Sunday, December 27, 2009

Why You Shouldn't Trust Contests . . .

You know how you're always being urged to choose you're favorite singer, dancer, whatever?

It's a totally unreliable way to determine which item is best, because you just know that said singer, dancer, whoever, is begging all of their friends to vote for them.

Just like I'm going to ask all of you to go to:

and vote for Just One Wish in their best cover contest. (Hey, I made it to the finals without even voting for my own cover.) Of course, I would never ask you to vote for my cover if you didn't think it was best, but I'll point out that Just One Wish has sparkles in the dandelions. It sparkles. Sort of like an ultra hot vampire on a sunny day. Edward would choose my cover . . .

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Why books make the best presents

Books make great presents. And I'm not just saying that because the paperback version of My Fair Godmother came out yesterday.

Years ago my sister told me the secret to happy children on Christmas morning. You can't just buy them stuff, you have to give them something to do after they're done unwrapping things. If they're bored, they'll whine and think they didn't get anything.

So this year I'm giving lots of books. Fiction, non-fiction, and comic books (Pearls Before Swine--my favorite is pig).

Today my middle daughter and her brother were arguing over the computer. "Let me have it today," middle daughter said. "I won't be using it at all on Christmas."


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And the winner is . . . in all of its glorious randomness has chosen Lauren. So Lauren, send me your address and I'll send you your book.

Merry Christmas everybody!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book give-away and one of my most memorable holidays

I did a Christmas blog and book give-away for another blog and figured, hey, I should do the same thing here on my blog. After all, I'm going to have to go to the post office one way or the other. (Note to self: next year don't do give-aways during the holiday season.)

I have plenty of nice Christmas memories: The time a bus full of strangers all sang Christmas carols together for no other reason than it was Christmas Eve. The time my family delivered Christmas presents to a family in need. After we left the presents on the porch and doorbell ditched the house, we watched their little children come outside and search the sky for Santa Claus. I’ve forgotten most of the presents I received over the years, but I remember laying in the living room every year, lights off, just enjoying the glow of the Christmas tree.

Perhaps my most memorable Christmas is the one that happened after my mother died of cancer. I was about six. I say about, because I don’t know the date my mother died. I remember the day. It was a Saturday morning, but I can’t tell you what time of year it was. I’ve purposely not asked and not looked at any documents that would tell me. It’s not an anniversary I want to note on the calendar every year.

Some months later the holiday season rolled around, but my father said we weren’t going to have a Christmas tree that year. He just couldn’t do a big Christmas. I can imagine how overwhelmed he felt, alone with four children to raise—and in all likelihood he was angry at God for taking his wife. At least, I would be. Still, at six years old, I had perfect faith that we would have a Christmas tree. Christmas trees were part of Christmas, and Christmas was coming.

We did end up getting a tree. I remember, perfectly preserved the way some memories are, the pastor of our church showing up at our house and taking the tree inside. “I know what you said about not getting a tree this year,” he told my father. “But I had to bring one. If it’s okay, I’ll set it up.”

How could my father say no? Four children were suddenly jumping around the living room with glee. Or at least I was.

We got presents too. Once a night, sometimes twice, the doorbell rang and a stack of presents would be on our doorstep. We never caught anyone, but we figured it was members of the church.

It wasn’t that we were poor. My father could afford to buy us the presents that we wanted. But it was still a Christmas miracle. Because it meant people remembered, that they were thinking of us, that they cared.

This year I’m super busy. I’m behind on a writing deadline, my husband is out of town, and I have five kids to shop for. The dishes in the sink never end, the library books are overdue, and it’s been so long since my dog had a haircut that she looks like the abominable snow dog. It would be easy for me to rush through this season, but I think this quote from Dieter F. Uchtdorf sums it up: In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance.

This year, be the answer to someone’s prayers.

Merry Christmas!

I'm giving away a copy of How To Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend because it's a book about giving too. Leave a comment and I'll enter you, be sure to say if you're a follower and you'll get two chances.

And if you feel lucky, literary girls are also giving away one of my books over at

Monday, December 14, 2009

And the winner is . . .

Today the random number generator chose LucindaF. Probably because LucindaF is so cool. (It's just like me to put words in the random generator's mouth.) So Lucinda, let me know your address at jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com and I'll send out your book.

Everyone else, don't fret, I'm going to give away a book next blog too.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Just One Wish give-away

Guess who just got a book trailer for Just One Wish? Yes, that's right, Andie my intrepid Rent-a-Teenager has done it again. In honor of the book trailer, I'll be giving away a copy of the book. Get it now while the background is blue--when it goes to paperback, Putnam is changing all of that blue stuff to pink. I don't know why. Perhaps the lips are now blowing dandelions at sunset. Mine is not to question the bow-tied one's decisions.

If you want a chance to win, leave a comment about something you liked in the book trailer. And let me know if you're a follower, because despite what your mother told you in junior high about being a follower, it does pay off here. You'll get double chances. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Songs You Hate to Love

There are some songs that I'm embarrassed that I like. Since I only infrequently shy away from embarrassing myself on this blog, I will come right out and tell you. Yes, I like Lady Gaga’s Poker Face. I’m not going to buy it, mind you. I still have some pride and I make it a policy not to buy music from people who consider themselves royalty. (No Prince songs. No Queen Latifah.) Plus I can’t buy songs that have painfully stupid music videos. One day, I swear, I’m going to start my own blog just mocking bad music videos. It will be called, The Lighting Guys Might Have Told You that You Looked Great, But They laughed Themselves Silly While You Were In Wardrobe Changing Out Of Your Spandex Mini Skirt And The Shirt That Looked Like It Was Made of Mouse Pads And Held Together With Packaging Tape.

Poker Face fails both the royalty and bad music video tests, so I just have to listen to the song on youtube with the window minimized and hope that my love of the song will run its course like that unfortunate infatuation I had with Britney Spear’s Womanizer. (Although come to think about it, I still shout out: You say I’m crazy? I got your crazy! every once in awhile.)

But even though I minimize, I’ve still gotten bits and pieces of the Poker Face video. And here is my question. Who brought Lady Gaga a swimsuit with shoulder pads and gloves and said, “This will look great!” Because that person should have to wear Bjork’s swan dress for a solid week just for penance.

Anyway, as I was watching the swimsuit, and going: Wow, it looks like part of someone’s tick-tac-toe game came to life, I thought to myself, “Haven’t I seen that outfit before?” I was pretty sure Lady Gaga was just recycling through old Star Trek costumes. So I googled Star Trek Women. (And yes, this is the sort of thing I do when I really should be working on my novel.) I found this:

Actually, it looks better than Lady Gaga’s swimsuit.
While I googled, I also found these Star Trek inspirational photos and laughed so hard I had to post them. Those of you in my generation will understand.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Julie Wright, a dangerous woman

One of the funnest parts of being a writer is getting to hang out with other authors, so I was especially looking forward to having my good friends Julie Wright and Josi Kilpack come down to Arizona to do book signings. Having them stay at my house—total slumber party.

There was only one little problem. Before they came I managed to give myself a head wound and a black eye. I won’t go into the details of how this happened as it is a long boring story except for the part that makes me look really foolish, but the moral of the story is: No, I don’t have night vision.

Really, it is easier to give yourself a black eye than you’d think.

So I warned Julie and Josi that I looked like a homeless person (It’s hard to wash your hair when you’ve smeared antibiotic ointment on your hairline) and planned on skipping out on their signings. But they were also speaking to a book club and invited me to come—in fact, they invited me to speak at it with them. How could I turn it down?

I hoped people would think I was going for the slightly greasy hair look, then caked on the foundation. It did a pretty good job hiding the bruise.

Josi spoke, I spoke, and then Julie spoke. But Julie gave one of those really moving talks about the books that turned her life around when she was young. It wasn’t long before I was crying. Which wouldn’t have been a bad thing at all except that I knew crying would wash away my foundation and suddenly reveal to everybody there that I was hiding a black eye.

How do you explain that to a roomful of strangers? “Oh, and by the way folks, in case you were wondering--my husband doesn’t really doesn’t beat me!”

This is why you shouldn’t go listen to Julie Wright if you need to keep your makeup in place.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Faerie Festival, in which I almost get wings

I promised I'd post pictures of myself from the Faerie Festival. Here is the outfit my amazing friend, Kristy, sewed for me. She is sort of like Martha Stewart but more impressive because she has seven children. One Halloween she sewed herself a Snow White costume and then sewed matching dwarfs outfits for all of her kids. I'd like to see Martha haul seven kids around the neighborhood without losing any. But I digress.

This is why the festival was so fun--cool authors to hang out with! This was one of the few author events I've been to where I was actually friends with all of the authors (and the booksellers) before I got there, so it felt like a party. Here I am with Aprilynne Pike, Janni Simner, James Owens, and Brandi from Changing Hands Bookstore.
And here I am doing a reading from My Fair Godmother. You can tell I'm an autumn fairy because I'm wearing brown and all the grass around me is mysteriously dead. This is why autumn fairies don't get invited to many social events.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Mimilee and Bchild, your numbers are up. But in a good way. Send me your real addresses at jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com and I'll send your ARCs out.

All the rest, do not despair. Hopefully I'll pick up some more ARCs before May.

Oh, and no fair letting everybody know how the book ends. (Like any of my books end without the girl getting the hot guy. I mean, what kind of novel would it be if that didn't happen?)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

My Double Life ARC give-away

I feel bad for making anybody who is just dying to read my next book (I know that's all of you, right?) wait any longer for the promised ARCs, so I'm doing the giveaway now--but if you didn't read about the Faerie Festival then you have to read that blog too, as I'm once again trying to convince conference people that I have fans. So if you can go to the festival, please do. And when you see me, yell out, "There's Janette Rallison, who is not my neighbor! I'm just a random rabid fan, of which there are many in any given crowd!"

Okay, that said, I thought I'd do a blog about the cover for My Double Life.

My idea for the cover was to show the back of a singer holding a mike, but with her fingers crossed. Thus conveying that she is lying. I admit it was sort of vague, but the Bow-Tied One likes to see my cover ideas so he can ignore them. I sent him my daughter modeling for this:

And this was one of the covers they sent me. I thought it was nice.

But they decided to hire a model and insert her into the cover. I do like the fact that they hired a model for the cover since that means I will not see this same picture pop up in a million adds like the picture for My Fair Godmother has. And she's very pretty. However, does anybody think this model looks at all Latina? Yeah, I didn't think so either. Apparently the photo shoot department doesn't actually read the book.

I'll be giving away two ARCs. If you want a chance to win just leave a comment telling me which of my previous books was your favorite. Followers get double chances. Good luck!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Faerie Festival

Next Saturday I'll be at the Fairy Festival. (Or if you're highbrow it's: Faerie) You, like me, might not have even known that the faeries all got together once a year to have a festival, but they do. I'll be there with other cool fairy/faerie authors: Aprilynne Pike (Wings) Janni Simner (Bones of Faerie) and James Owen (Here There Be Dragons)--all of whom I know and like! I'll be wandering around at 10:00 buying Fairy stuff but I believe the Author stuff starts at 12:00. (If not, someone needs to come find me and pry me away from the Fairy artwork booths.)

One of my friends is even going to sew my fairy clothes. How nice is that? I need to put her in a book dedication or something. (And yes, I will take pictures.) Here's the official info if you want to come:


Saturday November 14th

Estrella Park in Goodyear

14805 West Vineyard Avenue (in the NAVY area)

10am-9:30pm (IMPORTANT NOTE: No Admittance or Re admittance onto the event grounds after 7pm)

Parking "Estrella Park Fees" $6 per car load

Event Tickets Only $10 ea ages 5 & Under FREE

No pets please

Lawn Chairs and Blankets Welcome

Creative Costumes Encouraged

No outside food or beverage

Come celebrate the folklore and fantasy, mystery and magic of the Faerie Realms with Food and Fun,

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Random Number Generator has spoken

I picture it like that scary green floating head in the Wizard of Oz, but maybe that's just me. Anyway, today the random number generator likes Chelly and Kristi Stevens. Don't get creeped out about that or anything.

So, Chelly and Kristi email me your home address at jrallisonfans at yahoo dot com, and Ben Bella will send you your books.

The rest of you, don't despair. Because I just got a couple of ARCs for My Double Life and I and my good buddy Mr. Floating Head Number Generator will be giving those away next blog.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More New, New Dawn Give Away

I know a lot of you Twilight fans wanted to win a copy of this book--well, you're in luck! Ben Bella books is giving me two more copies to give away. (Because they're cool like that.)

So would you like to read essays on the Twilight craze and everybody's favorite vampire hotty, Edward Cullen? Hear what authors like Ellen Hopkins, and me, and James Owen, and me, and Robin Brande, and me, and Megan McCafferty have to say on vampires and werewolves. My essay is the best. Not that I'm biased or anything.

If you want a chance to win, leave a comment. If you also happen to be a blog follower, I'll give you a double chance at winning. (That, by the way, is blatant attempt on my part to get blog followers in case my editors check that sort of thing. I mean, you never know.)

Good luck, and may the random number generator be with you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Why I have to keep writing

It's plain and simple, really. If I didn't keep writing I wouldn't get invited to fun places like James Dashner's author dinner last night at the Phoenix Book Company.

Here's a picture of Aprilynne Pike (Wings) James, (Maze Runner) and Me. (And I'm not going to list all my books but number 16 comes out in May.)

We got to meet lots of librarians and reading specialists, who are superheros in my book because they're the ones that help kids discover the fun of reading.

And I know I said next blog I'd be giving away more books, but I guess this is good time for all of you to learn that you can't trust writers because we lie for a living. Next blog, I'll give them away. Really.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Fair Godmother Trailer

I admit right off that I didn't make this trailer--but I think it's absolutely darling, and Andie, the rent-a-teenager I used to make the it, did such a good job of finding the PERFECT upbeat, fun, teen song to go along with the pictures. I'd never heard of the band BackDrop, but now I love them, and I'm not just saying that because they agreed to let me use their song.

So in honor of the trailer, I'm going to give away a copy of My Fair Godmother. Just leave a comment telling me something about . . .um . . . your favorite slide in the trailer so I know you actually watched it.

Oh, and because I couldn't figure out how to make the video very big on my blog, if you want to see it full screen you can go to:

If I can figure out how to pay for them, I'll also give away some downloads of the song: I Wish You Were Mine. (I need to ask BackDrop about that.) So if you love the song like I do, mention that in your comment too.

If you want to learn more about the band you can check them out at

and check out some more of their songs. I also really like Sitting Lonely. (The song, I mean, not the activity.)

Friday, October 02, 2009

New, New Dawn book give away

As you die-hard Janette Rallison fans know, (Hi Mom!)a year or so ago I wrote a chapter for the book New Dawn, which is a compilation of essays about the Twilight series.

Well, after New Dawn came out, Breaking Dawn came out, and the folks at Teen Libris wanted us to update our essays to include the Breaking Dawn book. So we did, and now the new and improved book is out.

Teen Libris sent me a copy to give away, so if you're one of those people who can't get enough Edward and Jacob, (And really, who can get enough of hot guys with super powers?) then leave a comment and at the end of the week I'll list a winner.

Other cool authors who contributed to the series are: Ellen Hopkins, Susan Vaught, Megan McCafferty, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Anne Ursu, Linda Gerber, Ellen Steiber, K.A. Nuzum, Cara Lockwood, Cassandra Clare, James A. Owen (yes, there are guys who've read the series!) Robin Brande, and Rachel Caine

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Journal at 13

Fellow writer and friend, Jill Wolfson, is doing a Dear Diary project on her blog. She's invinting authors to give her a snippet from their diaries when they were 12-14years-old.

It so happens that I've kept journals since I was thirteen. You'd think that at some point I would have gone back and reread through these tomes, but beyond a few times that I’ve flipped through some of the later ones to reminisce about an event, nope, I haven't cracked any of them open.

I realize now, that I should have, if only for the entertainment value. Wow, I was silly at thirteen. For example, my sister got married that year so this event got a lot of page time in my journal. I understand why I wrote about my worries--they were mostly because my parents thought she was too young to get married. (She was the oldest so I hadn't realized at that point that my parents thought 32 was the respectable age to marry.)

But the weird thing is, I described every detail of the day including the wedding luncheon and the reception. I wrote about the red punch, (it was so good I breathed it in) how many forks were used, (three, and they were silver) how many pictures were taken of the bride and groom (at least 250) and I even drew diagrams of where we stood in the reception line, what the cake looked like, and the poles that marked off the dancing area. I have no idea why I felt the need to record all these details. Did I think someday we were going to reenact the event? Was I writing it down to make sure my reception was just as fancy? Did I think archeologists would one day unearth my journal and need it to understand wedding rituals of the 20th century?

I have no idea. It was the only bit of information I didn't write down.

I did find some of my other observations on marriage interesting. I wrote:

I wouldn't mind being married. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all, from my parents, from all the things I do around here that I wish I didn’t have to do. (Obviously I had getting married confused with taking a vacation to Disneyland. Hello, when you get married you have to do all that stuff you wish you didn’t have to do plus some. I guess I thought elves came to pay the bills and stock the fridge.)

I wish I could get away from school and all its popularity groups and the struggle for boys and all the homework. (Okay, granted, I had a point about that. I don’t miss junior high.)

My sister looked so happy, so peaceful. (Of course she did—she no longer had to spend all of her time planning reception details.)

Then I went on to talk about my cousin, Jill’s wedding reception—luckily without the details about every food on the table or what color the napkins were.

Jill looked absolutely radiant! It was then I really decided that I was really going to look forward to my wedding. I even started a wedding fund which I now have a little over 10 dollars in. (I have no idea what happened to that fund. I probably spent it on chocolate in later years when I grew more cynical about men.) I wonder what it would be like to be with a man, have his children, and live together for the rest of our lives, forever. It’s a big step getting married. I hope I find the right guy. (I did, and it’s wonderful—even if I didn’t get ribbons on the poles to mark off the dancing area for the reception. Come to think of it, I didn’t get a band or a dancing area. I think I should show my journal to my parents. They owe me some ribbons and a band.)

By the way, at Jill’s reception I caught the wedding bouquet and then afterwards one of the waiters who worked there asked me to marry him. He was just kidding. I said, “Yes!” That was fun! (No wonder my parents worried their children getting married too young.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Job satisfaction

I’m the first to admit that being an author has its downsides. It’s a hard field to break into, it often doesn’t pay as well as . . . say, a pizza delivery job, and if you’re lucky and do get a book deal, you have to live through revision letters. Trust me, they aren’t pretty. I hold many angry conversations with my editor about his revision letters. Some conversations he actually gets to hear. My husband generally hears the rest.

But every once in awhile something comes along that makes me say: I’m so glad I have this job. This time it was a paragraph I read about why mosquitoes are attracted to certain people. (I just figured mosquitoes were like men and had peculiar tastes, but apparently there is a real scientific reason.)

Here is the paragraph:

The researchers separated human volunteers into two groups—those who were attractive to mosquitoes and those who weren't. They then put each of the volunteers into body-size foil bags for two hours to collect their body odors. Using a machine known as a chromatograph, the scientists were able to separate the chemicals. They then tested each of them to see how the mosquitoes responded. By attaching microelectrodes to the insects' antennae, the researchers could measure the electrical impulses that are generated when mosquitoes recognize a chemical.

Note to guys who want to pick up women. These job titles will not impress us:

1) Test subject to see if mosquitoes prefer your blood.
2) Person collecting body odors of test subjects
3) Researcher who attaches microelectrodes onto mosquitoes' antennae

Yep, I love my job

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Problem With Wikipedia

Once while I was talking about researching stuff for my novels, I told one of my author friends, Jon Lewis, that my editor made me find a native Italian speaker to look over the Italian phrases I put in How To Take The Ex Out Of Ex-boyfriend. Jon laughed a lot about that. He said one day he was going to write a book on research called: Wikipedia, It's Close Enough to the Truth
For Me.

And granted, he may have a point. You can find anything on Wikipedia. I had to learn some stuff about martial arts and--bam--Wikipedia has the history of, origins of and names of dozens of different types.

I was marveling about this to middle daughter. "I don't know who spends the time to write all of this stuff," I said. "I haven't even bothered to write the page about me."

"There's a page about you?" she asked.

"Yep," I said. "I have no idea who wrote it, but it lists all of my books." To prove the point I typed my name into the search engine. It gave the basic boring information about me and then said, She lives with her husband and five children one of which is named Gaston. In "Just one wish" it is comically and truthfully stated that Gaston is believed to be the coolest.

Hmm, apparently Gaston's friends know how to edit Wikipedia and are adding their own opinions.

See, that's the problem with Wikipedia.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where Children's Book Authors Work

Not long ago I saw a blog that featured where fantasy writers write. Not to be outdone, I decided I should do a blog about where children's book authors write. As you can see, I frequently work with children draped around my neck. It helps with the dialogue and all that.

Shannon Hale (Princess Academy) employs the same technique. When people ask her how she manages to write with children, she says she doesn't--children are too unwieldy. She writes with a computer. Although here you can see she is clearly trying to print block letters using her baby's footprints. I love the laundry in the background. You are my hero, Shannon!

Next we have James Dashner's (The Maze Runner--which everybody loves and which I still do not have an ARC of--not that I'm hinting or anything) work space. He isn't around because he is obviously out on tour, rubbing shoulders with celebrities. What do you suppose he keeps in that backpack and why does he only have half a lamp?

This is Aprilynne Pike's (Wings) workspace--she is absent too, probably out on tour with James having mocktails with JK Rowling or something. Love the wooden floor! A lot of my house is done in tile that we picked because it matched the color of dirt. But that's just my family.

Here is James Owen's (Here, There Be Dragons) workspace. Although you can't see it very well, he is holding a sword. Personally, I think all authors should be issued swords. It would help out when dealing with editors. (Just kidding, Tim!) His wall is the coolest!

This is the lovely Lisa McMann, author of Wake. I love the fact that she has cover art from her books framed. How very authorish. I should do that. Except for then I'd have to find a place for the 300 pictures of my kids that cover the walls of my house.

Next we have P.J. Haarssma's (The Softwire ) workspace. He wins the prize for most computers. (Okay, there wasn't a contest, but there should have been.) I love the fact that he has the galaxy nearby for inspiration. Since I write teen romances perhaps I should put up a picture of Robert Pattinson or something.

Chris Gall (Dinotrux) claims that this is where he writes. I don't believe him though. I'm sure he writes down all of his award winning ideas on napkins and then sends them to his editor. Truly great minds work that way.

This is Chris Crowe (Mississippi Trial, 1955) proving that he is Super Dad. I mean, that's real dedication. Bonus points to anyone who can recognize what sort of computer he's working on.

Here is Sydney Salter Husseman.(My Big Nose And Other Natural Disasters) You can tell she's a writer because her bookcase is big enough that it would kill someone if it toppled over. I have several like this at my house.

And here's another one of my author friends, Janni Simner. (Bones of Faerie--which I always end up spelling wrong because I can never remember the cool way to spell Faerie. If you pick up my book, My Fair Godmother, you might surmise that I don't know how to spell the uncool way either.) If you look closely on Janni's wall you'll see she has a certificate that proclaims she is a "Real Writer". I'm still waiting for my certificate to show up.

This lovely woman is Dotti Enderle. (Man in the Moon) You die-hard Rallison fans will realize right off that I named the hairdresser in Revenge of the Cheerleaders after Dotti. Is that a Ben and Jerry's ice cream carton on the top of her desk? If it's not, it should be. That's the sort of thing muses like to eat. I generally leave out some Almond Joys for mine.

Next we have Melissa Walker (Violet on the Runway)who is obviously trying to promote the idea that you can write in style and comfort. How cool is that chair? I want to write in that chair!

And last but not least is Heather Tomlinson (The Swan Maiden) whose cats like to help her write. I have one that does the same thing. Sometimes it's dang hard to get to the keyboard without getting cat fur in my mouth.

Note to my author friends: If you sent me a picture and I didn't put it here, drop me an email as your picture is probably lost somewhere in my computer files.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Author/Agent panel.

Okay, I know for a lot of you, the word: Agent caught your attention much more than the word: Author.

Don't worry, I'm used to it.

Anyway, on Monday, August 24th my agent, the very nice Erin Murphy, will appear with me and other cool authors at 7:00 at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona. She will answer all of your questions about the literary world and probably tell some personal tales about me and how I hoisted a stray cat on her. Which is a true story by the way, and the reason other agents are afraid to talk to me in public places.

Here are the details:

Time: Monday, August 24, 2009 7:00 p.m.
Location: Changing Hands Bookstore

Explore the writing, marketing, and publishing process involved in creating first-rate children’s literature with authors J. S. Lewis (The Fall of the Templar), Janette Rallison (Just One Wish), author-illustrator Chris Gall (Dinotrux) and illustrator Amanda Shepherd (Such A Silly Baby!). Joining them is literary agent Erin Murphy, who is not taking unsolicited work but will answer questions.

Changing Hands
6428 S McClintock Dr
Tempe, AZ 85283
McClintock at Guadalupe

Monday, August 10, 2009

Just One Wish give-away

I just realized that I never did a give-away for Just One Wish that came out in March. Or if I did do one, I've forgotten, and I'm too lazy to look back in my blog and check.

In the book, seventeen year-old Annika wants to find her little brother's idol--the actor who plays Teen Robin Hood--and convince him to visit her brother before her brother goes in for surgery.

My question for you is: If you were going in for a risky surgery and could have any person alive come and visit you beforehand, who would you choose?

Here is a picture of me holding your lovely gift should you win this contest.

But wait, there's more! One of my writer friends said she always gives away a tie-in from her book, so I thought about objects used in this book (snakes, Winnebagos, stolen shorts, hair nets) and I decided to give away some stolen shorts!

Okay, just kidding. I am not about to steal anybody's shorts. Instead I'm including a lovely set of four hair nets. There used to be five but I took one out to model it for you. Then I decided I looked hideous in hair a hair net and did I really want that picture floating around the Internet forever? So here is one of my youngest fans modeling it for you:

So go ahead and leave a comment. Just One Wish is funny, romantic, thought provoking,and completely fat free!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Shakira was right, the hips don’t lie.

And unfortunately lately they’ve been telling me that they don’t fit into my jeans anymore. Probably because I’ve had an indulgent summer with conferences and retreats where chocolate always floated around within arm’s reach.

So last week I decided to turn over a new leaf. (A lettuce leaf, if you want to be exact.) I and my family were going to eat more vegetables. Along with the other groceries, last Saturday I bought a squash, two heads of celery, two heads of lettuce, two heads of cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, and tomatoes.

I am all about good intentions.

By the end of the week we’d managed to eat the squash and some of the lettuce and tomatoes. But I was not going to waste the stuff. I wasn’t going to let it wilt in my refrigerator. So on Friday for dinner we had cauliflower, asparagus, and a salad.
My children came to the table with a marked lack of enthusiasm. “What’s for dinner?” younger son asked.

“This,” I said waving my hand over three bowls of vegetables.

“These are side dishes,” middle daughter said. “You’re not supposed to have them as the main course.”

“Well, tonight we are,” I said.

Oldest son headed to the refrigerator, trying to circumvent my meal. “Get over here,” I told him. “You’re eating healthy tonight.”

“I’m not hungry,” he said, going into the family room.

“Sit anyway.” While I went and tried to pry him off the couch, little sister sat down and ate all of the hard boiled eggs from the salad.

“No fair!” younger son yelled pointing at his sister. “She took the only real food!”

Middle sister picked the melted cheese off of the cauliflower and then pronounced that she only liked the cauliflower stems.

Younger son went into a litany of his sufferings. “No white bread or sugar cereal, and now this. Do you know what my friends at school said when I told them we only had basic cable? They said, ‘Well, what about the TV in your bedroom?’” He then glared at me because he doesn’t have a TV in his room.

At the end of dinner, we had lots of leftovers and the children probably all had cold cereal as soon as I left to go exercise.

But all of my hard work did pay off. The next day middle daughter came up to me and loving told me that I was very skinny. “You don’t need to buy more vegetables,”
she added.

Well, that’s probably the fastest diet in history.

No matter, this week I bought artichoke hearts, tomatoes, celery, avocados, lettuce, spinach, onions, potatoes, and a few other things that I’m not sure what actually are—but they look healthy. They still have dirt clinging to them and what not. We will eat veggies throughout the week, and if not, we’ll eat them all on Friday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Book Update--the marketing department strikes again

Does it seem like my latest book is taking forever to come out, or is that just the effect of me wading through 1,200 revision comments? And by the way, that number is not an exaggeration. I showed fellow writer, Kristy, my first two drafts (435 comments and 407 comments) and she said, “Wow, I thought you made up those numbers on your blog for the comedic effect.”

I wish.

Anyway, now the title has gone through the revision process. Marketing wasn’t thrilled by Faking It. They changed it to My Secret Life as a Pop Star. I wasn’t thrilled by that title. I felt that calling the book that name would make everyone remember the title as: Yes I’m Trying to Cash in on the Hannah Montana Phenomena.

The Bowed-Tied One and I had several conversations about this in which he told me that I was wrong. Very wrong.

Luckily, the title has changed once again. I’ll pretend it was because of my input and not because someone in marketing decided a shorter title would fit on the cover better.

It is now . . . drum roll please . . . My Double Life

I like it.

The Bow Tied One also sent me some cover mock ups that are being test run with the sales people. I'll put them up as soon as Technology Bob converts them into files that my computer will recognize.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I suspected as much

The good folks over at the institute of We Have Too Much Time On Our Hands have done a study on word usage. Specifically which words we use the most in the English language. The number one word is no surprise--I've already used it four times in this blog--it's the ever popular, totally unassuming, cute as a button: THE.

But the second word may surprise those of you who aren't writers. As for we writers--yeah, we know it's number two on the list, we're always trying to pull this pesky fellow out of our prose. It's sort of a weed word. It pops up when you're not looking. It has already shown up seven times in this blog and will assuradly score much higher than that before I'm done typing. (*Ping* Now we're up to ten times.)

It's the ever present To Be verb with all of its tag-along little brothers: is, was, are, am, and were. I just went through my manuscript and plucked quite a few off the pages. But never fear all you Hamlet lovers (To be or not to be) there are still plenty to go around.

I also have to go through pulling out THATs and JUSTs. I sprinkle JUSTs through my stories like they were chocolate chips. This time I also noticed a lot of gazes. As in: His gaze ran over me. His gaze zeroed in on me. His gaze flickered to my eyes.

His gaze obvioulsy is very busy and athletic to boot (running, zeroing, flickering--it makes me tired just to think about it.) His gaze most likely does pushups in its spare time.

Oh well, it's on to the next draft.

Monday, July 13, 2009

How are you at blond jokes?

The bow-tied one and I are having a disagreement. This is usual for the revision process. We have many disagreements, generally because he does not see nor appreciate my artistic genius. (At least that is what I keep telling him.)

The latest thing is a blond joke problem. Here is the situation: (SPOILER ALERT--this next part contains some of the plot for my next book, which will be aptly named: Yes, I Stole This Idea From Hannah Montana. Okay, that is actually not the title--that is just what I'm afraid people will think when they see the book, but I digress. If you're one of those people who doesn't want to know about the plot before you read the book, don't read on.)

Alexia, the main character is secretly a double for famous rock star, Kari Kingsley. She is even lip-synching some concerts while Kari is busy with other things. Kari Kingsley is half Latina but has dyed her hair blond and also has been known to say some stupid things to the press. During the course of the story, the press thinks that Kari is cheating on her boyfriend, soap star Micheal Jung, because they see what appears to be Kari out with another rock star, Grant Delray.

Kari can't fess up that she has a double and so when a cameraman catches up with her and asks if she is dating both Micheal and Grant, she answers, "Not at the same time."

A couple pages later I say:

The entertainment shows gave Kari's botched dating explanation a lot of play time. the late night shows commented on it too. They said things like: "Well, who would have thought it--it looks like Kari Kingsley is a natural blond after all."

The bow-tied one wrote that he didn't get this joke. (By the way, he is blond, so that might have something to do with it.)

So my question is: Did you get the blond joke and if not, can you think of a better one to use?

Muchas gracias

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

One more reason to wish you were Barbie

Forget the fact that even at 50 Barbie looks great. Forget the dream house, convertible, and an endless supply of evening gowns (and apparently somewhere to wear them all). Even forget Ken, her always smiling, six-pack abs boyfriend.

This is why your really want to be the doll.

In case you can't read the numbers. This is Parade's issue of what people make. In between a math teacher who makes 66,000 and a public housing analyst who makes 65,000 Barbie makes 3.3 billion a year.

I noticed that Parade didn't report on any writer's salaries. That's probably for the best. No need to disillusion people about our glamorous lives . . .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Teen Writing Classes

For any of you teens out there who are interested in taking some writing classes—you’re in luck. Or at least you’re in luck if you live near Tempe Arizona, because that’s where I’ll be teaching.

The classes will be held at Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr
Tempe, AZ 85283
McClintock at Guadalupe

Do you have a great idea for a novel? How do you get started? In this five part workshop, Janette Rallison, author of more than 10 middle school and teen novels including My Fair Godmother and Just One Wish, discusses the building blocks of novel writing. Learn how to outline the plot, produce chapters, and build the story that turns your idea into a page turner.

When: Mondays and Wednesdays July 1, 6, 8, 13, 15 from 4-5:30pm. Cost: $75 for five sessions. Registration and pre-payment required at 480.730.0205.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the BYU writers conference--it rocked!

The writing conference at BYU was great this year. There’s just no other way to put this: Writers are cool people. They’re fun to hang around with, they’re fun to teach. And I’m not just saying that because several of my students gave me chocolate (thanks guys!) and tried to set up my single daughter. (Extra credit for Ally and Erin!)

I taught the romance class this year—perhaps because I kept trying to insert romances into all of my students’ novels last year. It was great. Here you can see we were totally getting into the romance theme.

And here again we’re trying to personify the perfect romantic heroine. All of us are murmuring Ben Barnes name at this point. He made an appearance in Stacey’s manuscript and just hung around the class after that.

Here I am, probably pondering my old nemesis: to be verbs.

My lovely assistant, Heather, saw from my blog that I’ve always wanted Mattel to make a Barbie doll out of one of my characters. So Heather created a Chrysanthemum Everstar doll for me. Is that cool, or what?

Now I'm back home, wearing my pajamas while I write and trying to convince the children not to trash the house, flood the backyard,or mindmeld with the Playstation. And no one cooks yummy meals for me. I miss you, writers conference!I miss you, Ben Barnes! Sigh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

We interupt this blog for the following announcement:

It's book signing time again. That means it's time for me to beg friends, strangers, and potential stalkers to come to the Barnes and Noble at Chandler Fashion Mall so that I look like I have a following. Tomorrow, June 20th, 3:00.

Lisa McMann will be signing there too and since she is a NYT best seller she will no doubt have hordes of fans screaming, "Lisa! Lisa! Sign my book!!" (Okay, probably not--book readers don't tend to be a wild group--but you know what I mean.) And I will be twiddling my thumbs and examining the table cloth.

I know how it goes. I've been through this before.

Here are a list of the mega selling authors I've done signings with:

Gary Paulson (Hatchet and a gazillion boy books)
Christopher Paul Curtis (two Newberys)
Barbara Park (Junie B Jones)
Stephenie Meyers (Twilight)
Brandon Mull (Fablehaven)
Shannon Hale (Newbery, Goose Girl Series)

I'd write more but frankly this is just a depressing list.

So come. Even if you have all my books. They make good gifts and Christmas is just six short months away. Besides, if you do I'll come to your Tupperware party. See, it's all good.

Now I just need to find and post a picture of Robert Pattinson so people will stop by this blog . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

And the winner is . . .

First off, sorry it's taken me so long to post this. I was teaching a writing workshop at BYU (the subject of my next blog) and fell into bed every night around midnight. But let me say I was blown away by all the responses I got to the Mind-Rain give-away. Should I be offended that I didn't get 56 comments the last time I gave away one of my books? Hmm. I will tell myself that it was due to the interesting nature of the question and not the fact that you all like Scott Westerfeld better than me.

I was surprised with the thought provoking and often poignant responses that so many of you gave. I was also surprised that most people took the five years, hands down.

Apparently the rest of you are not nearly as vain as I used to be. I still remember those awkward years when I had braces, glasses, hair that I had no idea how to style, and zero fashion sense. Not surprisingly, I also didn't have a lot of self confidence and social situations--like talking to guys--baffled me. (Really, if I dug out my eighth grade picture and posted it here, you would understand. But I'm not putting that out on the Internet. Nope. Sorry. You'll have to use your imagination.)

During high school I shook off the feathers of the ugly duckling years, and it was like a whole new world opened. Guys paid attention to me. Girls treated me with more respect.

True story: (which will sound like bragging but is really just illustrating a point)I went to visit my parents in California one year when I was about 21. They were renting a house and the (fairly young) landlord was constantly rude to them,complaining to them about this or that and not taking care of things that needed to be fixed.

So during my visit, the landlord rang the bell and I answered the door. He looked at me with this sort of stunned expression on his face and mumbled that he was there to take care of a few things. My parents introduced me to him and he was completely nice to everyone while he went about taking care of his landlord things.

After he left, my parents laughed about the change in him and told me I should visit more often, but it puzzled me. Clearly, the landlord changed his behaviour because there was a pretty girl around even though there was no actual benefit for him to do so. I never saw him again. But it did teach me that being pretty is like going through life with bonus points. I liked that. I never wanted to lose it. If really given the choice when I was young, I would have gone for beauty instead of the five years.
(I tried to find a picture of me when I was young--but where the 80's hair wasn't too prominent. Don't ask me what I was doing with my arms.)

That said, one day as I was getting ready for college classes, I realized it was a trick question. In between clothes shopping, clothes ironing, showering, shaving, blow-drying, hair-curling, and putting on make-up, I realized that I probably would spend more than five years of my life "beautifying" myself. I'd already made the choice.

Now in my older years, I make the opposite choice. I can't tell you how many days I walk around looking like a bag lady because I'm so intent on getting my writing done. These days, I take the time over beauty.

Still it's made for some interesting discussion here and also as I've visited my daughter this week. You can actually get a lot of mileage out of those five-year jokes.

Me walking into the room looking like something the cat dragged in: Hi!
Her: So, I see you've decided to take those five years back.

Gotta love her.

Anyway, it was hard to pick a winner because everyone was so profound. Really. I'm in awe of all of you. But I'm going to go with Jenilyn because I liked the way she picked the beauty but made it look like she was doing it for altruistic reasons. (making life easier for the nursing staff.) I think it was a reason New Pretty Town could totally support. So, Jenilyn, send me your snail mail at rallison 1 at cox dot net. And I'll send you you're book!

And the rest of you--I'm proud of you! Just don't waste your five years watching tv.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mind-Rain book give away!

One of the fun things about being a writer is getting to rub shoulders with other authors. (Another is living vicariously through your characters while they do things like tell off people who remind you of your home owners’ association board, but I digress.)

I was happy when Ben Bella Books asked me to write an essay for a book they were doing on Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series. I really enjoyed the books, so not only did I get to pontificate on the role of beauty in our society, but I also got the thrill of knowing that Scott Westerfeld himself read and edited my essay. (Yes, This is how much of a book geek I am. I was like, “Scott Westerfeld’s eyeballs read the words I wrote!” I think this means I am allowed to hang out socially with him now, you know, assuming I ever meet him in real life.)

So the book is officially out now. It’s called Mind-Rain and is available at your local Borders.

Here is a blurb from my essay about the role of beauty in our society:

When I was a teenager I read a book of difficult questions. One of them was: Would you choose to be beautiful if it meant you’d lose five years from your life span?

Would you?

The question bothered me because I knew the answer should be easy—who in their right mind would trade part of their life—1,825 days—just to look good? Looking good doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of your life.

But I kept finding myself wanting to refine the question. Exactly how ugly would I have to be to have that extra five years? And were we talking about a life span of seventy years? Eighty years? Perhaps only forty? The question just wouldn’t go away. The answer hovered around, revealing all sorts of uncomfortable things about myself and my society--because let’s face it we do judge people based on looks.

Oh, as a society we like to pretend that we aren’t really all that vain, that we don’t obsess about our appearances, and that we’re capable of seeing past all the superficial stuff. As Martin Luther King Jr. would say, if you know, he happened to live in a Scott Westerfeld novel: People should not be judged by the prettiness of their skin, but by the content of their character.

We throw around phrases to emphasize the point. Beauty is only skin deep. Beauty is as beauty does. It’s what inside that really matters. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Any high school freshman will tell you differently. As will your local plastic surgeon, or the person in charge of hiring models for advertisements.

If you want to sell something, you show a beautiful person holding, eating, wearing, or driving it. There is a reason we call beautiful people attractive. We are attracted to them just because of their looks. As a society we want to be them so badly that we will buy the soda we see them drinking, the clothes we see them wearing, and the cars we see them driving.

Okay for those of you who are still with me, to be the winner of a free copy of Mind Rain, answer the question: Would you trade five years of your life to be beautiful? Why or why not?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beauty tips for the writer

I have stumbled upon a sure-fire way for writers to make themselves feel beautiful.(This probably only works for women writers, but hey, the guys don't have to worry about being beautiful anyway.)

Step one: have revisions due on a certain date.

Step two: ascertain that you will not make this date unless you give up several things in your life like showering or grooming.

Step three: repeat step two for several days.

Step four: by the time you finish your revisions you will resemble the troll-like figure on the front cover of Brandon Mull's first Fablehaven book.
Step five: now that your revisions are done, shower, dress in something besides the lifeless sweats you've been wearing, and do your hair and makeup. You will be astounded by how good you look. In fact, you will be downright stunning in comparison to how you've looked for the last few days.

It works every time.