Archive for July, 2012

Coming in May 2013 . . .

July 25th, 2012 by Terra | 13 Comments | Filed in Criminal

I’m over-the-moon to finally be able to share the cover and summary of my May 2013 release, CRIMINAL:

Nikki’s life is far from perfect, but at least she has Dee. Her friends tell her that Dee is no good, but Nikki can’t imagine herself without him. He’s hot, he’s dangerous, he has her initials tattooed over his heart, and she loves him more than anything. There’s nothing Nikki wouldn’t do for Dee. Absolutely nothing.

So when Dee pulls Nikki into a crime – a crime that ends in murder – Nikki tells herself that it’s all for true love. Nothing can break them apart. Not the police. Not the arrest that lands Nikki in jail. Not even the investigators who want her to testify against him.

But what if Dee had motives that Nikki knew nothing about?

Nikki’s love for Dee is supposed to be unconditional . . . but even true love has a limit. And Nikki just might have reached hers.


I’m incredibly excited about this book, in part because it’s so different from my other four titles (darker, edgier, sexier), but somehow it also falls in line with the rest of them. (Ultimately, Criminal is about self-discovery, friendship, heartbreak, forgiveness, choosing your own morality.) Since that’s the case for the inside, what I love about this cover so much is that it too is a strong visual departure from Pure, After the Kiss, The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, and Being Friends With Boys, and yet it also still sort of fits with the rest of them somehow: solid color, bold title, a single, powerful image . . .

Anyway, I hope you all are just as enthusiastic as I am. I truly cannot WAIT to share this book with you. Let me know what you think!

The Research Makes All the Difference

July 19th, 2012 by Terra | 2 Comments | Filed in Writing and Reading

So, I’m working on a proposal for a new book.

This is a new experience for me, but it’s one I can tell already that will be highly beneficial. Doing so, however, has made me very clear about how important doing research is for me, instead of just relying on my imagination.

I used to teach a fiction class during my days at Florida State University, and it was required that we had a research paper component in class. Though my students groaned, even then I lectured happily to them about the fact that, yes, they needed to know how to do it even if they fancied themselves famous novelists or essay writers. This was before I ever had to do research for my own novels, however, and boy howdy I am happy to say that I was right even back then.

One of the most crucial elements of your work is, of course, your character. Knowing him or her as intimately as you can (regardless of how much of that shows up in the novel) will make your work as strong as possible. But that doesn’t just mean knowing her favorite color or what he’d do if he saw someone shoplifting. It also includes knowing as much as you can about his or her environment and surroundings.

This is something I’ve experienced with all of my books. Doing some Bible research for Pure was immensely helpful; finding real poems for After the Kiss made a difference; reading about summer camp and interviewing campers/counselors was vital for The Summer of Firsts and Lasts; Being Friends With Boys was aided by a lot of interviewing; and my forthcoming book, Criminal, took a lot of research that you’ll understand once it comes out in 2013. But this was the first time that my own sense of the plot and what would happen in the book –not to mention exactly who my characters are– has been affected by doing research, first.

I can’t tell you very much about what I’m researching yet, but here’s a hint:

I can also say that in the past two weeks, the on-site visits and personal interviews I’ve conducted have really shaped this book. (Even though for one excursion I had to wake up at 4 AM). As an added bonus, I’m more excited to work on it now than I was when I got the idea a couple of months ago. So, as painful as it may feel right now, believe me when I say your teachers are right. Knowing how to do more than look something up on Wikipedia is going to make you an even better writer.

THANK YOU For Writing To Me!

July 12th, 2012 by Terra | 1 Comment | Filed in Uncategorized

I don’t know what’s caused this recent rash of emails from readers lately, but I’m here to say I LOVE IT!! One of the weirdest parts about being an author is putting your work out there into the world –something you’ve worked so hard on, and that has such meaning for you– and not really having a solid idea of how it’s being received. Sure, there are reviews, and Goodreads responses, and things like that, but those somehow don’t feel as personal. Important and appreciated, yes, but not the same as having someone write you an email (or a paper letter) directly, and tell you what they thought.

So, I just wanted to take a moment to say thanks to all the readers who have reached out to let me know how, exactly one of my books affected them. And to encourage anyone else who is on the fence about doing so. You will always get a personal response from me, even if it  takes me awhile to answer. And it will always make a huge different in this humble writer’s life.