Monday, April 14, 2014

My Writing Process (Contains no Amish bread dough or dishtowels)

I'm not usually one for chain mail-based activities (Amish bread in a bag anyone?! *vomits*) but when my good pal Mindy McGinnis tagged me in this one, I have to admit...I was sort of excited.

The idea behind this blog tour is for writers and authors to share their writing process through four simple questions. (Click HERE to link up to Mindy's writing process) It's short, sweet, and to the point, which is why I like it. Nobody's got time for rambling these days.

So, here we go...

What am I working on? 
I'm currently reworking the first manuscript I ever wrote. Back then it was called STALKING PEGGY FLEMMING, now it's called STALKING WHITNEY HOUSTON. It's a fun, dark-humored story about a seventeen year-old girl who's trying to claim her own identity; and it's not the one her mother wants it to be.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I think I write very honest characters who present themselves in an equally honest way. I'm not sure that my style is that unique, but I do think there are too many vanilla characters in the book world. If people were really nice, sweet, thoughtful, sensitive-to-others feelings all the time, we'd have no reason to read. Life would be so freaking wonderful there'd be no need for literary escape.

Why do I write what I do?
I've actually tried to write more dramatic, less humor-based books, but within a few pages one of the characters ends up burping their ABCs and it's all over. I write what I do, good or bad, because it's what wants to come out of me.

How does your writing process work?
I have to have at least a rough outline before I sit down at the keyboard. Without that, I might as well be trying solve a calculus problem. 

banging head photo: Head Banging thFREAKOUT.gif  

From there on, I edit as I go. 
I will typically write a few hundred words, then view my document as a .pdf file to make sure it makes sense. (For some reason it reads very differently to me in .pdf form than a Word doc.) Once I ironed out what I've just written, I move on.

This method probably isn't typical, and definitely takes longer than just sitting down and knocking out a rough draft, but it helps me keep the story on track from the get-go, something I struggle with if I get too far ahead of myself.

Okay, so now you know how I make the magic happen (now would be an appropriate time to roll your eyes), mark your calendars for next Monday, April 21, so you can see how the following awesome chicks make their magic happen.

Kristi Helvig

Kristi Helvig is a Ph.D. clinical psychologist turned sci-fi/fantasy author. She muses about Star Trek, space monkeys, and other assorted topics on her blog. Kristi resides in sunny Colorado with her hubby, two kiddos, and behaviorally-challenged dogs.

Lynne Matson 

Lynne grew up in Georgia in a house full of books and a backyard full of gnarly pines. Back then, Lynne would stay up late, reading Nancy Drew books under the covers (with a flashlight . . . a weak attempt at ninja stealth). Now she still stays up late reading books and writing them. When she doesn’t have a book in her hand, you’ll find her listening to music, messing around with paint, or hanging out with her husband and their four boys . . . or all of the above.

A. Lynden Rolland

A. Lynden Rolland was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, a picturesque town obsessed with boats, booze, and blue crabs. As a child she spent much of her free time compiling dramatic stories of tragic characters in a weathered notebook which she still keeps.

As a former high school English teacher, she enjoys visiting classrooms to discuss reading, writing, and publishing. When she isn't chasing her two boys around town or arguing about sports with her husband, she moonlights as a writing tutor and gymnastics instructor. She is represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services. Of Breakable Things, her debut novel, will be released by Month9Books in the spring of 2014.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Pictures & a nap

Hey all,

We're not even halfway through April and this girl is flipping EXHAUSTED! 

puppy falling asleep photo: Cute puppy falling asleep 4cde83b5.gif

I really wanted to tell you about my first signing (a huge success!) but since I can hardly keep my eyes open, I thought I'd just show you the pictures of this special day. And contrary to what some of you are thinking, I did not bribe anyone with pizza and beer to attend. (Husbands don't count, right?!)

This is what the front of a Barnes & Noble looks like in like in San Diego. Riveting, I know.

This sign will soon be hanging in my garage--right next to the shelf where my Oscar sits.

The unruly crowd. This shot was taken just minutes before we SOLD OUT of books and a riot erupted in the self-help section.
This chick is mentioned in the acknowledgements. She is rad. And I did buy her a beer, but it wasn't a bribe. Nope.

The professionalism in this shot is staggering...

and it just continues here.

SWAG table complete with Short Bus themed fortune cookies.

This guy, Jonny, made the event a success. Thank you, sir.
Okay, that's all I got for now. *runs to bedroom, collapses in a heap and begins drooling*

Saturday, March 22, 2014


In preparation for the big launch, 
The Short Bus is hitting the road.

Check out the following blogs for fun interviews, reviews, 
ridiculous captivating guest posts,
and your chance to win a signed copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS.
(Plus other awesome swag)

You can also catch a review of the book at RealityLapse on March 31.

Monday, March 3, 2014


So, you think you're qualified to be on the SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS street team, eh?


Before I can even consider you for membership, you have to answer the following questions:

1. Do you like to have fun?
2. If asked, will you kill without question?

If you answered 'yes' to both of these, CONGRATULATIONS!! You are now a #shortbusser

Here's how it's going to work:

-Every day we will shout out the praises of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS to a new theme. It is your job to figure out exactly how to incorporate that theme into your tweet. This is your chance to get creative!
(A hint for the next day's theme will be tweeted the night before)

-At the same time every day (my seekrit) I will check out the Twitter feed, and the first street team member whose tweet I come across will be entered into a drawing. A new street teamer will be added into the pot every day through March 31.

-On April 1, LAUNCH DAY!!!, I will randomly select one of the street teamers to win a HUGE SHORT BUS prize pack (prizes to include: a signed copy of SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS, plus some other awesome swag I have yet to determine. But it will kick ass--I promise) I'll also have four runners up. These folks will win smaller, but still cool, prize packs. And, in the event the winner cannot fulfill his/her duties, these four will be expected to honor their answer to question #2.

If you think you can hang, please join me. 
This is going to be a lot of fun.


Friday, February 14, 2014

♥ is in the air (& a SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS ARC is up for grabs)

Ah, Valentine's Day...

It's that blessed occasion when husbands pony up for a 
bouquet of wilted, plastic-wrapped flowers,
When insecure chicks define their worth by how many chocolates 
they're given--or how many they've eaten,

When you can wear a shirt with big lips on it 
and no one will think you're a hooker,

And the day when a SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS ARC goes up for grabs!

Swing by this Goodreads site for your chance to win.
This is a US only contest that ends February 28.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

ALA Midwinter: An adventure through the frozen tundra

Thursday, January 23
8:25 a.m. (PST)
Bethany boards a United flight bound for Philadelphia, PA.
On the ground temperature in San Diego: 59 degrees

4:05 p.m. (EST)
Bethany arrives at Philadelphia airport.
On the ground temperature: somewhere between 17 degrees and my nipples might crack off.

I'm not kidding, guys. Philly was cold. Like...REALLY. FREAKING. COLD. Even the locals were complaining about the frigid temps. (I haven't figured out how, but the Common Core curriculum is at the root of this weather sitch) But, I managed to survive thanks to my new down jacket, several borrowed scarves, and more excitement than any girl should ever try to contain. You see, I wasn't just in Philly to earn my "I survived an East Coast winter" badge, I was there for ALA Midwinter which, in this young author's life, was about the coolest experience ever.

Besides the fact I was able to meet my entire publishing family, I got my first signing under my belt while one of my best writer pals cheered me on from the sidelines (in a ridiculously bright T-shirt). I shook hands, shared stories, signed books, swiped ARCs (not mine, other peoples'), met amazing authors, and...well, basically had the time of my life. I could seriously go on for days about the incredible time I had, but pictures speak louder than words. (And my only resolution this year was never to spend more than an hour on a blog post so...)

Some important building that I thought was pretty.

Philly at night. (You can't tell how cold it is from this angle)

Two professionals.
 (Left: Me, Right: Not me. That's the talented Eric Devine)

If you see this guy coming, lock your doors.

Marlo Scrimizzi.
Yes, she looks 14. (Everybody at Running Press looks young!)
Yes, she's as cute as she is fun.
Yes, she's a damn good editor.

Random aisle at ALA

Very cool board with all our book covers

All the authors hanging out at the Running Press cocktail party Saturday night.
(From left: Eric Devine, Tara Altebrando, Maria Andreu, ME!, Leah Eskin)

Post signing.
Post Beer.
Very cold girl.

This is a Nutella dessert pizza.
Nobody at our table "got it".
Somewhere, somebody has some pictures of me signing. Sadly, I just figured out that my iPhone has the reverse camera function (#blonde) so selfies aren't really in my wheelhouse yet.

Anyway, this was just a glimpse of what went down at ALA Midwinter. If I ever attend another conference, I'll be sure to take a lot more pics.

Also, SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS ARCs are officially out in the world. If you're hoping to land a copy, swing by the YAValentines site. There's one up for grabs there until February 5!

And thanks to all of you who entered to win last month's giveaway. 
(Winners have been notified)
A new contest starts here on Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Time to primp...

If you take a quick peek over there -->  you'll see that we're a mere 75 days from SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS's coming out party. 

While I typically frown upon uptight events laced with pomp and circumstance, I have determined that the Short Bus shall be welcomed into society in the most sophisticated of ways. (Yes, Downton has started again. My inner snob has emerged) We shall buff and scrub like potatoes en route to the pot. We will polish and coif, primp and iron. We shall drink with our pinkies raised and our noses high. We will be fancy and frilly and everything in between because this book deserves the royal treatment.

In an effort to make sure you're all adequately prepared for this historical event, I've created a giveaway that may aid in your refining. There will be two winners. The first will receive a Camp-I-Can t-shirt, much like those worn by the counselors in SUMMER ON THE SHORT BUS. It is made of the finest cotton blends and wouldn't dare itch your skin. (At least not after several washings)
The second prize is a bottle of Camp-Kill-Me-Now nail polish, as inspired by Cricket, the main character who would rather brave the gates of hell (or a WalMart) than attend summer camp. 

I won't have my Fan Club looking like riffraff come April 1st, 
so do what you can to win. 
And don't dilly dally--the contest ends January 31.

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