Sunday, March 27, 2011

Exile Countdown & Giveaway!

Exile Countdown--27 days!

See my previous blog post to participate in the giveaway! And for Exile review links & interview/guest post links.

Aurelia: Why are you writing a whole new post just to update the countdown?

Me: Because the blog gods refused to let me edit yesterday's post. Something about an "html error."

Aurelia: Scary.

Me: I thought so too.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Exile Countdown & Giveaway!

Exile Countdown: 33 Days

Aurelia: It’s time! It’s time!

Me: Time for what?

Aurelia: To start counting down the days before Exile’s release.

Me: Why do we need to have an Exile Countdown?

I receive a look of disdain. Which, truthfully, I deserve.

Aurelia: Because you sent out lots of ARCs to wonderful bloggers who are taking the time to read my story & review it.

Me: True.

Aurelia: And your readers need a location to find links to all those reviews.

I think to myself that Aurelia will not be very happy if I post links to negative reviews. But of course, we don’t talk about those.

Aurelia: That location is here!

Me: OK.

Aurelia: And because you’ve been spending hours writing creative interview answers and quirky guest blogs which those bloggers will also be posting.

Me: True. (Admittedly not at my peak writing time).

Aurelia: And you need a location to post the links to those as well. That location is here!

Me: Yes, that sounds good. (Inspiration strikes). And because I have two—count them two—extra ARCs (advanced copies) of Exile to be given away the week before Exile’s release.

Aurelia: And that location is. . .

Me: Here!

Exile Reviews: Check out the following sites for reviews of Robert & Aurelia’s second story. (To be updated repeatedly)

--The Authoress

--YA Book Nerd

Exile Guest Posts & Interviews: Check out the following sites for witty guest blogs & interviews by yours truly—and sometimes Aurelia. (To be updated repeatedly)

--YA Book Nerd Interview

EXILE Giveaway Contest Rules:

Simple: Answer one of the following questions and post your comment below, or send me an e-mail with the answer at

Giveaway Contest Question:

Option 1: If a very strong female character started talking to you, what would her particular strength be?

Option 2: Name your cat. And tell me his or her special talent.

Aurelia: Are you going to give them an example for the first question?

Me: For example, would your female character be particularly good at giving orders?

Aurelia: Very funny. Don’t you think it’s possible she might have many strengths?

Me: Like sarcasm?

Aurelia: Yes.

Me: And wit?

Aurelia: Yes.

Me: And intelligence?

Aurelia: Yes.

Me: And a particularly awesome ability to ride a horse.

Aurelia: No. I haven’t been talking to any authors other than you.

OK readers, we need your answers!

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Kitty

I have a new kitty.

First, before I introduce her, I must share the sad news that my best feline friend, Dance, passed away last month. Dance, and her sister, Tease, were exceptionally special kitties, as you can tell if you read the bio on my website.
I will be leaving the bio up, in honor of them (after all they took all that trouble to write it). And if you read the dedication at the beginning of Exile when it comes out, you will see that they were vital to the completion of that story, of which we are all very proud.

But today, I would like to introduce you to Charlotte.

I just met Charlotte last Tuesday. She arrived at my house around 4:30 p.m. and promptly decided that underneath the desk was a rather appropriate place for an author kitty to hide (beside several boxes of my books, school author visit brochures, Academy 7 postcards, and an all but empty box of Exile arcs). We discussed the fact that I could not pet her under the desk, and she scooted next to the outer edge to say that, “Yes, I could.”

We have progressed from there. Here is what I have learned about Charlotte since then . . .

-Her name is Charlotte. The people at the Home at Last Humane Society in the Dalles were under the impression it was Cappuccino, but this was incorrect, and we have agreed that Charlotte is her true name. She is a lovely grey and peachy kitty with short fur and a long tail.

-She can open drawers. In fact she is exceptionally fond of opening drawers that roll, and she finds bathroom drawers with funky objects in them far more exciting than kitchen drawers with towels.

-She can also bang cupboards. (She can open and climb in them too, but she prefers just to bang the doors).

-She can, in fact, use a scratching post, though she prefers knocking it down. (She and Tease have this in common).

-She is missing the tip of her right ear. This I think gives her an air of mystery and intrigues me about what will happen when I permit her into the wide world for her first expedition outdoors.

-She does not like being “scooped;” however, she is considering altering her opinion upon this point in exchange for the following:

-Feathered toys are the way to her heart.

-She also approves of plastic balls that jingle and balls of green yarn.

-But feathered toys . . .

-Feather toys make her amenable to sleeping on the back of the couch, my fuzzy blanket, and the bed.

I think we will be investing in quite a few.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Whole "Genre" Issue

How to Sell Your Book: Tip #1—Determine the genre.

Duh, I remember thinking back when I was writing AURELIA, it’s a young adult fantasy. On to tip #2.

Why did I think it was so obvious that Aurelia was a fantasy? Because in my head I categorize it with the following novels I love: Alanna, the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce, Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn, and Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith. Strong heroine. Check. Palace/royal setting. Check. Fantasy world. Check.

I always thought of Aurelia as a fantasy. Had absolutely no doubt.

Until later when researching query letters online, I stumbled into a list of fantasy subgenres and realized that not one of the fifteen descriptions failed to include magic.

There is no magic in Aurelia.

“Why not?” you ask.

That is a whole other blog post.

So . . . concerned by this long list of fantasy subgenres that didn’t include my book, I e-mailed someone on the SCBWI discussion page and asked, “Can’t you have a fantasy without magic?” I explained the whole princess-in-a-fantasy-world thing.

“Yes,” was the reply. “A fairytale fantasy.”

Problem-solved, I thought. Moving on. And forgot about the issue.

Until the book came out. And I read—in the reviews, newspaper articles, and various synopsis—that Aurelia was a “mystery,” a “teen romance,” and “historical fiction.”

This past week, an interviewer asked me if my books are “cross-genre.” I’d never heard of that term before. (I know, you probably have, but clearly my master’s degree in education; master’s focus in ESL, ed, and Spanish; bachelor of arts degree; major in elementary ed; minor in Spanish; second teaching fields in Spanish and English; and multitude of haphazard post-graduate coursework have left me uneducated). To me, everything is a mix of genres. There are mysteries to be solved in fantasies, levels of suspense in horror novels, romance within contemporary fiction. It’s just a matter of degrees. Isn’t it?

Perhaps not.

I’ve also heard that some ideas are “too genre.”

And here, I assumed everything was a genre.

So . . . LOL. I think it’s very clear that I don’t know what a “genre” is.

Aurelia: Yes you do.

Me: Oh, do I?

Aurelia: My story is a fantasy.

Me: Well, I’m glad you’re certain. And does that go for Exile as well as Aurelia?

Aurelia: Of course.

Me: And what genre are people going to call Exile?

Aurelia: Um . . . a teen adventure historical romance?

Me: LOL! We’ll see.

Monday, March 7, 2011

L.K. Madigan

Fellow Oregon author, L.K. Madigan, passed away last week.

I met Lisa twice, once on a young adult panel last spring when she was spoke about her award-winning novel, Flash Burnout. And once this past fall when we presented together on the topic of realistic fiction for teens. My ultimate impression of her, after both meetings, was that she was very kind. (And quite brave, as she was presenting both times and both times mentioned her fear of public speaking). Her second novel, The Mermaid's Mirror, has been on my to-read list since October.

Her husband has posted a special blog on her site and set up a memorial fund to help pay for her son's college tuition.

I hope some of you will visit.

There was also an article posted in the Oregonian recently about her life.