Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I've loved loved LOVEd Halloween ever since I was little and my mom threw the best spooky parites in our basement (complete with ghost stories, tons of candy treats and body parts made out of things like grapes and pasta that we touched in the dark).

We had a lot of Halloween traditions growing up. My favorites were the big pot of chili my grandpa would make before we went trick-or-treating, a warm pumpkin pie and the Garfield Halloween special.

Seriously. It's the best. Have you ever seen it?

I loved this show and watched it over and over again on a VHS tape.

You can watch it in it's entirity on Youtube. Trust me, it's worth it!

What Halloween traditions do you have?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How I Feel About Writing

I found this picture on Pinetrest. I don't know who the source is, but the kid is so cute and I want to tell him I totally agree about his enthusiasm. His face pretty much sums up how I feel about writing.

Especially on a Sunday morning in my pajamas with a cup of pumpkin spice coffee.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winning and Blogging

The winner of the Hot Diggity Dog Contract Contest is....

Wait for it...

Wait longer....

Still waiting????


Woo hoo!!! I'll be contacting you, Emilia! Thanks to everyone else who entered and who follow my blog. I knit up writing gloves all the time, so I'll make sure to give away another pair in the next few months. They're the best ever for writing.

If you have a minute, hope over to The Lucky 13s blog...I posted today about how writing is a lot like Gothic Literature.

Hope you have a spooky weekend full of lots of sugary candy treat!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

John Green Fan Girl Scream!

I might have been stalking a certain page on Amazon.

But my creepy stalking has paid's here!!!

The cover!

The synopsis!

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

The Blurb!

“An electric portrait of young people who learn to live life with one foot in the grave. Filled with staccato bursts of humor and tragedy, The Fault in Our Stars takes a spin on universal themes--Will I be loved? Will I be remembered? Will I leave a mark on this world?--by dramatically raising the stakes for the characters who are asking.”

--Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper and Sing You Home

The release date!

January 10, 2012

Okay, please excuse as I go explode from excitement!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Zombies Have Feelings Too

You have one more day (one day!) to enter my contest. It will end tomorrow night at midnight (Wednesday) and I'll pick a winner Thursday.

I talked about three of the books that I'm giving away, but there's a fourth I didn't mention.

The book is called Zombies Don't Cry by Rusty Fischer. It's published by the same press who will publish my book, and I can only dream for a cover like his. It's a-ma-zing in person. The corners are raised and the eyes follow you no matter how you're looking at it. The design team also did a lot of fun things inside like playing around with the chapter title format and turning Rusty's author picture in a zombie.

The cover isn't the only thing about this book that rocks. It's about a girl...err....girl turned zombie and how she deals with becoming a part of the undead world.

I didn't think I'd ever feel empathy for a zombie, but I felt for Maddie. Life sucks for a zombie and I rooted her on while she took on the evil zombies (Zerkers), tried to mend things with her best friend and chase after the boy she liked (even if zombies aren't allowed to date regular people). Don't worry, though, this book isn't all about high school issues...there's plenty of gore and brains for those zombie lovers!

Make sure to enter my contest to win a copy, but if you don't, I suggest buying a copy of the book on your own. It's perfect Halloween reading!

Check out Rusty's sites...he's done a great job building up a place for people who love the world of the undead!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Among Good Company....

Thanks to everyone who is celebrating my book contract with me and entered my Hot Diggity Dog contest! There's still time to enter, so if you haven't...what are you waiting for?

One of the things I'm giving away are books. They aren't just random books either...they have a meaning.

So what do 13 Reasons Why, Wintergirls and The Absolutely True Diary of the Part Time Indian have in common?

They are my bookshelf mates!

If you don't know, my last name is Alpine, which means I'll be hanging out right next to Asher, Anderson and Alexie.

Who could ask for better company?

Who would your bookshelf mates be?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hot Diggity Dog Contest!

I haven't celebrated my new contract fully until I have a contest. So here it is!

I call it the Hot Diggity Dog I Have a Book Contract Celebration!

I have lots of goodies, goodies and more goodies!

Check it all out...

A pair of fingerless writing gloves that I knitted. These are STELLAR in the cold months when you want to type, but your fingers get too darn cold.

An awesome bracelet that I ordered from Etsy (okay, I got for me and one for my winner!). I had them hand stamp the word "WRITE" on it. I wear mine when I write...go figure!

A Kindle cover my mom made. I have a purple ruffle one and love it. If you don't have a Kindle, you can always regift it to someone who does. Kindles are taking over the world, man!

A writing journal that's the perfect size for slipping into your purse...

And a stack of some of my favorite books in the world. These books have a special meaning, which I'll explain during the next few days in some blog posts.

This copy of 13 Reasons Why is autographed...woo hoo!

So what are you waiting for? It's easy to enter and the more you spread the word and love, the more chances you have. I'll pick a winner next Wednesday (October 26), so you have over a week to enter and get the word out.

How to get points:
*Be a follower
*Tweet, blot or Facebook the contest
*Like me on my Facebook fan page
*Mark my book as one to read on Goodreads

Then fill out this form with your point total...good luck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

If You Do Anything Today....

If you want to do something worthwhile today, please take the time to buy a copy of this book.

If you haven't read about what's happened, all the info is here. I'd write about it, but I don't think I can without getting really upset and angry.

SHINE is an amazing book. I have a copy of it on my Kindle and my school library has multiple copies. I have a student reading it right now.

If anything comes out of this whole mess, it will be that this book gets more noticed as do the topics that Lauren Myracle so honestly writes about.

Please, buy this book for yourself or donate it to a local library.

I'm Writing...Beat It!

I've been writing in my Paris notebooks since I got back from my honeymoon. They aren't anything special, just moleskin books, but the fact that they are from Paris makes it all seem a bit more magical! Who doesn't wish that the writing inspirations of Hemmingway or Fitzgerald rub off on my notebooks that are from the same area where they once roamed and wrote!

My current one is hot pink (o la la!)...

I wrote my name in it when we were still on our was the first time I officially wrote my new name!

And then made sure to mark the date and location where I started writing in it!

I still have a little bit more room in this book (and the two other moleskins), but I think I may be moving on to something else when I fill this one up.

As a congratulations for signing my book contract, a good friend gave me a gift of some crazy awesome notebooks. Check them out!

And my favorite of the group...a Michael Jackson notebook! How BAD is that! I was THRILLE(r)D when I got it!

It looks like I have a lot of writing to do in the future!

What about you? What do you do your writing? On a computer? A special notebook? Some other interesting place? I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Lucky 13s

Today is October 13.

13 has now become a very lucky number for me.

I went on my first date with my husband on October 13 (it also happened to be Friday, the 13th)!

It's also the year that my debut novel comes out!

But my novel isn't the only novel coming out in 2013.

Meet The Lucky 13s!

We're the start of the Debut Authors of 2013. There's just a few of us right now, but as more deals are made, I'm sure our group will grow and grow!

Check out our launches today! We'll be blogging three times a week about writing, books and other great stuff.

And follow us on twitter!

If you get the chance, read our bios and let me know what books sounds the most interesting to you! There's already a few I can't wait to read.

Yay to 2013!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Book Contract Photo Shoot!

It takes awhile to sign all your publishing contracts...who knew!

First, I had to sign them and send them to Dystel and Goderich and then send them back to the agency. From there, they forwarded them on to Medallion. Medallion sent them back to D & G and then they sent them back to me. Phew!

Here's the envelope I got with the contract signed, sealed and delivered!

And what book contract signing isn't complete without a photo shoot? I signed all six contract copies in our school library. The balloons next to me are from our school librarian extraordinaire.

Here's the book signing from every. single. angle.....

Check back Thursday. I have an awesome new project to announce!

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Debut Author Spotlight: Nova Ren Suma

Christina Lee came up with a wonderful idea to spotlight 2011 writers that we've fallen in love with. I jumped at the chance to gush about Nova Ren Suma's book Imaginary Girls. She's an agency sister (also repped by Dystel and Goderich) and writes in my new favoriate genre, magical realism.

I know I've raved about this book, but how about one more time in case you didn't hear me?

Here's the Goodreads summary:

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns...moreChloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

It's one of those books that you slow down to read because you don't want it to end. Here's some of the reasons I loved Imaginary Girls:

*The book focuses on sisters and their love for each other. Nova creates a bond that shows how far a sibling will go for another sibling (and what they will sacrafice). I have an amazing sister myself, and I loved to read about the relationship between Chloe and Ruby.

*Nova is a genius at creating setting. I felt like I lived in this crazy eerie town with the reservoir and could picture every single element of it. She described it in a way that I still swore I must have been to it before because I knew this town.

*The book starts with a mystery and it keeps getting stranger and stranger, but it makes perfect sense to the story. That's part of the greatness of magical realsim. You don't question what is going on; it seems natural and unnatural at the same time.

*I loved loved loved the character of Ruby. She was flawed in every way, but her confidence and firey personality made me want to be her just for a day.

*The cover is gorgeous. Seriously, it's so beautiful, I found myself closing the book in the middle of chapters and staring at it. Nova had the cover gods on her side when this book was designed.

Check the book won't regret it!

What about you? What new 2011 author did you love?

Check out the other authors we featured:
Susan is featuring RIP TIDE
Matt loves SOLSTICE
Nicole wants to tell you about POSSESSION
Janet tells why she loves LIAR SOCIETY
Sheri admires IRON WITCH
Jen would like to tell you about WITHER
Shannon celebrates DARK PARTIES
Michelle tells you about SHIFTING
Stina gives you a taste of BAD TASTE IN BOYS
Jessie spotlights SPELLBOUND and BIRTHRIGHT
Willow admires DESTINED
Christine raves about POSSESS
Kristin really really likes CLARITY
Anne features READY PLAYER ONE
Meredith wants to shout about DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE
Amy Rose loves THE NEAR WITCH
Theresa talks about DIVERGENT
Kelly focuses in on EARTHLING HERO and A SCARY GOOD BOOK
Christine gears you up for THE LIPSTICK LAWS
Laura is wild about GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
Patti tells you about HEREAFTER
Ali has plenty to say about POSSESSIO

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Steve Jobs And A Psalm Of Life

This is my 300th blog post!

And I believe it's only fitting to refer to my very first blog post.

I posted it on Friday, December 4, 2009 and received seven comments below it.

And while my agent might have thing hasn't....I'm still writing on my MacBook.

Of course, I'm still writing on that MacBook because Steve Jobs has changed the world forever with his inventions. It was with his products that I revised the first book I sold, drafted and wrote my second book and listened to the soundtracks that provided me inspiration for everything I wrote. My writing is dependent on my MacBook and Ipod and it's with his products that I was able to chase after my dreams.

I teach Longfellow's poem "A Psalm of Life" with my students when we do transcendentalist writers. We happened to read it this Tuesday and there's always a few students who are very moved by it and take home the photocopies I make from the book. One year a girl told me she hung it up in her bedroom for inspiration. Longfellow talks about our time on earth and how it goes by fast. He says that we shouldn't follow everyone else, that we need to be the hero. We need to make something of our lives and better it every single day, so that we can inspire future generations.

If you haven't seen Steve Jobs commencement video, watch it. Or you can read the words here. The words are so similar to the poem and the message is the same.


Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream! —
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, — act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

RIP Steve'll be missed, but your legacy will live on and inspire others.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Are You In Or Out?

So I've started to hear the whispers.

People are talking about it on the Internet.

The countdown clock is telling me that I have 24 days left to decide.

NaNoWriMo(or National Write a Novel in a Month) is next month.

I was working on edits for CANARY two years ago and last year I was planning a wedding.

But this year I think I might do it. Or at least a version of it that involves kicking my new novel into shape and finishing it for my agent and beta readers. I work well with deadlines and I'd love to be a part of such a supportive community. I'm at about 50,000 words and want to reach 80,ooo which is less than the 50,000 word goal for a novel, but still a big goal for me.

What about you? Are you going to NaNoWriMo or not???

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Can I Pick Your Brain?

I need help fleshing out my main character in the book I'm working on.

Her name is Rhylee.

She's lived in her sister's shadow her entire life.

She is slightly overweight and despises anything physical.

I need a hobby/activity for her that she can do inside her house that she's good at. Something like cooking or video games or knitting.

Thoughts or ideas? Everything I come up with isn't right, and I know her niche is somewhere out there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hello, 21st Century!

The deal was that if I got a book deal, I'd get an iphone. I don't have a smart phone and working on a teacher's salary, it seemed like a bit of a splurge.

So I promised myself that I had to wait until my book sold. Then, as a celebration, I could finally buy a phone. There's no secret that part of being an author these days includes making a presence on social media sites, so the phone would technically be used for work purposes.

I've waited patiently for Apple's announcement, and now, October 14th can't come soon enough!

Now I just need to decide which phone cover to get.


Or Mockingbird...
Check out all of the cases here. Which would you choose?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Banned Book Week: Quotes That Speak Volumes

My high school has one of the most AMAZING librarians in the world. She's worked hard to create an environment that my students want to go to and provides books they devour. Each day the library closes for forty minutes so she can eat lunch, and my students always complain. That's how important the library is to them!

For banned book week, she plastered the school with colorful papers full of quotes about the dangers of banning books. I asked her for the file, so I could share them with you. The words are important, powerful and serve as a warning to the dangers of censoring material (which really, terrifies me).

Check them out and let me know which one is your favorite! Or share your favorite banned books (two of mine are Looking for Alaska and Lord of the Flies)!

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race."
-- Charles Bradlaugh

"You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! -of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic."
-- Winston Churchill

"The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion..."
-- Henry Steel Commager

"If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas – and I believe that is the truest definition of what we do – it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas."
-- Graceanne A. Decandido

"Every burned book enlightens the world."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"This is slavery, not to speak one's thought."
-- Euripides, Greek tragic poet (480 or 485 B.C. - 406 B.C)

"If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1730

"Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education."
-- Alfred Whitney Griswold, Essays on Education

"To prohibit the reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves."
-- Claude Adrien Helvetius, De l'Homme, Vol. I, sec. 4

"The sooner we all learn to make a decision between disapproval and censorship, the better off society will be... Censorship cannot get at the real evil, and it is an evil in itself."
-- Granville Hicks (1901-1982)

"Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest form of cowardice."
-- Holbrook Jackson

"Did you ever hear anyone say 'That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me'?"
-- Joseph Henry Jackson

"Children deprived of words become school dropouts; dropouts deprived of hope behave delinquently. Amateur censors blame delinquency on reading immoral books and magazines, when in fact, the inability to read anything is the basic trouble."
-- Peter S. Jennison

"Books and ideas are the most effective weapons against intolerance and ignorance."
-- Lyndon Baines Johnson, February 11, 1964

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
-- John F. Kennedy

"The burning of an author's books, imprisonment for an opinion's sake, has always been the tribute that an ignorant age pays to the genius of its time."
-- Joseph Lewis, Voltaire: The Incomparable Infidel, 1929

"Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there."
-- Clare Booth Luce

"One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present."
-- Golda Meir, Israeli political leader (1898-1978)

"To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it."
-- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, 1559

"You have not converted a man because you have silenced him."
-- John Morley

"All of us can think of a book... that we hope none of our children or any other children have taken off the shelf. But if I have the right to remove that book from the shelf - that work I abhor - then you also have exactly the same right and so does everyone else. And then we have no books left on the shelf for any of us."
-- Katherine Paterson, American author of childrens books (1932-)

"A censor is an expert in cutting remarks. A censor is a man who knows more than he thinks you ought to."
-- Dr. Laurence Peter

"Free societies...are societies in motion, and with motion comes tension, dissent, friction. Free people strike sparks, and those sparks are the best evidence of freedom's existence."
-- Salman Rushdie

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."
-- Salman Rushdie

"Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads."
-- George Bernard Shaw

"All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship."
-- George Bernard Shaw

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime..."
-- Justice Potter Stewart

"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
-- Harry S. Truman, message to Congress, August 8, 1950

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
-- Mark Twain