Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good-bye"*

I'm sending out a sincere thank you to all of you who have visited the Observation Desk. The blogger platform has served me well, but it's time for me to move on. I have enjoyed sitting at my desk and engaging in our conversations.

In anticipation of the release of Elixir Bound in August (and hopefully many more releases to come after that), I've launched a brand spanking new website at Please come join me at the new Observation Desk.

I'll be leaving all the old posts here for awhile, but you'll have to check out the new site for all the new stuff I'll be conjuring up.

*Rodgers and Hammerstein

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Elixir Bound Cover Reveal

The good stuff just keeps rolling on in! I have a special treat for you in this month's WIP Wednesday post: the cover of Elixir Bound!

There's so many great details. The bottle of Elixir at the top, the vine of little white flowers, and the main character, Katora. I love her expression. When I first saw the cover, I almost didn't notice the shape of mountains at the bottom (a wonderful depiction of The Sleeping Giant mountain range from the book). The best part: what else but my name...on the cover of a book!!!

*Sighs* with contentment.

Seriously, though, the blog has gotten way too writerly/booky lately. I promise I'll be branching out with some different topics. Look for some science updates, more magnetic poetry, maybe a fun anecdote or two. All that and more to come on my new website. That's website is just about ready. My next (and last post on blogger) will guide you to my new website.

What have all of you been up to?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Promised Announcement

Astute readers, you may remember at the beginning of last month I mentioned I had a big announcement. The time has come to tell you I have another book besides Elixir Bound coming out soon (not sure of the release date yet, but maybe even before Elixir). And guess what? It's a picture book!

"A picture book?" you say. "But, Katie, you've never mentioned anything about a picture book. I thought you only wrote novels."

Well, you thought wrong. My picture book The Bedtime Knight is coming out through MeeGenius! as a picture book app. The illustrations are being worked on right now (okay, maybe not this second, but the text is finalized and with the illustrator right now).

It's going to be an exciting summer. I've got a certain milestone birthday next month. The Boy will be turning one. And, of course, Elixir Bound (and now maybe The Bedtime Knight) will be out in the big, wide world.

Oh, I almost forgot...I've been hard at work on a new website, which I hope to be lauching very soon. That means the Observation Desk will be making a cyber-move from Blogger to Wordpress. No worries, I'm taking you all with me!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Colors Like Memories by Meradeth Houston

Please put your hands together for Meradeth Houston author of Colors Like Memories, a YA Paranormal released from MuseItUp Publishing on May 11th.

Meradeth is having a giveaway for her blog tour. Anyone who comments on this or any other post from her tour will be entered into a drawing. Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Colors Like Memories and one winner will get a $25 gift card for Amazon or Barnes and Noble (full details on Meradeth's blog).

A bit about the Colors Like Memories:

Julia has a secret: she killed the guy she loved. It was an accident—sort of. 

Julia is a Sary, the soul of a child who died before taking her first breath. Without this 'breath of life' she and others like her must help those on the verge of suicide. It's a job Julia used to enjoy, until the accident that claimed her boyfriend’s life—an accident she knows was her fault. If living with the guilt weren't enough, she's now assigned to help a girl dealing with the loss of her mother, something Julia's not exactly the best role model for. If she can't figure out a way to help her, Julia's going to lose her position in the Sary, something she swore to her boyfriend would never happen.

Meradeth (being the good sport she is) agreed to take on the challenge of creating some original work based on the infamous magnetic poetry that graces my refrigerator. She said she channeled this ditty from her main character, Julia:

Some say, cliché,
It is better to loved, & lost,
Than to have never loved at all.
But to imagine life,
With-out light,
Heart, or warmth,
Makes this dream,
A night(mare).

Sweet essential release,
Would be a tremendous grace,
If this time
Is a dream.

Don't be jealous of her poetic prowess. She admits to having some experience in this area, "My roommates and I used to have several sets on our fridge in college and we were always playing with them, though there were times when we’d have to rush and take them all down before a boyfriend could enter the kitchen—they weren’t always, er, polite..."

She also offered this magnetic line from the writerly part of herself:

My manuscript is not a dictionary, or a dream, but a vacation from the present.

Meradeth’s never been a big fan of talking about herself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about her:
~She’s a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
~When she’s not writing, she’s sequencing dead people’s DNA. For fun!
~She’s been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she’s so happy to get to share her work!
~If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she’s terrified of heights.

Thanks for stopping by the Observation Desk, Meradeth!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Guess whose upcoming e-book has a page on her publisher's website? (Duh, it's me.) Check out the back copy for Elixir Bound and my author bio on the MuseItUp site. I was a little surprised to see it labeled as Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy (the paranormal part is what surprised me). Although Elixir Bound is definitely more fantasy than paranormal, I think it's smart marketing to include the paranormal label.

I'm playing the waiting game with Elixir Bound right now. Waiting to hear from my line editor, waiting to find out about my cover art, waiting until I have some time to figure out how the heck to market this thing! I'm also waiting for a certain someone to fulfill his quest to find an important prop for the book trailer.

In the meantime, I've been squeezing out a few minutes of writing time to work on Black Butterfly (did you correctly guess the color and animal?). I also got a fantastic critique of Pirate Island (my middle grade adventure story) at the Poconos conference and have a whole new direction for revisions.

Next week I'm featuring Meradeth Houston author of YA paranormal Colors Like Memories on the blog. Here's a book trailer to whet your appetite.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

SCBWI Poconos Retreat 2012

I had the pleasure of attending the Eastern PA SCBWI Poconos Conference again this year. With The Boy only being 8 months old and nursing, I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go, but the hubby stepped up and watched the little guy at the inn all weekend while I ran off and cavorted with the finest the kidlit community has to offer.

How awesome was the conference this year? Three words: Laurie Halse Anderson! Aside from giving what was probably the best keynote speech I've ever heard, she was just so accessible to the conference attendees. She shared stories with us, offered us advice on our own personal projects, and was honest, thoughtful, and tough about encouraging us to make writing an imperative part of our lives (and she gushed about how cute The Boy is).

So as is my tradition, here's some nuggets of wisdom from the conference that I think have some universal appeal (feel free to substitute the word "writing" for the endeavor of your choice):
  • Word of mouth is a great way to find any professional from an agent to a plumber. (Steven Chudney—How to Find and Work with an Agent)
  • Whether a thing is a mountain or a molehill depends on how we see ourselves. (Amy June Bates—Keynote)
  • Take the time and make the space for your writing dreams. (Laurie Halse Anderson—Keynote)
  • When you create writing time that creates a commitment of the soul. (Laurie Halse Anderson—Keynote)
  • Dare to get excited, even when you might get let down. We could all get hit by a marshmallow truck tomorrow. (Laurie Halse Anderson—Keynote)
  • A vital aspect to nurturing talent is to accept and validate your need to create. Honor, cherish, and celebrate it. (Laurie Halse Anderson—Keynote)
  • You can always make it better. Do not ask, "Is this any good?" Ask, "How can I make this better?" (Laurie Halse Anderson—Digging Deeper to See Farther: Revision Secrets)
  • Facing your fears and not giving up, that’s what the Teeny Tiny Ghost books are about. (Kay Winters—Keynote)
  • Being brave is not being scared; it’s being scared and doing it anyway. (Deb Heiligman—Keynote)
  • The trick about a to-do list is to make it doable. (Deb Heiligman—Keynote)
Stay tuned because the rest of May is all about e-books. And I'll have another big announcement at the end of the month!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Life is a WIP

Today isn't Wednesday nor is it the second week of the month. Oh well, you're getting my WIP update anyway!

I finally opened up a Word document and typed out the beginning page of a certain project that has been developing in my mind for quite some time now. This one has been making my skin prickle with excitement. It's mostly some scribbles in my notebook. I hope I can keep the excitement up about it now that it has it's very own document on my computer. I have notions of trying to do a fast draft with this story, but so far in my writing career nothing has been fast!

The working title is a color followed by an animal. I'd love to hear your guesses about what it is?

This weekend I'm off to the Poconos for my favorite small conference with the Eastern PA SCBWI (and no, I won't be hanging out in one of those wine glass hot tubs). I love catching up with my Poconos friends. And the amazing Laurie Halse Anderson is a keynote speaker! I signed up for her revision class too...maybe that'll get my butt in gear on revising my MG novel Pirate Island.

What are looking forward to this weekend?