Scary Fall Reads

I’ve received lots of email lately this week from people who hope to write someday. Based on the two titles I’m about to recommend, I have some advice for everyone who’s written me this month about wanting to write someday. Here it is: do like these authors did and write the story that only you can write. Brilliant advice, huh? I estimate I’m the two-million-seven-hundred-thousand-sixty-fourth person to give this advice. (Give or take a few.) So you’ve probably heard it before. But it’s good advice. I read two great examples this week from writers who do just this: Maggie Stiefvater and Laura Elliot. I started reading Maggie the summer Shiver came out. I liked her writing, and I’ve been buying her books ever since. I want to recommend The Scorpio Races as an example of where a writer does what only Read more…

YA Indie Carnival–What’s New This Week

The Reckoning by M. Leighton, the second and final book in the Fahllen series, will be available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble on Monday, October 31st. Halloween day! Visit http://mleightonbooks.blogspot.com/2011/10/reckoning.html for excerpts and the latest on her new release! Book signing for Crushed by K.C. Blake this Saturday from noon to four at the Northpark Mall in Joplin, MO.! Read an excerpt here!  Join The Paranormal Plumes This Weekend Oct. 28-Oct. 30th in Savannah, GA IF YOU DARE! #paranormalplumessociety all weekend for virtual scares  The Noah sisters rule Titan High with their beauty, brains, and magical powers. Each year they play a secret game: Crushed. The girls pick their targets carefully and blow enchanted dust into the boy’s faces, charming them, but this year Kristen makes a grave mistake. She chooses the wrong boy and almost dies that same day. Coincidence? Maybe. But something isn’t quite right Read more…

God Bless the Nerds

Raise your hand if you’re a nerd. Of any variety. Maybe you’re a little too into ballet. Or Star Trek. Or you’re the only girl ever to like Halo. You think Middle Earth is a real place. You study obscure facts about World War II aircraft. You’ve read every work in the library’s biography section. Go on; raise your hand if you’re a nerd. I won’t laugh. As soon as I was old enough to scrawl my name across the back of a library card, I lived in libraries: the county library, stately with a cupola on top, the children’s section in a warm cozy basement; the school library, with large windows along one whole wall and ugly blue-gray carpeting that made your knees itch. Librarians became the fairy godmothers and fathers who provided me with riches beyond compare. I Read more…

Love in a Minor Key

Love in a Minor Key While my main characters wake me early in the morning and keep me tossing and turning at night, there are days when I find myself seduced by the charms of one of the minor characters inhabiting my personal universe. Like Sir Walter de Rochefort. Ah, Sir Walter, you relentless tease. Of all the characters in my Ripple series, he’s the most likely to tell me what he’s thinks of something. Anything. The dinner I cooked, (the dinner I didn’t cook), the danger in which I’ve placed a character, his opinion on American _________.  (You fill in the blank. He’s got plenty o’ opining when it comes toAmerica and Americans.) Whilst my other characters (major and minor) mostly skedaddle the moment I finish writing for the day, Sir Walter refuses. He hangs around unseen and unexpected Read more…

Finding the Gems

FINDING THE GEMS: A Tribute to Markus Zusak She leaned down and looked at his lifeless face and Liesel kissed her best friend, Rudy Steiner, soft and true on his lips.  He tasted dusty and sweet.  He tasted like regret in the shadows of trees and in the glow of the anarchist’s suit collection.    –Markus Zusak, The Book Thief If you have read and loved Zusak’s book, you may have come across his description of his writing: “I like the idea that every page in every book can have a gem on it.” When I first read this, I immediately thought, “Yes!” I knew I wanted to try to do that same thing: to make sure there was one sparkling bit of language on each page that would make a reader sigh or smile or cry or remember when. Read more…

Snape is My New Crush

Snape is my new crush. There. I said it out loud. Well, I put it in writing anyway. Like many readers, I feel an intense connection to Severus Snape every time I read through the second half of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I just wasn’t prepared for the effect that his story would have on me when presented on a really, really big screen. I wasn’t one of those who made it for the midnight viewings. I’d promised my niece that we would watch it together. (We’re both very bookish and deeply devoted to all things JK Rowling.) After I made the promise, it was a bit hard to keep, as she wouldn’t be coming to visit ‘til July 18th, and the rest of the family were too sick to go until the 20th. But this past Wednesday, Read more…

How Teenagers Can Give You the Courage to Change Your Life

It took two fifteen-year-old boys to convince me to follow my heart and start writing full time. Fifteen’s this great age. You’ve survived the battle arena of middle school and probably made it through your first year of high school. And in some part of you that maybe doesn’t hover on the surface, you know—absolutely know—that you can do something great. Something amazing. Something only you can do. Yeah, maybe a person or circumstance in your life has shoved that knowledge down to the deep end of the pool and tied it there with a big rock, but you still know it’s there, it’s true, and it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks because you know it. Look around at the adults in your life: how many of them still know this, carry it around in their pockets? One? Read more…

Candles and Electricity*

I am frequently asked why I chose to publish Rippler independently.  The short answer is that I couldn’t resist. Imagine for a moment that you lived in the age during which electric light was being installed. You don’t have electricity.  Some of your neighbors have had that new-fangled gas-lighting installed, but they admit it was a bother and that it smells bad, and honestly, you’ve always been fine with candles and a kerosene lamp or two yourself. Now imagine that you are off to the big city where you will stay in a hotel.  Your room is supplied with candles and electric lighting.  You try it out, and suddenly you see the appeal.  Electric light is bright and unwavering.  You consider how convenient it is; there’s no wick to trim, no running out of wax, and considerably less fire hazard. Read more…

All I Ever Wanted

I accomplished a huge life-goal over Memorial Day Weekend.  Since I was seven, I have wanted to write a book.  That goal morphed into “I want to write a book people will buy” as the years went on. Rippler (the book formerly known as “Ripple”) went live on Amazon this weekend and, shock of shocks, people bought it.  People not related to me.  (I would know this because I had more than the two sales I coerced family members into making!)  I spent my birthday (on traditional Mem. Day) pulling weeds and laying compost in the yard, and all day I had this happy flutter in my belly. I did it!  I really did it! My seven-year-old self just grinned and grinned. Book One in the Ripple Series 2.99 at Amazon

Things I Didn’t Miss on Vacation

I went to sunny, hot Florida for ten days to escape wet, cold Oregon.  There were quite a few things I didn’t miss. I didn’t miss the rain. I didn’t miss the sub-80-degree weather.  (80 is God’s perfect temperature; just sayin’.) Didn’t miss the cats me-yowling for breakfast. Okay.  Maybe just a teeny.  Gosh, I did kind of miss the cats, I guess.  Maybe I should list the things I missed, now that I am PATENTLY no longer on vacay. So . . . Um . . . There has to be something . . . Jeeves!  I missed my butler-alarm-clock.  Seriously, if you haven’t been woken up by the mellifluous voice of Stephen Fry as your own personal butler (Excuse me, madam, but the Washington Post rang, again . . .), then you have not lived.  I’m sure you Read more…