Thursday, May 28, 2009

Changing Hats

The month of May has been a whirlwind. Let's see.... the first week of May I spent stressing over the Delacorte contest, only to find out that Friday that I lost before spending the weekend in Utah with my brand new book and a book signing. The second week of May was Nationals for clogging. Great event. Got no writing done- at all. The third week of May was spent researching and sending my book out for reviews. Got no writing done- again. The fourth week of May, would you believe that it takes a half a week to get ready for our annual Spring Show for the Boise Cloggers. Well, it does, and guess what. Yeap. Got no writing done.

Today is the big day-- our big Spring Show happening in my front yard. The dancing starts at 6:30 and it's one of my favorite shows of the year. The evening starts with a potluck dinner at 5:30 and then the dancing gets going at 6:30. This is where I feel like I'm changing hats. I only talk about clogging when I'm in charge of it. So instead of being a new author, I'm a clogging director, a teacher, a dancer and a mom. The trick is keeping everything straight in my head so I don't mess it all up.

And then, Saturday I'm back to the new author thing. I have a book signing at A Novel Adventure downtown Boise from 10-12:30 and then another signing at Book Nook in Nampa from 2-4. Which means, if anyone reading this lives even remotely close to either of these two bookstores and isn't irrevocably already engaged in other appointments at the time, I need you to come. Even if you have a book already. Especially if you don't. The idea is to fit as many bodies in a bookstore as we can. Weird, I know- but trust me, it's better than sitting in a bookstore alone for two hours.

Sometime between now and then, I'm going to put my writing hat back on. It's like not sleeping, or not eating chocolate- I miss it, it calls to me and I can't wait to get back into the delectable second book of Alvor.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Home Stretch

Only six and a half days left of school this year, at least for my boys. We're already into the summer groove. The sun doesn't go down quite as early and with the warmer night air, there doesn't seem to be any reason to hurry off to bed at 9:00 at night. I think we transitioned into summer a week and a half too soon.

The evenings are so beautiful that it's really hard not to want to be outside in it until the sun goes down. It's probably my fault. I love summer. I tell myself that it's not going to hurt anything if we stay at the park until 9:00. It's just so perfect outside.

So when I went into my second grader's room at 8:00 this morning and he was still sound asleep, I realized that one more week of school was going to drag on. It didn't help that we forgot to reset his alarm clock after the holiday weekend.

When it comes to summer, I habitually stay outside until sunset, whenever that is. My absolute favorite time to go on a walk is around 9:00 PM. It's perfect outside. Sometimes we take one of our miniature horses for a walk with us. It's kind of interesting hearing a clip clop going along side of you while you're walking.

At our house, we're already breaking out the sunscreen. These days it makes more sense to be outdoors than in. Now we just need June 4 to come along so it can be official.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The coolest stuff

When I started writing Alvor, I did so in utter secrecy. Other than my husband, no one was to know that I could be so ridiculous as to think I could write a book. After a couple chapters I realized that I needed more than my perspective to see clearly. That is when my fourteen year old niece was dragged into the picture. She came over once a week for clogging lessons, and she willingly became my first beta reader.
When she told me that my book was as good as Twilight I knew I had to keep going. Of course I figured her opinion had to be completely biased because, after all, I was her aunt and she already adored me... ;)
When her family moved to eastern Idaho, I was left without my teen editor. I was only half done with the story, but she gave me enough of a boost that I couldn't not finish the book. Alvor was already decided. I knew the whole plot before I even wrote the first word.
Here I am, a year and a half after I started with this, and a lot has changed. The problem with not telling the whole world I was writing in the first place made it harder to let everyone know that I have a new book out in the second place.
I didn't even tell my sisters, brothers or parents about any of it until after I signed my contract.

But something very cool and unexpected has happened since then. I have had a chance to re-connect with people I haven't seen forever. By shamelessly advertising my new book, I've found my husband's side of the family has even more amazing people in it than I ever before realized. I'm getting to know everyone better, even people on my own side of the family. And it's all because I wrote a book.

How weird is that? I would have never thought that something like this could bring people together. The other side of the picture is blogging. I wouldn't have ever started a blog without this book. Now I can sit in the living room and listen to people who live hundreds of miles away by reading their posts. Who can put a price on that?

I know, I've gone sentimental.

As long as I'm sappy, I have to tell you how great it is to see people from all over America and also in other countries stop by my blog. On days when I think my book will probably never see the light of day, I look at all of you, and I feel hope again. You are what makes miracles happen. So, a big thanks. Keep reading, keep sharing the news and know that what comes around, goes around.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Random thoughts, not Random House

It's been an interesting ride getting this far into things. I thought I would share some of my experiences with those of you morbid enough to want to know what it's like in the trenches.

1- I didn't win the Delacorte contest. Whew. I mean, I would have totally loved it, but I got my rejection letter May 7- a week after the contest deadline. The upside is, I get to stop stressing about it. It still said that the results would be announced around April 30. But, as far as I can find, no winner has been announced still. There hasn't been one since three years ago.

2- I'm trying to get professional reviews for my book. My publisher has a list of places for me to send Alvor. I mailed out 15 copies so far, and no, that doesn't include Oprah Winfrey, although I do have her address. Then I started getting really depressed when I realized how many awesome reviewers required a higher standard than a podunk author like me can provide. I went crying to my publisher only to find out that they already took care of the big guys' review stuff. Greenie. That's me.

3- Marketing. I went and talked to the CRM at Barnes and Nobles and she said some interesting and daunting things. Writing a book is only 1/3 of the work of books. 1/3. I don't even know what the other 2/3 is. So far it's included stressing about whether enough people will have the chance to read my book in the first place so they can tell the entire rest of the world to read it in the second place, but I really doubt stressing is considered work. I mean, how do you proactively stress? Someone told me yesterday that I wrote the book in the first place because I love writing- "So just write." I think I can live with that answer. I miss writing. I've been pro-actively stressing, along with doing a bunch of sometimes related to marketing activities for the last couple weeks. I need some writing therapy.

4- Quotes. I told you that this was kind of a morbid post, and now you're going to find out what kind of sense of humor I have. These are the latest jokes that made me laugh. I take no credit for making any of them up, but I did laugh at each and every one.

"Due to current fund shortages, the light at the end of the tunnel has been temporarily turned off."

"What recession? You just have to choose not to participate."

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.
She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.
"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."
A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.
"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"
"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here your work gets published."

5- So now what? This morning I dealt with my stress head-on. I cleaned the bathroom. Trust me, if you want to forget all your troubles, go into a bathroom that three boys use and scrub till it sparkles. My little girl walked in and said, "Woa! It smell good in here." Just be glad you weren't there for the 'before'.

6- Book Signings!!!! Put this on your calendar. May 30 from 10-1 A Novel Adventure Bookstore, 906 W. Main St. Boise, Idaho, and the same day, May 30 from 2-4 Book Nook Plus, 705 12th Ave Rd. Nampa, Idaho.

If you live in Utah...June 10 from 4-6 Pioneer Book, 135 West Center, Provo, Utah, and June 12 from 5-7, Borders 4801 N. University Ave., Provo, Utah

Back in Idaho, June 26 from 7-8:30 Rediscovered Bookshop, 7079 Overland Rd., Boise, Idaho

I'm still working on some more, I'll keep you posted.

7- I need you guys to go to Amazon and post a review for my book. Really. I'm not kidding. Just click on the picture that says, "Click on the picture to buy it on Amazon" and it will take you to Amazon. Under the specs for the book there is a place to post a review. You have to fill out a little thing- and you can put in a fake identity. No, I'm not the one that posted the first review, but you could be the second, or third or even the one hundredth person to do it. Consider it a significant step in the world of being a responsible fan.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Awesome You

It's been a really busy week, but I wanted to thank you all.

A person can do nothing until someone helps them along. A book can't sell unless people spread the word. But you have done so much more than that, and I am amazed and impressed, humbly honored and grateful.

Can I just say it? You Rock!

All of you. The ones who read this blog, the ones who are gracious enough to spread the word, the ones willing to buy a book from a complete stranger who is probably at least a little insane. All of you. You're telling your friends, family, people you know, and people you don't. Keep up the good work.

And, if you're still waiting for your very own copy, things should start moving along now. If you're waiting on me, it's because I've been out of town a lot. Did I mention A LOT? But I'm back now. If you ordered on Amazon, it's officially available, no longer on pre-order.

Someone asked me to tell a little about the last couple weekends.

Guys like my book. Major. I knew that they would if they ever took the time to pick it up, but getting it into their hands in the first place has been surprisingly easy. It must be the fabulous cover that I can take absolutely no personal credit for.

Last week a man came to my table that I was book signing at and asked about the book, etc. He said he had to ask his wife what she thought before he bought it. A half hour later he came back with his wife with a reciept inside the book and handed it to me to sign. I asked him who to sign it to and his wife gave him the look. "David" he said. It was really for him. It was pretty funny.

So far I've had boys from around 8-70 years old have me sign their book, no girls in sight. Interesting.

But, fear not. So far I've had girls from around 8-55 years old asking me to sign their books too. It's probably because all the ladies are so darn cute and look so young.

Anyway, the cover seems to draw attention to itself for practically every age, gender regardless. It's kind of fun.

A boy came with his dad and had me sign his copy. A couple hours later I saw him laying on the grass reading. He was almost half way done with the book. Amazing. He would have had to have read it straight without putting it down to get that far so fast.

One lady bought the book for her friend, but started reading it anyway. She came back an hour later because she wanted a copy for herself too. "Girl, this is a pretty good book." Too bad I can't put that on the back of the cover. She had me sign it for her daughter, but I bet you anything she reads it before she hands it over to her.

Another lady lost my book and her cell phone on one of the rides at Lagoon. Amazingly, she recovered both the phone and my book by the next day. Wow.

Someone else walked by and almost fell over backwards trying to back up. "How random is that?" she asked me. "I just read about your book on a blog."

See, people do see it. So cool.

I have a friend who just had boy/girl twins last month. Sleep deprived. Been there, done that. He got a book last week and then stopped me yesterday to tell me he had to get another book for someone in his family. He said he never reads, but he must be changing his ways. And changing tons of diapers. And watching tv in the middle of the night while he's up with his babies. For all you twin parents out there, I love you and I know how hard it is.

Now, go to and do a review after you read my book.... Please! It's not that hard and it doesn't take very long. It's on Goodreads too. Try it.

Or, if you are practically computer illiterate, read my book and tell everyone you know to read it too. That works even better.

Thanks for being the most awesome, good-looking and smartest people in the world. I know, I haven't seen most of you, but if you're as awesome and smart as you are, you must be good-looking too. Stop blushing. You can't help it if you're just that good.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Piece of the Action

Alvor is officially released today. Not that I have it in my hands yet. That special day doesn't come until Friday.

I have been impressed with the ability people have to share good news, and I wanted to try something. It's not a drawing or contest and I really hope I don't go broke doing this, but....

If you leave a comment to this post AND write a post in your blog about Alvor, I will send you your very own copy of my book. You need to include a picture of the book on your post to qualify as well as telling everyone it's on, and if you don't leave a comment, you don't qualify. Be sure to get all the parts to this. I don't want to leave you out.

If you're pretty sure I don't have your mailing address, please e-mail it to me at

My deadline for this is May 15.

Good luck everyone!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

It's on Amazon!

It's finally for sale, at least pre-order. If you're anxious to get your hands on Alvor, this is You can click on this:

or you can go here:

You'll be the first in line to get a copy if you pre-order. You might get it faster if you go with the second site, it's my publisher.

Can I just tell you how wierd it is to read my whole biography on Amazon? Very unreal. Now the whole world will know that I love to eat blueberries.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I Just Realized...

One week from today I will have Alvor in my hands. It doesn't seem real.

But I found the most effective antidote to excitement. It's the reason I haven't been focusing on the fact that it's already May and that my very first booksigning is next week. For anyone who needs a nail-biting experience to take the edge off of your otherwise blissful life, enter the Delacorte Press Contest for a First Young Adult Novel. The deadline is December 31, and then they announce the winner AROUND April 30.

Around, being the key word. I gave myself until April 30 to hold out any hope that by some impossible miracle, I could make some kind of impression. Two days ago I found a thread online talking about people's experiences with other years, and this year's contest. A couple days ago I was pumped. The last rejections were sent out last week, and then nothing. Then yesterday, they started dropping like flies again. More rejections. And so I'm convinced now, it's only a matter of time before I get mine, too.

For a long time I would check the mailbox HOPING for a rejection letter so that I could move on and stop hoping for something better. But no, it couldn't be that easy. I am going to have to wait until after the contest deadline to find out that I didn't win. Dang it. And I'm one of those fools that can't put the thing down until the rejection letter is in my hands. Subconciously I hold out hope until the very last second even though my logical side is sick and tired of it.

I'm kind of psychotic that way. I tell myself everyday that I lost, but then bubbling up from the depths of my naivity is that glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe there is more for me in that great big world.

So, I'm still in rehab. I haven't got the rejection letter to finally put me out of my misery. Ironic, isn't it. How many people actually WANT a rejection letter?

Wait, I hear that little voice again, I don't want a rejection letter, I want a miracle!