Friday, January 27, 2012


It's beyond hard to believe, but it's true: this March, PLAYING HURT will be a year old! Get ready to celebrate with me by snagging yourself a copy, if you haven't already done so.

If you've been a bit reluctant to read PLAYING HURT, perhaps because you're not usually a romance reader, this vlog is for you! (Or, if you've got a reading pal who's been reluctant for the same reason, pass them the link to this post!) Thanks to some lyrical writing and heavy subplots, PLAYING HURT is, as I explain here, more than just a simple summer love story:

For those of you with e-copies: get your books signed through Kindlegraph!

And be sure to check out my latest interview with the incredible Catherine Ryan Hyde for a chance to win a PLAYING HURT swag pack!

Monday, January 23, 2012


While many of the firsts in my own life carried with them a swirl of different emotions—excitement and joy and uncertainty and confusion and elation—one first has the power, even as I think back on it today, to bring back only one emotion: pure, 100% terror.

The first day of junior high.

Sure, it can sound a little goofy, now, to call it one of my all-time most frightening experiences. And, to be fair, I certainly faced firsts, as I grew older, during which I had more to risk, had more at stake, than I did facing my first day of junior high. But I’ve never been quite as frightened by anything. Never.

In some respects, I shouldn’t have been scared at all—my junior high was actually an extension of my elementary school. I was going to the same building where I’d been a student for seven years by the time I started junior high. But…my closest friend had moved away the summer before; we’d been friends since the second grade, and of course I felt a bit lost going into junior high without her. I was also just incredibly shy, and my heart would race at the mere idea of being in the midst of so many new faces, strangers, in such a new environment—sure, the building was the same, but lockers? Fighting hallway traffic every hour? Changing clothes for PE? It was all uncharted territory.

Gonna Party Like It's 1987:

Far right: me (in the penguin T-shirt) and my closest elementary-school friend (in the pink shorts) at my brother's birthday party.

Thinking back on it, I can still feel the nervous sweat breaking out and my legs going weak as I rounded the corner to East Hall that first morning, toward the science classes (my first class was biology). I remember what I was wearing (purple shirt, vest, shorts), and how I literally thought I would faint before I got to that classroom.

Long story short, I made it. No fainting. I even made it through lunch.

Surviving junior high is just one example of a first that makes me certain, as an adult, that I’ll figure my way out of tough or scary situations. Back when I was twelve, though, I didn’t have that certainty. I hadn’t maneuvered on my own enough to know that I could trust myself. And that’s what made that first day so frightening.

It takes serious guts to be the kids we write for. Because every single day, one of them is facing some first that terrifies them the same way the first day of junior high terrified me. And they don’t have enough triumphs in their lives yet to know for sure they’ll figure their way out. They’re just taking the plunge…

I so admire those kids. And that's a big part of the reason why, in addition to YA, I also write for the MG crowd. And I just feel so privileged to be writing for such an incredibly brave bunch.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Filming vlogs is a blast...but I'm not sure if my usually-serious finished products (interviews, writing tips, etc.) have ever revealed how much fun I really do have filming them.

...I'm pretty sure, though, that this silly outtake from a vlog I filmed this week does a good job of showing what a joy they can be...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


I turned 35 this week. I’m really not quite sure how this happened. At first, seeing this age next to my name was a bit like those instances when you get your credit card bill and say, “Hey, there’s no way I spent this much money this month,” only you know, even before you get out that fine-toothed comb, that you really have. Somehow, I’ve raced through 35 years’ worth of time.

Some cool stuff I got:

* A Kindle cover. Now, I get to retire that sheet of Bubble Wrap I was using to protect it inside my purse. Nobody’ll snicker at me when I haul the thing out in public to read.

*A giant silver piggy bank (he’s so cute, I’m gonna wanna feed him). I named him Ponzi.

* The realization that I am right now in the very place I would have given my eye teeth to be, four years ago.

It’s so easy (for me, at least) to always be looking at some distant prize, dancing on the horizon somewhere. This week, though, I was reminded that four years ago, I had yet to land any sort of deal with anyone—publisher, agent, etc. Although I did have a fabulous hole in the drywall, where I’d been knocking my head against the office wall…

Which brings me to the coolest gift of all, which arrived in droves:

* Happy Birthday wishes, from readers and fans via Twitter, Facebook, my website, and my various email addresses. I always say the best gift is just a, “Happy Birthday.” And I got so many this year, it brought a tear to the eye…Thanks, guys. Seriously.

I wound the day down with a performance from my favorite musician, Will Hoge, on Kimmel. Get this—he sang “Too Old to Die Young.” Come on. How perfect is that?

Thursday, January 5, 2012


My own second YA, PLAYING HURT, features slightly older characters, for the genre: Chelsea's already graduated from high school and Clint has finished his first year of college when the two meet and embark on their love story. One of the reasons I chose protagonists of that age is because I love stories that focus on characters who are in the midst of one of life's times of transition—a rocky, scary, thrilling new beginning. The kind of beginning that finds us at the end of our school days, or as we set out to establish ourselves in "the real world," etc.

That's a big part of why I love this video; I can't help it—I smile every single time I watch it. I really appreciate the transition Ms. Swift is making here; this is the first time I've ever viewed her in an adult capacity...Plus, as PLAYING HURT also illustrates, I'm just a sucker for a sweet love story:

Speaking of PLAYING HURT, I absolutely loved bumping into Best-of-'11 lists throughout the blogophere late in December that featured the book. I wanted to highlight a few here, from Reading Angel, Book Goonie, and Magnet 4 Books.

I'd also like to know: how do you prefer your characters in YA? Older? Younger? Weigh in below!

...And with that, I officially kick of '12 here at the blog! I can't help it—I just have this fabulous feeling about '12. Life is good...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...