Thursday, April 30, 2009

Spotlighting Cheryl Renee Herbsman's BREATHING

Today, I have Cheryl Renee Herbsman in the Spotlight! Here's a little about her debut novel, BREATHING:
What if the guy who took your breath away was the only one who could help you breathe?

Savannah would be happy to spend the summer in her coastal Carolina town lying in a hammock reading her beloved romance novels and working at the library. But then she meets Jackson. Once they lock eyes, she’s convinced he’s the one—her true love, her soul mate, a boy different from all the rest. And at first it looks like Savannah is right. Jackson abides by her mama’s strict rules, and stays by her side during a hospitalization for severe asthma, which Savannah becomes convinced is only improving because Jackson is there. But when he’s called away to help his family—and seems uncertain about returning—Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.

This debut novel has it all—an endearing, funny, hopelessly romantic main character, lots of down-home Southern charm, and a sunny, salty beach setting that will transport you to the Carolina coast.

Doesn't that sound amazing? And here's a bit about Cheryl:
Cheryl Renée Herbsman lives in Northern California with her husband and two children, but she grew up in North Carolina and often spent summer vacations at the Carolina coast. Like Savannah, she fell in love as a teenager, and like Savannah and Jackson, she and her boyfriend carried on a long-distance relationship. They are now celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary.


Here are Cheryl's answers to the Thorough Three:

NM: What is the age of your protagonist/s?

CRH: 15

NM: What is the single, most important bit of advice you'd give to the You that was the same age as your protagonist/s?

CRH: Believe! (And quit worrying so much!)

NM: Complete the following sentences:

Everyone should definitely, for sure _____________.

You should NEVER, EVER ___________. But if you absolutely must, make sure to ____________.

CRH: Everyone should definitely, for sure go for their dreams.
You should NEVER, EVER give up. But if you absolutely must, make sure to do it for something better.

I completely agree. To find out more about Cheryl Renee Herbsman and her work, go here. To order your copy of BREATHING, click here.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Great Spirit of the Life Force In Action

Yesterday, H and I visited a friend who'd just given birth by C-section to twin girls. The girls came two months early. I immediately thought our friend had them early because she had been under some stress -- they say stress can bring on early labor.

But she said, "No. It turns out that Gemma [one of the twins] was beginning to lose out on the amount of red blood cells she needed because the other twin was taking them all. So, Gemma started the process of getting out of the womb fast in order to save her own life."

The doctors gave our friend some of the strongest medication they could find to stop the contractions, but nothing would stop them. Gemma was bound and determined to live. And she was going to find her way out into this world, doctors and their strong medications be damned.

Go, Gemma and Sasha!! You are fighters and you are both meant to be here and thrive. And you have an amazing, loving Momma waiting to help you on your path.

The whole experience of seeing these two tiny (just over two pounds each), squirming little lives fight so hard to come into this world -- to do the work they are meant to do and have the experiences they're meant to have, was more inspiring than anything any adult could say to me.

Walking into a hospital is always humbling, anyway. It puts things into proper perspective for me. It is sacred space. It is where Life and Death happen. And this visit was especially heart-opening. I got to see the great spirit of the Life Force in action.

Thank you Gemma and Sasha.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Okay, here are the Toronto launch pics, at last! Thank you, all, for the many (f)email reminders *grin*. The first one is me having a last sip of water as the amazing Corrie Sakaluk from the Toronto Women's Bookstore introduces me.

The second one is me blabbing before I actually read from SHINE, COCONUT MOON. The two heads at the very bottom are my mom and dad (dad is the gray head in bottom right corner, mom is bottom center).

It was a totally fun night with thoughtful, intelligent questions from the audience. My S&S Canada publicist and sales rep were in attendance and my family and friends were out in full support. And bonus -- I got to meet fellow Debut 2009 author Megan Crewe (GIVE UP THE GHOST)!

Next stop: Rutherford, NJ!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

NY has not been itself lately. It has been more like London, from what I remember of my time there -- dreary and wet and very, very green. The green is good. Please bring more of that. But the wet and dreary I can do without.

Other than that, I am finally getting my bearings after the whirlwind Toronto trip! And you're right, I should absolutely be posting pics from the launch. I have only two, and I will put those up tomorrow *grin*. There is a video H took of me reading, but apparently, there was a giant earthquake only in the spot where he was standing with the camera.

Yesterday I met with my agent and editor in the city. It was a very illuminating visit. I had begun to see my editor and the publishing house as Oz-ish. Very mysterious and humungous. Visiting showed me just how human it all is and I got to meet all the lovely people who've helped make SHINE what it is. *sends LURVE to all those lovely people*

This week I will be working on a blog post for, getting ready for a reading in Rutherford, NJ, and putting together materials for an in school visit.

But first, I shall collapse in exhaustion. And tomorrow there will be pics!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Spotlighting Deva Fagan's FORTUNE'S FOLLY

Today, I get to spotlight Deva Fagan's FORTUNE'S FOLLY: Ever since her mother died and her father lost his shoemaking skills, Fortunata has survived by telling fake fortunes. But when she's tricked into telling a grand fortune for a prince, she is faced with the impossible task of fulfilling her wild prophecy-or her father will be put to death. Now Fortunata has to help Prince Leonato secure a magic sword, vanquish a wicked witch, discover a long-lost golden shoe, and rescue the princess who fits it. If only she hadn't fallen in love with the prince herself. . . .

Doesn't that sound like a fun and swoony read?

Deva likes searching for patterns, which is how she explains both her degree in mathematics and the echoes of old fairy-tales in her stories. She also loves tea, gardening, and playing the fiddle. She lives in Maine with her husband and her dog.

Here are Deva's answers to the Thorough Three:

NM: What is the age of your protagonist/s?

DF: Fortunata is in her late teens.

NM: What is the single, most important bit of advice you'd give to the You that was the same age as your protagonist/s?

DF: I was (am?) a neurotic over-achiever, so my advice would be: "Calm down. Relax. Life isn't ALL about measuring up to other people's standards. Figure out what's really important to you and enjoy each day as much as you can."

NM: Complete the following sentences:

Everyone should definitely, for sure _____________.

You should NEVER, EVER ___________. But if you absolutely must, make sure to ____________.

DF: Everyone should definitely, for sure believe in their power to make their own dreams come true.

You should NEVER, EVER accidentally turn on the wrong burner while trying to make tea in a daze after breaking up with your college boyfriend, thus setting the pan of falafel-frying grease on fire and waking up the entire student apartment complex with the smoke alarm early on a Saturday morning. But if you absolutely must, make sure to tell me so I know I am not the only one who did such a stupid thing.

Ha! I have done many other stupid things involving burners, but alas, that is for another post...

To find out more about Deva and her work, visit her site. To order your copy of Fortune's Folly, go here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I have limited access to the internet this week, but I have snuck away from the kiddies and H so that I can post this quick update.

Toronto launch was wonderful. My awesome Publicist and Sales Rep from S&S Canada were in attendance, the bookstore staff was warm, helpful, and super supportive, and my family and friends were out in full force. It was a magical night for me. The questions during the Q&A were probing, intelligent, well-thought-out and they made me think hard before answering. These Toronto folks are keeping me on my toes, that's for sure! Will post pics as soon as I get home and can upload them.

Also, BIG breaking news: SHINE, COCONUT MOON has been nominated for the ALA/YALSA Best Books for Young Adults list!!! Wooohooo!!!

More soon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fabo Hair

Beautiful, sunny Easter Sunday in NYC and we're inside packing and cleaning in preparation for our trip to Toronto. I've been having a bit of a hair crisis around it all, but other than that I'm doing okay.

The hair thing -- nothing new. Whenever I'm going through real stuff, I focus on my hair. Much easier. And controllable.

So, if you're in Toronto and coming to my launch, you will know this secret: my hair has always been the site of all anxiety. It might be a Sikh thing or it might be a girl thing . . . not sure.

But for this launch, I may suddenly spring fuschia streaks. Or I may buzz everything off entirely. Or I might just throw on a hat and be done with it.

In any case, my family and friends will be at the launch and my many different, contradicting worlds will be colliding in one place. But my hair . . . it will fabulous, dahling. :D

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grr. I had no idea this week was a three-day week until yesterday morning. So, everything I planned to do today and Friday has been completely ixnayed. Which means the writing? It suffers. SIGH. But such is the parental conundrum.

In the good news section:
~ I am, rather quickly, getting over the latest virus my kids brought home. HATE being sick. Not only does it get in the way of doing things, it gets in the way of eating things -- way worse.
~ Jackson Pearce posted a very cool and hilarious list of reasons why everyone should read SHINE.
~ A lovely woman whom I have taken to calling Awesome Librarian reviewed SHINE here. I was particularly drawn to this line, "Samar is a beautiful, hope-filled character." Yes! That was SO what I was hoping to get across. And I just love that Awesome Librarian put SHINE in the context of two other books about teen girls grappling with issues of self-esteem and body image (one of them is fellow Deb Sydney Salter who I just spotlighted!!) -- issues that are very near and dear to my heart. Two books I plan to read immediately. Librarians totally ROCK the casbah, man.

So, given the three-day weekness in the air, I shall bid you all adieu until Monday. You Canadians might be off then, but those of us south of the health care border will be working away. And *I* especially, will be working toward my long-awaited Toronto launch next week!! Sqeeeeeeee!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


As someone who has had her fair share of body image issues, I'm so excited about fellow Deb Sydney Salter's MY BIG NOSE AND OTHER NATURAL DISASTERS.

Sydney held a variety of jobs before becoming a full-time writer, including her brief stint delivering pies and flowers, wrecking vans, and destroying wedding cakes in Reno, Nevada. She now lives in Utah with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and two big Bernese Mountain dogs. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and, of course, baking and decorating cakes (but not driving them anywhere).

About MY BIG NOSE: Seventeen-year-old Jory Michaels wakes up on the first day of summer vacation with her same old big nose, no passion in her life (in the creative sense of the word), and all signs still pointing to her dying a virgin. In spite of her driving record (it was an accident!), Jory gets a job delivering flowers and cakes to Reno's casinos and wedding chapels. She also comes up with a new summer goal: saving for a life-altering nose job. She and her new nose will attract a fabulous boyfriend. Jory survives various summer disasters like doing yoga after sampling Mom's Cabbage Soup Diet, enforced-mother-bonding-with-crazy-nose-obsessed-daughter night, and discovering Tyler's big secret. But will she learn to accept herself and maybe even find her passion, in the creative (AND romantic!) sense of the word?

Doesn't it sound just delicious? Here are Sydney's answers to the Thorough Three...

NM: What is the age of your protagonist/s?

SS: Seventeen

NM: What is the single, most important bit of advice you'd give to the You that was the same age as your protagonist/s?

SS: Confidence is a far more attractive trait than traditional beauty.

NM: Complete the following sentences:

Everyone should definitely, for sure _____________.

You should NEVER, EVER ___________. But if you absolutely must, make sure to ____________.

SS: Everyone should definitely, for sure read lots and lots of books!

You should NEVER, EVER trash-talk yourself to yourself. But if you absolutely must, make sure to forgive yourself, move on, and try not to do it again. Please!

Great advice, Sydney! And thanks so much for stopping by :).

To find out more about Sydney and her work, go here. To order her book, go here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

I believe jewelry is more than just personal adornment. I think the ancients knew about the different properties of various gems, metals, and minerals, and how each of those affect the body's energy systems. They then used these gems and metals and minerals in varying degrees to add or remove energy from the body to balance health, the psyche, and to draw or repel both events and people so that we, as a whole, could continue to evolve optimally for the benefit of all.

At least that's what I believe.

So when H came home and told me someone he works with makes handmade jewelry, my eyes lit up like shooting stars. He asked if I wanted Yin to make anything for me. Even before the sentence was out of his mouth, I lunged at the opportunity. This is what she made for me (and I'm SO touched that she named the piece SHINE, COCONUT MOON!)

I wanted onyx and moonstone, specifically, for the launch because those stones are the yin and the yang. Onyx is the void -- the receptive, intuitive faculty and moonstone is nurturing, calming, balancing. Together, they work to form a quiet sort of power and assurance that is perfect for things like launches and presentations.

But Yin took it one step further. She added heart. A lot of it. She added details that I never would have thought of, took the time to grace the piece with a little of her Self and whispered magic into each bead.

Now it is my Speaking Necklace. Whenever I'm to stand in front of a crowd and speak the Truth as I know it, I wear this necklace for balance, strength, and as a reminder to stay connected to what's inside. The weight of it, lying gently against the seventh chakra is a reminder to not be swayed by illusions and to reach into the Wise Dark for what's real, especially with my eyes open to the outside world.

For more info on Yin and Lelimelo, her hand-made, one-woman-show jewelry spot, check out her blog and website. She's absolutely wonderful and you can feel the difference when you're wearing one of her unique pieces.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Spotlighting Carrie Ryan's THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH

I feel privileged to be spotlighting one of the stars of our Debs Blog Tour, Carrie Ryan, author of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH!

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is about a young girl named Mary growing up generations after an apocalypse in a village surrounded by fences protecting them from the Unconsecrated, zombie-like creatures inhabiting the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Cut off from the rest of the world and told they are the last survivors of the Return, every part of her life is controlled by the religious order called the Sisterhood. As Mary starts to fall in love with someone she shouldn’t, she learns the extent of the Sisterhood’s power and starts to discover more of their darkest secrets. When the security of the fences is threatened and her world is thrown into chaos, Mary must decide what she’s willing to risk to find out if there’s life beyond the Forest.

Carrie was Born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, Carrie Ryan is a graduate of Williams College and Duke University School of Law. A former litigator, she now writes full time. She lives with her writer/lawyer fiancé, two fat cats and one large puppy in Charlotte, North Carolina. They are not at all prepared for the zombie apocalypse.

Here are Carrie's answers to the Thorough Three:

NM: What is the age of your protagonist/s?

CR: I'm never specific about her age, but I'd guess she's around 16.

NM: What is the single, most important bit of advice you'd give to the You that was the same age as your protagonist/s?

CR: Smile and enjoy life.

NM: Complete the following sentences:

Everyone should definitely, for sure ______

You should NEVER, EVER ____________. But if you absolutely must, make sure to ___________.

CR: Everyone should definitely, for sure, daydream.

You should NEVER, EVER go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. But if you absolutely must, make sure to develop a resistance to iocane powder.

Thanks, Carrie!

Click here to learn more about Carrie and her work, and here to purchase your very own copy of THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH!

Friday, April 3, 2009


I'm finally sitting in a resting spot between whirlwinds. The last few weeks have been crazy busy with the launch at Bluestockings, the Biggest Teen Author Booksigning EVER, Wednesday's Teen Author Reading Night at the Jefferson Market Library, my five-year-old's birthday party, mine and H's anniversary, and a workshop I co-facilitated with Heather Duffy Stone and Coe Booth on Healthy Teen Relationships yesterday morning.

I get to have a breather for this weekend and meet up with friends, before notching it up again next week when we get ready for the Toronto launch at the Toronto Women's Bookstore (which I am VERY excited about!).

Then when I get back, I do a community brunch with inter-racial/inter-cultural families around defining and shaping culture, traditions, language and customs -- something I can, and do, go on at length about fairly regularly. After that, I will be doing a multi-media presentation in Rutherford, NJ about SHINE and some of the themes in the novel (more info on that in upcoming blog posts).

For now, I am chillin'.