Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Authors for CCHS Fundraiser starts TODAY!

Photo permission through Anne and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital

In the fall of 2010, I was studying for my Internal Medicine board recertification. Ondine's curse, or CCHS, came up in my studies and the idea of this affliction wouldn't leave me.

I imagined a teenage girl who suffered from this syndrome, one that would face impossible odds, love and loss, and a unearth secrets about herself and her loved ones. I imagined a girl with a possibly fatal flaw who would somehow find how strong she truly could be.

And so my book, CONTROL, was born. My protagonist, Zelia, is completely fictional and some details of her Ondine's Curse are fictionalized. However, there are real people who suffer from and survive with CCHS. 

From August 20th through September 20th, authors will be donating their books and their time to the Center of Autonomic Medicine in Pediatrics, or CAMP, program run through Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. CAMP provides individualized services for patients from 50 different countries and conducts research aimed to maximize their quality of life.

**If you donate, you can receive these gifts (donated by nearly SIXTY donating YA and kidlit authors!!!) as a thank you:

Book bundles
Swag packs
Skype visits
Character names in their upcoming books
Query Crits
15 Page Book Critiques

Please help spread the word and encourage your kidlit loving friends to donate! Every dollar matters, and every bit of awareness helps. 

Thank you so much! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

CATALYST Cover reveal!

I promise to report back on Comic Con soon, but it the meantime...

Hop on over to see both the new paperback cover of CONTROL, as well as the hardcover reveal of the sequel, CATALYST. I'll be giving away two ARCs of CATALYST as well as swag packs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#MMBB report...Next Stop? COMIC CON!

Last week's #MMBB tour went great!

I met so many fantastic authors--Lindsay Cummings, Philip Seigel, Paula Stokes, Whitney Miller (my hotel roomie!), Victoria Schwab, Courtney Stevens, Robin Bridges, and Heather Brewer. And I got to see some writer friends I've met before--Bethany Hagen, Sarah Bromley, and Cole Gibsen!
Here is Whitney Miller and the Geishas! It took them at least four hours to get ready. They've accompanied Cole Gibsen on her book jaunts when she's promoted Katana. :) They were super nice and didn't mind all my makeup and hair questions!
The YA panel at the Ethical Society in St. Louis
I met the wonderful YA bloggers Christina (Ensconced in Lit) and Jamie K (This Isn't Rocket Science!) Christina is a doctor and Jamie is a rocket scientist. Seriously. We had such a great time after the event and I got to meet Christina's adorable dogs, Oz and Boots!

Here's the cool banner that The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis made for us! (Thanks to Nikki Wang at Fiction Freak for designing the #MMBB logo!)
At the Booksellers at Laurelwood, here is Courtney Stevens, Victoria Schwab, me, Lindsay Cummings, and Robin Bridges. We weren't that serious the whole time, swear!
Here I am with Paula Stokes, Whitney Miller, Philip Seigel, and Lindsay Cummings 
after the Memphis signing.
It truly was a blast! And this weekend, I'm off to San Diego for Comic Con. It kind of is a dream come true to be able to go to the big SDCC. I promise to take lots of pictures!

On Friday at 4PM, I'm signing books at the Penguin Booth (#1028) with Walter Jury and M.D. Waters. I'd love to see you! The signings require tickets and I believe you can pick them up at the Penguin Booth in the morning.

On Saturday at 10AM, I'm on the Diversity in Genre Panel, Room 7AB.
In the literary world, there are mystical beings, futuristic landscapes, magic and mayhem, heroes and villains and slowly but surely, more diversity in our heroes. Our panel participants are the creators that have made a more diverse world with their novels. Join authors Gene Luen Yang (The Shadow Hero), Josephine Angelini (Trial by Fire), Sherri L. Smith (Orleans), Adele Griffin (The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone), Greg Weisman (Spirits of Ash and Foam: A Rain of the Ghosts Novel), and Lydia Kang (Control) as moderator David Mariotte of Mysterious Galaxy leads the discussion of what is "diversity" in genre writing, what it looks like, and why it is important! Book signing will follow from 11:30-12:30 PM. 

Hope to see some of you there. :) I'll report back next week!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

St. Louis & Memphis, Giveaway, with a side of Fundraiser Rumblings

This Thursday, I'll be in St. Louis doing a book signing with the other fabulous authors of  

Where: The Ethical Society 
When: 7PM, Thursday July 17 
Who: Bethany Hagen, Heather Brewer, Cole Gibsen, Sarah Bromley, Lindsay Cummings, Lydia Kang, Victoria Schwab, Whitney Miller, Courtney Stevens, Philip Siegel
Sponsored by Left Bank Books

Friday, I'll be in Memphis--my first visit ever to Tennessee!

Where: The Booksellers at Laurelwood
When: 6PM, Friday July 18th
Who:  Robin Bridges, Victoria Schwab, Courtney Stevens, Lydia Kang, Whitney Miller, Philip Siegel, Lindsay Cummings

Hey look! The Booksellers at Laurelwood are giving away all our books, a gift card, 
plus a Memphis river boat ride! Click here and enter to win!

I'm also in the midst of putting together a massive fundraiser that's going to run from August to September to benefit children with CCHS (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome--see the tab up above on my blog for more info!). It's the condition that my main character, Zelia, has in CONTROL. I wanted to be able to spread awareness of CCHS and give back to the community. So far, over 40 authors have committed to contributing things like signed books, fiction and query crits, Skype visits, and swag. I'm so excited about this! Stay tuned for more info soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Reading Vacation

Hi guys! How is your July going?

Last week, I had a restful and lovely vacation with family. And I caught up on some of my reading!

Here's what I read:

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green
Charm and Strange, by Stephanie Kuehn
The Rules, by Stacey Kade
Adaptation, by Malinda Lo
Fake ID, by Lamar Giles
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys

Yep. Almost a book a day. It was soooo wonderful. I usually don't read that fast. In fact, it often takes me weeks to finish one book, if I'm really busy.

How about you? What have you read lately?

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Crazy weather and summer writing!

Hi all!

I'm so sorry I've been neglecting my blog, but there are good reasons. I'm writing up a storm! I've been working on a new WIP and writing anywhere from 1000 to 4000 words a day, and having so much fun.

But that kind of wordage means I'm not nearly on Twitter/FB/Tumblr or blogging as I used to. But that's okay. Sometimes you just have to let things swing in a creative direction once in a while.

I'd been doing a lot of promo lately, with school visits and events (this weekend I'm teaching a writing workshop for the Teen Advisory Board at the La Vista Library in Nebraska, and in July I'm doing the Might Mississippi Book Blast tour and going to Comic Con for a diversity panel and signing books).

BUT I'm also finding that the best promo you can really do for yourself is to write more books and just get them out there if you can. So I'm writing and loving it!

I hope you all are doing well. Sooner or later, I'll get those photos of RT up here but for now, I'm following my bliss.

Also. The summer storms in Nebraska have been crazy! We've gotten hail and bad wind storms, and you may have heard of the twin twisters that hit Pilger, Nebraska. My family and house are doing fine, so thank you for those who have been worried! If you'd like to help those in need, please check out the Red Cross website to help Pilger residents.

So. How is your summer going?

(Also, meet our new pet lemon tree, Lemmy Lou. (Thanks to my hubs for the picture!)
She barely survived the hail. Here is one of her first blooms. It smelled like the sweetest perfume!)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

PB Release of THIS OLD BAND by Tamera Will Wissinger!

Hello all! Today I'm celebrating a PB book release of This Old Band from Tamera Will Wissinger, whose debut book in verse, Gone Fishing, is a favorite at our house!

Hi Tamera! So glad to have you on my blog. Since this book takes place in the wild west, I have on my virtual cowboy boots just for today. :) So...when did you get the inspiration for this book? Can you tell us a little bit about the process?

Hi Lydia! Thanks for celebrating the release of This Old Band with me here at The Word is my Oyster! I have on my cowboy boots today, too. With our boots we can play scoot scoot with number six!

Inspiration for this book…that has been gathering in me since I was young. I grew up in Iowa and was lucky enough to take a couple of trips west with my family when I was a child. Once to the black hills and Mount Rushmore, and once with my grandparents all the way to Washington state. With my grandparents I got to ride a horse for the first time, hike in the Montana mountains, and pan for gold. Then as an adult I had several opportunities to travel west to Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, California, Nevada. Each trip offered unique and wonderful glimpses of ranch and cowboy life, the contrast of color and terrain between mountains, valleys, mesas, desert, and wildlife that I had heard of but had never seen before. It was on a trip to Jackson, Wyoming with my husband a few years ago when I realized I wanted to write a book that featured details of this part of the United States.

I just went to the Black Hills and Mt Rushmore a few weeks ago! It was pretty awesome. Do you also enjoy American history as well? Any favorite books to share on the topic?

Oh, that’s such an interesting part of the country and the carving is a real wonder. Did you also see the Crazy Horse Memorial? What a breathtaking sculpture!

I do enjoy American history; three of my favorite genres to read are historical nonfiction/historical biography and historical fiction. For true American history/biography, I enjoy books written by Elizabeth Partridge, Claire Rudolph Murphy, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Jim Murphy, and Russell Freedman (among others). For American historical fiction I’ve enjoyed reading The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Carver by Marilyn Nelson, Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff, Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, Esperanza Rising by Pam Munos Ryan, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. And more recently May B. by Caroline Starr Rose and A Voice for Kanzas by Debra McArthur. I could go on…

We could only do a quick drive-by of Crazy Horse, but even from a distance, it was so impressive! So for this book, did you have to research anything fun or unusual?

The travel itself was a great deal of fun and helped inform my setting quite a bit, although I didn’t travel explicitly to conduct research for the book. I did research the specific flora and fauna that I mention in the book to ensure that I hadn’t made mistakes about their authenticity to this part of the country.

I think I just saw a tumbleweed roll by! So...did you have any kids beta read your book? If so, what kind of reactions did you get?

Whoosh! There goes another one! I might need to grab my harmonica and play a tune.

Years ago I would periodically read my poetry and stories to children and we always had a wonderful time and they always loved my stories. This made me very happy, of course, but then I realized that they were reacting as dear readers, not as writers. These days I refine my stories as much as possible and then ask trusted author friends to provide me with constructive and positive feedback to help strengthen it even more. That’s what I did with This Old Band.

This is your first PB, right? What was the hardest part of the creative process?

Yes, this is my first picture book. The first thing that comes to mind with a picture book, especially a rhyming concept picture book, is that there are many constraints – a limited number of pages (normally 32), limited word count (in the case of This Old Band less than 400), limited word choices to fit the rhyme and rhythm pattern that I had established. All of these restrictions balanced against a desire to convey this large outdoor western world and these boisterous cowboys and cowgirl who are having fun, kicking up dust, counting down from ten to one and playing and singing their music. In the end, it became a process of boiling down everything into the most essential elements, letting the rest go, and trusting that the illustrator would fill in any gaps, which Matt Loveridge did beautifully.

Thanks Tamera, and congratulations!

Well, I have to say, this book makes it irresistible NOT to sing it while you read, and my six year-old was both mesmerized and laughing while I did. She loved it. If that can't sell a book, then I don't know what else can!

Visit Tamera on her website / Twitter / Facebook
And keep an eye on her website, where she'll be hosting
 a book release "party" and offering prizes!