cream would clear her unsightly complexion!

After rubbing various creams into her arm, he showed her the dramatic smoothness compared to the untreated arm. I couldn't see it. But he'd promised to cure her acne!

For only $120 a jar. I shook my head, no way. But wait, there's more, he said, adding boxes to the pile. All this for only $10! I felt like I'd gotten trapped in a bad infomercial. So I got out of there pretty quick and finished up our errands.

The minute we got into the car, my daughter burst into tears. "The first thing anyone ever notices about me is my horrible skin!"

That's absolutely not true! I spent the whole ride home explaining that she's beautiful, but the guy had to say that to try to get her to buy his product. That's what advertising does: makes us feel unattractive, unless we use certain products. But I'm worried that all she heard was blah, blah, blah.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 5,420 words

So I'm getting off to a slow start... Here's this week's vlog.

I rewarded myself with a mocha for hitting 5,000 words, but I hope to write much more this week. And then I can reward myself with some significant chocolate!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In My Mailbox (10)

I found myself in need of creative inspiration this week. Starting a new novel is so scary when you have books on the shelves getting public comments... And I've had trouble shutting out all that noise in my head.

So here's what arrived in the mail:

Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland
This book "explores the way art gets made, the reasons it often doesn't get made, and the nature of the difficulties that cause so many artists to give up along the way."

Why I'm excited:
A fellow 2k9 classmate recommended this one & it really helped remind me what's important: the writing.

Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
A book about developing creative habits by a renowned choreographer.

Why I'm excited:
I bought this one with the "buy them both" button on Amazon. Okay, so maybe my love for So You Think You Can Dance has interested me in a dancer's point of view. She's already convinced me to start getting up earlier to exercise first thing in the morning, so that's a good thing, right?

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Guest Nose Lauren Bjorkman

Today I'm excited to welcome Lauren Bjorkman, debut author of the serious hilarious YA novel, My Invented Life. Many, many laugh-out-loud moments!

Here's Lauren:

I never loved my nose. My bridge is too prominent, and I have freckles. But when a close friend of mine in high school seriously pondered a nose job (and she is gorgeous!), I hated that she obsessed about it! So when I have negative thoughts about my nose now, I banish them the best I can :D.

Roz in My Invented Life has issues with her height and weight. It doesn't help that her sister calls her Chub. But late in the story, she sees her reflection while getting costumed for the dress rehearsal, and has this revelation: Mirrors don't lie. The fitted bodice, puffed sleeves, and A-line skirt transform me from giantess to goddess. I could slay the heart of Zeus himself. And Juno's, too.

About My Invented Life

Roz and Eva are sisters, close friends, and fierce rivals. Roz fantasizes about snagging the lead in the school play and sexy skate god Bryan as her boyfriend. Sadly a few obstacles stand between her and her dreams. For one, Eva is the more talented actress. And Bryan happens to be Eva’s boyfriend. But is Eva having a secret love affair with a girl? Enquiring minds need to know.

Roz prides herself on random acts of insanity. In one such act, she invents a girlfriend of her own to encourage Eva to open up. The plan backfires, and Roz finds herself neck deep in her invented life. When Roz meets a mercurial boy with a big problem, she begins to understand the complex feelings beneath the labels. And she gets a second chance to earn Eva’s trust.

My Invented Life is set in a small California high school during rehearsals for a Shakespeare comedy. Buy your own copy on Amazon or Indiebound.

About Lauren Bjorkman

Lauren Bjorkman grew up on a sailboat, sharing the forecastle with her sister and the sail bags. Against all odds, they are still friends. She enjoys making things up, chocolate in large quantities, and anything that makes her laugh. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her husband, two sons, and a cat that plays fetch. Find out more about Lauren at

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chocolate Giveaway: Week #4

This week I'm giving away the chocolate that I use to lure people to my table at book signings: a variety of Dove chocolates! Plus, a signed copy of Jungle Crossing and a bobble-head turtle.

Chocolate Tidbit: Only four ancient Mayan books made of bark paper survive (the Spanish burned their libraries). But one of the most beautiful books known as The Dresden Codex shows pictures of gods seated next to bowls heaped with cocoa beans.

To enter this week's contest, leave a comment at about what would make you talk to one of those lonely book signing authors! Is chocolate enough?

The contest will end on Friday, October 23rd at midnight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2009 Debutante Contest!

Click below to enter a chance to win a bag of all kinds of goodies. And don't worry, I'll be giving away some chocolate later this week too.

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today

Good luck!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Work-In-Progress: 0 words (eeek!)

I'm entering that thrilling, frightening writing zone: a new first draft. Here's my vlog:

Wish me luck! Can I say eeek again?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

Reminder: You can still enter to win a signed copy of Jungle Crossing and Godiva chocolate if you make a comment here by midnight on October 12th.

The theme of the week: nothing pink!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Glades, mazes, mysteries, a boy and a girl...

Why I'm Excited:
I've heard so much great buzz about his one. And I love reading my fellow Utah authors' books!

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Cusp of WWI, giant airships, a girl disguised as a boy...

Why I'm Excited:
I hadn't even heard of the steam punk genre until a few months ago (I do gravitate toward those pink book covers). I loved the Uglies series so I'm excited to dive into this one. After my daughter steals it first.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Never Imagined This

So back when I was a freshman in college and got stuck in biology instead of the creative writing class for which I'd pre-registered, I never imagined this:

You see, there was this cute soccer player in my biology lab... And our love blossomed even with all the formaldehyde scenting the air. Our professor even came to our wedding. And last weekend he came to see us during our Whitman College reunion. He told the people on the biology department tour about our laboratory love story so everyone insisted that we take a family photo in "our" lab.

I never did take a creative writing class at Whitman (I minored in biology). But that worked out too. Sometimes you've got to embrace the twists and turns in life!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Guest Nose Megan Crewe

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Megan Crewe, debut author of Giving Up The Ghost. If you're looking for a fun, not scary, Halloween ghost story, this one is a really great read! Megan shares one of her "hairy" stories:

When I was 15, and trying to reinvent myself, I decided to get a pixie cut--which basically meant saying goodbye to most of my hair, which had never been shorter than chin-length. The stylist I went to put a whole lot of gel in it, and when I tried to replicate that effect the first day I came to school with my new hair, it was so stiff a girl in one of my classes joked that she could bounce a quarter off it. I also got a lot of double-takes, and more than one person asked why I'd done it or when I was going to grow it back.

It was a little embarrassing, but after I figured out how to style it in a way that fit me more (i.e., much less gel), I found I liked the way I looked and how freeing it was not to have hair constantly blowing in my face or getting tangled. People still asked me when I was going to grow it out again, but I just shrugged it off and smiled.

About Give Up the Ghost

Cass McKenna much prefers the company of ghosts over "breathers." Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable, and they know the dirt on everybody... and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to expose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.

But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.

As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad--and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance... Buy your own copy on Amazon or Indiebound!

About Megan Crewe

Like many fiction authors, Megan Crewe finds writing about herself much more difficult than making things up. A few definite facts: she lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband and two cats (and does on occasion say "eh"), she tutors children and teens with special needs, and she has yet to make friends with a ghost, though she welcomes the opportunity. Learn more about Megan at:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chocolate Giveaway: Week #3

What better way to thank the Mayans for giving the world chocolate than a selection of Godiva? I will also be giving away a signed copy of Jungle Crossing and a bobble-head turtle!

Chocolate Tidbit: When Christopher Columbus's son Ferdinand came across a Mayan trading canoe on August 2, 1502, he couldn't understand why the natives scrambled after what looked like a bunch of spilled almonds. He didn't recognize cocoa beans--and he had no idea how valuable they were! Or how yummy they tasted.

To enter this week's contest, please leave a chocolate-related comment at: Good luck!

Contest Winner!


ikkinlala wins this week's prize! Two more weeks to go...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

This week I traveled to Walla Walla, Washington to attend my college reunion. These are the books I purchased before politely asking the cute indie Book and Game store if they'd consider stocking my books (oh, how that makes me feel shy!).

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
A pastor's daughter starts to have doubts as her family shows its imperfections

Why I'm Excited:
I'm a big fan of Sara's writing. Plus, I missed her book signing in Salt Lake because I'm in Walla Walla, so I at least have the book now. And a long car ride ahead of me...

The Postcard by Tony Abbott
A boy discovers family secrets when his grandmother dies.

Why I'm Excited:
I will always be grateful for Tony Abbott's Droon series because they turned my daughter into a voracious reader. And I loved Fire Girl. This one looks like a lot of fun!

Oh, and it's not too late to enter my Jungle Crossing book and chocolate giveaway! Leave a comment here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Guest Nose Pam Bachorz

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Pam Bachorz, debut author of Candor. I really enjoyed reading this one--and highly recommend it!

A quick reminder: You can still enter to win chocolate! Now here's Pam:

In CANDOR, everybody looks the same, adhering to a squeaky-clean ideal of beauty. So I'll tell you a story from my own life.

Two days before my college senior picture was going to be taken, I noticed I had very obvious roots showing from the blond highlights I'd gotten months before. Horrified, but broke, I picked up a five dollar highlights kit at CVS. Then I pressed my boyfriend into service: I put on the little plastic cap and he poked the long wire that comes w/ the kit into it, pulling out strands of hair, and then soaking them in color. The scalp-poking part hurt but I figured it was all in the name of beauty. Neither of us had ever colored hair before and we were feeling pretty clever. Well, neither of us read the instructions very well either. We should have done the roots separately from the already-dyed parts, but we didn't. When I went to wash the dye off, big hanks of my hair had turned WHITE. Other parts were merely a bright yellow. After tears and my boyfriend's mix of laughter and apologies, I plunked down $150 to have it fixed. You've heard of double and triple process dye jobs? Yeah, mine was SEVEN PROCESSES. I think the hairdresser normally charged a lot more for a job like that, but he felt really, really bad for me.

As for that boyfriend, I ended up marrying him, but I've never let him color my hair again!

About Candor

Oscar Banks has everything under control. In a town where his father brainwashes everyone, he’s found a way to secretly fight the subliminal Messages. He’s got them all fooled: Oscar’s the top student and the best-behaved teen in town. Nobody knows he’s made his own Messages to deprogram his brain. But then Nia Silva moves to Candor, and Oscar falls in love. He must choose whether to let Nia be lost to brainwashing—or to sacrifice himself. Buy the book on Amazon or Indiebound.

About Pam Bachorz

Pam Bachorz grew up in a small town in the Adirondack foothills, where she participated in every possible performance group and assiduously avoided any threat of athletic activity. Pam attended college in Boston and finally decided she was finished after earning four degrees. Her mother is not happy that Pam’s degrees are stored under her bed.

Pam lives just outside Washington, DC with her husband and their son. She likes to read books not aimed at her age group, go to museums and theater performances, and watch far too much television. She even goes jogging. Reluctantly. Read more about Pam here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chocolate Giveaway: Week #2

This week I'm giving away a signed copy of Jungle Crossing, a bobble-head tortoise, and a mouthwatering selection of Theo chocolate bars: Vanilla, Coconut Curry, Chai, Bread & Chocolate, Nib Brittle, and Coffee. If you're ever in Seattle, a Theo chocolate factory tour is a terrific way to spend an afternoon. Free samples!

Chocolate Tidbit: The earliest evidence of the Maya's use of chocolate comes from a ceramic jar dating back 600 B.C.E.

To enter this week's contest, please leave a chocolate-related comment by October 5, 2009. Winner will be chosen randomly--anyone in the U.S. or Canada is welcome to enter.


We have a winner: Jensen Girls


Sunday, September 27, 2009

In My Mailbox (7)

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

I only purchased 2009 Debutante books this week:

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner
A girl has less than a week to complete her leaf project.

Why I'm Excited:
The book takes place in Vermont--and I have many fond memories of gathering colorful leaves when I lived there as a young child. Plus, it's just the kind of story my 10-year-old loves.

Candor by Pam Bachorz
About teens living in a town that makes them obedient through subliminal messages.

Why I'm Excited:
It just sound so good--and I have to admit it does intrigue me as the parent of a snarky teen (kidding, sort of). You love to clean the house.

Prophesy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
About a prophesy that turns sisters against each other.

Why I'm Excited:
I got to meet Michelle Zink in person this week when her book tour brought her to Salt Lake City!!! She's so warm, intelligent, and thoughtful.

I also bought a signed copy to giveaway when I'm through with my Jungle Crossing chocolate giveaways next month. It's not too late to enter this week's contest!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Guest Nose Kate Messner

Today it's my pleasure to welcome Kate Messner, author of the debut middle-grade novel, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. Kate says:

Beauty is a topic where my main character and I definitely see eye to eye. Gianna Z. is too busy with her running and her art projects to worry about makeup or fixing her hair, and she can't stand that t-shirt that her track team nemesis wears with the slogan "It's now how you play the game, it's how you look when you play the game."

I'm with Gianna, and I wish more of our tween and teen girls valued themselves for what's on the inside and worried less about appearances.

About The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z

Gianna Zales has a lot on her plate this fall – a father who drives her to school in the family hearse, a mother who’s turned into the junk food police, a little brother who thinks he’s a member of the paparazzi, and a grandmother who leaves false teeth in the refrigerator. Worst of all, she’s left her 7th grade leaf collection to do at the last minute. It’s a monster project, and Gianna will miss cross-country sectionals if she doesn’t meet the deadline. She’ll need the help of her geeky friend, Zig, and some brilliant ideas of her own to pull it off. Buy the book on Amazon!

About Kate Messner

Kate Messner grew up in Medina, New York and graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communication with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. She worked as a television news producer and reporter in Syracuse, NY and then Burlington, VT, before going back to school to get a teaching degree. These days, Kate is a National Board Certified middle school English teacher. She has helped hundreds of kids work on leaf collection projects and likes sugar maples and catalpa leaves the best. Kate lives on Lake Champlain with her husband and kids and loves spending time in the woods.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Swooning Over The 1st Look Inside

One of my absolute favorite parts of the publishing process is getting that bulky package of 1st Pass Pages in the mail. I got so excited when Swoon At Your Own Risk arrived on my doorstep last week that I possibly frightened my UPS man with my delighted squeals.

1st Pass Pages show the exact layout of the book. Doesn't the title look cute?

I also love seeing what the chapter titles are going to look like and seeing the story set up like a real book:

Plus Swoon At Your Own Risks has a bunch of extra stuff like advice columns, journal entries, and blogs in different fonts:
My job is to read through the whole story and look for mistakes and send it back to my editor. I felt kind of sad after sending the package off to New York--I've had so much fun working on this book. (I probably frightened that UPS guy for loving a big stack of paper so much.)

I'm all done, now it's the readers' turn!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thank The Mayans for Chocolate Giveaway Week #1

Welcome to the Thank The Mayans for Chocolate Giveaway! To celebrate the release of Jungle Crossing, I'm giving away my favorite chocolates, a signed book, and bobble-head turtles (because they're just too cute).

This week's selection comes from The Chocolate Bar in downtown Boise, Idaho (here I am buying you chocolate!). The lovely chocolatiers have selected a box of hand-crafted customer favorites just for you. I'm also including a bag of chocolate bark from Dream Chocolate. And you thought Idaho was just famous for potatoes!

Chocolate tidbit: The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cocoa beans like coins, trading them for marketplace goods. But you had to watch out for counterfeit beans--some folks tried to cheat by hollowing out cocoa beans and filling them with dirt.

To enter the contest make a comment at & tell me about your favorite chocolate. This week's contest ends on September 28, 2009. Good luck!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In My Mailbox (6)

Much thanks to The Story Siren and Alea The Pop Culture Junkie for the this weekly feature.

In My Mailbox:

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger
An Indian-American teen coming to terms with her family heritage in the weeks following 9/11

Why I'm excited:
About 25 pages in, I already decided that I needed to buy a copy for my daughter's English teacher, her school library, etc. Not only is this story beautifully written, it is important. It's also a 2009 Debutante book!

Bought (I showed some restraint this week):

An Off Year by Claire Zukey
From the inside jacket: "After a lifetime of following the rules, Cecily Powell surprises everyone by arriving for her freshman year of college...and turning around."

Why I'm Excited:
I'll admit that I mostly bought this book for shallow reasons: I couldn't resist the cover! Bunny slippers! Pink shag carpeting. I'm in! (The story sounds good too.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Another 2009 Debutante giveaway (I added a little something special in honor of Jungle Crossing this time around). Click below to enter!

Find Out What's In The Bag And Win It Today