Friday, October 26, 2012

A Little Eli Anyone?

Name: Eli Evans

If you were a dish at a Mexican restaurant, what would you be & why? 

Hmm…I’d have to say I’m most similar to the nachos. You know that moment when you take your first bite of nachos covered in cheese and sour cream and guacamole and pico de gallo and you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven? Yeah…that.

Describe yourself in five words or less. 

Deliverer of the dead. Do I get points for keeping it under five? I know some of these other guys struggled with that.

Name one thing you just cannot live without. 

My tikari. Seriously.

Okay....Boxers or briefs? 

Well, see, the answer to this question depends on a lot of things. When I was younger, you know, back in the 1800’s, the underwear I wore wouldn’t fall under either of those categories. And today? I’m afraid if I told you the truth it might kill you, and honestly, my job is busy enough.

 What's your favorite smell? 

Shampoo. Girl shampoo. Even more specifically Karina’s shampoo. I don’t know what kind she uses, and I’ve never told her this, but it’s like a drug. By the way, this is just between you and me, right?

Where do you think you'll be in 10 years? 

There’s really no way to know where I’ll be, but I can tell you where I won’t be. New Hampshire. I mean, it’s kind of pretty in the Fall, but I could do without the snow.

Have you ever had a spiritual/religious/awe-inspiring experience? 

Every single day of my life.

What is the grandest romantic gesture you've ever made?

Does cooking dinner count? I did that for Karina and I think she liked it. But then again, her mother is a professional chef, so I'm not sure I could ever compete with that. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I could really use some pointers on being romantic. I'm a little rusty.

What's one trait you have that Karina finds annoying? 

I’m pretty flirtatious. She hates that. Oh, and she’s also not a fan of my sudden appearances and disappearances. I do that a lot.

What is the one thing you'd never admit your significant does better than you? 

Karina does almost everything better than me, but have you seen her photographs? Amazing. 

If you could change anything about Karina what would it be? 

I wish I could make it easier for her to forgive herself. She’s really hard on herself for the mistakes she made, and I know that’s really painful for her.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

You mean besides what I can already do? If you ask me super powers are overrated. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I can do, but sometimes it’s just nice to be normal. Or at least pretend to be.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Curious Life of Finn O'Connor

My novel Ether is about two Bostons in parallel universes - one is the city we know, the other, Ether, is a city where no one has any long-term memory or knowledge of their pasts.  When Leah wanders into Ether to escape her own sordid history, she falls in love with Finn, whose job is to persuade Bostonians to give up their troubles and move to Ether forever.  The rest is classified... for now!  But you can meet Finn, if you like!

If you were a dish at a Mexican restaurant, what would you be & why?
I'd be the chips and salsa at the beginning.  I'm free and tasty and the start of something fantastic, but you totally forget about me by the end of the meal.

Describe yourself in five words or less.
Perceptive, adaptable, charismatic, anxious, tired

Name one thing you just cannot live without.
My neighborhood.  I literally cannot live without it.

Okay....Boxers or briefs?
Oh aren't we curious? Why don't you come out for a drink with me and maybe we'll get to that.

What's your favorite smell?
Leaf burning fires in the fall.

What was your first impression of [girl MC] when you met?
I thought she was one of us and I creeped her out by staring at her on the subway.  I can't really blame myself, though, she was practically glowing.  She stood out, clear and sharp and colorful and everything around her was just a fog to me.

Where do you think you'll be in 10 years?
The same place I've been for the past few decades, splitting my time between Ether and Boston and helping people 'move in,' so to speak.

Have you ever had a spiritual/religious/awe-inspiring experience?
I kind of remember going to church when I was little, back when I lived in Southie. I don't remember feeling much, but it was a pretty building and I liked the music.

What is the grandest romantic gestures you've ever made?
One time, I told Leah what I was actually thinking.  I've never done that before.

What's one trait you have that [girl MC] finds annoying?
She can be a royal bitch. She just kind of walks into a situation and assumes she knows all there is to know and has the solution to every problem in her pocket.  Of course... she is very smart, and she does solve a lot of problems... but yeah, it can be annoying.

And wow, I read this as what's annoying about her! Ha! Leah finds a lot about me annoying, I think.  Mostly she's frustrated that I'm evasive about personal questions (she says 'cryptic) and that I'm really dedicated to my job.  I'm kind of a work-aholic. 

What is the one thing you'd never admit your significant other does better than you?
I don't have an SO.  But if you mean Leah... she's worlds smarter than I am.  I freely admit that, though. There's nothing I admire about her that I feel like I have to hide. 

If you could change anything about [girl MC] what would it be?
I wish Leah knew, really knew in her heart, that she's so beautiful and vibrant and brave and smart. I don't think she believes it, and her life would be different, better, if she did.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
I wish I could turn back time and prevent people from getting hurt to begin with. I do my best administering emotional anesthetic, but it would be great if I could actually solve problems instead of just covering them up.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Tangled Boys Take Over: Valentin of SEKRET!

I'm so excited to share this first look at Valentin with you guys! He's from my debut novel, SEKRET, a YA historical thriller set in 1960s Soviet Russia where psychic teenagers are forced to spy for the KGB. SEKRET won't be out till early 2014 from Roaring Brook/Macmillan Kids, but I hope Valentin will pique your interest!

Valentin Borisovich Sorokhin. Uh…  sorry, it’s Russian. You can call me Valya.

If you were a dish at a Mexican restaurant, what would you be and why?
I’ve never had this “Mexican” food. Given the nature of my psychic abilities, though, I’d be whatever dish scrubs your insides out. Oh—that’s most of them? There you go.

Describe yourself in five words or less.
Intense, musical, passionate, determined, silent.

Name one thing you cannot live without.
The out-of-tune baby grand piano in our prison. Well, it’s not technically a prison, but it might as well be. Playing piano keeps me grounded; it orders my thoughts so I don’t hurt anyone unintentionally. I’d gladly give up that piano to escape, though. Preferably to somewhere that also has pianos.

Okay… boxers or briefs?
Whatever the KGB brings for us that given week. Trust me, there’s nothing sexy about Soviet underwear, regardless of the style.

What’s your favorite smell?
The salty air coming off the Black Sea, back when I lived on the coast. In the evenings, my mother would throw open every window in the house and we’d play piano duets while waiting for Papa to come home.

What is the grandest romantic gesture you’ve ever made?
I’d have to let Yulia tell you all the details—it’s not mine to share—but I took all the wonderful thoughts in her head and turned them into her own song. I, ah… [Furious blushing.] I wanted her to hear the beauty that I heard whenever I looked at her.

What’s one trait you have that the MC finds annoying?
Perhaps “annoying” isn’t the right word, but she is not much of a fan of the way I warp the thoughts of those around me. The first time she got caught in that crossfire and realized what I’d done, she nearly pushed me out a window.

What is the one thing you’d never admit your significant other does better than you?
She’s much better under pressure than I am. I wouldn’t be afraid to admit this to her, though I think sometimes if I act more confident than I feel, that gives her the courage to do what she needs to do.

If you could change anything about the girl MC, what would it be?
I would take away her anger and hurt. She’s right to be furious about our situation, but I’m afraid it will make her do something dangerous.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?
I do have a superpower, and believe me, I’d be rid of it in an instant if I could. I don’t like causing such pain. I suppose if I have to choose another one, I’d choose invisibility, so I could slip away from everything.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tangled Boys Take Over: Here's Ben!

Come meet Ben! 

(Ben is from a contemporary manuscript I am currently writing with a working title: The Girl with the Broken Wings. The tagline for the MS is: Seventeen-year-old Amy’s life is a mess. Her mom’s a workaholic. Her dad’s an alcoholic. And she’s left somewhere in the middle of their divorce, taking care of her eight-year-old brother with autism.)

(Cute, right?! I don't remember who this model is, but all the credit goes to him and appropriate photographers, et al.)

Name: Benjiro Sampson. But everyone just calls me Ben.

If you were a dish at a Mexican restaurant, what would you be and why?

I'd have to go with a dessert like bunuelos. I've got a killer sweet tooth. Seriously, just ask Amy. I make her try all of my "crazy candies." So, slather some bunuelos in chocolate sauce and I'm in heaven.

Describe yourself in five words or less.

I'm like a daifuku treat. (They're these Japanese confections that are stuffed with a sweet filling. There's more than meets the eye to them and me...I might be kind of hungry if I'm comparing myself to desserts. But they're delicious. Man, now I really want one.) 

Name one thing you just cannot live without. 

My truck. She might groan and look a bit beat up, but I worked hard to buy her. 

Okay....Boxers or briefs?

Well that's kind of personal. Is this Amy's revenge because I might have, accidentally, completely not on purpose seen her in her underwear and a small tank top kind of shirt? I mean, you can't blame a guy for noticing what walks right in front of them. *sigh* I'll let you have this win, Amy. I mean, I win so many of our bets, why not? It's boxer briefs. Does that satisfy your burning desire to know about my unmentionables? You're imagining me in them right now, aren't you?

What's your favorite smell? 

Fresh cut grass on a summer night.

What is the grandest romantic gestures you've ever made? 

Sometimes Amy needs a break from everything--her family, ex-boyfriend (the idiot), and not so friendly friends--so one night, I stole her away. I took her to this field where you can see a ton of stars. We laid out in the back of my trunk on a bunch of blankets and looked at the stars, talked, and ate too much candy.  

What's one trait you have that the MC finds annoying?

I tend to say the wrong thing a lot. I mean, I don't think it's the wrong thing at the time, but Amy does. I've realized I have to really think about my wording when talking about certain subjects with her.

What is the one thing you'd never admit your significant other does better than you? 

She handles situations with her family that I can't even imagine being in. I'd crash and burn if I were her. 

If you could change anything about [girl MC] what would it be? 

This is a tricky question because there might be things I'd want to change about Amy, but if I did, then she wouldn't really be the Amy I liked, would she? So I could say, it'd be nice if she didn't take some of things I said as being bad and realized that I might not know the right way to say what I want to. But then she wouldn't have the fire and fierce protectiveness about the people she loves which is one of the things that draws me to her. And I'd much rather have that than an Amy that doesn't care. 

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? 

I always thought it would be awesome to fly. How cool would it be to feel the summer sky on your face at night and see lights twinkling above and below you? Plus, I could take Amy with me. I think she'd love that. I'd get a pair of costume wings and make her wear them. Haha. She'd probably refuse to wear them, but she'd look cute with a pair of wings. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Tangled Boys Take Over: Come Say Hi to Carter!

We have a treat for you! You know how everyone loves a boy with swoon? Well, we are no exception. And to celebrate hot boys with swoon, we are interviewing our fantastic MALE MCs. All the Tangled girls asked some questions, and each of us will answer them with one of our boys. So get ready...the boys are taking over.

Name: Carter Trent

My hot boy is from the project that I'm currently querying, so I really can't say anything about it. But I have no doubt that Carter will enjoy telling you all about himself. Seriously.

If you were a dish at a Mexican restaurant, what would you be and why?

A tamale, because you have to be brave if you want to handle this spice.

Describe yourself in five words or less. 

I'm a lover and a fighter. (Yes, that's six words, but libraries leave out "A" and "And" in the card catalog so it doesn't really count and I only used three words. Ha! I get two more: kick ass. "I'm. Kick. Ass. Lover. Fighter." Do with that what you want.)

Name one thing you just cannot live without. 


Okay....Boxers or briefs?

Briefs. There's more support. *laughs* But really, there's just something more classy about briefs. Sometimes I wear boxer briefs, but only on special occasions.

What's your favorite smell? 

Freshly baked pies, crusts, cakes, breads. Anything you put in the oven because the smell lingers forever and you can taste it before it touches your mouth. The anticipation is unlike anything else. Except that first kiss.

What is the grandest romantic gestures you've ever made? 

I'm not really a kiss and tell kind of guy, definitely not with Pen, but there was once when she was having a really crappy couple of days and she almost got killed by these demons, and I had messed up bad and I wanted her to know how much I cared about her. I let her re-live one of her memories, and I won't say what it was, but it was a turning point for us. 

What's one trait you have that the MC finds annoying?

She really hates when I call her nicknames: Felt Tip, Nelly, Penny Sue. Or she used to. She doesn't complain much anymore about Pen. I pick on her a lot, but it's only because I love her. I think she secretly likes it. 

What is the one thing you'd never admit your significant other does better than you? 

She takes action. I always thought I was acted before thinking, but then I met Pen. She's stubborn and she knows what she wants. I always worry that one day she's going to run into a room of demons to save someone without thinking it through and get herself killed. I'd do the same, especially for her, but she does it for anyone. 

If you could change anything about [girl MC] what would it be? 

Penelope's not very easy on herself. She never really thought she was good enough--even after she's proved herself over and over again. There's a lot of pressure to be a certain way; sometimes I want to tell her that she's perfect, but I know how hard that is to believe in our community. Witches are supposed to be one way, and anything different is scary. I wouldn't change her being different. I'd change her mindset that different is a bad thing. 

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? 

I'm a witch. I have superpowers every single day. Although, I don't have a cape. Maybe I need a cape...and a mask! Pen and I can get matching ones. She would look good in Spandex. 

And that was Carter. Wow, I'm a little embarrassed. I don't even know what else to say.

Hey, listen--don't tell Pen I said that bit about the Spandex. She'd probably smack me, and I don't really want to deal with that.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Joy of Crit Partners In .gifs

Let today begin my mini series celebrating critique partners in .gifs. When I have a free Friday I will post these. Enjoy!

When you're "writing" and your crit partner signs onto GChat: 

When you say "Hi" to each other:

When you tell her how your "writing" is going:

When she gives you a great idea:

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Post In Which I Pass Out. A lot.

I'm currently on a bus. Which is nowhere nearly as awesome as being on a boat. It's also like, 2am when I'm starting this. I just watched MERLIN and SUPERNATURAL (hot Dean is FREAKING HOT, Sam with a backbone makes me want to jump him; Gwaine and Percival were shirtless a lot.) I'm so tired.

*passes out*

We stopped in Delaware, which is great because it is FREEZING on the bus. Apparently, the thermostat is broken and it's temperature is set to TURN MY TOES BLUE. I just want to go home. I miss the cute guy from my adventure to Boston. The ride home is not nearly as entertaining.

*passes out*

Okay, well: it's now 11am & I am back home after a trip to Boston/NH to visit Cindy (& see Ariane!!!) and some other friends. I needed a quick getaway to think, to breathe, to recharge. Friends do that excellently., I'm so tired.

*passes out*

It's 4pm. I woke up about an hour ago and am eating a hamburger while I'm reading the most amazing MS. It's seriously taking my breath away. I love finding things like this and I hope it stays awesome!!


Well, that was my day. It's 9:24 now and this random post is WAY late. I sat down to write something inspiring, and I had all these snippets on my phone from my journey, so I figured I'd go with it. Plus, I am just tired.

I had a lovely weekend in Boston (for like 5 hours total on two days) and spent the rest of Thursday -Sunday with my fantastically-amazing friend Cindy. I got to see Ariane, have lots of margaritas, visit with my old roommates and two close friends. I just needed to recharge. I've been wracking my brain working on the sequel, and not getting hired my temp job and dealing with LIFE--oh, that incredible beast.

Now, though, I'm back.

I have lots of emails to answer, manuscripts to edit and others to read, winter clothes to dig out, shows to watch, a book to write. So, I should start some of that....soon.

Now that I've had time to refresh, gained some new perspective and had A LOT of sleep, I'm ready to jump in again. There's nothing like taking a break away with friends and writing to make life awesome again. :)

Oh, and my author, Mary Gray, is having a cover-reveal week for THE DOLLHOUSE ASYLUM!! Check out all the details here. 

How was your weekend????

Friday, October 5, 2012

Where Do Characters/Ideas Come From?

Where do you get your story ideas? Do you wake up with them in the middle of the night, trying to pull them out of your dream before it dissolves? Does a character walk up to you and slap you in the face (perhaps literally)? What about situations? Does something poignant in a local news story or celebrity scandal resonate with you, or even a global event, a historical watershed?

I get way more ideas than I ought to admit from trashy television. It’ll be late at night and I’ll be sifting through the channels, quite possibly with an adult beverage in hand, Hoovering up all the crazy I can stomach. Alien abductions, serial killer documentaries, hunts for Templar treasure, reality TV catfights, you name it.

But something always leaps out from the madness—a fundamental truth about life, or human beings, or how people relate to one another. (Even if that fundamental truth is: we are all flippin’ nuts.) And I keep turning that idea over and over in my mind.

What if my dad really did run a moonshine still out of our backyard? How would that feel? What would my life be like? If I actually survived an alien abduction, would anyone believe me? Would I believe myself? What happens after the bodies are recovered and the case files are sealed? How do the detectives move on? Or even, how would that familiar story go if I wrote it? How would I make it stand out?

The story I’m outlining right now is a Cuisinart mixing of about three such tales: an ancient retelling, a medieval mystery, a near-modern wartime saga. Characters and places and props may change, but the humanness of our stories remain. Whatever dressings of genre, setting, and technology you put on your characters, I suspect you’d know them anywhere.

So what have you learned about the way they choose to meet you?


Monday, October 1, 2012

Blessed Unrest

Today I'm going to share with you guys my favorite writing quote.  It's from Martha Graham, one of the most famous (and in my opinion, best) choreographers of all time.  She said:

 "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."


Read it out loud to yourself.  I'll wait.


I turn to this quote a lot.  I read it and reread it.  I write it by hand on post-its and cover things with it. I call my friends and read it to them.  I read it to random strangers on the subway.  I first encountered it on a post it, actually.  Somebody had stuck it to the mirror in Life Alive, one of my favorite restaurants in Cambridge.  Now I leave it on post-its in places.  And put it on blogs like this one.  It's my go to quote when I'm feeling like a lousy writer.

Let me tell you some of my favorite things about it:

1) The creative energy that courses through you is unique.  There is NO ONE ELSE who can create what you create.  Not ever.  If you don't do it, the world will not have it.  Only YOU can prevent forest fires.  And only YOU can write what you write.

2) It isn't your job to figure out if what you make is good, or to compare it to someone else's art.  That's something else. The refining is another process.  The creation is just creation. It doesn't matter if what you're writing feels crappy today, or if you just saw in PM that a similar book is coming out next year.

3) You don't even have to believe in yourself!  Some days it's impossible to believe. Luckily, you don't have to believe to do the work.  You just have to let yourself channel that energy and put it out there, as only you can.  No judging.  No faith required.  Just do it.

4) You'll never be satisfied.  But that's what's so great about you!  That's what's great about art.   It can always be better, and stronger, and bigger, and different.  The creative hunger is never totally sated.  There's no point beating yourself up because you're not satisfied with your work.  You will never, ever be satisfied.

We're all just blessedly restless.

March on, friends!