5.31.2011

SORRY GUYS

the first draft of book 2 is due tomorrow and i've been busy chasing down my muse in an attempt to polish the sucker before i send it off.

PROMISES I WILL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY

i have not forgotten you. how could i forget you?

THIS IS US:

5.26.2011

BEA! NYC! THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS.

OMG I'M FINALLY BACK HOME! with an actual computer!

as demonstrated in my two previous posts, i was having a difficult time using my iPad to post on blogger, and, as a result, all of my posts were weird and devoid of formatting and little more than really pathetically hideous blocks of text. BUT NOW I'M BACK! and all is well again in the world of aesthetically-pleasing posts.

BEA! updates!

BEA was insane. i mean. huge. and noisy. and there were SO MANY BOOKS IT WAS INCREDIBLE. also there were people lugging suitcases around for all their ARCs and swag and i was... astounded (she said, not unkindly). more than anything else, it was truly awe-inspiring to see so many people come together to share a love of all things literature.

here are some things that happened:

  1. harper set up this photo shoot for my face. also the rest of my body had to be there, too, so. anyway, bright and early monday morning, me, tara (my editor), jodi (my agent), and alison (art director) headed over to central park, where we met matt furman (photographer) and scott (his assistant). matt then proceeded to spend the next 2(ish) hours taking no fewer than eleventy-billion pictures of me trying to smile into the camera. it was probably the most fun i never expected to have at a photo shoot. the tourists kept taking pictures of matt taking pictures of me like i was some kind of exhibition on their tour of the park, and we ended the whole thing on a carousel ride, where i attempted to look awesome on the back of a plastic horse. i am just saying, it was nothing short of epic. hopefully i will be able to share these pictures with you soon.
  2. i got to meet everyone at harper. and all i'm going to say about this is that every time i think about this particular event i get a little weepy. calling them wonderful would be the understatement of the internet. amazing, amazing, amazing. amazing.
  3. i went speed-dating! well, no i was not actually speed-dating. that is to say, i was not looking for love and long walks at the beach at BEA. i actually got to do this awesome thing where, for 3 minutes at a time, i sat with 19 tables (8-10 people per table), and pitched my book. it was spectacular. i love librarians and booksellers almost as much as i love butter pecan ice cream. and let's be honest, that's a hell of a lot of love.
  4. I SIGNED BOOKS. you guys, i realized -- albeit, a little belatedly -- that i needed an author signature just about 2 minutes before my signing. not a good time for realizations, i have to say. but let's tell a story about my signing, shall we? YES I THINK WE SHOULD. here i was, sitting in the green room with tara, feeling relatively calm about the entire thing, hoping that maybe a couple of people would show. no pressure, i said to myself! it's the first time you've ever done a signing, tahereh! no need to be disappointed if no one shows up! ohhhhh so i sat there, patting my self-esteem on the back, feeding my brain mental cookies and making myself promises i didn't intend to keep when jodi walks into the green room -- without even saying hello, i might add -- drops her bag on the floor and says HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR LINE? and. well. yes. this is where i promptly started having a heart attack. i don't even really remember much of what happened after that. all i know is that my hands started shaking so hard i couldn't even hold a pen straight and i had to keep apologizing for my handwriting (which, i SWEAR, does not normally resemble that of a 5-year-old's).
  5. WE RAN OUT OF BOOKS. it was unbelievable. someone just told me today that the line was so long they had to cut it off 7 minutes after i started signing. they'd allocated only a specific number of books for the signing, and the rest were set up at the harper booth for a giveaway a bit later in the day, and, unfortunately, we had to turn people away. i also heard there were a lot of people cutting in line (FOR SHAME!). but this is a strange place for me to be on the feelings train. i want to apologize to all of you who weren't able to get a book (and who were cut off either by my publicist or a line-jumper), but i am also so unbelievably FLOORED that you came out at all that i am just beyond words deliriously happy. i don't even know how to tell you how much it means to me that you took the time out to stop by, to say hello, to tell me you read my blog, to take a picture of my shoes and tell me you follow me on twitter. but thank you. a million times, thank you.
there were so many other things i could tell you stories about, but i do not wish to stuff you with so many words that it spoils your appetite. i will only leave you with this, in case you never get to see it:

a picture taken from the acknowledgements section of my ARC
p.s. so many people got to see me at BEA, and so many of you have asked me to share a picture of myself that i feel it's only fair for me to indulge this now. but i'm going to tell you a very big secret, my friends: my picture has been all over the internet for like, 3 months now. all you had to do was google my name. but i never said anything because i really don't like pictures. and pictures, truly, truly hate me. though i suppose now i need to get over it. i don't know. in any case! here is a tahereh-sanctioned photo. and as soon as i get pictures from my harper shoot i will share them with you!

SO MANY HEARTS


5.23.2011

SHATTER ME TEASER TRAILER

HEYYYY GUYSSS!! i'm... having trouble with this whole blog posting thing again, so i'm going to keep this short. i would've posted this tomorrow, during the day, at a more decent hour, but, alas, i'm not going to be near a computer tomorrow. so! HERE IS THE SURPRISE: http://youtu.be/UHApCwLkVU0 i have no clue how to embed on my ipad. so, uh. you know. there it is. without any fancy flourishes. maybe pretend there are fancy flourishes. that might help. SO MANY HEARTS

5.22.2011

RISE AND SHINE

HI FRIENDS!! i have pretty much just arrived in NYC and i've brought nothing but my ipad so my online everything is kind of limited. in fact, i just accidentally published this post (the incomplete version) exactly 5 times already. the sad part is i don't even know which button it was that i accidentally pressed. so.. here's hoping it won't happen again. two things: 1. i still haven't announced the WONDERBAR winners! which i need to do. hopefully i can figure out a way to sort through the winners through my ipad.. but, again, i'm kind of struggling with this blogger platform right now. i just accidentally published this post again. whoops. 2. I HAVE A SURPRISE FOR YOU. oh god i just published this damn thing again i don't even. sorry. that's not the surprise. the surprise will be shared SHORTLY! either today or tomorrow. so look out for that. i will keep you posted. otherwise, however, i will be a bit scarce these next couple of days. BUT I WILL BE IN TOUCH. promises. by the way -- you guys want anything while i'm in the city? hehe. HEARTS ALSO: blogger isn't allowing me to create a post in the rich text editor. so this is posting completely devoid of any html. as a result, it looks like i have no idea how to use the return key. i am so sorry for this extraordinarily hideous paragraph of text.

5.16.2011

RING BELL TWICE FOR SERVICE

GOOD MONDAY, EVERYONE!

i have a few updates to share with you. i hope that is okay.

1. FIRST YOU SEE ME NOW YOU DON'T! i will be a bit scarce this week. i'm diving back into book 2 to polish and plump it up a bit, so i'll be focusing most of my energy in the direction of my manuscript. as a result, my blog posts might be skimpy, or, you know, i don't know, maybe they'll be really good? maybe i'll be blogging more in an effort to procrastinate or i don't know i don't know it's too soon to tell. if, however, all goes according to plan and i manage to stay focused, i will very probably be writing skimpy blog posts. we shall see!

2. CONTEST! STILL OPEN! blogger decided to let its freak flag fly last week and, in the process of discovering itself, totally threw the rest of us under the bus. blogger was basically broken on Thursday and Friday, and even though now it's back up and functioning, it caused us a lot of problems. we also lost all of our comments on recent posts. SO! i'm keeping the contest for a copy of Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow open for another day. RUN ALONG AND ENTER! you won't regret it.

3. WIN AN ARC OF SHATTER ME & A 10 PG CRIT! mm hmmm. so. the amazing ladies over at Help Write Now are running an auction to benefit southern storm relief. andddd... even though this auction went up last Thursday, blogger attacked it and killed it and ate all the comments. so if you bid last Thursday and you're still interested -- feel free to bid again! and if you didn't bid last Thursday and maybe you want to bid now? feel free to bid! all proceeds go to charity, and the auction for the ARC & crit will be open until this Wednesday, May 18.

4. I'LL BE GONE NEXT WEEK. i'm leaving for BEA soon, and i won't be back until the end of next week. so... i don't know how my blogging will be, but i will try to at least post funny pictures or something. this is more of a heads up for anyone who emails me or is waiting to hear back from me on anything. i've got a stack of questions from readers to answer on the blog but, seeing as how i can't really answer more than one question at a time, it might take a little while. but i will be in touch! AND MAYBE AFTER BEA WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER ARC CONTEST?? i don't know! the possibilities! they are endless!

5. THE COVER. remember how i said that the ARC with the cover art for SHATTER ME would be at BEA? welllllll... not so, my friends. not so. not anymore. the cover is all super-sekrit-agent-man and is still underway, so it won't be revealed until after BEA. but! i can tell you this: i have seen some early cover concept stuff and.... i am so excited i don't even know how to put it in capital letters. seriously. i'm so excited that i'm now in a state of shock and my fingers can't reach the caps lock key. i will definitely definitely keep you posted. i can't wait to share.

6. SOMETHING EXCITING I CAN SHARE with you the week of BEA. yes. it is coming. you will see it. that is all i can say for now.

7. MMMMMM COFFEE. what. this is relevant.

THAT'S PRETTY MUCH IT.
i think.

---

now you tell me: what's one thing you wish you could say to your 16-year-old self?

HEARTS

NATHAN BRANSFORD BREAKS THE UNIVERSE

today is a big day, guys.

amazing friend and super-blogger-extraordinaire Nathan Bransford is here to talk a bit about JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, his debut middle grade novel hitting the shelves today. TODAY! THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME OMG

Jacob Wonderbar is used to detentions, but when a spaceship crashes near his house, he finds himself in a whole new level of trouble. After swapping a corn dog for the ship, he and his two best friends, Sarah Daisy and Dexter, take off on a madcap adventure. They accidentally cause an epic explosion, get kidnapped by a space pirate, and are marooned on planets like Numonia and Paisley, where the air smells like burp breath and revenge-hungry substitute teachers rule. And that's only the beginning . . . It turns out that there's an entire colony of space humans, and Jacob's long-lost father just might be one of them.
The first book in debut author Nathan Bransford's hilarious space adventure series has dynamite friendships, peculiar planets, and nonstop action. You'll never look at the stars the same way!


i had the pleasure of diving into an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) of WONDERBAR, and suffice it to say that it's an incredible action-packed adventure you're going to love. Jacob is hilarious and my favorite kind of 12 year old -- the kind who knows how to have fun and pull a good prank (or 50). i'd blast off into space with him any day of the week, and i'm so, so excited to share the book with you.

that's right. we're going to have a WONDERBAR giveaway.

but first! AN INTERVIEW with our esteemed author!

1. How do we know you're really Nathan Bransford and not an ALIEN?

You don't. But then again, maybe you do. See, you don't know!
Or do you?

2. Summarize WONDERBAR in 6 words.

Whoa better make this count

KidsFindASpaceshipAndBlastOffIntoSpaceAndBreakTheUniverseIt'sFunISwearHahaFOUNDaLOOPHOLE!!!!

3. Your favorite thing about writing this book?

Definitely the part where it wrote itself. How anyone ever writes a novel without a novel-writing robot I'll never know.

4. What surprised you most about writing these characters?

It was really fun to see them grow up along the way and to get to know them more and more over the course of the novel. Or at least that's what the robot who wrote my novel told me. In his emotionless robo-voice.

5. Did you always want to write Middle Grade novels?

Nope! I didn't know I wanted to write Middle Grade until I started writing this one.

6. Jacob Wonderbar is challenged to a duel. His weapon of choice would be:
               

             a. Harry's wand
             b. Edward's bite
             c. Hulk SMASH
             d. Other 


d. Other: Devastating prank that makes you question your will to live

7. If you could hang out with Jacob for a day, where would you take him?

Probably the principal's office. Either that or Planet Coasterland if he's been on his best behavior (unlikely).

8. Your favorite line from the book?

According to Praiseworthy, who recounted the history of Planet Archimedes in extensive detail, the planet had been of keen interest to scientists because it had some of the strangest cloud formations ever observed, its rivers ran in perfectly straight lines, and most importantly, its insects were both plentiful and ugly.

9. Fill in the blanks:

If Jacob could _find his dad out in space_ then he would _um... well he's not sure what he'd do but he might be mad or happy or both at the same time_.

10. Be honest. You secretly want to be a(n) _________.

resident of Paris, France

11. Something you really hope readers will take away from your novel?

Space travel is not for the faint of heart, people. Sure, you'll go to all these awesome planets and have adventures and meet talking spaceships, but it's serious business!!!

12. How do you think Jacob Wonderbar would deal with someone like Dudley Dursley? 

He would commit a fantastic prank, frame Dudley for the crime, take all the credit for himself, and probably get his friend Dexter into trouble in the process.

13. You have to go on a secret mission to outer space and you can only take one person with you. Who would you take, and why?

             a. Jacob Wonderbar
             b. Heidi Montag
             c. Hermione Granger
             d. Jonathan Franzen
             e. Other

e. Other: Mick Cracken, space buccaneer and bandit extraordinaire. We'd have fun and would complete the secret mission as long as he didn't maroon me on a random planet first.

14. Where can we find you? Are you having a launch party? Making any appearances?

Why yes, I am! I am hosting a launch party at Books Inc. Opera Plaza, Friday night in San Francisco. You are invited! Everyone! Friends too! Strangers? Why not!

15. Parting words?

I hope you like WONDERBAR! And thanks so much to my illustrious host, whose novel is going to take the world by storm in November!

A BIG SUPER HUGE THANK YOU TO NATHAN!

OKAY OKAY GUYS. i know you want to read this book, right? OF COURSE YOU DO!

and i'm giving away 3 copies. 
all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me you want a copy, 
and random.org will choose 3 winners. that's it!
note: contest closes Monday, May 16, 2011 at 11:59 PST.

BLAST OFF INTO SPACE, GUYS.
you won't regret it.

5.10.2011

ON FEELING INADEQUATE

Anonymous asked...
When it comes to writing, do you ever struggle with *feeling* inadequate? You figure you aren't and you're told you aren't, but it's that tiny little thought in the back of your mind when you open the Word document. That one that makes you close down Word before you even write a sentence. Does it ever go away?

it's hard, sometimes, to be confident when we have so many reasons to doubt our abilities. maybe our parents, our friends, our coworkers or classmates make us feel inferior. maybe we screwed up big in the past and we've never been able to live it down. maybe we have the weight of the world on our shoulders and sometimes it seems like no one will ever understand the kind of pressure we're under to succeed, to strive, to make something of ourselves.

and all of that is... normal, believe it or not. because we all struggle. all of us. every day.

i often doubt myself while writing, asking myself is this okay? is it alright? is this too much? not enough? too far? confusing? offensive? strange? will anyone understand that? and many times i question my own work. i always, always think i have room to improve and i'm constantly trying to better myself and my writing. today my writing is so much better than it was 6 months ago, because the more you write, the more you'll learn about the craft, the process.

but feeling inadequate is a little different. 

now, there's always the possibility that by 'inadequate' you simply meant you doubt your work sometimes, that maybe you have days where you think your writing is crap and you have days where maybe you want to throw your laptop out the window and wonder why you ever considered writing a book in the first place. if so, welcome, my friend, to the world of being a writer.

but if you meant that you really, truly feel inadequate? (enough that it keeps you from writing even a single sentence?) then i worry.

i'm going to tell you a secret, anon. i'm going to tell you a very big secret about life, about people, about human psychology and day-to-day interactions.

everything is in your head.

you can make yourself believe whatever you want to believe. how you perceive yourself and how other people perceive you is entirely within your realm of control. if you want others to think you're confident, you act confident. you speak with conviction, you walk down the street with your head up high and you hand out smiles like they're going out of style. people will immediately perceive you differently, because we absorb others with our eyes. emotion comes from motion. you sit up straight, you focus on people when they speak to you, you perfect your handshake and you don't walk into a business meeting with a stain on your suit. you're cool. calm. collected.

you have to do the same thing in your head.

if your mind is a jumble of self-loathing, self-deprecation and self-doubt, it's going to cripple you. it will keep you from trusting yourself and your limitless potential. you have to love yourself enough -- respect yourself enough -- to believe you're capable. that sense of inadequacy comes from another place, maybe from another person, maybe from a series of events, maybe as a consequence of a lost opportunity. whatever it is, i doubt it's isolated to just your writing. try to find the root cause of all of this.

remind yourself that you're incredible. know, unequivocally, that you have just as much right to succeed as anyone else and that you are one hell of a human being. because if you don't believe it, how can you expect someone else to?

being human is hard. it comes with a lot of FEELINGS and EMOTIONS and ISSUES we don't know how to deal with. we're scared and nervous and we worry so much you'd think we were getting paid to do it. everyone struggles. we all have bad days. we all fight our lesser selves to be better. but don't be afraid to take a risk. don't be afraid to dare yourself. to take a chance on yourself.

don't be afraid to try.

because you are not inadequate. not for this. not for anything.

and invite anyone who says otherwise to exit your life. 

<3

5.09.2011

STEALING TIME TO MAKE A SCHEDULE

emyshin asked...
if you don't mind me asking -- i think you've mentioned that you had a job while writing SHATTER ME: how did you find time to write so quickly, hold a job, and keep up with social networking (and generally being awesome) at the same time?

Holly asked...
Hi! I’m one of aspiring writers who wants to get her book done but doesn’t have enough time (I’m studying hard). I think I need to get on schedule but don’t know which one really works. Do you have your own writing schedule? Is it really possible to write a novel in a short period of time? 

these are really excellent questions. i think they're questions every writer struggles with, because so many of us are working and/or going to school, and/or supporting a family and/or running after kids and trying to get dinner on the table, all while attempting to write a novel, research the industry, establish an online presence, and attempt to market our books. it's a lot to ask of anyone.

up until about a week ago, i was working full-time. day job + writing job + life and life and life and life. and i don't even have kids. i am in AWE of the mothers and the fathers who work full-time and parent full-time and still find time to write. it boggles my mind.

because here's the thing: it's hard as hell.

i'm not going to lie. i can't pretend i just waved my Writer Wand and made things happen, because it's not easy to do all of these things at the same time. it really isn't. that's why it makes me ache with frustration when people intimate that writers must have a lot of free time, and oh, how nice for them to be able to sit around and suck on a pencil while inspiration bubbles in their teacups. i have no idea what world they think we live in, but it's cruel and painfully unfair to assume that writers don't work hard. in fact, we're working almost every free minute we can find. 

we read books because we have to know our genre, our industry. we have to know what sells, what's hot, what's hitting the shelves in a big way. we read because we're looking for an agent, an editor, a publisher. we scour the acknowledgments sections of books we love because we're doing research to find a good fit for our novels. we save money to go to conferences just for five minutes to meet with an agent or an editor or to hear a few words at a panel that might help us inch closer to our dreams. we write until it hurts, until it makes us cry, until we're hunched over our laptops banging our heads against the windows and telling ourselves it's useless, it'll never work, what were we thinking and when was the last time we brushed our teeth.

it's hard.

but it's not impossible. i know it's not because i see it every day. i see moms and dads and college kids and teenagers getting book deals and finding their fit in this industry and i know it's not impossible. but scheduling time to write isn't something i can teach anyone. it's something that has to come from you. you have to want to write -- you have to want it badly enough to prioritize, to restructure your plans, to understand that you'll be cutting back on your social life and your play dates and you probably won't be sleeping much at all. that's what it takes.

i found time in the quiet moments i should've been sleeping. i found time in the hours i could've been out with friends. i found time in the early mornings i should've been hitting the snooze button and in the evenings i should've been cleaning the kitchen. i found time on the weekends when i shirked family responsibilities and should have, but didn't, leave my house. i spent every single 3-day weekend and holiday break working, writing, reading, revising. i read industry blogs and studied query letters and scoured forums and rss feeds while waiting in lines and eating breakfast. i spent lunch breaks at the library, the bookstore, combing through stacks of books and touching individual spines and staring at covers and studying trends. i blogged every day, almost every single day, and promised myself i wouldn't give up. i told myself i couldn't. not now. not anymore.

there's no such thing as a schedule for your average writer. we don't have the luxury of staring out of windows and taking longer than 30 seconds to splash water on our faces. we're running on a quarter tank and we make it work however we can. the schedule is up to you. you'll find pockets of time you can no longer afford to squander. 90 second commercial breaks. five minutes while you're waiting for the kids to jump in the car. 10 minutes while the chicken cooks. half an hour in the waiting room at the doctor's office. 45 minutes at the DMV. the moments will arrive -- it's up to you how to use them. 

writers are thieves. we steal moments and memories and now we steal minutes, too. we scramble for extra seconds and shove them in our pockets when no one is looking. 

if you want to write, you make it work. you make time.

there's really no other way.

<3

5.06.2011

A HANDFUL OF THINGS

1. i've gotten... a lot of questions about how to pronounce my name. so after many, many failed attempts at trying to spell it out phonetically, i just broke down and recorded my voice. so, i guess, if you're interested, you can hear me say it here. so... yeah. i'm going to delete it soon.

2. i just read A Northern Light and it was BEAUTIFUL. definitely one of the best books i've read in too long. i'm so late to this party but OMG if you haven't read it, definitely put that book on your TBR pile.

3. let's not kid ourselves, this is a cop out of a blog post.

4. this is really funny.

5. i'm beginning to realize that a lot of writing-related questions i get through my email are probably best answered on my blog -- if only because i think the answers might interest more than one person. so. if you have any questions (feel free to remain anonymous), you can go ahead and drop them in here, and i'll do my best to answer them in an upcoming blog post.

6. HOLY CRAP IT'S FRIDAY

have a great weekend, everyone! what's on YOUR TBR pile?

<3
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