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Mar. 13th, 2011


New Blog

Hi all!

Exciting news.  I've launched my brand new blog, which is now incorporated into my website. Followers of my Livejournal blog could not be carried over, so please visit the new blog and feel free to follow me there. I will not be posting any new content here on LJ, but you will be able to access my archives.

You can access my new blog through my website or directly at  (this url will be changing soon).


Mar. 3rd, 2011



Just a heads-up that I'm in the process of moving my blog over to my website, so if things look a little wonky during the next couple of weeks, that's why!

Hope to have the new blog up and running shortly.


P.S. Does anyone know how to export my LJ entries to a new blog? Ideally, I'd like to be able to transfer everything over. Any insight is greatly appreciated :)

Feb. 23rd, 2011


Contest to win SEAN + iTunes

Yesterday I blogged about first love and SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD. Today I am giving away two signed copies of SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD + a $20 iTunes gift card.

How to enter: 

  1. Take a picture of the back of someone's head. Anyone's head. It can even be your head. Post the picture on your blog, your Facebook wall, Tweet the picture, just stick it somewhere online.

  2. Explain that the picture is an entry to win a copy of SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD

  3. Complete the entry form by clicking here (Sorry, it won't let me embed it.)

Easy-peasy. The contest runs through Friday March 4, after which I will notify the winners via email.

And, yes, if you want to use this contest as an excuse to take a picture of some guy you've secretly crushed on for months, fine by me. Apologize to him and roll your eyes, and explain there's this contest you really want to win, but first you need a picture of the back of his head. If he asks why his head, tell him the photo has to be of a guy with blond hair. (If he's blond. Adjust the details accordingly.)


Feb. 22nd, 2011


Sean Griswold's Head

If I were to rank the questions I receive from readers, What should I read next? definitely makes the top ten.  Later this week I'll blog about books I've read recently and adored, but today I want to talk about just one book:  SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD by Lindsey Leavitt.  Lindsey and I have been friends for a long time, and we finally got to meet in person last month, when I drove out to Park City to spend time with her and a few other authors.  She gave me a copy of SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD, and I spent the next 274 pages laughing myself to pieces.  Talk about revisiting high school.  Cute boy, check.  Awkward family moments, check.  Slightly overenthusiastic bff, check.  Sarcasm and wit in spades, check.  

I think I've mentioned before that I don't watch movie trailers because I want to be surprised, and likewise, I don't often read back-cover blurbs because, again, surprise is key.  So all I'm going to say about SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD is in this romance, the cute boy doesn't turn out to be a fallen angel/zombie/werewolf/wizard.  He's a normal guy.  A guy so real he'll probably remind you of the guy you sat behind in (insert high school class). Yeah, that guy.  The one you had a crush on all year but never did anything about.  And probably regretted it for years after.  And after reading SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD, you'll get to experience that ache all over again, ha!

I loved SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD with a capital L, and wanted to do something special to spread the word. Since SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD is about first love, I asked Lindsey if she'd be willing to guest blog about her first love.  Here's what she had to say:

My first love came along when I was sixteen. He was also my last love--my husband. There was a breakup, some time apart, and some boyfriends in between. That story, however, is more of an epic, and Becca only asked me to do a guest post. So let's talk about my first like. Let's talk about my Sean Griswold.

His name was Carson (no it wasn't, but I'm protecting the innocent). I didn't have any classes with him freshmen year, but I'd see him at school events or parties and knew general stuff about him, like what sports he played and who his friends were. Sure, I thought he was cute, but I was a freshman in high school--there were four grades of cute. I don't think we'd ever had a conversation until I was assigned to sit next to him in class sophomore year. Carson would turn around and talk to me before class, and every day I found myself looking forward to those quick conversations. He had this adorable smile that took over his whole face, and I'd count how many times I could make him laugh. Sometimes I'd sit by him at lunch and he'd eat my fritos. Sometimes he'd wave at me during volleyball practice. All safe, fun flirting. Nothing big.

And then it got bad. Stomach-wrenching, back-of-the-knees sweating BAD. I learned his schedule, developed a Carson radar. I knew he wore his socially conscience T-shirt with the peace sign every Thursday. I went to the mall and sniffed every cologne until I figured out which one was his, then I doused my pillow in his scent (sweet Cool Water, I can't believe I just admitted to that). I had never liked a boy before, not like this, and I physically got ill every time I saw him. My friends called it "Carson fever." During class I was fine, but if I turned the corner and saw him in the hallway, I would run the other way. I had to be prepared. Girls, I'm not even kidding---I wrote out possible conversation starters. 

This went on for a few months until something happened to sabotage the non-relationship. Carson started to like me back.

Or maybe he'd liked me all along, I don't know. Regardless, his flirt meter kicked up a notch. He was re-assigned to the seat behind me, and he started to put his feet up on his desk. Or, oddly enough, sometimes he'd stick them on me. In books, boys say and do the right things, but life? Stinky shoes on shoulders. The first couple of times I'd laugh about it, but then the schtick started to bug me. And the peace sign shirt he wore was ugly. And his smile was just so... big. 

One day, I kind of snapped at him when he did the shoe thing, and he said, wounded, "When did you start to hate me?"

"I don't hate you. But... your shoes are on my list."

And then all the magic was gone. I'd see him in the hallway and give a quick nod. No butterflies. Nothing. I hated myself for feeling that way and wondered if the authenticity of my "likeness" was all fake. I wondered if I'd ever be able to like a boy again because I clearly didn't know how to control or maintain my feelings.

The summer came and went, and Carson was there next to me again, in another class junior year. I wasn't in "like" with him anymore, but I wasn't annoyed with him either. When I stopped focusing on the flirting and how close his hand was to mine, I grew to realize Carson was a really great guy. We never dated. We never hooked up. But I'm grateful my Carson crush. Not only did his high school ghost whisper to me while I wrote SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD, but he taught me a lot about the difference of LIKE and LOVE. And, of course, if I was still hung up on Carson, I would never had that historical first date with the funny boy in my physiology class. But, like I said, that's another story.

Becca again.  So now the only question is...who was your first love?  Permission granted to share your deepest, darkest secrets :)

I'll go first.  My very first crush happened in the sixth grade.  His name was Todd J. and he sat next to me in reading class.  He was smart, cute and a little nerdy.  On Valentine's Day he wrote me a poem about how much he liked my glasses.  I don't remember what I gave him in return.  Fortunately, as far as I know, he never blogged about it...




Feb. 18th, 2011


Smoochies Awards

I've blogged four consecutive days. My goal is seven. I'm going to cheat today and count someone else's video as blogging. I think I can get away with it, especially since I filmed a tiny segment of the video.


Every year on Valentine's Day, the Smoochies Awards are announced. The Smoochies honor the best kisses in YA lit, and this year, CRESCENDO won an award! Thanks to everyone who voted for Patch and Nora. I'm not sure exactly which kissing scene won, and I'll leave that up to your imagination! Here are the winners:


Best Otherworldly Kiss: CRESCENDO

Best Realistic Kiss: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins

Best Overall Kiss: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins


I've read ANNA and couldn't agree more--it's sexy, quirky and the kissing is electric!  Highly, highly recommended. 


Stephanie and I both give our acceptance speeches in the video, hosted by Josh Berk. If you're short on time, my segment starts at 4:30.


Dream cast

First, a disclaimer. This is my HUSH, HUSH saga dream cast as of this exact moment. Likely, by tomorrow, I will have changed my mind. So if two months from now you read an interview where I mention a completely different list of actors, don't blame me. Blame my indecisiveness. Also, I want to make it very clear I have not sold the movie rights to HUSH, HUSH so this dream cast is just that...a dream cast.


One more thing. I left out Patch intentionally. Read into that however you like.

First up, Leighton Meester as Nora Grey


Arielle Kebbel as Vee Sky.  Only she'd need to gain about forty pounds...

AnnaSophia Robb as Marcie Millar

Channing Tatum as Scott Parnell 


Emma Stone as Dabria 

Ed Norton as Hank Millar 

Louis Prades as Rixon.  Only Irish, not French.

Gaspard Ulliel as Chauncey Langeais. 

Jay Hernandez as Detective Basso 



Feb. 17th, 2011


Suck it up

In high school I ran cross-country and track. I remember liking all of my coaches, but there were a couple I truly loved. Coach Edwards instantly comes to mind. Every day after school, Coach Edwards met us on the track wearing a royal-blue windbreaker and too-short shorts (no offense, Coach). My teammates and I never knew what Coach had in store. Sometimes he'd send us on a relatively easy eight-mile run. Other times, he'd take us to one of a handful of viaducts in town and make us run hills. (Yes, in Nebraska, the hills are man-made.) My least favorite practices were when Coach made us run ladders, otherwise known as interval training. Ladders were, by far, the hardest part of our training.

Halfway through a ladder workout, I was sucking air, red in the face, and my thoughts turned negative. The mere idea of sprinting another 400 meters had the power to break me. At this point, the lowest of all, Coach gave us a pep talk. His pep talks were always the same and consisted of three words. Suck. It. Up.


He didn't say it in a demeaning voice. Rather, he said it with encouragement. Suck it up. Do what needs to be done. This is where runners are separated from champions.


Even though I think he'd be surprised to hear it, I've applied Coach's advice to several areas of my life over the years. Most recently, I've applied it to writing. Just like I used to show up at track practice with no idea what was in store, I often sit down at my computer with no idea what kind of writing day I'll have. Some days are easy, and the words flow. Some days I run into brick wall after brick wall. Some days I feel utterly overwhelmed and wonder if I'm really meant to write.


For me, the most overwhelming day of the year is always that very first day when the Editorial Letter arrives. Editorial letters can be anywhere from one page in length to twenty. Maybe even more. The letter comes directly from the editor and its purpose is to give the author a blueprint for revisions. But the day I receive the letter, that's not what I see. I see page after page detailing every last thing that is wrong with my novel. The letter screams, YOUR NOVEL SUCKS!


I remember when HUSH, HUSH's editorial letter arrived. I believe it was about four pages long. The edits took three grueling weeks to complete. I was shocked by the amount of scenes my editor wanted me to either tweak, rewrite or cut. I truly believed she was asking me to edit the story beyond recognition.


Fast forward to CRESCENDO. I didn't exactly receive an editorial letter with this book. Instead, my editor Skyped me, and we talked for hours. In retrospect, I think there was so much wrong with the story, it was easier to hash it out face-to-face rather than put it down on paper. Likely, the letter itself would have been longer than the book! By the end of the Skype call, I had scribbled pages of notes. Change entire mystery thread. Change identity of villain. Create rift between character A and character B. Character C needs a boyfriend. Drop this whole plot thread. Ax this scene. Need more tension here. I sobbed. Instead of a quick three-week edit, I spent months rewriting CRESCENDO. And every day of every one of those months I gave myself a pep talk.


Suck it up.


Now I'm anxiously awaiting my editorial letter for SILENCE. Interestingly enough, I'm not as apprehensive as maybe I should be. I feel like I learned a lot during the editing of CRESCENDO, and even though I never thought I'd say this, I'm glad I had to go through it. It made me improve, as work always does. And I'm determined not to make the same mistakes again, ha!


I know a good portion of my blog readers are also writers, so in the spirit of Coach Edwards, no matter where you stand with your current manuscript, SUCK IT UP. And I mean that with buckets of love and encouragement. Most of all, I mean it for myself.

For more of my thoughts on editorial letters, go here.

Feb. 16th, 2011


Be nice

I sat down at my computer tonight intending to write about general writing tips, but thought I'd breeze over to Twitter first, just in case I was missing out on ground-breaking news. Like, you know, Borders filing for bankruptcy. I could wax poetic on my feelings on that subject, but since I'm an author and a reader, I figure my stance is probably pretty obvious. But back to the subject at hand. Before starting this post, I swung by Twitter and discovered a link to a blog Lilith Saintcrow wrote in September 2006 on why the hard sell doesn't work. She gave several excellent tips on breaking into the publishing industry, and if that's your goal, I'd highly recommend reading the entire post. Here's a link. One part of her post in particular stood out to me, and I'm going to quote it here:

“Publishing is really a small business. You never know when the person you’re rude to on a convention panel or in an elevator at a trade show may hold the power of life or death over your wee manuscript in the future. It’s best to be tactful and interested in other people at cons and shows, not to mention writer’s group meetings.” --Lilith Saintcrow


Publishing is a small business. Simply put, everyone knows everyone. Instead of the “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” we play the “Six degrees of Julie Strauss-Gabel.”


But back to writing, or rather, publishing tips. Since I turned SILENCE in to my editor last week, I've been playing catch-up with my email. One of the most popular questions I'm seeing is some form of this: “I'm an aspiring author and I was wondering if you could share tips on writing and breaking into the industry?”


This is a tough question to answer. I always feel like I need more information before I can give a solid answer. Often, I want to write back with a few questions of my own. Are you an aspiring author with a seed of an idea, or do you have a finished manuscript? Are you part of a critique group, and have the members given you feedback on your manuscript? Do you know what a query letter is? (It's fine if you don't, it just means my answer will be different.) Do you have an agent?


Regardless of the answers to these questions, I think there is one piece of advice that is universal, no matter where you find yourself on the path to publication. And that is: be nice. Be courteous. Be generous. As Lilith Saintcrow says, Be tactful. Be interested.


Be humble.


Let me tell you a story. In the weeks leading up to HUSH, HUSH's publication, I thought reading early reviews of the book would be helpful. Or maybe I didn't even think that. Maybe it all boiled down to simple curiosity. But whatever the reason, I frequently visited Goodreads and Amazon, determined to learn what people thought of my book. As you might expect, there were glowing reviews, mediocre reviews, and scathing reviews. One particular review that fell into the latter category caught my eye. I stewed over it for a few days, and eventually forgot about it.


Fast forward several months. An email arrived from an editor asking if I'd be interested in reading a manuscript. If you're two steps ahead, you might have already guessed that the author of the manuscript was none other than the author of the scathing review I had, up until this point, forgotten about. The editor introduced herself and made the comment that her author adored HUSH, HUSH and would love if I'd read her book with an eye toward writing a blurb. It was an awkward situation, to say the least. In the end, I did the only thing I felt appropriate: I laughed it off, then politely informed the editor I was swamped and unable to read the manuscript, but thanked her for thinking of me.


You might think I turned down reading the manuscript out of revenge or to give the author the finger, so to speak. I hope I'm not that petty. The reason I decided not to read the manuscript was because I wondered what would happen if I did read it...and loved it. What if I sent the editor a handful of glowing words, and she decided to stick them on the front cover of her author's book? Would the author love having my praise splashed on her cover? Probably not. In the end, I decided to take the higher road and let the author breathe easy. (It didn't slip my mind that the ultimate revenge would have been making sure my name got on the cover of her book. But again. Higher road. Always the better path.)


Interestingly enough, this once-aspiring author didn't limit her somewhat rantish reviews to HUSH, HUSH. She'd made quite a habit of belittling authors' books along the way, and I suppose it comes to no surprise that, as far as I know, she was never able to find an author to blurb her book. This isn't to say an aspiring author can't be honest when writing reviews, but if your goal is to be published, it might serve you well to drop the books you don't love, and talk up the ones you do. You don't have to love every book, every time. But I think a bit of courtesy in saying, “This wasn't for me, and here's why,” says volumes about you as a reviewer and a person. No one wants to start their career surrounded by nothing but a lot of burned bridges.


Whether you believe in karma, the Golden Rule, or the old saying, “What goes around comes around,” all have stood the test of time. If you want agents, editors and authors to respect you, take the first step. Extend kind words. Talk up books you love. Be polite and respectful at conferences. Attend author book signings. All of these things will go along way.


So, yes. That's my publishing tip of the day. Be nice.



Feb. 10th, 2011


Angeli nell' Ombra

Posting this book trailer, too, because I simply loved it.  I don't understand a word of Italian (okay, maybe ciao) but I don't think you need to understand the words to realize this teaser captures the tone of CRESCENDO perfectly.  



Hi guys!

At long last! I am thrilled to finally announce the title of the third book in the Hush, Hush saga! If you follow me on Twitter, or if you're a fan of my Facebook page, you've probably noticed there has been (just a little!) drama surrounding this title recently. Ever since I decided Tempest wasn't the right title for the book, I've been on the search for a worthy replacement. I spent weeks sorting through titles and, in the end, for one reason or another, none of them felt right.

I always thought the title of the third book would be loud— something a crescendo would build up to. And it made sense; the storyline of the third book is daring and twisty and oh so romantic. Which is why I was surprised to find, in the end, the title I chose isn't flashy or loud or culminating. Instead, it's a haunting word, quietly powerful, filled with mystery and beauty. A word that means to put doubt, fear and anxiety to rest. A word that is synonymous with stillness, secrecy and all that is forgotten.

The noise between Patch and Nora is gone in this book. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever.

With much pleasure, I give you the title of the third book...



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