Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One year ...

Hard to believe that exactly one year ago today (discounting the international time difference!) we adopted Isabella.

Here she is in China on "gotcha" day, October 30:




Who would have thought that scared little girl would grow to be the little Wonder Girl who went trick-or-treating through the neighborhood tonight, happily shouting "Happy Halloween" and "trick or treat" and checking her bag for her favorite candies?

Or the little girl who performed in her first piano recital 11 days ago.

Or who has learned that we don't say "yucky" at the dinner table, but instead say "no, thank you."

A little girl with boundless energy, a sweet heart, an amazing sense of rhythm, and a wicked sense of humor. A little girl who loves her big sister and her mommy and daddy and her grandma and Nana and all our kitties. Oh, and who loves penguins and duckies, too!

Here she is from just a few weeks ago (because today's pictures won't download) --




We love you, too, Isabella!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wow. A book club visit ... Wow.

I had absolutely the best time visiting with a local book club that picked Carpe Demon as their monthly book, and then invited me to speak.

Not only were they a really fun group of women, but when I walked in the door, I noticed a bunch of spritzer bottles on the breakfast bar, each tagged "holy water." That was interesting enough, but then I saw the dip (with 5 carrots sticking up, with almonds as "fingernails"!) and the garbage bags taped over the window in the breakfast area! And ... yes, the piece de la resistance ... a dummy wrapped in garbage bags and shoved into the pantry!

Such fun and sooo creative.

Thanks, y'all! I had a great time!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

GCC Tour: THE BOYS NEXT DOOR by Jennifer Echols

I'm thrilled to be touring Jennifer Echols this week, and her book, The Boys Next Door. Check it out!





Order the book!


About the Book:

Lori has spent every summer on the lake, swimming and wakeboarding with the three boys next door, and working at the boys’ family marina. Lori is close to Adam, the “baby” of the family, who's her age. But secretly, she’s always had a thing for the middle brother, Sean. And this summer, Sean actually seems to be—dare she think it—flirting with her. She figures he’s only being nice because they're like family, since he’s not into younger girls. Until he steals Adam's (even younger) girlfriend.

Lori and Adam team up to get Adam’s girlfriend back, and to get Sean for Lori. But then Lori begins to notice ADAM. He’s grown taller. More mature. And Lori thinks Adam is interested in her, too. And that’s when their ploy finally works. Adam gets his girlfriend back, and Lori gets Sean. The right couples are finally in place, and everything should be smooth sailing. So what’s with all the waves?


About the Author:

Jennifer Echols is the author of the National Readers Choice Award-winning Major Crush, about a high school pageant queen turned band geek in a small southern town. Boy in Blue, about a rebellious teen who is sentence to accompany a police officer on his night shift patrol—and falls for him, will be published by MTV Books in February 2009. Growing up on beautiful Lake Martin in Alabama, Jennifer learned to water-ski when she was five (wakeboarding wasn't invented yet). She now lives high and dry with her husband and son in Birmingham. Visit her on the web at www.jennifer-echols.com

Jennifer's Answers to My GCC Questions:

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL “WRITING DAY”?
I get up at 4:30 a.m. and write until I have 1350 words or whatever my quota is for that day. Then I start my “real” job as a freelance copyeditor.

DO YOU RECALL THE KERNEL OF INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOOK?
I wrote a proposal for a book with a similar plot that was set at a dirt-racing track, and a book with a different plot that was set on the lake where I grew up. My editor asked me to take the first plot and set it at the lake.

PICK A CHARACTER IN THE BOOK AND TELL US WHAT TRAIT YOU SHARE (OR COME CLOSEST TO SHARING) WITH THAT CHARACTER.
The heroine, Lori, is the character I’ve written who’s closest to the real me. I am exactly that dorky. In fact, when my critique partner read the manuscript, she called me and said, “OMG YOU’VE WRITTEN YOURSELF!”

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND, WOULD YOU RATHER HAVE A MAGICAL TRUNK THAT GAVE YOU LIMITLESS BOOKS TO READ, OR A LIMITLESS SUPPLY OF PAPER ON WHICH TO WRITE?
Since I read A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh, I’ve been haunted by the specter of being trapped in the jungle, reading the collected works of Charles Dickens over and over like that book's protagonist. So I’ll take the paper.

BEER OR WINE? Beer.

CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA? Chocolate!

WHAT’S YOUR ALL-TIME FAVORITE BOOK? Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Friday, October 5, 2007

GCC Tour: BEYOND COOL by Bev Katz Rosenbaum

I'm so behind on blogging (deadlines! ack!) and that's a shame because I want to make sure everyone sees this fabulous book:







Order the book!




Beyond Cool is the sequel (which can also be read as a stand-alone) to Bev Katz Rosenbaum’s phenomenally successful young adult novel, I Was a Teenage Popsicle! (Sarah Mlynowski, author of Bras & Broomsticks, said Popsicle was, “Fresh and fun—an absolute blast!” Melissa Senate, author of Theodora Twist, described Popsicle as, “Cool, clever, and full of charm!” Girlslife.com called it “super cool”. Popsicle was also recommended on Meg Cabot’s blog and included in a book quiz on seventeen.com!)

So, the story…

Floe Ryan was frozen for ten years. Crazy, but true. She was vitrified at sixteen because of a rare disease. Now she’s been thawed back to her normal self, but absolutely everything else has changed. Her little sister’s older than her, her teachers are now holograms (but still annoying), and instead of learning to drive a car, she’s trying to master a hovercar. And just when she starts warming up to this new scene, everything falls apart…

Her boyfriend is giving her the, er, cold shoulder, and worse, Dr. Dixon at the Cryonics Center tells her that people who were frozen are more susceptible to illnesses. The one doctor who can cure this immune system weakness has gone AWOL. Now it’s up to Floe and her brainy friend Sophie to find him. But they’re not the only ones looking for him--and this time, Floe could be iced for good…


Sounds like fun, doesn't it? And I love the mystery/adventure component.

Here's what Bev has to say in response to my GCC questions:

How would you describe your typical writing day?



8:00 At computer.

9:00 Ready to write or revise (depending on what needs to be done) after an hour of checking and replying to e-mails, checking blogs (mine and others) and posting new blog entries and/or comments, and getting totally sidetracked by MSN entertainment (i.e. gossip) news...

12:00 Quick lunch.

12:30 More writing/editing.

2:00 Manuscript critiquing (I run a popular critique service)

4:30 Exercise/Help kids with homework/Chauffeur kids to various activities or friends' houses/Make dinner

6:30 Dinner with family

7:30 More manuscript critiquing, interspersed with more helping and chauffeuring

10:30 Bedtime!

(Note from Julie: Bev is WAY more organized than me writing-wise. Sigh.)



Do you recall the kernel of inspiration for this book?



Well, this is the sequel (which can also be read as a standalone) to I Was a Teenage Popsicle. The idea for that one came when my hubby and I were talking about the whole Ted Williams cryonics brouhaha . I thought, hey, cryonics could be the basis for a really cool--ha-ha--teen book!



Please tell us about your latest novel (title, publisher, release date) and what we can expect from your characters.



Like I Was a Teenage Popsicle, Beyond Cool is a crazy mix of teen lit, romance, sci-fi, action-adventure, and comedy. In this book, cryonically preserved and recently 'thawed' Venice Beach teen Floe Ryan finds out all the human popsicles have immune system deficiencies, and the one doctor who can solve the problem is AWOL. Spunky (and witty!) Floe takes it upon herself to find the doctor and save the frozen zombies--while trying to hang onto her hot new boyfriend and learning how to hoverdrive...



What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us a bout it.



I'm going all dark and dramatic with a top secret new project geared to older teens, but I'm also working on something fun and light for tweens...



Would you like to close with a writing tip?



You can't go wrong with the old standby: Show, don't tell!




Want to learn a bit about Bev? She's a former fiction and magazine editor who found her calling when she fell in love with the books her kids were reading and the TV shows they were watching. She lives in Toronto with her family. Be sure to check out her awesome website at www.bevkatzrosenbaum.com and her myspace page at www.myspace.com/bevkatzrosenbaum, where she also blogs weekly. (You can also catch her occasional blog posts at www.teenfictioncafe.blogspot.com.)