Tuesday, June 29, 2010

ALA: Take 2

Wow! I've been home two days now and I'm still reeling from the awesome that was ALA.I've already blogged about the wonder that was spending time around writer heroes. I also had the joy of meeting more Nightshade fans!

Big shout out to Mitali (Alley of Books), Amy (ReadingTeen), Andy (Reading Teen Too) who spent loads of time chatting in the Penguin booth. I couldn't believe how many people showed up. The line was so long that the actually ran out of Nightshade ARCs! Yikes!

On the one hand I'm so sorry to those of you who waited for an ARC and were unable to get one, on the other hand OMG I can't believe so many people showed up that they ran out!!!

Meeting readers and librarians who are so excited for Nightshade's release was such a gift. Thank you to all the librarians who are bringing Nightshade to their teens and book clubs. Having spent so much of my life in libraries, from summer reading programs as a wee one to my first job in high school, I can't thank you enough for all you do!

In addition to meeting writer heroes I also had the geek-out of the millenium when I showed up at Penguin to find this:
Wow! Darth Vader and Storm Troopers. Wow!! Wow!! Wow!!

As you can tell I had a blast. Fingers crossed that they invite me back next year :)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Humor Us

One of the incredible benefits of being a Penguin author is that I get to meet other Penguin authors. My first night at ALA I attended a dinner with wonderful librarians, great Penguin friends, and amazing writers like Laurie Halse Anderson, Ally Condie, and David Small.

Too much happened at ALA to squash it into a single post. So I decided to start with the pinnacle of my debut ALA:

They say you shouldn't meet your heroes.
"They" obviously picked the wrong heroes.

Hanging out with these guys exceeded all expectations.
Through some amazing trick of fate, I got to spend pretty much the duration of ALA with David Levithan and John Green.

And I learned a few things.

One - that David Levithan is my writing soul mate. I don't think any other person could make it seem like a good idea - natural even - to sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" into a mic in front of 100 teenagers. Yet somehow this happened. And it was awesome. Meeting David has given me two new goals in life: To at some point go on tour with David, so that singing about writing is always part of the deal. The second goal is to somehow convince David that he needs to collaborate on a YA novel that has a paranormal element and then to convince him that I should be the other half of that collaboration. I do not know how I'm going to make this happen - but I am working on it.

= Werewolf Bands of London (or New York? Chicago? David??)

Two - John Green is not the zany character you think he is.

I think he is a spy - or possibly a super villain of the alluring variety. It's just something in his eyes. Sure, he's charming and witty. Sure, you love him the moment you meet him. But beneath that lively exterior lurks something else. Something complex and brooding. I'm now fleshing out a theory that Nerdfighters are actually a secret society working to overthrow the world (not that their rule would be a bad thing...). John Green would be just the guy to pull that revolution off. And nobody would see it coming.

If you haven't read John and David's books, you need to start right now. My favorite books are those that make me laugh out loud and sob. David and John both write with that type of insistent and authentic emotional quality. I reread John's Looking for Alaska on the plane right home, and had to constantly apologize to the person sitting next to me for my torrents of giggling and crying. I told him it was the book. I'm pretty sure he was convinced I was going through a break up that was somehow hilarious but tragic.

Spending time with these two authors made me feel better about the state of the world. Seriously.

Meet your heroes. Just be sure you pick good ones.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Finished!...But Not

Last night I finished Bloodrose (Nightshade #3).
Finishing up a manuscript is an amazing feeling, euphoric and draining. I cried a lot - it's not unusual for me to cry when I'm writing a book, particularly at its conclusion. This book evoked more tears than usual though because it's the third book in the Nightshade trilogy. It's the first time I've ever completed a full series arc and I have to say I was a bit of a basket case when the story came to a close.

But as much it was a bit sad, mostly I was ecstatic. I did it! The book is written!!

Except that I'm not actually done.

Sure, I wrote the first draft. And yes, that's a big deal.

My experience of writing is that I'm jumping up and down about it immediately after draft one, and then I'm suddenly terrified that it's no good. Those fears get worse once it's out in the hands of my crit partner (I'm looking at you, Lisa!) and my agents. Their feedback is the first I get in the revision process. They are brilliant and I trust them completely; even so, waiting for their reads is always a bit of a nail-biting experience. The nagging insecurity about sending a new story into the world is something that I doubt will ever go away.

Soon I'll begin the revision process. The first time I went through the revision cycle with Nightshade I was really nervous, not sure what to expect or if I'd be able to do it well or efficiently. Now I look forward to it, knowing that the draft I'm excited about is still a work in progress - and that's a good thing. Writing the first draft is a frenzied, all-consuming experience. Revisions are where I get to take stock and really fine tune the piece.

As much as I *finished* Bloodrose last night it's thrilling to know that my journey with this book is far from over.

This weekend I'll be in Washington D.C. at the American Library Association annual meeting. Anyone who will be around D.C. at the convention, I'll be signing at the Penguin booth on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and I'd love it if you stopped by!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Fam

It's Father's Day (hi Dad!)Last night I had a very strange dream about saying goodbye. My family were all packing up our cars up at my parents house and hugging and talking about the next time we'd be together. And I was horribly upset through the whole dream. I woke up puzzled because life is good right now. It's great, in fact.

So why the bad dream? (It also had a part involving killer bees, but that's unrelated)
I'm blessed by a truly extraordinary family. When we get together we have a wonderful time.

Case in point - last weekend we all got together for the wedding of a very close friends, people who are very much like extensions of our own family.It was beautiful and wonderful and the joy of the moment could be testified to by the fact that my Dad - who DOES NOT dance - pulled us all out on the dance floor at one point with the exclamation "We need to dance! We need to form a family circle and dance!"

I think the dream was a reminder that those family gatherings are special and I wish they happened more often. My brother, Garth, lives in LA and that is TOO FAR from here. I see my mom and dad quite a bit because they're only a few hours away, but I'd like to see them more.

Family time leads to hi-jinx and belly-deep laughter that leaves your in happy tears. Who wouldn't want more of that?

Happy Father's Day. Happy Family Day.

Friday, June 18, 2010

We are the World

Hi there!

Remember me? I'm the writer who used to post on this blog.

Sorry for the infrequent appearances of late. I'm still busy writing Bloodrose and am being swept away by the final chapters. But I thought I'd better stop by to say "hello" and thank you for visiting, despite my own neglect of posts.

In addition to writing. I've also been sneaking in some World Cup games.

I love the World Cup! I'm likely to run screaming from the label "morning person," while clutching my coffee cup to my chest. Even so, I'll roll out of bed at 6:30 a.m. to watch Germany vs. Serbia (darn you referee and your yellow cards!!!).

I like the World Cup even more than the Olympics. To me it's like the difference between a family reunion and a girls' weekend with your BFFs in Vegas. One is nice and comfy while the other is a 'rockin good time not to be forgotten.

The World Cup has a life of its own. You get caught up in its fever. I love knowing that all over the world, soccer fans are glued to their television sets, gathered in pubs, cheering on their teams.(Yes I know Scotland didn't qualify for the World Cup. Quiet you!)

I came to soccer, excuse me, football fandom in college while studying abroad in Scotland. My family had spent a summer in Scotland seven years earlier and I went to visit family friends - who've become much more like family than simply friends over the years - and they pretty much adopted me.

No one loves football (or for that matter, sports) than my Scottish Dad, John, and his two sons. For her own part, their mum, Sandra, is a pretty loyal fan as well. To spend time with my Scottish family is to learn to love the beautiful game. I had no trouble being hooked or accepting the fact that to truly be Scottish means always rooting against England.

When the World Cup rolls around every four years it's not just about the excitement of the games or the mesmerizing skill of the players. (Tim Howard is my hero!)It's about feeling connected to my Scottish roots, to a world of roaring fans.

If you aren't watching you should really give it a try, or at least learn what a vuvuzela is.
I'm sending this out to John, my Scottish dad, - his favorite song - and true sports anthem. Wish I were watching the matches with you in Irvine!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Hi Blog Friends and Welcome New Followers!!

I'm nearly finished with Bloodrose (Nightshade #3) and I promise that soon there will be real posts here again...except that the World Cup is on right now too...just kidding - though I will be blogging at least once about why everyone should watch the World Cup.

Until then, I'm delighted to point you in the direction of this review that made me SQUEE! Thanks Mundie Moms!!!!

You also shouldn't miss your chance to read the first chapter of Personal Demons, the debut novel of my amazing critique partner, Lisa Desrochers.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interview & ARC Giveaway

Apologies in advance that my posts will be intermittent the next couple of weeks - I've hit that point in drafting Bloodrose where it's like a boulder tumbling down a mountain, gaining speed, and I can hardly focus on anything but what's happening there.
Fortunately, the lovely Shelli of Market My Words has posted an interview with me and she's giving away an ARC of Nightshade.

So get on over to her blog and enter the contest :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Answers: June Edition!

Thanks, once again, for the great questions :)

Mel B asks: When Nightshade published in México?

I'm often asked if I made a deal with a universe that somehow ensured Nightshade's success. While I know I didn't, I'm starting to suspect that my agents might have. Thanks Lyndsey and Charlie!!! They've done incredibly job with foreign rights - we're up to 14 territories now and counting. I've listed the foreign publishers and links to their web sites on the left hand side of my blog page.

Nightshade will be published in Latin America by Editora Norma. I don't have a release date yet, but keep an eye on their site for announcements.

LisaDez asks: Where'd you find your awesome critique partner *grins* and when is she going to get her hands on Bloodrose?

I met her at the San Francisco Writers' Conference *winks.* For anyone who doesn't already know my awesome critique partner is LisaDez and her equally awesome book, Personal Demons, will be on shelves this September.

I'm 15 chapters into Bloodrose (Nightshade #3), which is a little under halfway. My crazy my travel schedule but a crimp in my writing speed. You'll be the first to get it, Lisa :)

Jamie asks: When you plan on doing a trilogy or series, how do you query your plot? Do you only query the plot of the first book, or do you query the entire plot - regardless of the number of books you hope to write?

Great question. This answer is one I learned also at the San Francisco Writers' Conference at a panel of agents. It's not a good idea to query a trilogy or series if you're a debut author. Agents and editors need to know if you can work with them, receive edits, and grow as a writer. If you send a fully fleshed out five-book epic fantasy it's unlikely that you have flexibility in that storyline.

The best way to go about it is to write a solid, standalone novel that has potential to be a series. Once you've signed with an agent they can decide if they want to pitch your book as a series when they sub to editors. Those are decisions best left to your agent - agents are professionals, they know what they're doing.

Now that I've said all of that I have to qualify my words. I did it all wrong. I wrote Nightshade knowing it was a series. Fortunately my agent loved it enough that one of the first questions he asked was "is there more?," which was one of the reasons I knew he was the agent for me. (Hugs, Charlie!!!) However, I went into the publishing world as a total noob. I didn't know the score and I got very, very lucky. Prevailing wisdom says, write a great book, query it and work on something else in the meantime - something else that is NOT the sequel to your first book.

Lena asks: If you could set Calla up with any other literary character, who would you choose?

I am so excited to answer this question. I had to think about it a while because I so rarely take Calla out of her world.

What I finally came up with is Gale from Hunger Games. Calla would like that he's honest, a plucky fighter, and knows his way around a forest.

Thanks for the great questions - look forward to more next month. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June Q&A

I'm in the middle of drafting Bloodrose (Nightshade #3), so it's a little hard to focus on other writing - and that includes blog posts - so it seems like a perfect time for this month's Q&A!

Please leave your questions in the comments below and I'll answer them in Wednesday's post. Thanks in advance for your questions - I love hearing from you!!

Here's one of my favorites off the Bloodrose playlist:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fear Stomp Winner

Thanks so much to everyone for sharing their fears - may they all be conquered!

The winner, drawn using the lovely Randomizer, is YzhaBella (aka Kate). Congrats, Kate :) Send an email to andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (d0t) com and I'll send your signed Nightshade ARC!

Happy weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Taking Risks Contest

What are you afraid of? How can your fears hold you back?

These questions become very important as you make choices about life and who you want to be in the world. Fear keeps many of us from pursuing dreams.

Super Reader Girl just posted an interview where I discuss how terrifying it was to actually pursue my dream of becoming a writer. But if I'd never taken that risk I wouldn't have any of the joy I'm experiencing now with Nightshade's publication.Last week after BEA I did something else scary. Trapeze.

The Penguin offices in SoHo overlook the Trapeze School New York. When Editor Jill pointed the school out to me and I said "wow, I'd like to try that," she said "next time you're in town we'll go!"Editor Jill keeps her promises.Trapeze is scary. You have a little bit of practice.
But up on the platform you can see all the way to the Statue of Liberty.

Fortunately Abby is up there to reassure you -when you stretch your arm outand then both arms.The hardest part is right here, when you're leaning forward, toes over the edge of the platform and your heart is pounding.And that's when you have to jump. Yes, jump. Even though your blood is shrieking "no, no, no, no, no!" fueled by millenia of survival instincts.

But if you don't jump, you can't fly.And flying is worth the risk.
You just have to believe in yourself.And if you're like Editor Jill you can even fly upside down. Go Jill!! (I couldn't quite get the upside down, but next time I will!)
And remember there are people cheering you on - here's our teacher, Evan.
If you don't leap you'll never soar. And you need to remember that it's okay to fall. Everyone ends up in the net, but that doesn't mean you won't fly again.
It's June - a new month, leading us to summer. And it's time for a new giveaway. At BEA I had the joy of meeting so many amazing readers and writers all aspiring to wonderful dreams.

The characters in Nightshade face a number of their deepest fears to overcome obstacles. To win a signed Nightshade ARC leave a comment below describing something you'd like to try but are afraid to (like trapeze!) be it bungee jumping, writing a story, climbing a mountain.

The winner will be drawn randomly on Friday!