Archive for February, 2013

The Next Big Thing Is CRIMINAL!!!

February 27th, 2013 by Terra | 2 Comments | Filed in Uncategorized

Finally, I get to talk about my next book, CRIMINAL!

The book has been done and ready for a long time, but I didn’t want to start gushing about it too soon. I didn’t want all of you to be bored by this book months before it even came out. But March is finally here, which means the release date is only a couple of months away, which means: EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

To help tell you a bit about the book, I’m taking some questions passed around author-to-author by The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. These came to me via the fabulous Jacqueline West, author of the THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE series. Jacqueline is not only a very lovely person (whom I met at the booksALIVE festival in Panama City this year), but she also writes amazing middle grade that I was excited to handsell at Little Shop of Stories way before I found out how neat she was in person.

There will be a lot more about CRIMINAL in the coming months, so sign up and pay attention! For now, here’s the skinny:

What is your working title of your book (or story)? CRIMINAL
Where did the idea(s) for the book come from?
In 2011, I heard about a murder case, in which a young man was accused of killing his girlfriend’s parent. Apparently, he also (maybe) had an accomplice–another girl with whom he was also (maybe) romantically involved. All these maybes intrigued me. I wanted to know who this other girl might be, and what her life might be like before, during, and after the murder. So I started inventing.
What genre does your book fall into?
Contemporary realistic fiction, with a crime-esque edge.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Nikki’s love for her boyfriend Dee is supposed to be unconditional…but even true love has a limit, and Nikki just might have reached hers.

Are you signed with an agent or publisher, or are you planning to self-publish?
Currently I am signed with an agent, but this book was contracted without one at Simon Pulse.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
10 months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Not that I’m high-falutin’ at all, but the best book that I know of that I can compare this to is Monster by Walter Dean Myers.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
See above about where the idea of this book came from. In general, I was inspired by my own interest in understanding the girl who would go along with this kind of murder plot. I also wanted to think about and understand what would happen to her as a result of her choices.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
While CRIMINAL is, in some ways, very much the same as my other books (a focus on friendship, making hard choices, and determining your own morality), many readers will find that this to be quite a different turn for me. Nikki, as a character, is very different from Tabitha in Pure, Charlotte in Being Friends With Boys, and the Winthrop sisters in The Summer of Firsts and Lasts, for example. I know not everyone will like her, or agree with what she does. But I hope that, with CRIMINAL, readers will get a chance to think about Nikki’s life and her decisions, and will perhaps get to practice the same empathy that I think we all should in our daily lives.
I’m excited about sharing more regarding CRIMINAL with all of you in the coming months!

If you are a legit reviewer, or teacher, or librarian,
and are interested in reading CRIMINAL, click this link to apply for an egalley!

Things Ann Beattie Said

February 20th, 2013 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Talking with Other Authors

This weekend I was in the same room with the amazing Judy Blume. She was in Atlanta as part of the Jewish Film Festival to promote the new film, “Tiger Eyes,” directed by her son Lawrence Blume, and the whole thing made for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon. We didn’t get a lot of time with  Judy herself, but it didn’t matter because she was lovely and ebullient and inspiring, and the film was also really well done.

The whole experience reminded me of seeing another author, Ann Beattie, last spring. Because I got to meet her in person (and actually stand there and share a glass of wine with her), that experience affected me even more than seeing the great Judy Blume. Ann was the keynote speaker for an award ceremony hosted by Georgia Perimeter College, and I remember I was literally shaking when I met her. I used to want to be Ann Beattie, after all, until I found out I didn’t have the talent or the drive to do so. (Still, her short stories are nuggets of literary perfection; often, even on a second or third read, they  leave me feeling stunned, awed, breathless, and almost a little confused by what I’ve just read. “Janus,” and “Where You’ll Find Me,” come to immediate mind, though there are many others.)

I’m not sure if the others at my table thought I was being rude, but as she delivered her talk, I took a few notes on my phone, wanting to preserve as much of this great writer’s wisdom as I could. I have to say, months later, that she said much, much more than what I noted down, and I’m sorry I didn’t take better notes. Still, I remember feeling in awe about it all, and I still nod, reading these, so I share them with you, hoping you might nod, as well.


“Being the Brightest of the Bright [as a writer] almost guarantees you’ll be only a shooting star . . . Would anyone want to be a Writer’s Writer, rather than a commercial success?”

“A writer as mere reader can feel the heat rising from the page.”

“Interjecting the sense of smell is always difficult.”

“Hard work also goes into being a mediocre writer.”

“Sometimes the best buzz is the sound of bees among flowers. All buzz doesn’t come from Manhattan.”


Happy Valentine’s Day to You, and You, and YOU!

February 14th, 2013 by Terra | 1 Comment | Filed in Crafting

Last year I wrote quite the manifesto about Valentine’s Day and why I love it. So I am not going to bombard you with that again. (Though feel free to read it if you haven’t!) Instead I’m going to just send a bunch of love and thanks to you, for reading this blog, or reading my books, or even just coming here randomly to check things out. Thank you! You are appreciated! And very good-looking, I might add! I hope that you have an absolutely terrific day today, and that you at least get a cupcake or some candy or something.

As my treat to you (since I can’t give you a bowlful of pink M&Ms very easily), here’s a sampling of the Valentines I hand-made this year.

Hugs! Kisses! Sickening Sweetness!