Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's official. I'm in....

the Class of 2K8! Yay!

What is the Class of 2K8? It's 14 debut middle grade authors and 14 debut young adult authors. We all have our first book coming out in the year....2008. (And did you notice: 14 + 14 = 28 Who says writers aren't good at math?)

In the process of applying to the 2K8 group, I learned something very cool from Editor Wendy. I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES may actually be released before Dec. 2008!!! I'm thinking in time for the Friday after American Thanksgiving, the biggest shopping day of the year here in the U.S. would be really nice!

I'm incredibly lucky to have made into the Class of 2K8. We've banded together for all kinds of creative promotion, especially to BLTs. That is, booksellers, librarians and teachers. Nothing edible.

Anyway, over the course of the year, I'll introduce you to the various members of 2K8. Which means you'll be introduced to a bunch of awesome brand new middle grade and young adult authors.

I'm also excited because we'll be passing around our ARCs. These are

Advanced Reader Copies. Which means I'll have read several of these books before they hit the shelves. Yay! There's something very exciting about reading a book before everyone else.

I'll have to remember to post a picture of my own ARC.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Veiled chameleon sheds!!!

This evening, our female chameleon began shedding her skin. It was very cool to see. We all rushed in to watch as she pulled skin off with her rear legs and rubbed her side against the ficus plant. She actually hissed at us which is a sign of stress. You gotta figure we invaded her privacy. Anyway, we backed off at that point, but not before noticing that the sluffed-off skin is white and sticky. The male doesn't look as though he's ready to shed anytime soon. He's smaller than the female, probably because she guards the food dish and, therefore, eats more. I'm not making any comparisons between male and female chameleon behaviour and male and female human behaviour. Nope. Not going there. Just enjoying that we saw a little bit of nature tonight.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Now about that pesky author photo...

I've narrowed it down to four. Actually, I'd narrowed it down to three, but a good friend convinced me to bump it back up to four. Because I'd cut her favourite shot. These are the kinds of conversations you can only have with a good friend. And still remain good friends, that is.

Me: You seriously want me to put that photo back in?
MF: I do. It's my favourite. There's just something about it that's so you.
Me: Really? Because it's the one I like the least.
MF: You should put it back in.
Me: Well, okay. If you say so.
MF: Good. (pause) Is there any way the photographer can blur the wrinkle on your forehead?
Me: What wrinkle?
MF: The one right across the middle. Well, it's almost more like a gash.
Me: I thought it was your favourite photo.
MF: It is . It is. (pause) And while she's in there editing, could she possibly enlarge your left eye? Just a little? You're probably just squinting in the sun or something.
Me: So, if she can't change those things, it's not really your favourite photo?
MF: No, no, it still is.

And I'm barely speaking to DH (short for darling husband) because the shot that is the cutest most adorable most gorgeous, he says doesn't look like me! At all!

I'm starting to wonder if

Random House can just slap on a picture of a rhino.
(Which isn't as far out there as it might sound because, after all, the mystery is about a rhino heist. Not to mention the fact that no one notices if a rhino suffers from squinty eye and major forehead wrinkle.)

All joking aside, I will post the four potential author photos. Hopefully later this week. After the photographer works some more magic.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Introducing Jamie Chavarria, Hairdresser/Miracle Worker!

I would just like to say I've proofed a bunch of the choices for my author photo.

And my hair looks great in all of them.

My smile doesn't. My eyes don't. My eyebrows especially don't. (This is no fault of the photographer; I'm not particularly photogenic. At least my children are. To her credit, the photograher got several terrific shots.)

However, my hair looks seriously good in every single shot.

Thank you, Jamie!!

And to celebrate the author fact, to celebrate that I even need an author photo, Jamie is offering the following to new customers:

A free cut with paid-for highlights or $10 off a cut + style.

Just mention this blog when you talk to Jamie. You might even mention the title of my book :) : I So Don't Do Mysteries. It's a humorous mystery about a typical thirteen-year old named Sherry (short for Sherlock). She wants more mall time, less homework and a certain eighth-grade boy. Instead, she's recruited by her mother's ghost to prevent a rhino heist at San Diego's Wild Animal Park. Random House is publishing it Dec. 2008 and then publishing the sequel Dec. 2009.

And here's how to get in touch:
Jamie Chavarria @ C'est La Vie Hair Salon and Day Spa
9830 Prospect Avenue, Suite C, Santee, CA
(619) 448.8300

By the way, if I ever get on Oprah...

I'm taking Jamie. I'm not saying Oprah doesn't have a decent hairdresser on the set. I'm not saying Oprah doesn't look good. I'm just saying she could look better. If she had Jamie.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fun from the Washington Post

The Washington Post published the 16 winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

The winning definitions are:

1. Coffee
(n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted
(adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained
3. Abdicate
(v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade
(v.), to attempt an explanation whilst drunk.
5. Willy-nilly
(adj.), impotent.

6. Negligent
(adj.), describes a condition in which you absent-mindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

7. Lymph
(v.), to walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle
(n.), olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence
(n.) emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash
(n.), a rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle
(n.), a humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude
(n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon
(n), a Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster
(n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism
( n.), the belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent
(n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

17. and one from us........
Errogance - not only snooty but wrong

Thank you to my little sister for forwarding this to me!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another promotion next week!

Yesterday, I got my "casual" (Ha!) author photo taken. You know, the photo that wil be on the fly of my book. The photo that ex-boyfriends will gaze at and realize what a horrible mistake they made. The photo my high school classmates, university friends, my sisters will examine. How "casual" can such a photo be? :)

I'll post next week about getting the photo done.

I've met so many fun, kind, interesting people on this road to publication. One is also a miracle worker. She's my hairdresser. She is seriously the best hairdresser in San Diego county. In California. In the entire world.

And she's offering some sort of giveaway (the details aren't finalized, but I'm guessing it'll have something to do with hair) for those who read the blog about her part in the "casual" photo caper.

I'll put the post up once I take a picture of her. Which won't happen until after she...

does her hair and makeup. Your basic casual look.

And the winner is.... (drum roll)

Chick/Luisa!!! Congratulations! You've won a copy of THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN by Sara Hantz.

The rest of you should go out immediately and buy a copy. In fact, start your Christmas shopping early and buy two! :)

Seriously, head out to your local B&N or or wherever fine books are sold. You know you want to read it. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What I learned at Open House

I went to Open House at Child #2's school. He's a freshman in high school.

It was pretty much what you'd expect. How to access online grades. Some info about curriculum. Each teacher's email address.

And then came the unexpected. Interesting sayings tacked up on classroom walls. Below are a few of the sayings that grabbed me.

If you think college is expensive, try ignorance.

Be careful what your habits are because they will become your LIFE.

Cuidado con tus habitos porque eso sra tu VIDA.

And my absolute favourite of all:

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.
~Ernest Hemingway



If you'd like to own Sara Hantz's Young Adult novel, THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN, leave a comment. One lucky commenter will have his/her name drawn and will win a copy of this great book! I'll probably have Sara conduct the drawing. She's very trustworthy. :)

Here's the write-up from Publishers Marketplace: Sara Hantz's debut THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN, about a girl who joins a virginity club in her new town to try to make a new start.

Sara Hantz is my talented agent sister. This means we're both lucky enough to be on Rachel Vater's team. Sara and I will probably meet in real life next summer. How fun is that? And here's the link to Sara's website.

And without further ado, here's the interview.

Me: Would you tell us how you got Rachel as your agent?

Sara: I’d always read Rachel’s blog and was very impressed by her expertise and the way in which she conducted her business. When I parted ways with my previous agent (this was an amicable split, after I sold my first book) I queried several agents and received a number of offers of representation. I arranged to call them all for a chat, and Rachel stood head and shoulders above the rest, especially in terms of getting my writing, and her vision for my future. And she’s really cool too. A perfect match!

Me: What does a typical writing day look like for you? Do you aim for a certain number of words/pages per day/week?

Sara: When writing, my guiding principle is ‘little and often’ as I have a very low attention threshold and am easily distracted. So, I open my manuscript up first thing in the morning and dip in and out of it during the day. Some times I get more done than others, depending on how busy the motel is and how sidetracked I get on the internet. In the past I have set myself a daily page target. Normally, though, I just do what I can.

Me: Do you outline before starting a book?

Sara: YES, absolutely!!! I use part of the snowflake method for plot development (snowflake also covers characters, but I don’t do that bit). Snowflake was developed by Randy Ingermanson, I love planning and writing in a linear way. At the start of each day I will go over and edit what I did the day before. This means when I get to the end the revisions are less monumental than if I just wrote a ‘dirty first draft’ – the thought of which brings me out in hives ☺

Me: I understand you’re part of an online critique group. How does that work?

Sara: We’ve been together for about three years. The critiquing relationship sort of evolved. The others knew each other before knowing me. We all met face to face for the first time three years ago at the RNA conference in the UK. At that time Amanda and Pat were living in the UK, Christina was in Australia and I was in NZ. It started by us just reading each others work for interest, then we began critiquing. We don’t all write in the same genre but that doesn’t matter. We speak all the time on MSN and email daily. I don’t just see these girls as my CPs they’re my closest friends. This year Amanda moved from UK to NZ and Christina came over and joined us for the RWNZ conference. We all use the critiquing part differently. I send each chapter as I write it. Amanda may send us the first two or three chapters and then we don’t see the book again until the end. Christina does a mixture of both and Pat works more like I do. We not only critique, but also brainstorm, and also if one of us is going off track we’ll steer them back on. A couple of years ago when I was asked to do some revisions by an agent, I (unintentionally) didn’t do them properly and my CPs gave me what for…… I can’t thank them enough for that. But it takes a special kind of relationship for that to happen. And our relationship is VERY special!!

Me: What are you working on now?

Sara: I’m just finishing a book called DATING THE MEGAN RUSSELL WAY, which is about a teenage girl who sells psychic dating advice to make enough money to pay off a huge debt.

And now for the most scrumptious question of all...

Me: What is your favourite cookie?

Sara: Stem ginger biscuits covered in thick dark chocolate.

Thank you, Sara!!

Leave a comment for a chance to win THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Which I'm not allowed to share yet. Sorry. is so cute, so perfect, so Sherry.

I've printed off copies of it and stuck them all over the kitchen. I'll tackle the living room tomorrow. And the chameleons' cage.

As soon as I have permission, I'll post the cover here.

Coming up next: an interview with the delightful Sara Hantz, author of THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Veiled Chameleon

Child#2 is now the proud parent of two baby veiled chameleons. We're learning a lot about coating pinhead crickets with powdered vitamins and keeping the little reptiles hydrated and happy. Sherry, the protagonist in the I So Don't Do Mysteries series, has also acquired two baby veiled chameleons!

Yes, I'm working on the second book. The first book isn't totally done. There are still things like copyedits and galleys. But, it's time to get Sherry back in class and hanging out with her boyfriend and her girlfriends. And, of course, it's time for her to jump into another investigation. The second book is currently untitled because....the title I'd chosen has a sexual connotation. Which I hadn't noticed. But child#1 had. Thank you child#1 for your powers of observation!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I'm a guest blogger!!

We're all blogging about fresh starts which is an important premise in Sara Hantz's debut novel, The Second Virginity of Suzy Green. So, head over to Sara's blog. And if you post a comment, you might win a prize!

See you there!