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Pre-Orders For Morgan

Below is a blog post I’d written last August while working on edits on Send Me A Sign and dreaming of a time fourteen months from then when my book would be in bookstores.
It’s something I believed in strongly then—and that was before cancer went and made it personal, stealing someone very special from me this year. One of my former students, Morgan, passed away from cancer in January.
Morgan was a fighter. I’d like to follow her example and fight back too—and you can help. Read the details below or by clicking HERE.

As many of you know, my debut novel, SEND ME A SIGN, comes out in a month.

I'd like to make it obsolete – and you can help.

Now, before the publicity and sales departments at Walker-Bloomsbury have a collective heart attack, let me explain: Send Me A Sign is about a teenager with leukemia. It's about a lot of other things, too: love, luck, music, friends, alliteration… but leukemia plays a large role. And did you know that leukemia is the most common form of cancer for young people?

If this were to change, if we could find a cure to this awful disease, then my this part of my book would be… obsolete.

Imagine if in five, ten, fifteen years, everyone who picks up the novel could say, "Wow, cancer. Remember that? I'm so glad we cured it."

And here's how you can help.

You were planning on buying my book anyway, right? Well, for every person who pre-orders my book between now and its release date, October 2nd, I will donate one dollar in Morgan's memory to be split between two cancer charities: The Dear Jack Foundation and Sunshine Kids.

Here's what you need to do:
1) Pre-order my book (links below)
2) Send me proof (photo of receipt, forward email confirmation of order, etc) to SendMeASignBook {at} gmail.com
3) Pat yourself on the back

Thank you for helping make my book obsolete. Thank you for helping me honor Morgan's memory.

And thanks for reading it, too!

Handy-dandy pre-order links:

IndieBound * Doylestown Bookshop * Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Pre-orders through Doylestown Bookshop will be signed and include bookmarks/surprise swag.
If pre-ordering through Doylestown Bookshop, please indicate whether you would like your book shipped or will be attending the release party on October 5th .

If you have any questions, please email me at SendMeASignBook {at } gmail.com

Nothing Screams Doubt Like a Blank Page


Every time I start a new writing project I’m convinced that I’ve completely forgotten how. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve faced a blank screen, part of me is convinced that THIS TIME will be the time I totally blow it. That everything before now is a FLUKE. And I will never, ever remember how to write a book again.
During this panic stage, I’m unusually susceptible to outside influences. This is when I’m convinced I should try things like Journaling From The Characters’ Perspective, Making Story Collages, and worst of all: OUTLINING.
I’m totally not judging these activities. I think they’re fabulous and super-useful for people whose names aren’t Tiffany Schmidt.
But despite knowing I’m the pajama-pantsiest of pantsers, I sat down yesterday morning and dutifully typed up Chapter 1 – then bullet pointed the things I wanted to happen in it.
I made it to Chapter 2 before I started squirming in my seat. By Chapter 3 I was checking Twitter and Facebook and pacing the kitchen. Chapter ? (yeah, I stopped numbering after 4) had me in full-body twitch mode, digging through the cabinets to try and discover where St.Matt had hidden the leftover jelly beans.
Luckily, by the time I got to Chapter ???? – Unknown Plan is Executed with Stuff & Scariness, I gave up. I woke up. (and part of me wanted to THROW UP – I really think I’m allergic to planning).
Then I did what I should have done all along – the thing that’s served me well on every other book…
I started writing the kissing scenes and dialogue first.
Sometimes you just have to know your writing style. And more importantly, BELIEVE in your process. It may not work for anyone else, but if it works for you, cling to it like a baby koala bear.
What’s yours?

The Lucky 7

When I'm mad at my dear, dear friend Scott Tracey, I call him Scottopher. It has more heft as a lecture name, don't you think? "Scottopher Tracey, get down here this minute! And no dessert for you!"

Well, Scottopher is getting All The Looks this morning & I'm not mailing him any of the cinnamon buns I made this week. What was he thinking tagging me in a writer chain letter? He knows how I feel about luck.*

My debut novel, Send Me a Sign, is ABOUT superstition--- if I break the chain, that's probably like spitting on a black cat or playing paintball in a funhouse mirror room.

So here are the rules (copied straight from Scott's post)
Open your most recent novel or work-in-progress.

Turn to page 7 or page 77.

Count 7 lines down.

Copy (or read aloud in a vlog post) the next 7 sentences…in their entirety.
No cheating or editing!!!

Then tag 7 more authors!
And here is my snippet -- it's an email my MC (Della) receives early in the book. And it's exactly seven sentences.
Della. I’m sorry. So sorry. I never meant for this to get out. I know I promised I’d delete it. I’m so sorry. So sorry.

This is from my current contemp WIP. Codename: Full Nuder**

Oh. And my seven people:
*Scottopher, I’m not really mad. In case you were worried, which you weren’t because my anger is about as scary as a rage-filled cupcake.
** Yes, this does make me gigglefit EVERY time.
*** Remember that book I was raving about in my last post, The Archived? She's sharing from THAT!

Send Me A Sign -- Cover Reveal

When I was a wee little implette, I was the child who made you stop and admire her shoes, or cluck over her band-aid, or examine the worm crawling across the driveway.

Look! was one of my first words, and I used it frequently.

I’ve been using it a lot today too – because…

LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! It’s the cover for SEND ME A SIGN.


Do you love it? I do! It captures the wistful whimsy so well. And with all of Mia’s superstitions, I can make lists and lists of the wishes she’d make if that dandelion were in her hands.

Today my only wish is that you like the cover as much as I do! And that you enter my contest, of course.

I’m giving away

200 signed Send Me A Sign Bookmarks
50 *surprise* “lucky” swag packs
3 – Send Me A Sign bracelets.


Aren’t they gorgeous?! -- The talented Mindy Kuen made them for me -- click here to order your own.

To enter, please go HERE

...but, maybe before you do, scroll up for one last look :)

Leave Me Breathless...

Yeah, I know, the title* of this post makes it sound like I'm about to launch into a romance story. Not so much.

Though I do love the books I'm about to giveaway.

I was lucky enough to have the Breathless Reads tour come to my town on Sunday night. It doesn’t get much more wonderful than having four fabulous authors delivered down the street from your house.
 
Even better, I got to spend some time with fellow Apocalypsies Eve Marie Mont and Elise Ludwig 











while we listened to Beth Revis, Jessica Spotswood, Marie Lu, and Andrea Cremer share their authorly wisdom.











But I already have all their books, so these signed copies are for you.

And see that cute poster I'm holding in that photo?  I’m giving away two of those as well.

I'll choose two winners:

#1 Will receive a poster, and signed copies of Across The Universe and Legend.

#2 Will receive a poster and signed copies of Born Wicked and Nightshade.

All you have to do is comment on my blogger account and let me know one thing that leaves you breathless. It can be anything, I'll even start.

Running, leaves me breathless—I'm still waiting the point when I can drop the getting from getting in shape and just be in shape.

Finn, from BORN WICKED, also leaves me a little breathless and swoony.


Feel free to enter more than once – just leave a new comment for each breath-thief and I'll count it as a new entry.

I'll choose the winners randomly on Friday during the Schmidtlets' afternoon nap.

Have fun & good luck!




*Have I dated myself with this? You DO know this song, right?

Hearts & Halos


Baby hands by The Pip Squeak, Sign by Landee on Etsey

This, found on Pinterest and bought on Etsy, is part of St. Matt's Valentine's Day present. Don't tell him, I haven't given it to him yet.
And, while our story will always be my favorite, I know there are so many other lovely love stories out there too. In fact, why don't you skip on over to the Apocalypsies site and check out some fabulous Who Do We Love shout outs.

No worries, St. Matt's on there, halo and all.

A Date! A Date!

No, not with St.Matt – though we'll be going out tonight to celebrate.

This is a date YEARS in the making. Years and so many pages and hours and words.

It's my RELEASE DATE.

READY? (and, by ready, I mean: do you have your calendar out and pen uncapped? Or, more likely, do you have your calendar app open and your thumbs poised to type?).


Sounds like a pretty good date, doesn't it?


*Things that make it even better? I get to share a release date with one of best friends in the world – Emily Hainsworth.

** Info on release parties and such will be forthcoming, but, seriously we've got some time. Even uber-planners like me don't have all the details hammered out 37 weeks early.


***If you don't want to miss any updates, make sure you *Like* my Facebook page 


****Shamrock border from: http://imagesbyheatherm.wordpress.com/tag/shamrock/

Feeling Apocalyptic

I was lucky enough to spend the moment 2011 gave way to 2012 at a wedding surrounded by friends and in formal wear. I'd almost, almost made it to 12 o'clock in my heels.

But when the countdown hit one and people cheered and toasted and kissed, the moment felt extra, extra exciting. And not just because of St.Matt's midnight kiss.

It's 2012.
Twenty-twelve!*


SEND ME A SIGN comes out in October 2012. So, this means it's FINALLY my publication year.  How could that not add an extra sizzle to the ball-drop countdown?

Yesterday, when The Schmidtlets woke us up after not nearly enough sleep—5 a.m., really? Couldn't they tell we only got to bed at 2?—I had another  moment of IT'S MY YEAR.
In which The Wild Imp says: Who needs sleep? And check out my cute Apocalypsie shirt? Auntie Em gave it to me.

I know that realistically, 1/1/2012 is only ONE day nearer to October than 12/31/2011, but it feels so much closer. And I've always valued feelings more than facts.**

So, Happy Twenty-Twelve!

And while you're waiting for October, do what I plan to do — keep yourself distracted by reading fabulous books by all the other Apocalypsies.

In which The Pip Squeak says: Go read Apocalypsie books RIGHT NOW!

What a fabulous year it's going to be!
In which The Schmidtlets demonstrate how 2012 has shoved 2011 out of the way and The Wild Imp goes splat.


*This is what we've agreed to call it, right? Not Two Thousand and Twelve?
**Much to the dismay of my sainted engineer.

Copyedits Colored Pencil Comparison

Copyedits! They're here!

I've been so excited about their pending arrival that I've had my colored pencils for weeks. I bought the erasable kind -- thinking I was soooo brilliant.

Until I tried to write with them.

Must. Press. Down. So. Very. Hard. And they kinda skip. It was like trying to be precise while writing with a crayon.

I handed one to St.Matt and without my prompting he said: "They're like writing with crayons."

"New colored pencils!" I demanded. Actually, it was less of demand and more of an exclamation. Perhaps a proclamation: "Let us buy ALL the colored pencils!"

And then I whined to Emily Hainsworth**
that all my planning was for naught. She seconded my
demand/exclamation/proclamation and suggested a comparison -- so all the credit for this brilliant idea goes to her.

I limited myself to five brands, because, let's be serious -- I've now got sixty-two colored pencils and I plan to use... ONE.

And, in a further show of self-restraint, I wouldn't let myself buy the
Staedtler brand (even though they make my very most favorite revision
pens EVER) because I didn't need a fancy pack for one pencil.**

To make this all scientific-ish, I sharpened each colored pencil with
the same plastic sharpener. Wrote the brand, shaded, and signed my name with each.*** I used the same eraser to attempt to erase each -- and swiped it the same number of swipes (7 swipes).

Here are the results:


To be fair, these were more "erasable" when you used the attached eraser. They're also the hardest to write with & the least precise. Erasability is not worth it.


A little more precise than the erasable version... and just slightly less erasable.


The most erasable of the bunch. Decent precision. Tricky to sharpen -- the tip kept crumbling


This was my second favorite.


Least erasable but most precise -- go figure.

At the end of the day, excepting the Erasables, they're all fairly similar. I ended up deciding to use the Prismacolor because the local Michael's sells them as singles. St.Matt pointed out that if**** I happen to lose or break it, I can then go buy just another pencil, instead of a whole 'nother set.

I feel a sudden urge to write a lab report. Or do another experiment. I wonder if we have vinegar and baking soda.

Or Coke and Mentos!

No worries, we DO have safety goggles.

But I also have copyedits! Mayhaps I will put my scientific urges on pause until all my editing and STETing is complete.

UPDATE - The brilliant & talented Nova Ren Suma***** just told me: Copy editors use Ticonderoga or Col-Erase colored pencils... Others are too soft.

Oh. *looks at the half pencil left after one night of sharpening & resharpening to maintain a tip* This makes A LOT of sense.  I've already ordered a pack -- they should be here tomorrow and then I'll add their photo to the collection.

Thanks, Nova!

UPDATE The Second - They're here ---

The precision! The erasability! Dream come true. I got so excited I cut off the last letter of my last name. 

Which office supply should I test next?!******

* Actually, my brilliance should probably always be attributed to Miss Emily. I love her dearly. Maybe I'll send her 61 colored pencils for Christmas.  

**Though if anyone has used Staedtler colored pencils and thinks they're awesome, let me know and I'll be all about getting them when it's time for book two. 

***My signature is normally MUCH neater. I'm having a bad handwriting day -- possibly caused by post-birthday-party-too-much-sugar jitters.

****He actually said WHEN I lose or break it, I edited his statement to give myself the benefit of the doubt

***** Seriously, if you haven't read Imaginary Girls go add it to your Christmas list NOW. And then start behaving so Santa complies. 

****** I mean, Sorry, I've got to go do my copyedits.

One!

Why is it that sincere thank you notes are so much harder than ones you're indifferent about?

Today I sat down to write the most grateful thank you note I've ever written, probably ever will write, and the words just would not come.

The note was for the NICU staff at the hospital where the twins were born. A year ago St.Matt was on the first floor watching football and I was upstairs bedresting and reading --- and my water broke.

The Schmidtlets were two months early. They were tiny. I wasn't ready and they weren't either. Nothing in my years of babysitting or in our baby care classes had prepared me for incubators and feeding tubes and picc lines and lungs that kept collapsing and collapsing. Tubes and tubes and tubes taped all over my babies. Babies I wasn't allowed to hold. The Wild Imp – who wasn't wild, he was medicated and sedated into oblivion — I wasn't even allowed to touch because he was in so much pain.

 And the NICU staff somehow held me together, gave me strength, taught me about gavage feeding, and breast-feeding, pneumothorax, and infant CPR. What every bell, alarm, and squiggly line on their monitors meant — how to tell a false alarm from an apnea or bradycardiac event. How to touch a preemie so that he wasn't over-stimulated and didn't hurt. 
They were there to clap when St. Matt changed his first diaper. And to laugh when Asher managed to pee out the porthole on his incubator. They cheered with us when the boys began to self-regulate their body temps and we could finally dress them. Clothing, snaps, laundry!– this seemed like such a major victory at the time – and we all looked at the too-big size-preemie outfit and said "he'll grow into it."
And they've grown so big.  They're so healthy. They're so happy and giggly. They're so mischievous and chatterboxy –-- no clue where they get that from.

I'm so blessed.

So appreciative of all the help, support, and love the NICU staff lavished on us during our month-long stay.

I thought, way back a year ago, that I couldn’t possibly love anyone more than I did those palm-size babies.

How wrong I was.


Happy 1st birthday, Schmidtlets

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