Thursday, May 29, 2014

Busy weekend

I am signing ARCs of I Wish today (Thursday at 1pm) at BEA in New York City.

Then it's off to Mississippi. I have another signing Sunday at the Barnes&Noble in Tupelo, 2pm.

There was a Neil Patrick Harris sighting today at BEA; that's my daughter talking to him.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Gracias, danke, thank you

Today we celebrate Memorial Day in the United States and take the opportunity to thank the men and women who paid with their all to keep the world free.

Let me share my deepest gratitude to members of the Armed Forces, to those we've lost and to those who continue to work vigilantly for freedom.

Here are a few of my favorite links to articles or video that honor those who have served:


Thank you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tupelo event

For those of you who live near Tupelo, Mississippi, I have a book signing there soon.

Join me at the Barnes and Noble in Tupelo (at Barnes Crossings Mall) on:
  • Sunday, June 1
  • 2:00-4:00pm

If we want to reserve a book (to ensure availability), call them at 662-791-7828 or request a "Pick Up in Store" from the B&N website:

Friday, May 16, 2014

BEA 2014

Are you going to Book Expo America in New York City last weekend in May?  If so, I'll be there Thursday (May 29).

You'll have two opportunities to meet me.
  • Book-signing: I'll be signing copies of my November release, I Wish, at 1:00 pm in the Spencer Hill Booth.  Join me and fellow author Jennifer Murgia.
  • Bookblogger Breakfast: You can join me and fellow authors Jennifer Armentrout, and A. R. Kahler for breakfast and conversation at 7:30 am Thursday morning.  To purchase or win tickets for one of the limited seats:
    • Tickets may be purchased for $15 each and will include breakfast and swag goodie bags.  Tickets will be on a first come-first served basis, but they can be purchased at any time from NOW until 11:59 PM MONDAY, MAY 26 (Memorial Day). Send your name from an email that can take replies to breakfast@spencerhillpress.com and say that you want to attend the Thursday breakfast!
    • Spencer Hill Press will confirm your reservation for up to two seats with instructions on how to pay via PayPal. Payments must be received within 24 hours of the confirmation. They will also maintain a wait-list.
    • To WIN tickets, entrants should send their names to breakfast@spencerhillpress.com from email addresses that can receive replies. Two (2) individual, single-seat winners will be chosen from all requests. Send your name to breakfast@spencerhillpress.com from 12:01 AM until 11:59 PM on FRIDAY, MAY 16. All winners of free tickets will be chosen through random.org and informed within 24 hours of the raffle's close.  Reservation confirmations may take up to 72 hours from email notice of receipt for confirmation to ensure payment completion.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Whisper Falls Question - How does the waterfall work?


How does the waterfall work? What are the time travel rules?

The simple explanation: The waterfall serves as an express elevator between years.

I based "time travel" in this series on an ancient theory of time known as spiral time.  In this theory, time is not linear. It does not move in a straight line (linear). It spirals--like a coil, spring, or "slinky."

Another way to model time in the Whisper Falls series is to view it like a round building. Each floor represents one year. (Or--each floor is 365 days in circumference.) In the first book, there are 220 floors stacked on top of each other. The bottom floor is 1796. The top floor is 2016. 

There are 6 rules that the waterfall follows to allow Mark and Susanna to travel through time.

  1. Travel always occurs on the same day between centuries. If it's July 4th in 1796, then it is July 4th in 2016. You can think of it as an "express elevator" in the round building metaphor. If you get on the December 9th elevator in the 19th century, then you get off on December 9th in the 21st century. 
  2. Time progresses at the same pace between centuries.  If Mark visits 1796 and stays for 24 hours, then 2016 has moved forward 24 hours as well. For instance, if Mark traveled to the past on June 2nd and stayed one full day, then he'll need to ride the June 3rd "express elevator" back up to 2016.
  3. Present-day is always the destination of any travel to the future. Susanna cannot choose to travel to a future year other than Mark's world. In the round building metaphor, Mark's life always awaits them on the top floor. For books 1 and 2, that is 2016. For book 3, it's 2017. The express elevator only travels up to the 21st century.
  4. The waterfall allows Susanna to suggest a year in the past that she wants to travel to. Susanna can ask the waterfall to change the "bottom floor" to years later than 1796.  For instance, if she asked to go to 1800, Whisper Falls could take her there.
  5. The waterfall can refuse to take Susanna somewhere if it deems that too dangerous. If she wanted to visit the American Civil War, for example, the waterfall would've refused.
  6. Once Susanna has visited a date in the past, she can't go further back.  She can only ask for dates  that are moving forward.  For instance, if she visits October 1, 1800, she may never again travel to a time that is earlier than October 1, 1800.
[I often get questions about the Whisper Falls series.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them in the FAQ on my website too.]

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Legacy

In the USA, it's Mother's Day.

The lovely thing about this holiday is the opportunity to thank the generations of women who've loved and raised children.

I have an amazing mother--witty, talented, and capable--but this posting is not about her.  It's about two generations of mothers who molded her and my father.

Let me introduce you to four women from my family who forged their own paths and thereby gave permission for the rest of us to do the same.

image of tea roses


Marianna, mother to my father, was born 2 months after the Titanic sank. Raised by her widowed mother and 2 older sisters, Marianna came into her own in the Roaring 20s. An artist, student, teacher, mother, and friend, she loved her kids, grands, and greats with her own unique brand of intensity.

While I was writing I Wish, I sought her advice about a scene where my heroine takes 2-D art.

Me: What can someone with no talent learn in an art class?
Marianna:  Have her sketch her hand.
Me: Why?
Marianna: Hands speak, dear one. The wise will see past the skill.

Lacey, mother to my mother, embraced life with fervor until she left us at age 84, laughing and cooking at the stove.  She attended college, married the first time (not my grandfather) around 1930, and divorced less than a year later.  When I asked her how she found the courage to make that choice during a time when divorce was simply not done, she replied, "He was not kind. I deserved better."

Maude, grandmother to my father, loved learning about history and cultures. One of the original Oklahoma Sooners, Maude was a teacher, school administrator, and writer of textbooks.  She worked on her doctorate when it was rare for male educators to have them--much less women. After a faculty advisor warned her that Dr. Maude might have difficulty getting a job, she did all of the work but didn't accept the title. She drew the true joy from her achievement; the trappings didn't matter.

Ada, grandmother to my mother, was born in the late 19th century in the carpetbagger South. She was opinionated, droll, and strong. We called her "Big Mama;" she signed her letters "Big." Ada's connection with her identical twin Ida had a mystical dimension.  One day, late in their lives, Big Mama and I were sitting at a table in her kitchen. She looked up suddenly and gasped. "Something fearsome has happened to my sister." Five minutes later, the phone rang. It was the hospital. Ida had just died.  I asked my great-grandmother how she knew, and she said, "If you're close enough to someone, you just feel things about them."

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers and to all women who nurture children.  We, your legacy, remember what you have done and celebrate it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Whisper Falls question - Why is Mark so nice?


Why is Mark so nice[, boring, immature, ordinary]?

Many reviewers have noted in their reviews that Mark is not a typical YA hero. He's not a super-hero, a super-jock, a super-geek, a super-bad-boy, or a super-star.

Mark is a nice, ordinary teen guy. He'll change, of course. Over the three book series, he'll mature, particularly toward the end of the final book. But I had to create him as average because that is exactly what Susanna needed.

A super-anything guy wouldn't have been interested in Susanna, and she would've been put off by him. She needed someone who was kind, polite, and curious. She had to be paired with someone who, when the situation called for it, was able to draw upon his reserves of strength and become more than he could've possibly imagined. Mark fits that description.

Here are some things to keep in mind about the hero of  the Whisper Falls series.

  1. It isn't fair to compare Mark to Susanna. I doubt there are many teens in contemporary America who could ever be as mature as Susanna. She was forced into servitude at ten. She's been a working adult for 8 years. No modern teens biking through Umstead Park USA could approach her maturity.  If you must compare Mark, compare him to other guys his age.
  2. Susanna is a good judge of character. She sees into the core of Mark's being and recognizes his innate decency. Sure, he makes mistakes. He regresses when he gets back to school and starts hanging out with his classmates. But he's still just a genuinely good guy waiting for the right catalyst to draw the greatness out of him. Susanna will be that catalyst--eventually.
  3. Mark's growth is slow and steady. He's a late bloomer. Until he met Susanna, he had little reason to be amazing. Although he did live through bullying in middle school, he's had no real opportunities to excel at anything that matters...until Susanna. Over the length of the trilogy, Mark will mature. He'll cycle through periods of setbacks and growth. Yet, by the end of the series, he will be so much more than when the story began.

I wrote Mark because teens should know that it's fine to be (so-called) average. They don't have to be the best at any of the things that society (or high school) deems important. All they have to be is good people; the rest will follow. I hope they see themselves in Mark, a character who demonstrates that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.


[I often get questions about the Whisper Falls series.  I'll answer each of the most commonly asked questions in a separate blog post. You can navigate to them in the FAQ on my website too.]

Friday, May 2, 2014

Proof of I Wish

A proof (advance copy) of I Wish showed up in the mail today.  I'll be signing copies at Book Expo America (BEA) during the last weekend in May.

I Wish (book 1) releases in 200 days! Read an excerpt if you can't wait until November.