Thursday, September 22, 2011


Happy Autumnal Equinox (Mabon) - night will soon outpace daylight, but I love this crisp, thrilling time of year where the air is alive and summer's carefree frolicking gives way to the steady rhythms of harvest.

Today I passed 5,000 followers on Twitter. That's still rather mind-bending to me and I'm so excited that so many friends here and on Twitter have joined me on this writing journey. To celebrate I'm holding a 5K follower contest and giving away 5 prize packs! 5 is a special number to me at this moment - not only do I have 5,000 Twitter followers but tomorrow I celebrate 5 years of marriage to my wonderful husband! So much to be thankful for!

In addition to a signed paperback of Nightshade, the prize packs include items that inspired Nightshade: Watership Down by Richard Adams (Calla's favorite book), Sandman by Neil Gaiman (Shay's favorite graphic novel), Zum Bar Sandalwood Citrus soap (From the first time I smelled this soap I instantly knew it was reminiscent of Ren's scent), and a blank notebook so you can begin, or continue, your own writing journey.

To enter: Tell me in the comments (or in a tweet) something that inspires you, if you're leaving your entry in the blog comments be sure to include an email where I can contact you. Winners will be randomly selected on Monday, September 26 so you have through the weekend to enter.

Thank you so much for being a part of my writing life - it means so much to have you here!


  1. This may sound weird, but the smell right after a rainstorm inspires me. I don't know...maybe it's the cleanliness of the smell, but that's definitely my best writing time.

    Congrats on so many great milestones!


  2. Congratulations on the followers, but most of all 5 years of marriage! That's a big deal! :]

    I'm inspired by the weather a lot. At least in crafty or writing pursuits. I love when it thunderstorms or when it snows. Or the chill that has been the air lately. Sometimes scents can inspire me as well - the smell of banana bread in the oven! Or stew! Or sometimes seeing people or situations. I get inspired easily!

  3. A lot of my inspiration comes from music. When I hear a song that really speaks to me, then I know I've got to write or do something to convey what it is that I'm feeling. And sometimes the actions of the people around me will also inspire me to do something.

  4. congrats! on the followers AND on the anniversary! that's a blessing and may more and more come!
    um...what inspires me? it's not the same every time I sit down to write...but the most common I have that I can remember is water...any kind of water...rememebering how it can be completely brutal(waves), satisfying(drinking), delicate(drop), devastating(storm), impossible(grabbing it) beautiful(springles), fun&secretive(showers), musical(running waters), relaxing(baths), and well so much more...that's commonly what inspires me the most... :P so again, congrats!
    and thanks so much for the opportunity!


  5. This giveaway is SO exciting!!

    My inspiration comes from my daughter. I'm a new mom and on the 24th, she'll be 4 months old. She's the best thing that could have happened to me, every single day, I get to wake up to her coo's and smiles and even though I've never been a morning person she's changed that for me. She is obviously discovering the world, but its amazing how she looks at EVERYTHING with such amazement. Everything we take for granted is something that completely fascinates her. (Even though she wants to put it all in her mouth. LOL) Bath time is HILARIOUS, she loves it so much and she's great at making the biggest messes ever, but I laugh with and at her and let her. I think its more like a playtime for her instead of bathtime. This could go on FOREVER, so.... I'm done. hahaha....

  6. Congrats

    I think my inspiration is stress. I think about my life waaaaayyy too much (like every second of the day and night)as I get bored very easy but when doing it I always find something to do so my life is more exciting. My family just think I am weird but have gotton use to it. If I say to my fiance 'right I think we should do this' he just goes with it now

  7. Congratulations on your 5000 twitter followers!
    My inspiration are my 2 daugthers (3&9yo) their innocence, their loving faces, seeing how they discover and learn new things, how they´re growing. They change my world completely.

  8. Andrea:
    alot of things inspire me like music, family, myself, weather, people in general,history, nature, etc. Besides having so many things inspire me what really inspires me is reading. Reading is what gets me through everything. It captivates me and brings me into diverse worlds. It inspires me to create my own worlds and stories like you have so people can feel the way I feel when I read. Even though I am only 16, when I read I feel beyond my years.
    congratulations on five thousand followers and your anniversary. Also thank you for reading this.
    email: (I went through a phase in 2006 where I was obsessed with twilight lol)

  9. Um... inspiration... I'm a teenage figure skater, and I get a lot of inspiration from watching the people from the crowd when I compete. Also, figure skating takes me around the world, so I get to see a lot of interesting places and that gives me a lot of inspiration, too :)

  10. Reading inspires me the most.I absolutely love to read and it gives me pleasure:)Also,while reading I'm in different worlds and it makes me see things from different points of views and somehow makes me want to be like the people in the books with their qualities to make me a better person:)


    email-justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  11. With the past two books I've written, I was inspired by music/ music videos. The first book, I was watching Paramore's "Brick to Boring Brick" and came up with the story idea. The book I'm currently working on came about partly from watching Kerli's "Army of Love" video and listening to her song "An Army of Angels."

    I get a lot of inspiration from my dreams as well.

  12. This quote is my inspiration: "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." -Frederick Douglass
    I love reading, and I don't know what I would do without it.

  13. I find inspiration in everything around me, from the books in my collection to the music on my iPod to the way my daughter laughs maniacally when she gets what she wants. Inspiration is everywhere, in everything we do. Mostly, I'm grateful to authors like you. I may not draw ideas directly from your works, but you continue to inspire me to keep writing, even when the words aren't flowing so swiftly. Thank you.


  14. Congrats to you and the hubby on five years of marriage! Happy Anniversary!

    I find inspiration everywhere...from my relationships to situations, to seasons and flavors. There's nothing like the crisp fall air and a pumpkin spice latte'...easy to be inspired over the next few months.

    Thanks for the contest!

  15. I feel that books and music help to inspire me. It gives me a chance to use my imagination and escape to another world even if it is only for a couple hours. Both listening to music and reading are also great stress relievers.

    Congrats on your 5 year anniversary!

  16. Andrea,

    For me there is nothing more inspiring than history. American History, European History, World History. Any type of history brings forth so many variations of stories that can be told. Right now, the most important inspiration for me is the treatment of the mentally ill throughout history. I've been reading Foucault's criticisms and books about Bethlehem Hospital in London and am fascinated by the amount of corruption and hurt inflicted on these patients. I'm also intrigued by the concept of court intrigue and the negative effects it had on society at the time.

    My motto in life tends to be "Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it."

    So my ultimate inspiration is HISTORY. I love it.

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to share this with you!

  17. What inspires me is music! What I like writing about is when I hear a song, it just kind of goes hey! you need to write a story about this. And you just write from that one simple thought.

  18. I may be an odd duck, but I actually get really inspired by people-watching. People are just so fascinating, and finding certain patterns across broad behaviors helps me a lot when it comes to writing. Without playing voyeur, I get to observe the whole range of human emotions. It's awesome.

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  20. Personally, rain inspires me. It's strange and difficult to come by here in sunny California, but something about gray clouds and smell of rain calms me. All I want to do is wrap myself in a blanket and write...or nap, of course.

    Oops, I forgot my email~

  21. Congrats on having 5000 followers and on 5 years of marriage.

    Quotes inspire me. One of my favorite quotes is "Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion."

    Thanks for the contest.

    alias.known.yo at gmail dot com.

  22. I don't think you can really know what inspires you untill its inspired you, if that makes any sense. Something that inspired you once, might not inspire you a second time, so thats actually a hard, yet intriguing question... I know I have gotten inspired by the snow before; how the world is blanketed in white and everything looks bare and beautiful. It can be a wonderland or a winter horrorland, depending on the mood I'm in and the stories that are coursing through my head. I've been inspired by street signs with graffiti on them, rain clouds and dragonflies. I guess anything can inspire you, in the right moment...

    Peace and Gravy,


    areadersheartstring at yahoo dot com


  23. Congratulations! That is quite the accomplishment and you are such a lovely human being, I hope it only grows from here! Thank you for the contest and Happy Mabon - it's a beautiful day! :)

    Everything inspires me to do or write or say or think something, so narrowing down to one is hard. For today, I will say that photos - old ones particularly, inspire me. The ones where the people look out into the camera and through your soul - those types. With all the cool trimmings and stories that are contained therein! Thanks! :)

    Ammy Belle
    apereiraorama @ gmail . com

  24. What inspires me as a writer is the music I listen to. The words of a song inspire the kind of stories I write.

  25. I don't think I have any one thing that inspires me. It depends on what is going on, what I'm doing, and the conditions. My family, friends, the weather, music, other blogs. There are tons of things that inspire me to do different things. :)

    michelle at hookedtobooks dot com

  26. I'm so glad you finally got 5,000 followers! and that number is just going to keep going up. :)

    Honestly, I'm inspired whenever I meet recovering addicts that have been able to stay sober and help other people to do, and make their life into something great. I'm struggling with addictions to drugs and alcohol and sometimes it seems like I really am not going to get anywhere. But if other people have, why can't I? and in turn, when I'm finally to the point where this is behind me, then I hope to help people do the same. Writing/reading is also an inspiration to me, it keeps me going.

    Thanks for the contest! Hope you have a marvelous day!

  27. The weather is really inspiring. It doesn't even have to be a perfect day. It sets the tone of the day from the start. How the weather is that day, will affect you. Can be really inspiring :)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  28. Congrats on reaching 5,000 followers! Something that really inspires me is successful people. That may sound weird, but whenever i see someone that is really successful and happy with what they do, it makes me want to be like them. To be successful in what I do :)

    bookluver1208 at gmail dot com

  29. What a great giveaway! And congrats on the Tweeple! (And I don't think I follow you there, so of course I'm going to become your 5001th (or would that be st?))

    What inspires me? The weather and music. And sometimes a hug. Really, inspiration is everywhere, isn't it? NIGHTSHADE inspired me. Seriously! I learned some things about writing and about MY writing while reading it. Thank you!

    And I am at ali at ali cross dot com


  30. WooHooo 5,000 followers that is quite inspiring. I think what inspires me the most is when people come together from all over the world to make things happen, it might not be something massive but it's nice to see a positive side to people working together. For example when people come together to support books, authors and artist; giving people the chance to gather both in person and on the internet.

  31. Congrats on everything! I’m glad so many great things are happening for you!
    Everything I see inspires me to do my best and to try to make things better for not only myself, but for the people around me as well. I guess you could say music, reading, writing, family--all of that inspires me, but above all else--my big brother.
    How many teenage girls do you know who would say that?!
    But it's true. My brother has always been there for me, and he is truly my best friend.
    Never once while we were growing up (and we are still growing, mind you) did he tell me he did not have time for me, or to go away because I was bothering him. Lots of people have come and gone from my life but he is the one thing that stays the same. The things he says and does inspire and help me out all the time. If I'm having a hard time writing a certain scene in a story I'm working on, I just pull to mind any of our recent conversations and I know that no matter what the scene calls for--funny, sad, serious--I have my answer on how to make it work.
    He's a great person, though he would tell you otherwise, and I couldn't ask for a better brother, friend, or inspiration.
    Thank you for this chance!

  32. The Pacific Ocean and weather in the northwest where I grew up inspires me. It used to be that whenever I was lacking inspiration a quick trip to the coast would instantly reinvigorate my attempts at all things art related.

    I moved to South Dakota last month to attend Law School though, so my ideas of what is inspirational and what to me is beautiful are changing. I can now see inspiration in a sunny day and a corn field, something I never believed I would say!


  33. Congrats! Happy Anniversary!
    I find inspiration in inspiring others. I love that it sometimes seems like fate that an opportunity comes my way and I didn't even know it until way later. It's great to know something I say or do can affect someone else.
    And what better way to do that than recommending books? Especially yours.
    Thank you for the awesome contest (I <3 soap!)and being part of my own reading life.

    lindadao2060 at yahoo dot com

  34. If there's ever any beautiful scenery I immediately think, "What type of characters would live here?" The Appalachian Mountains make me think of werewolves. Lakes and ghosts go together. A small suburban city, gods/goddesses and a factories make me think of Dystopian.

    oreo_93 at hotmail dot com

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  36. Hi! Congratulations on the 5,000 followers on Twitter that is definitely mind-blowing. Happy Anniversary as well, hope you have an amazing day with your husband :)

    What inspires me? Well, that's a very easy question to answer: music. Music holds a lot of inspiration in my writing. I think the reason is because images and scenes are so very clear in a writer's head that music just helps to bring them out with such intensity and feeling than they would have otherwise. Music makes it feel more like you're watching a mental movie than stringing words together to evoke an image. It makes it easier to write and simply bring onto the page what you feel inside. Not only that but music is simply amazing, it speaks to the heart and soul, allowing us to connect to people and things in ways that are indescribable.

  37. My inspiration?
    Hm...where to start...

    Almost everything around me inspires me. When I see the calm right after the storm, I get inspiration from the drips of rain to the beautiful sunset right after a late afternoon storm. Another inspiration is the ocean. It makes me feel soothing and relaxed, but it also makes me wonder about the dangers hiding beneath the dark churning surface.I visualize things from day to day, too. I'll see a spiderweb and imagine myself on the web from a different perspective. The wonders of the world make me feel better about myself and that I actually have purpose in this lifetime.

  38. inspiration would have to be my friends. They review stuff I've wrote and tell me to do a good job in school, and it just makes me feel good that i've got a great support of friends.

  39. Something really inspiring to me is an overcast sky -- I love the feeling it gives me. It's kind of indescribable, but it gives me this feeling that I can do anything.
    I guess you can say it makes me feel like I'm in a movie and the sad music is going to start playing. You'd think that'd make me sad, but it doesn't for some weird reason.

    My e-mail address is :)

    P.S. Congrats on your anniversary! :)

  40. There are so many things in life that inspire me but I think love itself is inspiration. It sounds cheesy...I know, but it's just when I see these two random people (in often times they are elderly) on the street and they look at each other with such adoration - well, it just gets me. It makes me realize that love is possible and that it can be eternal just like in the books I read. With writing that is the exact thing that I try to portray.

    Well, I hope this wasn't too cheesy! Congrates on your followers and I absolutely cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel to Nightshade and after the third book! :D

    My email:

  41. My inspiration is life. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade right? Sometimes the music I hear. Or the smells I smell. A lot of times the feelings I feel. The really strong feelings make me write a scene that has a lot of that feeling. And sometimes it's the people I see. They are not exactly the characters I dream but they have some of the characteristics that my characters mine have. Life is fascinating.

    PS: 5 is an important number for me too. I was born on 5/5 take that weirdly seriously

  42. I am inspired by other people's art.


  43. Music i a big inspiration. Sometimes i Feel like the artists are singing to me and it lifts me up. Another inspiration is that I love to look up at the clouds and watch the sunrise and set and smell before it rains. All of lifes first inspire me, first kiss, first walk in the sand with no shoes on. Its the little things that i think most people over look.
    Ps: happy Anniversary
    Love Much

  44. I have usually have a lot inspirations. But I have a top two, that I use everyday in writing.

    First, is my dreams and nightmares. My dreams are always creative, and I write them down right when I wake up. I have only three dream journals right now, but it's growing. I also found out that I dream some dreams over again, which is a lot to know.

    Second, is music. Especially, classical music. Sometimes, I imagine scenes in my head and having music in the background helps me think of what is happening.

    That's mostly what helps me write. Sometimes though, I just think of things at random, and write it down.

    Email -

    Thanks so much for a great giveaway.


  45. Well when I read a story, I read for the characters. So when I write a story, I write the character's story the most. So what inspires me are my crazy friends and family as they ate the greatest characters I know.

  46. A big thing that inspires me is my older sister. whether we're fighting or in a indepth conversation about books or our family, she always seems to be there. Sometimes if I watch the strange things that she does, or awkward noises, it makes me laugh and just want to join in with her.
    Congratulations on everything!

  47. I get inspiration from every where! When I'm at my high school, I see so many different types of people and hear so many different stories. I tend to also get inspired by the books I read, movies and tv shows I watched and even people watching!

    twilightforever.edward @ gmail dot com

  48. Weather really inspires me, specifically rain and snow. I love writing and staying inside when it's sane to do so. I also get inspired by certain books and styles of writing. Thanks for the cool giveaway!!


  49. Being someone who loves to draw there is many things that could inspire me to draw something. The most common would have to be the music that I listen to, depending on the music tone that's how my drawing will appear to turn out. (hard to explain)My feelings also play a good part in the way I draw, if I'm sad my drawing will be sad if I'm happy my drawing will be playful. Another thing that inspires me the people around me. My drawings will reflect the idea's they give me in conversations. There you have it, those are a few of the things that inspires me.

  50. One of my biggest inspirations is the National Geographic magazine. The articles are fascinating and I love looking at the gorgeous pictures. Every time I read it, I just want to pack up my bags and travel the world. To me, it's a reminder of how extraordinary life is. That definitely inspires me.

    My email is dandelion684 [at] gmail [dot] com

  51. What inspires me is typically the people I see on the train or moving throughout the cities. It's really interesting to see all of the different things that people do (chat about drinking, get psyched for the Cubs game, finish work) on a train or walking around town.

  52. Something that inspires me on my everyday living is my family and my friends, I can never leave without then and they truly inspire on whatever I do.

    fallendrema03 AT gmail DOT com

  53. Congrats on the followers and anniversary! I'm inspired by many things but I guess my biggest inspirations are the people I love and nature (especially autumn).

  54. I find inspiration all around--nature, music, in the people I interact with.

  55. What inspires me: human kindess, selfless acts of love and charity, heroic acts of service. (Firefighters, nurses, policmen and first responders)Watching peoples dreams come true. NATURE = fall renews my spirit and feels like home.
    Congrats on 5000 followers and Happy Anniversary. ♥ :)
    kjovus at gmail dot com

  56. Congrats Andrea!! Happy anniversary :)

    Honestly, I dont know. When it comes to inspiration, I find it everywhere. Obscure movie quotes, random lyrics from a song, the weather. My cats. Even a smell, like a midnight thunderstorm, will inspire some whirlwind fantasy idea in me and I'll spend the next 6 hours feverishly scrawling over any piece of paper I can get my hands on until the idea is out. :P

    I dont think I will ever pinpoint what exactly 'inspires' me (b/c it comes from everywhere and everything), but I can tell you 'where' it always seems to happen.

    My shower and my kitchen sink.

    It never fails. The moment I'm in the shower, or my hands are buried in a basin of sudsy water, an amazing plot will hit me and by the time I reach my pen and paper, the magic is gone.

    So. I now keep a notebook in the bathroom and above kitchen at all times. Soggy paper and smearing ink, beware! :P

    I think my muse may be water-based.

    HOpe you have an amazing anniversary! Oh, and please give Ren a kiss for me. ;)


  57. Here's what inspires me: life. The intermingled web of good times and bad. The people around me, fighting through their life, The nature around me, a magical place full of wonders.