Friday, April 30, 2010


Hi folks,

I'm in the home stretch on the book now, facing a supply crisis in my coffee distribution, and wondering if it makes more sense to change one final part in my story--or just explain it better.

But here's something to keep you busy:

June, one of the earliest BFFs, has a giveaway on her blog today. Despite the fact that every additional entrant reduces MY chances of winning, I thought I'd share the link.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

You know you're a writer if…

You've considered mentioning your cat in the acknowledgments.

You listen to the people in your head more attentively than your family.

You have a "day job," instead of just a job.

You use terms like MC, query, galleys and partial in casual conversation.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Can't Think Outside the Book

Still looking up suddenly from revisions, surprised that I don't have telepathy. Another short post today--the book, the book, the book.

In the meantime, enjoy this demo of a $500 cat toy:

A $500 dog toy:

And a $500 person toy:

Thanks to Nathan Bransford the links.

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Good Cause

Hi folks,

I'm in the middle of dealing with galleys now, so today's a short post. If you're a writer or a reader, check out Brenda Novak's auction. It starts next week, has some great items for readers and writers, and benefits diabetes research.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Paper vs. E-Books

Thanks for the brainstorming session yesterday! You had some great ideas.

MINDER's coming out in both paper and e-book forms. What formats are people reading these days? Do you have a Kindle, iPad, or other e-reader? Have you downloaded the free software to read Kindle books on your computer?

So, another question forum today: Do you have a preference among the different e-readers, or are you still a paper-person? Does price make any difference--e.g., would you read an e-book if it had a significantly lower price compared to the paper version?

I'll do the SWAG giveaway again today: I'll send a MINDER sticker in the mail to the first 5 people who use the Ganzfield contact form to send me their mailing addresses (US and Canada only, please).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Telling You What You Want to Hear

Help! My publicist needs several articles from me.

I'm going to do a series of guest-blogs (I'll link the Bear to these, of course), and I need to come up with some topics related to my book's themes, or to writing YA paranormal novels, or to something that I can relate back to my book somehow.

I could come up with some things on my own, but I then realized that I could get some input from you great folks--and therefore write on something you're actually interested in reading.

So, what would you like to read about? Do you have any questions about the writing, editing, publishing, or marketing processes in the changing world of publishing? Do you want something kind of fun, like: "You know you're a latent telepath if..." or a dating guide for the would-be girlfriends/boyfriends of pyrokinetics?

Open forum: ask about anything that interests you today!

Oh, and to give you a little SWAG today, I'll send a MINDER sticker in the mail to the first 5 people who use the Ganzfield contact form to send me their mailing addresses (US and Canada only, please). They're 3x5-inches, and can be used indoors or out. And hey, you can't beat FREE!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time-Traveling Teens

In yesterday's comments, Theresa mentioned time-travel as the next big thing that could hit YA.

That got me thinking, but I keep coming back to one thing:
So, what kind of plots haven't been explored in time-travel YA yet?

Will a modern-day high school kid find herself in Ancient Rome, where her geeky, Latin-club creds will finally have a practical use?

Could a football player with dreams of turning pro end up wielding a sword with actual (rather than Minnesota) Vikings?

Could a Beverly Hills rich girl become a Victorian servant?

What do you think? Where could this plot device take them? Will the time-travel be the result of technology or magic? Will they stay there forever or return to their own time? Will they change history, or will the space-time continuum adjust around them?

What would YOU write, if it was your story?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The New Vampires



(Fallen) Angels:
HUSH HUSH, STRANGE ANGELS, FALLEN--more in the details.

WICKED LOVELY, LAMENT, WINGS, and the list goes on.

Magic and/or Immortality:

Future Distopia:
HUNGER GAMES, UGLIES, and on and on.

Not all of these are YA, but a lot of them are.
So, what's the next trend?

If you've read this blog before, you know that I hope it's telepathy.

WAKE/FADE/GONE, MINDER and the rest of the GANZFIELD series?

I'm thinking of having buttons made up:

What do you think? Is YA paranormal going to stay popular? Where do you think it's heading?
How many times do people have to say it before it's true?

And did I miss any books that deserved a mention?

Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm on Amazon!

I woke up Saturday morning and found that my book's now listed on

When I was an aspiring writer, I had daydreams about this.
Now I have the theme from Laverne & Shirley playing in my head:
"Make all our dreams ... come true!"

Updates: I got the last of those shirts in the mail over the weekend. I'll have another giveaway in a few weeks, so keep checking back here if you want a shirt.

Of, and the Consumerist had an amusing link I'll share with you:
Thanks to Pimp My Novel for the link.

Friday, April 16, 2010

First Look

Trailer Art: Katie Diamond
Music: "Angels" by Glenridge
Editing: Peter Alton
VO: Mary Alton

The pre-order buttons will be up at Amazon within the week. If you like the trailer, please leave comments on YouTube:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Your Favorite Bookstore

Where do you get your books? Online? A big chain? A local indie store? Your town library? Let me know, and I'll see if they'll carry MINDER in June.

And then you can walk in, point at the cover, and say, "Hey, I know that author!"

And then we can have a party:

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Thank you, Sandra! Say hello to the Scottish ghosts for me--some of them are probably relatives of mine.

This award comes with certain responsibilities, although what they are exactly seems a bit unclear. As it travels from blog to blog, the list changes.

1) thank the bestower--check.

2) Say a little about myself:

My book MINDER comes out in June, and I want everyone on the planet to buy it, read it, and love it.

3) nominate 7 or 10 or 15 worthy blogs

And the nominees are...
steph the bookworm
ann foxlee
YA Book Nerd
Writing is a Blessing
Writer's Cramps
Stepping into Fantasy
Kiersten Writes
Substitute Teacher's Saga
In Sight of the Crazies
Dangerous with a Pen
Fiction Groupie
A Paperback Writer

OK, I went with 15. You don't have to.

Some of you may be more funny or edgy than what is considered traditionally beautiful, but I'm a gruff old mama bear from New England, so that works for me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and whatnot. Check 'em out; they're worth reading.

I also didn't list some of the online reviewers, since you'll be getting copies of MINDER in the next month or so, and I didn't want to be a suck-up.

Although I have no problem with people sucking up to me, and I hope to one day be in a position to gracefully accept sycophancy. I plan to give a small, indulgent smile and a regal wave of the back of my hand.

Oh, and let me mention the Brenda Novak auction that starts in May.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Anything Good on TV?

I used to watch a lot of television. In high school, I even did my homework in front of it. I've created and consumed countless meals there. I fed my infant twins while watching shows they're not allowed to see now.

But I've fallen out-of-love with TV. I still like shows like Glee and How I Met Your Mother. And I usually catch The Daily Show and NBC News, because I'd hate to ever say something like, "We're in a war? Really?"

But it's hard to find something that can sustain my undivided attention anymore. Even with one of the aforementioned programs, I still feel the urge to check my email or edit the MINDER book trailer in iMovie (it's starting to look pretty cool, I think).

So, am I missing anything? Is there a show out there that makes you go blind from sheer awesomeness? Is anyone still watching TV?

*sigh* I miss the early seasons of X-FILES. And FRIENDS. Remember MOONLIGHTING? It had some of the best banter ever written.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Left-Handed Compliments

"You're almost as pretty as your sister."

"You're a credit to your race."

"Really? You don't look Turkish. I thought you were Italian."

"Left-handed" compliments bug me. Even the name bugs me. As a proud Southpaw American, I take umbrage at this misrepresentation of our proud heritage, much the way that the Rom (Gypsies) hate the when someone claims "I've been gypped!"

And don't even get me started on "Indian Givers."
Believe me.
I will start.

Got any to share?

Oh, and let me leave you with this visual--I'm off to a yoga class this morning. While I'm not, technically, a bear, it's an accurate metaphor for both my personality and physical build. Downward-Facing Bear--signing out.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Contest Winners!

Congrats to:

Readerly Person
Theresa Milstein

You won! I'll send out the shirts next week.

Please fill out my fabulous new CONTACT FORM with your mailing address. Include your screen name and your shirt size (S, M, L, XL) in the comments section. And someday your photo will appear here! (Yeah, so far it's just me in the shirt. But that's about to change!)

FairyHedgeHog: Thanks for the link. Please email me your mailing address, too! Do you personally know Old Kitty? If so, please include her size, as well (mailing 2 shirts to the UK isn't much more expensive than mailing one). I hope that the picture will include Charlie the cat.

I'll have another shirt giveaway next month. Tell your friends, unless you're worried about that awkward get-together in which you both show up wearing the same shirt.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Sinister Homo Sapien Who Masticates Every Day

There's a line in MINDER in which a couple of ignorant guys sexually harass my MC, and she threatens to mess with their brains and make them fall in love with each other. It's been nibbling away at my conscience for a while. My MC isn't homophobic, although the guys bothering her are. So it's an effective deterrent in the situation, particularly since the harassment is heterosexual.

But would it be OK to treat other characteristics like that? Wouldn't it be horribly inappropriate to threaten to change the race of white rednecks, assuming such a thing was possible? It's like validating their belief that OTHER = BAD.

Sexual orientation's a divisive topic in American culture, and it needs especially careful handling in the YA genre. Some books and series make it a major component of the story, such as THE GEOGRAPHY CLUB and the MARKED series. In MARKED, some of the MC's best friends are a gay, teenage, vampire couple.

Try to find THAT box on the census form.

So I'm torn. The scene works, but I'm concerned with the greater message it sends. As it stands now, I may alienate liberal readers (e.g., MARKED fans). If I swing too far the other way, I may alienate more conservative readers (e.g., TWILIGHT fans). And I want both groups to give me money to enjoy my books.

I have another character who happens to be gay, but I haven't developed this aspect of her identity, since it's irrelevant to the plot of the first books. I'm worried that, when I finally address it, it'll seem like tokenism, like Apache Chief, whose superpower was "being Native American," apparently.

So, now I heave a trepidacious sigh and throw the question open to comments. How should sexual orientation be handled in YA fiction? I'm a little afraid to see what people will write--a few years ago, I sold purple-ribbon lapel pins in support of legalizing gay marriage, and I received several emails telling me I was going to burn in Hell.

Oh, and as for the title of today's post:
Sinister=left-handed (in Latin)

Homo sapien=human

Masticates=chews. Why? What did YOU think it meant?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Novel Approach to Dating

Yesterday, Nathan Bransford blogged about "gap" books, the books that everyone seems to have read but you.

I had two reactions to this topic.

First, I don't have gap books; I have gap movies. I can read on the playground or while the kids give themselves haircuts with nail scissors. But babysitters, tickets, and popcorn cost beaucoup bux. If I intend to read something, I do--except when I'm writing a first draft, when I hold off reading other people's fiction so it won't mess with my voice. That being said, my desktop "intend to read" pile is more than two feet high. But the ones that everyone's talking about I pull out first--I hate being left out of the conversation.

Second, every third comment (and there were over 250 of them) seemed to rag on TWILIGHT. Someone compared to fan fiction. Others made a point of saying that they'd intentionally avoided reading the series--as though, if they hadn't been on their guard, BREAKING DAWN might've flown off the shelf at Borders and latched, parasitically, onto their brains.

What's up with all the hate for popular fiction? Are people trying to prove that they're too "upscale" or "literate" to enjoy these things?

The same thing happened when the movie TITANIC came out.
At first, everyone lost their minds because it was SO GOOD.

Next, we read about ALL THE RECORDS it broke, and we collectively pictured James Cameron (or J.K. Rowling, or Stephenie Meyer) rolling around giggling on a big pile of money, a la Scrooge McDuck.

Then, everyone seemed to mock it and pull it apart. Is it envy? Are people trying to distance themselves from their initial reaction of exuberant emotion? It's almost like people BREAK UP with the story.

"Yeah, TWILIGHT and I went out for a while, but it wasn't right for me. I need to be with a more intellectual story."

But even though we're not dating HARRY POTTER anymore, most of us can still be friends.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

HTML Makes my Brain Hurt


I'm getting wicked tired of making sure my blank targets don't give a 404. I'd rather be writing, or even revising, but I've only managed to do two pages in the past four days.

I think I need a staff.

But I have no money to pay anyone.

I think I need an intern.

Ah, interns. People who are paid in experience, because they don't know any better. Hence their need for an internship.

The problem is that I basically want someone to do all the work around here that I hate to do. Like fix my fence--the thing's beginning to lean into something that Watson and Crick would have entered in the science fair.

And I can't ask someone being paid in experience to experience that. Don't even get me started on laundry and cooking. Nope, experiencing the dirty socks of a family of five really should be compensated financially. *sigh*

Speaking of learning experiences:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Hey, I'm going to be in Chicago for a wedding Memorial Day weekend. Anyone have places to recommend? Music, food, sights, quirky bookstores, etc.--it's all good. My first visit, 14 years ago, was equally brief and involved watching Ross from "Friends" wish my brother's graduating class well.

He actually talks like that in real life.

I'm still hoping that more folks will MAKE ME GIVE YOU A T-SHIRT. The contest is open through the rest of the week. We'll have at least one more contest this month, so check back every once in a while.

Finally, I try to be pretty open and on-manipulative in my marketing. But this new ad campaign takes it to a whole new level:

WARNING - male readers may wish to pass this one by.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reality Check

Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn needs to learn
how to use her special abilities
before somebody else gets hurt. But the
Ganzfield training facility isn't exactly a nurturing place.

Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control.

A stray thought can burn a building to the ground.

And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads.

But it's still better than New Jersey,
especially once she meets the man of her dreams…

This is what it says on the back of my book. I particularly like the creepy white font at the top. But what about you? If you saw this in a bookstore, would you want to read more? Does anything here make you go--ick, never mind?

Oh, and don't forget to make me give you a t-shirt between now and Friday.

Friday, April 2, 2010

T-Shirts, Free Shirts

The t-shirts are here! They look pretty cool, if I do say so myself.

Want one?

The contest is simple--comment below with the LOCATION where you, if you win, will have someone take a picture of you wearing the shirt.

In front of the Hollywood sign? At the top of the Eiffel Tower? Riding an elephant? In a cornfield next to the world's largest ball of twine? Under water next to a dolphin?

Please post by Friday, 9 April. I'll post the winner(s)* on Monday the 12th, and they can email me a mailing address.

I have to credit Matt Harding for the inspiration, though.

* Official-looking fine-print: Actual t-shirt does not glow. By entering below, you pledge to make a good-faith effort to email me the suggested picture by June 1st, 2010. You'll do your best to make sure that the picture is in-focus and shows both the white front logo on the shirt and the location. You also give me the rights to put it up here on the blog and use it in other promo capacity (you'll be credited on the Ganzfield website, under any name you want).

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Devoured by Wolverines

Late post today--I just finished an all day training session for my day job. Work on the book launch continues apace, and I hope to have news on the marketing plan soon.

On the training side, I've been mulling over teaching a course on character development, based on the motivational stuff from these training sessions. Is there any interest out there for a two-day course that teaches aspiring writers how to create believable characters and vibrant interactions? I'm considering putting group activities on the first day, then have critique sessions on the second day, so people can learn to apply the material to their own work. Is there something else that you'd like to see in a writing workshop?

BTW, there's no pressure if you express interest; I'm not going to show up at your house with my flip chart or anything. But please post a comment if you'd be interested in a course like that.

Also include the major city (anywhere in the world--I love to travel) where you'd like it to be held. I live in New Hampshire, so I'd probably have the first session in the Boston area. But I can dream of Venice, right?

Oh, and if you give me feedback here in the comments section, I'll give you a 25% discount on the registration fee, if and when I ever get my act together and set this up. No foolin'.

How can you resist?