Thursday, May 31, 2012


There just aren't enough exclamation points in the world for this one: my next YA novel is on the way!

That's FERAL, forthcoming from HarperCollins...Commence screaming with excitement...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I've got big news, guys.  Big.  Huge.  Enormous.  It's especially great news for all of my YA fans.  It's such great news, in fact, that I'm going to need your help spreading the word.

So...before I get into the nitty-gritty of what this news is, specifically, I need you to get on my mailing list.  Seriously.  You need to click here and sign up, so you'll be sure to get the 4-1-1 on this incredible, incredible turn of events.  So you'll be able to be part of this fantastic announcement.  And believe me, you do not want to miss out.  Click that link.  Sign up.

Big news is coming.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A new vlog interview's just gone live for this month's YA Saves!  Hosted by both Patricia's Particularity and The Busy Bibliophile, the series has featured authors and books that tackle the tough topic of mental health / mental illness.  My own interview recently went live; be sure to head on over to The Busy Bibliophile to enter to win a signed copy of A BLUE SO DARK!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


One of my junior high friends was over at the house one day when ROMANCING THE STONE came on cable.  You remember how it starts, right?  With Kathleen Turner wrapping up her latest novel, bawling over her own lines as she types?  My friend started laughing; she elbowed me and said, "That's going to be you someday!"

Truer words have never been spoken.  This is what I've looked like this week, as I hammered out my latest book:

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I love this week's Follow Friday question!  At which vacation spot would I most like to catch up on all my reading?  The Lake of the Woods fishing resort, of course!  (After all, I invented the resort; it's the fictional location where Chelsea meets her love interest, Clint, in my second book, PLAYING HURT.  If I came up with it, it must be my dream vacation spot, right?)

If you're a new follower, be sure to leave a comment so I can check out your blog!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


I wasn’t really sure what to make of Tumblr, at first…But after starting my own blog on Tumblr last week, I’ve quickly become obsessed with the site.  While I still absolutely love getting a chance to share longer posts here at my author blog, there's just something so incredibly challenging about keeping it short and sweet on sites like Tumblr (cutting out all the fat can be a real struggle for anyone who's a novelist at heart)!  There’s also something fascinating about how such quick, blurb-like posts have a way (over time) of painting a picture of the blogger.  One of my favorite features of Tumblr, though, is the way Q & A with another blogger can become a post in and of itself (as opposed to being a stream of comments at the end of a post):

How about you?  What’s the best—most fun or most useful—social networking site you’ve taken part in lately?

Monday, May 14, 2012


Full-time writing is not a leisurely occupation.  It's in no way a job that allows a person to simply wait around for inspiration to float by, so they can casually scrawl a few lines on a page, toss it their agent's way and instantly start racking up royalties.  Writing is the toughest gig out there—and once you begin, you’d better be prepared to work more weekly hours than a cardiologist. 
That having been said, any workaholic still has to have some sort of downtime.  One of the things I’m doing now in my off-hours is helping my brother, John, who has taken the full-time plunge into working for himself, selling antiques, collectibles and other vintage goodies online as Wisdom Lane Antiques

It’s a joy to accompany him on buying trips (he’s been my own personal photog these past few years, attending all my author events to take pics or video, and it's nice to be able to help him out a bit).  In addition to offering my brother a second set of eyes while shopping, I also get a chance to change up my own writing scenery: I put my NEO in the car (like any good workaholic) and always manage to score a cool new writing spot—under big trees at farm auctions or in the front yards of estate sales. 

I've long had my own love of anything vintage—and have a fairly sprawling collection of antique costume jewelry to show for it.  For years, I've been deconstructing out-of-fashion necklaces, bracelets, etc. (nothing signed or valuable, don't worry), and rearranging the antique pieces in a more contemporary way.  I’ve been wearing my own reinvented necklaces and bracelets for years, and have a few for sale now, at my brother’s Etsy shop:
Click to view on John's Etsy Shop

Click to view on John's Etsy Shop

You can even now buy the necklace I’m wearing in my author photo here at the blog:

Click to view on John's Etsy Shop

Head on over and check them out.  You can also follow my brother on Twitter: @Wisdom_Lane.  Tell him I sent you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


You might expect me to cringe at the idea of my books hitting a used bookstore.  When copies move from the shelves of second-hand stores, I won’t see a dime, after all.  You might even expect me to cringe a bit at the idea of my books being housed in a library, where a single copy can be checked out and read until the book falls apart completely.  Again, all those reads, and the only money I’ll see comes from the purchase of one copy.
But in all honesty, I love knowing that my books are being sold second-hand.  And librarians—sure, I appreciated librarians before my books released.  Now?  Librarians have a special place in my heart.  (Especially my own local librarian, Sarah of GreenBeanTeenQueen.) 

Here’s the deal: times are hard.  And I mean, hard.  (Newscasters can tell me all they want that the recession is over, or improving.  When I look out my window, at Southwest Missouri, I just don’t see much—if any—evidence of that.)  And novels aren’t exactly the cheapest things in the world—especially when you’re an absolute book junkie, and the written word is your drug of choice.  Think about it: buy one hardback ($20) book a week, and you’ve spent over a thousand dollars in a year.  And most readers I know consume far more than one book a week. 

Readers have to be choosy about what they actually purchase.  And a new or emerging author is usually not going to make the cut. 

Enter second-hand stores and libraries, which provide a cheap (or free) opportunity for readers to become acquainted with my work.  Enter booksellers and librarians, who have fallen in love with my books and recommended them to readers, who have in turn picked up copies and become fans as well.

I’ve actually heard from fans who discovered my books in their local libraries—and then wound up loving my work enough to blog about it.  Some who discovered my books in libraries later ordered copies of their own for their personal bookcases or to give to friends.  A few readers have used my books for English assignments, and have given my books to teachers, who then made their own recommendations.  I've even heard from bloggers who stumbled upon my books, then purchased copies so that they could host giveaways on their blogs.  Now, that is incredible.  All of that word-of-mouth activity, and to a great extent, it originates with someone picking my book up off the shelf of a library or a second-hand store. 

As writers, that's ultimately what we're out to establish—a readership who already knows us, who recommends us to friends and followers, wants to invest in us when our latest books release.  And that’s what second-hand stores and libraries provide—a way to establish our readership.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I’m a regular at the bi-annual Friends of the Library Book Sale…I usually go more than once during the week-long event, as the books that fill an entire warehouse of tables are constantly changing (volunteers actually continue to unload eighteen wheelers of books as the week progresses).  I always make it a point, too, to visit bag day, which I think is safe to say is everyone’s favorite day of the sale.  For a buck (or five, if you’re in the better books section, which I usually am), you can grab up an entire paper grocery bag of reads.  
I can’t tell you how many authors I’ve discovered at these sales.  And I’m not the only one.  On bag day, the line starts forming at least an hour before the doors open.  And when shoppers are finally let inside?  It’s a bit like Black Friday, actually.

This year, I was in the throngs when the doors opened on bag day, and the children’s books had disappeared completely by the time I actually got inside.  As had the vast majority of the antique volumes.  I’m not exaggerating—just in the time it took me to walk inside, those sections were all but cleaned out.  And while this sale does present an opportunity to grab up some books that might have some value, most people really do honestly appear to be after new reads.  Most are stocking up on their entertainment of choice—a good thick book.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that this spring’s book sale had clobbered their previous record, bringing in more than $121,000. 

I can’t tell you how much I love knowing that so many people love their books as much as I do.  Reading is in no way dead—is in no way even in jeopardy, judging by this year’s FOL Book Sale.

Kudos, fellow Springfieldians—kudos!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Throughout May, we're celebrating mothers (and parental figures in general) at both of my group author blogs: YA Outside the Lines and Smack Dab in the Middle...So, in honor of all things Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to share the mother of all plans.  Yes, oh, yes, I had it all worked out.  I was twelve, and it was the summer before junior high, and this was it—this was going to be the moment in which I won Mom over, got her to see things from my (admittedly, completely blurry) point of view.

First, a bit of backstory:

I was nine years old when the worst, most tragic event of all time came crashing down upon my slender little third-grader shoulders.

I could no longer read the chalkboard.

It happened suddenly, actually—I came back from spring break to find that my desk had been moved by well-meaning floor-sweeping janitors from the front row to the back.  And the daily handwriting assignment, which our teacher put up on the board for us to copy each morning, was a complete and total blur.  I couldn’t see.  Period.

My first glasses were fairly strong (for 20/200 vision).  And—I hated them.  Talking hate here.  Hate.  The fact that it was 1986 didn’t help, either.  Remember glasses of the ‘80’s?  The enormity!  The hideousness!  Uuuugh!

And it officially began: the battle with my mom for contacts. 

I didn’t just want contacts.  I lusted after them, especially as my eyes grew progressively worse.  By the time I was headed for junior high, my prescription was creeping up toward a -5.00 (20/500 vision), and there was no way I could just take my glasses off at that point and navigate the majority of my days without them, haul them out of a backpack pocket to read the board once I got to class.  Not if I didn’t want to start having long, heated conversations with hallway water fountains, anyway.

So, the summer before seventh grade, I came up with my infinitely brilliant plan:  I would get the ugliest pair of 1980’s glasses I could find.  I mean, ugly.  Proof:

I just knew what would happen: when we picked up the glasses, and Mom saw how awful I looked, her eyes would widen in sheer horror.  She’d insist we exchange the glasses for contacts, immediately, if not sooner.
Yeah.  Didn’t work.  As my seventh grade picture up there reveals.

Sure, I did get my contacts—the summer before high school, actually.  And I wore them until I gleefully pitched the lenses and all the unending vials of cleaning solution in the trash shortly after my thirtieth birthday.  In the end, the things that are important to us as teens are never the things that are important to us as adults.  This Mother’s Day, as my own mom and I laugh at this—and other—horribly failed grand schemes, I’ll also be remembering that my teen characters should always have plans of their own that are obviously doomed, that provide a bit of comic relief, and that show them stumbling and learning and laughing all along their life’s journey.
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