Friday, April 30, 2010


On the eve of the official release of A BLUE SO DARK, I thought I'd do a celebratory reading! (I'm so excited, I don't even mind the silly phone ringing in the background!)

Now, you can see my words in print and hear my voice...

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Fellow Holly and fellow '10 debut-er Holly Cupala has been kind enough to feature me and A BLUE SO DARK in her super-clever Story Secrets blog series!

...Head on over to read the post and comment! (One lucky commenter will win a copy of A BLUE SO DARK!)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I got my first review from a blogger! And it’s soo fantastic…it’s up on my fridge, right beside the Booklist review! Thanks so much to Sam at One Sparkling Star!

And…I’m thrilled to announce I’ll be at the Borders on Glenstone in Springfield, Missouri to sign copies of A BLUE SO DARK! June 26, 1-3 p.m.

See you there!

Friday, April 16, 2010


Ah, so many incredible books. 2010 has already been full of such fantastic reads! I don’t know how busy book bloggers choose which novel to dig into first…seriously.

…But before you all take off for the weekend to find yourselves some nice shade trees where you can plunge into your current selections (does everyone have the kind of drinkably sweet spring weather we have in Missouri right now?), there’s one more interview to explore—at Between the Lines!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I’ve been reeling from this one all day: A BLUE SO DARK received a starred review in Booklist! (A star “indicates a work judged to be outstanding in its genre.”)

Here’s the excerpt that’s also been posted at the Flux website:

“Breathtakingly, gut-wrenchingly authentic...A haunting, realistic view of the melding of art, creativity, and mental illness and their collective impact on a young person’s life.”—Booklist, starred review

Monday, April 12, 2010


Love the questions that were just posted in a new interview at My Tea Time is Book Time! Love.

Hurry on over to find out who my book-crush is, and who I’d pick to play the characters in a movie adaptation of A BLUE SO DARK…

Friday, April 9, 2010


I’m ecstatic to bring you all a little snippet of my forthcoming debut! You’ll also find this excerpt posted this morning at The Book Pixie

In the prologue of A BLUE SO DARK, we find Aura on a family vacation in Florida, when Aura is only ten years old. This is before her parents’ divorce, before her mother begins to sink dangerously into the darkness of schizophrenia. The Florida Aura finds on her vacation doesn’t live up to the paradise she had imagined. But a tub of mermaids, carved from driftwood, that she discovers in a souvenir shop, offers a chance for Aura and her mother to share a moment together…the kind of sweet moment that seems gone for good when we next encounter Aura, at fifteen, in the book’s opening chapter.

…From the prologue:

I dug through the lot, picking up each new treasure and turning it over the way I’d imagined, before leaving Missouri, that I’d turn over seashells along the fringes of the exotic Florida shore. “Mermaids $2,” a sign taped to the gray metal tub advertised, and suddenly, I knew exactly what I wanted to take home from our disappointing trip. I was still trying to pick which mermaid I’d buy when a redheaded sea creature with a shiny gold tail was snatched from my hand.

“How much for all of them?” Mom asked, tossing the mermaid back the way a fisherman tossed back a tiny catch that just wasn’t enough. Her smiling face glowed from behind the curtain of her long black hair. God, that smile, it had a thousand watts of pride in it, and stretched farther across her cheeks than the grin she’d worn when I’d won Best Painting in the All School Art Exhibition the year before.

“All?” the man at the counter laughed. “Good grief, lady, waddaya want ’em all for?”

“For my daughter,” Mom said softly. She looked down at me, her eyes not just glittering, but snapping with fire, like two 4th of July sparklers. “She can’t decide which one she wants. I know, because I’d never be able to, either.” She ran her finger down the length of my nose, almost like you’d stroke a favorite pet, adding, “We’re just alike, me and Aura.”

And you know, back then, the idea of that didn’t scare the absolute hell out of me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Two of my guest posts just went live this morning! The first explores how I moved from writing literary fiction in my debut YA to writing a romance in my sophomore novel.

…I know that at first blush, literary fiction and romance might seem to have about as much in common as vibrant spring daffodils and dried-up old autumn leaves…But I say these two styles of writing are far more alike than that first blush might let on…

Here are a few thoughts on writing in multiple genres (which has also been posted this morning at The Book Pixie):
My debut novel, A BLUE SO DARK, is a literary YA that tackles mental illness, the nature of creativity, and the healing power of art, and is due out from Flux Books May 1!

My sophomore YA, PLAYING HURT, a summer romance that occurs between two athletes, is due out from Flux in ’11.

I know this might, at first, seem a little strange—following a literary novel with a romance. When I was in college, literary (character-driven) work and genre (plot-driven) work were discussed as two completely different forms of writing. But the revision process I went through to sell these two novels proves just how much the two genres depend on one another.

Let me explain:

I wrote A BLUE SO DARK in an explosion of creative energy—the whole process took just a little over two months! I cleaned it up, polished it, and began to submit…and the rejections started flooding my inbox. I was hearing that the book had some good literary writing but was just plain too internal. The novel took place far too much in Aura’s head. So I had to insert some action—instead of Aura telling the reader how she felt about her mother or her school life or her art or her best friend, I began to devise scenes in which we could see her interact with the people in her life.

Once Aura was talking and moving about in the world, she became a fully rounded character. Those editors I was submitting to could actually understand Aura better when they witnessed her interacting with the world around her than they could when she told them who she was straight-out!

PLAYING HURT was originally a romance about a couple of teens who found love through a summer affair. The main character, Chelsea, basically learned, in the initial draft, that there was a difference between friendship and romantic love—for the first time, she learned what lust, what passion felt like. But while the first draft of this book was filled with dramatized scenes, there just didn’t seem to be enough going on internally with the characters.

So…..I took a look at my draft, and thought my main character, Chelsea, seemed kind of…athletic. She liked the outdoor activities that took place at the resort where she met Clint, her love interest. So I thought—what if she’s an ex-athlete? What if she’s been hurt, and is at the resort to get some confidence…and then I thought, what if Clint’s been hurt…I began to build them up internally, focusing on character development rather than plot this time to fully round out the story.

Basically, I had to use what I’d learned from all my reading of genre fiction to infuse drama into A BLUE SO DARK, my literary novel. And I had to use what I’d learned about character development from literary fiction in order to fill out PLAYING HURT, my romance!

…So, yeah, literary and genre…I think they absolutely go hand-in-hand…

Now that I’ve whet you’re appetites, and you’re dying for another serving of writing advice, check this out: HOW DANDELIONS MAKE ME A BETTER WRITER. I’m not joking. They do—find out how over at The Book Girl Reviews!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Yep, that's's coming soon…an actual peek into A BLUE SO DARK (set to hit shelves now in less than a month)!

The fabulous Book Pixie has been kind enough to set aside three different slots for me…The interview just posted today—you’ll find a guest post and the sneak peek at her blog later this week. I’ll cross-post the guest post and peek here, too, so get revved and ready!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Okay, so it’s all still basically in the planning stages, but I’m so excited, I wanted to give everybody the heads up: I’ve just landed my first author event!

I’ll be at the Teen Lit Fest at The Library Center here in Springfield, taking your questions and signing copies of A BLUE SO DARK!

Mark it on your calendars: June 5.

More juicy details to come…
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