Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I love bookstores. I love the smell of them. I love the hopeful anticipation when you walk inside one, knowing that you are going to find a perfect treasure. A book. A book that will whisk you away and take you on an adventure. The experience is so much more personal and nurturing in an INDIE BOOK STORE! It's their passion for books, the passion for the kids who will read the books and the absolute love of READING!

I have a confession. One of my secret dreams is to open a bookstore. There are so FEW Indies where I live now. It's not something that I could financially ever manage, but if I could --my model would be MONKEY SHINES BOOK STORE in CALGARY ALBERTA. Another confession, I once asked the staff if they had franchise stores, just because I LOVE IT SO MUCH and wanted to replicate one in my neighbourhood!

Monkey Shines is completely fabulous.  Not only is it Calgary's only Book Store just for Children's Books, the store atmosphere is lively and happy and FUN!

Actually, my son and I discovered it because it's located right next door to my son's DENTIST. And yet every time we have to go to the DENTIST both of us are excited because it means a trip to MONKEY SHINES!!! How cool that a bookstore can make a dentist trip fun!

Monkey Shines Book Store

I want to thank Monkey Shines for what they do and for being a wonderful part of Calgary and especially the cool and eclectic neighbourhood of Marda Loop!

Thanks to the amazing sisters Lisa and Laura Roecker for banding together authors to show love for Indies! Check out their blog and contest by clicking on their name above!

Check out all of the Indie-love and if you have something to add, send them your link and they'll tack it to the list! You can also follow them on Twitter using the hastage #iheartindies. Because today is all about spreading the love. In fact, one lucky commenter will win a book of their choice ordered from the Learned Owl and another commenter will win a book of their choice ordered from Anderson's.
Sarah Frances Hardy

Shana Silver

Elana Johnson

Stasia Kehoe

Shannon Messenger

Carolina Valdez Miller

Mundie Moms

Myra McEntire

Sara Bennett Wealer

Janet Gurtler

Joy Preble

Ty Drago

Kate Walton

Julia Karr

Randy Russell

Adele Griffin

Helen Landalf

Andrea Higgins

Beth Revis

Tess Hilmo

Sheela Chari

Gail Handler

So, go ahead and tell us about the Indies in your neighborhood!!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Dork in New York

Wow! Home from BEA 11 already! Pooped and about five or a hundred and five pounds heavier. Did I mention I tried my first red velvet cupcake? Yeah. It was the size of my head. Did I mention it was so good I had to try another one the next day. :)

Plus there was Ziggy Cake to celebrate Ziggy's 40th Anniversary.  And Starbucks full fat Frappacuinnos. And Donuts. For some reason I showed no restraint.

But enough about the food, what about the BOOKS.  The AUTHORS. The BLOGGERS!! The LIBRARIANS. This is what New York librarians look like...

Okay. Not ALL of them but here's two!! Librarians were not this gorgeous and cool when I was a teen!

So. To start up. Tuesday morning EARLY I met up with Shana Silver and Laura from Laura's Reviews.  (We weren't blurry, but my blackberry was...)

They were pro's and knew what was up, which was why they were already staked out at the front of the line to get into the Expo. Which was great, because I had no idea what was going on or what to expect. I met lots of great book bloggers in line and was totally impressed by their levels of professionalism and passion for books. Very cool! 
There was even a group of bloggers who were so smart they rented a house together and paid a FRACTION of what my hotel room cost me! Smart bloggers!

So. Then the doors opened and WOW! BOOKS! ARCS! AUTHORS --in autographing booths giving away signed copies of books. Books at Publishers booths. Line ups. Craziness ensued.  I still had no idea what was going on and pretty much lost my peeps immediately. But wandered and nabbed some great books and then eventually wandered over to the Sourcebooks booth where I met my cool editor Leah Hultenschmidt, (but forgot to take our picture together.)  I also met other great people from Sourcebooks, including Todd Stocke and CEO, Dominique Raccah. 

Tuesday night, before the Soho Press Party (where I was dying to go to meet the fabulous author and editor Daniel Ehrenhaft),  I first went out for dinner with Laura from Laura's Reviews. She is an amazingly nice woman with the cutest hint of a Boston accent. Laura is very outgoing and went out of her way to introduce me to many authors and bloggers, including Barry Lyga.  As a huge fan of Boy Toy I was thrilled!

The Soho Press party was one of my BEA highlights. It was a cool old bookstore and it was filled with people from the NY literary scene.  Agents, editors, authors, bloggers and so many friggin' cool people. I was truly in my dorky element.  When I left the party (early) because remember the dork part, I actually went out into the streets of New York and flagged a cab. It was a good moment.  I also hung out on Times Square and it was super cool to be a gawking tourist checking out the sights and sounds! Of course I had to go to the giant Toys R Us store where there is (among other things) a Ferris wheel inside the store. I shot some photo's of Lego sculptures for Superson. 

Wednesday I met up with Shana and Laura again and spent the day waiting in more lines and watching panels and exploring the trade show. I had dinner with Editor Leah on Wednesday night and then on Thursday more trade show during the day. I met my agent's agent, Ronnie Herman and the fabulous and friendly, Anastasia Suen. 

Later on Thursday the fabulous Converse shoe wearing Publicity Manager from Sourcebooks, Derry Wilkens, took Sourcebook authors, Ty Drago, The UndertakersGeoff Herbach, Stupid Fast, Leanna Renee Hieber, Darker Still, Katrina Kittle, Reasons to be Happy  and ME to a Book Blogger reception. It was  fun to meet the bloggers and librarians!!

Other highlights besides the enormous box of books that will be shipping to me (soon I hope), was meeting and seeing lots of authors I love and admire!

Kody Keplinger,  author of DUFF and soon to be released SHUT OUT. I got a signed copy and can't wait to read it!! Kody is adorable and sweet and so friggin' young and talented and poised I kind of wanted to hate her! Ha ha, just kidding! She was amazing!

I also got to meet fellow DEB and AMAZING author Sarah MacLean.  She wrote a YA, The Season, and is now a NY Times Bestselling Romance Author. She is as sweet in person as she is online and she is also really really tall!!! Which I envy now in addition to her amazing prose!! I got a signed copy of TEN WAYS TO BE ADORED WHEN LANDING A LORD!

I caught the last part of a panel with Laini Taylor, who is hard to miss with her trademark PINK hair ( love!). I got a little teary eyed when she spoke about a passage in her new book (DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE) that she wrote when she was on a book retreat with the lovely and prolific author, Lisa SchroEder and the amazing L.K. Madigan,  who recently passed away.

I got to meet and get an autographed book from TONY HAWK for my skateboarding nephew! 

I saw Jimmy Fallon (adorable) and listened to the AMAZING Jane Fonda speak. I saw Mike Holmes (smaller than I thought) and was so sorry I missed his book and autograph as husband is a HUGE fan,

I saw Coco and Ice-Tea and Candace Cameron. 

I saw Ellen Hopkins and Scott Westerfeld and so many, many other authors whose work I admire. I missed Sarah Dessen (sigh) but got an autographed book from Elizabeth Scott..

All in all- it was an amazing experience and despite the added girth and forge into horrid eating habits it was worth every penny.

Vive la New York!

Monday, May 23, 2011

New York- Day One

True fact. I almost FORGOT my luggage.  Hub and I stopped for coffee on the way to the airport and as we're leaving the coffee place he says, "Did you bring your luggage from the house". Um Not. So we went back home to get it. D'oh.

I read OKAY FOR NOW (Gary D. Schmidt) on the plane. And teared up. It is THAT good. Amazing really. You must read it. If you are a writer you will hate him just a little.

Arrived in NY. Got into a cab. No. First I spilled the bag of trail mix I bought because I didn't eat on the plane and was HUNGRY.  Spilled it all over the luggage pick up area. Whoops. Clumsy nerd in New York.
The cab driver was a wild driver, but in a good way. Drove through the longest tunnel in the world and looked for ways to escape it, but didn't see any.

Arrived at hotel. Oh.

Really close to the conference center. Kind of old though.  And tiny little tiny room. Hoping like crazy there are not alive things crawling in the bed. Making myself itchy thinking about it.

Walked down to shopping area, but didn't have lots of time. Saw Madison Square Gardens and went into the BORDERS right beside it. They had copies of I'm Not Her on the shelf. That was a kick!!! Saw lots of people and lights and tourists walking around with luggage. Oh. Also walked past some groovy looking fashion gala or something with lots of fancy looking people in expensive clothes and paparazzi. Do they have paparazzi at BEA? They totally should.

Went and ate a large thin crust slice of pizza in the subway station. Felt kind of groovy. Had no idea where any of the major attractions were and kind of afraid to walk in the late, late darkness in my hotel area so returned to hotel.

Meeting up with Shana Silver and Laura tomorrow early for the first day of BEA!

More later dudes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nerd in New York - Me at BEA 11

Oh my gosh, have I mentioned 365 times how excited I am to be going to New York friggin City. Whoooo!

I am doing it alone, but meeting up with some people at various points, and hopefully will run into some "virtual" friends while I'm out there as well. Crawl me off of my introverted couch and into the real world baby! I'm a comin'

I am going to lose my mind when I see all the authors I love and admire. And the books. The books!!! I am going to get ARC's. (Well, I hope. I keep secretly thinking that no one will give me books because I am just a fraud, not a book blogger or librarian.)

I am going to go to NY bookstores and walk down the street where all the publishing houses are. Eeek eek. I'm going to go to Toys R Us, the biggest toy store in the world.  I am going to do STUFF!

When I come back I'll post a report on what I saw and what I learned and  hopefully I'll have some great books to use as give-aways!!!

Until then.

Happy Long Weekend and I LOVE NEW YORK!!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FUN Facts about I'm Not Her

Originally posted here!

10 Fun Facts about I'M NOT HER!

1.In a hospital scene in I’m Not Her one of the nurses is named Tracey and she takes Kristina’s flowers home to her daughter, Carly. Tracey is the name of my sister, Carly is her daughter in real life.

2.Every single one of my books has a character named Carly in it. This is a tribute to my niece, Carly. The characters are not based on her per se, but there has to be a Carly in my books. Like a superstition or good luck charm or something.

3.This book is dedicated to my sister Tracey. I was able to keep it a secret until Final Page Proofs came in.

4.My niece Ciara plays volleyball and her nickname is CEE. She got recruited by a university in the States and is playing there. None of the volleyball players in the book were based on her though. She is a cool like a rock star.

5.I thought Clark Trent was a funny name because of Superman’s secret identity. The Superman cape Clark wears in a scene cracked me up.

6.I named a couple of the teachers in I’m Not Her after dogs I’ve had. Peppsy (Mr. Pepson) and Meeko (Mr. Meekers)

7.In a scene Tess listens to Hedly on her iPod. I LOVE Jacob, the lead singer for the band. He was on the only season of Canadian Idol I watched.

8.I named the golf course that Nick works at and Tess’s Dad plays at after my husband. Largurt (Larry Gurtler)

9.I’m Not Her was originally called The Weight of Bones, but when I first started writing it I titled it Dance Big Sister.

10.Tess’s love of the Discovery Channel and Myth Busters were inspired by my son

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday means....THE HAMSTER DANCE

It's Monday. You know what that means?  The HAMSTER DANCE SONG is here to cheer you up!

You didn't come here to learn right?? It's Monday. We could all use a little HAMSTER DANCE!!

Watch this video. You can thank me later!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Not so Deep Thoughts on Sunday

Mood- thoughtful.

I had a wonderful time at the Okotoks Library yesterday where a small but attentive crowd came to my presentation about Voice and the publishing business.  Son had to come with me as hubby is off building and fixing things at the cabin. Son reports he almost fell asleep but assured me I didn't sound as boring as he thought I might. Now there's some great feedback!

As a reward I took him to see THOR last night and then afterwards we dropped by our local Chapters/Indigo store to visit my books.  Unfortunately they weren't on the shelves yet but when I checked with the store computer it showed 3 in the store. I asked a nice young employee about it and she magically took over the computer and typed in mysterious numbers and then told me they had arrived a couple of days ago and were still in the back room.  She was about to go get one but I told her I wasn't buying one,  I was just checking on them because I wrote the book. She acted very impressed and made me feel wonderful with her kind words. If I had chocolate in my pocket I would have offered her some. 

It's 14 days post "official" RELEASE day, though Indigo/Chapters listed the book release as May 15 so it's about right that the books are just starting to hit the shelves in my homeland of Canada.

It's a roller coaster ride this publishing thing, let me tell you! Some things happen that send authors to incredible high and wonderful euphoric places.  Good reviews, spotting books in stores, increases in sales numbers. Then there's the inevitable dips. All part of the business and all part of the reason authors need to have thick skin when they put their work out in the world.  It's a learning process how to deal with it all that's for sure. (For example I think it's about time I stopped stalking Goodreads and book blogs andTwitter for reviews and mentions of the book.)

Next week I'm heading out to the cabin for the long weekend for painting and fixing and building and then a week tomorrow I'm heading to New York City for my very first time.  AHHH! I have so much to do next week. Color my hair! Pick out outfits. Figure out a schedule!  I'm really excited to be visiting New York.  Nervous but excited!!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Five on Friday

1.  I have become secretly addicted to listening to Cee Lo Green's UNCLEAN version of Forget You. Which uses the F word in place of Forget.  Yes THAT word! It makes me giggle like a ten year old boy. Of course, I only listen on my iPod. My son and my husband would both disapprove. I like in a house of non swearing rule followers people. It's my small act of rebellion! Giggle giggle.

2.  I am getting super excited and nervous about going to NEW YORK CITY. My first time. I'm going alone. I am going to start begging for friends to hang out with. Oh. Who am I kidding. I've already started asking for friends to hang out with.

3. I have been working on INSTINCT again. I swear this book is the most difficult one to finish.  When I am done I will be celebrating in a MAJOR way. That means, maybe TWO scoops of ice cream on my chocolate fudge three layer cake.

4. I am going to the bookstore today! Yes I am!!! Unfortunately I'M NOT HER doesn't release until May 15 at Chapters/Indigo, but I'm going to check out some Indies around town. Plus I need to drop by the store where I'm having my LAUNCH!!!! June 10th baby. If you're in Calgary you are invited. Heck. You're invited no matter where you live if you want to make the trip! Germany! China! Brazil! Come one come all! There will be cupcakes!

5.  Swim meet weekend ahead.  Which is going to be kind of nice, because I have been on my laptop pretty much almost every waking hour for the last couple weeks and I think my fingers and eyeballs need a break.  And thanks to Superson too for motivating me. I have FINALLY started adding time/distance to my runs because I  think of him swimming for one and a half hours straight and expecting him to keep getting better and then I have to think- man I can really pick up my own pace here too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tell the Truth Tuesday

1. I keep thinking I should make this blog more writing related, as in with helpful links and helpful writing tips and then I get scratchy and realize how much work that would be and my laziness gene kicks in.

But here's brilliant and helpful links from three of my writing peeps who I get to lunch with almost every month. Yes you should be jealous. :) But check them out for great posts!!

Angela Ackerman - The Bookshelf Muse

Stina Lindenblatt

Deb Marshall- Just Deb

2.  I am trying not to stalk the internet for any little tidbits about I'm Not Her. I am not succeeding.

3. I have an interview with a newspaper tomorrow! For my library presentation in Okotoks. A phone interview. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate talking on the phone? Hopefully I will do okay!

4. Here is a picture of me with my launch day cake. Yes. The only way to celebrate in my books is with a piece of triple chocolate layer cake. With ice cream on the side.
ps.I *may* have eaten the whole thing!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Wow! So today is the official release day for I'm Not Her. My countdown widget is zero'd out. How cool. How weird.

I'm hoping I'm Not Her is starting to show up in bookstores, although in Canada it's release date for the major bookstore says May 15.

Of course, to celebrate I am going to do one of my favorite things in the world. Eat cake. Seriously. Chocolate cake.

The other thing I'll be doing, something close to my heart is the WALK FOR KIDS HELP LINE.

On Sunday, May 1st, thousands of Canadians will come together to break the silence on mental health. Will you be one of them?

Why yes, yes I will. And I'll be wearing my I'M NOT HER shirt too!