Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Less than three weeks until my new book (and debut YA novel) EVIL LIBRARIAN is set free to roam the Earth! I could not be more excited. Here is some news about the release and pre-ordering and the PARTY that will be happening in Brooklyn very soon!

But first, please look at how awesome the full jacket design is:

Evil Librarian full book cover jacket

The designer is Matt Roeser, because I am the luckiest girl in the world.

OK so here is important information you need to know about this book:

1. The release date is September 9, 2014.

2. You can pre-order RIGHT NOW, and I hope that you will. Pre-ordering is THE most important thing you can do to help an author's book. Among other things, pre-orders get rolled into the first week's sales figures, which can help get a book onto a best-seller list. It also signals to the stores that there's a demand for the book, which might encourage them to order more copies for the store, which will help it to stand out on the shelves and be discovered by new people, and so on. (Two good posts that explain the importance of pre-orders really well are these by Kevin Hearne and Brian McClellan, if you would like to know more.)

3. You can pre-order from anywhere you like, but if you pre-order from WORD in Brooklyn, I can sign it for you! Then you can either pick it up at the store (at the party or any other time on or after 9/9/14), or have it shipped to you wherever you are. You can order from WORD here; just put a note in the comments field saying whom you would like the book signed to (e.g., "For Sue and Linda" or "Happy birthday, Joe") or say "just signature" if you want it signed but not personalized.

4. WHAT'S THAT ABOUT A PARTY? I'll be celebrating the book's release with some of my very favorite book people at WORD on Friday, September 12, at 7:00pm, and you are invited! See the handy launch party invite on Facebook for all the details. RSVPs encouraged, but not required.

5. The book has been getting some great reviews, which makes me really happy. Here are some particularly nice little snippets, plus the very kind words from Stephenie Meyer (you know, she wrote those Twilight books you may have heard of) that appear on the back cover, in case you can't see them clearly in the picture above. :)

[A] self-aware supernatural dramedy... The writing is clever, the tone wry, and the stakes high, with surprises that keep the plot unpredictable. Cyn’s internal monologue provides plenty of amusement, especially when her hormones threaten to overpower her common sense. It’s an entertaining tale with room for future installments.
— Publishers Weekly

Snappily narrated, tightly plotted and generally just right. Forget paranormal romance; this horror-humor-romance pastiche is where those in search of hot nonhumans should set their sights.
— Kirkus Reviews

"If Louise Rennison and Christopher Moore had a bibliographic love child it would be this cheekily narrated supernatural offering."
— School Library Journal

Hysterical! Smart and funny, with a little drama, a little romance, and just the right touch of evil.
— Stephenie Meyer, author of the bestselling Twilight Saga

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Guest Post at What Was on Her ...

Come visit me today over at Sandra Nickel's What Was on Her ... blog, where I talk about my most evil plan, karaoke favorites, and other fun things. Also, information you need to know about appropriate numbers of spiders.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

BEA 2014 Schedule!

So excited for BEA this week! If you want to get a signed EVIL LIBRARIAN galley, here's where to find me:

WEDNESDAY: BEA Blogger Conference Party (Javits Room 1A06) 3:45–5:00pm

FRIDAY: Candlewick Booth #2857 galley signing 2:30–3:30pm

I'll also be at the ABA Silent Auction Wednesday evening, Friday afternoon's ABC/CBC Speed Dating Lunch, and various other places around the floor on Friday throughout the day. Please come find me and say hello!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Princess of Trelian in paperback!

It's paperback pub day for The Princess of Trelian

As always, I strongly encourage you to get a copy at your local independent bookstore, but it's also available at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon

If you want a signed and/or personalized copy, you should order from WORD bookstore in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. They'll let me know and I'll head over to sign a copy just for you! (If you only see the hardcover listed, just click "other editions of this title" to get to the paperback.)

If you've already read The Princess of Trelian and are waiting for book 3 ... I can tell you that the third book is now scheduled for fall of 2015. I'll post more specific details when I have them! :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Blog Tour: The Writing Process

My friend Paula Freedman, author of the wonderful MG novel My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, invited me to participate in this blog tour about the writing process. Every author on the tour answers some questions about his or her own writing process, and then tags two other authors to answer next. I'm excited to be part of it, both because it's making me post something after way too long away from this blog, and also because I'm always fascinated by other writers' processes. You can read Paula's responses here; mine are below!

What am I currently working on?
I am almost always in the midst of multiple projects at once. I just finished final-final-final changes on my young adult novel EVIL LIBRARIAN (coming 9-9-14!), but I'm also waiting for my editor's notes on the first draft of the third book in my middle grade fantasy trilogy, working on a revision of a new picture book, and planning out the synopsis for a follow-up to EVIL LIBRARIAN. My next picture book, MARILYN'S MONSTER, comes out next spring, and my part of the work is mostly done on that oneit is being illustrated (as we speak!) by the super amazing Matt Phelan.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
This is a hard question. I know some of my picture books are different because they're longer than a lot of picture books out there ... but I hope that's not the only thing that makes them different! Obviously every author's work is going to be unique because of his or her individual voice, and I think that applies to my work as well. I also seem to come back to some of the same themes over and over in my books. I write a lot about friendship in various forms, and love in various forms, and also creatures (lions, dragons, demons) showing up in unexpected places. 

Why do I write what I write?
I guess I write the kinds of stories that I'd want to read. Fantasy novels were the stories that first really grabbed me as a young reader and turned me into one of those kids who carried a book around with her everywhere. Picture books appeal to me for some of the same reasonsthey're stories in which anything can happen, where the rules of everyday regular life don't necessarily have to apply. In all of my books, I'm always interested in the relationships among the characters ... who they are, why they do what they do, how they feel about one another, etc. I remember growing up and wishing I could know the characters from my favorite books in real life. I try to write those kinds of characters in my own booksif I care about them and want to spend time with them, hopefully my readers will, too!

How does my individual writing process work?
My process can vary a lot from book to book. For picture books, a story usually starts with one image or idea or feeling. I might carry that image/idea/feeling around in my head for a while before I know anything more about the story ... I'll check in on it every so often, take it out, look at it, and think about it, but sometimes I have to wait a long time before the rest of the story starts to take shape around it. Once I feel like I have enough of a sense of where the story is going (not all of it, just enough to start) I'll begin writing it down and see what happens. Often I'll make little notes in my notebook (or on whatever paper is handy at the time) as more pieces of the story start to take shape, so I won't forget.

For novels, the process could begin the same way, with an image or a feeling. For The Dragon of Trelian, I saw an image in my mind of two characters at a window in a castle. I knew they were looking out at something exciting, and that they probably weren't supposed to be there, but not much else. I started asking myself questions about them
who they were, why they were at the window, etc. The story started to take shape from there.

EVIL LIBRARIAN started with the voice of the main character. I was working on a different novel at the time, a darker, more serious fantasy (which I'm still working on, but it's been temporarily put on the back burner while I'm focusing on the other books) and Cyn's voice was funny and smart and engaging and made me want to hear more of what she had to say. I wrote the first page and a half (which mostly stayed put as the opening of the final version) and then kept coming back to it as often as I could. When I had about 70 or 80 pages, I realized I had to stop and figure out what the heck was going to happen in the rest of the book. I wrote a synopsis, and then expanded that into a longer synopsis, and eventually created a chapter-by-chapter outline of the rest of the story. That was really the first time I've ever written with an outline, and I have to say it made writing the rest of the book a lot easier! But I don't think I could start with the outline right at the beginning. I need to write a big enough piece to know the characters and the feel of the book before I can think more analytically about the structure and pacing and all the rest.

Once I have the first draft, it goes to my agent and editor. For picture books this might be the first time they see or hear of it; for novels, they've almost certainly seen some pieces of the story already. I take a breather (which sometimes just means switching over to the next project, but I do try to take at least a little bit of a break when I can!) and wait for notes from my editor. Then I start the revision process, based on her feedback and my own thoughts/notes of what I think needs reshaping (or rewriting or expanding or deleting). When the second draft is done, I might share it with one or two trusted readers, who also give me their thoughts. I usually end up doing at least three full drafts with novels. Sometimes four. And then I'm always still tweaking the text during copyediting and galleys, until my publisher makes me stop. :) Some picture books only take a couple of drafts, not including additional edits after we lay the book out into pages and I see how it starts to work together with the artwork, which often calls for at least some small changes to be made to the text. Others I end up revising over and over, twenty times, maybe more, before they really come together. And sometimes they never do, but I still have some that I haven't given up on, despite many years and drafts since I first started them. Sometimes I think it's just not the right time for a particular story, but if it's one that really speaks to me, I have to trust that I'll find the right time/approach/idea to make it work eventually!

Next up on the blog tour:

I met Rachel Wilson at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, where we were both getting our MFAs in writing for children and young adults. Her debut novel, DON'T TOUCH, comes out from HarperTeen this September. When she's not writing, she makes theater in Chicago, so it's not surprising that DON'T TOUCH is full of theater (although, she says, she's not a "serious actress" like her main character). She also has a horror novelette, "The Game of Boys and Monsters," coming out as an ebook for HarperImpulse in October.

FA Michaels writes about real-world teens in not-so-real-world situations. Coming soon is a time travel tale that's part sci-fi, part mystery and part star-crossed-lovers romance. Follow Mic on Twitter @FAMichaels and read more at

Look for their responses on their own blogs on Monday, April 21!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Win a Free Signed Book!

In a shameless attempt to rack up more Facebook likes, I'm giving away a free signed book to someone who likes my Facebook page between August 17* and August 31. To enter, click over to my page, click "Like," and then post a comment to let me know you entered (to make sure I'm able to contact you if you win!)

I'll announce the winner on September 1. Good luck!


* Yes, I know August 17 was a week ago. :)  I announced it on Twitter, and forgot to announce it here. But it's ok - you've still got another week to enter!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Long time no post!

Hey, so what's been going on with you the past five months or so?

Here's what's been going on with me:

Big Mean Mike has been nominated for several children's choice awards, was a finalist for the Children's Book Council's Children's Choice Award, and won the 2013 Irma Black Award!

I finished a major revision of my next book, which is a dark and funny young adult novel that will be published by Candlewick Press in fall 2014. I'll share the title and other info when it's final ... stay tuned!

I have news about my next novel (the one that will come out next after the YA above) that I can't quite share yet, but I will post it as soon as I can!

I'm working on some new picture books too, but it's way too early to tell you anything about those yet. Sorry! :)

Also, I will be at a bunch of events over the next few months — please check out the list in the "book signings and events" sidebar at right. If you can come to any of those, it would be great to see you!

What else?

If you haven't yet liked my Facebook page, please do! 

And if you can't make any of my upcoming book signings but would still like a signed book, see my website for instructions for how to get one.

I hope you're having a good summer, and that 2013 has been nice to you so far. Looking forward to posting more often in the months to come and sharing more news as I can!