Saturday, January 24, 2009

A New Day?

I do not intend to use this blog as a political forum, but I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the inauguration of Barack Obama. While it was indeed gratifying to see the American dream truly being reflected, as a black man was sworn-in as our president, I was personally overjoyed by all the people who were interested enough to go to Washington DC, or watch it on TV. I know, in time, many of these people will drift away, and like the ostrich, stick their heads back into the sand. But I believe (and hope) a lot more will get involved with helping others, and take an interest in what Washington does with our votes. If more of us care about what happens with each other, and if we keep a vigilant eye on Washington, we will not have a repeat of the last eight years. And I don't know about you, but with the economy tanking the way it's doing right now, I can't afford a repeat.

I am already involved with two charities, but I'm going to look around for something more that I can do. Any ideas? I'd like to hear of ways I can get more involved with helping others. I'd love to hear from any of you who may have a suggestion for me. That's all for now.

Sleep tight, don't let the zombies bite.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Return of The Zombie

In my last post I mentioned that the manuscript for my teen novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, was sent back to me with more notes. It took me til yesterday to finally open the package, and look inside. I braced myself for all the negative comments, but there weren't any. Just a few continuity questions, a request that I identify the speaker in one spot (although I have to admit, it was obvious), and things like that. Ten queries in all. Aside from that the manuscript was chockablock with edit notes in red pencil for the production people. Some of the edits had to do with type style, as there are letters in the book.

Man, I was so nervous. I always have to brace myself for criticism, because I know my first reaction is going to be to hate the critique. If anyone is reading this, I'd like to know how do you handle criticism? Time has taught me that my usual knee jerk reaction isn't the best way to go. I've learned to give the critique time before I address it. I waited a full moth before addressing the first set of notes I received on the manuscript. All I kept thinking was, this editor has missed all my symbolism, and doesn't understand this book at all. Now, after four edits, I have to admit I love my editor. She has been kind and patient, and sometimes firm with this first time YA novelist. She has made my book so much better. I can't wait for it to come out. If I had reacted to what I was thinking when I read her first letter to me, who knows how this would have turned out.

Anyway, I'd like to hear how you deal with criticism. I can always use a new tool for my toolbox. That's it for now. My editor said in her letter, this is my last chance for any changes, so I'm going to spend the day re-reading the manuscript.

Sleep tight, don't let the zombies bite.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guess What?

Don't worry, I'm not going to play twenty questions with you. The first Guess What is because I've gotten a few inquiries about my tummy issues. My doctor is back from vacation. Puerta Vallarta, thank you very much. I saw him Monday and he had a very nice tan. Anyway, after a brief conversation he scheduled me to come in Thursday for an abdominal scan. And he told me to get a colonoscopy. Yikes! Since asking me to get the colonoscopy, my stomach has been feeling much better... Really... No, seriously. Okay, okay, I will schedule a colonoscopy.

Guess what number two... I'm not finished with the book yet. I got an email from my editor today that the manuscript will arrive back at my door tomorrow for me to respond to copy editor notes (in black pencil), production editor notes (in red pencil) and her own editorial notes (in blue pencil). Wow. Who knew being an author involved so many editorial notes. But I love being a YA author, so bring it on! Stay tuned and I will let you know how I fare in the note process.

This is the fourth time the manuscript has found it's way back to me. I'm in the middle of writing my third novel, and my first novel keeps coming back. I should write a book about that, huh? It would definitely be a horror story--with a touch of humor.

That's it for now. Sleep tight, don't let the zombies bite.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Who Knew?

I am sitting at my desk reading the back cover of a new novel. 'Celebratory and heartbreaking...' reads one of the blurbs. 'Remarkable' reads another. I, like you, I'm sure, have always taken those complimentary blurbs on a book's cover for granted--that is, until I got a call from my editor telling me it was time to get some blurbs for my up coming novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie.

"Yes," I thought. "It is time."

I had an entire list of famous people I envisioned writing glowing praises about my book. Meg Cabot (of Princess Diaries fame), George Romero (of Night Of The Living Dead fame), Joss Whedon (of Buffy The Vampire Slayer fame) Barack Obama... Okay, Barack is probably going to be too busy running our nation to write me a blurb, but what a coup if he could find the time, right?

Anyway, during my editor's call she gave me her list of people for me to contact for a blurb. Me? Huh? The ugly truth began setting in. Getting the blurbs for my book was going to be my responsibility.

"Aw Man!" I thought all I had to do was write the darn book. Once the book was edited and headed for production I thought my job was over. But it isn't. I guess I should be glad the publication of my book is ten whole months away. That should give me ample time to figure out how in the world I am going to meet all these wonderful people, and ask them to write a blurb for me.

If any of you reading this happens to know any of the folks on my blurb list, I would love an introduction. Don't worry. I won't embarrass you. I will use the subtle approach:

"Hi there, Mr. Whedon. Can I call you Joss?... I can't? That's okay. Mr. Whedon will do just fine. You're probably wondering what I'm doing on your front lawn. And yes, it was very difficult scaling the wall and getting past security. No, I didn't drug your dog. He's just tired, I guess. Anyway, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Dr. Horrible's Musical Blog [and for those of you reading this who don't know about Dr, Horrible, type it into your browser, and check out a very funny web series created by Joss Whedon, and starring Neil Patrick Harris]. Speaking of blogs, Mr. Whedon, would you write a blurb for my new teen novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie? Huh? Oh, sure. I'll get off your lawn... As soon as I get that blurb."

Smooth, right? No way that could embarrass anybody.

So, if any of you reading this knows Joss or anyone else on my blurb list, please give me their home addresses... Okay, okay, just let them know I'd really appreciate a blurb from them. And also let them know I will write a blurb for their next book in return. A really, really, really nice one with lots of adjectives, and they won't even have to show up at my front door to get it.

That's it for now. Sleep tight, don't let the zombies bite.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ten Whole Months Away

Today is the beginning of blogging for me, and I am very excited. My first teen novel, Never Slow Dance With A Zombie (Tor/Teen), comes out on Halloween. That's ten whole months away. I plan to do posts several times a week about my journey towards publication. That ought to keep me busy, since I'm jumping out of my skin waiting for the book to come out. Did I mention it's ten whole months?

The book is about 16 year-old junior, Margot Jean Johnson--a high school wannabe. When the entire student body of Salesian High becomes zombies, Margot sees a chance for all her high school dreams to come true: A boyfriend, Parties, even Prom Queen. All she has to do to achieve high school infamy is stay alive. That's the premise. Strange, I know. But as you will discover, the premises to all my novels--in fact, all my life--is a bit strange. Go figure. And there's a love story in it, too. I love love. Who doesn't love love?

Is it Autobiographical? Well... I was a high school wannabe, and my school was definitely overrun by zombies... oh wait, they weren't zombies, they were just idiots. But I digress. I live and work in Hollywood, and from time to time I'll let you know what I am up to out here. I've written for a whole bunch of TV shows (I'll tell you about some of those, too) , and I'm still active in the Hollywood community. If you have any questions about writing for TV or movies, I'd love to answer them.

Right now I'm fast at work on a new novel, my third, and my first isn't even out yet. Did I mention I can't wait? I can't... and it's ten whole months!!! I know, I know, I said that already. Breathe.... Ahhhhh!

Well, it's time for dinner. I've been having some trouble with my stomach the past few days, and my doctor is on vacation. So, I'm trying this gluten free diet which I read about on Meg Cabot's blog, and now I totally sympathize with her, because if my doctor says I have to go gluten free for life I'm going to shoot him, and when my book finally comes out (in ten whole months), I'll be in prison. Anyway, I will keep you posted about my stomach as well.

Well, I'm off to my veggies and broth with gluten free noodles. Yum.

Sleep tight, don't let the zombies bite.