Wednesday, December 19, 2012

UK Cover

Hiatus Interruptus once again! This time so I can squeal over my UK Cover for BUTTER.
Singular, deceptively simple covers are my absolute faves, so I am lucky to now have 2 such covers for B!

...and perhaps a third, for DEAD ENDS, but more on that later. ;)

Anyway, introducing the delicious new BUTTER cover, coming from Faber on March 7th, 2013...


Saturday, December 8, 2012


i interrupt this holiday hiatus to bring you a bit of news!

if you cruise around this blog, you'll find many a mention about a little book called Billy D. & the Bully.
like BUTTER, this is a book i named after my main characters. what can i say? i'm a little lazy when it comes to titles.

fortunately, there is a great team of pros at Bloomsbury to help me come up with something just as fitting for the story but not quite such a mouthful.

so i'm super excited to announce next year's book is now titled....


and the cover is awesome!!!! i can't wait to show it to you! stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

FAQs and a hiatus

Hello & Happy Holidays!

i am sneaking this blog post in at the 11th hour to make sure November does not end up with zero posts! i also wanted to announce what may already be obvious - i am on a blog hiatus until the new year.

EJ, what will you be doing on your hiatus?

What are you writing?
Something I have no business writing. Two somethings, actually. I've never written 2 rough drafts at the same time. We'll see how it goes.

What if you have book news while on hiatus?
I will definitely break the silence to announce anything exciting... like, ahem, perhaps a cover and new title for next year's book! ;)

Why are you writing this post in a Q-and-A format?
Oh! Because I wanted to draw your attention to the new FAQ tab at the top of the blog! I don't get asked questions all that frequently, but when I do get Qs, they are frequently the same ones. I thought it was about time I put them all in one place.

hope you all have fabulous holidays and happy new years. i'll be back bloggin' at ya in January!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bully is a Buzzword

Last week I posted some links to recent guest posts I did on bullying. One of the bloggers asked me whether there has been an increase in bullying or just more awareness.

I’m no expert on bullying beyond my own personal experience with it, but as a member of the media, I do know a little something about “hot topics” and just how they get so sizzling. I know how the media can blow things up – how we can unintentionally (and unfortunately) trivialize serious issues by over-discussing them – how we can take powerful words and turn them into meaningless “buzzwords.”

BULLY is one of those buzzwords.

Just the other day, a dear friend of mine told me I was bullying a coworker, because of the way I was speaking to her. My friend meant no harm or offense, and she was right to correct me for being rude. But for the record, I was being a condescending know-it-all, not a bully.

At least, not according to Merriam-Webster.

Here are 3 definitions of “bully” (noun):
Merriam-Webster: “a blustering browbeating person; especially one habitually cruel to others who are weaker” “a person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people.” “a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.”

There is an important word these definitions all have in common: HABITUALLY.

Other definitions use words like “repeated” and “constant” and “over time.” The word that comes to mind for me is relentless. That’s how I would describe my own personal experience with bullying. It wasn’t just the cruel things my peers said. It was that they said them all day every day. I don’t think I would have been as scarred by bullying if it hadn’t been relentless – if it hadn’t been HABITUAL.

This is not to say an attack that happens just once is okay or any less painful for the target, but is it always “bullying?” And if we call every act of cruelty “bullying,” are we minimizing it for the children and teens who are daily targets of abuse?

As a journalist, I see so many stories cross my desk in the newsroom with the word “bully.” It’s a catchy word, and these days, a press release or news blurb with that word will get read, and there’s a good shot it will worm its way into a newscast, just like all the other buzzwords. But it’s not always an accurate description of what’s happened.

Worse yet… other than my friend calling me a bully, the last dozen times I’ve heard that word used out loud were all on episodes of “The Real Housewives of Wherever.” Every real housewives reunion show seems to have someone who gets called “the bully.” If that doesn’t trivialize the word, I don’t know what does.
When these women say “bullying” – when many people say “bullying” – what they’re really talking about is kindness vs. cruelty.

And maybe that’s okay. Choosing kindness over cruelty may be the root of the anti-bullying message, and perhaps it will be effective in solving the problem. I just worry that over-using the word “bully” will eventually make it meaningless. We see this in newsrooms every day. The audience gets bored with hot topics and buzzwords, because too much exposure desensitizes us. So while I’m glad for the growing spotlight on bullying, I’m concerned about how generalized the definition has become.

It’s important that we are specific and accurate when we use powerful words like BULLY, so that people like the "Real Housewives" can’t smash them down into nothing.

For a more in-depth definition of bullying, visit
And for more information about National Bullying Prevention Month, visit

I just realized I used proper capitalization in this post. Hm. I guess it's a capital-letters kind of topic.

Friday, October 19, 2012

breaking the silence

October has always been my favorite month, so it seems fitting that this is also an awareness month for a cause close to my heart. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. (For information about the evolution of NBPM and how you can get involved, please follow the links at the very end of this post.)

i’ve done several guest blog posts recently about bullying. it’s somewhat comical, considering how much i’ve avoided talking about bullying here on my own blog, but i suppose it’s natural to be asked about it, since it’s a subject i write about. and there’s no time like my dear October to break the silent streak.

so here are the links to those posts:
At Uniquely Moi Books, I tell the true story of an encounter with a bully.
At The Book Life, I talk about bullies and bystanders.
At Bibliophilic Book Blog, I was asked about cyber bullying.

that last post is what made me want to continue the discussion. in that post, i was also asked whether bullying was on the rise or whether it’s just getting more attention as a cause. i’ve been giving that a LOT of thought, and i’m crafting a new blog post all about the explosion of bullying awareness and how it could backfire.
so i’ll be back next week to explain why i think “Bully” has become a buzzword.

in the meantime,
Click here to read about how Nat’l Bullying Prevention Month came to be.
And click here for the organization that started it all.

Monday, October 8, 2012

book trailer

it's National Bullying Prevention Month, and i'm planning a few things here on the blog over the next few weeks to participate.

one thing timed specifically for this month is the release of the book trailer for BUTTER! (feel free to scroll down now. i give you permission.)

you know, i always say i didn't intend to send a message with this book. i just wanted to tell a story. but i write about teenagers, and to me, bullying is a natural part of the teen experience - whether you're a target, a witness or even the bully.
so i'm honored to have BUTTER on bookstore shelves during this important month.

okay, enough rambling. here it is!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

3-2-1 Launch!

i love a good party. i love planning a good party. heck, i even love cleaning up after a good party.

but i always dread the days leading up to the party - when you start to count on your fingers who RSVP'd and who didn't - when you start to wonder whether anyone will show up. because it's not a good party without guests. that's why i have to say THANK YOU to everyone who came out Saturday night to help me launch BUTTER into the world.

Thank you for your enthusiasm, for your laughter...

Thank you for buying BUTTER and waiting so patiently in line to get it signed...

and Thank you especially for eating the food!! :D

as much as i loved having my friends and family there to support me, the biggest - and BEST - surprise of the night was seeing so many new faces. what a rush to meet the fellow writer who came out because she was touched by something i had written here on the blog... the reader who had reached out to me via email to share a very personal story after reading BUTTER... the young man who just happened to be browsing for books and stopped to listen to the talk and then stayed to buy a book. you all made my night!

i have to admit, all the preparations for the launch and my nerves had me wishing slightly that i could just get it over with. but from the moment i said hi to the first guest until i'd signed the very last book, i was having the time of my life.
it was a thrill like riding a roller coaster - you love every screaming soaring minute of it, but when it's over, you realize it's gone by too fast, and you just want to turn around and get right back on.

writing is such a solitary thing. it's hard to know if what you're doing will reach anyone in a meaningful way. maybe that's why moments like holding my book for the first time and seeing it in stores didn't hit me the way i had hoped they would. for me, the most powerful moment of this journey so far happened Saturday. meeting readers face to face and talking with them about the book reminded me that writing may start out as a solo effort, but when that book gets out into the world, it's like sending an invitation to one great big party. and i, for one, hope the party never ends.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy Birthday BUTTER!!

sooooo.... it's release day.

i think i'm supposed to say something really profound on this day. but all i can think is:
eek! hee hee hee! wheeee! whoa. huh? wha?? really? wheeeee!

sometimes words fail me.
or i fail the words, to be more accurate.
i'm having a tough time putting them together in a meaningful way today.

i know i should write a long post thanking everyone who helped make BUTTER come to life, but it would read an awful lot like the acknowledgements in the back of the book.
which you can now read.
because it is published!
eek! hee hee hee! wheeee!

so let me say for now "ditto" to those acknowledgements and promise more thank yous to come. because what i really want to do today is say something to all of the writers out there still dreaming of publishing.

Dear Writer,

every single day you put words down on paper to tell a story is a miracle. every rejection you shrug off in order to keep writing is a triumph. every writing rule you break in order to tell the story you want to tell is an achievement. every friend you make along this bumpy path to publishing is a gift. and every moment that you get swept away by your own words - writing for the pure joy of it - is priceless.

publishing is not the promised land. your imagination is. you have the gift to create your own worlds to escape to whenever you wish. and if your dream is to share those worlds with readers, then all you have to do is keep writing. authors come up from the slush pile all the time. i should know. i'm one of them. i can't tell you how to get published, because every writer's path is different. but i can tell you there's only one way to 100% guarantee you will not get published - and that's to stop writing.
so keep getting up every day and putting words down on paper.
one day those words will come to life inside of a book.

i didn't fully believe it myself until today.
whoa. huh? wha?? really? wheeeee!

Monday, August 27, 2012

let's party!

Good News!
it looks like BUTTER is landing early.

start looking for it in bookstores (or in your mailbox, if you preordered) on SEPTEMBER 4th.

then, if you happen to be in Arizona. prepare to party! i'll be celebrating BUTTER's release with a launch party at Changing Hands at the end of September. details here:

there will be snacks and prizes and hopefully a lot of fun. hope to see your smiling faces there!

Monday, August 20, 2012

really? really.

so this happened...
it sure looks like a real book, but somehow it still doesn't feel real, and i'm starting to think i will never wrap my brain around the fact that a lifelong dream is coming true.

over the years, i've had the unfortunate opportunity to learn how i handle grief. each time in my life i've heard devastating news, i've let myself feel it for just a moment - maybe a day or two at most - let myself cry until i can't breathe. then a survival switch flips inside me, and i shove any pain into a little compartment in my heart, so i can move forward.

i think that may be how i handle elation as well. my survival switch is keeping my emotions in check, because if i allowed myself to fully feel this moment, my heart might literally explode with joy.

my mom recently sent me a box with hundreds of pages of writing from before i could even spell. in the back of one story, i wrote myself this little bio:

My name is Erin Jade Lang (yes, I misspelled my own last name) and I am eight years old. When I grow up I want to be a writer.

i guess in many ways, i still feel like that 8 year old girl, playing pretend and wishing on a star. but sometimes there's just a split second - a flash of a moment - when i actually take it all in, and it's like that wishing star goes shooting across the sky. in those moments i have to look at myself in the mirror and have this conversation:
Is this happening?
It's happening.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

BUTTER book jacket and interview!

Dear Readers,
i know how these posts go. i tell you i'm about to unveil the full book jacket for BUTTER, and you scroll straight past anything i write here to the picture. so let me save you the strain of scrolling and just say, TA DA!!!


guys, i am over the moon about this jacket. i love the butter yellow of the inside flaps, the little pop of color on the back and the tiny butter dishes on the spine. as i've said before in this vlog, i think the spine may be the most important part.

so who designed this awesome thing anyway?! well, her name is Regina Roff, associate designer at Bloomsbury Children's Books, and she generously agreed to give an interview here on the blog today!

Welcome, Regina!
Where do you begin when starting a cover design, and how does the process evolve from there?

Cover design doesn't always begin in the same way for every project, but ideally (at least for me) I get the pitch of the book from the editor, decide I want to tackle it, read the manuscript, come up with an idea, execute and refine the idea, and then BOOM, book cover. :) 
How many concepts did you go through for BUTTER, or did you have a specific vision at the start?

BUTTER was a challenge because any book having to do with food can easily go into the 'food memoir' imagery territory. A lot of the initial brainstorming ideas from the team were too food-centric and didn't have the edge that BUTTER needed. I really wanted to do something type driven, at first, to keep it modern and interesting and not get hung up on the food aspect. I actually only went through 2 concepts: 1 type driven and the final that we ended up with. It was one of those serendipity moments where one photo search led to another which led to another which led to the idea.
I love all the little details on the jacket for BUTTER, such as the measurements just like you would see on a stick of butter wrapper. When do those details come into the design process?

For me, those details happen when the editor gives me the flap copy, a little later in the process. Before the measurements ended up on the jacket, I had a whole 'nutritional facts' design on the back with the reviews in the space where the ingredients go. It was decided that was a little to humorous for the book, so I brainstormed a bit more and thought that the measurements would be an interesting and minimal design element that could tie everything together visually without overloading on the butter dish. It made me think about the additive process of Butter's food list and there was something macabre to me about the idea of literally 'cutting butter'.
How did you get into cover design? I imagine you have to be a book lover.

I am a total, absolute, crazy book person! Even before I could even read, I loved books. There was something magical to me that books had whole worlds living inside of them. I was always artistic and loved to paint and draw, so when I wasn't reading, I was usually painting. I went to college to pursue a degree in illustration and while I was there I fell into book design from taking my illustrations and putting them into layouts for presentations. I realized I loved making the layouts just as much as making the art, so I shifted gears and went headfirst into trying to start a design career. I managed to get my first design job a few months after graduation and have been loving it ever since.

How many people have input into a cover, and how does that impact the final product?
A LOT of people have cover input and that can really shape how a cover evolves. First and foremost is the opinion of our fabulous art director, Donna Mark. I go to her with my ideas before presenting them to the editors. The editors have a huge say in the book covers and generally decide if the cover ideas are aligned with how they want the book to be positioned. In addition to the editors, the sales and marketing team also look at the cover and decide if the look is good and fits into where the book should be positioned in the market. Finally, the book buyers have the final yes/no as to whether they'll take the book and oftentimes a good cover means a bigger buy. Never say that you don't judge a book by its cover! At any point if one of those parties decides the cover isn't working, it gets thrown back to the designers to rework. It's a really collaborative process and sometimes covers evolve quite a bit during the process of moving it through all the necessary channels. For BUTTER, it was simple: aside from teeny tweaks like kerning letters and author name fonts, BUTTER was loved by all!

What's your favorite part of the BUTTER cover? (my fave is the spine. love the tiny butter dishes, and i always say the spine is almost more important than the front!)
The front cover is my favorite part because I feel like the cover is a little like telling the story in a visual poem. BUTTER is simple and graphic, so it's like a visual haiku and I love that about this cover. You don't get bogged down in imagery, it's direct and engaging. Also, it's not a sad girl in a big dress (which, while beautiful and definitely has its place on the shelf, is a trend I'm getting tired of)!! You're absolutely right about the spine though, it can sometimes be more important, especially if you're not shelved face-front. I'm glad you like the spine so much!

Thanks for letting me talk about working on BUTTER. I had a great time reading it and a great time designing it!

Thanks, Regina, for stopping by the blog and for this fabulous cover. I am so thrilled!!

You can find Regina Roff online at and on Twitter: @reginaroff

Friday, August 3, 2012

save the date!

September may trump October this year as my favorite month.

BUTTER will be on bookshelves Tuesday, Sep. 18th. is that really only 6 weeks away? holy cow!

and the following Saturday, Sep. 22nd, i will get to share BUTTER in person with friends, family and hopefully a few new faces at a lunch party at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix.
save the date! details to come!

finally, in September, i get to make a rare autumn trip home to the midwest. i can't wait for the smell of fall. i miss it all the time. here's hoping the leaves turn super early this year.

i am still buried in revisions for next year's book, but when i come up for air, i plan to be blogging more often. in the meantime, have you checked out my agent's blog recently? (link! click it!) the past month has been full of amazing advice/information for writers. highly recommend.

Friday, July 13, 2012

BUTTER bookmarks giveaway!!

hi there! did you miss me? i missed you!

i've been hiding out in my revision hole this month working through my edits on the-soon-to-be-retitled BILLY D. AND THE BULLY.
but i'm surfacing today with some FUN THINGS to share with you!!

look what came in the mail! BUTTER bookmarks!

i ordered about a thousand of these bad boys, so i am happily giving some away here on the blog!
i will send signed bookmarks to the first 100 people to fill out the form at the bottom of this post! (so sorry. it's US only.)
((long-overdue update: giveaway closed. thanks everyone!))

in other fun news, there's been a bit of babble about BUTTER in the blogosphere! check out these early blog reviews from:

thanks to everyone who has read and reviewed BUTTER so far!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

the Best Lines really "Shine"

sharing the best lines from books i've read has become my favorite thing to do here on the blog.

today, i have some "bests" from the fabulous SHINE by Lauren Myracle.

I listened to her yap some more about how upset she was. She just liked tragedy, that's what I thought.
~ turning a blind eye in high school, I'd said, Go on and hurt him. I don't care. And by doing that, I'd opened the door to more hurt, because when a person did something wrong and got away with it, he tended to do it again.

He said it to shame me, and it did. It slammed me down on the rough grit of my shortcomings and held me there.

"...Sheriff Doyle isn't going to do squat."
"Hey. He's doing what he can."
I rolled my eyes. Sheriff Doyle wouldn't know it if his butt was on fire.

I felt bad for him, because it wasn't his fault. His mama drank too much when he was in the womb. These things happened.

i love each of these lines, but what Myracle really does best in SHINE is evoke a sense of place. and one line can't quite show you how she does it, so i highly recommend picking this one up to see for yourself!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

before and after

okay, i'm going to tell you a secret.
or i'm going to make a confession.
or maybe it's both.

writing is harder after you sell a book.

not for everyone, i'm sure. and not forever, i hope.
but for me, it's been a difficult year for writing.

when i wrote BUTTER, i had no idea obesity and suicide were risky topics. no one had told me yet that "boy books don't sell." i didn't know my grammar wasn't perfect (truly, i thought it was. silly, silly me.) and i was still clueless about the "rules" in general.
i just wanted to tell a story. and it all worked out.

when i wrote BILLY D & THE BULLY, i knew a few more rules, but i had just sold BUTTER, and i wasn't yet fully initiated. i didn't know anyone would call what i was writing "disabilities YA," because i had never even heard of such a thing. i certainly didn't know that i had a year of revisions ahead of me, because i didn't know what i was doing wrong in that first draft. again, it all worked out anyway.

but by the time those revisions were done, i was in a different place as a writer. somewhere along the path to publishing, i had stopped thinking of writing as a hobby and started thinking of it as a job. suddenly, i couldn't just explore any old idea that delighted me. first i had to make sure the idea hadn't been done. then i had to rewrite every paragraph 40 times to make sure it was as polished as my other books are in their final drafts. then i had to outline the story to assure myself i had a direction and wasn't wasting my time, y'know... just having fun. because who has time for fun when you're writing for work?

the joy is still there. i still love love love writing. but the joy got a little buried under something else... pressure.
i was chatting with some of my fellow 2012 debut authors tonight, and i asked them if they found it harder to write now. i was comforted by a chorus of "yes!" followed by that word... pressure. i think a lot of new authors must feel that - a sense that everything you write has to have the potential to be published.
for me, it was paralyzing. i took weeks off writing. then, after a few false starts on new projects, the weeks turned into months, until finally i'd forgotten how i ever made time for this at all.

i'm getting my feet wet again - revisiting some of the ideas and pages i abandoned this past year out of fear - and i'm rediscovering the joy.
but i wanted to share the struggle here in case anyone else can relate. and i also wanted to share this much that i've figured out:
the only one putting that pressure on me was ME. and the only person i need to please when i'm writing is ME... because i'm writing for the joy of it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

best lines - Patrick Ness edition

here it is! proof i have not abandoned Best Lines, the way i abandoned this feature, or this one, or this one. (what can i say? short attention span.)

for the second time, i'm featuring lines by author Patrick Ness - this time from The Knife of Never Letting Go. this book is relentless with its action and pace, so i know i raced by many great lines without marking them, but here are the few i absolutely had to stop and note.

The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking.

Then the girl speaks up and says that thing that suddenly makes me think of her as Viola and not the girl anymore. 
"He saved my life."
I saved her life.
Says Viola.
Funny how that works.

His face and his Noise are as blank as I remember but the lesson of forever and ever is that knowing a man's mind ain't knowing the man.

this book is full of more like those. i can't believe i waited so long to read it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Thank you SO MUCH to everyone running the YAmazing Race who took the time to stop on this blog and enter the contest to win an ARC of BUTTER.

Your comments all made me so HUNGRY! Needless to say, I found myself craving a lot of buttery foods this past week.

So without further delay, we have a winner! I used to generate a random number from all the posts and bonus entries.

and the winner is.................................

Alicia Marie!

Alicia Marie, I saw you included your email in the comment, so I'll be shooting you an email here momentarily. Congrats! I hope you enjoy BUTTER!

Thanks again, everyone!
Remember to check the Apocalypsies blog tomorrow to see if you won any of the Grand Prize packs! Good luck. :D

Monday, April 30, 2012

YAmazing RACE!

UPDATE: The YAmazing Race is now over! The contest in this post is also closed. The winner of the ARC of BUTTER can be found here!

Ladies and Gents!
Start your engines and get ready to run the YAmazing Race!

The race starts Wednesday at Noon EST. If you're here early, head over to the starting line at Noon on Wed. If you're already on the race, you know what to do! Finally, if you landed here without knowing anything about the race, allow me to fill you in.
This is a stop on an epic blog hop featuring dozens of debut authors. Along the way, you'll learn a little something about all of our books, and at the end of each leg of the race is a prize pack jammed with ARCs, gift cards and tons of other goodies! But in order to win, you have to start at the beginning. (NOTE: starting line will be posted on the Apocalypsies blog Wednesday!)

At this stop, I'm sharing the details of my September debut, BUTTER.

A boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make Scottsdale High history. He’s going to eat himself to death live on the Internet – and everyone will watch.

He announces his deadly plan to an army of peers and expects pity, insults or even indifference. Instead, he finds morbid encouragement. When that encouragement tips the scales into popularity, Butter has a reason to live. But if he doesn’t go through with his plan, he’ll lose everything.


Remember what you read here. You'll need this info at the end of the race!

Even if you don't win the race, you still have a chance to win an ARC of BUTTER. right here! right now!

All you have to do to win an ARC is leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite food with butter. (served with butter, made with butter, healthy alternative to butter - your choice.)
- Extra entry if you follow my blog (new or existing follower).
- Extra entry if you tweet a link to this blog post.

Just let me know in the comment if you follow or tweet.
(This bonus ARC contest open to US and Canada only. Winner will be selected at random Tuesday, May 8.)

Now on to the next stop on the race! click here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012



can you keep a secret?
me neither.

that's why i'm SO glad i didn't have to sit on this news for very long.

what news?
this news:


here is the official announcement:

BUTTER author Erin Lange's BILLY D. & THE BULLY, about two very different boys who reluctantly team up to find somebody who doesn't want to be found; their only clue is an atlas full of riddles, again to Caroline Abbey at Bloomsbury Children's, for publication in Fall 2013, by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency (NA).

i want to tell you i'm excited, but that word doesn't begin to describe how i feel. i am over the moon.
this book started with two characters i just could not get out of my head. i wrote scene after scene for them before i ever really knew their story, because i liked them so much and just wanted to hang out with them. actually finding their story and getting it all down on paper was one of the biggest challenges i've ever faced as a writer, but the struggle was worth it to be able to introduce them to all of you.

Happy Day !!!
:D :D :D :D :D :D

Monday, April 16, 2012

like writing a bike

first blog in 3 weeks.
and if you think that's a long time, then you should see the inch of dust on my writing files.

see, my blog isn't the only blank space i've been neglecting. i have more than a few empty pages at the end of various manuscripts waiting to be filled.

as much as i advocate taking breaks from writing, and as often as i scoff at the "Butt In Chair, Write Daily" method... i have to admit i pay a price for these long breaks.
for me, writing is not like riding a bike. i can't just get back in the seat and rely on muscle memory to keep me balanced and start spinning my wheels.
to get back into the rhythm of writing, i have to strap on some mental training wheels and remind myself how to make time for it, how to prioritize it, how to get lost in it.

i start by tuning out the internet. skip over twitter conversations about the next hot trend or genre - because realizing you are not writing to that trend can be paralyzing. delete the "daily deals" email from PM unread - because seeing that someone just sold something very similar to what you're writing can be paralyzing. ignore forum threads about writing rules - because realizing you are breaking those rules can be paralyzing.

after that, it's just a matter of thawing out the brain and going back to the beginning, before i knew all the "rules" or knew anything about sales and marketing or internet socializing - back to that place i was in before i took the training wheels off, and everything got a little scary.

so if the blog is a bit sparse this month, that's where i'll be - getting back on my bike and remembering how to ride.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


pssst. i got my ARCs!
(or galleys or advance copies or whatever term you prefer)
point is - i got 'em. YAY!

and before i even had time to tell you about them, the news was on TV!

our chief meteorologist told me he had a weather photo from my hometown, so that i would be watching when he surprised me with a picture of BUTTER. love that Royal and Patti are both in this clip, because they have been two of my biggest supporters.

anyway, after i stopped blushing, i was very touched.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

facts worse than fiction

a story came across our news wires at work this week that punched me in the gut, because it reminded me so much of BUTTER. i found a version of the story here. (you can click the link and read the Associate Press report or settle for my quick summary.)
the short version is that police in Nebraska are investigating the death of a 19 year old who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. it's not clear whether it was an accident or a suicide, but what does seem to be clear is that it happened while the young man was in an internet chat room. a friend of his signed in to the chat later to find people talking about the shooting. talking about it - but not reporting it. it was the friend who told police, and officers are now using the dead man's computer to try to find witnesses... and find out why they didn't call police when it happened.

at times, while writing BUTTER, i had to stop and ask myself - Is this believable? Would kids really stand by and let such a tragedy play out before their eyes? And not just stand by but CHEER for it?

and then a story like the one above would cross my desk at work, and i'd be reminded that it's not only possible - it's really happening in our world. and tragically, the reality is often much worse than fiction.

in the article above, for example, the AP reporter mentions a similar case back in 2008, the year before i wrote BUTTER. another 19 year old man, in a video chat room, overdosed on drugs live on the internet. a transcript of the chat later showed some viewers were egging him on. by the time someone called police, he was dead.

i remember that story. i remember it vividly, because one of the unfortunate aspects of my job as a journalist is that i often see uncut, unblurred, uncensored video of crime scenes. those dead bodies we don't put on TV? i see them all. and i saw that young man lay down in his bed after taking those pills. it's an image that stuck with me, and perhaps somewhere in my subconscious, it became the seed of an idea for BUTTER.

stories like that, stories of internet bullies, and stories like the one this week about a 600-pound man who posted a web video with an emotional plea for help... those are the kind of stories i bring home at night - the facts that swirl in the back of my mind when i'm writing fiction.

i often feel helpless as a journalist - objectively reporting stories and hoping those stories reach the right ears, so that this terrible thing that happened today won't happen tomorrow. i am equally helpless as an author, but some part of me hopes a book can do more than a single news story.
instead of just being read today, maybe it will be read tomorrow and the next day and the next.
maybe fiction has the power, in some small way, to change the facts.

Monday, March 5, 2012

spreading BUTTER around the world!

i have some exciting news to share today.

BUTTER is spreading! to other corners of the world!

i'm thrilled to announce BUTTER will be published in the United Kingdom and Germany!

the UK version is coming in spring of 2013 from Faber Children's Books.
the German version is coming in winter of 2013/14 from Rowohlt.

i am ecstatic and can't wait to share new covers and such.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

the bucket list

in my upcoming novel, BUTTER, the main character has a bucket list to complete. (note i say A bucket list, not HIS bucket list, but more on that in the book!)
you're probably familiar with the term, but for those who aren't, a bucket list is -simply put- a list of things to do before you die.

it sounds a little dark, but to me, a bucket list is really about LIVING. we only have so much time on this earth, and a bucket list reminds us to... well, live - to experience everything the world has to offer.

here are 3 items from my own list.


this has been top of my bucket list for so long, i can't even remember when the dream started. i find myself tearing pages out of travel magazines and printing photos off the internetspan> of other people's safari vacations. i tuck them all into a "someday" file in my cabinet, to remind myself of where i want to go and what i want to see.


this one is harder to plan. growing up, Handsome spent his summers in Canada, so he's been fortunate to see the sky painted in all sorts of colors. but i know it's not as simple as flying north. there's timing involved, so i worry this is one item i may never cross off my list.


this is the house in Italy where my great (or great-great?) grandfather grew up just north of Venice. i plan to get back to Italy eventually to visit this home. i've been lucky enough to see Italy, Germany, Scotland and England, which leaves just one country to visit before i can cross this one off my list: Ireland.

so what's on your bucket list?

Monday, February 27, 2012

not really news at all

one of the perks of working in TV news is getting up close and personal with creatures you otherwise only get to see from the other side of a piece of glass or a chain link fence.

that's right. i'm talking lions, tigers and bears. oh my!
okay, not lions... yet.
but tigers and bears? you bet.

every few weeks, we have four-legged creatures visit our newsroom to appear on our morning program. before their moment in the spotlight, they spend a few minutes relaxing around our cubicles while we act like the paparazzi, snapping photos and asking lots of questions.

most often, these visitors come from one of our local zoos, courtesy of an excellent wildlife expert. it's said you learn something new every day. on the days the critters come to visit, i know that's true.
i have learned that baby bears need to be taught everything, including how to drink milk, and that arizona has the most venomous snakes in the country. i've learned that penguins are fearless and even a bit aggressive and that otters have a stink that will stay on your hands all day, no matter how much you scrub them clean.

sometimes, behind the scenes, my job is less about the news of the day and more about getting an education on the world at large. on these days, i feel so lucky.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


no point writing much here at the top, as i suspect most of you will scroll past any excess words to get to the good stuff.

so let's get right to it, shall we?

i'm pleased to reveal the cover for BUTTER!!!!

A boy everyone calls “Butter” is about to make Scottsdale High history. He’s going to eat himself to death live on the Internet – and everyone will watch.

He announces his deadly plan to an army of peers and expects pity, insults or even indifference. Instead, he finds morbid encouragement. When that encouragement tips the scales into popularity, Butter has a reason to live. But if he doesn’t go through with his plan, he’ll lose everything.

i expect to be posting this all over the internet soon, but starting today, you can also find it here, at my unofficially official website!

other exciting things are happening, and i can't wait to share them with you, but for now, i hope you'll forgive me if i put the regular features on hold in order to keep this beauty front and center on the blog for a bit!

UPDATE 2/24: cover refreshed with tagline! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

big news!!!

i know i started the last post with "something exciting happened this week," but something really REALLY exciting happened this week.


:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

i'm going to be Mrs. Handsome, and i can't wait. 2012 is still all about the book launch, but i expect more than a healthy dose of wedding planning will get mixed in as we prepare to walk down the aisle in 2013!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


something exciting happened this week.
this week, when someone asked me when my book was coming out, i was able to say THIS YEAR!
when i sold the book in October of 2010, "this year" seemed so far away. but suddenly, here it is!


i never thought i'd use that word on this journey. so much of publishing is about waiting and being patient and clicking refresh and watching the clock tick away ever so slowly. if you are at any stage of the waiting game, i just wanted to let you know that sometimes it feels like "suddenly," and one day you go from counting the years to counting the months.

before i know it, i'll be counting the days, and i'm actually okay with waiting for that countdown. i have high expectations for 2012, and i want to enjoy every minute. i hope your own 2012 is filled with some "suddenly" in between all the waiting!