Monday, September 28, 2009

Want an early copy of Best Enemies?

This is going to be a CRAZY week and blogging might be scarce. about a contest? If you'd like to enter to win one of TWO signed copies of BEST ENEMIES (out Oct 20), then leave a comment here and/or on my LiveJournal. Make sure to leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.

You have until Thursday, October 1st at 7am to leave your comment. I'll contact the winners over the weekend for their addresses. I'm only shipping to US addresses, too, so sorry international peeps!

If you want an extra entry, Tweet, Facebook, blog, vlog, etc., about the contest and put a link in your comment. :) Spreading the word about the contest is superhelpful, so thanks in advance!

Soon, I'll be posting a reading of the first and *possibly* second chapter of the book.

Go enter already! :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Best Enemies copy! Yaay!

In my hands, I have finished copies of BEST ENEMIES! Eeeee!! Above is the full spread and you can see the wrap around cover. *happy sigh* I'm just in love with it. Of course, I couldn't wait to see all five books together.

In. Sane. Five! I'm so proud of them and can't wait for BEST ENEMIES to release!

Going to be working all weekend and at a crazy pace while I get the chapter by chapter outline down for HOME SWEET DRAMA (CC #8). Once that's a go, then it's writing time. :)

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Literary Review's spring launch with guest author J.R. Angelella

So excited to attend this event tomorrow evening! It's the spring launch party for The Literary Review, which is exciting enough...but even cooler than the kick off? J.R. Angelella is reading as a special guest author. *cue applause*

If you're in the area, come stop by and listen to the authors read. It's going to be a great night!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome, Lauren Barnholdt!

Please welcome the supersparkly Lauren Barnholdt! Lauren's here to dish all about her new book, DEVON DELANEY SHOULD TOTALLY KNOW BETTER, that comes out today. Happy release day, L!

Book summary:

Devon Delaney cannot believe she's lying again. But the thing is, she couldn't help it. Her new boyfriend, Luke, is talking to his (gorgeous) ex-girlfriend, Bailey Barelli (!!!), every single day in mock trial.

Devon couldn't just stand by and let him find out that she'd never dated anyone else before. Could she? Oopsie. Too late now. To show how totally unaffected she is by Bailey's obvious Luke hang-up, Devon invents a fake ex-boyfriend of her own: Greg. Fab! What could go wrong?

But it isn't long before Devon finds herself in the middle of another supergigantic lie. Can Devon come clean in time to keep the guy? Or will she lose everything due to another lie?

Bio: Lauren Barnholdt is the author of many books for teens and tweens, including TWO-WAY STREET, FOUR TRUTHS AND A LIE, and THE SECRET IDENTITY OF DEVON DELANEY. She lives in Boston with her husband.

Okay, here we go!

Pitch Devon as a Tweet! (140 characters or less, people who are not familiar with the awesome that is Twitter)

Devon’s lies get her in trouble again – will she come clean in time to keep the guy? Complete with some kissing and a brand new cell phone!

How are you and Devon alike and different? Break it down.

Hmm, Devon is fun, and I like to think I’m fun. She also likes the same colors and things I do – like sparkly cell phones and pink.

She’s thirteen, so, you know, we’re different in that sense. At least, I hope we are, hmm.

She’s a lot more self-confident and more outgoing than I was at thirteen. But she’s dramatic the way I was at thirteen. (I’m totally not dramatic anymore, la la la.)

You’ve been writing at coffee shops more recently. Fellow coffee shop writers understand the shortage of outlets. (So wrong!) Tell the truth, LB. Have you ever wanted to unplug someone’s lap top when he/she got up to grab an order? Or (*gasp*) have you already done so??

Jessica!! I would never do something like that!!!

Okay, I’ve totally wanted to. I mean, some people are doing things in coffee shops that are just.. I don’t know. Like, what if someone is playing video games? And I am under deadline? Shouldn’t that be more important?

Lately I’ve also noticed some people with their laptops plugged in, and they are just chatting away to other people, not even using their computer! Mostly, though, it hasn’t been a problem—I try to only go to places where there are enough outlets to go around.

Devon invents a fake boyfriend, Greg. Would you have ever been able to pull that off at your school?

Um, well….full disclosure: The first Devon book is based on something I did in junior high. So I guess, um, yeah, kind of.

I know (because I have people) that you and Editor Kate don’t get along AT all. Do you just cry every time you get an edit letter from her? It’s okay. This is a safe space.

I don’t cry, because I’ve been in therapy to deal with it. Plus last time I went to visit her, she gave me tons of amazing books, to sort of buy me off and keep silent about her torturous techniques.

Obviously, the above question was a total joke. Lauren and I share Editor Kate and she nicknamed us “Barnhart.” She recognized that we only need to go by one name, ‘cause we’re awesome like that. When do you expect Team Barnhart to dominate the publishing biz? (And don’t give away any secrets to the enemy camp…)

Classified. Barnhart would never give away any secrets on a blog --- there are spies everywhere!

There’s one tiny issue I have to bring up. The one that could one day cause a Barnhart-break up that would be splashed over every tabloid. You know where I’m going with this. Nick and Jess. You’re obsessed with them—totally fine—but I’ll still tell you that Robsten is better, la, la, la…Predict it for us, Lauren. Are Nick and Jess getting back together?

Sadly, no. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t!! They were so in love! Didn’t you see the episode of Newlyweds where Jess did laundry for Nick because SHE LOVED HIM SO MUCH? I just don’t see what went wrong.

Also, I don’t really get Robsten. Like, is that even happening? Or is he just obsessed with her? It’s so meta, like I totally picture him, like, watching over her on the set and stuff.. Crrreeeeepppppyyyy.

Favorite line from the book?

Can it be “favorite paragraph”? If so:

“Okay,” I say. “Point taken. But we’ve turned over a new leaf! I don’t have any secrets from you right now. You know everything that’s going on with me, and I want to know everything that’s going on with you. We’re BFF.” Mel doesn’t look convinced, so I rush on. “For example,” I say. “Last night at mock trial I made up a fake boyfriend, and now Luke wants to meet him.” I give her an encouraging smile. “Now you go.”

Knowing that you looove your iPhone, if we should see more of Devon, will she upgrade?

Hmm, I don’t think so. Devon’s parents hardly even let her get a flip phone, I don’t think she’s ready for such technology. It would probably get her into more trouble.

But if she did, it would be sparkly and pink.

Final question: Write your own question and answer it. Make it good. *pressure*

Would Devon from my book and Sasha from your book be friends? Totally! Except I think Devon might corrupt Sasha a little bit. Although I’ve heard that Sasha is totally ready to French kiss, and Devon isn’t quite there yet, so maybe they’d be bad influences on each other.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Best Enemies teaser trailer

Hope you enjoy the teaser trailer for Best Enemies! It comes out on October 20, (a month away--eeee!) but most of the books have released at least a week early. So, here it is! :)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Second round of vlog Q&A :)

Q&A round 2! :)

Vlog answering reader questions

Readers at the Canterwood Crest forum left me some amazing questions to answer via vlog. Here's the first of 2 installments. Thanks, girls! You rocked it with the questions!

PS-I *just* uploaded the vid, so the quality will improve in a couple of hours. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Rival Revenge is complete! Woo!

Oooh, yay! The final draft of RIVAL REVENGE is in Editor K's hands. Yaaay! Book #7 is a wrap. Well, till copyedits anyway. But by then, I'll be loong into HOME SWEET DRAMA.

Now, to tackle the to-do list that seemed to come out of nowhere and become quite long. It involves lots of vlogging. And video making. And Website updating. I like. :)

Uh, but first...I might watch the NEW MOON trailer. Just one more time. One. As a sparkly (haha--it's true!) reward.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hampton Classic wrap up

I *finally* have a second to blog about the awesome time I had at the Hampton Classic! The show was great and there were many activities going on all day. The above pic is me being interviewed by a local station about what I was doing at the show and how the books translated to the audience at the Classic. It was a great match because the grounds were FULL of kids and they were everywhere, hopped up on cotton candy and excited about being at show.

This was my view from the press box, where I sat for a while. The grounds were gorgeous and it was amazing to watch such high-quality horses and riders in such close proximity. The weather was awful because of a tropical storm, but the riders and horses kept going. The show wouldn't close unless it started to lightning, so I was glad that everything kept going.

This gray was one of my faves. The way he jumped was INSANE. And his rider was so talented--I wish I'd written down their names.

Isn't that jump gorgeous? I love it.

After hanging in the press box for a while, I went to the kids' area where I signed books and chatted with the kids who had come to the show. A couple of them had already read Canterwood and were shocked to see me there.

It was a great event and I had fun going to the Hamptons for the first time. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fiona Finkelstein, Big-Time Ballerina!! (giveaway!)

Book summary: Sometimes Fiona Finkelstein's life seems to be a lot like a TV show -- everywhere she goes, there's a lot of drama. That's what being nine in Ordinary, Maryland, is like when your dad is the chief meteorologist for the local TV station, your mom lives in California and stars in a soap opera, and your little brother thinks he's a superhero.

But right now, life is even better than TV, because Fiona Finkelstein has a chance to become what she's always dreamed of being: a big-time ballerina. There's just one problem: In her last recital, Fiona starred as the unforgettable Fiona VOMITstein -- all over the stage, and all over Benevolence Castles's can-can costume.

Can Fiona overcome her fears so that she can finally be a big-time ballerina in the local holiday production of The Nutcracker? Or will she remain the only one in her family who has the flat-out worst case of stage fright ever?

Bio: SHAWN K. STOUT never made it to the big-time in ballet, despite 10 years of lessons. And she never got to wear a tutu either, which still sort of bothers her. But writing about a wannabe ballerina almost makes up for it. Almost. Fiona Finkelstein, Big-Time Ballerina!, is her debut middle grade novel and is the first in a new chapter book series from Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Shawn K. Stout has a M.F.A. in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She lives in Maryland in a very old house, with her husband and two dogs.


Okay, here we go!

Give us the Twitter-pitch for Fiona. (Meaning, sum up your book in 140 characters or less!)

Fiona wants to be a big-time ballerina—to dance on a real stage with a real curtain—and the only thing standing in her way is a flat out awful case of stage fright.

As a kid, you aspired to be a zoo keeper, dolphin trainer and a monkey. Do you think you’ll ever write a book about any of those things?

Do you think it’s weird that I didn’t want to own a monkey, I wanted to be a monkey? There’s a story in there somewhere, I think. About a kid who wants to be a monkey when she grows up? Or, maybe not.

What’s your background in ballet?

I took ballet lessons from the time I was about four years old until I was fourteen. I danced in a number of recitals, and yes, I even had a part in The Nutcracker as an angel. Unlike Fiona, I never got to wear a tutu, which still sort of bothers me. As an angel, though, I did have a golden trumpet that I danced with. (Actually, it was a cardboard tube wrapped in aluminum foil and spray painted gold.) So I guess that kind of makes up for it.

Poor Fiona threw up on mean girl Benevolence and was dubbed Fiona Vomitstein. Did you ever have a moment like this when you did ballet?

Thankfully, no. I did get terribly nervous when I was backstage before a recital, but I never had Fiona’s “Vomitstein” experience on stage. I was a nervous kind of kid and frequently had an upset stomach, so I do remember throwing up in public a couple of times (much to my older brother and sister’s horror and embarrassment). Does that count? But nobody called me Vomitgirl or anything like that. At least I don’t think they did.

Seeing your cover for the first time is such a big moment! What was your reaction when you saw the Fiona cover for the first time?

I was thrilled to see the cover! It was the first time my book seemed real to me. Until I saw the cover, there was a part of me that was convinced I’d made the whole thing up and there really was no book.

What was the most difficult part about writing Fiona?

I’d have to say the beginning, the middle, and the end.

Your Website says you love miniature horses, but haven’t been able to convince your husband to add one to the family yet. Do you think you’ll be able to use the release day of Fiona as a way to convince him? (I mean, I see it as leverage…)

Oooh, I like the way you think. The problem he has is that I would want the horse to live, or at least sleep, inside our house. Which may sound crazy, but they make rubber soled shoes for miniature horses so their hooves won’t scuff the floors. It’s true. I’ve seen them. Let me tell you, there is nothing cuter than a miniature horse in high top sneakers.

How will you celebrate release day?

We’re having a book launch party at the Barnes and Noble in Rockville, Maryland. It’s going to be loads of fun. Want to come?

Can we expect to see more of Fiona?

Yes, absolutely. Fiona will continue her dramatic adventures in at least two more books. The next one is coming out in the fall of 2010, and the third one in the fall of 2011.

Finally, to young girls who aspire to be something, whatever that is, what would Fiona tell them?

Fiona would say: “Flat out face your fears and try not to throw up.”

PS- HUGE apologies to Shawn. This interview was supposed to run a couple of weeks ago. I thought I set it up to auto post and I didn't. *head desk*

PPS-Shawn is awesome enough to offer a signed copy of FIONA to 3 random commenters! Leave your comment here (or on LJ) and I'll draw a winner on Friday. :)

Vlog coming soon!

I promised the awesome reader girlies on the forums that I'd vlog answers to their questions. So, I'll be making that this week or this weekend, so look for that coming soon!

I've also been going through the vlog footage from the Canterwood shoot and we've got some superfun stuff! The CC models ROCK!

Get ready--Best Enemies releases on October 20 (so prob a week or more before that) and there are going to be lots of awesome things coming on the blog during October.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Positively by Courtney Sheinmel

About the book:

Emerson Price cannot remember a time when life was ordinary. She was four-years-old when she and her mom were diagnosed as HIV-positive – infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and eight when her parents divorced. Now she is thirteen and her mother is dead. Emmy moves in with her father and stepmother, but she feels completely alone. Even though everyone has always accepted her, no one – not her father, or stepmother, or even her best friend – understands what it’s like to have to take medicine every single day, to be so afraid of getting sick, and to miss her mom more than she ever thought she would.

When Emmy’s dad and stepmother send her to Camp Positive, a camp for HIV-positive girls, Emmy is certain she is going to hate it. But soon she realizes that she is not so alone after all – and that sometimes letting other people in can make all the difference in the world.

The author is donating a portion of her proceeds from this book to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation.

I read Courtney's first book, My So-Called Family, and loved it. I, of course, told her I *had* to get an ARC of Positively--or else. She sent me a copy and I fell in love with Emerson and her story.

The most touching and vibrant part of the book is Emmy's relationship with Lisa, her dead mother's best friend. Lisa, my favorite character next to Emmy, is less of a mother-figure and more of a friend to Emmy, which is exactly what she needs.

This book will not only introduce young readers to HIV and AIDs, but it will also spread the message that most kids with HIV or AIDs aren't asking for special treatment--they want to be like everyone else. Their lives are different and they can't ignore or forget about the daily pills or frequent doctor visits, but they can strive to live a normal life.

The best thing about Positively? The honesty of how kids with HIV deal with it day by day. Courtney's own background of volunteer work with Elizabeth Glaser's foundation adds definite authenticity to the story.

Positively releases in hardcover from Simon & Schuster on September 15. Find out more by visiting Courtney's Website.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Another Canterwood Crest photo shoot pic

I wanted to share my fave pic from the Canterwood shoot on Wednesday. I'm posing with this lovely bay horse and the famous Editor Kate. Now if you see her on the street and you want an early copy of Canterwood--chase her down. She'll love it. ;)

So. Glad. It's. Friday. But it's gonna be a working weekend. Like, crazy-working. But I'm just happy to be home and not on a plane or at an airport. I'm trying to respond to reader email (I've, um, got 15 pages of new messages to go through), but I'm working on it. You guys have been sooo patient and I really appreciate it! :) Also, if you sent me a book to sign, I mailed back a couple of them yesterday as well as responded to a couple of snail mail letters, so be on the look out for those. :) Special shout out to an awesome reader who sent me tiny plastic horses in the mail. <3 them!! Thank you!

What's everyone else doing this weekend?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Canterwood Crest photo shoot pics!

Yesterday was the third photo shoot for the Canterwood series!! We were shooting the covers for books 9-12 and it felt like a reunion of sorts, seeing my girls and the crew. I'm only posting pics that were Tweeted yesterday either by Editor K or I. The rest, hi-res beauties, will be posted around the releases of books 9-12. And maybe a few early ones here and there just to tease. ;) Or, I might post pics for that specfic cover when it's finished and I'm allowed to share it. Then you guys wouldn't have to wait until 2010 to see the videos. That would be sad.

It was a fantastic day. I was up at 4something and the S&S crew (yep, I'm including myself in there) rode together to NJ for the shoot.

We got started around 7something and wrapped around 7:30 that night. Everyone was fabulous and it was the best shoot ever. The covers (ahem, Jessica Handelman) are going to be *insane*. In the best way. Thanks, also, to Russell Gordon for adding his artistic eye to the shoot.

That's Paige Parker getting a wardrobe adjustment as we get ready to shoot. Aren't you guys excited to finally see Paige on a cover?!

This is Editor K almost losing it when Zoe, the bay, tried to sniff her. The coversation after this shot:

Editor K: *shooting shocked/pretend-furious look at Totally Innocent Author* OMG! Why didn't you save me? That horse was about to eat my jacket! You didn't warn me!

Innocent Author: *swallows and fears for her life* I didn't know that was gonna happen! *then laughs not so quietly to herself*

Then full out laughter from both parties ensued. Editor K was also later chased by a bee which, apparently, I should have saved from from as well, LOL. Ooops.

We're getting set up for the first shoot of the day. The models, who are the *sweetest* girls, can turn on the attitude so fast for the camera. Amazing.

One of our photographer's assistants getting the camera ready. Heavy duty, huh?

Finally, my main girl Sasha getting her hair touched up before a shot. Aren't you in LOVE with her shirt? I think this was right before the horse drooled all over her when he stuck his head out of the stall door. She was so great about and got cleaned up and kept going.

Sooo....I also vlogged. All day. I interviewed each model, the stylists and took lots of behind the scenes footage of hair and make up. I'm still figuring out how/when I'll be releasing the vlogs. I reaaalllly want to show you guys all of the video RIGHT NOW. :)

Enjoy the pics and know that when I told the models how much support there is for Team Canterwood, they said to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you who read and love the books.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Decatur Book Festival wrap up

Inside The Little Shop of Stories...

A sweet display at the store

I love how cute the store is!

Emerging author stage

Welcome to the Decatur Book Festival!

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at the Decatur Book Festival. I spoke at 2:30 on Saturday at the Target Children's Stage and had a blast! I met some amazing readers and the audience asked a wide-range of questions. When you get to the end of your talk and you say "Thank you. Any questions?" it's ALWAYS scary. You're convinced no one will ask a question and you'll just stand there, face burning and then run off stage. So thank YOU, audience members, for saving me from that. Much appreciated! :)

I spent time vlogging, chatting with authors I'd been online friends with but hadn't met in person and hanging out in the author suite. It was a great trip and the entire festival was so well organized. The volunteers were beyond friendly and the staff was incredible.

Thanks again, DBF, for having me!

Decatur Book Festival vlog

A vlog from the Decatur Book Festival. Thank you so much, DBF, for inviting me. Also, please support The Little Shop of Stories. Terra and her crew are amazing and so, so passionate about books. A full wrap up of the Festival (with maaaany pics) is coming soon. Hopefully, later today.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Deadline craziness

Blogging is going to be sporadic since I leave Friday morning for the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA. It's going to be so much fun! I will, however, be vlogging and Tweeting from the event. I speak at 2:30pm on the Children's Stage. I'll be talking about all things Canterwood and am trying to make the talk funny/informative.

I'm also turning in RIVAL REVENGE on Thursday, so I'm responding to zero e-mails at this point. I'm not ignoring any of you (readers), I promise! I will e-mail you back as soon as I can. If you snail mailed me, I'll work on that soon too. Thank you so much for all of your notes! I do read and appreciate each one!

Back to editing...I don't want Editor Kate to throw the manuscript at my head. Or shred it into tiny pieces in front of me. Or cross out every page with a red Sharpie. It could happen, you know... ;)

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