Pre-Order-Palooza

I’m not going to do a New Year Resolutions post. I’m certainly not going to put in writing that I intend to blog more in 2010 – though I do – or post the mental lists of goals that are growing ever-longer in my head.

Instead, I’ll post my list of books coming out in 2010 that I am truly, truly impatient to read. Squirmy, fidget-pants impatient. Exasperated sigh, is-it-release-day-yet? impatient. IMPATIENT!

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (1/5)

All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab (1/12)

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick (2/1)

Eleventh Grade Burns by Heather Brewer (2/9)

Gone by Lisa McMann (2/9)

Heist Society by Ally Carter (2/9)

Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (3/1)

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (3/2)

Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry (3/2)

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (3/9)

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (3/23)

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean (3/30)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (4/1)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (4/6)

Radiant Shadows by Melissa Marr (4/20)

Sisters Grimm Book 8: The Inside Story by Michael Buckley (5/1)

The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (5/4)

White Cat by Holly Black (5/4)

The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell (5/11)

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (5/18)

Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev (5/25)

Sea by Heidi Kling (6/10)

Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter (6/15)

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman (7/8)

Linger by Maggie Stiefvader (7/20)

Jealously by Lili St. Crow (7/29)

Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (8/1)

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (8/24)

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (8/31)

Ascendant by Diane Peterfreund (9/?)

Wired by Robin Wasserman (9/14)

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (10/5)

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld (10/?)

Fixing Delilah Hannaford by Sarah Ockler (fall ’10)

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger (fall ’10)

So, what have I forgotten?

I’m sure there are heaps more that should be on this list. Meanwhile, St. Matt is looking hopefully at its brevity and making a New Year’s Resolution that this will be the year he figures out a way to convince me to buy less books…

Good luck to him.

~Happy 2010~

p.s. Books I foolishly overlooked or didn’t know about ’til later – I’ll add in orange. Books I’ve read will be changed to purple.

I’ve been EVERMORE’d

There’s a scene in Alice in Wonderland where the White Rabbit oversees the playing cards as they frantically paint tulips. Yes, paint them. Because they’re supposed to be RED, not white, and the Queen of Hearts will holler: “off with their heads” if any white flowers besmirch her garden.

It’s possible the White Rabbit has visited my garden lately.

My other theory is that I’ve been Evermore’d, because when I arrived home from my weekend in Boston, this is what I saw:

What is that RED tulip doing there? I don’t remember much from high school biology, but according to Gregor Mendal’s genetic experiments with pea plants, can the recessive alleles of PINK tulips produce red ones? Okay, I guess I remembered more than I thought – but I still don’t think it’s possible.

I’m quite positive that I only planted PINK. There’s no reason I’d plant any other color – pink tulips are my favorite flowers. They were only one I’d consider for my wedding five years ago, and when every florist I consulted turned me down (“They’ll wilt in Pennsylvanian July heat”) I had 800 flown in from the Netherlands. Sidenote: They didn’t wilt.

So how did these interlopers get in my garden? If it were just one tulip, I’d blame it on a rogue bulb planted by a squirrel, but check this out:

This is the view around the side of my house. I counted, there are 11 garden-crashing tulips. St. Matt didn’t plant them; he’s not the type to plant surprise flowers and certainly not red ones. This is our fourth spring in the house, so I doubt they’ve been lying dormant this long.

The only explanation I can come up with is Damen read how Jace had recently replaced him as my Distraction Fairy. Clearly, Damen stopped by and decided to assert his dominance by planting red tulips in my garden.

Sorry, Damen & Jace – I picked up my copy of Fragile Eternity today; now you’ve both got to compete with Seth for the title.

As for the rogue rouge tulips…. Anyone have any pink paint?

My So-Called “Real” Life

On Twitter today I noticed this acronym: IRL. At first I thought it was a typo for URL, and then using my best teacherly context clues, I decoded it: In Real Life.

But as writers, don’t we have a different definition of real life than others do?

It’s not always my house in Pennsylvania, my mischievous puggles, or my saintly husband that seem the most real to me. I’ll go for a writing-run and come home not knowing which Doylestown roads I paced down, but with images of fictitious East Lake blurring past my footsteps.

There are days I’ll shave the same leg twice and emerge from the shower with my head still sudsy but full of conversation between my protagonist and her love.

Yesterday I looked up from writing – and just a blog, not even TBALMCSAP – and turned to St.Matt and said, “Hey, if you want to go for a run, you should go before it gets dark and then we’ll do dinner.”

“Tiffany, it is dark. I already ran and I cooked dinner. I ate sitting right next to you, don’t you remember?”

I didn’t. But should I admit that?

Should I confess that sometimes the settings, people, and stories in my head seem more realistic than the ones playing around me in 3-dimensions? That chasing Distraction-Fairy-Jace to Idris taints my dreams and re-directs my thoughts until I find myself surprised not to find runes carved on my own skin? Or that my kiddos’ discussions about the characters in Angie Sage’s Magyk infiltrates their math class, recess talk, and casual conversation until we’re all wishing for a cat/duck or a messenger rat? That I broke my heart and sobbed early morning tears for my main character but rolled my eyes at the co-worker drama that unfolded a few hours later?

I’ve always struggled with this – the real versus the envisioned. My imaginary friends required places at the dinner table and had an alarming habit of ducking out of the way so my dad had to make at least three attempts before he could nail them with goodnight kisses. I caused a minor scandal at the grocery store when my five-year-old self started bawling and screaming at the shopper who’d hit Harvey with her cart.

The bewildered woman looked around, “But I didn’t feel anything. Where is he?”

“He’s around the corner crying and bleeding,” I bawled and the woman went wide-eyed and white faced.

My mother, frantic at the sound of my howls, then embarrassed as she tried to reassure the terrified, apologetic shopper she hadn’t run-over my younger brother, lashed out: “Tiffany Allison, Harvey is NOT REAL. He’s imaginary. You MADE HIM UP.”

If I’d been the recipient of the cart collision, it couldn’t have hurt more than those words.

But it didn’t stop me from making things up – from creating, imagining, and living dual lives: one corporal, one mental.

It’s possible I’m alone in this. Doubtful, but possible. Even if I were,, however, I wouldn’t feel lonely. How could I? There are stories to live and create, both IRL and IMH.

He’s definitely NOT wearing a tutu

When I pictured the Distraction Fairy – which I frequently do while being distracted – I always pictured a her. And she had a pointy chin and ears, blonde hair, wings, wand, the whole sparkly shebang. Come to think of it, she looked remarkably similar to Tinkerbell, only she wore pink instead of green and obviously she has a tiara.

That’s not how I picture the fairy anymore. If you read yesterday’s blog you know that my Distraction Fairy is currently named Jace. And even though he is a blond, Jace would not don pink ruffled chiffon or a tiara for anyone. He’ll sulk, he’ll pout, he’ll be all-around angsty, but he’s not putting on a skirt.

At least he didn’t in Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones

I don’t know about City of Ashes or Glass yet because I don’t have them YET! Despite having finished book one in The Mortal Instruments Trilogy before going to bed, I don’t yet have numbers two and three.

Frustrating, I know! I turned the last page, looked around and noticed that it was dark out. I looked at the clock: 2:30 AM. Was my first thought: ‘oh geez, it’s really late and I should get to bed’? Nope. It was: ‘aw man, it’s hours before the bookstores open and I can call around to see who has the second and third books in stock.’

It’s quite possible that at this point I became a Distraction Fairy and peppered poor Emily Hainsworth with endless questions, predictions, and what-if’s about the rest of The Mortal Instruments Trilogy.

I take this to be evidence for why I need a Kindle or Sony e-book reader. With a few simple buttons I could have been blissfully re-engaged in Distraction Fairy indulgence.

I presented this argument to St.Matt when I woke him up at 3:30 AM. He disagreed. He thinks this is evidence for why I shouldn’t get a Kindle or Sony e-book reader. Let’s quote him, shall we? “You don’t need anything that’s going to make you sleep even less than you do now.”

Point taken.

But doesn’t he realize the Distraction Fairy flew away as soon as I ran out of pages to read? And then what was left? An overwhelming, itching desire to dig into TBALMCSAP revisions and not emerge for days, which isn’t an option right now.

I can do this.

It’s only an hour ‘til I go pick up doses two and three of the Jace-version of the Distraction Fairy and only two days ‘til I can bleed purple ink on TBALMCSAP.

As for St. Matt’s suggestion that Distraction Fairy take the form of culinary masterpieces or a spring cleaning binge, doesn’t he know the fairy can’t hold a wand and cook/clean at the same time? (And I seriously can’t picture Jace in a French maid’s uniform… guess I’ll have to wait and read).

Book of Wonder signing and Wonderful Liner-Uppers

I’m strict about few teacher-ly things. One of these is an orderly line in the hallways. In fact, I’m very particular about my lines – they’re to be quiet, non-running, and the students should greet any adult they pass with a “Good morning.”

Creativity and spontaneity reign in my classroom, so my regimented outlook on lining up may be puzzling– unless you happen to know that when I was in 5th grade, my arm was broken by a classmate exhibiting unruly hallway behavior. But that story is in no way related to what happened in Books of Wonder on Sunday, so we’ll save it for another time.

The lining-up thing, however, is relevant to my Books of Wonder signing experience…


Shortly after arriving at the bookstore –to remove myself from the temptation of buying more books — I wandered into the back area where the signing would be held and began checking out the artwork. I challenged the-other-Tiffany to an identifying contest, then picked out prints I’d like to have in my house and explained where I’d hang them. Basically, I prattled on while St. Matt and the-other-Tiffany nodded tolerantly and watched the store clerks set up tables and name cards.

St. Matt poked me: “Do you know there’s a line forming behind you?”

“What?” I turned. There was, in fact, a line that began behind me and reached back almost to the bookshelves. “Weird.”

I informed the girls behind us that we weren’t in-line for anything and continued to amuse myself by blathering and checking Twitter on Petunia, commenting on how – since the authors were sequestered in a room closed off by velvet drapes – they were quite literally the (wo)men behind the curtain.

The-other-Tiffany poked me: “It’s really a long line now.”

I turned again – the line was past the bookshelves and snaking back through the store. It was a good line. A great line really. Mostly single file, not too loud, people were respectful of each other’s space, no shoving, shouting or other tomfoolery was occurring. It was a line that would make any teacher proud.

Still… there wasn’t a need for a line and I hadn’t meant to start one. “Um, we’re not in line,” I said, then repeated it a little louder.

No one moved. Apparently my teacher line-up superpower overwhelmed them. The line now reached through the store and to the door. It was causing problems, blocking traffic. I was being capital-T-is-for-Tiffany-and-Trouble without meaning to. (Not that I ever really mean to cause trouble, but I have a talent for it just happening).

As I stood there alternating between being amused, anxious, and really wanting to start singing the song from Peter Pan “We’re following the leader, the leader, the leader, we’re following the leader, wherever he may go…” an announcement came on over the store’s PA system: Ladies and Gentleman, there is no reason to be in line right now. Please make yourselves comfortable, the authors will be out shortly and will be starting with a question and answer session. If you haven’t received a number for the signing that will take place after their presentation, please make your way to the front of the store to get one. There is no need for a line.

The line begrudgingly melted into a crowd-shaped blob and did the other thing I spend half my teaching day doing – sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce on the floor.
So when the authors emerged from behind their curtain, we were all ready for a class-meeting, or read aloud, or… er, a question and answer period with authors. The-other-Tiffany and I — since we’d been the front of the accidental-line — were now front row in the seated squad, which enabled us to get great pictures.

Including:

Lisa telling her Miss Spoobin story


Cassandra’s robot shoes

After each author had done her introduction, they opened the floor to audience questions. They promised a Hershey Kiss to each brave asker, but I’m sorry to say that they frequently forgot to toss them. (I think this was due to a woeful lack of accurate throwing ability). Not that the askers minded – it wasn’t the smidgen of chocolate that motivated any asking.

Some memorable questions: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Lisa: 4th grade
Beth: After 40
Elizabeth & Cassandra: I fell into writing after trying everything else

Elizabeth Scott & Cassandra Clare

Do you write or read fan fiction or read reviews?
Universally, the authors distance themselves from fan fiction (although, Lisa did allude to some mysterious, pseudonymous Survivor play-by-plays). They also agreed reading reviews ends up being more confusing than helpful for them as writers – they’re more for other readers.

Lisa McMann & Beth Fantaskey

Lisa told a sweet story about meeting Madeline L’Engle when she worked in a bookstore. Cassie talked about how her interest in history influenced her writing and also mentioned possible graphic novel/side stories that may be forthcoming. Elizabeth spoke about how Living Dead Girl was inspired by a dream she’d had four nights in a row and Beth shared how adopting her daughters motivated her to write Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side. They were all charming and engaging; I could’ve sat and listened for at least another 30 minutes before my whole bottom half fell asleep. Alas/ at last, it was time to move on to the signing portion.

An announcement was made:
Those of you with numbers 1-15 please line up for signatures. Everyone else, please make yourselves comfortable, we’ll call you up in groups by your numbers.

And what did the crowd do? Did they go mingle and chat while waiting? No. They lined up. They lined up to get in line. There was the line of numbers 1-15… and then the line of people waiting to get in line when their numbers were called. I was tempted to ask the bookstore crowd if they’d like to come back to my school and do a demonstration of advanced-hallway-behavior.

Seeing that I was older than most of the audience, I tried to keep my impatient I’m-waiting-in-line-to-meet-Lisa-McMann dancing to a subtle shuffle-in-place. I must’ve been successful because no one asked me if I needed to use the restroom.

Finally it was MY turn. (I might have cut the-other-Tiffany and seen Cassandra Clare first). I hadn’t read her books before meeting her, but yesterday’s fan enthusiasm pushed City of Bones to the top of my towering tower of TBR and I’m now almost done. (The next two are on order at the bookstore – Distraction Fairy, thy new name is Jace).


Then Lisa…

She is lovely! She was kind, gracious, and willing to chat about spoons, Twitter, Cappy the kitten, touring, school… I forgot about the line toe-tapping behind me. It was like slipping into a conversation with an old acquaintance, and even though I AM a major fan, I didn’t walk away feeling like I’d been a blathering incoherent fangirl. I walked away feeling like I’d met a kindred spirit and thinking another perk of fulfilling my author-dreams would be meeting more people like her.

P.S. There were some superstars in the audience too. Among them: Justine Larbalestier, Scott Westerfeld and BEDA-Queen, Maureen Johnson. I was quite tempted to go ask Maureen how it felt to control the free time of 400+ fans for the month of April…but decided she might not want to spend her non-computer hours discussing interwebby things. The fact that I am now mentioning this in my blog, however, is absolutely acceptable. And is in no way, shape, or form a shameless bid to have my site chosen as BEDA blog of the day…

Me, Made of Wonder

Today I’m off to Books of Wonder in NYC to see an amazing *dazzle* of YA authors. (A dazzle is really a group of zebras, but I’ve always wanted to use it in the ‘group’ sense, so we’re pretending it works. Maybe one of them will be wearing black & white? I’ll keep you posted).

Whenever I go to New York, the song from Annie pops into my head (geez, I wonder why?)

NYC, just got here this morning,
2 Friends
5 Authors
1 ME
Oh, NYC, I give you fair warning,
Up front, with squeeing, I’ll be…

I’ve got the last sixth of John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines on my iPod to keep me busy on the train so I don’t drive St.Matt or the-other-Tiffany nuts. And snacks. And books and my writer’s notebook.

But who are we kidding? When I’m this hopped up on excitement, pesting is inevitable.

Don’t worry, Petunia’s coming too, so Tweeting will continue. Pics & updates later.

***Post-Wondervent Update ***
I have photos, stories and wonder… but they’ll have to wait until tomorrow (Blame BEDA, I need 30 days worth of material, people)
Also blame one of the 3 new pairs of shoes I acquired while grocery shopping yesterday. Wearing new shoes to walk around a city is never a smart idea. Wearing new heels while walking around a city is just plain stupid.
I’m putting my stupid feet up and beginning one of my newly signed books.
See you tomorrow….
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