I’m moving. *Sniff*

Dear friends,

A new chapter of my writing career has opened up and I am now blogging from my author website. Please update your feeds and bookmarks so you can continue with me on my journey over there.

Some of you have been with me from the beginning of this blog, four years ago. And it’s been wonderful having you along for the ride. Your comments have lifted me up in times of distress and I will always be grateful for your constant flow of support.

This blog has been important to me from the beginning, from that first post, written in a flash of desperation (and inspired by a bottle of nail polish), when I knew there had to be something more.

So I reached out and you took me in, bracing me with pillars of encouragement.

And I will always be grateful for that.

To those of you I’ve met only in the virtual light and heat that pulses from my screen, I say thank you.

It’s been fun.

But! This is not goodbye. The journey continues over at my other blog, where we can further build this relationship. And maybe, just maybe, meet in the pulsing heat of real life one day.

To my fellow peddlers of the written word, toiling in the wee hours in the blue light glowing from your screens, let me just say, with love: You are a writer … dangit.

Now, turn off the Internet and go write.

To those of you not a slave to the page, come visit me at:

The new Blog, where I release my work into the world and then try not to grind my teeth into raw little buds in fits of overnight anxiety.

Facebook, which creates even more anxiety as distant relatives and people I didn’t actually know in high school link to my writing.

Twitter, which, for some reason, feels more removed for me. And thus, more comfortable. Where I attempt to ease my anxiety by rapping out entries in 140 characters or less.

Before you see Insurgent

Insurgent, the second book in the Divergent series, is in theatres tomorrow.

For those of you who read the books a LONG time ago and can’t recall exactly what to look forward to in this film, Moviefone.com has created a little recap you might find helpful:
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A few notes on this recap:
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1. I love how they call Peter a “Machiavellian jerk.” I never actually saw him as Machiavellian, but he does tend to operate under the attitude of, “the ends justify the means,” so it makes sense to relate to him in that way. Let me just say, though, for the producers to cast Miles Teller in this role was BRILLIANT. After the violence Peter exudes in Divergent, it’s hard to sympathize with his character later on. But Teller is a versatile actor, and we come into this film already loving him, after his work in The Spectacular Now and 21 & Over (I never saw the Footloose remake, but I’m sure he was fantastic as Willard in that flick). In Divergent, I felt Teller brought a humor and dimension to Peter that I didn’t expect. And I’m prepared to forgive Peter his stupidity, just because of the physical embodiment of the actor in the role.
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2. I’m not about spoiler alerts. But I’m really not looking forward to Tris’s experiences in Insurgent. I am, however, prepared to hate the person who betrays her. You know what I’m talking about, readers. And I’m sure you glared at the screen as I did when you saw this character in Divergent.
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3. Octavia Spenser is playing Joanna Reyes!! Another fantastic casting choice!
4. Uriah shows up finally! Glad to see him. Love him and want to hang out with him. Do some zip lining. You know.
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5. Naomi Watts is playing Evelyn, the leader of the factionless. I don’t know about this. I thought of Evelyn as ugly and angry. And while I’m sure Watts can pull off angry, not sure she could be ugly on her worst day. I’m looking forward to seeing her try though. To be fair, maybe she wasn’t meant to be ugly. Perhaps that’s just my interpretation of the character from the book. That’s the beautiful thing about books, they allow you to create in your mind whatever world you envision. And that’s why it’s so great to see the film afterward, to see the visions other people have had for that character. So exciting.
6. This fierce pic of the factionless is awesome:
24194.cr2What I love about the factionless is the way the reader’s image of them transforms between Divergent and Insurgent. In the first book, we feel sorry for them. They are homeless drifters who have been cast away from society, left to starve and die. But then. In Insurgent we realize that image of this group of people was entirely wrong. Look at that picture. Do they look pathetic to you?
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I’m looking forward to seeing this film, probably more than I was looking forward to Divergent. I honestly think the excitement building in me is based on what the producers did with the first film. I know it’s not standard for a book lover to gush over the film adaptation, but in this particular case, I feel it was done well.
I have to say, I was initially concerned when the casting between The Fault in Our Stars and Divergent were going to cross paths. Obviously, that worried me a little. But I’me over it and anticipating good things with Insurgent.
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Such an exciting time for book lovers and movie lovers alike!

Writer’s Retreat

Saw this on Facebook today and had to share. Is it sad that the spots I relate to most in this are the First Draft Furnace and the Desperation Drop?

I’m editing right now, so maybe that’s just where I am in the process …

Harper Lee To Publish To Kill a Mockingbird Sequal

Whaaaaaat?

That is the reaction I had when I saw a fellow bibliophile post the news on Facebook.

“I have an announcement,” I said at dinner that night. I was so excited, I felt like I might burst. My children put down their forks and gazed at me with anticipation. “Harper Lee is finally publishing a second novel.”

The looks I got at that point ranged from annoyed to exasperated.

The significance of this news is lost on 5-and-8-year-old boys.

So I texted a friend to see if she’d heard. Lee is her favorite novelist and To Kill a Mockingbird sits in a prominent position in her home library. Below is a pic I took of her library when I was visiting this past October. She and her partner do not have children and, therefore, wake up way later than I do. So every time I visit, I make myself some coffee, snuggle into the chaise in their library and read the intro to Amy Tan’s Saving Fish From Drowning. It’s become a valued tradition. So last time I was there, I photographed the moment. See Lee’s book on display in the bottom right corner?

She, at least, shared in my excitement, as I’m sure you will.

It’s – in my opinion – the biggest literary announcement of the decade.

If you’d like to get in on this little bit of history, you can pre-order your copy from Amazon.com.

Walmart turned Library

In McAllen, TX, an old abandoned Walmart store has been turned into a HUGE library. With bonus space for a farmer’s market.

I can’t imagine anything more wonderful.

walmart 1

walmart farmers market 6

See the story here.

Upgrading my book cover

As I get closer to the end of my second novel, I am looking for ways to tie it to my first.

The characters are not the same, but both books place young adults in natural disaster situations, to see how they fare. Character development ensues.

I have some ideas about how I want the book covers to fit together, but right now I’m just toying with the creative process. (I don’t even have a release date yet for Book Dos [or, clearly, a title], so this idea is infantile.)

Below are several book covers I enjoy, and some that invoke the same feeling I’d like to inspire with my own.

Disclosure: Not all of these books are some I’d recommend. Some I haven’t even read. These are solely for visual pleasure.

Both of these are simplistic, yet convey powerful images:

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Twilight (Twilight, #1)

These are part of the same series, and I love how they tie into each other:

Fallen (Fallen, #1)Torment (Fallen, #2)

Here’s another example of two books in a series playing off each other. I love the black and white, and the striking use of color to contrast:

The Dark Divine (The Dark Divine, #1)The Lost Saint (The Dark Divine, #2)

I also enjoy the similarity of these:

So, I’m looking for simplicity and drama.  In a branding format.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

 

 

 

Free books at the airport!!

An article today over at goodreader.comdig-lib-1 304xx640-960-40-0 announced San Antonio International Airport has become the first to offer travelers access to free digital books.

Here’s a tidbit:

If you are passing through the San Antonio International Airport you can now borrow eBooks for free. Two Digital Library kiosks have been installed by the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library at a cost of $26,000.

The San Antonio Public Library has introduced a new innovative new feature into the kiosks that will allow out-of-town travelers to get a temporary library SAPL card that they can use right in the airport. The cards are good for 24 hours and have a limit of three items that can be checked out for seven days.

What an awesome way to attract travelers to the ebook market. And to use a library card!

Good show, San Antonio. Good show.

Word Crimes

If you are a word nerd, like me, you will appreciate this video, shared with me by an editor and fellow nerd.

Enjoy.

 

Camping in the wake of a Wildfire

The wildfires that raged across central Texas in 2011 were a core plot theme in my 2012 novel Wildfire.

Recently, we camped with friends in Bastrop State Park, where the lingering effects of the devastation are still hauntingly apparent, even three years later.

Fallen trees are scattered about the landscape, and the remaining survivors reach upward, their spindly, charred bodies a thin, bare skeleton of their former selves.

It was a sad and beautiful hike, as vegetation persists, pushing up around the remains of the fallen victims.

A sign at the front of the campground warned us to “Beware of Falling Trees.” And we did witness one falling, right across the riverbed from our campsite. It was a miserable cracking sound, followed by a crash to the water below.

I love the sky in this one (no filter, I’m not that fancy):

Nature is busy repairing itself here. And small slices have been taken from some of the trees, which I assume is the Forest Service’s method of determining which trees live on against the ruin and which are beyond salvation.

In the pic below, you can see a tree on the right, where foliage springs out at the very top, a desperate attempt to live on, despite the scorched trunk below.

My oldest son’s best buddy came with us, and he mused there must be an evil wizard who lives in this forest. And it does appear to be the kind of forest an evil wizard would choose to live in.

Just two dudes, talkin’ ’bout wizards:

At one point on the trail, it seemed as if someone had set up an obstacle course (runoff deterrent?) (evil wizard?):

Among the fun, s’mores and campfire stories, this trip was a reminder of the lasting effects of the wildfire. And a comforting assurance that nature does endure.

Teen Librarian Toolbox’s open letter to the media

I’m linking to this great article written by a YA Librarian.

It is brilliant. And wonderful. And brilliant.

The post is called “Dear Media, Let me help you write that article on YA literature”.

Read it.

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