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The YA Scavenger Hunt is back!

 

 

**The YASH has now ended! Thanks to everyone who played and who also entered my giveaway.

Stay tuned for winners announcement!**

Greetings, Scavengers!yash-logo

It’s time for the bi-annual YA Scavenger Hunt!

By now, if you’re hot on the trail for clues, you know the basic premise of the game. If you’re confused at all, visit the YASH home page for complete YASH instructions, but basically you’re searching for the secret number, oh-so-cleverly hidden within this post! Good luck!

I’m on TEAM RED!

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If you’re in the right place, read on!

First: an introduction. I’m the author of the YA Sci-fi thriller, TABULA RASA,

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and its just-released sequel, INCOGNITA!

 

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You know that “three fictional characters to describe yourself” thing that’s been floating around? I never did it because I’m always Ms. Late-to-the-Meme, so I’ll do it now. Here are the three fictional characters that I think best describe me:

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Moving right along … let’s get to the good part. For this installment of YASH, I’m playing host to the lovely, Faye Bird!

Faye writes fiction for young adults. Before becoming a writer she worked as a literary agent representing screenwriters in film and TV. She studied Philosophy and Literature at Warwick University, and lives in London. Her first novel, My Second Life, was published in 2014 and her second novel, What I Couldn’t Tell You, was published this past May. Look at this gorgeous cover!

You are now salivating to buy this book and because I’m merciful, I will provide you that information without further delay. HERE!

 

Faye has some bonus content and it’s my favorite kind of extra — fantasy casting her characters!

Here she is:

“I’ve had great fun indulging in some fantasy casting for My Second Life. I hope you have fun envisaging these actors in their roles. If you’ve read the book then let me know if you have any other ideas of your own. I’d love to hear them!

Ana – Ana in this life, Emma in her life before this one… For me a young Alicia Vikander encapsulates Ana perfectly.

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Jamie – Ana’s lovely friend, the boy maybe she can love… Ty Simpkins is the perfect fit.

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Rachel – Ana’s Mum in her second life…. Just has to be Rachel Weisz.

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Amanda – Emma’s mum, the mum Ana misses so much. Helen Mirren has the gentle softness Amanda needs.

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Richard – Emma’s dad, the dad who finds it so hard to believe his daughter has gone, that she’s back now as Ana… Charles Dance.

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Frances – Julie Walters is the perfect Frances… Tough and unforgiving but someone for whom we might also feel real moments of empathy for given what she has been through.” julie-walters

 

OK, so you’ve made it this far and you’re probably wondering when am I ever gonna give you a clue about what my secret number is. Patience, my friends!

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As long as I have you, would you like to enter a bonus giveaway?

TWO winners will receive a paperback copy of TABULA RASA along with the hardcover of book TWO—aka, the sequel— INCOGNITA, signed by moi!

To enter my giveaway, leave a comment below by answering this question: Have you ever broken a bone and if so, which one?

Winners will be chosen at random, and you may enter more than once if you’ve been unlucky enough to break a bone or TWO!

Thanks for playing, scavengers, and now off you go to visit Joanna Parkhurst and find your next clue!

 

 

A Pat on the Head

Here’s a silly thing I do every once in a while: I “visit” my book online.

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My daughter drew these wings for me. Here, have a set of your own. Happy to share them with you.

Just look it up and gaze at the cover and sort of say, “Hey, friend. How you doing today?”

I don’t read the reviews. (Oh, God, NO, I don’t do that.)

It’s just gratifying for me to see that book cover. To know that I wrote something, and it’s out in the world, off on its own.

Whenever I visit my book, I feel like I’m giving a little pat on the head to my former self who struggled so long, through so much rejection, to make that book a reality.

I tend to discount my own hard work. Tend to focus more on the outcome when deciding if something was successful or not. I know I’m not alone in that. We often hand over the power to make that sort of final judgment about the value of our efforts.

I’m not really sure what this blog post is about. My point-making skills are kind of rusty at the moment. I’m still trying to get back into a blogging groove, and I guess this is a baby step toward that end. A warm-up of doing the scales before the real performance.

I also think it’s a good thing to occasionally reaffirm to myself that a hard thing undertaken with determination, humility, and a desire to create something worthwhile is never a wasted effort.

Maybe that’ll help you, too, dear reader.

And if you feel a spark within you to fight the “Eh, who cares?” virus that infects us all from time to time, to keep writing despite your doubts, then just know that your future self is gently patting you on the head right now and saying, “I’m proud of you for having the strength to try to get better at something that’s so, so damn hard.”

There’s Absolutely Nothing Wrong with Living Under a Rock for a Year

Pill bugs do it all the time*!

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My latest selfie!

But, OK, wow. I completely ghosted my own blog, didn’t I?

What a douche move!

I had to guess my user name and password to get back in, and thank God I’m so unimaginatively consistent or I’d still be outside the wall, hoping someone exited my blog and held the door open for me like I was some food delivery guy.

But, hey, look at this website renovation that’s gone on while I was away! Isn’t it lovely? It’s all thanks, once again, to the very talented elves** over at Atmosphere Websites. I told them, “I want whimsy, wisdom, and white space.” Voila! All I could’ve asked for and more!

So, I’m now returning to blogging, and next time I promise to tell you where I’ve been the last year in a long blathering post about my feelings.

Ha.

Not really. Feeling-blathering is not my thing. I’m more … well, let’s just say that if Mr. Spock and Professor McGonagall had a child, it’d be me.

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+

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=

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Kristen (“I’d Rather Not Talk About It”) Lippert-Martin

 

But I truly am renewing my blogging endeavors to take on all-manner of writing-related subjects.

I’ll see you again soon, friends!

 

 

*Here’s a fact sheet about the mighty pill bug. Make sure you read number 6. Good stuff!)

**Mike and Sierra at Atmosphere Websites are actual elves, and their studio is inside a hollow tree. That is literally true.

Cover Reveal and Giveaway for INCOGNITA!

Imma just redirect you over to YA Books Central because you should enter the giveaway for a copy of the advanced reader copy (ARC) for the sequel to TABULA RASA.

It’s called INCOGNITA, and here’s what you need to know about it:

It’s set in New York City.

It kicks booty.

I think it might just be better than TABULA RASA.

Go and enter and I hope you win! Link is HERE!

Happy Bookish News!

 

Let’s just pretend that I haven’t ignored my blog for the last four months and carry on, shall we?

I have an announcement!

And, OK, it actually does have something to do with my long absence from the blogging airwaves (which we just agreed not to discuss).

Long story short, my publisher went out of business suddenly in January—on the very day I handed in the sequel to my debut, TABULA RASA, as a matter of fact.

Many of my author-friends are already aware of this drama. They have been a source of support and encouragement these past few months, offering me helpful suggestions like, “Have you tried that new Ben & Jerry’s flavor, I think it’s called Beard Chunks or something like that?” icecream

They also collectively and metaphorically held my hand while I stared off into the middle distance and said things like, “I am not legit, and I wish to quit.”

Yeah, it was a huge, depressing drag.

My book lost its home, and my remarkably lovely editor lost her job on that dark, dark January day.

And if the story ended there, this post wouldn’t make for very good reading, but I’m happy to say that in late-February, TABULA RASA did find a new publisher in Lerner Publishing Group.

And I’m happier still to announce that INCOGNITA, the sequel to TABULA RASA, as well as A THIRD BOOK will be coming out from Carolrhoda Lab in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Yes, I will be trilogying, and this is a good thing because, you guys, I need to put my diabolical powers to good and legal use.

More info when I have it and once again, I promise not to disappear for months at a time.*

 

 

*should be taken with a large grain of salt/proclamation void if I’m on the lam or whatever.

2015: Come at Me, Bro

I begin 2015 as I ended 2014: writing on deadline.

The sequel to TABULA RASA is due soon. Painfully, anxiety-inducingly soon.

*averts eyes from calendar*

I’ve been working very hard on that, but I’m going to take a break, and in celebration of the new year, tell you a story about my insane, cycling husband who rides his road bike to work in all manner of cold, wintry weather. He would probably ride through the tundra, assuming there was a dedicated bike lane and those dang polar bears would watch where they’re going.

Not surprisingly, when one is an insane crazy cycling person riding in freezing cold winter weather, one has issues with staying warm because of that whole wind-chill thing. His particular problem is keeping his hands warm during his sojourns and so he asked for something for the Christmas that he hoped would combat this problem. Namely, the exact leather mittens worn by Tim Allen in The Santa Clause.

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You can’t see them in this shot. In fact, they may not even be in this scene. I searched high and low, but I couldn’t find any picture of the mittens at all, which probably means they were only in one shot, in one scene, in the entire movie trilogy. But my husband saw them and he wanted them.

Yes, mittens made of leather, suitable for driving a sleigh.

I looked for these mittens before Christmas, not terribly hard, I’ll admit, because I didn’t really think such a thing existed. I mean, have YOU ever seen a grown adult person of the male persuasion wearing leather mittens?thrandy

No, nor have I.

And movies aren’t necessarily a great place for shopping ideas or else I’d don in an epic woodland crown most days. (See Thranduil right.)

Honestly, the other reason I didn’t scour the internets for them was because I also thought they were a little silly-looking. In his quest to stay warm while cycling, my husband couldn’t give three loogies about how something looked. If it’s warm, he’ll wear it. Within reason, of course. It still has to be aerodynamic. Snowmobile suits are designed to keep you warm in the wind-chill, but they’re not terribly appropriate for cycling.

But really, pretty much anything else is an option. This is a man who now regularly preaches the gospel of retro wool cycling jerseys to anyone who’ll stand still long enough to hear it (most people won’t). And if he told me that a recent study had shown lederhosen to be the most appropriate and best-performing article of winter wear for cyclists, he’d probably order some or commission their production for men who are six feet tall and not four-year-old Bavarians.

But back to the mittens.

Alas, Christmas comes and goes, and he does not get his leather mittens. No Red-Rider BB gun for him this year.

SIGH.

But then what happens? Two weeks after Christmas, the husband finds the very mittens he was looking for in a catalog that we happened to have in an area of the house where magazines and catalogs are often perused. (I shall say no more.)

Yes, apparently the exact leather mittens he had seen and coveted from The Santa Clause are real! They do exist! They’re worn by CANADIAN POLICEMEN and DOG SLEDDERS. And he’s going to be getting a pair very soon because I must reward his persistence.

The only question is, what size to get.

Did you know that gloves and mittens come in hand sizes? I’m not talking about generic S, M, L and so on. I mean, your hand has an actual size like—7, 8, 9—the way your feet do when you’re shopping for shoes.

According to the catalog you measure the circumference of the knuckles (in inches) and then look for the corresponding number in their sizing system.

How have I lived my entire life never knowing that there were HAND SIZES?

I find it astonishing that if this system of hand measurement existed, I haven’t known about it before now. I mean, I don’t wear hats, but I understand that there are hat sizes. I also understand that multiple different shoe sizes exist depending on if you’re American or European or Australian. Metric, non-metric, lunar, whatever. But HAND SIZES?

Wow.

I feel like a dope.

Of course, even if I had known these mittens could be ordered from Canada, I don’t think I could have surprised him with them for Christmas. How in the hell does one casually determine the circumference of someone else’s knuckles? There is no plausible way of tricking someone into letting you get that information without giving anything away.

So, my dear, if you’re reading this, you will be getting leather mittens for your birthday, if not sooner.

And now I will conclude with my benediction for all of you for 2015:

 

May your love and concern for someone else’s happiness

take you to unexpected places of wonder and amazement.

 

 

 

The Posh, Continental Life of My Book

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen this awesome set of pictures done by the brilliant, Sierra Godfrey, Writer and Designer to the Stars™.

Here they are compiled for the first time, sort of like a “Best of” album, but one that doesn’t seem like a cash-grab or make you queasy for liking it because real fans aren’t supposed to like “Best of” albums.boxofshame

Of course, if you do not follow me on Twitter or Tumblr, then you must remedy that right this very second or get into the box of shame for three hours. Your choice.

Alternatively, if you don’t know what even Twitter is, well, here’s hoping they bring you your lunch tray in the nursing home very soon. I hear the tapioca is extra gluey today.

Away we go on our transatlantic voyage! Thank you again for these, Sierra, and for filling out the wee little passport application so my book could come along on your vacation!

 

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First stop, World’s End, London.

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TR at King’s Cross, not sure what train to board. It’s so hard to read these British accents.

 

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TR having a jaunt up Easter Road

 

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‘Twouldn’t be a trip to London without crossing the Tower Bridge

 

 

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TR with a brave knight of the realm!

 

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Mais oui! Our final stop is Paris! Betcha Sarah could climb that sucker in about an hour flat.

Hordes of YA Authors Roaming Local Bookstores at Night!

I know some authors find doing public events intimidating or even overwhelming. Let’s face it, when you spend so much time alone writing, with only your stapler for a companion, you get a little rusty with ye olde social skills.

Fortunately, I am both an extrovert and a goofball, so I luurrrve doing events like the one I did last night at One More Page bookstore!

Here’s a couple shots from last night’s YA panel discussion on “Strong Heroines in YA Lit.” I think that’s what we were talking about. Admittedly, the conversation veered wildly, and I think at one point I blathered something about Benedict Cumberbatch. Hey, these things happen.

 

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Left to right: Joy Hensley, author of RITES OF PASSAGE; yours truly, KLM;

Sara Raasch, author of SNOW LIKE ASHES; and Cristin Terrill, author of ALL OUR YESTERDAYS

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Another shot of our intrepid panel with two young ladies in attendance, who were adorable and so smart

 

Incidentally, you can order autographed copies of TABULA RASA through the One More Page website. You can even tell them what inspirational message you want me to write inside. (Wait. Hold on there. I’ve got a few exceptions. I will in no way do any inscription that features the phrase “wind beneath my wings” or “I have always loved you from afar”; also I strictly ban the use of the word “throbbing” for inscription purposes.)

I Thought I Was Prepared But, Nope, I Wasn’t

 

 

DECEMBER?!

TODAY?

HOW?

What black magic and dark sorcery hath brought this about?

Seriously, guys, I’m only now—two months later—starting to recover from my debut.

All I can say about these last two months is WHOA. I thought I was prepared, but nope, I was not. A thousand nopes to my puny, ignorant preparations!

For one thing, I did so many blog posts and Q & A’s before and during my debut week that I physically could not write anything at all afterward. I’ve really never experienced anything quite like it. In the last two months, I can’t tell you how many times I sat down and tried to write a blog post, and all I could think was, I would rather put my face in a panini press with fresh basil and mozzarella and make a Kristen’s-face-Caprese-sandwich than write a single word.

Yep, it’s been nothing short of TBP (total blog paralysis) paired with USSS (utter self-sickness syndrome).

You see, debuting is a big cocktail of excitement and exhaustion. Then that cocktail is set on fire and mixed with some kind of grain alcohol currently illegal in most states. You know, the kind that causes you to have a total blast, strip naked, and then go irreversibly blind.

And just when you think you’ve had enough, someone suggests you add a chaser. Yes, here you go. Here’s a double shot of fear. Oh, wait. Have another one. And another. Actually, why don’t you just take the whole bottle and chugalug the pure, complete, and unadulterated panic? Sounds great, eh?

And why must you guzzle that Fear?

Because … EXPECTATIONS.

Oh, those perennial, party-pooping, pernicious expectations!

What exactly are they? Where did they come from? When will they stop?

NO ONE KNOWS.

But there they are, saturating your brain every waking moment, because they are coming from inside your own skull! They are inescapable, rude, and very mean. And not only do they not like you, they think your butt looks fat in those mom jeans you thought looked so smart.

What really got me the worst was believing that I was supposed to be following some script for how to debut properly. Problem was, I didn’t know what the script was or who wrote it or when I was supposed to say my lines or whether or not wearing a gorilla suit was strictly necessary. And more to the point, if I didn’t debut correctly EVERYTHING WOULD BE RUINED FOREVER.

This was in direct opposition to how I’d always tried to operate online. No, not just online but in my actual, you know, life. I’m serious when I say that one of the guiding principles of my life is, “Eh, eff it.” You cannot be free, productive, happy, or true to yourself when fear poisons your heart and mind. There has to be a little eff it deep down in your soul or else someone else’s (or maybe your own) impossible, imagined standards are ruling your existence, and that, in a word, sucks.

But I think I’m finally starting to bounce back. I’m not there entirely. I’m still kind of fragile, but I am feeling a little lighter now that I’ve owned the fact that I had a wee bit of a break down about the whole debut thing. And it’s a good thing too, because, OMG, did I even tell you about the sequel to TABULA RASA?

See? I’ve been too paralyzed to even blog about my sequel.

Right now it’s titled INCOGNITA, and I will tell you this: it’s a direct sequel, not a companion novel, and it takes place 4-6 months after the events of TABULA RASA. That’s pretty much all I can say without spoiling TR for you if you haven’t read it yet. (And if you haven’t, my God, get to it!)

OK, so I guess that’s all. Here’s a gratuitous picture of me at the ALAN 2014 conference, where I met, like, just about every famous young adult writer you can imagine (no, not John Green — of course you had to guess him) and walked around with my mouth hanging open in awe.

With two fellow Egmont USA lovelies, Margaret Coffee and Michelle Bayuk

 

See you back here soon. Promise. And, geez,  I’ve been so wrapped up in my own drama, I’ve hardly asked you how you’re doing. What’s going on?

At Last, At Last! TABULA RASA is out today!

Heavens, I’ve been writing so many posts for other blogs, I almost forgot about my own!

Today is the day, at long last, when my debut YA thriller hits shelves. I mean bookstore shelves. It hit my shelves about six weeks ago.

See this? Rather paranoia-inducing, isn’t it? But in the best possible way, of course!

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In the past week or so I’ve signed 100-plus copies of TABULA RASA for giveaway contests, and I’m only just realizing that I’ve got a really long-ass name. Yikes. I thought about coming up with a shortened signature, and I may yet have to resort to one but for now, I’m signing my full dang name.

And because my book features conspiratorial elements, here’s a super special offer for my devoted blog-readers only. If you’d like to see a close-up version of my long-ass name, head over to my contact page and shoot me an email with your mailing address. I’ll send you a few swaggy baubles to thrill and delight you!

Thank you to all of you who’ve read and followed the Story Behind My Story all these years. I started my original blog in October, 2009, and there were so many dark and discouraging days along the road to publication. Believe me when I say that sometimes the only thing that kept me going was a kind comment on one of my blog posts. I’m so sad to see blogging dying out. I miss the community of writer-bloggers I met during what I guess was blogging’s golden era.

And to those of you who’ve already bought my book or will buy it, “THANK YOU!” doesn’t come close to covering it, but the words … they’re all I have. Thank you for reading mine.

 

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