Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Little History for Release Day

Last week, on my actual, official release day, I was exploring the historic sites of Jamestown (the first successful Engish settlement in America) and Yorktown (the site of the surrender of the British to end the American Revolution). When Mike Kissed Emma came along for the trip and got to see inside a Native American dwelling, a replica of the ships the settlers came over on (those ships were small - if I'd lived then, I would have stayed in England), outside a house at Jamestown fort and soldiers tents at Yorktown. As you can see WMKE and I had a very full day.

That evening we ate at one of the historic taverns in Williamsburg, complete with eighteenth century entertainment. It was a great way to celebrate Release Day.
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A Book Giveaway

PJ Hoover over at ROOTS IN MYTH is giving away three great books. And one of them is mine. All you need to do to have your chance to win is go over and answer a question in the comments. Go on, go check it out. Oh, and there's an interview with me over there too.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

ExcerpTuesdays over at Chris Redding's

When Mike Kissed Emma is featured on this ExerpTuesday over at Chris Redding, Author. Thanks Chris, for featuring my book this way. And thanks, Kevin, for introducing us.

And one more link for today. I now have a page over at JacketFlap.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pictures from Release Week

On Tuesday of release week we spent the day at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg. WMKE came along for the ride (but probably should have stayed in a locker during the flume ride...oops).
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The Winner(s) of the Quiz Giveaway

Using a random number generator the winner of the signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma is PJ Hoover. Yay!

I noticed, however, that Jim Danielson also commented on almost every quiz question - and he got the answers right too!

So, I'm giving away two copies. One to PJ and one to Jim.

Congratulatons - send me your snail mail address and I'll send you your books. Thanks for playing along last week and helping me celebrate my release!

(Oh - and why the original characters initials were K.C. were because they were my initials backwards.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How I Celebrated Release Day!

No, I didn't stomp grapes, but we did spend the week in Virginia. Here I am with my book and two kids, pretending to stomp grapes in Busch Gardens Italy section.

(If my son looks bored, I think it had more to do with it being well into the 90s then anything else.)

More pictures to come!
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A Little Linky Love

Back from vacation and pictures to come - of me and my book enjoying Release Day - but first I want to highlight a few places where there have been interviews or people have said sweet things about When Mike Kissed Emma.

I hope I didn't leave anyone out! If I did, let me know, it's not a snub, it's my post vacation brain not being fully back in gear yet.

I should be announcing the winner of the signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma tomorrow.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Guest Blogging

Please stop by and visit me over at Climbing Rose Blog where I'm guest blogging this week. Today I'm wondering why I still have to do laundry, not that I'm published.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guest Blogging

Please stop by and visit me over at Climbing Rose Blog where I'm guest blogging this week. Today I'm talking about when I first saw my books.

Keep Answering Those Questions

The trivia contest continues. Go back and answer any questions you may have missed. You have until Friday night to leave a comment to get a chance to win.

A winner will be picked this weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Release Day!

It's here!

The official release date of When Mike Kissed Emma!

Here's me when I first got to hold a copy in my hot little hand:

And here's the trailer:

And the waiting is over, you can buy your copy today!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guest Blogging

Please stop by and visit me over at Climbing Rose Blog where I'm guest blogging this week. Today I'm talking about magical first kisses.

Last Day of Quiz Giveaway

This is the last question in the trivia quiz question. But you can still answer the previous questions until Friday. The winner will be chosen over the weekend.

Quiz Questions Number 6:
What fan-fiction did I write as a kid (even though I didn't even know it was fan-fiction)?

Countdown: 1 day left til the release of When Mike Kissed Emma!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Guest Blogging

Please stop by and visit me over at Climbing Rose Blog where I'm guest blogging this week. Today I'm talking about the very beginnings of When Mike Kissed Emma.

Day 5 of the Giveaway Quiz

Only two more quiz questions left. Keep answering for your chance to win a signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma.

Quiz Question Number 5:
In the very original version of this story the main character's name was Casey. Why?

Countdown: 2 days

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Interview over at the Climbing Rose Blog

This week I will be guest posting over at Climbing Rose Blog, starting with an interview today. So please stop by!

Day 4 of the Giveaway Quiz

Keep commenting to get a chance to win a copy of When Mike Kissed Emma.

Quiz Question Number 4:
How did my annual cookie baking event inspire a scene in When Mike Kissed Emma. Bonus points for anyone who knows what scene it was.

Countdown: 3 days

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 3 of the Giveaway Quiz

Remember the more questions you answer the better chance you have of winning a signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma.

Quiz Question Number 3:
In When Mike Kissed Emma, why don't Emma's friends tell her to "break a leg" before she goes out on stage?

Countdown: 4 days

Friday, August 14, 2009

A Blast from the Past

I recently pulled out an old manuscript of mine. About thirty years old. And oh man, did I need an editor. If you want to know my take on fashions in 1980, you've come to the right place. If you want to know exactly how many siblings each of the students in the class had, and their names and ages, this is the manuscript for you. The story is action-filled with much heart-rending drama and I found myself laughing out loud way more than the story called for.

Right now I just want to share one line in particular that nearly made me lose it as I re-read it all these years later:

The mixture of emotions in him confused Caldwell, for he generally limited himself to one emotion at a time.

I read that to my daughter and she said "Who is he? Tinkerbell?"

Any embarrassing one-liners in your old stories you want to share?

Day 2 of the Giveaway Quiz

Remember, simply answering gives you a chance to win a signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma. And the answers to these questions can all be found in one of the countdown posts from the previous couple of weeks.

Quiz Question Number 2:
What mode of transportation did I covet when I was a young teen? Bonus points if you know why I wasn't allowed to get it.

Countdown: 5 days

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let the Giveaway Quiz Begin

First some guidelines for the quiz. There will be one question a day. Answer in the comments. Yes, I know this means if you answer 2nd or 3rd you can look at the person's answer in front of you. I'm not sweating it. Why not? Because the contest is based on simply commenting, not getting the answer right. For each quiz question you answer your name will be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma. That means if you answer all six quiz questions, your name will be put in the drawing six times. If you answer one, your name will be put in once. See how it works? This is one of those the more you play the better chance you have of winning contests.

So, without further ado. Here is the first question.
Quiz Question Number 1:
When I was in eighth grade I had a small featured part in the school production. I accidentally poisoned someone. Who did I kill?

Countdown: 6 days

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why'd She Do That?


We all have it.

Our characters all need it.

But what is the motivation? Do you know why your characters are doing what they're doing? Do you even know why you're doing what you're doing? I'm not always sure I do.

Yesterday PJ Hoover had an awesome blog post on this over at Roots in Myth and the conversation in the comments was fascinating - even if it did devolve somewhat into what would Scarlet O'Hara do if confronted with a vampire.

It all started with this question: Does the main character's motivation have to be pre-existing or can it be a result of the instigating factor of the story? For example: A vampire shows up and chases a girl. Her motivation is to get away from the vampire.

She didn't have this motivation before the vampire showed up, but it is clearly the motivation that keeps the tension high during the story.

In order for a character to be more than a cipher there has to be a pre-existing motivation. Scarlet O'Hara's motivation at the beginning of the story was to get Ashley Wilkes, by the end she wanted to save Tara. All along she really wanted to save herself. If a vampire showed up, her concern would be 'what could this vampire do for me?' Would he get me my drapes back in the windows? Could he help me save Tara? If the answer was no, that vampire would find itself with a stake through it's heart pretty fast (and yes, the Scarlet from the end of the novel could definitely do that). What if the vampire showed up in the beginning? If it would work to make Ashley jealous, she would have gone along with just about anything.

A story is not a biography. It does not detail all the aspects of a characters life (even a fictional character). A story tells of something that happened. Something changes in a person's life - that is the starting point for the story.

One way or another the motivation has to be impacted by the instigating factor. Scarlet's initial motivation is to wed Ashley, the war interferes and her motivation changes with it.

What if the story was about someone who wanted to be number one in her class but a really smart kid transferred in. The motivation remains the same, but now there is a complicating factor - the complicating factor is what makes it a story.

In When Mike Kissed Emma (you knew I had to bring it around to this, I'm still in countdown mode) Emma's motivation is to sing a romantic song with her boyfriend during the school play. She's all about the romance of it with the existing boyfriend. Then Mike shows up and complicates matters. I won't tell you if it changes her motivation or not - don't want to give anything away.

So what's your motivation? Is it to get away from the vampires, or something else?

Countdown: 7 days (1 week!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The First Story

Today's countdown trivia won't be about When Mike Kissed Emma, but about me as a writer. I think I already mentioned that in middle school I wrote what amounted to fan-fiction featuring Charlie's Angels and the Brady Bunch (oh, I do wish I could find that story).

But before that, when I was in fourth or fifth grade, I started a story in a spiral notebook with Sally, Linus, Snoopy and a schoolhouse on the front. I still have that notebook and now, I will share with you some of my early ramblings. I still remember lying on my bed and writing these first lines. (Be prepared to be amazed - or not)

This story is about kids. Kids from the same family and from different families.

One of the family's is a family named Watkins. In this family there is a father named James Watkins, Sr., Alice Watkins, the mother. Their two kids: James Watkins, Jr. usually called Jimmy is seven and 2 days old. Jane is the baby of the family although she is three years old and in nursery school.

Where does this family life? In Bryn Mawr Pa.

Today is a Friday, Sept. 3. The first day of school. Jimmy is going into 2nd grade. He must be there by 9:00 and he walks. Now it is 2 minutes to 8. His mother's alarm clock will ring in 2 minutes. Tick-tock. ! minute is up. Tick Tock. Tick Tock, boy those minutes are sure ticking away fast.... bzzzz (here it goes be quiet) zzzz.

Can't you just feel the tension?

I've learned a lot about writing since then. Of course I learned a lot by writing, and naturally, by reading. And I'm sure I'm not done learning.

Countdown: 8 days.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Little Dance Trivia

School dances. There's a certain similarity to them I think. School gyms or cafeterias. Most lights off. DJ or band rocking the tunes. Some people dancing, others standing around looking at each other.

The thing is by the time I was writing the dance scene in When Mike Kissed Emma it had been a serious number of years since I'd been to a school dance.

And then a fortuitous thing happened, I was asked to help chaperone a middle school dance. My daughter (who was only in fifth grade at the time) got to go and hang with her middle school friends. I served soda and observed.

Many of the elements were what I'd remembered. Dark cafeteria. DJ doing his thing. Groups of girls hanging together. A guy here and there - sometimes with the girls, sometimes in groups of guys. Some people dancing, others not.

One thing that was new and different was the introduction of the cell phone to the mix. Kids were busy taking each other's pictures with the phones and then sending them to each other. They were texting each other and who knew what else. 60 to 70 percent of those kids were probably engaged with their cell phone for most of the night. Very interesting.

And the times when almost everyone got into the act on the dance floor? The line dances like the Cha Cha Slide and Cotton-Eye Joe. I decided that was a good way to have Emma and her friends get everyone dancing at their school dance: they requested the Cha Cha Slide.

Now you know the inspiration behind it.

Countdown: 9 days.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gearing up for a Give-Away

Oops I missed a couple days of the countdown. Sorry about that.

As we wrap up the countdown I think I'm going to start gearing up for a give-away contest. During the next couple of days there will be a few more posts with trivia details involving me and the book. Next week will be devoted to quiz questions.

Anyone who comments and answers the questions will be entered into a drawing to win a signed copy of When Mike Kissed Emma.

Countdown: 10 days

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Another Review!

Beth at Writing it Out has posted a wonderful review of When Mike Kissed Emma.

It's kind of a scary feeling when you put a book out there - it's published now and anyone can buy it (and I hope lots of people do) but then there comes the concern: will the reader like it? So it's with great relief that the first two reviews I've seen, Barb's and Beth's both said sweet things.

Countdown to official release: 13 days

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Look What People are Saying!

Today I'm just going to point you in a couple of directions.

First, Barb at SFO Mom has the honor of writing the first review for When Mike Kissed Emma. Fortunately she liked it. You can read it here.

And Beth at Writing it Out has decided to dedicate part of her blog week to me. How cool is that? Today she reprises an interview she did with me earlier in the year and features my book trailer. Tomorrow she'll post her review of When Mike Kissed Emma. And on Friday she will post an updated interview - featuring questions posed by commenters. So if you have a question you want to see me answer, go put it in Beth's comments.

Countdown: 14 days

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's a Real Book!

Guess what came by UPS today? Okay, you've probably figured it out by now. I got my copies of my book.

Since I didn't get Advanced Review Copies, this is the first time I've seen it in print.

It's real! There's no denying it anymore. This is real. I have a book!

Here I am with my book.

And here's the box.

Notice the lovely oily residue all over it.

When I was waiting for the UPS truck to arrive with my precious cargo, I envisioned getting the box, opening it up with my delightful children looking on admiringly (a person can dream) and my husband documenting it all with the camera.

Then I saw the UPS truck drive past our house. Um. That wasn't part of the plan.

He parked two houses down.

I waited.

Sure enough in a couple of minutes he emerged and started walking toward our house with the box.

I went out to meet him.

"What's in the box?" he asked.

"Books," I answered. "My books."

Then he showed me the box. "Because something with coconut oil leaked all over it. We better make sure it's okay."

So I rushed inside for a scissors and the UPS man cut the tape on the box. The damage, luckily was only to the outside of the box and the books were fine. (Phew) But there went my wonderful unveiling.

Ah well. If everything always went according to plan there wouldn't be any story to tell.

Countdown (though what exactly I'm counting down to since the book is available and people have already started receiving it I'm not sure): 15 days.
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Monday, August 3, 2009

A Tag Line

I've started thinking that I should practice my handwriting in case anyone wants me to sign one of my books. And then I was thinking that I need some sort of a tag line. I've seen authors use them before - something like "reach for the stars" or "let your creativity soar." Often these have something to do with the theme of the book.

What am I supposed to write? "Go kiss someone." Doesn't seem quite right somehow.

I'm open to suggestions.

Countdown: 16 days

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Counting Down, But..... looks like it's already here! At least it's possible to place an order at Amazon for When Mike Kissed Emma. I'll keep counting down to the official release - but there's no need to wait any longer!

Countdown: 17 days

Saturday, August 1, 2009

And Another Excerpt

While I'm away here's another quick excerpt from When Mike Kissed Emma.

I needed to talk to Lauren. I didn’t know what I was going to say, but she was my best friend. We couldn’t let years of best-frienddom be ruined by me getting the part she wanted in a play. If our friendship had survived the lunchbox incident of second grade, and the very unfortunate “but I liked Matt first” incident of sixth grade, we surely could survive this.

Countdown: 18 days