Friday, December 25, 2009

"Magic Time"

That's what my main character, Kelley Winslow, thinks of as that moment when the curtain rises on the stage and the play begins.

'Magic time'.

That moment when cast and audience alike hold their breath and the world seems to pause for just a scintilla of time.

That's what a lot of this past year has seemed to me. Those 'magic time' moments. Those instants of stepping over thresholds, of hovering, suspended at the top of the rollercoaster, of watching the curtain rise...

I got them just before WONDROUS STRANGE came out. I'm still getting them. Every time something is just about to happen with the book. A new edition. The audio version. A new foreign right sold... sometimes it's just walking into a bookstore knowing I will see the book on the shelf. Sometimes it's waiting for a classroom to fill up with students that I'm about to give a reading to.

Or there was that moment before I first opened up the email that had my cover art for DARKLIGHT in it...

It's been such a remarkable, dizzying experience, all this magic. Not easy - you tend to get a little nerve jangly with all of that anticipation and build-up and holding-of-breath - but certainly extraordinary; dazzling in the light, sparkling in the darkness. All the best stories about wizards tell us that making magic takes as much out of the maker as it gives back. I think that's true. I also think it's a hell of a lot easier to make the magic at the time when you have a stellar cast and crew surrounding you. Like my fellow Girls here. Like my family and friends.

Which makes this time of year, when family and friends gather, ideal to ruminate on the magic of the past year. All of a sudden, I'm not a debut author any more. I've got a whole new 'show' - a whole new round of curtains rising and breath being held, of reaching out to the audience and having them reach right back. And I've got my cast and crew there to support me. That's truly magic. And for that, I wanted to say 'thank you'. From the bottom of my heart.

Another way I want to say thank you, is by giving away a fresh new hardcover copy of DARKLIGHT. And all you have to do for a chance to win it, is leave a comment. It's almost like magic! ;-)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS, to my fellow Novel Girls and to our faithful readers! All the best to all of you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A "Magical" Transformation

Yesterday when I was at the eye doctor, of all places, I got to thinking about how much my life has changed in the past few years. The last time I’d been there, to this eye doctor, it was a few years ago and I was very pregnant with my second child and probably more stressed than I’d ever been in my life. Back then I’d just finished up a major revision of The September Sisters and had no idea if it would finally sell or if it would end up in the trash; I was worried about being a mother again and still not having gotten my writing career off the ground, I was worried about my impending c-section which my doctor had so thoughtfully scheduled for Halloween, I was worried about the fact that all my worrying was elevating my blood pressure every time I walked into a doctor office, which made my doctor routinely send me to the hospital as a “pre-caution” which of course, only worried me more. And then there was my left eye, which in the midst of all that worry, turned the brightest shade red I’d ever seen and landed me at the eye doctor, eight months pregnant.

The red eye, like most of the rest of my pregnancy induced worry, turned out to be nothing serious. My “high blood pressure” always turned out to be not high at all as soon as I’d lie down and take a deep breath. My baby, quite smartly, decided he wanted out way before Halloween. And shortly thereafter, The September Sisters sold.

But yesterday, as the doctor reviewed my chart and we chatted about how old “the baby” is now, and how my red eye has been fine ever since giving birth, I remembered back to that moment, that other moment of sitting in that chair, talking to that doctor. That moment of feeling worried and so uncertain about the future. I remembered back, and the feelings I felt then overwhelmed me once more. Then I felt this giant sense of relief, that I was never going to go back to that moment again, that moment of not knowing whether my baby was going to be born okay or whether I was ever going to achieve my dream of being published, whether I was ever going to be a “real” writer. Of course, I have new things to worry about now, but, sitting in that chair, I realized I felt completely different, an utterly different person.

Lesley asked us to write about magic, and though I know this transformation of my life, the way I feel, isn’t exactly magical, sometimes, it feels that way. It feels that way when I look at my children and think about the fact that a few short years ago, I wasn’t a mom. It feels that way when I think about having one book published and two more on the way in 2010, and think about the fact that a few years ago I was mired in rejection. I also know, there is a difference between magic and hard work, but sometimes, I think it took a little bit of both for me to have transformed from that women I was, sitting there, a few years ago, to that woman/author/mother that I am today.

A very happy release week to Lesley, who I hope continues to finds lots more magic in both her real life and her fiction! Don’t forget, Lesley’s giving away a signed copy of DARKLIGHT to one lucky person. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on any post this week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Look for Magic

Lesley, Lesley, Lesley! Hurrah girlfriend! I'm so excited for you. Novel number two and counting. And how cool to have DARKLIGHT released a couple of days before Christmas. What a great gift it will make for the girls in my life. Thank you for your great writing style and your natural ability to conjure up magic. And - let's talk about that cover. Where did Harper Collins find that gorgeous girl? Please tell us all about it. I think we'd all love to hear about the behind-the-scenes makings of how your cover came into being.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of magic is the Police song, "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic." LOVE IT!! (My mind always goes to music.) Michael McDonald does another arrangement of it, too - very jazzy - on Lee Ritenour's album, RIT'S HOUSE. If you haven't heard it, please do yourself a favor and click over to ITUNES for a listen. Download it onto your IPOD. I personally guarantee that you will go crazy over it.

I think the magic of Christmas is what keeps us all sane this time of year. The magic in the smile of your child (no matter how old) when he is opening his gifts. The magic of barely opening your eyes and peeking out at your beloved while he's kissing you. There's even magic in sound of the logs popping in the fireplace. Take a moment to find magic in the little things. It's a sure-fire way of arousing a smile on your face and a butterfly in your stomach.

To celebrate DARKLIGHT'S release week, Lesley is having a giveaway this week. One lucky POSTER will win a copy of DARKLIGHT! Just keep the posts coming throughout the week for a chance to win her fabulous book. Even if you don't win, still go out and treat yourself to a copy of the book. Don't you deserve to buy yourself a Christmas gift?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Writing Magic

Ever since reading Tracy's post yesterday, I've been walking around singing, "It's a DARKLIGHT party/Who could ask for more?" to the tune of Dead Man's Party by Oingo Boingo.

Folks, I think the holidays have finally gotten to me...

As Tracy mentioned, one lucky commenter will receive a signed hardcover of DARKLIGHT by our own Lesley Livingston. So comment early and often to be entered to win! The book is at the very top of my Christmas list, and I can't wait to devour it!

Lesley picked "magic" as the topic this week. For me, this has a particularly relevant and special meaning this week, in regards to writing magic. I'm in the middle of doing some agent revisions on my new manuscript, and, as always, the task seems daunting and unmanageable at first glance.

The writing process for me is very organic--just start writing, figure out the snags later. Of course, this often leads to lots of teeth-gnashing during revisions, but at least I have something on paper already. And yes, the jaw clenching and fist-balling has thoroughly commenced.

But as I'm going through my manuscript, deleting awkward sentences and throwing out subplots, I'm also discovering a bit of magic. It's the kind of moment when you read something you don't remember writing. When you stop, furrow your brow and eye the computer suspiciously as in: "I wrote that?'s so...GOOD."

It really is a case of channeling my muse, or possibly reaching some new emotional depth in writing that I wasn't sure if I could achieve. Whatever the cause or the outcome, I know I have a few key, perfect sentences buried in this poor little draft.

And that, for me, is magic and makes all of the work worthwhile.

Happy Holidays, everyone! Don't forget to comment!

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's a DARKLIGHT Party!

Huge congrats to fellow Novel Girl Lesley Livingston on the release of her second novel, DARKLIGHT--coming to a store near you TOMORROW! I've been waiting on pins and needles for this book since the second I finished reading WONDROUS STRANGE. I can't wait to open the copy that Santa is sure to bring me on Christmas morning!

To celebrate Lesley's release week, she's asked the rest of us Novel Girls to write something about magic. And I a minute! First thought, Lesley is having a giveaway this week. One lucky commenter will win a copy of DARKLIGHT! Just comment to posts throughout the week for a chance to win this awesome book.

Now, about magic. You all know I'm really into magic. After all, I write a series about magic, so this topic is perfect for me. But rather than talk about actual magic, I'm going to go all emotional about the magic of Christmas.

Christmas has always been special and magical to me, for as long as I can remember. Sure, when I was young, that magic had to do with Santa and the brightly wrapped presents under the tree come Christmas morning. Now, though, the magic for me is about tradition, family, and friends. When I bake the same cookies my mother baked, I remember standing in the kitchen, helping her by cracking an egg or sifting in flour. When I hear certain Christmas carols, I think about the massive holiday gatherings we had when I was a child.

Even the foods I choose to serve for Christmas dinner remind me of holiday dinners from my childhood. The Christmas my children have, in nearly all ways, is a reflection on the Christmases I had, and there's a sort of magic there. A tugging of the spirit that reminds me of the traditions, connections, and celebrations of my family.

So while I love gifts (who doesn't!), and I love Christmas cookies (mmm), what I love the most about this season--what I find the most magical--is how it brings me back to a place of childhood innocence, Santa Claus, and the belief in magic itself. How awesome I get to share that with my kids each and every year, and someday, they'll share it with theirs.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! Don't forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of DARKLIGHT by Lesley Livingston. Or, if you can't wait, it's out tomorrow! Go get a copy for Christmas--you won't regret it!