Sunday, December 11, 2011

What's New:

Middle Ground (Awaken #2) copy edits have been packed up and shipped off to Boston and I'm praying for their safe arrival. I don't have a confirmed release date scheduled for this book yet, but it's still looking at fall, 2012.

Now I have ample time to focus my holiday attention on: overeating, frantic shopping, NCAA basketball, NFL (mostly the Packers), and catching up on reading. Current book is The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, by Mark Hodder. I have given up my social life and sleep in order to keep reading it (as good books always force you to do).

Event coming up: I'll be at Klindt's Booksellers in The Dalles, Oregon from 1-3 pm on December 21st for a multiple author signing event. Be there or be lame.

Lastly, First Comes Love is coming out in LESS THAN FIVE MONTHS. It's still way too long away in my impatient head, but it's coming...

As promised, here are two more songs from the FCL playlist:

Number 7.

Number 6.

Number 5:

Number 4:

Number 3:

Number 2:

Number 1: My Lie, THE WHITE BUFFALO (Sadly, I couldn’t find a copy of this song to share. Just look for it. It’s brilliant).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet Gray and Dylan

It depresses me that I have to wait until May, 2012 to share First Comes Love with all of you. Just for fun, I'm going to interview Gray and Dylan over the next few months, to give you a sneak peak into these characters.

So, Gray and Dylan, I have one question for each of you to answer to help readers get to know you a little bit: If you could write a book, any book, what would the title be and why?

Dylan: I would write a book called, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the Unabridged Version.”
Gray: I’m pretty sure that’s a classic children’s song.
Dylan: Yes, it’s a song—with gaping holes in the story. I would expand on it. There is so much potential there for an amazing epic adventure. Okay, your turn. Book title?
Gray: The Tao of Ms. Pacman.
Dylan: The video game?
Gray: Yeah, it would discuss ways the video game relates to life.
Dylan: What do the pellets symbolize?
Gray: All the experiences you devour, depending on which path you take. But just like the game, you have ghosts challenging you. They get in the way of your pellets. So, you can dwell on the ghosts, and miss the pellets, or you can focus too much on gobbling the pellets, but then the ghosts will eventually trap you.
Dylan: What do the bouncing fruit symbolize?
Gray: Opportunities.
Dylan: So, what about the pellet that makes you invincible? How does that apply to life?
Gray: I thought I just had to come up with a book title.
Dylan: I would argue that Donkey Kong has more life lessons implied in the game dynamics.
Gray: Dylan, I love you, but sometimes you put the n in annoying.
Dylan: There are two n’s in annoying.
Gray: Exactly.
Dylan: Well, you put the t in awesome.
Gray: What?
Dylan: Exactly.
Gray: (sighs).

Thursday, November 3, 2011


So, last month I shared the first couple of songs that inspired FIRST COMES LOVE. Now I'm adding two more, as I'll continue to do each month until this book is released. I can't believe I have to wait six more months for this book to be in print!! Ahhhhh, it's painful. I CAN'T WAIT FOR ALL OF YOU TO KNOW GRAY AND DYLAN. Okay, on to the ear candy:

Number 1: My Lie, THE WHITE BUFFALO (Sadly, I couldn’t find a copy of this song to share. Just look for it. It’s brilliant).

Number 2: To Be Young, RYAN ADAMS

Number 3: Such A Pity, WEEZER

Number 4: Mysterious Ways, U2

Number 5: Joy Ride: THE KILLERS

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Morph

So...just a heads up, I will be morphing my "HOME" page on my website with this blog, since updating them separately is redundant and life is too short for repeats.

For any up-to-date information, keep coming here, to my blog, where I promise to post something remotely interesting at least once a month.

The home page of my website will list my books and any contests/giveaways, but otherwise will stay fairly uniform.

Cool? Cool. Thanks for understanding. And Happy Halloween. I am gearing up to watch Troll 2. I heard it's not even about trolls, so I'm intrigued.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Get Unplugged AND Tell Me About It

Attention fellow readers. Earthlings. Peeps. Fans.

As many of you know, the sequel to AWAKEN, MIDDLE GROUND, is coming out in 2012. To celebrate, I’m hosting a contest and my challenge is simple:
Get unplugged. And tell me about it.

When I say unplugged, I don’t mean you have to walk around your house with a candle as your only light source, and cook food over a fire pit in your backyard (however, it would be very impressive if you go to that extreme). I’m saying, try to turn off your electronics for a few days, especially your phone, your computer (Facebook, email, online social sites) and yes, even your television (video games included).

Step 2: Tell me about it. Write a couple of paragraphs (no more than 400 words, please), describing your experiences. Were you bored? Lonely? Did you feel isolated? Did you have physical withdrawals? Was it liberating? Scary? Did your friends start planning your funeral because you hadn’t posted your Facebook status in twelve hours? Also, how long did you go unplugged? What devices did you avoid using? I know many of you are in school and need to use computers, but then try to turn your phone off. Leave it in your room for a week.

Why do this to yourself? 1) Because it’s a challenge and I double dog dare you, 2) Because MY THREE FAVORITE ENTRIES WILL WIN AN ADVANCED READING COPY OF MIDDLE GROUND, which means bragging rights and a copy of the book months before it’s released.
Also, with permission, I’ll post my favorite essay on my website.

To submit your essay, just cut and paste it into the “Contact” box on my website. Be warned: this is an honor system, which means I trust that your essay is a truthful account of what you did. So, please be honest in your response, because lying is just lame.
This contest ends March 1st, 2012.

Good luck! I look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Since the cover of FIRST COMES LOVE has been unveiled and ARC’s are now circulating, I think it’s time to say a few words about this book.

FIRST COMES LOVE started as a creative writing exercise. I wanted to write a love story from the male perspective. What started as ten pages quickly turned into two hundred. I simply fell in love with my characters. I fell in love with their story.

FIRST COMES LOVE flips perspectives between Gray and Dylan, but really, this is Gray’s story. It’s his issues to work through. It’s his perspective on death, friendship, family, love, sex, and his struggle to move on and follow his own path. The chapters are set up as stages that I think are necessary in building a relationship: First Meet, First Try, First Challenge, First Listen…

This book is very setting driven. It could not have been written without Arizona, California and New Mexico (all the places you’ll be taken to). This book also could not have been written without the help of Bob Dylan, The Killers, Counting Crows, U2, and Ryan Adams (all referenced in the story, by Gray).

I need to point out, especially to my current readers, this book is very different from AWAKEN. My agent and editor both finished reading it and said, “We love this! But, where did it come from??” (They were expecting futuristic sci-fi). Well, just as I read many different types of stories and genres, I want to write all different kinds of stories. I want to write realistic fiction, sci-fi, fantasy…any random idea I get in my overly imaginative head.

The publication date for FIRST COMES LOVE is May 8th, 2012.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Performing Surgery

Yesterday I finished my first round of edits for MIDDLE GROUND, and promptly celebrated with a beer at Flat Tail Brewery. How would I describe this book? Intense. Will I give you a sneak peak into the story? Sure. Here are ten words in the book (in this draft, anyway):

Mewling (love that word)
Detox (is that technically a word?)

Have I peaked your curiosity? Now you're going to agonize over how chickens will play a role in this book and let me tell you, they play a HUGE roll.

Can I just say that rewriting is beautiful and wonderful and challenging and painful all at the same time? It's like performing open heart surgery on my characters (and I'm not the most delicate surgeon). There is so much to cut, rework, reconnect, disconnect, clean, swab...and great material can come out of it (fingers crossed). Each word is like a blood vessel, the sentences are veins, the paragraphs are arteries, the chapters are organs. It's bloody intense.

I'm sure I'll have about ten more drafts to go before I'm completely satisfied, but the major surgery is out of the way. Hopefully it's just some nips and tucks after this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I'm getting requests for autographed copies of Awaken. Since I won't be taking an extravagant book tour this year (but hopefully next year), the best way to get an autographed book is through my local bookstore, Grass Roots Books and Music.

Simply order a book through their website and in the "comments" box, as you check out, specify that you want an autographed copy. I can also do personalized copies, just add how you want me to personalize it. If you have any questions, feel free to call or email the bookstore.


Friday, July 8, 2011

I Like My Privacy, Thank You

I was really bothered by an article I read recently, in Wired Magazine. It discusses a new social networking site called Hunch. It offers shopping recommendations after you sign in and build a profile and answer a plethora of questions ranging from odd to in-depth.

Here’s what bothered me: Hunch co-founder, CPO Caterina Fake, said that she hopes to use this site to “make technology more human” and it really struck a cord with me (a low cord, like an e minor). I’m sorry, but I find nothing human about sites that ask for personal and private information, then plug that information into an algorithm and turn around and push products on people (as well as probably sell personal information to other businesses and advertisers).

Hunch entices you to share information about your tastes, beliefs and experiences by turning it into a game and you rack up points they call banjos (why banjos?). Fake even admitted in the interview that Hunch will be a place where “You can’t stop and you don’t know why.” You call this humanizing? I call it a clever marketing ploy and it's advertised as "social" so people think they need to be doing it. One of their users apparently has 300,000 banjos. Wow. Wired hailed him like he was some kind of superhero. What is his superpower, lameness? If I met this guy I’d probably ask him how many sores he has from sitting all day long, and tell him he really needs to get out once in a while, maybe get a girlfriend.

I understand it’s fun to be involved in social networks, but it’s also okay to limit what people can learn about you online. It’s okay to limit how many profiles you have. The internet is scary because once it’s out there you can’t get it back.

And, I know this sounds old fashioned, but we don’t have to look online for everything. It can be a great source to turn to, but there are other places we can go for information. People can shop local and put money into their city’s economy (which means more money will be pumped back into their economy, into city parks and schools and libraries).

If people spent half the time volunteering in their own communities as they did browsing the internet, imagine the differences and impact we could make.

I really hope there will be a technology backlash. I don’t think it will happen until a hacker steals all of our identities and credit card numbers, but I think something’s going to happen.

That’s it. I’m done. If I was holding a mic, I’d drop it.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Okay, I need to compress that title a bit--it's actually just a Wisconsin book tour. I'm heading back to my roots in September to do a couple of book signings around the state. I wish I had time to branch out to other areas, but this is a quick trip home to see family, friends and hopefully a fan or two.

I would love to visit some classrooms while I'm home, especially around Wausau, Madison or Milwaukee. I used to teach high school English, and I love talking to students about writing and publishing (I'll probably mention my book as well).

If you happen to be a teacher, librarian, or bookseller interested in signing me up for an event in the last two weeks of September, just shoot me an email through my website.

Peace, love, and corn dogs.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

MIDDLE GROUND is on it's way...

Last week I was offered a book deal for Middle Ground, the sequel to Awaken and the offer has officially been accepted so now I can scream it: MIDDLE GROUND IS ON IT'S WAY!! I'm so excited I can barely contain myself to be typing this right now. I wrote the sequel last year and finished it up over the winter. Now it moves on to the editing stage. I'll have more news about the publication date soon, but for now I'm so excited to say that Maddie and Justin's story will continue.

Oh yeah, and I have to add, awesome win last night Mavs. I love seeing the underdogs rise to the top. DIRK, you are 7'2" of solid German awesomeness.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Interview with my Editor: Julia Richardson

I've always been fascinated with what happens behind the scenes...whether it's with movies or music or even sports. A lot of people contribute to a book and I interviewed a couple people that have played a huge role in the publishing process of Awaken. Here's an interview with my editor, Julia Richardson, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

1. How did you land a job working at one of the top publishing houses in the country?

The story actually begins about twelve years ago, when I worked at Disney/Hyperion. There, I met Mary Wilcox, another editor. Eventually, I went from Disney to HarperCollins. There, a job opened up that I thought Mary would be perfect for, so I suggested her for it. She took the job, and once again we were working together.

Fast forward a few years and now she’s working at Houghton Mifflin and I’m at Simon & Schuster. (People move around a lot in publishing.) In 2006, she called me to say a job was opening up at HM. They were looking for someone to launch a children’s paperback program. I had been working in paperbacks for many years at S&S under the tutelage of Ellen Krieger. This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me. So I went for it and here I am now.

2. What is a typical work day like for you?

I’m editorial director of the paperbacks group, so that means I spend a lot of time at my desk answering emails. Each one tends to be a problem that needs to be solved, so I’m consistently working with people to find solutions to whatever needs to be fixed. Once a week, though, I work at home. Here I try to stay away from email for chunks of time, so I can read manuscripts or edit or do whatever else needs to be done that takes my full concentration.

3. How many manuscripts do you read in a typical week?

Not as many as I used to. Probably one or two.

4. What makes you pass on a book?

If the voice doesn’t grab me in the first few pages, I’ll put the manuscript down. Or if I like a manuscript, but it’s too similar to something we’ve already got on the list.

5. What makes a book stand out to you?

An original voice. Plot points and grammar can be fixed. But the voice of an author has to come from inside him or her. So if a person’s writing voice doesn’t touch me emotionally in some way, there’s not much I can do about it. It’s like the “it” factor the judges always talk about on American Idol. You either have it or you don’t.

6. When did you know Awaken was something special?

As I read the first paragraph. It’s so evocative and thoughtful. I knew this book was going to be beautifully written and make me think.

7. How often do you take on debut authors? Is this a risky endeavor, or do you enjoy discovering new talent?

I tend to work with quite a few debut authors. Yes, it can be risky, but there are ways to mitigate the risk. And the potential is so great, it’s completely worth it. I love it!

8. You work in the children’s department at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. What makes you prefer this genre over other kinds of books?

I initially got into children’s books, because of how much I loved books as a kid. I wanted to pass that on to the next generation. But also, I really love kid’s books. I love reading about characters who are just spreading their wings, trying to find their place in the world.

9. Any advice for aspiring writers trying to get published?

Write! Writing is an art form just like dancing, music, singing, or any other art form. It takes practice! Remember the old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! It’s the same with writing. How do you get published? Practice, practice, practice!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I thought about U2 a lot today. I thought about some of their greatest hits, like Desire and Hawkmoon 269 and Bloody Sunday. I thought about Los Angeles and how my best friend Ryan and I never got tired of blaring Bono and singing at the top of our lungs while we twisted the car down Mulholland Drive. Music is kind of a like a time machine, it can take me back to the past and sometimes it propels me into the future. I haven’t been playing enough music lately. It’s making me feel skinny, a little malnourished as if music feeds me. So, I need to make a mix tonight and tomorrow maybe drive to the coast or find a dusty desert hill so I can pull over and sit on the hot rocks that bake under the sun. I’ll take my old manual camera with me and try to take some pictures of rusty train tracks or half-dilapidated farm houses and all these random eye sores that I think are so interesting. Maybe it isn’t the music I’m missing so much, more this constant need to be inspired. I think that’s it. For me, life is this endless search for inspiration.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

German Book Trailer

I woke up this morning with one of the coolest gifts I've ever received: a link to a German book trailer for AWAKEN. I'm a bit on the fence about book trailers--sometimes they're forced and lame and weird, but this one is just RAD and AWESOME and PERFECT and can I just add that the music, Chapel Song, by We Are Augustines, is currently my new favorite song?

Check out the trailer:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

D-Day is Over!

The debut day of Awaken has come and gone and it was emotionally infused with tears of anxiety and happiness (mostly happiness). Thanks so much to everyone that came to my book release party. Doing the limbo was really fun. Next year we'll try and have a break dancing contest and maybe some beatboxing.

People ask what I did during my release day. Well, I spent an entire hour in the marker section of Staples testing pens to autograph books with. There are so many crucial options to weigh: color palette, ease of ink, thick vs. fine points, comfort grip vs. non-grip...I decided on Bic markers (purple and red) because I've decided that "Bic" must stand for "Bodacious ink cartridge," which is all I could ever want in a pen.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is AWAKEN a series (or was that just a really cruel ending)?

Okay, I've received numerous comments asking, begging, pleading for a sequel to Awaken. One reader even offered me her first born for a sequel. I hope she was kidding.

Just to set the record straight, YES, there is a sequel! I never intended to end the book with Awaken (hence the "open" ending). Maddie and Justin's story definitely isn't over only gets better! I will post more information about the sequel as soon as details are finalized. Until then, sleep well my friends. There is more of Maddie and Justin on the way.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Publishing Jitters

Man, if I graphed the emotional roller coaster ride I am currently living, it would look like ocean waves, lots of rising and falling. I thought getting published would be this euphoric state of perpetual bliss and it's more like having a bi-polar disorder.

I'm trying to distract myself. I bought the new Lonely Island cd which has provided hours of much needed laughter. I saw Fur last night and that was definitely not a bucket of laughs. Way too deep for my mood. I immediately replaced it with the Family Guy Star Wars trilogy and my husband and I played this ridiculous game of throwing socks across the room into our laundry basket. Yes, we amused ourselves for an hour playing a random version of sock basketball, I'll call it socketball. It makes folding laundry surprisingly fun.

I'm currently working on organizing a book tour so I can meet my readers, my peeps, and some of my cyber pals. I'll be posting any events on my website as they're finalized.

8 MORE DAYS. *air high-five*

Friday, May 13, 2011

Time to Dust Off the Blog...


Yo. It has been years since I've blogged. I started this blog up four years ago as a place to vent, to inspire and to discuss writing, but, I got extremely sidetracked working on Awaken and other projects. Now that my book is being published, I'd like to dust off my contribution to the blogosphere and use it as a place to keep in touch with my readers (and also to vent, inspire and probably discuss writing).

I deleted most of the posts that used to be on this site, but I left a few on just to give you some glimpses into my mostly random personality.

For now, keep an eye out for Awaken. It's coming out May 23rd. Just to warn you, it might sell out at your local bookstore. I highly recommend camping out in the parking lot the night of the 22nd and lining up at the entrance just to make sure you get a copy.

It's currently available to buy online, if you simply cannot wait ten more days.