Thursday, June 30

In A Perfect World.

The topic this week is In A Perfect World. When people talk about what can be done to make this a more perfect world they never mention the main problem facing our society. I’m talking about war. Think about it. We’re killing and maiming each other daily. We’ve become so jaded that if you even attempt to voice opposition to war you’re quickly dismissed as a bleeding heart, naive dreamer. The common perception of war is that it’s inevitable; it’s going to happen, definitely, so you might as well prepare for it and if you don’t you’re just being foolish and immature.

When I was younger I could sit and watch a war picture and sometimes even get caught up in the adventure of it all but I can’t really do that anymore. Now war movies just look like insanity to me. There’s no adventure in watching people, nations, tribes, or cultures cutting each other down like a sick and bitter harvest.

It’s just not the death and destruction, or the lost wages, opportunities and potential. It’s also the money; think about the trillions upon trillions of dollars that are spent year after year by nations on defense. Ever wonder what we could do with all that money? Well, I bet we could feed the world, we could make starvation a thing of the past and while we’re at it, did you know that well over two million people, mainly children, die each and every year simply because they don’t have clean water? We spend trillions on guns and bombs while millions die from dirty water. We could make sure that everyone has clean water to drink. And while we’re at it, how about worldwide free healthcare? How about cures for cancer and other diseases? We could do all of that with the money that’s wasted on war.

Think about it. Imagine what mankind could do, imagine what we could accomplish if we could only manage to just stop killing each other. Greatness would be within our grasp. I’m not saying that the lack of war would absolutely guarantee a perfect world but I will go so far as to guarantee that it would be a far, far more perfect world than the one we have now.

The first step is to recognize war as the collective insanity that it is and the second step is to begin preaching the possibilities of what this world could accomplish if it could manage to free itself from that insanity.

Isn’t it time to make imagine world peace more than just a bumper sticker?


Thursday, June 23

Summer's Here!

I was supposed to post on the solstice (Tues) but I was out enjoying the longest day of the year! Oops.

To make up for that, I'll share the Top 3 things I love about this summer season...

 I love writing outside on my stoop. Yesterday, as I participated in Stephanie Kuehnert's awesome 90-minute writing challenge, I got to watch families walking to the park and I saw six cute dogs. That does not happen in my living room, where I write in winter.

 Iced coffee. (Have I mentioned this one before?) I drink it all year, but in the summertime, no one looks at me like I'm crazy when I order it.

 Dresses! No restrictive tights, no bulky jackets necessary. Just flowy, comfy, pretty dresses (or rompers) for every day of the week. Now that I'm pregnant, I have to choose more carefully -- "dress" can quickly become "tent." It's still fun though!

So what are your top summer loves?

Thursday, June 16

A Giant List of Words

Since Lauren provided us with new vocabulary words and Wendy gave us a very inspiring quote, I thought I'd do my own twist on words and vocab week at TFC.

Besides, I already talked about one of my favorite quotes ever (something Angela Chase said on My So-Called Life) when I was reflecting on the hoopla that Wall Street Journal article about contemporary YA being too dark for teens. You can read the My So-Called Life quote and see how I used it to respond to the hoopla here on my personal blog if you like.

And when it comes to vocabulary, I'm kind of braindead right now and I'm about to show you why. A few weeks ago, I finished revisions on the book I've been working on for the past year or so. I don't know what other writers do, but for me one of the final stages of revising is noting down words/images/phrases that I think I may have overused as I do a read through my book. The I use the Find function on word to look for these words and see if I really did use them to much and if so I try to find a better way to rephrase or replace them. That's when I break out my word bible:

It's an excellent tool, but you have to be a bit wary or you will start inserting words that your character would never use or getting out of control with flowery language that your editor will later mark, "PURPLE! Rephrase!" Yeah, that has definitely happened to me.

Anyway here is my list of words/phrases/images I was worried about overusing in the draft of the book I just finished (just click to enlarge it):

Yep, as the blog title indicates, that is a GIANT list of words. Fortunately they weren't all as overused as I thought they were and as you can see some are synonyms so if they were sprinkled through out, I was okay with it. I did however have a lot of "insisting" and "demanding" going on, so I will share with you the list of alternatives I made from my handy synonym finder:
  • Importune
  • Entreat
  • Mandate
  • Command
  • Urge
  • Maintain
  • Assert
  • Exhort
  • Admonish
  • Implore

Some are more normal sounding than others and I did use those. I was excited about admonish, which I felt I could safely use and I think might I have used entreat as well, but although I really loved exhort, I wasn't so sure I could get away with it.

I really love the Synonym Finder though. Are there any other word geeks out there who think thesauruses are fun? What about those of you who write, what are your methods for handling those overused words?

Tuesday, June 14

My Favorite Quote

As some of you might know (okay, so maybe only if you're my mom), I wrote an entire book on quotes. The Little Giant Encyclopedia fo Inspirational Quotes. (Click just to see the crazy price this little book is going for now that it's out of print.) But anyway, yes, I dig quotes, and sometimes when I'm feeling down, I'll pull out this little book and turn to a random page.

There's one page, 398 to be exact, that this little book opens to the most often, and on it is one of my favorite quotes ever. This is a popular one, and it's for good reason.

What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics adn to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

How do you define success?

Sunday, June 12

When Sunday is Monday

I'm scheduled to blog here tomorrow, Monday, but I'm going to be at my daughter's school tomorrow to do some fun next-to-the-last-day-before-summer-vacation stuff and I want to be able to just enjoy that and not try to cram everything else in around the edges, so...

This week the theme at TFC is supposed to be New Vocab or Interesting Quotes. That also has a connection to my daughter because just last week she had to come up with a new-to-her word and quote for school. Her homework is definitely her job but I do like to get involved in the vocabulary/quote selection because, well, I'm a big ol' word geek!

In the past, I've helped her find her way to some of my favorite words, like termagant and enisled. It's not often that I come across a word I've never seen before in a novel, unless of course it's some kind of highly specialized technical term. Enisled was the last new-to-me word I've ever seen in a novel. It comes from Wayne Johnston's amazing novel, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams.

For quotes in the past I've helped her discover Martin Luther King Jr's famous line, “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”; and also Edgar Allan Poe's terrific "Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."

So what did we come up with this week?

The quotation part was easy. I have a framed print of Rudyard Kipling's "If" in my basement-cave office, so we selected, "If you can fill the unforgiving minute/With sixty seconds worth of distance run."

The vocabulary selection proved more difficult. After much debate, she finally settled on furor. I was disappointed because I'd been lobbying hard for makebate, a word I'd never seen in my life before I came across it in the dictionary by chance early in the week. Makebate - have you ever heard of that before? Isn't it just a marvelous-looking word? Just in case it's as new to you as it was to me, I'll define it here. Makebate is an archaic noun from 1529 and a makebate is "one that excites contention and quarrels." Sometimes I can be such a makebate.

OK, that's all I've got for y'all today, except to congratulate all my talented TFCers on their many successes and novel releases this past week and to ask:

How about you? Any favorite words or quotes you'd care to share?

Be well. Don't forget to write.

Friday, June 10

Good News Friday...continues!

As Friday leaves down under and enters Northern America, the good news continues!

Thanks to Amanda for the lovely shout out about my newest release! I'm thrilled to announce that my new young adult novel, MY LIFE UNDECIDED releases THIS week! And I'm very proud to be sharing such a kick-arse release week with Amanda Ashby and Alyson Noel (hands down two of the coolest peeps I know!)

Below is a book summary for MY LIFE UNDECIDED and the aforementioned (by Amanda!) "movie-style" book trailer that I produced for it! I hope you all enjoy!


BOOK SUMMARY (From the Inside Flap):


Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I’m gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.


"Brooklyn is a sympathetic protagonist with whom teens will identify. Her journey is fun to read, and decision-challenged readers will learn an important lesson about self-acceptance along the way."
--School Library Journal
"Brody taps into a universal human desire...An amusing coming-of-age story with many funny moments...[Brooklyn's] flustered, off-the-cuff narration should keep readers as invested in her actions as her blog followers are."
--Publisher's Weekly

amazon barnes and noble borders indie bound 

Thanks everyone for sharing my Good News Friday! 

Thursday, June 9

Good news Friday

Okay, so perhaps it's not Friday over in the US but it's Friday in NZ and I'm so excited that I am shamelessly going to hijack TFC to talk about my new book Fairy Bad Day.

But first I just wanted to say a big hooray to my fellow TFC buddies who have books out this week!

Not only is Alyson Noel going to finally put us out of our misery and let us know what happens with Damen and Ever in her final Immortals book, Everlasting, but the too-cool for school Jessica Brody has just released her second YA book, My Life Undecided (which has one of the best book trailers I've ever seen) so, as you can see, I'm in very good company!

To say that I've been nervous about this book would be an understatement since in a world of dark love triangles and dystopian terror, for some reason I ended up writing a book about giant killer fairies and . . . well . . . Skittles. Yes, those little candy treats that are too delicious to stop at only one. Apparently they're the next big thing in YA fiction. Okay, maybe not!

But anyway, this book is definitely on the lighter side of the paranormal spectrum. Oh and I should mention that as well as Skittles, it does have lots of sword fights and a very cute hero who spends the entire book on crutches! Anyway, here is a short blurb and some reviews so you can make your own mind up. And you can read an excerpt over at my website.

Fairy Bad Day

While most students at Burtonwood Academy get to kill demons and goblins, fifteen-year-old Emma gets to rid the world of little annoying fairies with glittery wings and a hipster fashion sense. She was destined to be a dragon slayer, but cute and charming Curtis stole her spot. Then she sees a giant killer fairy - and it's invisible to everyone but her! If Emma has any chance of stopping this evil fairy, she's going to need help. Unfortunately, the only person who can help is Curtis. And now, not only has he stolen her dragon-slayer spot, but maybe her heart as well! Why does she think it's going to be a fairy bad day?

"Teens with a taste for the paranormal school story and a tolerance for raucous humor will be involved with and amused by this romantic fantasy. The exciting plot, humor throughout—often provided by the little fairies—and relatively innocent romance between characters will grab readers and keep them involved. " Kirkus Reviews

"In a fun mashup of the modern and the magical, Ashby (Zombie Queen of Newbury High) creates nicely developed characters and supports them with strong plotting and zippy writing. Laced with humor, danger, and romance, this book will have readers smiling all the way to the last page." Publisher's Weekly

So now, because I live in New Zealand and can't actually go and see my book in a store I'm going to bounce around the house like a Tigger and annoy my family! But if you have any sightings of Fairy Bad Day out in the world, I'd love to hear about it and you have my total permission to pat it and sniff it as much as you want!!!!!!

Monday, June 6

In A Perfect World...

This week's blog topic really got me thinking. On the one hand, a perfect world would be amazing! Nothing would ever go wrong and oh! I'd be a best-selling author! And my dog wouldn't be old and my cousin wouldn't have died from ovarian cancer and I wouldn't be dealing with multiple revisions (because I'd have written the books perfectly the first time!)

That sounds really good, and I have to admit, I'd love for all of those perfect world things I mentioned above to be true.

But they aren't, and you know, as painful as some of them are (my cousin's death being the most painful), I don't think I'd want to live in a perfect world because if I did, everything would always be perfect and then--

Well, then how would I ever feel anything?

I don't have a perfect life, and so I rejoice in the moments that are good (the love my family had for my cousin and how we were all able to share it at her memorial service), and the bad...well, I feel them, and they hurt.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't have any of that. I'd just be there, and everything would always be perfect.

I'd rather feel.

Sunday, June 5

In A Perfect World........

This week it's all about a perfect world. Rather than focusing on wider world issues, like poverty, wars, and disasters which we'd all love to eradicate, I thought I'd list ten things that would help make my life more perfect:

1. Everyone to want to watch the same TV program at the same time.
2. No complaints about the meals I cook (that could be tricky, seeing as I burn most things).
3. No bickering.
4. Chocolate to be calorie free.
5. Washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning to magically do itself.
6. TV programs I watch to be spread evenly across the week, and not all on one night.
7. Sunshine every day.
8. No internet problems.
9. Children to do everything I ask, without question.
10.Dog to only shed her hair outside.

Okay, so these are little things..... what about you, what would make your life a little more perfect?

Friday, June 3

Good News Friday EVERLASTING Trailer!!

It's a good day for trailers, did you see Melissa's (below) for SMALL TOWN SINNERS? Awesome--I can't wait to read it!

The EVERLASTING trailer was also released today--the final installment in THE IMMORTALS series will hit stores on Tuesday, June 7- and I'd love to see you at one of the tour stops!


Good News Friday: Small Town Sinners Trailer!

The fantastic Andie of Air Productions made this trailer for Small Town Sinners! July 19th... it's coming!

Wednesday, June 1


Well…you had to go and ask that now, didn’t you? Be careful what you ask for.


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?

All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?