Tuesday, September 27, 2011


a friend of mine here in Arizona - a fellow transplant from the land of 4 seasons - posted something on facebook today that made me absolutely sick to my stomach... something about wanting to take a hay ride and drink a hot cider.

yes. yes yes yes yes yes! this is exactly what i want too.
apples and orange leaves and hay and cooler weather and all things AUTUMN.

any mention of those things this time of year opens up a gaping hole of longing inside me - a feeling that literally makes me sick... homesick.

View from the back of my parents' house this time of year.

i try to find a reason to be in the midwest every year during the fall, but this year, i'm going to miss the entire season sweating it out here in Arizona.

i love the desert, i do. and i cackle with evil glee every winter as i sit around a camp fire in the middle of January enjoying a pleasantly cool breeze and clear skies. i can't remember the last time i owned a winter coat or scraped ice off my windshield. if i want snow, i'll just drive 2 hours up to the mountains and set my snowboard down on it for a day, then come back home and trade my snow pants for shorts.
that's the trade-off, and it always seems worth it in the winter.

but two months out of the year - September and October - i forget all about that winter-weather blessing and focus on what i'm missing. Autumn.

so if anyone knows of a place that's warm in the winter, with plenty of sunshine year-round, preferably within reach of both mountains and ocean, AND has a nice colorful autumn, please let me know. i might have to go live there.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


this is less "blog post" and more "too long for twitter."

let me preface this with:
i have been watching All My Children with my mom since i was a kid. i've been less interested in it over the last few years, but i still TIVO it and catch up with the characters every once in awhile. of course, when i heard the soap was getting canceled, i committed to seeing it through to the end.

well as far as i'm concerned, it already went out with a bang. i could pretty much stop watching it and die happy after this scene today:

Sarah Michelle Gellar (ex-Kendall, now appearing as random crazy girl in hospital)
Dr. Maria Santos

SMG: So, I see vampires. That doesn't make me crazy.
DrM: No, vampires are very, uh, popular.
SMG: I saw them before they were trendy.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

again and again and again

it's another road trip wednesday with the YA Highway gang! i always seem to miss these, so i'm happy to be playing along this week.

today's RTW question is: What themes, settings, motifs, scenes, or other elements do you find recurring in your work?

for some reason, this question makes me feel like i should recline on a couch and say, "well doctor..." - because it seems like recurring ideas/elements in a writer's work must say something about the writer herself.
so i thought i'd put that to the test with a mini-analysis of the common threads in my own writing:

only children
my MCs are often, if not always, only children.
okay, that's easy. i am an only child. it could be a case of "write what you know," and i know about only children and their relationships with parents. yep, this recurring element certainly does reflect me.

distant fathers
all of the books i've written so far and even the one i'm plotting next have fathers who are absent, emotionally distant or just straight-up bad guys.
well hmm. my dad and i are as close as can be. he's both my friend and my father, and we have no family dysfunction. so this recurring idea has nada to do with me. it's just something i apparently like to write about. huh.

socioeconomic status
whether rich or poor (often very rich or very poor), the social and economic situation of my characters' families often plays a role in their stories.
this recurring element probably has less to do with me and more to do with my observations of others. having always fallen pretty squarely into the middle class, i haven't lived either extreme, so maybe i write about those socioeconomic extremes because they fascinate me.

the internet
i write contemporary novels about teenagers. they use the internet. they practically live there.
this one has nothing to do with me and everything to do with reality.

fun topic! what are your recurring story elements? head on over to the YA Highway to play along! (link! click it!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

so much social media

this post is a call for opinions!

i've seen a lot of chatter lately about the eventual demise of facebook and the apparent slow-down in blogging and blog commenting. i've also noticed some of that chatter includes guesses about what will be the next "big thing."

it's not really a secret that i am a reluctant participant in social media.
it all started for me a few years ago, when i got a call from my good friend Julia telling me to get on MySpace. i had heard of it, but i wasn't interested.
No, she insisted. You don't have to make a page. You can just sign up and SPY ON PEOPLE!
well hello! that sounded like fun!

and it was. MySpace was the beginning of social spying - looking up people you hadn't seen in forever. online voyeurism wasn't new, but keeping tabs on people you actually knew? - that was still a pretty fresh idea.
of course, the spying got old fast, and i ended up making a page.
that was my gateway to social media.

these days, i am far from a social media expert, but sure, i play.
and now, as an author looking to connect with readers and other writers, i'm conscious of what is the hot spot of the moment. so i'm looking for opinions.
where are you all gathering online these days?

i'm here:
personal facebook (mostly private and non-writing-related stuff)

should i also be here?:
linked in (i quit this, losing all of my links in the process. maybe that was a bad idea?)
professional facebook (separate author page - something more public?)

if you could only pick 3 social media to participate in, which 3 would you choose and why?
in your opinion - What's Next?

Monday, September 5, 2011

bunches of books

i am just back from a quick trip to Portland and staring down a very busy week ahead, so i thought i ought to squeeze in a blog post, but i'm just. so. tired.

so we're going to do this the lazy way - with pictures!

these are all from the trip, but in keeping with our writing/reading/book-loving theme here, every shot i'm sharing has a book in it. so this totally counts as a blog post, okay? okay.

surrounded by miles of books:

inside the rare book room:

our hotel had a library overlooking the lobby:

and every book in the library was signed by the author, including this one:

may all your own travels include a few books as well...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

let's get loud

you know what you should do when you just finished revisions for your editor and probably have another round coming soon? when the next item on your list is to polish up your newest manuscript so your agent can submit that baby? when you're way behind on chores and have been neglecting your boyfriend and your dog and your friends and especially neglecting that alleged "next" book idea that you've been sitting on for over a year? YOU KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD DO THEN??

you should totally start writing something new.

...and by should, i mean absolutely definitely should NOT!
but inspiration is a pain in the ass like that. it comes up at the most inconvenient times, and for me, it usually comes in screaming.

there's an idea that's been cooking in the back of my brain for awhile, but i've been ignoring it, because it wasn't part of the plan. (the plan being to dutifully edit BUTTER, then revise and submit BILLY D, then hopefully spend my beloved NaNo month drafting GRIM and then pay attention to the voices in my head.)

i like things to be linear, see. i like to be on a schedule.

but the left and right side of my brains are always warring on this point, and sometimes the creative voice wins out over the logical one.

so despite my best efforts to ignore the voices... i somehow ended up with 20 minutes worth of voice recordings, 3 lined sheets of paper packed with notes, a scene-by-scene outline and a brand new book file on my laptop.

that seems to have silenced the cacophony in my brain for now, but i'm really looking forward to a time very soon when i can return to this story and say to my characters - let's Get LOUD!