Tuesday, December 3, 2013

EMPTY releases in paperback today. And there's a GIVEAWAY!




To help celebrate the paperback release of EMPTY today, I'm running a giveaway. Subscribers--old and new--to my monthly eNewsletter will be automatically entered to win a signed paperback copy of EMPTY and a bookmark! 

There will be five lucky winners (US and Canada only - winners to be announced in my January Newsletter). 

Not subscribed to my monthly eNewsletter? Don't worry, you can sign up by clicking HERE.

BOOK SUMMARY

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 the heartbreak and name-calling stop? 

Interested in why I wrote EMPTY? Click HERE.

Interested in some stellar reviews of EMPTY? Click HERE and HERE and HERE.

Here's what critics are saying about EMPTY:

Like Walton’s debut novel, Cracked (2012), Empty wades fearlessly into the desperate inner lives of abused teens.Readers will feel Dell’s pain acutely in this emotionally wrenching novel. ~BOOKLIST

Dell is a well-drawn character, and her loneliness and hurt are palpable. Teens will be sucked into her downward spiral and will start to wonder if her situation is ever going to get better. Empty will hit home hard with teens who have been or are being tormented and should shed some light on how painful and destructive bullying is to its victims. ~SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

A cautionary tale about merciless bullying . . . . Portrayals may let readers (bullied, bully or observer) slot themselves in where appropriate and heed this red flag. ~KIRKUS

Walton writes books that matter. She writes with the intent of saving lives. Words are weapons-- but as Walton has deftly illustrated in Empty-- they are also hope.
~ Kim Sabatini, author of Touching the Surface

K.M. Walton's Empty is riveting, compelling, and brutally honest. 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.
~Andrew Smith author of Stick, The Marbury Lens, Passenger

Empty is a brave book written by a brave writer—relentless, unblinking, harrowing.
~ Beth Kephart author of Small Damages & You Are My Only

Monday, November 4, 2013

A rest.

To the one or two people who still visit this neglected dusty place, I say, hello. But, don't get too excited, this post might bum you out (it bums me out).

Back on July 18, 2008 (that's five years ago) I wrote my first post: I did it...I wrote a novel. Who knew that my journey to publication would be so arduous, so bumpy, so-friggin-long.

This blog, and more importantly my blog readers, got me through the most daunting times, the times I wanted to throw in the towel, the times I needed advice, a friend, a shoulder. Thank you.

Over the past five years I have opened up and shared so very much, right here. I have made "in real life" friends, gained critique partners, cheered others on from the sidelines of their own paths to publication - all wonderful things. But sometimes wonderful things must come to an end.

Cue the bummer part.

It probably won't come as a big surprise that I've officially decided to stop blogging. I've kinda already done that (hello, my last post was in September...and it's November. I'm a blogging slacker of the worst variety.)

Anyone need a tissue? *sniff*

Don't fret too much, I will still announce gigantic stuff here (new books, covers, etc...) And I'm on twitter (@kmwalton1), facebook, and kmwalton.com, so it's not like I'm disappearing into the mist.

If you're wondering "Why, Kate? Why?" well, it's because I want to save my time spent writing for my books. Not for monetary reasons or anything, simply because I'm blogged out.

So, farewell my blogger friends. See ya around the web. Stay cool.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

ALL OF YOU

You know when you have the good fortune to stumble upon someone in life and they turn out to change your life, for the better? That is the case with Christina Lee. I am lucky to call her a critique partner, and more importantly, a friend.

Her heart is big. Her writing talent is big.

It is with THE GREATEST PLEASURE and EXCITEMENT that I share the news of her debut New Adult release. Today the world can finally read ALL OF YOU! Her reviews are incredible because the book is incredible - I read it IN ONE SITTING.

Go forth and get your hands on this deliciously gripping novel.

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

Google Books


iBooks

Friday, September 13, 2013

So, Lately

Hello, long lost readers and friends. Hope this post finds you smiling, happy, perhaps sipping on a piping hot mug of coffee or tea. Things sure have been going and going around here - like everyone else in the world. Now that school is back in session, and my house is so damn quiet, I feel like I can sit down and blog.

So I am.

I've been meditating lately, just before I fall asleep. It helps to keep me centered. I stumbled upon Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Challenge app and recently finished my 21st day. Each session really got me thinking (I'm pretty sure that was the intention ; )

If anyone out there is feeling anxiety, worry, stress, then this post is for you.

If anyone out there is a dreamer, wisher, ponderer, then this post is for you.

If you're a longtime reader, you know of my deep love for THE POST-IT. They're everywhere in my life, and I don't know how I'd live without them. Big ups to 3M for creating such a masterpiece.

Anyway, back to the inspiration.

A few important thoughts have stuck with me from the 21 Day Meditation Challenge, things that I'd like to share with you guys because I think they're universal.

The most important: BE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE MAKER.

I wrote that on a post-it and stuck to my computer screen. I read it multiple times a day. I love the empowerment in those five words. I love the simplicity.

The second thought: WHO AM I? WHAT DO I WANT?

Those questions were asked repeatedly throughout the 21 Day Meditation Challenge, and I found it fascinating to mentally explore the answers. Give it a go.

The Challenge encourages listeners to take some time and write it down, record your thoughts. It helps you to process, to go deeper. I also helps to make your thinking even more concrete, even more real.

Who are you? Are you what others think you are? Are you who you want to be?

What do you want? Why do you want it so badly? Are you close to getting it? What can you do to make it happen?

Happy thinking!

If you're on Twitter, tune in each Wednesday at 10 AM EST for my #kindnessmatters campaign (@kmwalton1). The only thing promoted is kindness!


Monday, August 12, 2013

3 Things

Happy Monday morning to all!

1) I was interviewed over on the lovely Dianne Salerni's (WE HEAR THE DEAD, THE CAGED GRAVES) blog, and the focus is on damaged characters. You can have a read by clicking HERE.

2) Tomorrow night (8/13/13) at 6:30 PM (EST) tune in to A BOOK AND A CHAT for my online radio interview with Barry Eva. Click HERE for details.

3) If you are on Twitter, tune in this Wednesday as I launch my #kindnessmatters Twitter campaign. Follow me @kmwalton1 

I'm slinking back into my revision cave....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

ALL OF YOU Cover Reveal

Christina Lee and I have been shoulder-to-shoulder in this publishing business for years now. We met through blogging, became critique partners, and were in the query trenches together. I'm lucky to call her a dear friend as well. She's good people.

Good things happen to good people.

Today's good thing is really good, like, dark-chocolate-sea-salt-caramel-good.

ALL OF YOU is Christina's debut new adult novel and it has a cover. A spectacular cover:


Being Christina's critique partner, I read the book, and let me say this: I read it straight through in one sitting.

About the book:
In this powerfully emotional debut New Adult novel, Avery has just met her hot upstairs neighbor. He’s irresistible. Tattooed. And a virgin.

Nursing student Avery Michaels wants nothing to do with dating—she’s perfectly happy single. Privy to too many of her mother’s bad decisions and even worse taste in boyfriends, all Avery can handle is a string of uncomplicated hookups whenever the mood strikes.

When she meets smoking hot tattoo artist Bennett, she wants him—for just one night. But he won’t accept a no-strings-attached arrangement. He lives by a straight-laced code of values based on his own troubled upbringing.

Bennett sees something special in Avery and he wants more from her. Way more. As Avery wrestles with her emotions for Bennett, danger and tragedy force them to open up to each other. And Avery must face the terrifying realization that she wants more from him, too.

So she needs to make a choice—let Bennett go or finally let him in.

Add it to: Goodreads

You're going to want to pre-order it. Trust me. It's available here: AmazonBarnes&NobleGoogle BooksiBooks

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CRACKED and EMPTY Release on Audible Today

Today, both of my novels release as audio books from Audible.com!








GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate I will be giving away A THREE MONTH AUDIBLE MEMBERSHIP (value $45) to one lucky winner!

It's super easy to enter, just click on the Rafflecopter link below. Giveaway closes midnight August 6, 2013. Winner will be announced next Wednesday, August 7, 2013, right here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Giveaway WINNER

A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO THE GIVEAWAY WINNER*:

NIKKI KRUEGER

I had the best time re-entering the stories of CRACKED and EMPTY - it was like visiting old friends. I did my best to jot interesting notes, thoughts, secrets, and insider tidbits throughout each book. I hope you enjoy your prize, Nikki!

Here is a sample note from each novel:

EMPTY


CRACKED

And thank you to everyone who tweeted, posted on facebook, and entered!!

*Winner chosen randomly, via Rafflecopter

Thursday, July 18, 2013

5 Year Blogoversary

Since I've been a bad, bad blogging person, ignoring this here blog for weeks on end, I figured I had some making up to do.

Welcome to me making it up to my blog and my readers!

IT'S A FIVE YEAR BLOGOVERSARY GIVEAWAY PARTY.

Or shall I say, par-tay?

First, a heartfelt thank you to my tried and true blog readers (some of you have been around since the verrrry beginning), and my newish blog readers (sorry for being such a sporadic poster). I love reading your comments and I always have.

Second, since this is a blogoversary and all, here are my five favorite blog posts from over the years, in chronological order.

1. Saturday, September 27, 2008
Welcome to The Funny...Laughter Anyone???

2. Wednesday, November 18, 2009
One Old Soul

3. Sunday, March 14, 2010 (Yes, I'm cheating, because there are four different posts below. They're linked to what I call the "4Ds to getting published" or achieving your dream, whatever the dream may be)
D #1 DRIVE
D #2 Determination
D # 3 Desire
D # 4 Destiny

4. Monday, February 21, 2011
Push Yourself Out of the Nest

5. Thursday, April 19, 2012
What It's REALLY Like to be Published

Third, I'd like to liven things up around here. How about a giveaway? Huh? Sound good?

I thought it might be a cool experience for me to annotate both CRACKED and EMPTY. I'll even sign them and wrap them up with a bow. Presto-blamo! Prize pack! I'll throw in an EMPTY magnet, bookmark, and Books of Wonder (NYC) tote bag to make it even more prizetastic.



Here's how to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Super Swag Sunday



Today is the day my books will be highlighted over on Laurisa Reyes's blog. Laurisa is the originator and organizer of the week-long SUPER SWAG SUNDAY giveaway and the author of THE ROCK OF IVANORE and THE LAST ENCHANTER.

You can enter the giveaway here, with the Rafflecopter below or you can visit Laurisa's blog and check out all of the wonderful authors being highlighted today!!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/79201e98/" rel="nofollow">a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Secret Lesson

In honor of Father's Day, and my father, who I lost to cancer when he was only fifty-one, I wrote this essay. I wrote it back in 1999, two years after his passing.

This is for anyone who has a complicated relationship with their dad.


SECRET LESSON                                                      

My attic is not empty, on the contrary it is full of my past, boxes and crates full of my past. I keep a lot of ridiculously important things. No one else understands the importance of saving the pebble I nervously played with during my first “real” kiss. That meaningful piece of stone lives with my cream polyester eighth grade graduation dress and my Yoda pencil box. My crunchy soph hop corsage and my It’s a GIRL cigar from when I was born. My box of eight teeth I had pulled before my braces went on in 1978 and my braid I proudly wore as the ever popular “tail” in the 80s, still braided, and looking like all it needs is a little superglue and a neck to call home again. Odd I know, but I can’t seem to part with what I mistily call “my life’s memorabilia”.

My husband simply calls it junk.

The reason I have the peculiar desire to save all of life’s trinkets can be blamed on my father. As a little girl I vividly remember playing with my father’s memorabilia. I naively thought of it as “daddy’s stuff”. The miniature camera, the small worn out box filled with boy scout pins and patches, and the little guy made out of a roll of lifesavers. They were my father’s memories, his treasures tucked neatly into his night table drawer.

Being little also meant that my daddy still communicated with me, on my level, by being silly and playing “pile on the tickle monster”. My three sisters and I would pile every loose table cloth, bed covering, and towel on top of him. You name it, if it wasn’t in the safety of a closet or a drawer it was fair game for the pile. He would lay perfectly still on the living room floor, buried under the Mt. Everest of piles. Slowly he would emerge, unleashing the ferocious tickle creature. We screamed and carried on as the beast from the pile used his paws of laughter on each of us. That was my daddy, and I loved him.

As my body hit puberty, rebelling against me, growing unfamiliar oddities all over it, I secretly played with my father’s night table treasures, spreading them out on his bedroom carpet enjoying their oldness. I would try to imagine my father playing with his tiny camera, wondering what kind of pictures he took as a child. Those thoughts always left me feeling safe.

It would be nice and flowery to tell you that we had the perfect father/daughter relationship, but the reality was that we did not. Puberty afforded me a training bra and opinions. My father shut down.

I no longer squealed “Daddy’s home!” while running and doing a perfect 10.0 spring board jump into his arms. My teenage voice would nonchalantly mutter, “Hi, Dad” sometimes an hour after he’d been home. He no longer connected emotionally with me. My choice of conversation was either an argument or a stale verbal exchange like, “Where are my scissors?!” or “Unpack the dishwasher please.” My mom would always say, “He does love you in his own weird way.” Those words of intended encouragement confused my teenage mind. The confusion led to frustration and I began to construct the brick wall – the one that separated my father and me.

I blamed him for the father he wasn’t. I wanted to spend hours talking to him about who I was and what my dreams were. I wanted his advice, from a guy’s point of view, to help me as I skipped through the landmines of adolescence. I wanted tight hugs to reassure me and silence my self doubts. I wanted compliments forcing me to feel beautiful even with my frizzy hair and braces. I wanted the dad from Sixteen Candles.

As I grew into an adult I needed more, I wanted phone calls filled with deep connecting discussion and short little “just checking on you” calls too. I wanted invitations to visit and go places with him. Basically, I wanted all that he wasn’t. However, strangely enough, I think that silent teenage ritual of inspecting his night table treasures fulfilled one of my needs, the need to be connected to him and I unknowingly followed in his footsteps.

I still vividly remember saving my first piece of personal history. My thirteen year old hand, excited with sweat, clutched the one end of a neon green light stick as my red headed freckle faced dream boy held onto the other. We clumsily skated round and round Skate Odyssey to Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. How in the world could I have tossed that glowing wand from my passionately romantic “couples skate”? That was only the beginning of my collection. I began to gather and store, slowly amassing, slowly living, slowly growing up.

In retrospect there was nothing slow about growing up, my childhood quickly escaped me, my life pushed forward. I went to college. Fell in love, hard, and married the best guy alive. We were moving into our first house and my husband threatened to “go through” my boxes of memorabilia to help me get rid of the junk. I sweetly informed him that I would “go through” my boxes and crates, secretly never expecting to do anything but go through them.

Spreading out my life onto the bedroom floor I reluctantly made one painful decision after another. Should I keep the label from my first beer with the words, “drank with Sue while mom and dad were away” scrawled on the back by my ninth grade hand, or the Empire Strikes Back movie ticket stub from my twenty seventh time? These were tough questions.

My mounds gradually evolved into “husband approved” piles. I have to admit, some of the things I tossed were just objects – I couldn’t even remember what they were, who they came from or why I had saved them. However, I still cringed as they were lovingly placed in the tall kitchen garbage bag. It was like throwing out one of your ears just because it got in the way of your new headband - crazy and unnecessary. I began to wonder if my dad ever had to go through this living hell, this ungodly torture, this emotional tidal wave, this rip your heart out and stomp on it with high heels kind of pain, this, this, this overwhelming feeling of loss. I wondered if he had had to make choices and consolidate his life into two neat boxes.

Soon after the move my life took a turn. The kind of , “Dukes of Hazzard” turn where the car has two wheels firmly on the ground while the other two wheels are dangerously up in the air. Sickness, birth and death all arrived simultaneously. Oh the joys of life. The birth of my first child and my father’s diagnosis of cancer occurred within two weeks of each other. I shed tears of joy, tears of fear, tears of anger, tears of happiness. Tears.

Close to the end, my father gave me his night table treasures, one of them being my birth announcement cigar. He fought for eight grueling months and slowly lost the battle on October 25, 1997. These events forced me to take a deep look at my father. What had I learned from him? What I realized was that I had spent years being angry with my dad for all that he wasn’t, this of course blinded me to all that he was.

He was a sentimental man who took countless photographs and movies of my family, because he wanted to.  He was a man who could fix, build, design and repair anything, a true gift. He loved to read Steven King or Tom Clancy and he passed that love onto me. He was a man who did love me but didn’t know how to love me. He was a man whose deep feelings lived in what he saved. He was a man who moved slowly through his life weighing his choices with precision.

Everything in today’s world is so fast, so use it now and get rid of it, disposable this, disposable that. I long for the days when memories lived in the safety of a night table drawer or the warmth of an attic. Do we even have attics today? Is it so wrong to keep the junk that makes up our past? Doesn’t it keep us all connected to who we once were and what our dreams were as children? These things are the proof we need that we were cool, we did dance, and make out, and have a mohawk, and aspire to be an archaeologist who sings opera in here spare time.

Unknowingly, I learned that life’s trinkets are for the keeping, from a man I did love. My father taught me to save the sweet little things for the future when life gets challenging. His miniature camera no longer took photographs, its job was promoted to touchable memory, a memory forced to take up space and be – not just live in the fragile mind. By saving my birth announcement cigar he saved a living snapshot for himself, to pull out and enjoy whenever he needed it.

You know what, Dad – I do the same exact thing.

My father walking me down the aisle.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

One reader's reaction to EMPTY

I am thankful for this email from a reader. I am thankful to have readers who fully grasp what I intended. I am thankful that G. granted me permission to share the email.

Good afternoon,

Just wanted to say that I read Empty and it was incredibly powerful. I've read several novels with a similar subject matter (including Cracked) but this one was different. 



*SPOILER ALERT* 

Seriously, don't keep reading if you don't want the ending of the book spoiled for you. Which, by the way, never occurred to me when I initially posted this (um, duh, Kate), but luckily I have a good friend who gave me the business for wrecking the ending for her (sorry, Rina!!).

In other words, if you haven't read the book yet. Just stop here. Don't worry, you can always come back and read what this lovely reader thinks.

If you've already read the novel, well, hugs and high-fives to you! And you have my full permission to scroll down and read the rest of the wonderful letter.

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LETTER CONTINUED...
You've been warned...

It was interesting (but very effective) that you chose to end the novel with Dell's suicide rather than an ending where she gets help and everything works out just fine. Although it's nice to see the character get better and everyone be their friend again, you definitely highlight the reality of the situation. A lot of people who get bullied in school or generally feel like their life sucks are too scared to ask for help, even though there are tons of people out there that would be more than willing to help and improve their situation. Although novels where the character receives help and turns out fine are uplifting to those considering suicide and having other issues in their life, Empty shows that there are still people out there who do not receive help even when they desperately need it and feel that suicide is the only way out. 

Empty provides valuable lessons for all. It shows that everyone has feelings and issues they are dealing with. Nobody deserves to be treated the way Dell was and it makes me think twice about saying something even remotely disrespectful to or about someone. You just don't know what people are going through in their life and making rude comments about them will only aggravate their tensions. 

So once again, thank you! I hope your novels will encourage many teens to seek help early for problems and treat others like they want to be treated! 

Sincerely,
G.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Madeleine Project

The lovely Kristina Perez reached out to me a few months ago, asking if I'd like to participate in The Madeleine Project by answering the Proust Questionnaire. I said yes.

The questions weren't ones I've answered before - they made me "go deep".

A teaser to entice you so that you'll click from here to visit there:

You'll find out when I lie.

You'll find out what talents I would most like to have.

You'll find out who my literary hero is.

You'll find out what needs to happen before I can die happy.

And there's music and a photograph of me with a celebrity.

Hopefully I've intrigued you. Click HERE if I have.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hudson Children's Book Festival

If you live in the Hudson, NY area and you love children's books (picture book through young adult) then this qualifies as the PERFECT DAY!



I am one of the ninety authors, so please stop by and say hello! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tenacity

: )         : )           : )           : )           : )           : )

I've got this smile that won't seem to leave my face. See, I love it when hard work and persistence pay off - especially for a friend. Christina Lee, my critique partner and friend, has landed a two book deal with Penguin for her New Adult novels - ALL OF YOU releases September 2013. Book deals in general have a way of making me smile, but when they happen to people I respect and adore, all the better.

Christina has worked very hard and deserves to be on the happy cloud she is no doubt floating upon at the moment. CONGRATULATIONS, CHRISTINA!! If you'd like to congratulate her as well, pop over to her blog - click HERE.

You can read about her exciting deal over at Publishers Weekly.

You can follow her on twitter: @Christina_Lee04
Visit her blog: Write Brained
Peruse her incredible hand-stamped jewelry: Tags-n-Stones


Monday, March 25, 2013

NYC Teen Author Festival

A recap of my favorite moments from the NYC Teen Author Festival, in countdown form.

10. Not fumbling when I read from EMPTY during my panel discussion. I practiced beforehand like a good little author.

9. Only blanking out once during said panel discussion. I got nervous up there in front of all those people, and my brain found obscene pleasure in eviscerating what I was going to say. Like, poof. Here's how it went down, in blow-by-blow for you: I stared for a few seconds, swallowed my heart, cracked a lame joke at my own expense, asked for the question to be repeated, took a deep breath, and it allllll came back to me. Whoosh. That only happened once.

8. Having my agent (Sarah LaPolla), my editor (Annette Pollert), and the Vice President of Simon Pulse (Bethany Buck) all come to my panel was a wonderful show of support. I am a lucky author.

7. Being on a panel with five incredibly talented women who each brought such interesting points of view to the discussion.
Caela Carter (ME, HIM, THEM, and IT)
Eireann Corrigan (THE BELIEVING GAME)
Alissa Grosso (FEROCITY SUMMER)
Terra Elan McVoy (BEING FRIENDS WITH BOYS)
Jacquelyn Mitchard (WHAT WE SAW AT NIGHT)

6. Having the witty and kind and all-around-awesome Aaron Hartzler (RAPTURE PRACTICE) be our panel moderator. He asked well thought out questions and made everyone feel welcomed and comfortable.

5. Staying at the cool, boutique Cassa Hotel. I highly recommend it for the service, the outstanding breakfast menu, the sleek decor, and the outrageously comfortable bed.

4. Getting to see so many wonderful Apocalypsie friends throughout the weekend - E.C. Myers, Leanna Renee Hieber, Hilary Weisman Graham, Gina Damico, Tiffany Schmidt, Zoraida Cordova, and Kimberly Sabatini. What a tremendously lovely and supportive bunch.

3. Seeing and chatting with two of my favorite people on earth, A. S. King and Beth Kephart. They just make me smile with their genuineness.

2. Meeting up with two more of my favorite people on earth, Sarah LaPolla and Annette Pollert. Having them on my "author team", and getting to talk books and life with them over a soy cappuccino was a slice of heaven.

1. Talking one-on-one with THE Jacquelyn Mitchard after our panel ("talking" is a generous term here, it was more along the lines of me fangirling her and blabbering on and on about how much I still love THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN). When I took a breath and let the woman speak, she said, "Oh, aren't you so sweet." I asked if she would mind signing my 1996 hardback that I brought with me. She didn't mind. She signed it: To Kate, my word sister. Kind of the best thing ever.

*Someone just tweeted a link to this article and photo. I'm quoted in the article and in the photo. Whoa.

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

On a different but VERY EXCITING note, CRACKED has won rounds 1, 2, and 3 of the YA March Madness competition. It has made it to the Elite Eight round!! To anyone who voted, thank you!

PLEASE keep voting. Click HERE to cast votes. CRACKED is the little book that could.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MORE Randomness

Despite it being a dreary Monday morning, I'm hearing Austin Powers in my head: Are you feeling random baby? Yeah!

And I'm smiling. Dreary Monday morning be damned.

A few random items for you guys.

1. CRACKED made it through the first round of YA March Madness competition! *high five* Much thanks to anyone who voted. Now that round two is on, (oh, it's ON) Victor and Bull need your votes again. You can vote HERE - voting ends Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 8 PM EST.

2. Speaking of Victor and Bull. I'm a fan of the song THRIFT SHOP by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. While jamming out in my car on Friday it hit me: Bull Mastrick would probably like the song, especially the line "Bout to go and get some compliments, passin' off in those moccasins someone else has been walkin' in..." If you remember, he wasn't a fan of wearing someone else's shoes. Salvy! Salvy!

Love you, Bull! Note: there is "language" in this song.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Randomness

The past few months have been spent working on a brand new manuscript, hence my lack of blog posts. It seems I'm of the "when I'm writing, that's all I'm capable of" ilk.

Since I'm so rusty when it comes to writing a proper blog post, behold the randomness....

- Next week is the start of the NYC Teen Author Festival. It is made of so much awesome. Publishers Weekly wrote about it HERE, and you can see the lineup HERE and HERE.

- CRACKED is involved in a fierce battle in the YA March Madness competition. Voting ends Saturday, March 16th at 8 PM EST. There is still time to show Victor and Bull how much you love them by VOTING.

- My oldest son turned sixteen a few days ago. Yeah, let that sink in for a minute or two. I can't believe it myself.

- EMPTY has been out in the world now for seventy-four days. Thank you to the readers who've reached out to me via email, twitter, and facebook, to let me know how much Dell's story touched their heart.

- To anyone out there with a heavy heart, for whatever reason, THIS is for you.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

San Francisco Writers Conference 2013

My top ten moments from the 2013 San Francisco Writers Conference - the good and the
U G L Y, in random order.

1. Good: My husband came along to pre-celebrate our twenty year wedding anniversary, which is in July.

That's Alcatraz in the background.
2. Good: The SFWC was held at the stunning Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel. Everything about it was lovely - our room, the lobby, the Top of the Mark restaurant (the 360 degree views of San Francisco were perfection up there).

The entrance. 
3. Good: I was able to spend some quality time with my brilliant editor, Annette Pollert from Simon Pulse, and my Apocalypsie bud, the talented and wonderful Corrine Jackson (IF I LIE & TOUCHED).

From the left, Corrine, Annette, and me

4. U G L Y: On day two in San Francisco I ended up in the Emergency Room, at 4 AM, because I was wickedly nauseous and unable to keep anything in my stomach. I hadn't felt that hideous in years. The nausea was evil. Turns out I was having a reaction to the antibiotic I had been prescribed before I left for San Francisco. A little more  U G L Y to add: six days before this trip I was so  damn  sick. Fever, sinus infection, and upper respiratory infection, and I was put on the antibiotic.

5. Good: I somehow made it through my panel discussion with Corrine, Annette, literary agent Mandy Hubbard (with literary agent Andrea Brown moderating). My body cooperated, and I was able to keep it together and not vomit all over the people in the front row. Yay, body.

6. U G L Y: Day three had me back in the ER. The medicine prescribed from the first ER doctor wasn't touching the nausea, because she insisted I finish my antibiotic, saying the anti-nausea med would stop the nausea. It. So. Didn't. My angel of a husband got me in another cab and schlepped me to the ER, this time on a Friday night - in a major city - with lots and lots of  *ahem* interesting people. That experience took us six hours. After I was re-hydrated via IV and given a new anti-nausea drug, and told to STOP taking the stupid antibiotic, they let me go. I woke up the next morning and cried. Tears of happiness. The nausea was gone.

7. Good: We presenters had the luxury of heading up to the Hospitality Suite any time during our stay at the hotel (the food! the drinks! the views!). Because of numbers 4 and 6 above, I didn't go until my last night. But the experience was quite memorable. I introduced myself to Michael Larson--one of the founders of the conference--and thanked him for everything. He was a delightful man - so personable and genuine. And after much prompting and many "You have to's" from my husband, I also introduced myself to R. L. Stine and his lovely wife. We shook hands and I gave him his rightful praise, and then he asked me about my books. I swear. He congratulated me. I swear.

That's me nervously talking to R. L. Stine.
8. Good: The day after my panel discussion, I was in a packed hotel elevator, heading down to listen in on a YA talk, when a woman squeezed on, did a double take when she saw me, and said, "Oh my God, I saw you speak yesterday. I wrote down all of those query websites you shared. You were so helpful! I can't wait to read your books!" I thanked her. Everyone on the elevator turned to stare at me. Then the doors opened again, and another woman got on. A near repeat comment. I thanked her too. I'm sure my face was purple, but it felt so good to know that I was helpful to the audience and I shared useful information.

9. Good: Meeting and hanging out with literary agents, Mandy Hubbard and Taylor Martindale in the Hospitality Suite and sharing how much we all adore my agent, Sarah LaPolla. It was a lovefest. It made me feel so proud that these successful agents had such respect and admiration for my agent. I am a lucky author.

10. Good: Having THE Bookaliscious Pam, literary agent and blogger extraordinaire, come up to my signing table while I was explaining CRACKED to a conference goer, and tell the woman how much she liked CRACKED. And then I got to meet her. She was wonderful and complimentary and, yeah, it was a great moment.

Despite my sickness, I had an amazing time in San Francisco. The conference was stellar. My husband and I visited Alcatraz, Haight-Ashbury, Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Muir Woods, and the most crooked street. We rode a cable car, ate at The Crab House, and extended our trip into Sonoma. All good.

We had the most ginormous Dungeness crabs here.

Fisherman's Wharf

Haight-Ashbury 

The most crooked street.

Inside Alcatraz. The audio tour was incredible - so well done.

Muir Woods. The walk was breathtaking.

A winery we visited in Sonoma. 




Friday, February 8, 2013


Monday, March 18th through Sunday, March 24th

Visit the festival's facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/NYCTeenAuthorFestival

I will be participating in the NYC Teen Author Festival, organized by the multi-talented David Levithan. Last year's festival was a highlight from my debut year. The 2013 lineup is INSANE. 

SCHEDULE:
Monday, March 18  (Mulberry Street Branch of the NYPL, 10 Jersey Street b/w Mulberry and Lafayette, 6-8):   

I’ll Take You There:  A Change of Scenery, A Change of Self

Description:  In their recent books, each of these authors have plunged their teen characters into new places as a way of revealing their true selves.  We’ll talk about this YA journey narrative – where it comes from, and what it can lead to.

Gayle Forman
Kristen-Paige Madonia
Bennett Madison
Jennifer E. Smith
Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

Tuesday, March 19  (WORD Bookstore,  7-8:30, 126 Franklin St, Greenpoint):

The Only Way Out is Through:  Engaging Truth through YA

Description:  Pain. Confusion. Loss. Mistakes. Revelation. More mistakes. Recovery.  One of the things that makes YA work is its desire to engage the messy truths of both adolescence and life in general.  Here we talk about what it’s like to engage this messy truth, and how to craft it into a story with some kind of form. 

Crissa Chappell
Tim Decker
Ellen Hopkins
Amy McNamara
Jessica Verdi

moderator: David Levithan

Wednesday. March 20 (42nd St NYPL, South Court room, 6-8): 

Imagination: A Conversation

Description:  It’s a given that authors’ minds are very strange, wonderful, twisted, illogical, inventive places.  Here we talk to five rather imaginative authors about how they conjure the worlds in their books and the stories that they tell, along with glimpses of the strange and wonderful worlds they are creating at the present.

Holly Black
Lev Grossman
Michelle Hodkin
Alaya Johnson
Robin Wasserman

moderators:  David Levithan and Chris Shoemaker
                       

Thursday, March 21:
SOHO Teen night, 6-9pm (Books of Wonder, 18 W18th St)

Celebrate the launch of SOHO Teen, featuring readings by Jacquelyn Mitchard, Joy Preble, Margaux Froley, Elizabeth Kiem, Heather Terrell & Ricardo Cortés, and Lisa & Laura Roecker.


Friday March 22, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Berger Forum, 2nd floor, 2-6)

2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: He Said, She Said

Description:  Not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

He:
Ted Goeglein
Gordon Korman
Lucas Klauss
Michael Northrop

She:
Susane Colasanti
E. Lockhart
Carolyn Mackler
Sarah Mlynowski
Leila Sales

moderator:  David Levithan

3:00-4:00:  Taking a Turn: YA Characters Dealing with Bad and Unexpected Choices

Description:  In each of these authors’ novels, the main character’s life takes an unexpected twist.  Sometimes this is because of a bad choice.  Sometimes this is because of a secret revealed.  And sometimes it doesn’t feel like a choice at all, but rather a reaction.  We’ll talk about following these characters as they make these choices – both good and bad. Will include brief readings illuminating these choices.

Caela Carter
Eireann Corrigan
Alissa Grosso
Terra Elan McVoy
Jacquelyn Mitchard
Elizabeth Scott
K. M. Walton

moderator:  Aaron Hartzler

4:00-4:10:  Break

4:10-4:40:  That’s So Nineteenth Century

Description:  A Conversation About Playing with 19th Century Archetypes in the 21st Century

Sharon Cameron
Leanna Renee Hieber
Stephanie Strohm
Suzanne Weyn

Moderator:  Sarah Beth Durst

4:40-5:30:  Alternate World vs. Imaginary World

Description:  Of these authors, some have written stories involving alternate or parallel versions of our world, some have made up imaginary worlds for their characters, and still others have written books that do each.  We’ll discuss the decision to either connect the world of a book to our world, or to take it out of the historical context of our world.  How do each strategies help in telling story and developing character?  Is one easier than the other? Is the stepping off point always reality, or can it sometimes be another fictional world?

Sarah Beth Durst
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Lauren Miller
E. C. Myers
Diana Peterfreund
Mary Thompson

Moderator:  Chris Shoemaker


Friday March 22, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 33 E 17th St, 7-8:30)

Eireann Corrigan
Elizabeth Eulberg
Jeff Hirsch
David Levithan
Rainbow Rowell
Nova Ren Suma

Saturday March 23, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL,  Bergen Forum, 2nd Floor, 1-5)

1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:10 – Defying Description:  Tackling the Many Facets of Identity in YA

Description:  As YA literature evolves, there is more of an acknowledgment of the many facets that go into a teenager’s identity, and even categories that once seemed absolute now have more nuance.  Focusing particularly, but not exclusively, on LGBTQ characters and their depiction, we’ll discuss the complexities about writing about such a complex experience.

Marissa Calin
Emily Danforth
Aaron Hartzler
A.S. King
Jacqueline Woodson

moderator:  David Levithan

2:10-2:40 -- New Voices Spotlight

Description:  Each debut author will share a five-minute reading from her or his work

J. J. Howard
Kimberly Sabatini
Tiffany Schmidt
Greg Takoudes

2:40-3:30 – Under Many Influences: Shaping Identity When You’re a Teen Girl

Description: Being a teen girl is to be under many influences – friends, parents, siblings, teachers, favorite bands, favorite boys, favorite web sites.  These authors will talk about the influences that each of their main characters tap into – and then talk about what influences them as writers when they shape these characters.

Jen Calonita
Deborah Heiligman
Hilary Weisman Graham
Kody Keplinger
Amy Spalding
Katie Sise
Kathryn Williams

moderator:  Terra Elan McVoy

3:30-3:40 – Break

3:40-4:20 – Born This Way: Nature, Nurture, and Paranormalcy

Description:  Paranormal and supernatural fiction for teens constantly wrestles with issues of identity and the origin of identity.  Whether their characters are born “different” or come into their powers over time, each of these authors uses the supernatural as a way to explore the nature of self.  

Jessica Brody
Gina Damico
Maya Gold
Alexandra Monir
Lindsay Ribar
Jeri Smith-Ready
Jessica Spotswood

moderator:  Adrienne Maria Vrettos

4:20-5:00 – The Next Big Thing

Description:  Again, not to be too mysterious, but I will email these authors separately about what I’m thinking for this.

Jocelyn Davies
Leanna Renee Hieber
Barry Lyga
Maryrose Wood


Saturday March 23:  Mutual Admiration Society reading at McNally Jackson (McNally Jackson, Prince Street, 7-8:30): 

Sharon Cameron
A.S. King
Michael Northrop
Diana Peterfreund
Victoria Schwab
Nova Ren Suma

hosted by David Levithan


Sunday March 24:  Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4): 

1-1:45:
Jessica Brody  (Unremembered, Macmillan)                         
Marisa Calin  (Between You and Me, Bloomsbury)             
Jen Calonita  (The Grass is Always Greener, LB)                 
Sharon Cameron  (The Dark Unwinding, Scholastic)                       
Caela Carter  (Me, Him, Them, and It, Bloomsbury)            
Crissa Chappell  (Narc, Flux)             
Susane Colasanti  (Keep Holding On, Penguin)                                
Zoraida Cordova  (The Vicious Deep, Sourcebooks)                        
Gina Damico   (Scorch, HMH)                                  
Jocelyn Davies  (A Fractured Light, HC)                  
Sarah Beth Durst  (Vessel, S&S)                               
Gayle Forman (Just One Day, Penguin)
Elizabeth Scott  (Miracle, S&S)         

1:45-2:30                   
T. M. Goeglein (Cold Fury, Penguin)                                    
Hilary Weisman Graham (Reunited, S&S)                                                                            
Alissa Grosso  (Ferocity Summer, Flux)                                
Aaron Hartzler  (Rapture Practice, LB)         
Deborah Heiligman  (Intentions, RH)                       
Leanna Renee Hieber  (The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, Sourcebooks)         
Jeff Hirsch  (Magisterium, Scholastic)                       
J. J. Howard  (That Time I Joined the Circus, Scholastic)                 
Alaya Johnson   (The Summer Prince, Scholastic)     
Beth Kephart (Small Damages, Penguin)                              
Kody Keplinger  (A Midsummer’s Nightmare, LB)

2:30-3:15                   
A.S. King  (Ask the Passengers, LB)                                    
Emmy Laybourne  (Monument 14, Macmillan)                                 
David Levithan  (Every Day, RH)    
Barry Lyga  (Yesterday Again, Scholastic)                           
Brian Meehl  (Suck it Up and Die, RH)                                
Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper, RH)  
Michael Northrop  (Rotten, Scholastic)                     
Diana Peterfreund  (For Darkness Shows the Stars, HC)                 
Lindsay Ribar (The Art of Wishing, Penguin)                      
Rainbow Rowell  (Eleanor & Park, St. Martin’s)                  
Kimberly Sabatini  (Touching the Surface, S&S)                  
Tiffany Schmidt  (Send Me a Sign, Bloomsbury)

3:15-4:00                   
Victoria Schwab  (The Archived, Hyperion) 
Jeri Smith-Ready  (Shine, S&S)
Amy Spalding (The Reece Malcolm List, Entangled)                      
Stephanie Strohm  (Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, HMH)                     
Nova Ren Suma  (17 & Gone, Penguin)                    
Greg Takoudes  (When We Wuz Famous, Macmillan)         
Mary Thompson  (Wuftoom, HMH) 
Jess Verdi  (My Life After Now, Sourcebooks)                                            
K.M. Walton  (Empty, S&S) 
Suzanne Weyn  (Dr. Frankenstein’s Daughters, Scholastic)                         
Kathryn Williams  (Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous, Macmillan)                    

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Nice Shot in the Arm

I attended the Gayle Forman signing at Children's Book World in Haverford, PA. She had a nice crowd for a chilly Wednesday in January. Actually, let me re-phrase that - she had a crowd of nice people.

Children's Book World is enchanted. There's the cozy atmosphere, books literally wrap themselves around you. There's always yummy snacks, sometimes themed to match the book, or if David Levithan's in town, it's home made baked treats. Wednesday's menu? Macarons which appear in JUST ONE DAY, Gayle's new book. And chocolate chip croissants. To. Die. For.

Yes, books and flaky pastries are made of win, but the most magical ingredient: people. The owners, the staff, and the customers feel like home. A kind and compassionate home.

Some of you know I sign my books with the words, "Kindness Matters". Some of you know why I write the books I write. Some of you unknowingly say just the right things at just the right moments.

Wednesday night was that kind of night.

Heather Hebert, the store's manager and daughter of Hannah Shwartz, the owner of Children's Book World, provided me with two "just the right things at just the right moment" moments that night.

Heather, a staunch lover of CRACKED, shared with wide eyes that she'd finished reading EMPTY the night before. Then her hand flew up and covered her mouth. Knowing EMPTY and some of the passionate responses it has received I wasn't sure if she'd remove her hand and proclaim love or anger.

"Kate, you did it again," Heather said. She went on to explain how tragic and powerful Dell's story felt to her, and how when she closed the book she made a promise to never let anyone in her life feel as invisible or broken as Dell. I blinked and blinked, standing among beloved books and people, and told her I wanted to cry.

Kindness matters.

Gayle got her presentation started. She filled the store with her genuine loveliness, sharing personal inspirations for moments in JUST ONE DAY, and then reading the scene (a format I may have to try out at one of my future signings).


The signing line formed, and I chatted it up with the gazillion people I knew--CBW staff included. Then it was my turn. I've never met Gayle Forman so I nervously introduced myself and told her how much I adored IF I STAY. She graciously thanked me. Heather said from behind, "Kate's an author too, Gayle."

Gayle asked me what my book was. I told her about CRACKED and EMPTY. She said, "Oh yeah, I've heard of Cracked."

My mouth unhinged, much like THIS MOMENT.

I pulled myself together and talked publication dates and publishers. Heather peeked her head over my shoulder and proceeded to say the most complimentary things about my writing to Gayle and, and, and...I was speechless. Again. Heather gifted a copy of CRACKED to Gayle right before my very eyes. Gayle asked me to sign it for her. I seriously have no idea what I wrote in that woman's book. All I know is my hand shook the entire time.

Wednesday night turned out to be an unexpected gift to me. Being surrounded by books and people who know and understand me (and my characters) is a treasure I wish I could bottle and wrap and re-gift.

Kindness matters.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

GRATITUDE

I'm just about coming down from my launch cloud, and I've had some time to reflect upon the whole experience. One overwhelming thing continues to rise to the surface: gratitude.

So many people have supported me on this wild author ride. I wouldn't have CRACKED or EMPTY if my husband, sons, sisters, and mother refused to let me quit during my 2.5 years of query hell. To stand at that podium and look into the sea of faces--family, friends, and strangers included--filled me up with such love.

I am truly a lucky writer.

My friendship base has widened considerably since diving headfirst into the world of publishing. I've been fortunate to participate in many writer-focused groups: The Apocalypsies, PLN (Philly Lit Night), KidLit Author's Club, and Young Writers Day. I've met incredible people from these groups, who have been, you guessed, supportive!

I'd like to throw gratitude to the overwhelming amount of fellow authors, ranging from picture book to non-fiction, who were able to attend EMPTY's launch event. I was deeply honored by the show of author support.

Authors make quite a community.

The names below are linked to their websites. I highly encourage you to click through and learn more about these wonderful authors and their incredible body of published works.

Author attendees in alphabetical order:

ELLEN JENSEN ABBOTT
Young Adult author

JESSICA CORRA
Young Adult author

AME DYCKMAN
Picture Book author

KIT GRINDSTAFF
Middle Grade author

JENNIFER R. HUBBARD
Young Adult author

BETH KEPHART
Young adult and memoir author

A. S. KING
Young Adult author

ELISA LUDWIG
Young Adult author

E. C. MYERS
Young Adult author

KATHYE FETSKO PETRIE
Picture Book author

MARGIE RICHARDS
Self-help author

TIFFANY SCHMIDT
Young Adult author

SUSAN SHAW
Young Adult author



If you weren't able to make it to the launch, and you'd like to hear my speech, my supportive sister taped it and got it up on You Tube. I share why I wrote the book, what I hope readers take away from Dell's story, and of course, gratitude.

You can watch it HERE.

You can also read these lovely recap posts:
FRANKIE DIANE MALLIS (includes lots of wonderful photographs)
PAUL JOSEPH (he has a giveaway running for a signed copy of EMPTY!)
KELLY LYMAN
CHRISTINE DANEK

And in closing, certainly none of this author gratitude would even exist without the mountains of support received from my agent, Sarah LaPolla (Curtis Brown Ltd.), and my editor, Annette Pollert (Simon Pulse). Those two are amazzzzzzing.