Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My new author site is LIVE

Two sites diverged in cyberspace and I took the one more user friendly.

In other words, I have a new website that is officially up and running. I've been working on combining my website and this blog into one single place, so that I don't have to update each one separately.

Stop by and visit my new  DIGITAL HOME.

My old website, and this blog, will eventually be taken down. If you follow either of them by email, please follow my current site.

Thanks. Peace out. ~Katie

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Wordstock was AMAZING. It was my utopia: books, book lovers, book writers, booths promoting books, book nerds and book sellers. Did I mention there were lots of books?

I was on three panels, one with Daniel H. Wilson and Peter Heller, (featured in the photo above) both promoting apocalyptic sci-fi novels. We argued the state of the environment and technology and it was awesome. I also got to be on a panel with David Levithan (yes, seriously) and Lisa Burstein, moderated by author Jen Violi who rocks. Lisa and I bonded in the VIP room, Suite D. I spent all of my Los Angeles years trying to sneak into VIP rooms, so it was a luxury to actually be on the list. And eat all the free cookies. And steal pens. I’m a pen klepto.

The highlight of Wordstock? For me, it was listening to David Levithan read out loud. If you've never been to one of his readings, you are missing out. This man is an amazing reader. He makes love to his words. Seriously, it's hot.

MIDDLE GROUND, is out in one month. Huzzah! Did you order a copy yet, slacker? Here are few places to do so:

Barnes and Noble

Meanwhile...there are two questions I am getting from fans about Second Chance:

1) When will the third and final book in the Gray and Dylan Saga be available?

I humbly ask you to be patient with me. I have a two year old and I’m having a baby next month which will squeeze my free time down to…um…none. The book is completely written in my head, I just need to get it down on paper. I'm aiming to have Finally, Forever out by fall, 2013.

2) When will Second Chance be available in print?

SOON! Hopefully by next month, but I promise before Christmas. I’m working with a graphic designer to clean up the cover a bit. Second Chance will also be available on B&N’s Nook soon as well. I gave Amazon 90 day exclusive rights to this book, but that contract is up on December 7th, so I can upload it to Smashwords and then you all can read it from whatever place/format you prefer. Cool? Cool.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Last night I went out for coffee at the amazing Imagine Coffee House in Corvallis, Oregon, with my lady friend, Leslie. She’s one of those technical savvy people majoring in digital media and communication. She likes to tutor me on my “online presence” and “social media platform.” She’s the one that decorated my twitter page. Anyway, she is helping me combine my current blog and website into one awesome space, so I don’t have to waste time updating both of them which is pretty redundant and I hate redundancy.

Leslie is currently working on the new and hopefully vastly improved blog that will be my new digital home.  I will slowly be dissolving my current website and blog, but I promise not to abandon you. I’m just preparing you, since change can be a little scary if it happens too quickly. I do have to add that I will miss my current website, which was designed three years ago by a high school student in Corvallis. Thanks again for all of your hard work, Damian! Sorry you had to witness me getting pulled over by the cops and receiving a $200 ticket and swearing and punching the dashboard. I honestly try to be a good role model.


A blog tour for MIDDLE GROUND is currently underway. This book is the long-awaited sequel to Awaken (which came out in spring 2011), and it is coming out NEXT MONTH. For the full blog schedule, go here.  There are a ton of giveaways going on, so look out for them. If you haven’t seen my intro video to kick off this tour, be sure to check it out. It’s pretty ridiculous: video.
The SECOND CHANCE blog tour will begin the first full week of November. I’m so stoked for this! There are a ton of bloggers participating. I’ll list a schedule soon.


Finally, I am participating at Wordstock Book Festival this weekend, in Portland, Oregon. I listed my panel discussions and times on my website. I hope to see you there! Other things I will definitely be doing while I'm in Portland are:  1. Shopping at Powell's Books. 2. Getting a doughnut at Voodoo Doughnuts. 3. Buying socks at The Red Light District. 4. Getting coffee at Stumptown. 5.Schmoozing with fabulous authors while I pretend to be in their league.



Thursday, October 4, 2012

Random Thoughts Outside My CO OP

I watched a man on the sidewalk downtown yesterday. He had a hand-made wagon attached to his bike. The wagon was just four sheets of plywood, held together by bungee cords. He was filthy and skinny and was painstakingly tying down bags and crates and bins stuffed inside the wagon. He reminded me of a turtle, carrying everything he owned on his back and instead of feeling sorry for him, I found myself a little jealous of how simple he had it.

I wondered, if I could only carry a wagon full of stuff, what would I pack? What things do I really need? What is so important that I can’t live without it? So much of what we own weighs us down, and gathers dust. I loved seeing how this guy could travel light. It made me need less and suddenly want less. It’s strange what small observations can teach you if you pay attention.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


MIDDLE GROUND, the sequel to AWAKEN, is coming out on NOVEMBER 20th!

To get the buzz going, there will be a blog tour beginning next week, October 8th. I'll kick it off with a video introduction on I am a Reader, Not a Writer. Eleven different blogs will be hosting author interviews, character interviews, playlists, and giveaways for Middle Ground throughout the month. I need to thank the fabulous Heidi Bennet from The Readiacs for organizing this! I know it's a ton of work, so thanks to EVERYONE who is participating. Stop by these blogs to see what's in store. Here is the tour schedule:

Monday, October 8th – I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Steph the Book Worm
Tuesday, October 9th – Good Choice Reading
Wednesday, October 10th – Steph the Bookworm
Thursday, October 11th – Smash Attack Reads
Friday, October 12th – Paranormal Indulgence

Tuesday, October 16th – Good Choice Reading
Wednesday, October 17th – Bittersweet Enchantment
Thursday, October 18th – Smash Attack Reads
Friday, October 19th – Book Em Adventures

Monday, October 22nd – Paranormal Indulgence
Tuesday, October 23rd – Book Em Adventures
Wednesday, October 24th – RexRobot Reviews
Friday, October 26th – A Dream within a Dream

Monday, October 29th – RexRobot Reviews
Tuesday, October 30th – Bittersweet Enchantment
Wednesday, October 31st – A Dream Within a Dream
Thursday, November 1st – Confessions of a Bookaholic
  Friday, November 2nd – Book Em Adventures

Monday, September 24, 2012

Second Chance Playlist

Here are 15 songs that I listened to over, and over, and over while writing Second Chance. Some are more Dylan-esque, others definitely inspired Gray. Here's the playlist (I also added the music links below, if you want to listen):

1. You Don’t Know How It Feels—Tom Petty
2. Kamera—Wilco
3. Give You Hell—The All-American Rejects
4. Mr. Brightside—The Killers
5. Can You Tell—Ra Ra Riots
6. Shot in the Dark—Augustana
7. Kick Some Ass—Stroke 9
8. Missed the Boat—Modest Mouse
9. Airstream Driver—Gomez
10. You Always Make Me Smile—Kyle Andrews
11. Do it Again—Stroke 9
12. Chinese—Lily Allen
13. Desire—Ryan Adams
14. Wildflowers—Tom Petty
15. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright—Bobby Dylan

Second Chance by Katie Kaz on Grooveshark

Friday, September 21, 2012

Okay, That Was Terrifying

Self publishing has become one ongoing experiment. It’s strange to step back from the traditional publishing house and do this all myself, but it’s also a great learning lesson.

I experimented with a few free promotions the past two weeks. I gave free copies of Second Chance away on Friday, September 14th, but I didn’t really publicize it. I just posted a quick comment on Twitter, then I turned off my computer and tried not to think about it. I drove out to Crater Lake, Oregon, where there is zero cell phone service or Internet. Here are a few pictures from the trip. Not a bad getaway destination...

When I got back on Sunday night, I noticed 250 people had downloaded my book during the promotion. I felt pretty good about it, but then I started poking around other sites and realized that number is pathetically low for a free giveaway.

So, I tried it again, and gave away free copies of Second Chance for two days. This time, I publicized the event. I contacted a couple of sites, like Pixel of Ink, Ereader News Today, and Free eBooks Daily (there are a TON of sites out there that do free marketing; I got dizzy just looking at the lists). I contacted about twenty bloggers, my agent, and even Houghton Mifflin Harcourt was kind enough to tweet about it.
In just the first day of this promotion, 4,000 copies were downloaded, it made the top fifty books in Kindle, and made a number one spot in a Kindle category. I stared at the number—4,000 free books! Instead of feeling ecstatic, I wanted to ball my eyes out. Seriously, I'm such a drama queen. It felt so strange to give so many copies of my book away for free, but people keep reminding me it’s great publicity. Well, here’s hoping.

I guess the point of all of this isn’t to hit high rankings or make a bestseller list. I’m just proud of this book and I think it deserves a spot on people’s bookshelves. I’m trying to prove to my publisher that it’s worth picking up. I want to hold this book in my hands, so I hope this will create the buzz I need to make that happen. I also LOVE GRAY AND DYLAN. I have never had so much fun spending time with characters.
If you do download it, tell your friends about it, or write a positive review for me. 

Finally, and most importantly, thank you thank you thank you to all of my friends and fans who helped to spread the word about my promotion. I wish I could take every single one of you out for a glass of wine. Maybe someday.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

One Final Promotion

I really want to be lazy tonight and watch Modern Family, or rewatch Anne of Green Gables for the billionth time, but Dylan and Gray are bugging me to do some more publicity for Second Chance. So, I am publicizing one final giveaway. Second Chance will be free to download on Amazon (here) for the next two days (September 19th and 20th). As of Friday, it will cost $3.99. I think my pregnancy is making me overly generous or something, but go ahead and take advantage. If you do download it and enjoy it, tell your friends to read it. That’s all I ask, yo.

PLEASE spread the word about this giveaway on any blogs, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook…you get the idea. Pass the love around.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Second Chance

Well, so far it sounds like people are enjoying Second Chance!  I love this book—I could seriously write Gray and Dylan forever, but, there will only be one more book in the dramatic saga that is their relationship. You can order the book here. 

Thanks for all of the kind reviews and comments people have been sending me.   Writers need their readers like birds need wings, so THANK YOU.
I have a Second Chance blog tour in the works for the first week of November. I will post details as soon as they’re finalized, and thanks to everyone who showed interested in participating!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Read Second Chance, FOR FREE

I'm playing around with some of my promotional options on Amazon and one is a free promotion, which I'm trying out. So...

Second Chance will be free on Amazon today. Yes. Free! The promotion ends at midnight PST. Feel free to spread the word.
Follow this link to download the book. Write a nice review if you like it.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Wow...That Was Fast

I uploaded Second Chance on to Kindle yesterday around 3:00 p.m., and by 8:30 p.m., it was live! That was the fastest publishing turn around I have ever experienced. Ludicrous speed style.

So, here is a link to the BOOKSecond Chance can be yours, NOW!


Synopsis of the story:

Can two drastically different, imperfect people be perfect for each other?

It’s been four months since Gray and Dylan have seen each other. Dylan’s been traveling in Europe, while Gray has college, baseball, and a life rooted in one place. Gray’s determined to forget Dylan, the girl he fell in love with in FIRST COMES LOVE. Besides, how do you make a relationship work with an independent loner?

Just when he decides he’s over her, Dylan makes an unexpected entrance back into his life, hoping their steamy romance can start right where it left off. Gray realizes you can tell your mind to do one thing, but you can’t always convince your heart to follow. Dylan realizes she finally has to make a choice between freedom and her relationship with Gray.

Hilarious, intense, inspiring, and emotional, SECOND CHANCE shows that love is a journey, and there are never clear road signs or maps to guide you along. You can only navigate with your heart.

I am setting the price at $2.99. The more copies I sell, the quicker I can get it into a print version. Here are ways you can help spread the word about Second Chance:
  • Mention it on Twitter
  • Link to it on Facebook
  • Discuss it on your blog or website
  • Text/call/fax/email/message...bug all of your friends
  • Also, adding Second Chance to your Goodreads or Amazon list is a GREAT way for books to get recognition.
Anything you can do to help spread the word would be appreciated by me, Gray, and Dylan.

If you like Second Chance, please write a kind review.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Second Chance

Here is the ebook cover of Second Chance. I tried to keep it somewhat in line with the paperback design of First Comes Love. When the print book comes out, I'll hire a graphic designer to add to it--graphic design isn't on my resume. But, I'm still happy with its simplicity and I think the mosaic heart is fitting for this novel.

Second Chance: Available Next Week

I decided there is a word to describe me. It’s called incorrigible. I cannot be discouraged. Ever. It might be my superpower (a superpower I think most writers have).  'No' is never an option--it just opens up a new journey of opportunity.

So, here it goes. I am self-publishing Second Chance and the exciting news is, it will be available NEXT WEEK. First, I want to say there are no hard feelings toward Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They are wonderful to me, and continue to be wonderful to me. They are publishing Middle Ground in November, and I hope to continue to work with their talented staff of editors, designers and publicists.

In the simplest words, HMH felt First Comes Love was fine as a stand-alone and didn’t need a sequel. Well, Gray and Dylan would definitely have to disagree on that one. After months of proposing changes and rewrites, one thing became clear: they were not excited about this book. This realization pushed all of my insecurity buttons and I started to feel pretty lousy about the whole thing. I started to doubt whether Second Chance was worth publishing, which is a terrible mental place for a writer to be, especially going into rewrites. To keep my faith in this manuscript alive, I pulled it back. My books are like my kids, and I can’t put them in people’s hands who don’t love them. It would be like putting my kids in a school where none of the teachers cared about them. I would feel sick about it.

I hired a content editor and a copy editor (Team Awesome). We’ve been working on rewrites over the summer. I’m going to release the ebook format of Second Chance now, on Amazon. I will release the paperback in a few months, hopefully through Powell’s Books. I’m waiting a bit to release the paperback because I need to pay a graphic designer to touch up the cover, and buy an ISBN number, things I can’t afford at the moment. I will make the paperback available as soon as I can, I promise!

The ebook will be available on Amazon and here is the awesome news: It will cost, at most, $3.99. The perk of self publishing is you can set your own price. $3.99 people, that’s less than a coffee drink. That’s seriously pocket change. I will post a link next week where you can order the book.

Also, any bloggers interested in reading the ebook and participating in a tour, please contact me, either through my website or by leaving a message. Thanks for everyone’s support on Second Chance. I can’t wait for you to read it. It’s SO GOOD.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paperback Design of FIRST COMES LOVE

My publisher's showed me the paperback art of First Comes Love yesterday. It's PERFECT. It might be my favorite cover yet. I love the cactus, it definitely illustrates my story, and my characters (especially Gray). It won't be available until spring, 2013, but I still wanted to share it. We went back and forth over the hardcover--I get that it's steamy, and I can appreciate that, but I felt like it didn't quite fit my story. So, I'm really excited for this design.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Song Two

Here is song number two on the Second Chance playlist. It's called Kamera, by Wilco. This one is Dylan-inspired.


P.S. I had a great time at the Powell's Bookstore Block Party this weekend. Thanks to everyone who came and participated. There is nothing better than seeing a ton of people outside, together, to celebrate books and music. I was floating.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tom Petty, Intro

I'm putting together my playlist for Second Chance. So many songs helped inspire this book; it's hard to narrow them down. Here is song number one. It definitely sets the mood for Gray's mindset at the beginning of the book. Plus, it's just an amazing song:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Got a Haircut (and other earth shattering news)

As some of you may have noticed, I retired my Twitter account last week. I hope the cyber world will manage to continue without my status updates, and my small group of followers will not grieve too long for this loss. My agent suggested I open it when I published my first novel, Awaken, and I thought she was joking. I'm like, "Helen, have you read Awaken?" But, she pointed out it is great for marketing and publicity, which I admit, it is. I also don't knock something until I try it for myself (except for meth, I probably don't need to try that one to realize it isn't good for me). So, I went on Twitter and posted awkward status updates and lost hours of time reading other awkward status updates and it just wasn't for me.

I appreciate everyone who reached out to me on Twitter, and I'm not trying to avoid you, I just try to avoid being online too much. I only check my email twice a day (sometimes I don't check it at all). It's not that I'm anti-technology, I'm not, it's just that I'm ridiculous-insanely busy. Pregnant, running after a toddler, writing multiple's been a year and a half since I could schedule in a haircut. I really needed it and can I just say, my hair smells amazing right now? It's almost edible.

Event update:

Come and see me and my new haircut this Saturday, August 25th at the Powell's Block Party (Powell's Bookstore on Burnside in Portland, Oregon). I will be speaking on the children's stage at 4:00 p.m. If you haven't been to the world's greatest book store, this is the time to come. There will be music, food, beer, authors, and books.

If you can't make the block party, I will also be signing books at the Portland Airport (PDX) on August 29th at 11 a.m. I'll be outside the Powell's Bookstore (I would assume, unless they put me in an airport hanger which would be weird but fun).

Other news...a blog tour for Middle Ground is in the works. I will have a full schedule soon, which will include sneak peeks, an interview with Justin, author interviews, giveaways, playlists. Good times.

Finally, I can announce it: I finished editing Second Chance. Man, that was rough. I've never been in charge of editing my own manuscript and even though I hired a team of editors to help me (Team Awesome is their name), I still had to input all the changes myself. I am so sick of thinking about comma placement right now--it makes me want to play Oxford Comma by Vampire Weekend on full volume and scream to it. Maybe I will. Better yet, sing it with me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Second Chance

Here's a line I wrote this morning. It comes from a scene in Second Chance, (the sequel to First Comes Love), where Gray kisses Dylan. This is how it makes him feel:

My heart pulls apart and collides back together with so much force my hands start to shake. I feel like I’m speeding down a highway in the middle of the night with no headlights on. A single kiss can be one of the craziest things you ever do.   

I like this description, how it conveys the overwhelming, intoxicating, and terrifying feelings of falling in love. I understand why they call it “falling” in love. It is a fall, it’s this letting go, this accepting that is so scary (and tough for Gray in this book).

I also love that this line was inspired by one of my editors. I would never have written it if she hadn’t given me feedback on this scene.

I’m working on the rewrites to Second Chance, but I still can’t make an official announcement of when/where/how it will be published because I still don’t know. My publishers haven’t rejected or accepted this book. I’m still in the painful waiting phase (probably the worst place for a writer to be).

Instead of sitting around, stewing with insecurity over whether or not this book is good enough to be published, (because IT IS), I’ve been working with a small team of editors on the rewrites. If I do decide to go the self-publishing route, I want to make sure this book is fit to be published and that only happens with quality editing. Good writing is rewriting and I could never publish something without hiring some professional, critical eyes to examine my work. Every word of every sentence needs to be critically critiqued. That’s what makes a book shine. Also, some of my best writing comes during rewrites. I have a lot of  “Ah, ha!” moments, where lights snap on in my head and everything falls into place.

Once I have the manuscript fully cleaned up (in the next week or two), I will announce how you can get your hands on it! I’ll have some exciting news soon, and a very awesome playlist to share.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

More Drama to Come

Get ready. I have a pretty important announcement to make. But first, a little backstory:

After I finished writing First Comes Love (over two years ago), I turned off my laptop, sighed, and said, “Gray and Dylan, peace out. It’s been fun.”

Done. I was done writing their story. I had so much fun hanging out with these characters, it was bittersweet to end our adventures together, but I wrote their story and it was over.

Or, so I thought.

The night that I finished writing First Comes Love, I turned off my light, closed my eyes and…Gray and Dylan were still in my head. They kept talking to me. They kept arguing. They still had so much to say. This went on for MONTHS. It was starting to drive me nuts. I yelled back at them, “Get out of my head! I told your story, and it’s over. Deal with it. Move on and leave me the hell alone.” Well, they are stubborn, and relentless and they would not give up. Apparently, their story is far from over. Full scenes shot through my head, pages of dialogue kept me up at night. Finally, just to shut them up, I sat down and started to write the vivid scenes planted in my head. I figured, if anything, I could use it for writing material down the road. As soon as I opened the door a crack, SLAM, Gray and Dylan sat down, kicked their feet up and were determined to stay a while.

So, this is my drawn-out way of saying, I wrote a “dramatic continuation” to First Comes Love. It’s called Second Chance and it’s so ridiculously good. Awesome drama. Heavy make out scenes. Lots of emotional rollercoasters. Tons of inspiration. Basically, it’s more Gray and Dylan.

I wasn’t going to announce news about this book until I had a written contract with my publishers, but I’m still waiting to hear back from them—they’ve had the manuscript for months and are still debating whether or not to take it. I’m praying that they do. It’s a lovely story. So, I’m announcing my plan in hopes of putting some positive energy out there in the book universe. Please root for Second Chance to be published! Tweet about it, blog about it, whatever you have to do. Gray and Dylan deserve to have their story continue.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Friends, after months of being sick with this pregnancy I am finally turning the corner and I have this wonderful new feeling coursing through my body called: ENERGY. It’s great timing, since I participated in a huge YA author event last weekend called “GOT BOOKS,” hosted by Kindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles, Oregon. Twelve authors were there, and one of the authors, Gregg Olsen, made this epic (and very high budget) video to capture the event:

I got to do a few school visits as well, here is a picture of me with the amazingly awesome students at Maupin High School in Maupin, Oregon. I'm the one in front wearing the painted jeans.

This picture points out that I am long overdue for a haircut. Also, I don't know why I'm trying to shove that poor student away from me, like I'm boxing her out in a basketball game. Oh, well...


Friday, May 25, 2012

Up Coming Events...

You guys, this month has been a strange one.  I’m pregnant and I’ve been so sick with this baby, I’ve literally been strapped to the couch, which is very unlike my usual ADD-can't-stop-moving personality. My one book signing event, the FCL release party, I had to fight through nausea long enough to do a reading and I actually started crying at one point. Yeah, LAME. In my defense, I was explaining the dedication of the book when I started crying , which is a tear-jerker story.

So, thank you to everyone who has sent me emails and comments about First Comes Love. Your support and enthusiasm is seriously helping me get through this pregnancy.  I’m still so excited to have this book published, and I hope one of these days I will get to give this book the energy and publicity it deserves. My goal is to do an extensive book tour next spring, to celebrate the paperback release of First Comes Love, as well as the release of Middle Ground (coming out on November 20th, four days before my due date. How’s that for overwhelming?). 

On a lighter note, I did a phone interview with last week. I grew up idolizing this magazine; it was my bible to help decode the confusing male mind and figure out what to do with friendship drama and what on earth to wear in the decade-behind, fashion void that is Central Wisconsin.  So, doing an interview was a dream come true. I think I asked the journalist more questions than she asked me. Yeah, I like to keep it awkward. I will post a link to the article as soon as it’s up.

I'm participating in my first multi-author event next Saturday, June 2nd. It’s at the oldest bookstore in the Pacific Northwest, Klindt's Booksellers, in The Dalles, OR. It will feature twelve YA authors (bestselling and award-winning authors. Oh, and me). Definitely come and check this out. There will be live music, a barbeque, and I’ve heard rumors that Channing Tatum might make a guest appearance. Okay, that’s completely made up, but he’s my current celebrity crush so I can dream.

Finally, my “author sister,” Annabel Monaghan is coming out with her novel, “A Girl Named Digit,” on June 2nd. I had the priviledge of reading an ARC of the book and I LOVED IT.  It’s hilarious, witty, smart, and there’s a hot boy mixed in, all great ingredients for a perfect read.

Thanks again to everyone who has picked up a copy of First Comes Love. Pass the love around.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hello friends and loved ones. I hope you’re enjoying First Comes Love (as much as I thoroughly enjoyed writing it). I wanted to show you all the cover of the German edition of First Comes Love (Dylan and Gray is the German title).

This copy has two book jacket designs, one featuring Gray and one featuring Dylan. I love this! It’s so much fun (and can I just say that Gray and Dylan are HOTTIES?) It’s strange to see my characters depicted on book jackets, since I don’t even have a perfect image of them myself. I don’t necessarily see Dylan as hot, I think she’s more quirky looking, but her personality makes her beautiful. I definitely see Gray as attractive. His looks are actually inspired by a baseball player a had a huge crush on when I was younger (he now plays pro baseball, so I’m not going to mention his name, mostly out of embarrassment).

I have to say, I love the guy (model) they feature as Gray on the German cover. He has great eyes. And they both have great lips. I’m a huge lip person, (it’s one of the first things I notice about people) so this is very exciting for me. I can't wait to get my hands on this edition! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flipping Narratives in First Comes Love

First Comes Love, as some of you already know, flips narratives between the two protagonists, Dylan and Gray. This actually wasn’t the way the original manuscript was written. The very first manuscript was written completely in Gray’s perspective. I had a lot of fun writing a book from the guy’s point of view. It was refreshing, and challenging as a writer. I used to teach creative writing in high school, and I always had my students do an opposite gender monologue, because I think it’s important to try and understand people outside of ourselves, our ages, and our genders. It also opens up your mind to move and think and see in ways you can’t do when you write just from one gender.
So, after writing the first draft, I talked it over with my editor, Julia. She said, “You know, I want to see a bit more of Dylan in this story. I want to know her better.” At first we discussed rewriting the book from Dylan’s perspective, but that would have changed the entire story. There were so many scenes I loved specifically because they were Gray’s words.
I thought it over and said, “Julia, this isn’t Dylan’s story to tell. It’s Gray’s story.” We agreed that flipping narratives would be a great option, but Dylan is a strong character that tends to steal the spotlight whenever she enters a scene (which is why we love her, right?). So, in my rewrites I was very careful not to let her take the spotlight from Gray. Although Dylan is a huge character and a major catalyst to the story, I still wanted to keep her character a little more mysterious, and Gray’s character the main voice and central focus.
When I talk about my book with people, they either tend to side more with Dylan, or more with Gray (although it appears everyone roots for them as a couple). I think that’s great. They are very, very, different people, which, in my opinion, usually make the best relationships (if they can make it work). Will Dylan and Gray make it work? You'll have to read it to find out. :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Free Autographed Bookplates for FCL

Want to get a free autographed bookplate for First Comes Love? Well, if you purchase the book during the month of May, (or if you pre-ordered it before May), I will mail you a bookplate with my autograph. All you have to do is send me a photo of your receipt to this email:   katiekacvinsky(at)uwalumni(dot)com
Include your name and address and I'll send it out to you. It's that easy.

This is for US addresses only.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

First Comes Love--Giveaways

To celebrate the release of First Comes Love, a couple of bloggers are getting together and hosting giveaway events. The prize is a free, hardcover copy of First Comes Love. Here are the sites and the schedule. All you have to do is stop by their sites and sign up; winners are chosen at random. Thanks so much to all of these lovely bloggers for helping to spread the word:
Also, I’m currently giddy that Seventeen Magazine posted information about First Comes Love on their site. My favorite quote is:

“You'll love it if... you're looking for the perfect love story to kick-start your summer reading. It's The Notebook with a slight touch of cynicism and sarcasm.”

P.S. I just spent $100 on cupcakes for my book release party. Please come with room for dessert.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Playlist #1

First Comes Love is here, in the raw, in the flesh. I just received my hardcover copies, which means if you pre-ordered yours, they are on their way! I love this book. I'm just going to scream it. I LOVE IT!! Honestly, if I never write another book again, I would be happy to end my career with this novel, that's how much it means to me. I guess every author feels that way about all of their books, but First Comes Love is very special to me. Please buy a copy. I know you'll love it, too. And don't worry, this won't be the last book I ever write.

I am sharing one of the playlists that inspired this novel (this is Gray's playlist, songs that helped to develop his character throughout the story). There are two more playlists included at the end of the book, but you'll have to track down a copy to see them.

Just a reminder, the First Comes Love release party will be at Grass Roots Books and Music on the evening of May 8th, at 7 p.m. in Corvallis, Oregon. This event is only open to uniquely awesome individuals (yes, that means you), so if you're in the area, stop by and watch me juggle fire torches and break concrete with my mind--as well as autograph books and answer questions. Now, sit back and enjoy some ear candy:

Playlist 1 by Katie Kaz on Grooveshark

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Few Shout Outs and Reminders:

Augustana is playing in Eugene at the WOW Theater in May. I’m only telling you this because I bought tickets, which is the highlight of my month. The band broke up over the summer and they had to cancel their summer tour with Jack’s Mannequin (another pretty great band). But, it looks like they’re performing again so check to see if they will be in your area. You don’t want to miss this show.

Counting Crows is on tour with their latest release, Underwater Sunshine (album comes out on April 4). I’m seeing them up in Portland in April, but check and see if they’re coming to your area. Adam’s voice is so wonderful live.

Denver, CO

Thanks to my friend, Leslie, for decorating my twitter home page. It looks fantastic. I might have to actually start tweeting now (@katiekacvinsky). I follow exactly nineteen people and they are pretty much all comedians or Star Wars impersonators. Classy.

I have to thank Carol Chu for her visually creative superpowers and for designing the cover of Middle Ground. She also designed Awaken, as well as First Comes Love.  The art team at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are incredibly talented and I’m always amazed with their artistic covers. I’ll have more information about Middle Ground coming soon.

Finally, this is random, but a friend of mine paints jeans and every few years she designs a pair for me. I’m posting a picture of her latest pair because they’re rad. I’m so impressed with how creative people can be, especially when they take the risk to put their thoughts down on paper, or in a song, or on a canvas, or… on jeans. Thanks, Marcia.  These will go great with all my gray t-shirts.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gray and Dylan? What's up with their names?

A question that I'm often asked by readers is how I come up with the names for my characters. For example, in Awaken I named Madeline after Madeline Island, my favorite place in the world. It's one of the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior. You catch a ferryboat from Bayfield, Wisconsin, and twenty minutes later you touch ground on a rustic paradise, a place for loners who want to get away from crowded beaches and tourist traps (but who also enjoy some great restaurants and pubs).

Okay, I digress. This post is supposed to discuss how I named Gray and Dylan. It's simple, just listen to Mr. Jones, by Counting Crows.

I'm slightly obsessed with this band and with Adam Duritz for his genius song writing. His influence is partly why I wanted to become a writer. He uses writing to tell stories and to vent and to celebrate the highs and low low lows of life. I even got to meet Adam once, at a bar in Los Angeles. I asked him, "If you were stranded on an island and could only bring three albums, what would they be?" He listed off Miles Davis, Ani Difranco, and Joni Mitchell. (Just a fun fact for you).

In the song Mr. Jones, Adam sings, "Gray is my favorite color," which we have in common. I love the color gray; I wear it almost every day. I own about twelve gray t-shirts and ten gray tank tops and gray jackets and sweatshirts and scarves and hats. It's a gorgeous, calming color and it looks great when it’s complimented with something bright (just like Dylan's bright personality compliments Gray's darker character).

The name Dylan? Easy. Comes from Bob Dylan, the greatest songwriter of all times, and also referenced by Adam Durtiz in Mr. Jones when he sings, "I want to be Bob Dylan."

So, there you have it--a long winded explanation of where their names come from and why they are so dear to me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's New??

Well, I have a new boyfriend, Jason Segel. Okay, I'm totally kidding, but I did run into him a few weeks ago.

Last month I treated myself to a weekend trip to Los Angeles, where I saw Ryan Adams in concert. He is one of my favorite musicians (he’s even referenced in First Comes Love) so I was thrilled to finally see him live. Other highlights of my trip were:

  • 70 degrees and sunshine (always a treat in February)
  • Cruising around in my friend’s convertible. I’m not a car person, I really could care less what brand a car is, but I will say this: I am now officially a convertible girl. It’s not so bad being stuck in traffic in L.A. when the sunshine is pouring over you.
  • Hollywood Museum (I can’t believe I never went there when I lived in L.A.) The entire second floor featured the Oscars movie nominations for 2012. Definitely worth the time, if you’re ever in L.A.
  • Dinner at the Chateau Marmont
  • And, as the picture above demonstrates, I met Jason Segel on Sunset Boulevard. He was nice enough to take multiple pictures with me until one turned out (the flash on my camera wasn’t working, which made the encounter awkward yet amusing). I own every episode of How I Met Your Mother and Freaks and Geeks so you could say I was mildly excited.

Other items to discuss:

It is on, yo: Book signing/release party at Grass Roots Music and Books, May 8th at 7 p.m. in Corvallis, Oregon. Stop in and pick up a copy of First Comes Love. You have plenty of prior notice, so you have no excuses not to be there. Flights shouldn't be too expensive if you start looking now. It's a great excuse to visit Oregon.

I’m in the process of reading over "Get Unplugged" essays and I’m about halfway through them. It is so inspiring to read these entries. Everyone that participated in this contest has written really thoughtful, reflective responses. I will announce the winners at the end of this month.

I am hoping to do some publicity this spring with First Comes Love. I especially want to get down to Los Angeles and Phoenix, where the novel takes place, so I will keep you updated as events are finalized.

My editor sent me a couple of dust jacket covers for First Comes Love. The cover has this cool finish called gritty matte, so they feel as sexy as they look. I am giving one away, autographed (with a few other treats) in a couple of weeks. To win it, just help get the word out about First Comes Love. Send me a message (either on Facebook, or through my website) letting me know how you are helping to spread the word in your area or online. I'll choose my favorite (and most creative) response in April!

Friday, February 10, 2012

brass magazine

This month, brass magazine featured me as their cover story. brass is a money and lifestyle magazine published for young adults. Their covers feature young entrepreneurs, or just young people doing cool things. I'm honored to be a part of this magazine. The photo shoot consisted of climbing thirty foot mossy tree limbs. I got to work with graphic designers, writers, photographers and a video crew. It was an amazing experience to be around so many creative minds. The photo on the cover was the last shot we did. We were in a studio and they gave me a pen and said, "Pose for us." I'm like, "With a pen?" They're like, "Yeah, just roll with it." So, I pointed the pen right at them, as if I was trying to shoot a dart, and they loved it. They're like, "Yep, that's our cover shot." They said that oftentimes the very last photo in an all-day shoot ends up being the cover photo.

If you're interested in reading the article, it's available online.

I just want to give a brief background of brass, because I'm a huge advocate for this magazine. Money plays a major role in our lives and it's something that I think schools often overlook when it comes to preparing young adults for the real world. I never had to take any personal finance classes when I was in high school or college and I think this should be mandatory curriculum. The entire point of school is to prepare kids to go out into the world and be responsible citizens, yet, they forget to teach us about credit card debt and how to take out loans and create a budget....

Look at our current economy and all of the financial trouble people are in, especially when it comes to debt. Well, unless you major in finance in college, you just don't learn about it. That's what brass does--it educates young adults about the money side of life because, let's face it--it's pretty important stuff.

Finally, for those budding writers out there, brass is always hiring writers (and paying them!!) for magazine material. All of the articles in the magazine are written by young adults, some even in high school. Contact them if you're interested.

To learn more about brass, check out their website.
Finally, here's information on how to get a subscription.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sidewalks are Safe

Less than three months until First Comes Love is in stores. I want to celebrate by taking a book tour via yacht or maybe hot air balloon or rocket ship.

For now, here's another interview with Gray and Dylan:

Gray, what’s your favorite thing about Dylan?

Dylan: I bet it's my unique fashion taste.
Gray: Right. No one wears ripped baggy jeans and basketball shoes quite like you.
Dylan: I don't wear basketball shoes.
Gray: Dylan, those black adidas shoes you wear everyday are basketball shoes. They're high tops. I used to own the same pair in middle school.
Dylan: (shrugs) I like skipping and high tops give me great ankle support.

Hey, Gray and Dylan, could we focus here? Let's go back to the original question.

Gray: Sorry. My favorite thing about Dylan...well, surprisingly I could list a lot of things here, but I’d have to say it's her 'random thought for the day.' Everyday, she thinks of something…
Dylan: Brilliant? Epic? Poetic?
Gray: More like insane. Watch, I'll demonstrate. Dylan, let's hear a random thought.
Dylan: Lately I've been thinking about sidewalks and how boring they are.
Gray: Sidewalks?
Dylan: Yeah. Why are they so straight and perfect all the time? Why can’t they zigzag, or be designed in looping figure-eights? Why don’t they have some built-in moguls or sand pits for a little adventure? Why don’t they have a rope tow, so you can wear rollerblades and a rope will pull you around? Wouldn’t that be great?
Gray: (shakes his head)
Dylan: And why can’t sidewalks be colorful? What’s up with all the beige? Beige is the most uncreative color of all times. Why can’t each square be a different color, or painted with a mural so that each piece stands out? Someday, when I own a home, I’m going to get my neighbors together and do something about this sidewalk pandemic.
Gray: Point made.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

SoCal Shout Out

Okay, so in the past two weeks I've discovered my new favorite band and my latest favorite read. Augustana is from San Diego, California and I just bought their recent album (featured below). Yes, I still buy c.d. albums. Is that old school? Well, there's something spiritual about actually buying an album and holding it in your hands and tearing off the plastic wrapping and turning through those intimate little pages of song lyrics and pictures. It's like the band is opening their front door and inviting me inside to hang out. Or, maybe I'm just weird.

I still haven't made it to track five yet. I can't stop listening to the first four tracks, that's how good this album is.

I'm also ecstatic that one of my favorite authors released a new book last week (which I read and devoured in one sitting). Francesca Lia Block is from Los Angeles, and part of the reason I love her books is she describes L.A. so well--all of it's sadness and loneliness and yet she still makes L.A. shine, even through the smog. She also writes one of the best characters ever created in YA literature: Weetzie Bat. So, check out her latest book, PINK SMOG.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Watching the Sky

The flood waters in Corvallis are finally receding. I've experienced earthquakes, tornadoes, blizzards, OSU Beaver games and other disasterous situations, but this was my first flood experience and here's what it taught me: Water makes things invisible. That's the scary part. You never know how deep it is, you never know how hard the current is pulling and how easily you could get swept away. You don't realize how quickly the ground is eroding and how fragile everything becomes. Concrete turns into creamy butter, dirt hills turn into a slippery slide, and gravel just sinks. It changes the entire landscape and makes all the streets that were once so familiar and safe look like wild predators and that is just freaky. When Mother Nature flexes her muscles, it's defnitely humbling. For all of our amazing technologies, we still can't compete with her. All we can do is blink up at the sky and wonder when the rain will stop.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Corvallis, Oregon is a flood zone right now. Seriously, half of this city is underwater. You don’t walk through the streets, you swim. And the rain is falling so hard, I’ve contemplated wearing safety goggles when I’m out in it, to avoid retina damage. People are sporting life jackets instead of vests. You could go tubing down the highway near my house.

When it rains this hard, it’s a perfect excuse to stay inside, read, and, of course write. I’m working on the third (and final) book in the Awaken series right now. When I wrote Awaken and Middle Ground, I knew the books wouldn’t end (technically). But this book will inevitably have to end, which is so sad to me. It's like ending a relationship with someone I really love which doesn't normally happen...

Meanwhile, FIRST COMES LOVE is approaching it’s release date. I was looking at other YA books coming out in May—most of them are sci-fi, fantasy or paranormal. Those are definitely the hot genres. I hope people notice my little realistic fiction story. Please don’t pass this one up. There are no vampires (not even baby vampires), no werewolves, no “Big Brother” controlling the world, no merciless villain. But, there’s still a pretty good story there. I promise.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More Tunes

Here are two more songs from the FCL playlist (thanks to Eric Hutchinson and The Cure for creating such excellent ear candy).

Reminder: People, time is running out to participate in the Get Unplugged contest--you can win an advanced reading copy of Middle Ground (the sequel to Awaken). Learn all about it on my homepage. This is more than a contest, it's a challenge and it might be painful, it might be lonely and terrifying, but I believe in you. For those of you that have already submitted entries, I just want to say thanks. You are awesome in my eyes, you are brave and tenacious and persevering and many good things will come your way. The rest of you are slackers.

Now, on to the music:









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).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What People are Saying...

I try not to read reviews about my books for various reasons, but friends have been pointing out a couple of reviews on First Comes Love that I wanted to share.

I'm terrible at describing my books, especially summarizing them, and I like these reviews because they discuss my book without giving too much away.

Speaking of reviews, here is a heads up: If you write a review, and it contains "spoilers," then guess what, you've overdone it. Back pedal (backspace) those spoilers away so you don't ruin books for readers by retelling the entire plot, Cliffnotes style. I think I speak for all readers and writers in the galaxy that we don’t want to know every plot twist, or how the story ends. Save a little room for wonder and mystery, (what we all eagerly look for from books in the first place). Thanks. :) I will now step off of my soap box.

So, here are a couple of bloggers that help describe First Comes Love. Kudos to these reviewers, and thanks for the cyber love. (Dylan and Gray thank you too).



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gray and Dylan...Continued

First Comes Love is coming out in approximately FOUR MONTHS. I wish it was four days, or four hours, but unfortunately I can't control time (yet). I'm hoping iPhones will come out with a time controlling app one of these days. I would consider purchasing a phone if they did. Or maybe an immortality app? That would be interesting.

Anyway, here is another interview question for Gray and Dylan, the two main characters of First Comes Love.

What was your first impression of each other?

Gray: Honestly? The first time I talked to Dylan, I thought she was mentally imbalanced. I was debating between heat stroke or mild schizophrenia.
Dylan: Thank you.
Gray: See what I mean? She thinks that’s a compliment.
Dylan: I try not to form opinions about people too fast, because they always surprise me, but the first time we met, I knew Gray had promising potential.
Gray: Thanks, coach. I’ll try not to let you down.