Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three Rivers Rising Give Away!

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards
Remember when I went to Boston for ALA Midwinter?  I met Jame Richards whose debut novel, Three Rivers Rising, is coming out on April 13th.   Before I went, I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the novel.  I was eager to read it because of its beautiful cover, because Jame is a Class of 2k10 member, and because she is published by Random House, like me.

So, as soon as it came in the mail, I opened it.  I'll admit, then I kind of groaned, discovering it is a novel in verse.  And, it is historical fiction.  Which, to me, is two strikes against it.

But reading it was entirely groan-free.  In fact, it had be me gasping.  At one point, I read a beautiful line that had me picturing a moment that I held my breath until it passed.  Then when I tried to read on, I had to stop and share that moment with someone, anyone.  I walked into the next room and read it aloud to my husband who nodded solemnly in the wake of the power.

Three Rivers Rising gives you that and much more.  But don't take my word.  Enter here for my giveaway!  That's right.  A signed ARC of Three Rivers Rising in your hands before the book is released.  

You've got until March 13th to enter.  (One month before the release.)  Enter by leaving a comment.  +1 entry for tweeting in your right. +2 entries for blogging about it.  +3 for following my blog.  Increase your chances, people; it's worth it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Books Have Arrived!

More to be excited about.

Plus that, it's a whole 2 weeks aka fourteen days aka 336 hours until the actual release.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happy Ears?

I was just writing a thank you email to the editor at Listening Library who acquired Split as an audiobook.  I wanted to let her know how much I've appreciated the communication with all the great people who have been working on it, including this interaction with award-winning actor Joshua Swanson.  While searching for the link, I stumbled upon something.

Here's a sneak peek, or rather, a sneak sound bite.

After hearing Joshua embody Jace's voice, I ended up waxing philosophical:  Can ears experience happiness?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Split on Indiebound Kids Next List

Split was selected by an Indiebound book seller to make the Spring 2010 Kids Indie Next List.

Sweet. Very, very sweet.  I'm so honored.

Sweeter: Also included were fellow 2k10 class members Irene Latham and  Jennifer Hubbard.  Not to mention Alison McGhee, whose work I adore.  So I'm in excellent company.


"At age 16, Jace Witherspoon has finally fled from the home of his violently abusive father. With only the return address on an envelope slipped to him by his mother as he left, he travels to find safe haven with his long- vanished older brother. Split is the story of their prickly and unexpected reunion, and the two brothers' struggles to reconcile the legacy of their damaged upbringing with the possibility of a new life. Dynamically told through Jace's voice, this story is relentless and captivating." --Karen McCollom, TheYankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT

Everything I know about the Yankee Bookshop:

1) It is an independent bookstore, so God Love 'Em.
2) .... nope, no 2.

So I looked them up.  Here's what I found on their website:


Now, that is sweet.  I want to go there!  Meet Karen, pet pups, and explore their store.  Road trip, anyone?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time for Adults to come out of the YA closet

I'd say at least 50% of the time I say that I'm a YA author, the adult I'm speaking to looks down for a second and then sheepishly back at me.  And then says something along the lines of "I actually read a lot YA myself."

YA is not just for kids.  And why should it be?  As most people who read YA know, the genre has blossomed in the  last 15 or 20 years, turning from didactic, simplistic fiction into nuanced, complex fiction.  The genre has evolved from Saturday-afternoon special to what actually happens on a Saturday afternoon.  It has authors like Sherman Alexie and Francine Prose contributing to it now, authors who have found critical acclaim in the adult world.  

Why are adults, both as writers and readers, turning to YA?

Story and plot are key to YA.  We YA authors believe that there should be a chain of events in the story (a.k.a. a plot), that kids (and adults) should want to turn the page and find out what happens next, that kids (and adults) are busy and have 400 other things pulling at their attention, and so we try to rivet the reader's attention to the book.

See full size imageNow, to those authors and readers who will start waggling their fingers at me and telling me that plot-driven stories are too-Hollywood, that plot is necessarily formulaic, and accusing plot of being the downfall of literature, I reply: Ever read Beloved?  How about As I lay Dying?  Hmmm... maybe there's some plot in those novels.  And yet, they are anything but formulaic.  Without a doubt, these books also contain excellent characters who experience moving character arcs.  In fact, good literature isn't about the absence of plot; it's about marrying plot to character so that the story is rich.

Plot and character are not at odds, fighting for space on the page.  Instead, they can be and should be united. Any good plot is character-driven.  A character has a goal, something to solve and, as the character tries to solve her problem, she creates plot.  As the effects of her actions affect her, she evolves, which is to say, she progresses along a character arc.   In this way, character fuels plot and plot fuels character.

Adults are turning to YA lit because it is good lit.   It hasn't sacrificed story to a higher belief that plot is for amateurs and because, yes, we YA authors are addicted to plot.  So, if you are an adult who enjoys reading YA, don't hang your head in shame.  Celebrate it and demand that the literature, whether YA or adult, give you both a story and deep, compelling characters to care about.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Questions for me?

Come ask them at Random House Buzzers.  Or, come play at the polls, write from your own experience... So stoked to be there and chat.  And you'll earn Buzz Bucks

I'll be here all week (and next, if fact).  Don't forget to tip your waitresses.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Split's Trailer!

I am just thrilled with this new trailer, so I had to share.  Hope you enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Addendum to DSM V

At about midnight last night, I was trolling the web and looked at Brian Malloy's website.  He has a great page about the emotional roller coaster of the debut novelists first year of publishing.  Reading that plus knowing a few debut novelists has helped me decide that the DSM V should identify a new psychological disorder:   Debut Bookitits.

Symptoms Include:

1) Inordinate amounts of non-localized stress.

2) Repetitive Stress Injuries from googling one's own name.

3) Extreme Solipism that can result in the afflicted getting distracted during conversations and saying, "So, have you bought a copy of my book yet?  It's coming out soon.  You can pre-order, you know?"

4) Review Obsession: May include memorizing reviews, knowing the dates that LSJ and Kirkus issue their reviews, checking multiple times per day when the reviews are delayed, reading all the reviews in the issue the afflicted's comes out in and ranking them.

5) Daily checking of Amazon Sales Rank, even though the afflicted knows that Amazon is only one vendor.

6) Oscillating between extremes:  Everyone HATES my book to everyone LOVES my book.  This can be in rapid cycle or extended cycles.  And can be experienced even before the book is released.

Treatment Recommendations

See full size image
Talk about yourself.  It's better for the afflicted to get out of their own solipsism as soon as possible and the afflicted are too far gone to ask how you're doing, remember that you might be having a life of your own, much less thoughts of your own that are not related to her book.

Do not give the afflicted caffeine.  She is probably up all night trolling the internet already.


I don't know.... What do you think?  Is there hope?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goodreads Give Away Starts Today

I announced too early.  The give away for a signed ARC of Split starts today. February 1, and goes through the 9th, one month before the  release.  Hope you enter.  Hope you win.