Monday, December 17, 2012

What Beth Kephart Thinks About EMPTY

Since the tragedy in Sandy Hook I have been intermittently bursting into tears. I can't fathom the pain of the victims' families, particularly the parents. My heart is with all affected.

This morning's tears were a mixture of sadness and hope, which, I can tell you, are unusual tears to cry.

Beth Kephart's written reflection after reading EMPTY is where the hope came from.

You can read it HERE.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My TEDx Talk

If you've followed this blog since the beginning then you know I have a very large and VERY supportive family. I have 25 first cousins on my mother's side (she is one of 9).

One of those cousins put me in contact with the organizer of a TEDx Youth Day event. I pitched my talk on "The Power of Human Kindness" and was invited to participate in Wilson High School's TEDx Youth Day.

Thank you, Kathleen (my cousin), and thank you Ms. Shepler (the Wilson HS TEDx organizer), for providing me with an experience that will remain one of the highlights of my debut year.

You can watch my talk HERE.

Friday, November 30, 2012

YA for NJ Charity Auction

When you get an email from David Levithan, you pay attention.

Said email arrived, and I paid attention. He sent out a rallying cry, on behalf of author, Kieran Viola. Kieran, a life-long native New Jersian, wanted to do something to help the NJ victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Behold her and her team's incredible efforts.

Click on the image to be taken directly to the ebay auction site.

The auction begins TONIGHT (11/30) AT 8 PM EST and runs until December 7, 2012. I do hope you take time to bid - there will be over 200 auctions to choose from. I am honored to participate in this charity auction. You can bid on a signed hardback of CRACKED!

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to THE COMMUNITY FOODBANK OF NEW JERSEY.

Spread the word. Let the world know this auction exists. I'll make your heart swell. Kindness Matters.

Friday, November 9, 2012

What's Been Going On Lately

What's NOT been going on lately? Blogging. Sorry about that. I'm sure you're not too broken up about it.

What HAS been going on lately? Writing.

I've completed a first draft of my brand new contemporary young adult novel. It's with my critique partners as I type. Yes, my fingers are covered in band-aids. You know me so well.

I love this book. I love it with as much love as CRACKED and EMPTY. That's a crap-ton of love.

My main character is severely flawed, which is the nicest way to say it. Quite frankly, she is a vapid wench. A series of tragic life events deepens her ugliness as a human.

But she has a heart.

It just needs to be excavated.

Even typing it out in such a teaser-like-manner makes me happy. I. Love. This. Book.

Moving on.

You know what else I've been doing lately. Events.

Sweet mother. October was what I deemed "Event Mania" (there were 9!!), and I'm calling November "The Month of New Author Experiences in Which I Have to Create A Lot of Stuff".

I've created and run a three hour workshop for Chester County, PA school librarians on the topic,
Books + Librarians = How To Change The Climate of Your School
Build Community, Foster Kindness, Tackle Bullying
I'm really proud of this 1)because I tackled mountains of nerves to pull it off 2) the immediate response and feedback I got that day was overwhelmingly positive, which made the hours and hours it took to plan the workshop worth it.

I was supposed to give a speech to the Main Line Moms & More group on the topic, Bullying From Both Sides: Fiction and Non-Fiction but it got postponed due to the snow. I still had to write the speech though. I'm looking forward to this one!!

I'm giving a speech for TEDx *gulp* which will be filmed, and I'll be in front of a live audience of one hundred. My topic: The Power of Human Kindness. While I've given this speech before, and in front of five hundred and fifty additional audience members, I've never been filmed.

And lastly, November has me doing a teleconference workshop (a first for me) through Writing For Children Live.com on the topic: Writing YA: How to Let the Characters' Voices Take Over and Keep You Silent The event on November 28th at 7 PM is FREE, but you must pre-register, which you can do HERE.

Despite this busy new lifestyle, you'll never hear me complain. This is what I queried 2.5 years for. This is what I cried for. Dreamt about.

To any of my readers out there wanting something: keep fighting for your dreams. I'm here to remind you how badly you want it - whatever "it" is.

Onward, my friends.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes



CONGRATULATIONS TO MY GIVEAWAY WINNERS, ANNOUNCED BELOW IN THE RAFFLECOPTER WIDGET! I HAVE EMAILED EACH OF YOU WITH INFO.


ANOTHER THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ENTERED. 

It’s that time again! So begins the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes, a massive blog hop featuring over 50 debut authors, and prize packs that include books, gift certificates, swag, and more! If you haven’t yet been to the Apocalypsies website, please click here to start from the beginning and read the complete rules. Now on to the race!


CRACKED
Sometimes there's no easy way out.

Victor hates his life. He has no friends, gets beaten up at school, and his parents are always criticizing him. Tired of feeling miserable, Victor takes a bottle of his mother's sleeping pills—only to wake up in the hospital.

Bull is angry, and takes all of his rage out on Victor. That makes him feel better, at least a little. But it doesn't stop Bull's grandfather from getting drunk and hitting him. So Bull tries to defend himself with a loaded gun.

When Victor and Bull end up as roommates in the same psych ward, there's no way to escape each other or their problems. Which means things are going to get worse—much worse—before they get better….



Have I intrigued you? Tickled your reader fancy? Well you, my friend, are in luck. You can visit, IndieBound, Amazon & Barnes & Noble to grab your own shiny copy. You can also find CRACKED on facebook, goodreads, kmwalton.com, and Simon & Schuster.com.

Got all that?
Good, because you’ll need to remember important details for the quiz ahead. Just so you know, there are six quizzes in all, so if you want to increase your chances of winning, be sure to fill out all six!

But guess what? Today is seriously YOUR lucky day. I'm serious.
Enter my contest for a chance to win a signed hardback copy of Cracked,! And five runners-up will receive a Cracked prize pack made up of a signed EMPTY* bookmark, custom EMPTY magnet, and CHOCOLATE.
*EMPTY is my next novel, releasing January 1, 3013 from S & S!

Entry details here:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/6585e91/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway


DON'T FORGET TO VISIT THE NEXT STOP ON THE RACE:
Hilary Weisman Grahm, author of REUNITED.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bullying

In honor of NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH I have spoken out.

1. Click the banner below to read where I speak out on bullying over on Uniquely Moi Books.

From Uniquely Moi Books

2. My article from HOW TO LEARN.COM titled: School Bullying Will Only Stop If...


Monday, October 8, 2012

Five MORE Things I've Learned Since Becoming Published

I've already shared six unexpected things connected to what it's really like to be published. Today I'd like to share five more, but instead of being unexpected, these five things are things I've learned during my debut year--which is winding down to a close. Which is crazy.

As I anticipate the release of my next novel, EMPTY, which comes out in a mere 84 days *gulp* I find myself doing a lot of reflecting. I've paid close attention to what was worth my time and what wasn't. Here goes.

5. This little bit of awesome just occurred to me, as in, like two weeks ago. When your first book sells, a lot of people and organizations want and need information on you and your book (author photo, cover image, brief bio, long bio, flap copy, blurbs, reviews). For a tremendously, and embarrassingly, long time, my way of gathering all of this information involved me going through my emails, personal folders, and online sites, for each request. For each event.

Then I had this lightning bolt idea. My eyebrows sizzled and smoked. It was that good.

Uh, Kate, why don't you create a PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS folder, and put the items people repeatedly ask for, all in one place, you silly, silly woman?

So I did. And it is simply wonderful. If you've already debuted or will in the future - give it a go. It makes your life much easier.

I learned this: my eyebrows grew back, and I had a PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS folder. Win.

4. Being a relentlessly driven person, I booked myself a gazillion book signings and events after CRACKED debuted. I think I reached out to every single bookstore within an hours drive (indie and B & N) and got myself booked for a signing. Just me. Which leads me to this sobering conclusion: book signings by yourself suck with the absolute suckage of suck.

I am a cuticle picker, which, if you follow this blog, you've seen photos of my band-aid covered fingers or read about me picking and then getting mad at myself. So let me say this, book signings by myself led to bloody fingers. I ripped the ever-loving-shit out of my cuticles just sitting there, looking uncomfortable, saying hello to people who didn't really want to say hello to me--the unknown author sitting by herself with a pile of books. Oh, even typing it out makes me wince.

I learned this: Until you have a following of readers (which may happen quickly for you), only do multi-author book signings. It takes the uncomfortableness out of it, AND you have fellow writers to sit and talk with.

3. Volunteering as an author, booking yourself for events where you will get the glorious opportunity to work with actual living, breathing teens, but you won't make a red cent, is worth every single minute of your time spent.

My sister works at the youth detention center for the county in which we live. The center is filled, at any given time, with juvenile criminals. Life's neglected population. Being the living angel who she is, my sister is always thinking of ways to inspire and reach the kids she interacts with. So far she has booked me there three times, and each time I walk out to my car overwhelmed. I'm always blown away by how initially closed off the kids are with me (crossed arms, dropped eyes), and how wide open they are when I leave (raising hands, filling their journal pages, looking me in the eye...smiling). They're truly just kids. And like all kids (like all human beings) they want to be loved and respected and believed in. Not much to ask for truly. But the majority of them are on their own.

I learned this: Volunteering makes everything else feel worth it.

2. Seeing my book out in the word will never get old. It is a thrill that produces this little squeal thing that I do, which no doubt annoys anyone who is with me. It annoys me. But I can't help it. It's just so, um, how do I say this? It's just so un-effing-believable to see copies of my book on display, or on a shelf, in a bookstore where I have no personal connection.

Like here. This unexpected display blew my mind at the Doylestown Bookshop (see #1 for the exciting reason I was actually in this great indie).



I learned this: Books are sexy.

1. My bookish social life has gone through the roof. I had no idea how many incredible events I would attend or how many incredible people I would meet - many have become friends.

For instance, Tiffany Schmidt - a fellow Apocalypsie debut author, who successfully launched SEND ME A SIGN at the Doylestown Bookshop in Doylestown, PA, this past Friday night.There were lots and lots of people, custom made fortune cookies, friends, and two huge cakes.

Here is a photo tour for your viewing pleasure.

  
Even the sidewalk was festive.

The festive and yummy treats.

Some of the swag.

Tiffany's signing table : ) 
Tiffany reading excerpts from her book. People in the crowd would call out a number and then she would read an excerpt from that page. 
The crowd!
That's E. C. Myers and his lovely wife getting their book signed.
I learned this: Being published has deepened my friend base and bolstered my social life. Two super awesome side-effects for which I am thankful.

Friday, September 28, 2012

GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

Happy Friday to all. A big thank you to everyone who joined in the excitement of my new cover - all of your kind words meant a lot. An even bigger thank you to those of you who took your time to enter the giveaway!

Without further adieu. THE WINNERS, in order of first, second & third places, chosen through Rafflecopter and random.org.

CONGRATULATIONS TO LEA, STEPHANIE AND MATTHEW!!
Email me at kmwalton1 (at) verizon (dot) net with your mailing addresses, and I'll get your prizes out to you. Enjoy.

Next week I will be posting:
5 Crucial Things I've Learned Since Being Published

Hope you'll stop back and have a read. I'd love to have you.

Friday, September 21, 2012

EMPTY's NEW Cover Reveal and Giveaway


I've known for some time that EMPTY was getting a new cover, but I had to wait to show the world. The BRILLIANT and TALENTED and DEDICATED people at Simon and Schuster had to create it. While the previous cover captured a part of Dell's story, this new one captures, well, the essence. The everything.

I heart this new cover hard, with the love of infinity hearts.


 Drum roll please....


Isn't is just, wow? Didn't your mind blow right out of your mind? As promised?

I can not thank my editor extraordinaire, Annette Pollert, and everyone else at Simon & Schuster, for the amount of time, focus, love and dedication put into this cover. It was changed for all of the right reasons, but mostly because they care about Dell's story. And that's just incredible to me

So it is with much joy, glee, and euphoria that I also reveal some additional bits of wonder. Read on, my lovely blog readers, read on.

The inside flap copy:
Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it’s been one let down after another. But no one—not even her best friend—gets all the pain she’s going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.

Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of heartbreak and the name-calling stop?


The back cover copy:
As I turn the corner, there’s a commotion up ahead. I come to a halt. What’s going on at the end of the hallway could easily be classified as my worst nightmare.

I want wings to take flight. I want disappearing dust sprinkled on me. I want a wand waved, a lamp rubbed, heels clicked—anything to make me invisible right now. But I’m just your garden variety fat girl standing in her high school hallway. Magic isn’t real.

Pain is real.


This reveal here, is something I've been dying to share. Something that I can't believe is really real.
The full blurb from the amazing Andrew Smith, author of THE MARBURY LENS series, GHOST MEDICINE, IN THE PATH OF FALLING OBJECTS, and, and, and, and, STICK--one of my favorite reads of 2012:
 "K.M. Walton's EMPTY is riveting, compelling, and brutally honest. K.M. Walton has crafted a very brave novel that draws readers not only into the complexities of a discarded teen's troubled world, but also toward the inevitable questions we must ask ourselves -- the questions EMPTY dares to explore."

I respect the hell out of Andrew Smith, and what he wrote about my story made my knees buckle.

Last, but certainly not least, onto the Giveaway Extravaganza!!!!!
THE PRIZES:
GRAND PRIZE! See Rafflecopter for details.

SECOND PRIZE!! See Rafflecopter for details.

THIRD PRIZE!!! See Rafflecopter for details.

You can make this as easy or as detailed as you like. Let Rafflecopter break it down for you:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Could EMPTY Be the Next Big Thing?

Many thanks to Beth Kephart, author of the breathtaking SMALL DAMAGES, for tagging me in The Next Big Thing blog game. Below I answer questions about my next novel, titled EMPTY and then tag another writer at the end. Have a read!

What is the working title of your book? WHALE was my original title for EMPTY, which will make perfect sense when you read the book. And, drum roll please, I will be revealing EMPTY's BRAND NEW COVER here soon. Yes, EMPTY has gotten a new cover, one that will blow your mind right out of your mind. I can not wait to share it with the world. I also can't wait to share who blurbed EMPTY. Let's just say this author wrote one of my favorite reads of 2012. And the blurb, oh, the blurb.

Where did the idea come from for the book? Cyber bullying and when human beings, namely teens, flex their "online muscles" and go for the jugular. I wanted to explore the potential consequences of such evil.

What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary young adult fiction.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I truly have no idea, which I know is the lamest answer, but it's true.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? From the flap copy: A girl tumbles into a downward spiral when a romantic encounter turns violent in this heartwrenching novel.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About two months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? While I'm embarrassed to admit that I haven't read SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson, a few reviewers have compared EMPTY to it.

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I wanted to give a voice to a bullied and broken teen, and let the reader inside of her pain. I wanted readers to see that words matter.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? I've been told by countless readers that Dell's story stays with the him/her long after the last page is turned. That just warms any author's heart.

I've tagged my friend, and fellow writer/blogger, Kelly Lyman.

Friday, September 14, 2012

COOL Upcoming Events

EXCITING BOOK EVENTS COMING UP! 

MANY ARE WITH OTHER AUTHORS. 

SEE IF YOU'RE A FAN OF ANYONE BELOW. IF YES, TRY TO COME. 

WE'D LOVE TO SEE YOUR SMILING FACE!

West Chester University
TWF Sponsored by PAWLP 
October 6, 2012
12 -3 PM
*Grades 6 - 12
**MUST pre-register

Hyatt Regency, Crystal City
Arlington, VA
September 29, 2012
Check NAIBA schedule for signing time
MUST have conference badge to attend

Educator Appreciation Night
HUGE Children’s Lit Book Signing & Reading + giveaways, prizes, and fun!
Participating authors: 
Me, Beth Kephart, Ellen Jensen Abbott, E.C. Meyers, Ame Dyckman, Dianne Salerni 
& Timothy Young!!!
Barnes & Noble
Exton, PA
October 16, 2012
4 – 6 PM

YA Panel Discussion
Appearing with Jeri Smith-Ready, E.C. Meyers & Amy Garvey
Glenside, PA
October 23, 2012
4 – 7 PM

#YALitChat twitter discussion
October 24, 2012
9 - 11 PM
Twitter

YA Panel Discussion & Reading
Appearing with E.C. Meyers, Elisa Ludwig & Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Philadelphia, PA
October 25, 2012
6:30 PM

Haverford, PA
A HUGE Apocalypsies Signing featuring 8 YA authors!
October 26, 2012
Time & Location TBD 

Authors’ Fair
Saturday, November 3, 2012

9 – 12 noon
Trinity United Methodist Church Fellowship Center

Walnut Bottom, PA 
Hosted by Capital Reading Council and Franklin County Reading Council!

Local Authors Support CCBMC (mingle and chat with loads of authors). Sponsored and organized by Local LIT.
West Chester, PA
November 23, 2012
7 PM

Writing for Children Live Teleconference*
*This is a FREE event but you must click on the link to register.
November 28, 2012
7 PM

Thursday, September 13, 2012

There's Only One Beth Kephart

Last night I attended the launch party for Beth Kephart's fourteenth book, SMALL DAMAGES. I've already gushed and drooled over this novel here. Quite frankly, it was one of the most breathtakingly written novels I've ever had the pleasure to read.


Beth's event was held at the Radnor Memorial Library in Wayne, PA, a place where, after hearing her introductions, Beth is deeply loved and admired. I can relate. Beth Kephart is one of those rare people who actually see you the very first time she looks into your eyes. She's genuine, real, and sincere.


The room was filled with people Beth has loved and who love her back. Two fans actually drove from Ohio - that's a twelve hour drive - just to help her celebrate this book. Speaking of celebration, there was cake and punch, sunflowers and smiles, books and recipes. Yes, recpies. Estela, one of the characters in SMALL DAMAGES, is a phenomenal Spanish cook--it's what she does, who she is--and Beth had recipe cards created with the recipe for Estela's Pears Al Horno.


Beth looked lovely. The room was stuffed with support and admiration. The air smelled of cake. Congratulations to Beth Kephart! And to anyone out there who hasn't read SMALL DAMAGES, get thee to a bookstore and turn those gorgeously written pages. You will think about Kenzie long after you finish--it's that kind of book.


Friday, August 31, 2012

The Summer That Was: Part 3

Welcome to August 2012
(If you missed Part 1 click HERE. If you missed Part 2 click HERE.)

August proved to be the most stuffed--stuffed with awesome.

I was lucky enough to participate in four book festivals, which allowed me to hang out with friends, make new friends, meet readers and sign books.
Local Author Night at the Schiavo Library in Strathmere, NJ. Ten local adult and children's authors gathered for a lovely evening. I was even interviewed by a nine-year-old girl. She came prepared with hand written questions--even blank lines for my answers. Her enthusiasm bubbled over as she squealed and jumped and grinned. She was the highlight of the night for me. 
YA Fest 2012 at the Palmer Library in Easton, PA. Thirty-five authors gathered for a day of fun!
SCBWI's Festival of Books at the Chester County Book & Music Company in West Chester, PA. My husband snapped this one of me reading from CRACKED. The audience listened intently and asked great questions.
And lastly, the PAYA Festival (Bringing YA to PA) in West Chester, PA. This event had thirty authors participating, and was organized (for the 3rd time) by a seventeen-year-old phenom named Skyanne Fisher! I was lucky to sit next to the lovely Charlotte Bennardo, co-author of SIRENZ.
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Books surrounded me in August, and I read two stunning novels.

GONE GIRL
By Gillian Flynn


My life stopped until I devoured this book. It's one of "those". The writing is superb. The severely flawed characters compelling. The pacing is fast, the twists as twisty as they get. It's one hell of a great read.

SMALL DAMAGES
By: Beth Kephart

I adored the gorgeous prose in this novel, got lost in the Spain so lovingly described. It is the story of love and choices. It triggered multiple bouts of "writer envy" as well as tears. I love when I cry from a book and I LOVED this book.

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The last summer adventures drew to a close with visits to two spectacular natural sites.

Saint Peter's Village
This used to be a working quarry.
 And Penn's Cave
My boys and I took the next boat into the cave.

Another boat passing us by. The photo can't convey the overwhelming scope and beauty of this cave. The tour was an hour long and the cave went on and on and on, each sight simply breathtaking.

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In closing, while in Central PA visiting Penn's Cave, we stumbled upon the Grange Fair. It was everything you picture a true country fair to be: farm animals, tractor pulls, rides, and fried everything. My mouth still hasn't recovered from eating my first fried Oreo--100% pure decadence.
I love the tractor, the ride, the mountain in the distance and the setting sun. Country at its finest.
Thanks for traipsing through my summer with me. Here's to a Fall with spices and family, blankets and steamy mugs! What are you looking forward to?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Summer That Was: Part 2

Welcome to July 2012!
(If you missed The Summer That Was: Part 1, click HERE : )

The center month of summer seemed to be a fantastic mix of adventure and work--reading and love. Here, let me show you.

Adventure and excitement filled July, in many forms. My husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary by spending the night in Philadelphia.
Nineteen years ago. What a day, what a man, what a life we've had together.
We walked the historic streets hand-in-hand, visited the Philadelphia Art Museum, and dined out in style. When we got home, we were greeted by this homemade sign that our boys and nephew made for us. Feel the love!

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Excitement continued in the form of the Treepocalypse. We lost three trees this summer, two of which fell in July. Our fallen tree total for 2012 has hit TEN. Yeah.

Believe it or not, the trampoline survived. Unscathed.
This one used to have a tree swing on it. Thank God no one was on it when it crashed to the ground!

Even though this one fell in August, it fits in perfectly with this post ; ) And yes, that is our neighbor's yard and smooshed fence!
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Moving on....

I took my boys on a really cool day trip. We drove three hours to Scranton, PA and visited the Lackawanna Coal Mine and the Houdini Museum. Both venues proved to be worth the drive.
We took a train-like contraption down, down, down into the mine, and then took the guided tour, 300 feet below the surface!
Yes, that is me up there on stage, dancing with Dorothy Dietrich. She called people out of the audience to help her during her magic act, and I was one of the "lucky" ones. We set things on fire and danced. For real.
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I also read to fantastic books in July, both of which I would highly recommend.

I HUNT KILLERS by Barry Lyga
It's Jasper Dent's story. Jasper (Jazz) is the teenaged son of the most notorious serial killer in US history, which means he was privy to unspeakable acts while growing up. I HUNT KILLERS lets you crawl around inside Jazz's mind as he wrestles with dark and light, good and evil, all the while, hunting a copycat serial killer recreating his father's gruesome murders. It's a fascinating read - well written - fast paced - twists and turns.


EVERY YOU, EVERY ME by David Levithan
This incredibly unique and haunting novel is told partly in verse, partly traditional narrative, but also with photographs every so often. The photographs either added to the mystery or propelled the story further. The fascinating thing was, Levithan got the photos from photographer Jonathan Farmer, one at a time, and would build the novel based on the latest photograph. Levithan had no idea what the next photograph would be. It's the story of Evan--very alone Evan--and how he's dealing with the aftermath of his friend Ariel's death.


The work part of July took the form of writing workshops that I conducted for PAWLP's summer programs for teen readers and writers. I was given the opportunity to be the visiting author and run four writing workshops. Meeting the teen writers, sharing the craft of writing, answering their thoughtful questions, all proved to be highlights of July!

What was your favorite part of July? Do tell....

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Summer That Was: Part 1

Hope everyone reading this had a wonderful summer, and by wonderful I mean filled with family and moments to remember. For me Summer 2012 was packed with lots of "wonderful"! I'm going to break things down into a three part blog post titled: THE SUMMER THAT WAS.

Welcome to Part 1!

June 2012

My large and incredible family got together, as we do every June, for our week at the beach. Over one hundred of us descend upon a tiny beach town in Southern New Jersey. We meet on the beach each day and sit together in one big gathering. Talking, laughing, reminiscing. There are parties and traditions and it all adds up to one thing: a magical week.

Photo courtesy of my sister Meghan : ) And this is only PART of the family!

Our living room makeover project finally drew to a close. We couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
The new bar and cabinets were built in a once useless corner that housed a dumb table and chasable dust bunnies.

The new bookshelves we had built brighten the entire room, and moving our TV to above the fireplace opened up everything.

And lastly, the Apocalypsies signing event at the Philadelphia Barnes & Noble turned out to be a fun day, meeting new people and hanging with good friends.
Me with Elisa Ludwig (PRETTY CROOKED), E.C. Meyers (FAIR COIN), and Eve Marie Mont (A BREATH OF EYRE)
Hope you tune in to Part 2 on Wednesday!

Do share your favorite moment from summer in a comment. I'd love to read all about it....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Words of Encouragement

This week I conducted two workshop presentations to teen writers, all through the incredible PAWLP organization. It was not the workshop part that inspired me to write this post, it was the Q & A part at the end, when the kids asked me about being a writer and my book. Despite the workshops taking place in different towns, the questions were similar. One question in particular was the catalyst for today's post:

Was it easy to get your book published?

Anyone out there working towards a dream--no matter the dream--knows the answer to that.

My mother always says, "Nothing that's worthwhile doing is easy." She has said that since I've been a little girl, and she is so right.

I looked out into the sea of bright, hopeful teenage eyes, and I gave them an encouraging, yet realistic answer. "No, it wasn't easy. It was years of hard work and close to a 150 rejections, but I wanted to see one of my books published, so I never gave up." As much as I believe in positive thinking, I also believe in hard work. Dreams don't come true without both parts.

My words of encouragement today:

Learn from disappointment. Parse through the pain and find ways to grow towards your goal. Don't allow yourself to get stuck in the heartbreak. The choice you make right here, at this crucial moment, to power onward amidst the dark clouds of doubt, is what separates you from those who achieve their dreams and those who don't.

This is the hardest part - believe me - I've been there. 

Finally, make sure your hard work is the right hard work. Continuously ask yourself, Is what I'm spending my time on really and truly helping me towards my goal?

Never stop moving towards your dreams.

A little Zen for the dreamers out there.

Monday, July 23, 2012

To be loved

Just like many of you out there, I too sat glued watching the unfolding horrors in Colorado. My life seemingly stopped moving forward. I was incapable of doing anything else but watch story after shocking/heartbreaking story. My Friday slipped away into the past, and I went to bed with a heavy, heavy heart.

Saturday threatened to be swallowed up by more endless channel flipping, but for one light: a book signing for my friend Beth Kephart at my beloved Chester County Book and Music Company. Beth was launching her fourteenth book, SMALL DAMAGES, which received incredible and well deserved praise from the New York Times book review. 

Beth is one of those rare modest geniuses who walk into your life, instantly making you feel welcomed and accepted – like she wouldn’t change a thing about you. I wasn’t kidding about “but for one light.” Beth’s beauty radiates from within. So brightly.

She eloquently expressed her feelings on the Aurora tragedy in her remarks behind the podium and shared a magnificent part from SMALL DAMAGES that she’d hand selected, pausing as she read, and telling the audience, “This part is for all of us.”

Next to me sat another human being I adore, A. S. King (Amy). Like Beth, she too has the magical gift of showering people with instant acceptance. The woman also happens to be one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Read about the first time I met her, HERE. You’ll see. And behind us sat the ever-lovely Joanne Fritz, bookseller and friend extraordinaire.

As Beth continued with her presentation, her gentle voice echoing through the gloriously cavernous bookstore, my heart lightened. Just a bit. I was surrounded by books and friends. Is there a better place for an author to be?

An impromptu lunch followed with Beth and Amy, where we talked and shared stories, plotted future get togethers and most importantly, laughed. We laughed so hard at times that mouths had to be covered, the table top pounded. And it felt so good.

I laid in bed that night unable to shake the thought, that if by chance or fate, the man who had senselessly stolen the lives of twelve and ruined the lives of countless others, if he had known someone like a Beth Kephart, A. S. King or Joanne Fritz—and by known I mean as a friend—would he have felt as alone, as evil? Of course I’ll never know the answer. But deep down I leaned towards “no.” Human beings, mentally ill or not, just want to be validated. To be loved. Seen. Heard. To feel as if they matter to others. Even strangers.

Somewhere along the way the shooter lost his connection to humanity, for reasons yet uncovered. While blame is sure to be tossed here and there, I certainly am throwing blame nowhere. I wouldn’t dare. What I can’t stop doing, however, is return to the thought: we must see the invisible people in our lives.

As I did in my speech during the launch event for CRACKED, I end this blog post with a challenge, this time in honor of those lives lost and affected in Aurora. In the midst of living your life—whether it’s in school, at work, with your family, or just out in the world—truly look for the invisible people, the people who fade into the woodwork, the lost, the depressed, the people no one speaks to or interacts with—see them, treat them with dignity, respect, basic human kindness.

Those are the moments that power the human spirit.

When one of us looks into the eyes of a another and proceeds to show compassion, it squashes the evil, pounding into a weak dust only to blow away on the breath of a compliment or a, “How are you doing today?”

Kindness matters.

My heart and prayers are with everyone affected by this tragedy.


PS Normally I'd pepper this post with hyperlinks and cover photos, but it just didn't feel right.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Never Enough

NEVER ENOUGH by Denise Jaden releases today.
Description
From the author of Losing Faith, a novel about two sisters and the eating disorder that threatens to destroy their family.

Loann’s always wanted to be popular and pretty like her sister, Claire. So when Claire’s ex-boyfriend starts flirting with her, Loann is willing to do whatever it takes to feel special…even if that means betraying her sister.

But as Loann slips inside Claire’s world, she discovers that everything is not as it seems. Claire’s quest for perfection is all-consuming, and comes at a dangerous price. And Loann is frightened she could lose the sister she’s always idolized.

As Claire increasingly withdraws from friends and family, Loann struggles to understand her and make amends. Can she heal their relationship—and her sister—before it’s too late?

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In honor of this exciting day Denise organized a video compilation of her fellow authors sharing their thoughts on not feeling like enough. You may see some familiar faces ; )



And to up the awesome ante even more, Denise is giving away prizes! For details, click HERE.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who threw their hat into the ring by entering. I think this may be the most excited bunch of giveaway entrants I've ever had - I could feel the enthusiasm with every comment.

I used the computer program The Hat to randomly pick the winner for today, and it chose TIFFANY July 2, 2012 2:09 PM (not to be confused with the other lovely entrant, Tiff).

CONGRATULATIONS, TIFFANY! Email me at kmwalton 1 at verizon dot net with your mailing information, and I'll get your prize pack out to you.

Again, big thanks to everyone who entered.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Potluck Giveaway

Remember me? I sure hope so. Sorry to have been swallowed by life as of late, but that's my excuse. Today's post will be a bunch of stuff for your entertainment. You certainly deserve to be entertained in light of your steadfast allegiance to this poor neglected blog. Go you!

First off, check THIS out:

Yes, they are the ARCs of my new book EMPTY! I am thrilled to have them in my hands and I can't wait for you all to meet Dell....

Here's the back cover copy:
Dell is relentlessly teased about her weight, and she’s devastated when a tender moment with her long-time crush turns violent. Distraught and isolated after the attack, Dell’s depression—and life—spins out of control.

Finding that food no longer eases her pain, Dell turns to her mother’s prescription pain pills. But what starts as a quick fix rapidly escalates. How far will Dell go to make the loneliness, the self-loathing, the heartbreak, the shame, and the name-calling stop?


In CELEBRATION of this momentous occasion I'd like to do a giveaway of EPICALLY BOOKMARKISH PROPORTIONS. I'm serious. It's epic. 

I have bookmarks from close to thirty Apocalypsies, as well as other authors from BEA 2012, a Chris Colfer tote bag (yes, THAT Chris Colfer from Glee. He has written a middle grade fantasy book.), the complete Apocalypsies dance card from our BEA event (it has everyone's signatures!!), a few magnets, an Apocalypsies BEA event promo card, AND a $25 Amazon gift card. Booya. 
Giveaway details:
- When you share the link to this post anywhere online, and tell me where you shared it in your comment here (you can just say: facebook, twitter, blog - no need to put the link, I trust you), you are officially entered. Simple.
- Giveaway starts now and ends Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 9 AM EST. 
- Winner to be announced here on Tuesday, July 3, 2012 no later than 10 AM

Best of luck to those of you who enter and thank you for joining in the fun!!
  
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To anyone who loves beautifully handcrafted jewelry, you must check this out:
 
It is the work of fellow writer and blogger, Christina Lee. She is clearly a talented artisan. You can find details about this necklace, titled TURN THE PAGE, here.

And I highly encourage you to spend some time over on her full-blown jewelry website called Tags-n-Stones (block out a chunk of time because you will be there a while ; ) 

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Well, I hope this post has done its job and you experienced some joy, some excitement. 


PS I've added lots of new CRACKED review links up there in that tab, as well as links to some recent interviews (list is to your right, in a side column). Hang out for a bit!