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jenniferechols

My 2013

Nov. 9th, 2012 | 04:42 pm
mood: cheerfulcheerful

My publishing schedule for 2013 has changed around a few times lately. I try to announce the changes or at least make them on my web site. But some of my YA readers are still finding out that I have adult books coming out next year, and someone just asked me on Twitter about the summary of Playing Dirty that has appeared on Goodreads, even though I just posted it to my own web site yesterday. Way to go, Goodreads! That was fast!

So, in case you're interested, I thought I'd run down how my 2013 is shaping up. As always, all of my books are published by Simon & Schuster.

ADULT ROMANTIC COMEDIES

My first two adult romantic comedies will debut next year. Those of you who know me recognize that this is a dream come true for me, because I've been trying to sell a book in this genre ever since I sold my first YA novel in 2005. Both of these novels are part of the "Stargazer Series" because Stargazer Public Relations is the firm that the heroines work for.

February 26: Star Crossed

starcrossedH518The first novel in a sizzling new series about a public relations firm, the stars they represent, and everything they’d rather keep private.

Wendy Mann loves her job rescuing celebrities from public relations scrapes. She grew up with nothing, and now she’s drawn to glitz, glamour, and a lighthearted lifestyle. She speaks her mind, so she’s just the tough cookie to tell stars the truth about how other people see them, even when they don’t want to hear it. But after six years at the top of her game, Wendy crosses the line. A star she was sent to save rebels against her and nearly gets her fired. To salvage her job, she must rehabilitate the career of a singing starlet with a penchant for posting inappropriate photos of herself and arguing online with her famous ex. Problem is, the ex is represented by Wendy’s arch nemesis from college, the hot and haughty Daniel Blackstone. And both stars are scheduled for a collision course on national television, broadcast live from Las Vegas.

Daniel’s uneasy when he hears Wendy Mann from his firm’s most hated competitor has been brought in to revive the career of his client’s ex-girlfriend. Daniel must win at any cost. And if he has to seduce Wendy to smooth the way to their partnership, he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the cause. But Daniel doesn’t count on the scorching heat between them—and when they get to Vegas, all bets are off.

October: Playing Dirty

A public relations expert tries to prevent the breakup of a raucous country band and corral their wild—and very sexy—lead singer in book 2 of the Stargazer Series.

As an expert in public relations crisis management—that is, babysitter to the stars—Sarah Seville just spent nine months in Rio trying to keep rock singer Nine Lives out of jail long enough to record his new album…and barely succeeded. Now she needs a triumphant success so she can keep the Manhattan-based job she loves. Trouble is, her new assignment is to travel to Alabama to prevent the breakup of the raucous country band The Cheatin’ Hearts, headed by sexy Quentin Cox. As she edges closer to Quentin, she discovers layers of secrets. It seems Quentin is taking the spin doctor for a spin.

The Cheatin’ Hearts have stayed on top of the charts two years following three rules. Rule One, no drugs. Rule Two, no sex with other band members. Rule Three, no sex with record company spies. Quentin figures he’d better follow the rules, because he made them. And because if you break a rule, you’re out of the band. But he can’t resist the record company’s beautiful PR agent, and inevitably he breaks Rule Three with hot Sarah Seville. As he falls for her, he finds out that she has plenty of secrets of her own, and one of them comes knocking on her door: what really happened to her in Rio.

NEW ADULT PARANORMAL

"New Adult" is the age group between YA and adult; my characters are 21-year-old recent college grads. And this book is better known to folks who've been reading this blog for a while as The Novel I Love So Much That I Will Just Die If It Doesn't Sell, so thank goodness it sold. This one's going to be available as an e-book only. I'm sorry that those of you who only read print books will have to skip this one; it wasn't my choice, and if things change, I'll certainly keep you updated!

May 7: Levitating Las Vegas

From the award-winning, wildly popular author of Such a Rush and Going Too Far comes a fun and sexy original eBook romantic comedy with a paranormal twist.

[Author's note: No, I did not call myself "wildly popular," but if my publisher wants to call me that, I am not going to argue with them. Pick your battles, I always say.]

Twenty-one-year-old showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—he thinks he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her to a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark for so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love can lead to murder.

YOUNG ADULT ROMANTIC DRAMA

And finally, what I'm best known for I guess, a book in the same vein as Such a Rush and so forth.

July 16: Dirty Little Secret

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again…

AND WHAT ABOUT THE YOUNG ADULT ROMANTIC COMEDIES?

I do have more of these coming out, but not until 2014 and 2015. It's the "Superlatives Series" of three novels about seniors at a Florida high school who are selected for their class Who's Who categories, and how the labels change the way they view themselves and alter the course of their lives.

As for the rest of 2014 and 2015, I would ***love*** to write more of the Stargazer Series, more of the Levitating Las Vegas series, and more YA dramas until the cows come home...but, as I detailed in my last blog post, that depends entirely on sales of my 2013 books--in other words, how much you like them/buy them/recommend them to your friends. Fingers crossed!

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jenniferechols

Put your money where your mouth is

Nov. 2nd, 2012 | 09:17 am
mood: gratefulgrateful

Yesterday I turned in the revision of Levitating Las Vegas, my New Adult paranormal romantic comedy coming out on May 7 with Pocket Star, an ebook-only line from Simon & Schuster. As you may know, that was my NaNoWriMo book from 2008. Selling it took a lot of revisions and a lot of time...but ultimately, it took the market finally waking up to New Adult books, which makes me very happy.

I have always loved this book (as I have told you repeatedly). I'm thrilled that it sold. And as I was revising it, I was hoping against hope that it's something other people will like as much as I do, so that I can continue to write books set in this fictional world. If this book sells well, the publisher will want more. If it doesn't, they won't. Period.

And that's where you come in. The internet has opened so many possibilities for people to make a living in ways they couldn't have before. People can write books and sell them to a publisher like I do, or they can publish them on their own. They can design covers and ads. They can make crafts and sell them. I have already voted for President Obama, for many reasons, but one of the most important is that his Affordable Care Act will allow self-employed folks like me to work from home and entrepreneurs to start their own businesses without having to be married to someone who has health insurance through work, and without worrying about getting sick and being faced with devastating health bills if they're on their own. Governor Romney has said he will repeal this legislation if elected, but if we keep the President and the law, we'll all have a lot more choices about how we make a living in the coming years.

However, self-employed people in the arts can't make a living at all if you don't support them. Publishers often decide whether to buy another book from a writer after the last book has been on shelves only a few weeks. Those few weeks of sales can make or break a career. When the fourth Twilight book came out...I know a lot of people loved this series, but some fans were disappointed in this last installment, and non-fans had a field day. So many of us YA authors had been very jealous of Ms. Meyer's success, and I remember thinking at the time that this is the height to which we are aspiring: public derision? and lots of money. Because people were purchasing this expensive hardback book just so they could read it and make fun of it online. Assuming they did not have unlimited funds to spend on books, they were buying this book they knew they would not like instead of four books they might have liked very much. Meyer's sales went up, ensuring she can now write whatever she wants for the rest of her life and publishers will buy it. Simultaneously, lots of my friends who are fantastic writers were not getting their contracts renewed--the writer's equivalent of getting laid off--because their books were not selling enough copies.

My point is certainly not to blame Meyer. The current popularity of YA owes a lot to her, because her books made readers out of a lot of reluctant teens (and adults!). My point is that your dollar makes a difference. It is a vote. It is your voice in which writers keep writing, which musicians keep recording, which magazines stay in business, which local bands continue to think giving up their weekends is worthwhile, which stores and restaurants stay open. We hear a lot about political voters being reluctant to go to the polls next Tuesday because they think their one vote won't make a difference, but of course we know it does, especially in such a tight election. In the same way, your voice telling your friends about a book you enjoyed is incredibly helpful to the author, but your vote--purchasing the book rather than borrowing it or skipping it, and purchasing it now before it's too late and the author has been let go by her publisher--is the deciding factor.

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The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Kelly Parra!

Oct. 21st, 2012 | 08:19 pm
mood: happyhappy

Something_Wicked-_Sh_Cover_for_KindleThe Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

SOMETHING WICKED: Young Adult Short Stories

Sometimes, they aren't costumes.

They’re baaaack.

More nightmares brought to you by the authors of the young adult anthology Prom Dates to Die For...

Beware the "Midnight Troll" on your late-night stroll by Mari Hestekin. Swim at your own risk "Under Loch and Cay" by Jenny Peterson. A curse of spiders on campus means "Arach War" by Lena Brown. "Through a Glass Darkly" one could lose a soul by Heather Dearly. Supernatural Hunters turn to the sea in "Mermania" by Kelly Parra. Social media goes to the ghouls in "Spectral Media" by Aaron Smith.

Don’t miss this paranormal fun for tween, teens and adults!

Jenn: How does this book fit in with your others? Is it part of a series, unrelated but the same sort of book, or a real departure?

Kelly: Hi Jenn, thanks for having me on your blog! The book SOMETHING WICKED is an anthology with 6 young adult authors writing a spooky YA tale. My story is “Mermania” and continues my teen supernatural hunters adventures from “Darkness Becomes Him” from PROM DATES TO DIE FOR. In DBH my teen hunters, Jaz and Blake, battled a dark angel and in “Mermania” they are up against the mythical mermaid!

Jenn: What’s the weirdest thing you were doing or the weirdest place you were when you came up with part of this book?

Kelly: A few weeks before I started "Mermania" I’d watched a documentary on the Planet channel about Mermaids. It was filmed realistically, with government cover ups and secret footage. I didn’t know if it was real or fake! Turns out—duh—it was fiction, but it ignited a story inside me!

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Kelly: I just finished one of my favorite series authors Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampire series, LAST BREATH. Lots of action and suspense!

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Kelly: I’m one of those writers who has a couple of projects in the works at once: A contemporary YA, an adult romance, and a short story collection.

Visit Something Wicked on Facebook!

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The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Mindi Scott!

Oct. 13th, 2012 | 04:40 pm
mood: busybusy

Live_Through_This_cover(1)The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

LIVE THROUGH THIS

From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy.

But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling.

In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.

Jenn: What’s your favorite gizmo advertising your book?

Mindi: I have a book trailer!



Jenn: How does this book fit in with your others? Is it part of a series, unrelated but the same sort of book, or a real departure?

Mindi: Live Through This takes place in the same town as Freefall and there is a tiny bit of character overlap. For the most part, though, this book is a complete standalone.

Jenn: What’s the weirdest thing you were doing or the weirdest place you were when you came up with part of this book?

Mindi: Sneaking into an abandoned house to go exploring with my sister!

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Mindi_Scot_-_Author_PhotoMindi: Never Enough by Denise Jaden, The Disenchantments by Nina Lacour,
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King, Falling for Hamlet by Michelle Ray,
If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman, Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, and Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach.

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Mindi: My critique partner, Michelle Andreani, and I are writing a novel together. We also have a blog that we (sometimes) update about our progress here.

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The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Gretchen McNeil!

Sep. 28th, 2012 | 01:05 pm
mood: busybusy

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

TenTEN

And their doom comes swiftly.


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives – three days on Henry Island at an exclusive house party. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their own reasons for wanting to be there, both of which involve Kamiak High’s most eligible bachelor, T.J. Fletcher. But what starts out as a fun-filled weekend turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly, people are dying and the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Jenn: What’s your favorite gizmo advertising your book?

Gretchen: My trailer is freaking AWESOME!



Jenn: How does this book fit in with your others? Is it part of a series, unrelated but the same sort of book, or a real departure?

Gretchen:GretchenTEN, like POSSESS and 3:59 which comes out next year, is a stand alone horror novel. I suppose the only similarity it has with the others is that they are all horror. TEN is contemporary horror, POSSESS is paranormal horror and 3:59 will be sci-fi horror.

Jenn: What’s the weirdest thing you were doing or the weirdest place you were when you came up with part of this book?

Gretchen: I was flying home to San Francisco for my best friend's mom's memorial service and I was a total wreck. Exhausted and stressed, I had to be back in LA by 6pm because I was performing in a show that night. But in the midst of this horrible day, I got a call from my agent saying my publisher wanted to sign me up for more books.

TEN is dedicated to my friend's mom. It was only fitting.

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Gretchen: I'm in the midst of THE TURNING by Francine Prose right now, and I just finished Scott Tracey's epic sequel DEMON EYES.

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Gretchen: 3:59 comes out Fall 2013. It's sci-fi horror about two girls who are the same girl in different dimensions, who discover that their worlds connect every twelve hours – at 3:59 – for one minute. When they decide to switch places for a day, all hell breaks loose. Literally.

After that I just sold a two book series, also to Balzer + Bray, for 2014 and 2015. GET EVEN and GET DIRTY are books one and two in the Don't Get Mad series about four very different girls who have formed a secret revenge society, getting back at bullies and mean girls who have terrorized their classmates, which all goes well until one of their targets turns up dead and the society is implicated in the death.

Jenn: Thanks for visiting the blog, Gretchen! Good luck with the book release, and we'll all look forward to 3:59!

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A happy ending

Sep. 19th, 2012 | 04:04 pm
mood: cheerfulover the moon

On Friday YA Misfits is going to post an interview that they were kind enough to conduct with me. One of the things they asked me was whether I considered any of my books my special babies. I told them I have two, neither have sold, but my fingers are crossed.

I just sold one of them to Simon & Schuster.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you will recognize it as The Book I Love So Much That I Will Just Die If It Doesn't Sell.

It's a New Adult paranormal romantic comedy called Levitating Las Vegas. What it's about:

Nothing up her sleeves...or so she’s been led to believe.

Showgirl Holly Starr is sick and tired of assisting her dad, a celebrity magician, in his Las Vegas casino magic show. As soon as he keeps his promise to her and shares the secrets to his tricks, she can break out on her own. But can she really make it? For years Holly has taken medication to stave off crazy hallucinations that she can levitate objects. Just when she thinks she’s ready to make a career and a life for herself, her medicine—and her luck—run out.

Elijah Brown suffers from a similar delusion—that he can read minds—and he’s out of medicine too. Determined to save himself and his old flame Holly, he kidnaps her and takes her straight to the source, a town high in the Rockies where their medicine is made. What they discover there leads them to suspect their powers are not imaginary after all...and neither is the intense attraction they feel for each other.

They make a pact to stick together as they return to Vegas to confront the people who kept them in the dark so long. But soon they’re pitting their powers against each other in a dangerous world where the nightlife is seductive, domination is addictive, the sex is beyond belief...and falling in love is murder.


What is New Adult, you may ask? Well, the upper age limit of YA typically is the end of high school or shortly thereafter. The heroes and heroines of adult romance novels are usually no younger than their late 20's. New Adult covers the ground in between. This is a new term because it's a new market--driven, I think, by the fact that former avid readers of YA are growing older, entering college or the job market, and hungering for books about them.

I'm thrilled to tell you that Levitating Las Vegas will be published by Pocket Star this coming February! It will be available as an e-book only, and there are a couple of reasons for this. One is its genre. New Adult is still relatively untested, and paranormal isn't something I've done before. If the publisher doesn't print the book, they avoid some risk, because printing is expensive. The other reason is that sales of my previous novels have been very e-book heavy, so everyone figures that's the format most of my readers will want.

Now, if you hate e-books, I hear you. I prefer print myself. If a book I want is published as an e-book only, though, I will still buy the e-book. I know some of you won't. I hope you will bear with me until my next books come out, because this is the only one planned as an e-book exclusive. And if the publisher sees that demand is great, of course they will print it, because publishers are in the business of giving readers what they want. That's what happened with The One That I Want, and though I'm not expecting this to happen again, I would love for all my books to be available in formats that everyone prefers.

And so, with a final OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, I will close by saying that Levitating Las Vegas was the book I wrote for NaNoWriMo in November 2008. If you're considering doing NaNoWriMo yourself, you might be amused at my experience, which is archived for you on this very blog starting here. You can scroll through the days--keep hitting "next day" at the bottom. You can tell I was really beside myself because of all the dreams I'm reporting (I almost never remember my dreams). You can also tell I am dedicated, because I finished the book during the Alabama-Auburn game. There aren't 30 reports because I got pretty desperate toward the end and stopped checking in. But I provide a wrap-up of my experience on December 1.

Yes, I added 47,000 words after NaNoWriMo was over. I revised the book many times, and it took almost 4 years to sell. But in the end, perseverance, my love of my own writing (because if you don't love it, how can you expect anyone else to love it?), my brilliant literary agent Laura Bradford, and the exquisite taste of my editors at Pocket Star (joking! not really!) came through for me. And there is nothing I love better than a happy ending.

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Coming February 26!

Sep. 12th, 2012 | 04:08 pm

The first novel in a sizzling new series about a public relations firm, the stars they represent, and everything they’d rather keep private.

StarCrossedWendy Mann loves her job rescuing celebrities from public relations scrapes. She grew up with nothing, and now she’s drawn to glitz, glamour, and a lighthearted lifestyle. She speaks her mind, so she’s just the tough cookie to tell stars the truth about how other people see them, even when they don’t want to hear it. But after six years at the top of her game, Wendy crosses the line. A star she was sent to save rebels against her and nearly gets her fired. To salvage her job, she must rehabilitate the career of a singing starlet with a penchant for posting inappropriate photos of herself and arguing online with her famous ex. Problem is, the ex is represented by Wendy’s arch nemesis from college, the hot and haughty Daniel Blackstone. And both stars are scheduled for a collision course on national television, broadcast live from Las Vegas.

Daniel’s uneasy when he hears Wendy Mann from his firm’s most hated competitor has been brought in to revive the career of his client’s ex-girlfriend. Daniel must win at any cost. And if he has to seduce Wendy to smooth the way to their partnership, he’s willing to sacrifice himself for the cause. But Daniel doesn’t count on the scorching heat between them—and when they get to Vegas, all bets are off.

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Your funky firsts

Aug. 23rd, 2012 | 06:30 am
mood: contemplativecontemplative

EndlessSummerH546At the Booksigning for Literacy at the Romance Writers of America convention in July, a lovely reader happened to mention that she'd bought my book at Sam's Club. She went on with her sentence while I leapt over the table, grabbed her by the shoulders, and shook her, screaming, "YOU BOUGHT MY BOOK AT SAM'S CLUB?" I then dashed across the room to tackle my literary agent and tell her, "MY BOOK IS IN SAM'S CLUB!" To which my literary agent replied, "YOUR BOOK IS IN SAM'S CLUB? No, wait a minute. That is too huge. If your book were in Sam's Club, the publisher would have told you."

A few days later we found out that Endless Summer is indeed in Sam's Club. And in case you are still puzzling over why this would be a big deal...well, so is my publisher. My editor seemed surprised that we were so happy. Why is it a big deal for your book to be sold in a store that also sells cottage cheese by the gallon?

You have to understand how many times I have walked past the book section in Sam's Club or Costco, with millions of copies of a book stacked on a pallet, and thought, "If I could only get a book into this store, I would know I had made it."

I had a similar experience yesterday when people were tweeting about me in Portuguese. My books have been published in seven languages, but nothing brings home to you that your books are ACTUALLY OVER THERE BEING READ BY SOMEBODY ON ANOTHER CONTINENT like people tweeting about you in Portuguese. Of course, I don't understand Portuguese. I thought they were saying things like, "When is Such a Rush coming out in Portuguese?" but they could very well have been saying, "Why is Such a Rush a big pile of dog poo?" and I would not know the difference. Happily.

The reality of a career writing novels is that when I reach milestones like these, I do not know I have made it. Even if one book sells well, the next one might flop, and I might find myself going back to my day job copyediting medical journal articles about nasal polyps. Even becoming a New York Times bestselling author--a title I have not achieved--can't save you from having your next book rejected if your sales start to slip. There is constant pressure to make the next book bigger, better, more relevant, more hip--and not just to achieve bestseller status. Just to keep your head above water.

So in this work climate, on a day when I really need to revise one novel and think up a second so I can start writing a third, I find it helpful to dwell unnaturally on the fact that people are tweeting about me in Portuguese. As my husband often says, in a dire tone that I don't like very much, "You'd better enjoy this because it might not happen again." It took me 15 years, 10 novels, and 3 agents to finally make a sale, and I honestly try to enjoy all the milestones along my publishing journey. Some are obvious and some are funky. Here are a few:

My first cover.

My first Booksigning for Literacy at the Romance Writers of America convention. Alas, my books did not show up. In a small consolation prize...

My first sighting of my book in a bookstore--which was in the same mall complex as the Booksigning for Literacy where my books were not. I am trying to look authorial.

mc

My first review. A good one, thank God.

The first time a random person had heard of me. That was a big thrill until, upon questioning, it was revealed that she was thinking of Simone Elkeles.

The first time a random person had actually heard of me.

The first time I finaled in the RITA. Yes, I only finaled, but that is a huge deal. You attract a lot of attention when you final in the RITA, and you can get a new agent pretty easily if you strike before you have lost the RITA. See, I go through this business thinking I don't know much and it confounds me, but I actually know a lot.

The first time I was a bestseller, on December 26, 2010. See Forget You at #9. Thanks to lovely readers telling other lovely readers about my book, it climbed as high as #7 in the next few weeks. My husband made a screencap. I told him he was silly and you know what he said in that dystopian tone: "You'd better enjoy this..."

barnes&noble top 10

There are many more firsts I would love to achieve. Being a New York Times bestseller--I wouldn't turn that down. I would love to sell film rights to my books. Oooh, what if my YA romantic comedies coming out in 2014 made the Scholastic Book Club? I would visit the sale at my son's school to buy books for him and I would be knocking over the displays, screaming, "MY BOOKS ARE IN THE SCHOLASTIC BOOK CLUB!" Ahem. And since my first adult romance is coming out next February, I'm looking forward to that rite of passage for so many romance authors I have talked to: the outraged e-mail asking me why my sexy novel has sex in it.

What are your milestones--either obvious or not? Ones you've passed, or ones that glow like solar lights from Sam's Club along the sidewalk of your career, guiding your way up the street?

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The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Elise Allen!

Aug. 21st, 2012 | 10:27 am
mood: awakeawake

popThe Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

After starting her career in television, ELISE ALLEN has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction. She is the co-author of Hilary Duff's New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets. She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons. Visit her at www.eliseallen.com, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be? Would you grab it? Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?

Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. One of the Populazzi.

It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.

When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.

The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.

Jenn: What’s your favorite gizmo advertising your book?

Elise: I have a book trailer!



The coolest thing about the trailer was that we shot it in my house, and it was a wild adventure. A crew of incredibly talented people all but donated their time and energy for a day I’ll never forget. We had so many lights going that we blew all power about halfway through the shoot. Luckily one of the grips is also a master electrician… and an actor – he’s one of the voiceover guys at the end. My daughter loved the shoot because she got to hang out in the hair and makeup department (a.k.a. my home office) all day, and get made over again and again.

EliseJenn: How does this book fit in with your others? Is it part of a series, unrelated but the same sort of book, or a real departure?

Elise: This is my debut solo YA novel, but it’s definitely a departure from my other work. I co-write Hilary Duff’s Elixir series, which is paranormal, so very different from Populazzi. When I’m not writing books, I write kids’ TV and Barbie movies, both of which have a very different audience. Comedy would be the one thing that ties together all my work – no matter what the genre, I have a lot of trouble dislodging my tongue from my cheek.

Jenn: What’s the weirdest thing you were doing or the weirdest place you were when you came up with part of this book?

Elise: Wow… I have absolutely no idea, but I do remember exactly where I was when I got the call that Populazzi sold. I was at Disneyland, about to board the raft to Tom Sawyer Island (yes, yes, I know it’s Pirate Island now, but whatever, I still call it Tom Sawyer), which is perfectly appropriate since it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Elise: I’m on a Nora Ephron kick as my way of mourning her loss. I just finished I Feel Bad About My Neck, which is both hysterical and soul-wrenching, especially as she ponders the horrible finality of death – comically – in the book’s final essay. Now I’m going back to her beginning and reading Heartburn, which is sharp, witty, and everything you’d expect from the woman who made When Harry Met Sally.

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Elise: The most immediate thing is the third and final installment of the Elixir series. It’s called True, and comes out in April 2013. In the meantime, I’m working on a bunch of TV and book projects… but they’re all at a place where I’m not allowed to talk about them yet!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Jenn! I loved the questions and had a lot of fun!

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jenniferechols

In transition

Aug. 8th, 2012 | 11:05 am
mood: artisticartistic

DSC01461I just turned in Dirty Little Secret, my YA romantic drama for publication in July 2013. Now I need to write a proposal for the 2014 book; revise the adult romantic comedy, Star Crossed, coming out in February; and write the YA romantic comedy scheduled for May 2014. No problemo.

But not today. Today I'm going through the pile on my desk that I sort of neglected while on deadline. What is this stuff, besides a fire hazard? I am also a little behind on my shredding. And then I'm going to re-design my web site.

Here's the original at jennifer-echols.com. I am actually planning to keep this whole site in all its pink giddiness. But my publisher seems to want me to keep the YA and adult books somewhat separate, though I'm using the same pen name for both. So what I'm planning is that when you go to the home page, you will see a screen asking you whether you want the adult side or the YA side. If you click the YA side, you will go to the pink side. If you click the adult side, you'll find yourself in whatever world I'm about to create.

DSC01462For the asthetics of the new side, I'd like to wait until I see the cover of Star Crossed and follow that lead. But I can go ahead and figure out what pages I will have and where they will go. Which brings me to my question for you: What author sites do you love (including your own)? What features do you appreciate on a page, and what junk leaves you cold? Post some links in the comments.

I probably should not be this excited about tinkering with my web site. Art and design are things I've never been particularly good at, yet I've been very interested in them. When I first started work as a newspaper copyeditor, I was thrilled the one day the Montgomery Advertiser allowed me to design the front page (it was Labor Day and I was the low person on the totem pole and therefore the only one who had to work). After I've done pretty much nothing for long stretches but read and write, design uses a different part of my brain, and I find it a relief. I love to go shopping and not buy anything for the same reason, just wander around Anthropologie and look at it.

And I'm pretty proud of what I've done on my YA page. Granted, I am easily impressed with myself. I just use HTML coding and an antiquated Photoshop-type program, but look, when you click the words in the banner, you go to the different pages because I divided up the banner into separate gif files. Go look. I'll wait. See, THAT is the kind of impressive display of 1998 technology that I am planning to bring to my new era of writing.
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