Bright Before Sunrise

The best things in my life come in TWOs.

Obviously there’s my favorite duo – The Schmidtlets.

Look, Momma, we can edit too…

Then there’s my pair of puggles.

Being this adorable is *exhausting*

And now I’m adding a new two to the list: A SECOND BOOK DEAL!

I’m thrilled to share that my second book – Bright Before Sunrise - will be published by Walker-Bloomsbury in winter 2014!

Here’s a little more about Bright Before Sunrise, which is dual-perspective (See! TWO narrators!) and takes place over the course of a single night.

 When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, “miserable” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother’s first marriage; and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real… until she breaks up with him. 
For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she’s really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand.  She’s determined to change his mind, and when they’re stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance. 
Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.? 
One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.  

I can’t wait to share Bright Before Sunrise with you all! HUGE thank yous to my amazing agent, Joe Monti. And I’m very excited to be working with Emily Easton and the rest of the Walker-Bloomsbury crew on BBS.

I’m feeling so lucky and blessed and giddy… I feel like I should go celebrate with something that comes in a two-pack.

…if only Twinkies weren’t gross.

Any celebratory suggestions?!

*squee*

Bonus Twin AND Puggle photo – Yes, it’s old… YOU try getting all FOUR to sit still and pose ;)

Benefits of insomnia… I can do this!

It wasn’t a lack of interest that was keeping me from Dust of 100 Dogs, but rather a lack of backbone.

I didn’t grow one over the weekend, but the visually stunning and slightly creepy cover sitting on my kitchen counter began to taunt me. Also, I got tired of feeling like the kid at school who doesn’t know the inside joke. Quite simply, I was sick of feeling left out: “What are you talking about guys? Huh? Huh? Tell me. I want to know.” And all the other readers looked at me disdainfully: “Oh, you wouldn’t get it because you haven’t read D100D.” I’ve already survived middle school once – I refuse to go back to that place again.

Although apparently I haven’t out-grown peer pressure…

I was going to start reading it this weekend, but the writing bug bit. Hard! I think it drew blood and left a bruise. Not that I’m complaining, I’m *thrilled!* that I was able to finish the first draft of my WIP (working title/synopsis: The-Book-About-Leukemia-MacGyver-Cheerleading-Superstitions-And-Playlists. TBALMCSAP for short). There was no time for reading. Yesterday I didn’t shower or get out of my pajamas until 5 pm. (Okay, I’ll say it with you: ewwwww!)

I was barely even a presence in the Twittersphere. And sleep? Forget it. The writing bug’s bite is made of caffeine (or maybe that was just the pots of coffee St. Matt made me each night before he and the puggles went up to bed). I don’t know the total number of hours I slept from Friday ‘til this morning – I don’t think I want to know, and I doubt I could do the math at this point anyway. Suffices to say, the number would be a single digit.

But this is GREAT! No, that’s not just the sleep deprivation talking. This is great because I know I’m going to sleep tonight. Like a baby made out of rock who’s overdosed on Nyquil. So all my fear of D100D keeping me up all night – no longer relevant!

I may still be an invertebrate, but my D100D problem is solved.

Can’t wait to join the cool kids club and discuss it when I’m done!

The Forest of Hands & Teeth (and getting NO sleep!)

Remember that zombie thing I wrote about the other day? How I said I felt like my life was overrun by them? It’s baaaack.

Today, to celebrate being done with the play, I figured I’d stop by my local bookstore and treat myself to a book. Okay, three books. I may have also ordered two more…

One of the books I bought was Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Feet. There’s been such buzz about it on Twitter & the blogs, and it even has a snazzy u-tube video.

And it’s about zombies.

Yeah, I missed that part. Even after I saw the video, I was thinking more along the lines of M. Night Shayamalan’s The Village or Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Running Out of Time. I didn’t think of zombies. Clearly, this was an oversight on my part. I should constantly be thinking about zombies these days. In fact, if I have two consecutive non-zombie thoughts, someone should come bop me on the forehead like they do on the V8 commercials and ask me what I was thinking!

Except, prior to this fall I had never read or seen anything featuring a zombie – unless you count the music video for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which I don’t. I’ve still never seen a zombie movie – which should make March 20th interesting.

Zombies. Except, I don’t believe they’re actually called zombies anywhere in the The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which is amazing, by the way. Also, it’s finished, or rather, I’ve finished it. I decided to read a few pages before I went to bed tonight. Now it’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m too scared to sleep. Since I’d have to get up in less than 30 minutes anyway, there’s no point in chancing nightmares.

This is not a story of slow immersion, one where you gradually get used to the characters and plot. This is a story that you cannonball into and gasp for breath as you hit the icy waters. You continue to gasp for breath because there’s no getting comfortable in a world where someone is always – literally – waiting to grab at you from all angles.

The characters are complex and conflicted – you want to shake them and tell them what to do – but you understand their complexities and conflicts. I found myself empathizing even when I disagreed and weighted by the choices Mary faced.

One particular aspect of this book that I loved was Mary’s character; she is so remarkable, admirable and strong. She not defined by a man, nor is she completed by one. Mary’s goals and longings may be affected by love, but she doesn’t dissolve and become an extension of the hero.

Bravo, Carrie Ryan! I hope you’re getting lots of writing done in that Irish castle because I can’t wait to see what you come out with next.

So back to zombies. I think I might need to read more of the Zombie Survival Guide. Maybe even buy my own copy.

Of course, if the zombie apocalypse started today, I’m totally out of luck. There’s not enough caffeine in the world to combat the zombifying effects of fear-inspired sleep-deprivation.

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