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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GCC Presents The Awesome Eileen Cook and THE ALMOST TRUTH!

I'm so excited to welcome one of my favorite authors and people today. Eileen Cook's latest YA contemporary, THE ALMOST TRUTH, is out this month, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of this one! And don't you totally LOVE this cover?

Book Summary:

From the author of Unraveling Isobel and The Education of Hailey Kendrick, a smart, romantic novel about a teenage con artist who might be in over her head.

Sadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn't prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose....
Totally sounds awesome, right? And Eileen stopped by to answer a few questions about her and her writing for me...
Welcome, welcome, my friend! Tell me about your book in seven words or less.
Con-artists, boys, best friends, finding yourself.

Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
I adore Brendan. This is a common problem for me, falling in love with cute boys that I write. Brendan is from the wrong side of the tracks and has a questionable sense of morality, but he’s fiercely loyal to his friends. I admire his tenacity and sense of humor. I always fall for the funny guys.

 What's one piece of writing advice you would give to aspiring authors?
The best advice is to read.  Books are the best teachers. The second is to know why you want to be a writer. This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. If you understand your motivation for wanting to do it, it’s easier to stick with it when times are hard. My final piece of advice is to surround yourself with good people who will cheer you on and pick you up as needed.
 What did you write when you were a teen? Did you journal? Write poetry? Write overly literary or emotional stories? Or avoid writing altogether?
I’ve always been a huge reader and writer. I knew that I wanted to be a writer from a really young age, but I didn’t always believe it was a real option. It felt a bit like saying you want to be a princess or wizard- great idea, but not likely to happen.

 What's the last book you read that you really loved?
My two favorite books this year (and they couldn’t be more different) were The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Praise for Eileen Cook’s books

".. enormously appealing and great company throughout this breezy read.....the highest quality—like a gourmet truffle. Cook has whipped up a real treat." - Kirkus Starred Review

"Thrilling and creepy, super sexy, and so very hilarious." - Lisa McMann, bestselling author of the Wake trilogy

"Sassy and sly and sweet all at the same time, this book made me laugh out loud." - Meg Cabot, author of The Princess Diaries and Airhead

About Eileen Cook

Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in eight different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.  Her latest release, Unraveling Isobel came out in Jan 2012

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at  Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday (Is It Friday Already?) Four

1. 48,000 words and counting on NaNo. In the midst of the climax and so close to the finish line I could spit over it. Why is THIS the hardest point to keep going?

2. American Thanksgiving has me thinking of all the many things I'm thankful for. Right now I'm thankful for mandarin oranges, cold mornings where I get to stay inside, and my blog and book readers. In no particular order...

3. I'll be raising the price slightly on my nonfiction book, WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART. I admit, before I published it, I hadn't done a lot of research into pricing. I just knew that $2.99 was the threshold with Amazon to put me in the higher royalty-earning bracket for ebooks. I've since done more research and found that most writing craft books are priced significantly higher. WRITING WITH A HEAVY HEART will still be very much still on the low end, and I'm okay with that because I'm not doing much marketing, hoping the low price will make it appealing, and also it's not a terribly lengthy book.

But...if you are a blog reader of mine and are still wanting a copy (or want to get a copy for a writer-friend for Christmas), click the link above to get it at the lower price before it goes up.

4. My son turned nine while we were away on holidays. People say it goes fast--raising children--but holy cow! I'll be spending my time this weekend trying to keep my sanity around a group of nine year olds. Any ideas for indoor party games for this age? So far I have them building and decorating marshmallow men and playing pirate charades, but it's supposed to rain, so I'm open to other ideas.

Happy weekend, my friends!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wow, It's Been A While...

I guess I've kind of dropped the ball on blogging lately, huh? I have a few decent excuses.

First, I'm still working hard at NaNoWriMo. Since November 1st I have written just over 47,000 words on a new YA novel! I don't like to talk about my novels too much before they're written, but since this one is close to being done, I'll tell you a couple little tidbits. It's tentatively titled TENT and it's about a girl named Delaney who gets caught up in the world of religious tent meetings and unwanted miracles. I'm having fun researching this one, and especially researching the location. It's set in South Carolina. My fingers are crossed that I'll get a chance to visit there at some point during the writing/revising process.

Secondly, we took a family vacation this month to Florida! I've been looking forward to this trip for a long time (years) but we ended up booking the actual dates very last minute. And yes, I kept writing on my NaNo project every day on vacation. At least a little.

I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan (*cringes away from all the people who want to hit me*) but I must say, the Harry Potter ride at Universal is probably the best ride I've been on. That, or Expedition Everest.

They really do things up big in Florida (besides the ride, the Harry Potter castle was quite amazing.)

We spent all of our ten days away pretty much walking. And walking. And more walking. My feet and back are tired, but it was a very satisfying and fun vacation.

Then on the way home we had something really cool happen. We had a 3 hour layover in the Dallas airport. None of us were all that happy to be stuck there, but we chilled out in the little food fair in the airport terminal. My husband kept saying that a guy at the table behind us looked like Toby Mac - who is my son's favorite musician. It turned out it WAS Toby Mac, and not only that, but he came over and complimented my son on his shoes.

My son told us later that in a group class he goes to each week, his teacher asked everyone what they would wish more more than anything else in the world. My son said he wished he could meet Toby Mac!

So right up until the end it was a fun and exciting vacation for us. Life is always busy getting caught up after being out of town, but I hope to be around more on the blog in the next while. I'll also be holding some upcoming giveaways and such once I get organized.

Hope everyone else has had a great November!

ETA: Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends!! Please enjoy an extra serving of stuffing and pumpkin pie for me :-)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

#Nanowrimo Tips

The question I get asked beyond any other at this time of year is this: How the H E Double Hockey Stick do you write a book so fast?

Well, I've done this for a few years and seem to get faster and faster each year, so I do have a few tips.

1. Write before you do anything else each day. Once your brain gets busy with other things, be it making your kids breakfast or getting dressed or even making coffee. When your brain is still hazy from sleep, it is much closer to The Creative Zone. Use that time to your advantage. And then come back later and write another chunk of words. And maybe one more. Make these junks manageable--something you can do in 20 minutes to half an hour. Then it won't feel like such a burden or obstacle to your day.

2. Make a plan with your family. Once my family understood how important to me it is to write before I do anything else, they started to back off from talking to me or asking me for things. If you involve them as part of your plan for writing your novel, they may be more receptive to helping you.

3. Don't say you can't think of anything to write. Try not to even think those words, but above all else, don't say them. Even if you really CAN'T think of anything to write, make yourself a deal that you'll sit down and start anyway. You'll be amazed after typing a first sentence (even if it's "I don't know what Character is going to do now, but it's sure to be something!") I guarantee, your second sentence will come easier. And the next one, easier than that. The act of writing, whether by pen or computer, gets the brain to hand connection going. It's like opening floodgates. Only a little water gets through at first, but if you keep going, soon it's gushing through.

4. Jot down scene ideas when you're not writing. If you at least have a scene in mind that you want your character to head toward, it will help keep your momentum going and won't leave you staring at a blank page, wondering which direction to go.

5. Do something else creative. Creativity breeds creativity. Whether you paint or draw or dance or sing or write a poem or act out charades for your friends, if you do something else creative, it will help get the juices flowing.

That's just a few tips for today. I admit, I also type very fast, but that wasn't something I was born with. Ten years ago, I pecked with two fingers. I practice.  A lot.

If you have other Nano tips, I'm always excited to hear them. I want to grow better and make this less and less painful each year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Friday Four!

1. Check out my Nanowrimo widget! ---------->
So far, so good! As I think of little tidbits that help me along the ways, I'm posting them on Twitter under #nanowrimotips.

2. We gave up on toilet training our cat. At least for now. She found her litter pan stashed in the basement, and has been using that exclusively. She's such a good kitty that we don't want annoy her by forcing her out of her toileting comfort zone. Plus, on the bright side, we have our second toilet back!

3. If you're around the Vancouver area, I'll be part of an AWESOME teen author event at the North Vancouver Public Library tomorrow, including Eileen Cook, Mindi Scott, Catherine Knutsson, and Joelle Anthony. Check out this link for more info.

4. I posted a few of these on Facebook, but I wanted to share some pictures from an amazing local pumpkin artist. Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween (and my heart went out to all those in New Jersey who were/are still without power. I hope you are finding ways to stay safe and warm!).