Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bull's eye and the New York Times

It's been a crazy week. I am now home from my Idaho tour (yay Idaho!), and will post a recap of that later. With pictures. There are a 372 photos of the trip for me to sort through. So yeah, later.

But let me tell you about Wednesday. Wednesday was one of those pinch-me days. Wednesday I was on cloud surreal.

I am still on cloud surreal. . .

So, Wednesday I was up at my dad's mountain house, which is smack between Challis and Mackay, Idaho. It's the middle of nowhere, high desert with a gorgeous view of Mt. Borah, the tallest mountain in Idaho, and a lot of snow. It's so quiet up there I swear I can hear my thoughts rattle when they bounce around in my head. It's also a wonderland for my son, who gets to ride the tractor and ATVs and sled down the perfectly-pitched-for-sledding driveway and play with my dad's four Labrador retrievers. Heaven is Pop-Pop's house!

View from my dad's front porch
We started the day with a fine breakfast that my dad cooked: scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast made with homemade bread. I was in heaven, too. I'm generally in heaven when somebody else cooks.

I had been up all night coughing with a nasty cold, and the baby had been up all night because I kept waking her up with my coughing, so we were slow to get moving that day. I was deliriously tired. We lazed around in the morning and then, around noonish, decided to go sledding. I bundled up the kids and outside we went. Fun times were had by all. Even the baby got in on the action.

It's all fun and games until you crash into some sagebrush. . .
We came in and put the kids down for their naps. Then my dad and I went back out. My dad was going to teach me how to shoot a pistol.

Yep, you heard me right.

Now, I've never had any interest in guns. Like, ever. My dad is a bit of a gun fanatic, truth be told, and I grew up watching him clean his rifles and fill shells at the kitchen table and head off into the wilderness intent on killing a poor defenseless deer every fall, so I'm comfortable around guns, to an extent, but I never had the desire to shoot one. I like Bambi.

But this year I have a novel simmering on the back burner (which I have not allowed myself to write a single word of because I need to finish Book 3 of the Unearthly series first, but I have taken copious notes) where my main character is quite the sharpshooter with a six-shooter. And she needs to be. And that's about all I can tell you at this point.

So I decided I needed to know how it felt to shoot a pistol.

My dad was all too happy to oblige. He set up the target and cleaned the gun and taught me how to load it. We marched out into his backyard (remember that we are out in the middle of nowhere) and he taught me how to hold the gun, how to position my feet, how to aim.

Six bullets.

The first shot I hit the paper with the target on it. Barely. I was pleased that I hit it at all. My heart was going pretty steady just holding the loaded gun.

Second shot I missed. Not sure what I hit. Bah.

Third shot I hit the paper again.

Fourth shot I actually hit the target. I was feeling pretty spiffy about myself.

Fifth shot I missed the target completely. Double bah.

"Squeeze the trigger slowly," my dad advised.

I cocked the gun. Steadied my hand. Squinted at the target. And slowly, slowly, squeezed the trigger.

And hit the bull's eye.

Up to that point I wasn't sure if I liked this gun-shooting thing, but I'll tell you, it was quite the thrill to hit the bull's eye. I was channeling my sharpshooter character. I couldn't wait to get inside and write some notes about how the gun bucked in my hand, the way it smelled, how it felt to aim at something and hit it, and hit it perfectly.

I was all aglow when we came inside.

And then: there was a barrage of texts from my agent waiting on my cell. Texts like, Have you read your email yet? and I will call you as soon as I'm off the subway.

Oh boy. My heart really started going then. I turned immediately to the computer with the tar-slow-satellite-internet and waited for my email account to load.

It was a long wait. A nail-biting wait.

And lo and behold, an email from my editor at HarperCollins. Hallowed is #10 on the Children's Chapter Books bestseller list of the NEW YORK TIMES.

Congrats, my editor wrote. You are now a New York Times Bestselling Author.

Good thing I was sitting down.

Right then my phone rang, my agent off the subway, and we laughed and I may have even cried a little and my dad brought me a glass of champagne.

I've never been one to put too much stock in labels, but what I kept coming back to in those first few moments, again and again, was that this makes it so much more likely than I will be able to continue to write, beyond the Unearthly series, beyond this year or next year, beyond one book or two, but for my lifetime. I can be a writer, I thought. For good.

I made a bunch of calls, one of the first to my best friend, Lindsey.

She said, "Well, I hope I can still be your friend. . ."

Me: "Huh? What?"

Lindsey: "You're an all-important writer now. You're going to need new friends, of course. Important friends."

Me: "Well, I've heard that those New York Times besties are pretty great. . ."

Lindsey: "You see?"

Me: "But I think I can still squeeze you into my top five friends. If you're nice to me. . ."

We laughed and she said she was proud of me. Everyone kept saying how proud they were of me, and I felt proud of myself, too. Proud for being able to write Hallowed even though it was crazy-hard and maybe the most stressed I'd ever been in my life. Proud that I'd made it through. Proud that I'd written some pretty good stuff there. And also grateful and humbled and amazed and knocked over.

It felt pretty amazing.

Like hitting the bull's eye.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Hallowed

It's been a long but happy day. Hallowed is on the shelves! You'd think I'd get used to the idea, after all this time, but this year I was yet again struck dumb at the bookstore in sheer amazement that it was my. book. on. the. shelves!!!!! Wow. There's some sneaky little corner of my mind that still whispers, "Don't they know that you made this entire thing up? No, really. You made this entire Clara-the-angel-blood thing up. From your brain. That's all."

See? Don't I look dazed?

 And there was a HUGE pile of my books at the Idaho Falls Barnes & Noble, in preparation for Saturday's signing, and posters with my picture on them all over the store. Talk about surreal. . .
See the lovely display and the bunches of books?

Yup. That's me.

This is a day that I am truly thankful for all the wonderful, supportive people in my life, most especially my writerly-super-hero agent, Katherine, my kick-butt-and-take-names editor, Farrin, and my sounding-board-and-support-system husband, John. I couldn't have done any of this without you three. (come on, group hug!)

Now I have to go to sleep, because I am doing my first ever Author School Visit tomorrow morning. For someone who teaches writing for a living, I am surprisingly nervous. Wish me luck!

And thank you, all you readers out there, all you book bloggers, all you friends and neighbors and colleagues, all you fellow writers, for making me feel so loved and so important on this very fine day.  

Friday, January 13, 2012

Winners for the Final Hallowed ARC giveaway

Thanks to everybody who posted, tweeted, and facebooked my Hallowed trailers this week! I have 2 winners for my contest, which my son drew randomly out of a tub with all the entries in it. He was rather disappointed when nothing spectacular happened after he drew the names.

The winners are:


Please email me with your mailing address and I will get your signed books in the mail TODAY, as I am going to Idaho tomorrow and won't be back for 2 weeks.

I always feel so badly for the people who didn't win. But take heart, Hallowed is, as I write this, 3 days, 15 hours, 9 minutes and 20 seconds from being released.

If you would like a signed copy of Hallowed (or of Unearthly), I've worked out a new deal with an indie bookshop nearby. Call them up (or email), order the book from them, and I'll stop by and sign it before it ships. Yay for indie bookstores!

Here's the bookstore information:

Diesel, A Bookstore

And now for some news:
I am doing 2 amazing blog tours this month, one for the UK and one for the Mundie Moms. The UK info can be found in the awesome graphic in the sidebar. I've already started with the Mundie Moms tour, that you can see here:

Stop 1 (an excerpt from Hallowed)

Stop 2 (a vlog interview, plus an awesome Team Tucker prize pack giveaway)

Stop 3  (a review of Hallowed)

Stop 4 ( today's post, my top 5 things to do in Jackson Hole)

and then these later stops:
14th- Books Complete Me, excerpt

16th- YA Bibliophile, review

17th- Mundie Moms, character interview & giveaway

18th- Novel Novice, guest post

19th- Anna Reads, interview & giveaway

20th- Fire & Ice, review

21st- Page Turners Blog, author interview & giveaway

23rd- GReads, review

24th- Once Upon A Twilight, guest post

25th- Hypable- interview

Whew! I'm tired just looking at that list.

And excited to be headed off to Idaho for my real life signing in Idaho Falls on January 21 at the IF Barnes and Noble, 1pm and my signing in Boise on January 28 at the Hyde Park Bookstore, 1pm.

See you there!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hallowed Trailer for the US

Yay! I am so happy to be able to share the US trailer for Hallowed with you, finally! I love this trailer. Live action!

I will give double entries for my final ARC giveaway to people who post this trailer to their blog, facebook, and twitter. Just leave your posts in the comments section.


7 days until Hallowed hits the shelves!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Countdown for Hallowed

Yesterday is my author birthday, when I officially became a published author. It's been one crazy/surreal year!

And now Hallowed go-time is less than two weeks away. I am so excited to be going back to Idaho for the launch, and I've got 2 signings going on there.

The first will be on Saturday, January 21 at 1pm at the Idaho Falls Barnes and Noble. I had my Unearthly launch at this Barnes and Noble last year and it was such great fun. I grew up in Idaho Falls, and so many of my old friends/neighbors/classmates/teachers came to the signing (I expect to see you all there this time too, guys, love you!), along with my very first teen readers that I got to meet in person. It was a magical day, and I'm so excited to get to go home again for the launch of Hallowed. Thanks so much to Kaaren at Barnes and Noble and my awesome publicist, Marisa, for making it all happen.

The second signing will be on the following Saturday, January 28 at 1pm at the Hyde Park bookstore in Boise, Idaho. I lived in Boise for 3 years while I was getting my MFA from Boise State, and in the general Boise area for 7 years when you count my 4 years in Caldwell when I attended College of Idaho, so it's a place close to my heart. (Plus my best friend lives there. Linds! I need bestie time.) I love Boise. Seriously, if I were suddenly to make a million dollars, I would probably pack up my family and move there. It is a great town.

I am also doing a mess of school visits, so you might see me at your school if you live in either of these areas.

In the meantime, I have to hunker down and finish Book 3, and, quite frankly, it's been kicking my butt. So many threads to tie up. I am going a little crazy here, but Clara is still making me laugh, which is the important thing. I am also doing two separate blog tours, which is keeping me plenty busy. See my shiny new UK blog tour graphic over there on the sidebar? Which means 2 things: I am going to be busy writing for other people's blogs for a while, so I probably won't be writing much on my own, but I have some really great blog posts planned for my tour (on the UK one, I'm doing separate posts about my thoughts on Christian and my thoughts on Tucker, sharing my Hallowed playlist, giving you a run-down on my dream film cast for Unearthly, and so on, and on the US one I am planning a couple of vlogs shot in Jackson and the Tetons. . . ) so please check it out.

It also means that I am mostly saying no to any interview requests I'm getting outside of these tours. I am getting 1-3 requests for interviews a day right now, which pains me, because ultimately I have to say no. I would love to do interviews, but I am out of time, folks. Book 3 has to get written if you want to read it next year.

If you super want me to do an interview, please ask to schedule it for after March 1, and make it 5 questions or less, and follow up with me about it. Things will calm down a bit in March.

Here is the awesome UK trailer for Hallowed. Post this trailer on your website, or share on twitter and facebook, and I will enter you in my final Hallowed ARC contest. Just comment below on what you did, 1 entry for each thing. I will give away 2 signed copies, winner to be announced January 12, so I can have it in the mail by the 13th before I head off to Idaho. (and if I miraculously get my advanced REAL copies of Hallowed before then, I will send those instead. Because they are SHINY.)

I also saw the US trailer for Hallowed today, and it was awesome!!! Watch for it to go live any day now. I will give you double points for sharing this trailer.

And now back to scribbling away on Book 3. Peace out.