Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A School Visit Filled with Characters

Today I was lucky enough to spend some time with Mrs. Poulton's fabulous Language Arts class at Harrington Middle School in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. I love school visits. I love spending time with students. I love chatting about writing. I love hearing what students think about YA novels. And I love teaching a middle school writing lesson again. 

This morning we chatted about characters. Characters are my absolute favorite part of the novel process and all my stories begin with a single character idea. I adore character creation, from the first tiny seek of an idea to the traits to the name to the actual person. And yes, they are real to me. Seriously. :) 

We spent a ton of time talking about how to create memorable characters. Then, I shared one of my character secrets - magazines. When I first begin brainstorming my next novel and thinking about characters, I grab a ton of magazines and start flipping until I find a model, celebrity, or photo that embodies the mental picture I developed. Then, I cut out the pic and glue it into my novel notebook, so I can better visualize my character. From there, I begin writing out character interviews, a trait list, and name him or her. 

After my chat, the students began cutting out pics and jotting down some traits. It was amazing how finding a photo sparked entire stories. I was so impressed with their ideas and imagination. In fact, I can't wait to read their finished stories. 

How do you create memorable characters? And if you're not an author or writer, who is your fave character of all time - television, movie, or book? 

Thanks, Mrs. Poulton's class! I had a blast. 

Have a fabulous week and weekend, everyone! ;) 

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Serious Case of Cabin Fever

While completing research for my latest WIP, I stumbled upon this amazing show...
I confess. I have a problem.  I'm not your average normal television viewer and I rarely really like a TV show. I mean, I like shows like LAW & ORDER and DANCING WITH THE STARS. But, when I really, really like a show I watch it obsessively. Like LAS VEGAS. Right now, I'm TiVoing it everyday. 
But, LAS VEGAS certainly doesn't trump ONE TREE HILL, my favorite show of all-time. And it doesn't beat 90210, which is my nineties fave show and one that I could veg out on the couch and watch at any moment. 

By the way, if you never watched OTH, it's good. Real good. Like so good you'll be thinking about for days. And the writing is amazing. And Nathan is hot, even though I feel like a cougar writing those words. And there's sports and drama. And Lucas is a writer and a coach. Love it! :) 

Obviously, I'm suffering from a severe case of cabin fever because I'm rambling. 

What are you watching? Do you have an all-time favorite show? 

Have an amazing week, everyone! :) 
Less then 32 days until Spring!!! :) 

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Covers, Covers, and More Covers

As we're still in the midst of picking CHANGE UP's cover, the fabulous Melissa Walker posted the story behind SCREWBALL's cover on her blog today. Check it out here. Thanks, Melissa!! :) 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh Brother.. Covers.. :)

Caution: Covers obsession ahead. My amazing publisher, super creative designer, and I are in the midst of choosing the final cover for CHANGE UP, the second book in the SCREWBALL series due to drop this spring. :) I feel so incredibly lucky to be a part of the process. 

The framing and the fonts will look exactly like SCREWBALL, except the color is blue instead of purple, and the inside pic differs to fit the feel of the book. 
I was wondering.. 
Do you like simple covers with objects like the TWILIGHT series? 
Or do you prefer people on the cover like BLISS and my current read, WHAT I SAW AND HOW I LIED? 
If you like people on covers, do you prefer headless models like the PERFECT FIFTHS and VIOLET ON THE RUNWAY? 
I used to be a simple object cover lover, but lately I'm liking headless models. And I loved the BLISS cover. Actually, I'm liking a huge amount of covers right now including all of the above. ;) 

Have an amazing day, everyone! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Lemons and an Interview

Terri Forehand writes a wonderful blog for families with children in crisis called Heart Felt Words for Kids and I was honored when she contacted me for an interview. Both Terri and I worked as nurses and teachers before we became writers and her questions were very interesting. Check out the interview here. Thanks, Terri! 

Terri also presented me with the When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade award. I'm enormously grateful for this award because it's the advice my dad always gave to me and a mantra I attempt to live by. Thanks again, Terri! 

Have an amazing day, everyone! :) 

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Happy February, everyone! Although I'm not a big fan of winter, February isn't too bad because once it's over, spring is right around the corner and so is the release of my second novel, CHANGE UP. :) To celebrate February, I'm giving away three books which all contain stories about a certain four letter word: Sara Hantz's THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN, Wendy Toliver's THE SECRET LIFE OF A TEENAGE SIREN, and Cecelia Ahern's P.S. I LOVE YOU
I picked up THE SECOND VIRGINITY OF SUZY GREEN last year and really enjoyed it. After hard partier Suzy's perfect sister dies, her family picks up, moves, and Suzy reinvents herself, even joining a virginity club at her new school. Her new life is perfect until her ex-boyfriend pops up. 
After I read THE SECRET LIFE OF A TEENAGE SIREN, I really wanted a flute. After self proclaimed band geek Roxy's sixteenth birthday, her grandmother passes along a family secret and Roxy turns into a siren with the power to control all men. But, in order to maintain siren status, she can't fall in love. Will she be able to resist? Loved this one. 
A blockbuster movie and book, P.S. I LOVE YOU will change the way one looks at love, loss, and moving on. A great movie, but the book is better. And once again proves, the book is always better then the big screen. 

To enter to win all three love books, tell me about your worst and/or best Valentines Day ever. My worst Valentines Day involved a high school basketball game, my boyfriend at the time, a cast up to my knee, and a relative. My best Valentines Day was twelve years ago when my hubby and I went on our first official date. :) 

Here are the contest rules: 
1. To enter to win the above mentioned three books, leave a comment and tell me about your worst and/or best Valentines Day ever. If you don't celebrate Valentines Day, tell me about your favorite novel about love. 
2. The contest ends at midnight on February 28th, 2009. The winner will be posted on March 1st, 2009. A family member or friend will pick the winner (including my dog at times). :) 
3. The contest is open to EVERYONE. Don't be shy my writer friends. :) 
4. If you post the contest on your blog, MySpace, Facebook, or anywhere else, you automatically receive two entries. 

Good luck and Happy Valentines Day!! :)  


The winner of REALITY CHICK, INTERRED WITH THE BONES, and a signed copy of TAKE THE REINS is..... 

Thanks to everyone who entered. :) It was fun reading all the entries.. And I met another blogger who shares Elvis's birthday. :) This morning, I printed out all the entries (twice if you posted), cut each one out, folded, and spread the entries all around the living room. My daughter woke up, looked around, and choose Bookworm!  Congrats! And don't forget to check out Yay for YA February Giveaway posted today to win three more amazing books. :)