The Naked Launch

Got your attention, right?  For the record, no part of my book launch involved naked people in any way.  In fact, my actual launch day was pretty low-key.  My cousin met me at a Barnes & Noble so we could stalk my book in the wild (and also drink coffee/chai and talk to each other without children around).  Unfortunately, they hadn’t unpacked the box yet, so we didn’t get to stalk effectively.  Still, it was cool that they brought one out from the back.

Then the pics started coming in from around the country.  My friends and family were spotting Ask Again Later in bookstores all over.  Best of all, nearly everyone was reporting buying the last copy!  How crazy is that?!  Now, of course there is a possibility these stores only had a couple of copies, but still.  It feels good to be on re-order, baby!

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The day after the official debut, I went back to Barnes & Noble for my usual writers’ group meeting.  We get together to do writing sprints and help each other with brainstorming, plot dilemmas, and just plain moral support.  When I arrived that day, my writing crew had gone all out!  There were balloons, flowers, desserts, and even a tiara!

It was so sweet!  I felt like queen for a day!  And yes, I kept the tiara on the entire time.  I will literally never pass up a chance to wear a tiara.

Which brings me to my launch party.

A while ago I hatched a crazy plan.  I knew I could have a bookstore event for my launch party, but I seriously struggle with asking people to come out just for me.  I know, that’s probably super nutty considering my entire job is to hope strangers want to buy something I made, but it’s true.  So, I wanted to think of a way that I could have a launch and make it about more than just me.

You’ve probably gathered by now that my book might have a little something to do with prom.  And since having a book published is pretty much the biggest dream come true I can imagine, I thought it would be cool to help other people’s dreams come true.  I decided to run a Dress Drive for The Cinderella Project.  And once I found out there was a local chapter in Milwaukee, I knew it was meant to be.

A lot of people helped me out with creating this event, and I want to thank them publicly.

  1. Melissa and Lizette from The Cinderella Project, who were enthusiastic about my plan from the beginning.
  2. Marla and Pam from Manpower, who generously allowed me to use their beautiful reception area to hold the event.
  3. Nick Koleas from TheHitManDJ.com, who donated his time and talent to making the event over the top fun.  Seriously, you guys, his set-up is gorgeous and he played just the right mix all night to keep people upbeat.
  4. Kristin and Zach Karpinski, who set up their Photo Booth so guests could get up to foolishness on film
  5. Steve Weigl, who was my roving photographer and captured the whole evening in gorgeous photographs
  6. Boswell Books, who came to the off-site event and sold the heck out of my book! I signed 80 copies that night!!

Of course, I also want to thank everyone who came out to celebrate with me.  Writing is by its nature and isolated occupation.  It’s easy to forget that there are so many people who are excited for you and want to party!  I was overwhelmed by the turnout.

Not only did my guests buy Boswell completely out of books, they opened their closets and their hearts, bringing in more than 30 formal dresses to the Cinderella Project and donating $150 to help the project with cleaning and storage costs.

Thank you all so much for making this launch a huge success!  I hope you had as much fun as I did!

I have a Flickr Set with all the pictures from the night here.  Here are a few pics to get you started…


Created with flickr slideshow.

German Cover for ASK AGAIN LATER!

Foreign covers fascinate me.  They so often have such a completely unique spin on the story compared to the US cover.  And that is totally the case with my German publisher (Loewe) and the cover for Ask Again Later.  Prom isn’t really as big a thing in other parts of the world, so the cover doesn’t indicate that part of the story at all!  I love the divided paths and the cute little road sign.  Such a fun hint for the story!

German AAL cover

Now I know Google Translate is not exactly the most reliable source in the world, but I’m pretty sure the title translates to Head, Number or Love.  I assume that’s the German way of saying Heads, Tails or Love.  Cute, right?  Also, apparently they’re not into Oxford commas over there.  Go figure!

I have to give a shout out to my awesome translator Jeannette Bauroth who tracked me to down to make sure she got the translation as faithful as possible.  She’s also been a fantastic cheerleader for me this whole time.  Thank you, Jeannette!

Rumor has it, Kopf, Zahl oder Liebe will be out in May, 2014.  Can’t wait!

What’s On Your Bucket List?

 

Julie Murphy’s super clever SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY comes out tomorrow, and to help her celebrate, I’m posting my bucket list.  First, a little info about Julie and her book (which has been on my To-Read list since the nanosecond I heard about it, because OMG!)

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

IndieBound | B&N | Amazon

 

Julie lives in North Texas with her husband who loves her, her dog who adores her, and her cat who tolerates her. When she’s not writing or trying to catch stray cats, she works at an academic library. Side Effects May Vary is Julie’s debut novel. Julie can best be found on her website (www.juliemurphywrites.com), tumblr (www.andimjulie.tumblr.com), or twitter (www.twitter.com/andimjulie).

 

 

 

Now onto my bucket list!  I have to say I’m not someone who has really kept an official bucket list before, but there are a few things I have always secretly kept in the back of my mind that I want to do before I die.  Now seems like the perfect time!

LIZ’S BUCKET LIST

1.  Get published!

2. Visit all the places in Europe I’m still dying to see.

3. Hug a monkey

4.  Witness a flashmob

5. Have a house with a library

6. Do one of those all day, all the treatments spa days

7. Buy a stranger dinner

8. Go to Comic-Con and Leaky Con

9. Get the second tattoo I’ve always wanted

10. Find the perfect jeans and buy 30 pairs of them so I never run out.

 

Thanks Julie, and happy book birthday eve!

 

Book Birthday Eve Excerpt!

ASK AGAIN LATER COMES OUT TOMORROW!!!  I can’t even believe it’s finally happening!

I’m so excited, I decided to share a little excerpt with all y’all.

This is your last day to pre-order, but of course, you’ll be able to find this little pinky-purple beauty everywhere books are sold tomorrow!

Linky-loos:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Powell’s
Book Depository
Books-a-Million
Indiebound

 

And, onto the excerpt:

In this scene, the main character, Heart (yes, that’s really her name, and yes, she knows it’s weird) has been invited to prom by two people she doesn’t really want to go with.  The trouble is, she can’t figure out how to say no to either of them.  Here, she’s angsting (that’s totally a word) over the decision with her friend Chase, nicknamed Schroeder due to a passing resemblance to the Peanuts character by the same name.

 

“You’re overthinking it. Flip a coin or something. Heads you go with us, tails you still go with us.”

He was joking, obviously, but there was a certain logic to it. My father used to pull a similar trick when we were growing up. If we couldn’t decide between ice cream flavors or something like that, he’d stick two small objects behind his back and make us pick a hand. I can still hear him saying, The penny is chocolate, the nickel is bubble gum. Pick one. The best part was, if you picked one and you got that awful pang of regret, you knew you actually wanted the other kind more. It was simple. Almost elegant.

I’d just make Troy heads and Ryan tails and flip for it. I’d know if I made the right decision as soon as I saw the result, wouldn’t I? I tapped my pen against my notebook, wondering if this was too simplistic.

Still . . . at least I’d know how I felt. And no one would have to know. I could do it right now. It didn’t have to be some huge Super Bowl coin toss, after all. Just a simple flick of my thumb and I could have this whole problem solved.

That’s it. I was doing it. I patted my pockets and came up empty. Shoot.

I leaned over to Schroeder and whispered, “Got a quarter?”

He tilted away from me first, checking his right pocket, then switched to check the left, knocking his head against mine. “Sorry!” he whispered. “You okay?”

I rubbed my temple, tempted to give him a sour look, but stifling the urge since he was doing me a favor. So I smiled and nodded instead. The muffled jingling of coins was unmistakable, and in a moment, he emerged with a few coins.

“No quarters,” he said. “But I can get you a game of skee-ball at Chuck E. Cheese.” He pointed to a gold token in his palm.

I laughed, pressing my fingers to my lips so I wouldn’t be too loud. “Why do you have a token for Chuck E. Cheese?”

He gave me a don’t-be-so-judgmental look. “It was my cousin’s birthday over the weekend.”

I took the token from his cupped hand, noticing how warm his skin was without being sweaty. A rare trait in a boy. “Thanks.”

“They don’t work in the vending machine, trust me,” he said softly, nudging a dime out of the pile with a fingertip.

“This is all I need, thanks. I’ll give it right back.”

He shot me a confused look, which melted the instant he saw me fit the coin against my bent thumb. “You’re not seriously flipping a coin over this,” he hissed.

“Why not?”

“Do you really think fate is going to guide you or something?”

“I don’t believe in fate. This is pure statistics.”

“So, what is it? Chuck E.’s head you come with us, tails you go with one of them?”

“Nope.” I waited until Mr. Lenier turned to write on the board again and flicked my thumb, sending the coin up.

Tokens are lighter than quarters, as it turns out, and the thing flew up in the air almost to the ceiling. I gasped as it clattered once—too loudly—against the edge of the lab desk before falling to points unknown.

Mr. Lenier turned around, looking for the source of the noise, but Schroeder and I kept our best poker faces on and he went back to his radioactive decay.

After a moment of watching Lenier’s back, I whispered, “Where’d it go?” and searched around the bottom of my stool. Schroeder did the same, twisting and tilting, and nearly knocking heads with me a couple more times. Finally, I caught a flash of something gold a few feet away, near the wall. “There.” I pointed.

“You are not seriously doing this,” he hissed.

“Why not?” I asked, leaning out as far as I could without leaving my seat. Damn, I still couldn’t see which side of the coin was up. “It’s as good as any other way of deciding.”

“This isn’t like picking which movie to see. These are human beings.”

“It’s not like they have to know about it. Besides, it’s just a dumb coin toss. It doesn’t actually control my fate.”

He narrowed his eyes. “All right then. What’s it say?”

 

Blog Tour Starts Today! – UPDATE

Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas - Blog Tour

 Update:  Today is the LAST DAY of my big blog tour.  I would like to thank Merp Squad for doing such a phenomenon job.  Nikki kept on top of everything so well.  I would highly recommend them to any authors out there looking for a great blog tour.  Thanks, Nikki!!

I’ve updated all the links below to go directly to the tour post instead of the general blog.  These amazing book bloggers are really the lifeblood of the reading world these days, and I’m so grateful to them for everything they’ve done to help spread the word about Ask Again Later.

There is still time to enter the giveaway!  Just go to one of the links below and follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter box.  Couldn’t be simpler!  I hope you’ve all had as much fun with this tour as I have!

 

ORIGINAL POST:

Hmm, is there something happening today that I meant to tell you guys…?  OH YEAH!  It’s SO close to Ask Again Later’s book birthday and that means it’s Blog Tour Time!

I am so excited to be working with MerpSquad for this tour!  They have done a phenomenal job of setting up a fantastic tour and I can’t wait to see it all play out!

Monday, February 17, 2014  Liza @ Reading with ABC
Tuesday, February 18, 2014 Jess @ Such a Novel Idea
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Fahima @ I Read, Ergo I Write
Thursday, February 20, 2014 Jessica @ Read My Breath Away
Friday, February 21, 2014 Nova @ Out of Time
Monday, February 24, 2014 Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Jennifer @ Reading and Writing UF, Paranormal, and Romance
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Patricia & Rosario @ The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
Thursday, February 27, 2014 Montana @ The Book Belles
Friday, February 28, 2014 Jennifer @ Donnie Darko Girl
Monday, March 3, 2014 Melanie @ YA Midnight Reads
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Rachel @ Paper Cuts
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 Rachel @ The Procrastinator’s Corner
Thursday, March 6, 2014 Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
Friday, March 7, 2014 Nichole @ YaReads

It’s been a blast working with all these bloggers to create a fun tour!  I hope you visit every stop and enter to win the grandprize!  Learn more at MerpSquad’s site!

 

One Million Words – Four Years Later

Four years ago, back in the days when I was on blogger, I wrote a post called “The Weight of One Million Words.”  In it, I wrote about Malcolm Gladwell’s idea that if you do anything for 10,000 hours, you’ll become an expert.  In writing terms, that’s often translated to 1,000,000 words.  Back in 2010, I calculated that I had written a million words already and I was hoping that meant I was finally ready to reach the next level.

I guess I wasn’t too far off the mark.  At the end of 2010, I got sick.  Sick enough to be off of work for long enough that I eventually didn’t have a job to go back to (Don’t worry, I’m fine!). And while I was stuck at home, unable to do a whole lot, I got the inspiration to write a book.  Or more accurately a new version of an old book.  And that’s the book that got me super-agent Laura Bradford.

Since 2010, I’ve written, rewritten, edited, and re-edited.  I’ve taken a job as a professional freelancer and left that job.  I’ve blogged, I’ve guest blogged.  I wrote some more.  I thought about writing at inappropriate times.

After poking around my hard drive for a bit, I was able to get a rough total of what I’d written since January 25, 2010.  Turns out, it’s right around another million words.  Some really incredible things have happened in my writing life since the last time I took stock, and right now I stand on the precipice of even more.

Was one million words the secret? Not in a magical incantation kind of way.  But in terms of prioritizing writing and writing as much as I can, yeah, it was the secret.

Two million words might seem like I’m standing on top of a mountain, but in reality I know I’m just in the foothills of the Himalayas*.  I’ve got a faithful team of sherpas to help me and I am raring to get climbing!

 

– Liz

 

* Note: This is the closest I would ever even dream of getting to the Himalayas. I’ve watched those shows. I don’t go places with an official Death Zone.

My Own Personal Book Awards 2013

I know, I know, it’s January 15th already.  Sorry.  It’s been a little crazy around here.

This is the third year I’m running my own personal book awards!  It’s been fun to look back over everything I’ve read and really think about the books at the end of the year.

As always, the books are in no particular order in the categories below, because I find it too hard to choose favorites when it comes to book.

So, without further ado…

Favorite Reads of 2013

1. A Dirty Job
by Christopher Moore

This book is kind of a placeholder for the entire body of Christopher Moore’s work. I <3 him so hard it’s almost painful. So many of his books intertwine with crossover characters and worlds it’s hard to pick a favorite. But there is something particularly magical about this story, and I couldn’t be happier that there’s a sequel due out in 2014!

2.  11/22/63
by Stephen King 

Say what you will about Stephen King’s recent books–no doubt it’s all been said before anyway. This one was so intensely researched and beautifully crafted, I have a hard time believing anyone would find major fault with it.  Was it a bit slow at times, maybe. Was it so immersive in the historical period that I would have followed the main character anywhere? Oh yeah. I’ve never been that interested in the assassination the way some people are, but man did this book suck me in!

3.  Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein 

It’s been months since I finished this book and I can still come to the verge of tears if I think about it too long. It was a tour de force. Like nothing I’ve ever read. It lived up to the hype, and then went on to blow my expectations up in my face–so so powerful. And if you’re an audiobook person, this is a masterwork. The readers are so perfect.  It’s like listening to the greatest actresses you’ve ever seen on stage or screen.

4.  World War Z
by Max Brooks

I only regret it took me so long to discover this book. I came to it through the movie, sadly, and the book was something I started listening to because my husband already had it in our audible account. Wow. This is NOT what I expected a zombie book to be. At all. Don’t be put off by the subject matter. And once again, if you’re an audiobook person–hell, even if you’re not–this audiobook is state of the art. An impressive cast of celebrity readers. I loved it.  LOVED it. And I’ve become a little obsessed with surviving the zombie apocalypse since I finished.

5.  Just One Day
by Gayle Forman

I think that Gayle Forman might be a wizard. She does magic with words. I read Just One Day and Just One Year, and while I love them as a duo, I really loved the character of Allyson, so I had to choose the first one as my favorite. This book made me want to go back to Paris so badly! I loved Allyson’s development throughout the story and how much she really came into her own. A great read.

Five Books That Made Me Feel Like a Hack as a Writer in 2013

1.  Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein

To say that Wein created an innovative structure would be like saying Michaelangelo was pretty handy with a paint brush.  This book is a masterwork, truly.  I think it should be required reading in high schools and colleges.  I have rarely been so haunted by a book.  Rarely suffered such book hangover.  I want to sit at Wein’s knee and try to absorb some of her skill.

2.  Good Omens
by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Once again, Neil Gaiman appears in this category.  As I said last year, if Gaiman doesn’t make you feel a little bit like a hack as a writer, you’re probably not reading very carefully.  Working with Terry Pratchett, he creates a world so full of creative characters, humor, bizarre occurrances, and tightly woven mythology that you’ll hardly believe it’s not real.  Brilliant, hilarious, so fun.

3.  Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

Is Rainbow Rowell the best writer on earth?  Probably not. But somehow, she takes the same words we all have at our disposal, and puts them together in such a way that you fall in love with her characters.  I know everyone went nuts over Eleanor & Park, and I read that, too, but Fangirl just felt so real to me! I related to Cath even when I was so mad at her!

4.  Fool
by Christopher Moore

And once again Christopher Moore hits this category.  As much as I love his contemporary stories, his historical retellings make my jaw hang loose.  How he manages to write in a (admittedly not exact) Shakespearean style while still maintaining his signature silliness and engaging characters is beyond me!  This is another book with an upcoming sequel and I am fairly gagging for it!

5.  World War Z
by Max Brooks

I know, a zombie novel.  What blew me away about this book was the amazing variety of voices in the interviews.  Brooks created totally believable characters from all around the world in the most unbelievable situation you can think of.  The complex socio-political environment he creates is unparalleled.  I loved this book so hard, while simultaneously gnashing my teeth over my inability to think of plots this complex.

Favorite Female Characters of 2013

1.  Cath from Fangirl
by Rainbow Rowell

I related so strongly to Cath is was almost uncomfortable at times. I was a lot like her as a freshman in college (though I was not an internationally famous secret fanfic writer). She was real down to the last drop. Although it was kind of a “small” story (no alien invasions, secret babies, etc) I found myself wondering what would happen to her next.

2.  Allyson (“Lulu”) from Just One Day
by Leila Sales

Here’s another character I related to hard.  Such a good girl who wants so badly to be anything else. I loved following her on her journey through spontaneity and the painful recovery from it.  Lulu and I could be besties. We should be.

3 & 4.  Queenie and Maddie from Code Name Verity
by Elizabeth Wein

Rarely have I felt so passionately about characters as I did about the ones in this book.  Queenie and Maddie.  I’m getting choked up just thinking about them as I write this.  They are so richly developed, so brave, so perfect for their time and yet still compelling to a modern reader.  Elizabeth Wein, my hat’s off to you for all time.

5.  Amy from A Million Suns
by Beth Revis

I’m so late to the Across the Universe series, it’s embarrassing. But man, I loves me some Amy! She is realistically spunky, smart, emotional without being moody…she’s the kind of character I’d like to see more of in books.

 

Favorite Male Characters of 2013

1.  Willem from Just One Day/Just One Year by Gayle Forman

I’m not sure I’d actually want to date Willem, but for a book boyfriend, he’s pretty freakin’ dreamy.  I love a man with an accent, and then he does Shakespeare?  Please.  Where do I sign?  I can do without the obvious player status, but other than that, yum.

2.  Park from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

No one has ever made holding hands sound as good as Park.  He is so adorably nerdy and so loyal and sweet!  I can’t decide if I want to make him my book boyfriend or keep him as a pet.  You know what I mean?  Oh Park you sweetie!

3.  Ben/Zombie from The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I like Ben’s honesty.  There was just something about him that compelled me.  I thought he was the best character in the book.  The affection he had for his sister and the way he took on Sammy as a surrogate sibling.  It might not be the best alien invasion novel ever, but I liked Ben enough to put him on the list.  Evan on the other hand, be gone with you.  You annoy me.

4.  Devin from Joyland by Stephen King

If I hadn’t read so many great books this year, this one might have made the top 5 list overall.  There was just something so atmospheric and immersive about it.  And the pulp-inspired cover?  Please!  How fantastic is that?  Dev was such a great character.  The kind of guy you’d like to know in real life.  The perfect amount of youthful obsession with the ex-girlfriend without going into annoying territory.  He was brave but humble, interesting, and relatable.  Great character.

Book List 2013

Once again, I’ve kept a list of the books I’ve read this year, and I’m happy with my results!  Fifty books is better than I’ve done before, and I’d like to do it again for 2014!  Below my list, I’ve also got a list of all the books I’ve read with my son.  We’ve actually read way more books than the ones that are on this list, but I only add new ones each year.  Of course each year, we read plenty of old favorites over and over again.

Books I’ve Read 2013

  1. Lamb – Christopher Moore
  2. Blind Spot – Laura Ellen
  3. A Dirty Job – Christopher Moore
  4. Personal Effects – E.M. Kokie
  5. Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story – Christopher Moore
  6. Transparent – Natalie Whipple
  7. Wanderlove – Kirsten Hubbard
  8. Getting Over Garrett Delaney – Abby McDonald
  9. Coyote Blue – Christopher Moore
  10. Another Little Piece – Kate Kayrus Quinn
  11. Island of the Sequined Love Nun – Christopher Moore
  12. The DUFF – Kody Keplinger
  13. Mila2.0 – Debra Driza
  14. Butter – Erin Jade Lange
  15. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove – Christopher Moore
  16. Fluke – Christopher Moore
  17. Crushed – Dawn Rae Miller
  18. The Stupidest Angel – Christopher Moore
  19. Bite Me:  A Love Story – Christopher Moore
  20. Inferno – Dan Brown
  21. Just One Day – Gayle Formann
  22. Fool – Christopher Moore
  23. Joyland – Stephen King
  24. 11/22/63 – Stephen King
  25. FML – Shaun David Hutchinson
  26. The Fifth Wave – Rick Yancey
  27. Code Name: Verity – Elizabeth Wein
  28. The Magicians – Lev Grossman
  29. 45 Pounds (More or Less) – K.A. Barson
  30. Headhunters at My Door – J. Maarten Troost
  31. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life – Judith Kolberg and Kathleen Nadeau Ph.D.
  32. The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharpe
  33. A Million Suns – Beth Revis
  34. The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King
  35. Doctor Sleep – Stephen King
  36. I’m a Stranger Here Myself – Bill Bryson
  37. Roomies – Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
  38. The Wicked Girls – Alex Marwood
  39. World War Z – Max Brooks
  40. Perv – Jesse Bering
  41. Just One Year – Gayle Forman
  42. Allegiant – Veronica Roth
  43. Duma Key – Stephen King
  44. The Zombie Survival Guide – Max Brooks
  45. Skinny Dip – Carl Hiaasen
  46. Good Omens – Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
  47. Eleanor & Park – Rainbow Rowell
  48. Revelations – J.A. Souders
  49. Me, Him, Them, and It – Caela Carter
  50. The Disappeared – Kathryn Rusch

Books I’ve Read to/with My Son 2013

  1. Baghead – Jarrett Krosoczka
  2. Goodnight, Monkey Boy – Jarrett Krosoczka
  3. Chicken Dance – Tammi Sauer
  4. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? – Dr. Seuss
  5. Nate the Great and the Lost List – Marjorie Sharmat
  6. Nate the Great and the Missing Key – Marjorie Sharmat
  7. Nate the Great and the Fishy Prize – Marjorie Sharmat
  8. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff – Dr. Seuss
  9. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod – Eugene Field
  10. Oh the Thinks You Can Think – Dr. Seuss
  11. Are You My Mother? – P.D. Eastman
  12. Oh Say Can You Say? – Dr. Seuss
  13. Oh Say Can You Say Dinosaur? – Bonnie Worth
  14. The Little Witch and the Riddle – Bruce Degen
  15. This Moose Belongs to Me – Oliver Jeffers
  16. If I Ran the Circus – Dr. Seuss
  17. I Am Snow – Jean Marzollo
  18. I Spy Ultimate Challenger – Jean Marzollo
  19. Where Do Balloons Go? – Jamie Lee Curtis
  20. Max for President – Jarrett Krosoczka
  21. Giddy Up, Cowgirl! – Jarrett Krosoczka
  22. Walter the Farting Dog – William Kotzwinkle
  23. In the Night Garden – Barbara Joosse
  24. The Three Bears and 15 Other Stories – Anne Rockwell
  25. Puss in Boots and Other Stories – Anne Rockwell
  26. Nate the Great and the Fishy Prize – Marjorie Sharmat
  27. Nate the Great and the Missing Key – Marjorie Sharmat
  28. Nate the Great and the Lost List – Marjorie Sharmat
  29. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? – Dr. Seuss
  30. The Shape of Me and Other Stuff – Dr. Seuss
  31. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod – Eugene Field
  32. Baghead – Jarrett Krosoczka
  33. Goodnight, Monkey Boy – Jarrett Krosoczka
  34. Chicken Dance – Tammi Sauer
  35. Nate the Great and the Musical Note – Marjorie Sharmat
  36. Nate the Great and the Snowy Trail – Marjorie Sharmat
  37. Duck! Rabbit! – Amy Krause Rosenthal
  38. The Great Paper Caper – Oliver Jeffers
  39. I Spy Fantasy – Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  40. Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show – Michael Buckley
  41. The Insomniacs – Karina Wolf and the Brothers Hilts
  42. Little Blue and Little Yellow – Leo Lionni
  43. Little Red Monkey – Jonathan London
  44. Who Bop? – Jonathan London
  45. My Buddy, Slug – Jarrett Krosoczka
  46. Sunday Chutney – Aaron Blabey
  47. I’m Bored – Michael Ian Black
  48. Punk Farm on Tour – Jarrett Krosoczka
  49. Nate the Great and the Stolen Base – Marjorie Sharmat
  50. My Many Colored Days – Dr. Seuss
  51. Grandpa Green – Lane Smith
  52. That’s Not a Good Idea – Mo Willems
  53. I Spy School Days – Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  54. I Spy Ultimate Gold Challenger – Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  55. I Spy Ultimate Challenger – Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  56. I Spy Mystery – Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick
  57. The Little House – Virginia Lee Burton
  58. Pig Kahuna – Jennifer Gordon Sattler
  59. Oh Nuts! – Tammi Sauer
  60. Secret Agent Splat! – Rob Scotton
  61. Earth to Clunk – Pam Smallcomb
  62. Mario Makes a Move – Jill McElmurry
  63. Sky Color – Peter H. Reynolds
  64. Little Pea – Amy Krause Rosenthal
  65. Stop Thief! – Adam J.B. Lane
  66. Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct – Mo Willems
  67. Dinosaur vs. Library – Bob Shea
  68. The Butter Battle Book – Dr. Seuss
  69. Bartholomew and the Oobleck – Dr. Seuss
  70. Hunches in Bunches – Dr. Seuss
  71. Daisy-Head Mayzie – Dr. Seuss
  72. Sun Dance, Water Dance – Jonathan London
  73. A Big Guy Took My Ball – Mo Willems
  74. The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  75. Miss Nelson Is Missing – Henry Allard
  76. New Socks – Bob Shea
  77. I’m Here – Peter Reynolds
  78. Stop Bugging Me:  But That’s What Friends Are For – Daniel Cleary
  79. I’m Not – Pam Smallcomb
  80. The Happy Hocky Family Moves to the Country! – Lane Smith
  81. Sydney’s Star – Peter Reynolds
  82. So Few of Me – Peter Reynolds
  83. Snowbots – Aaron Reynolds
  84. Gerald McBoingBoing – Dr. Seuss
  85. I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew – Dr. Seuss
  86. Madam President – Lane Smith
  87. 13 Words – Lemony Snickett
  88. Al Pha’s Bet – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  89. Bedtime for Mommy – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  90. This Plus That:  Life’s Little Equations – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  91. Dawn – Uri Schulevitz
  92. Don’t Slam the Door! – Dori Chaconas
  93. Dream Weaver – Jonathan London
  94. The Boy Who Cried Alien! – Marilyn Singer
  95. Big Plans – Bob Shea
  96. Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
  97. Exclamation Mark! – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  98. Dinosaurs Before Dark – Mary Pope Osborne
  99. Knight at Dawn – Mary Pope Osborne
  100. Mummies in the Morning – Mary Pope Osborne
  101. Pirates Past Noon – Mary Pope Osborne
  102. Night of the Ninjas – Mary Pope Osborne
  103. Afternoon on the Amazon – Mary Pope Osborne
  104. Midnight on the Moon – Mary Pope Osborne
  105. Ghost Town at Sundown – Mary Pope Osborne
  106. Lions at Lunchtime – Mary Pope Osborne
  107. Vacation Under the Volcano – Mary Pope Osborne
  108. Dragons Love Tacos – Adam Rubin
  109. Chalk – Bill Thomson
  110. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce
  111. Bawk & Roll – Tami Sauer
  112. Tuesday – David Wiesner
  113. The Big Elephant in the Room – Lane Smith
  114. Golden Retrievers are the Best! – Elaine Landau
  115. Enemy Pie – Derek Munson
  116. The House Book – Keith DuQuette
  117. Sector 7- David Wiesner
  118. The Circus Ship – Chris VanDusen
  119. Big Chickens – Leslie Helakoski
  120. Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – Judith Viorst
  121. Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move – Judith Viorst
  122. Wag! – Patrick McDonnell
  123. The Story of the Golden Retriever
  124. Russell the Sheep – Rob Scotton
  125. Can You See What I See? Toyland Express – Walter Wick
  126. I’m Not Going to Get Up Today – Dr. Suess
  127. Lulu Walks the Dogs – Judith Viorst
  128. Lulu and the Brontosaurus – Judith Viorst
  129. Day of the Dragon King – Mary Pope Osborne
  130. Viking Ships at Sunrise – Mary Pope Osborne
  131. Hour of the Olympics – Mary Pope Osborne
  132. The OK Book – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  133. Little Hoot – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  134. It’s Not Fair – Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  135. I’ll Fix Anthony – Judith Viorst
  136. Pizza Kittens – Charlotte Voake
  137. The Tenth Good Thing About Barney – Judith Viorst
  138. Just in Case – Judith Viorst
  139. Nobody Here But Me – Judith Viorst
  140. June 29, 1999 – David Wiesner
  141. Hurricane – David Wiesner
  142. Hug Time – Patrick McDonnell
  143. South – Patrick McDonnell
  144. Knock Your Socks Off: a book of knock-knock jokes – Michael Dahl
  145. If I Ran the Zoo – Dr. Seuss
  146. Lemons Are Not Red – Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  147. Green – Laura Vaccaro Seeger
  148. Splat the Cat – Rob Scotton
  149. Russell and the Lost Treasure – Rob Scotton
  150. Glasses: Who Needs ’em? – Lane Smith
  151. Dogs Don’t Have Pockets – Sean Raffaelli

35 Pieces of Advice

Sunday was my birthday.  I won’t tell you how old I am, but it probably isn’t that hard to figure out.  I’m not someone who normally worries too much about my chronological age, because A:  there’s nothing I can do about it, and B:  no one can make me act my age.

This year, my first thought upon the clock making the grand switch to midnight on the 8th, was “This is how old I’m going to be when my book comes out,” which sort of made it a magical number, regardless of what it was.  It got me thinking about how much I’ve learned in the 16 or so months since I got the call that I was going to be a for-real published author.  And that got me thinking about how much I’ve learned in general.  As a student of life if you will.

So I decided to share, in no particular order, some of the wisdom I have theoretically gained in my time on this earth.

  1. Do what you love, no matter what anyone else thinks about it.  Unless you’re a serial killer.  That’s the sort of passion you should keep to yourself.
  2. Any vegetable can be improved by oven roasting.  This includes tomatoes.  Especially tomatoes.  Just trust me.
  3. Your first draft isn’t good enough.
  4. It’s not worth keeping poisonous people in your life, no matter who they are.  Slip away gracefully and most of the time, they won’t even notice.
  5. Not everyone will like what you do and that’s okay.  You don’t like everything everyone else does, do you?  If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Wil Wheaton.
  6. You probably don’t drink enough water.
  7. Whatever stage you’re at in your writing career is hard.
  8. Getting to the next stage will not make it all sunshine and rainbows.
  9. It’s still the best job I’ve ever had.
  10. Don’t worry about what you look like when it’s below freezing outside.  No one will be laughing at you when you still have all your fingers and toes.
  11. Resist the urge to give a reason when you can’t do something (or just don’t want to).  Be polite, say no, and close your mouth.
  12. There is such a thing as a natural talent, but without putting in the time, it won’t get you anywhere.
  13. Don’t say anything on the Internet you wouldn’t be willing to say in person.
  14. If you receive a gift from someone and you can thank them in person, you don’t have to send a thank you note.
  15. If you can’t thank them in person, you should send a thank you note.
  16. If you don’t want to send out Christmas cards, don’t.
  17. Whatever size underwear you think you should buy, get the next size up.  Possibly even two sizes up.  Your butt will thank you.
  18. Spontaneity is intimidating sometimes, but it can be fun.
  19. Put on your pajamas as early as possible on any given day.
  20. Audiobooks make walking the dog awesome.
  21. Don’t stop writing to research if you’re in the flow.  Make a note to yourself and come back later.
  22. Don’t worry about how many words other writers can do in a day.
  23. It is always easier to be kind and honest.  There’s a lot less to keep track of when you run into people you haven’t seen in a while.
  24. If you are ever offered the chance to be part of a flashmob, take it.
  25. When you find yourself in a position to perform a random act of kindness, seize it.  You’ll improve not only someone else’s day, but your own.
  26. Acting professionally doesn’t have to mean being stuffy, but it does mean you show up, pay attention, be polite, and try not to do stuff you’ll regret.
  27. Puppies are incredibly hard work.
  28. Babies are incredibly hard work, but at least they don’t make you go outside in the freezing cold when they have to pee.  On the other hand, they need you a lot more than puppies do.
  29. Avoid 24-hour news channels.
  30. Refuse to be ashamed of what you read, listen to, watch, enjoy.  Likewise, it’s okay if you don’t like the thing everyone else is reading, listening to, watching, and enjoying.  They’re not any more wrong for liking it than you are for not liking it.
  31. Try things you’re not sure you’ll enjoy because you might be surprised.
  32. You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life no matter how old you are.
  33. No matter how hard you try, some of your efforts will fail.
  34. You should probably apply another coat of sunscreen.
  35. All of these suggestions will be easier if you take my advice on the underwear thing.

 

BLOGFEST: Class of 2k14 is Thankful For…

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for.  Let’s face it, EVERY year I have a lot to be thankful for!

To celebrate Thanksgiving, the members of the The Class of 2k14 decided to have a mini-blogfest.  You can find out what the rest of my classmates are thankful for this year at the class website!

As for me, I can’t contain myself to just one thing.  So, I’m going with a list!  (You might be seeing a lot of lists out of me in the coming months.  The main character of next book, TOP TEN CLUES YOU’RE CLUELESS, has a habit of making lists and after spending so much time with her, I just can’t seem to stop myself!!)

I’m Thankful For…

 

  1. The opportunity to be part of the Class of 2k14!  So far, we’re shaping up to be a pretty fantastic class, if I do say so myself.  From glowing Kirkus reviews to Most Anticipated Book Lists, these amazing ladies have created an outstanding group of books and I am so proud to be in such great company!
  2. The team at Harper Collins who has made the process leading up to my debut as painless as possible.  I feel like I won the publishing lottery!
  3. My agent, Laura Bradford, who continues to work her butt off for me!  I wish her tasty treats and pleasure reading for the holiday.
  4. The friends and family who keep me excited about my upcoming book birthday even when I’m deep in the No-One-Is-Going-To-Read-This-and-Those-That-Do-Will-Hate-It-and-I-Will-Die-in-an-Internet-Flame-War-by-April zone.
  5. The YA Community both on-line and in-person who make me laugh, send encouragement when needed, and keep writing the most amazing books on earth!!
  6. Cheese.  I’m deeply grateful for cheese.  It’s the Wisconsinite in me.