Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fleeting Thoughts

My trip to BEA had an unexpected bonus - it was also Fleet Week in New York City.

Being a child of the '80s I was a devotee of Top Gun and Air Wolf; therefore, I go giddy bonkers at the sight of fighter jets and helicopters. So when Editor Jill offered to take me to see the Intrepid, an aircraft carrier permanently docked in New York, I managed to get in a 'yes' amid giggles. We arrived at the Intrepid only to find it closed for a special event.

However, because it was Fleet Week, the active aircraft carrier - Iwo Jima - was in port and open to the public. Instead of checking out a tourist attraction we were able to see the real deal and chat with very nice Marines and Navy men.
Though it seems obvious I was still amazed at how giant the ship was. And yes, I did want to hum "Danger Zone" the entire time.
My favorite were the helicopters.
But a part of me was always waiting for them to can take the girl out of the '80s but -
My grandfather was in the Navy during World War II. The ship he was on was torpedoed in the North Sea and he was in a life raft for three days. He shared his memories of war time with our family later in his life - some stories were filled with hilarity, others with pain.

My grandfather passed away last summer. Somehow visiting the aircraft carrier and hearing about soldiers' lives at sea made him feel close again. And this post seemed a good fit for Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA: Day 3

Day 3 was really full and will take up a few posts.

But let's start with the morning. I snapped a few pictures of my favorite BEA objects

the Penguin mini

the giant Abrams typewriter

and the Vlad Tod steps!

Then it was on to the signing. Thanks to Editor Jill and Publicist Sarah for shuttling me around and getting everything set

Thanks to Agent Richard for cheering me on and letting me get him to pose with giant Nightshade. I am officially obsessed with giant Nightshade.
And a HUGE thanks to all the lovely BEA goers who came to say hello!

Signing was fun

I signed 150 books in 50 minutes - there was a line! Amazing!

But my hand didn't cramp up
And it was pretty much a hoot and a half :) Thanks, Jill Bailey, for the fabulous purple Sharpie - the perfect Nightshade signing implement!

I'll be posting more about BEA after I've had a chance to catch my breath. Also coming soon: I visit an aircraft carrier (yes for real) and do trapeze without dying (also for real).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BEA: Day 2

Wow! BEA is a whirlwind. I was so busy I haven't taken all the pictures I want, but promise more tomorrow. For now I'm happy to report that the Paranormal Panel was awesome. I met a bunch of book bloggers - yay!!! - thanks so much for coming to the panel guys :) I'm waiting for group photos to be emailed to me and then I'll post them.

Update - hooray: Agent Charlie posted a pic on his web site!

I think I even managed some coherent thoughts beyond "OMG I can't believe I'm on stage with Richelle Mead and Holly Black!"

And the Penguin Booth has a giant Nightshade!!! So of course I had to get pics of that.This is me and Don Weisberg - who I love - he's the President of Penguin Young Readers.

And here's Team Nightshade (or at least three key pack members) Editor Jill, me, and Agent Charlie. Agent Richard came to the panel too (thanks Richard!!!) but he'd ducked out before pics. Sneaky.

More to come - and remember, if you're around BEA on Thursday I'm signing ARCs in the Penguin Booth from 10 - 11 a.m.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BEA: Day 1

Arrived in New York this afternoon and apparently made a good impression on the hotel desk staff (the note says: Congratulations! Have fun! Enjoy! Go get 'em!)
Had a fabulous time at the ABC Not-a-Dinner and (Mostly Silent Auction), where Heather Brewer, me, and Ally Condie had a red carpet moment

And I got to hang out with my amazing editor Jill

and awesome publicist SaraTomorrow: to the Javits Center!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Not About Lost

The blog/tweetosphere is run amok with reactions to the Lost series finale.
Me? Ummmm....I stopped watching Lost after the second season.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it, but I just didn't quite fall in love the way I need to if I'm going to remain loyal to a show.
For example, if you want to hear my theory about what happened at the season finale of Supernatural I'd be happy to share :)

Now that TV business is taken care of, this post has a two-fold purpose.

One to share a GIGANTIC thank you to my wonderful hosts and dinner companions of last week. I had a wonderful time and though it hardly seemed possible am even more excited about October now than I was before.

My last stop was Chicago - one of my favorite cities.
I love the river
and the architecture.
I even had the joy of being caught out in a thunderstorm. That's not sarcasm - I love being caught out in the rain; it imparts a pure ecstasy of life in the moment ;)

I'd like to thank in particular my teen blogger/readers who came to dinner. My soul sistah Zoe!I know - we really could be sisters?! Right? :)

Hallie - who told me she hid Nightshade under her pillow so she could sneak reads when she was supposed to be doing her homework! And Kristen whose blog I'm so excited to read :) Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and kind words about the series!!

The second purpose of this post is to ask a favor. I'm heading to New York tomorrow for BEA. It's my first book convention and I'm sure there will be tons to report, but I'd like to know what you would like to hear about? What BEA buzz should my blog posts send back yonder?

One last item of note: The Frenetic Reader is giving away an ARC of Nightshade! Hurry over for your chance to win :)

Friday, May 21, 2010


Last day of the pre-pub tour and I'm headed for Chicago.

Milwaukee was a blast. I had such a great time meeting wonderful book sellers and librarians while enjoying a lovely view of the art museum. I only wish I was here long enough to visit the collection!

While I've been traveling, some fantastic reviews of Nightshade have popped up. Check out what Addicted 2 Books and Super Reader Girl have to say about the story!!

Happy weekend :) Here's my fave song of the moment - Broken Bells, The Ghost Inside:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Climbing into Bed

It doesn't take much to entertain me, so I was giddy and giggly at this
it's my bed at the hotel I'm staying at in Milwaukee. It has stairs.

The hotel is lovely. The bed is gigantic - the mattress hits at my waist and I'm 5'5", meaning either the stairs or a running start are indeed necessary to make it up there. I find this endlessly hilarious for some reason.

So I've made it back to the central time zone after a brilliant evening in San Francisco, where I visited Union Square.
And had gorgeous weather.

Then it was on to Denver. Where I had a blast, but not enough time to take pictures. Except of this watchful fellow in the Denver airport, which struck me as quite Nightshade appropriate.

Now I've returned to my home territory. Even though I'm from Wisconsin this is my first visit to Milwaukee. I have already learned that the world's largest bell resides here. Apparently it is larger than Big Ben. Go Sconnies! We have a big bell.

Yes I've been traveling for four days...I may or may not be a bit looped at this point.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Topless at Starbucks and Other Adventures

Seattle. Great city - one of my favorites to visit.

I had such a wonderful time meeting fantastic book folks and noshing on scrumptious food. I'll be posting pics of the dinners as they are emailed to me (thanks Colleen!!!), but for now the city.

Rain had been in the forecast, but when I arrived sky and sea sparkled in the sun.

I was near Pike Place Market.

Where I snapped a photo of the original Starbucks - you might not be able to see it here, but the 'real' Starbucks mermaid is topless. To me that make sense, because shells? Hello chafing!

Of course there is always the beauty of the Pacific. I couldn't get a good picture, but you could see all the way to the mountains beyond the sound.

Seattle has special book significance for me. March of just over one year ago I got 'the call' in Seattle. I revisited the bronze plaque with the poem that spoke to me that day and still rings so very true. That this city was the first stop on my pre-publication tour might have made me tear up just a little :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

St. Augustine

I thought I'd share some of my traveling photos over the next few posts.

The past four days I was in St. Augustine for an Early American Borderlands conference - the conference was great, admittedly the location didn't hurt one bit.
One of the highlights was visiting El Casillo de San Marcos, which has stood in St. Augustine since 1565, making it the oldest masonry defense in the U.S. I am a big fan of old things. Particularly forts with bastions and lookout towers from which to spy English and Dutch corsairs!

I also like cannons.
And interpreters in costume.
I also had a lovely time with my dear friend, Christian - who can vouch for my haunted phone story and Heather and her oh-so-cute son Mateo.
It was a great trip - today I'm across the continent in Seattle. I'm heading out to walk around now and will post pics tomorrow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Name the Band Winner!

Guilt forced me to clue Nev in to this contest, so I confessed and decided he should be the one to pick a winner. Here's the transcript of how that went.

Nev sits across from me, slouched in his chair. He looks slightly puzzled, a little curious, but mostly wary. Wary Guardians are not great company. I try to focus on not dropping my coffee cup as I explain the contest.

Me: *clears throat* So...uh..will you do it?

Nev: Let me get this straight. You want the band to have a name?

Me: No, no, no. I just thought it would be fun to have a contest to think up names.

Nev: *eyes run over the list I've given him* This isn't a trick? When I pick one you aren't going to make me keep it?

Me: No.

Nev: 'Cause I don't do band names.

Me: I know.

Nev: And the other guys would be pissed if they thought I'd signed on for some name without asking them.

Me: I know none of you guys are "name" people, but it's just for fun.

Nev: *watches me for a minute*

Me: *beginning to sweat* I promise.

Nev: *leans back in chair, flips guitar pick along the backs of his fingers* Okay, then.

Me: *tries to keep relieved breath quiet* *watches as Nev reads, tries to gauge some reaction* *curses self for writing a character so good at cloaking his emotions*

Nev: *smiles...maybe?* I like this one. Fighting Nuns.

Me: I thought you might.

Nev: It's a good image. I'm sure nuns have a lot of pent up rage. In a fight, my money would be on the nun.

Me: *nods*

Nev: Feral Daze is good too. Like if Hendrix had a wolf band.

Me: *laughs*

Nev: *gives me a stony gaze*

Me: *swallows all future laughs*

Nev: I could also go for Echo in the Blood. *hands list back to me*

Me: So those are your picks? Fighting Nuns, Feral Daze, and Echo in the Blood?

Nev: Yep. Can I go now? I'm late.

Me: *raises brow* Late for what?

Nev: *half smile, sits silently*

Me: *realizes after 30 seconds that I will never win a staring contest with Nev* Okay then, thanks for stopping by.

Nev: *already out of his chair* See ya, writer lady.

Me: *cannot decide if it's good or not that Nev has nicknamed me 'writer lady.'

Now for the drawing:

The three contenders are:

Jami - Fighting Nuns
Lindsay - Echo in the Blood
Jemmafey - Feral Daze

And the Randomizer picks:


Congrats, Jemma :) Send your mailing address to and I'll mail you The REPLACEMENT!!

Thanks so much for all the great entries!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ghost Vs. Android

I wasn't planning to post until I returned from the history conference I'm attending, but something utterly, unbelievably strange happened to me last night. I swear that everything I'm about to write is true. I'm still shaken up by it.

A little after 2 a.m. I woke up to the sound of my phone dialing and my dad's voicemail picking up.


Yes. Especially since I was across the room in bed. My phone was sitting five feet away still on the chair where I'd plugged it in to charge overnight.

I got to the phone where my dad's voicemail message was still playing and then my phone rang. It was my husband.

"Andrea - what's going on?"

"What do you mean?" I was not only confused, but really tired.

"You've been calling me."

At this point my stomach pretty much dropped out of my body. I had no idea what was going on. I told him that my phone seemed to be calling numbers randomly and I was clueless as to why.

After we hung up, I looked at my call log. My phone had been calling random numbers for at least fifteen minutes.

Not knowing what to do and pretty much freaked out, I shut the phone down and went back to sleep.

This morning when I woke early for the conference, my hotel roomie and fellow history Christian said. "You sent me the most random text at 2 a.m."

She showed me the text. It was a smiley face followed by a bunch of random letters.

I did not send that text.

So there were random calls, and texts, and now this morning I've discovered my Facebook was also full of weird nonsense. I have a Facebook app on my Droid.

My theories : 1) my phone went insane. I don't know why, but it did.

2) A ghost, which had never used a smartphone, decided it would be fun to try mine out. I'm in St. Augustine, Florida. The oldest permanent colonial settlement in the U.S. and I'm staying in a very old hotel on the national register of historic places. If any place has a ghost, it would be here.

3) My Droid has become self aware and is attempting to communicate on its own.

So dear friends, if you got a call with no one on the other end of the line or a nonsense text from me in the middle of the night it was not me. I don't know what it was.



Monday, May 10, 2010

May Contest: Name the Band

I've posted a lot about how important music is to me. It's always fun to find other writerly types for whom music figures centrally in their lives and books.

I recently had the joy of reading Brenna Yovanoff's THE REPLACEMENT, an amazing book that will be on shelves September 21. One of my favorite parts of this book was the way Brenna described music. She makes it jump off the page and into your bloodstream.

Music plays a part in NIGHTSHADE's story too. One of the young wolves, Nevillle (Nev) - a member of the Bane pack - is a poet and musician who plays occasional gigs at a local dive bar, Burnout. Nev plays guitar and sings, an elder Bane wolf, Caleb, plays bass and the owner of the bar, Tom, plays drums. Another young Bane, Sabine, sometimes joins Nev on vocals.

The band doesn't have a name. Nev would never want to name it, he's not a naming his band kind of guy. In fact, I'm going to have to be sure he doesn't find out about this contest because he would be mortified by it.

Keeping that in mind, I thought it would be fun put a spin on this month's contest. Given the following teaser from NIGHTSHADE and what you've already surmised about the book itself, what would you name Nev's band:

"Evening." Nev's voice drew our attention. "I'm Nev. Caleb's on bass, you all know Tom, and the lovely Sabine is gracing us with her presence tonight."
The only applause came from our tables. Apparently the other bar patrons weren't here for the music.
Neville nodded at Tom. The bar owner and Caleb exchanged a quick glance and in the next moment bass and drums had set off at a slow, grinding rhythm. A smile ghosted across Neville's lips; his fingers moved over the guitar strings, and he began to sing.
Sabine took up the harmony. Her voice was sweet and dark like the first shadows of twilight. The music poured into my veins, a mixture of grit and silk. Subtle and intoxicating.
The Banes leaned forward in unison, drawn into the pulse of Neville's song. My own limbs felt like they were humming with the bass line.

I purposefully didn't give the song lyrics - and it's not a cover, Nev rarely plays covers; he writes his own music.

I wanted to allow for readers to create the sound of Nev's band for themselves.

And now you can suggest names for the band! (Sorry, Nev.)

I'm on the road for much of this week, so contest entries will be taken until Sunday, May 16. Only one entry per person.

The winner will receive an ARC of Brenna Yovanoff's THE REPLACEMENT.

Looking forward to your entries!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Answers: May Edition!

Hooray - time for answers!

Tynga asks: My question might seems weird, but who created the cover?
Not weird at all, this is a great question with two answers: The first is that Penguin held a photo shoot for the cover. The photographer is Suza Scalora - who is incredibly talented, a lovely human being, and has published several books of her own featuring worlds full of faeries and angels.
The second is that covers always have designers. After the photo shoot my covered went to awesome designer Linda at Penguin. She did such a wonderful job - love that blood drop!!

Em also asked about the cover: Did you have any say on yours or did Penguin do it all on their own?

Authors often have very little input on covers, but Penguin was amazing at including me in the process. They sent me photos of the model, Suza's info, and images at each stage. It was wonderful to be included and I love the cover so much. The only change - and this was one my editor and I came up with together, was making Calla's eye more gold - as described in the book - from the ARC (where it looks slightly hazel) to the final jacket.

Lisa - You know that woman with the make-up brush at the beginning of the Travis video? (from the last post) Can I be that person when you go on tour?

Dear Lisa Desrochers, my fabulous crit partner and author of Personal Demons, you are going to be too famous from your own brilliant book to be worrying about my make-up. However, if you have a free minute I'd just love your company :)

Kiersten asks: Are you a natural redhead? AND If so, do you secretly resent unnatural redheads?

Kiersten is fixated on my hair. These question made me laugh out loud :)

The answer is: sort of. My natural hair color is a weird mix of light brown, blond, and copper - the color changed with seasons: in the summer I'd be more blond, in the fall more red, and in winter more brown. I always liked red the best, and while I experimented with lots of different colors (I find changing hair color lots of fun) going red suited my personality and complexion best. I can't imagine ever going back. Plus now that I'm in my 30s (eep!) I have a few grays (gasp!)

I think changing your hair color is fun - I have no problem with switching up and idealizing a 'natural' color just seems silly. If I didn't like my red hair so much I'd be happy to go blue or green or any other 'unnatural' color. Stripes would be fun.

Kiersten continues: If not, who does your coloring because wow?

Thanks! I love my stylist/colorist. It's Brent at Moxie in St. Paul. He is awesome and Moxie Salon is a really cool place.

Rachel asks:

Did you originally write the NIGHTSHADE series as a trilogy or did you envision it as a stand alone book?
The book was always the first in a trilogy and I am indebted to my agent for loving it enough to sign on with an unknown author for the series. As a total publishing 'noob' I didn't know that debuting with a series can be really hard; most advice you'll find out there is that even if you think the book will become part of a series you shouldn't plan on it. I didn't know that and my queries described the book as a planned series, fortunately InkWell and Penguin loved the series as much as I did so it wasn't a problem.

Em asks: How long did you work on Nightshade from start to final edit?

First draft: Thanksgiving to Christmas 2008

Revisions on my own: January and February 2009

Revisions with agent: April and May 2009

Revisions with Jill: September 2009

Kiersten asks: Brownies, cake, or cookies? You will be graded. There is no curve.

Brownies that are chewy and fudgy. Cake of the chocolate, angel food, or carrot varieties. Cookies that are soft - I hate crunchy cookies.

But chocolate and pistachio cannoli are better than any of the above. Mmmmm, cannoli.

Man I hope I passed.

Em asks: If I think of some REALLY good ones I might want to use them to interview you for my blog once I've read the book! Assuming you do that kind of thing... There's another question! Do you? :)

I love doing blog interviews. I've already done a few, the most recent of which is at I Heart Monster.

Thanks for the great questions you guys!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May Q&A

I'll be off the grid for the next three days - so it's the perfect time for this month's Q&A.

Leave any questions in the comments and I'll answer them when I return on Friday! Thanks for all your excitement about the Penguin Five :)

Looking forward to your questions!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Penguin Five

Something very, very, very good delivered today was delivered to my door today.
It was dark, mysterious. Opening the package was so much fun.
Inside was an uppity group destined to make waves this fall. No it's not the Rat Pack, or the Brat Pack - but it is a new pack well worth keeping your eye on.

The Penguin Five.To quote the letter included with the slipcase this box contains "a collection of engrossing and unique YA fiction on Penguin's Fall list - a group of books we're calling the Penguin Five."

And Nightshade is one of the pack.
Pardon me while I faint.




Okay, back now - though still floating on cloud nine.

I didn't know the Penguin Five was in the works. It was a complete surprise (what a surprise!!!) - but I've had the pleasure of meeting the incredible marketing team at Penguin and they never fail to blow me away with their talent and hard work. Thanks Team Penguin! *kisses* *confetti*

Now good news for readers - besides the awesomeness that Penguin bringing to the world with these books - I'd already begged my way to ARCs of The Replacement and Matched (I read them as soon as I got them; they are both amazing.)

That means I have an extra copy of each...TO GIVE AWAY IN CONTESTS!!! Details to be announced later this month!

For those of you longing for The Eternal Ones and Sapphique (sequel to Incarceron!!) - sorry, I'm selfish enough to want to keep my beautiful slipcase intact. *petstheprecious*

Saturday, May 1, 2010

News & Updates

Happy May Day!!
I hope everyone is having as beautiful a first of May as we are here. The air is fresh, the sky is blue. I love May. It's a wonderful month.

As my ARC supply is dwindling, I won't be having a Nightshade galley giveaway this month, but I will be holding contest for other fabulous prizes. Stay tuned for more details!

Fret not! There are other places to win a Nightshade ARC this month. Penguin YR just posted a giveaway on Goodreads and Books Obsession has a giveaway (only two days left to enter; hurry!)

Another event to keep in your sights is the upcoming Paranormal Summer Fest, which will be made of awesome.

I'd like to give a big shout out to all my new followers. Helloooooooooo :) And welcome!!! If you have questions about blog etiquette and particularly about my policy regarding questions about the book, please visit my Wilderness Survival Tips so you aren't mistakenly devoured by the pack.

I'll be spending this May 1 the way any true horse-loving girl does - watching the Kentucky Derby!! I posted on my Derby adventures last year. This year there's a twist in that I have a horse in the race.
It's technically not my horse, but a Macalester alum is one of the owners of Paddy O'Prado, so the college is asking us to all cheer him on. I've always had a soft spot for dapple grays, so it wasn't a tough sell.

How are you celebrating this lovely first Saturday of May?