Friday, April 30, 2010

Heathen much?

A happy and blessed Beltane!

Beltane, sometimes called May Eve, is one of the eight Sabbats. If you want to celebrate right, you should get yourself to Scotland for the Fire Festival.
If you're interested in gaining eternal beauty, be sure to climb the highest hill in your neighborhood and wash your face in the morning dew.

Pagan lore plays a big part in Nightshade's world, but since my book isn't available until October (Samhain anyone??) I thought today would be a good day to recommend some of my favorite books that are steeped in history and the old ways.

Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series is gorgeously written and thoroughly researched, reflecting Melissa's graduate work in gender studies and a sharp eye for folklore. It's a good time to start reading her work too - as the fifth book in the series, Radiant Shadows, was just released.

Maggie Stiefvater gained fame for her wolfie Shiver series, but her first books focused on the realm of faerie. Lament and Ballad are wonderful and heartbreaking. Pick them up!

And just 'cause I'm always a bit evil, I'll recommend another 2010 debut that releases a month before my own baby. Brenna Yovanoff's The Replacement is delicious and dark, frequently terrifying and not for the faint of heart, offering an original and haunting depiction of faerie seeping into our world. Brenna and I are Penguin buddies and I'm thrilled that both our books are featured as part of the Penguin Five promotion (I will post more on what that means soon).(Yes, I have an ARC, and yes I just might be giving it away in a contest...If you think the cover looks cool here, wait till you see it in person. Soooooo shiny and beautiful!)

Have a wonderful May Eve and if the books above don't make it clear - you should not mess with the Fey.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Death and the Dandelion

Today - a tie-in to the spring flowers post with this caveat: apologies to any lawn warriors out there - I'm sorry, but I don't see the world the way Scott's turf builder worshipers do.

That said, when I was out walking & taking photographs of spring's bouquet the other afternoon, I also saw this.
One of my neighbors was systematically going through his yard and the green space on the curb, pulling out offending dandelions and tossing their carcasses on the pavement.

And it made my heart hurt.

Plants jerked from the soil, roots and all; left to die in heaps, like garbage.

I'm not a big fan of the designation "weeds" for many a wildflower. I understand that some people like uniformity and neatness.

But to me, dandelions are pure joy.
How can you not love that brilliant, sunshine yellow. And after the lemony brightness fades, you have a bloom full of wishes waiting to happen.
Where is the bad?

Yet dandelions are cast offs. They are yanked from the earth and scorned. I don't like it. I choose to cherish dandelions no matter how often they are cursed by lawn tyrants. Grass isn't natural. Dandelions are.

One of my favorite snippets of wisdom comes from Thich Nhat Hahn:

I have lost my smile, but don't worry.
The dandelion has it.

Somehow I believe the world would be a better place if we all could keep this thought in mind.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I'm terrible at waiting. Patience is a virtue I lack. So as you can imagine waiting for my book's release in October is hard. Very hard. I feel guilty in saying this because in the world of publishing my book sale and release happened incredibly fast. But the waiting is still hard.

Spring chides me for this impatience.

I'm a goal-oriented person. I work fast and obsessively, which is good because it means I accomplish a lot quickly. But there's a price to be paid for being oriented always toward the horizon.

It's too easy to miss what's happening in the moment.

Unlike most years where dirty slush gives way to sudden hot weather, Minnesota is experiencing a phenomenon: spring. We're finally getting a taste of this elusive season.

Spring is precious because of its rarity and brevity. The earth and air crackle with energy as slumbering plants burst to life. I can't help but pause, enjoying each moment that leaves unfurl and flowers peek out of the dark soil.

Some of my favorite blooms appear, ever so briefly, in this season:

the unassuming grace of lily of the valleythe intoxicating perfume of lilac
the sweetness of tulips
the tender petals of narcissa
the joyful scent of apple blossoms

I'm trying my hardest to remember to pay attention and enjoy them because I know sooner than I imagine the fleeting beauty of spring flowers will give way to the lush riot of summer blossoms. Infant leaves of sparkling green will mature to rich emeralds by June.

Spring is a gift. No matter what I'm waiting for, I don't want to miss this season.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


So remember a few posts ago when I was wishing I could go to a book fair?
The universe was listening.

I've heard from Penguin that I'll be at the Book Expo America in New York City from May 25 - 27. Woo-hoo!!

I knew this trip was a possibility, but the reality of being their is more thrilling than I can say. Last year I posted about BEA and how much I hoped to be there someday. It's hard to believe that in a single year so much has happened. I'm filled with gratitude and joy.

For anyone who is attending BEA and wants to say hi, I'm on a panel with Richelle Mead (I KNOW can you believe it!!) at the Downtown Stage in the Jarvits Center on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
On Thursday I'll be signing ARCs in the Penguin Booth at 10 a.m. That's right - signing ARCs. Squeeeee!!!!

For the rest of the conference I'll be hanging out with awesome Editor Jill, meeting up with Tenners (woot!) and hopefully getting to know lots of other awesome book people ;)

I feel like a little kid who's so excited they run in crazy circles until they fall down. I'm falling down now. *faints*

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Picture This

A frequent question I get is "if there was a movie who would your dream Nightshade cast be"?

It's a super fun game to play and I do have answers. But before I give them, I have a qualifier:
It's really, really important to me that readers envision characters the way they want to. The people I'll mention here are just my ideas - but I love that every person that encounters the Nightshade pack will have their own picks.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I've had Ren pegged for a long time. I am also engaged in an epic battle with Rachel (aka LadyHawkins) auteur extraordinaire of Hex Hall for the heart of Ben Barnes. You will never have him Rachel!!!
But Shay was eluding me. And how it pained me that I couldn't find anyone who captured the way I'd imagined him!! Then the lovely Mitali (aka AlleyofBooks) introduced me to this guy:
One Max Irons.

And he is PERFECT for Shay. *Swoons* I am sooooo happy. Thanks, Mitali!!

So there are the two lovely boys vying for Calla.

As for Calla herself, She was tricky too. The model they found for the cover was perfect. In terms of actresses, the closest I've seen of the way I imagine Calla is this photo of Dianna Agron: And there you have it.
Those are my picks - I'd love to hear yours!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Thanks so much for the wonderful birthday wishes for my mom and your thoughts about music. My mom printed them out to save - she loved them so much! Thanks for making her birthday extra special :)

And now for the winner - chosen using the Randomizer!

Jessica (jessring)! You win a signed ARC of Nightshade. Congrats!!!

I'm sending you an email now.

The next Nightshade giveaway won't be until June because my May travel schedule is insanity. But if you're looking for a chance to snag an ARC there are two other contests to check out.

Penguin Teen is giving away Nightshade on Facebook.

And Books Obsession is giving away two (yes, TWO!) Nightshade ARCs!

Thanks again for all the entries!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Birthday Today & To Be Contest

Six months from today Nightshade hits bookshelves!! So in a way it's Nightshade's -6th months birthday! No matter how I look at it, the six month countdown feels like a milestone. I can't wait 'til October!

Today, however, is another, actual birthday. April 19 is my mom's birthday!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!

I have a wonderful mom to whom I am very close. I am greatly indebted to my mom for instilling of a love of literature in me. I have innumerable happy memories of being read to when I was small. My favorite read aloud books that my mom read to me and my brother are The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Dark is Rising series.

My mom is a giver. She's more of a giver than anyone else I know, which makes her perfect for her profession. She's a music teacher. She directs the high school choirs in Ashland, including show choir. Go Glee!

So my love of music is a gift from my mom too. Thanks Mom!

To enter this contest all you have to do is send my mom (Mrs. Robertson) happy birthday wishes in the comments of this blog post.

If you want your name to be entered into the drawing TWICE - leave the happy birthday message and a brief note about why music is important to you :)

I'm taking entries until midnight! Tomorrow I'll draw a random name for the winner of a signed Nightshade ARC!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Contest - Monday!

As you're heading into your weekend remember you have a date to keep on Monday if you want to win a signed Nightshade ARC.

Details of how to enter will be posted at 12:00 AM Monday, April 19 and the contest will be open until 12:00 AM Tuesday, April 20 - that's right only 24 hours to enter this time, so don't be late!

Also Nightshade just got its first book blogger review. Hooray!! Check it out.

Wishing you all a great weekend! Here's a song from Sea Wolf (a band that actually gets a mention in Nightshade!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nightshade Goes to London

No this isn't a repost of my UK book deal - though Atom Books has been posting some awesome tweets about Nightshade and Wolfsbane. UK publication doesn't happen until January 6, 2011 - but Nightshade is hopping across the pond next week for the London Book Fair.
I am pretending (while pining) that I also am going on this trip for four reasons:

1) I love London

2) I am convinced I would love book fairs and hope that with enough wishes to the Universe I'll eventually get to go to one.

3) I'm dying to meet my awesome UK editor Samantha, who is uber cool and so much fun

4) I love London (I know I already said that, but I really , really love it)I was already green with envy over Bologna, where there were awesome things like Kristin Cashore sword fighting.
and now Calla is going to London without me, but I'll think she'll do fine hunting down more foreign deals.
But I'd be fine spending my time swooning over these rows and rows of books. (Hey look, there's Penguin! Hi Penguin!!)
I mean it's at frickin' Earl's Court! Earl's Court is where they have Lady Gaga's concerts - it's that big.


Maybe Calla will bring me a souvenir.
No. Not that please.

Ben Barnes AND Robert Pattinson? That's more like it! Good hunting, Calla!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Facebook Giveaway

Just a quick post today to let you know that Penguin Teen just started a fan page on Facebook and they're giving away a deluxe Nightshade ARC. Check it out!

Also, if you're on Facebook and you'd like to be my friend I'm happy to add you. Just send a request :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


A big leap forward in the life of Nightshade this week - the first mailing of Advanced Review Copies (ARCs or Galleys) arrived in the mailboxes of book bloggers! I'm now biting my nails in anticipation of their responses, and I'm so excited that Calla is out in the wild.

I thought I'd do a roundup of the links that have been popping up.

Kay Cassidy gave a Nightshade shout out in her interview on Not Enough Bookshelves. Kay's book The Cinderella Society is on shelves today!!

Book Reviews by Jess discussed the cover, as did The Bookologist and Tynga's Reviews and The Fiction Enthusiast. And Raila just stopped by to tell me about her cover post! Thanks Raila - I'm thrilled Nightshade will be pubbed in Brazil too - that was my first foreign sale :)

Nightshade got mentions in several "In My Mailbox" posts:

The Undercover Book Lover's post made my week. (Thanks Reggie!!)

And I was so excited to see Nightshade in the hands of The Frenetic Reader and Fantastic Book Review and GreenBeanTeenQueen (don't you love that name?) and Abby(the)Librarian (Happy Library Workers Day Abby!!!) and Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm (man all these bloggers have cool site names) and Book Chic.

The Story Siren and Sarah's Random Musings both vlog about it!

And it's even showing up in Spanish :) at Book Eater and Besos de un Angel and Eternamente en Tiniebla!

Thank you so much for all the enthusiasm - I'm thrilled!

If you posted a Nightshade-related blog and I missed it - it was totally inadvertent, let me know and I'd be happy to link it here.

The next chance to win a signed Nightshade ARC will be a contest on Monday, April 19 - this contest will only be 24 hours long, so don't forget to stop by!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


It's time for Library Appreciation! Thanks so much to Shelli for organizing this blog event :)

When NIGHTSHADE is released this fall, I'll have fingers and toes crossed that lots of readers are able to access it through their local libraries.
My own reading life developed under the wing of amazing, kind, intelligent librarians at the Vaughn Public Library in Ashland, Wisconsin. I have no doubt the my success as a writer is greatly indebted to the hours spent curled up among the stacks of this beautiful 19th century building.
The Vaughn Library was like a second home to me. Nearly all of my books came from the library, from picture books, to young readers, to YA and then to adult (though of course YA never went away!) I have fond memories of summer reading programs, story hour with Grandma Goose, and always knowing where my favorite books would be shelved.

My first job was at the Vaughn Library. I was a library "page" from the summer after my sophomore year of high school until I graduated.

The library always felt like a second home to me. When I do a reading there this fall it will be one of the happiest moments of my life.

Thanks to the Vaughn Public Library and to librarians everywhere for bringing the gift of reading to so many!!!

How have libraries shaped your love of books and reading?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I, Tunes

That was a bad pun for a title, but I couldn't resist.

I was delighted by all playlist/music questions for April's Q&A and I thought I'd write a bit more about how playlists work in my writing process.

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I use music to get through tough spots in writing. I'm fortunate in that I've never (and hope that will continue to be the case) suffered writer's block. That doesn't mean that I don't encounter bottlenecks in writing - these are places where a scene isn't quite working, or I just need a little more space to figure out what happens next. The best thing for me to do at points like that are to walk away from my laptop and listen to music. I can do this while wandering around the house, doing dishes, walking the dogs, or driving, but I have to have music to get the process started. This system has never failed me.

I do have playlists for all my novels and they are extensive. I have a song for each chapter and often for multiple scenes within a chapter. I also have what I consider theme songs for each character. When we get closer to Nightshade's release date I plan to do a week of posts that are character profiles plus these theme songs.

For now I thought I'd offer an example of how my playlist works using another popular question: What about the romance?

Yes, there is lots of lust and angst and kissing in Nightshade. I'm a romantic at heart and it's pretty hard to imagine myself ever writing a book that did not have these components at work.

Here is the Calla, Ren, Shay love triangle song: American Analog Set, The Green Green Grass

For those who prefer electronic remixes, Telefon Tel Aviv did an amazing one of this song. I love both versions so take your pick:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April Answers

Thanks for all the great questions! Here are answers:

From Anya:

How do you go about writing? Do you outline? The story arc or maybe each chapter and how do you develop your ideas/story and your characters?

My writing process is not so much a process as a reaction. A certain character or scene will get stuck in my head and I'll free write from there. I don't write in order, but write scenes as they come to me and then pull the scenes together.

In terms of arc and character development, I tend to think of my books as webs, not lines. The narrative spirals around a central character and her/his problem and then the web represents all the relationships - personal and environmental - connecting to that main problem.

The first time I outlined was for BLOODROSE and in that case I felt I had to outline because I already had so many scenes floating in my head I didn't want to forget anything. you listen to music while writing?


And do you feel like your characters "speak" to you and tell you what to write? :P

Ha! And, yes. While I wouldn't say they are dictating their dialogue to me, each character's voice is distinct and I'm often surprised by what they say. That happens to be one of my favorite parts of writing.

From Tina:

From what I can tell Niteshade is about Wolves and magic? Are these the only two elements that surround the universe or are there any other paranormal in this series?

It's about wolf warriors, called Guardians, and two factions of witches - Keepers and Searchers, who've been at war since the Middle Ages. That's all I can say without getting spoilery!

Do you have a playlist for the books? If yes, can you put it on your site for us to listen too?

I do have a playlist for my books and you can find a partial list here. I'll post the full list this summer as the release date gets closer. I can't post live links to the playlist because of copyright issues. Maggie Stiefvater just blogged about this frustration today. I wish I could post playable lists!

What kind of love story can we expect? A triangle perhaps? Or something complicated and juicy? ( Okay this one might be a spoiler one, so I don't expect an answer, but I had to ask;))

Yes, this is a bit spoilery and I have a strict no spoiler policy. What I will say is that there are two boys, Ren and Shay, and they make Calla's life very, very complicated.

Are you like any of the characters written in your work? Which one is your favorite?

I'm deeply attached to the whole pack, so picking a favorite is hard. I'd have to go with Ansel though. He's Calla's younger brother and is loosely based on my own younger brother. I also think Ansel is the character most like me because my brother and I are a lot alike!

I know that this series is only just starting and I think it's safe to say that your fans are already jumping up and down for October to come, but I was wondering if you have any plans or ideas to write something after this series?

Thanks so much! I'm jumping up and down for October to come too! There are three books and a prequel thus far in the Nightshade series. I'm also working on a YA steampunk series that you can read about here. But my writing time is nearly 100% consumed by Nightshade right now (which I love so it's fine), and it's likely that series will be a while in coming.

From Katarinasmama:

How many revisions did you do? And how did NIGHTSHADE's story change from it's initial version?

Hmmmmm. I did one round of revisions for my agent and another two for my editor...I think. It might have been three, but each time the revisions got lighter so the there were really two big rounds of revision.

I can't go into detail without revealing plot, but most of the changes were about offering more of Calla's inner dialogue (she doesn't like to share her feelings, so it was tough for even me to get them out of her) and switching up some timing of events in the narrative. The story itself is essentially the same.

From Anya:

How long did it take you to write the first draft of Nightshade? And then how long did the revisions take?:)

I wrote the first draft of Nightshade between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2008. My agent, Charlie, requested the full ms in February 2009 and I got 'the call' from him at the beginning of March. I was at a conference in Seattle and it was 6:30 a.m. Pacific time (usually I'm in the central time zone) - that is by far the best early morning phone call I've ever gotten. I worked with Charlie on the manuscript in the spring and it went on submission that summer. Michael Green at Philomel pre-empted the series in August. My editor, Jill Santopolo, and I worked on revisions in September and then the book was off to copy edits!

Just an FYI - this pace is light-speed for publishing, I'm still amazed that I was so lucky to have my work picked up and moved onto the fall 2010 list so quickly as I'm terribly impatient. Waiting until October is hard enough! But it's much more usual to wait 18+ months for publication from the point of acquisition.

From Voidwalker:

Has there been any changes offered by your editor that made you cringe, but you did them anyway?

Are you trying to get me in trouble, Void? LOL. Seriously, I have an amazing editor who I trust completely. Jill understands my characters and the world of Nightshade so well and her suggestions are spot on. Whenever I have a question or am on the fence about an idea I can talk to her about it and we've never had trouble arriving at a solution we're both happy with. She is a rock star and I adore her.

On a related note to aspiring authors - you must be open to taking revision suggestions from critique partners, agents, and editors. Keep in mind that if you've done you're homework and found partners you trust, and an agent and publishing house that are the right fit for you, then everyone is on the same team. Everyone wants your book to be a success. Too often I think writers take an adversarial stance against agents and editors as if everyone is for some reason out to ruin their perfect book. There is no perfect book. Writing is a craft, you always are growing and improving with time. Your agents and editors are there to help you along the way. Be open minded to their ideas - you don't have to take them all, but you should listen with sincerity and realize that they are often right.

From Lynsey:

Andrea, as an aspiring writer who is currently working on my WIP, I'm really interested in your writing process. I've decided that I'm a bit of a "Pantser" but then I run into a brick wall and think "Hmm...I need an outline of where this is going I think". I also think that I struggle with dialogue scenes and I have to work on this. So, in conclusion - any advice and tips on the writing process please. Thank you! :)

It's awesome that you're writing Lynsey - keep at it! I've written a bit about my process above, but my advice is that it's pivotal to find your own process. Every writer I know works differently. Writing is such a personal craft that it's much better to learn what your style is and go with it. As much as there are writing advice manuals out there, I think at the end of the day it's really a matter of trial and error. It's also a great idea to find critique partners who you trust. I met my amazing critique partner, Lisa Desrochers, at the San Francisco Writers Conference. I don't know what I'd do without her!

As far as hitting a brick wall - it happens to all of us. When I run into that wall I turn to my number one scene creator: music. I either lay on my couch listening to music, or take a walk with my book's playlist on my iPod, it usually only takes a few minutes before new scenes or dialogue are filling my head.

Thanks so much for all the great questions guys! Watch for the next ARC giveaway coming soon!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chicken or Egg?

That's right - it's April!! Time for Q&A.

I'll take questions from now through Tuesday, April 6 and post ANSWERS in the Wednesday, April 7 blog post.

Happy Spring, Easter, Oestara!

Friday, April 2, 2010


Carrie Harris
is it.

I'm all worn out from the blindingly awesome haiku contest.

Fortunately, the lovely Ms. Harris did an interview with me as part of the Pay it Forward Author Series.

Have a great weekend and happy spring holidays!

This Easter bunny joke never fails to make me laugh:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Haiku FTW!

You guys really outdid yourselves with the first annual PARANORMAL HAIKU contest. I've had so much fun reading all the entries. I've also been left with quite the knot in my belly trying to pick winners. Angst! Angst!

Here's how it's going down. I've selected my top three entries in the following categories:

Best Drama
Best Comedy
Best NIGHTSHADE relevance

+ Stephanie's incredible array of Buffy haiku gets her name in the hat. My personal faves:
Death? Survived it twice.
I'm Buffy. You're History!
Hellmouth? N.B.D.

She even incorporated a Spike quote:
Going out to eat
Vampires never dine alone
Happy Meals with legs


Best Drama:

A night bird twittered
at the window, tapped the sill.
A chirp then a claw.

Airplane disappears
The Bermuda Triangle
Doesn't leave a trace

leaves fall from the trees
and make rainbows on the ground
for me to walk on

Best Comedy:

KD Bryan
There's a poltergeist
Living in my upstairs bath
Shower's always cold.

Pirate etiquette
Yar, before argh scallywag
or else walk the plank

Zombies can eat brain
I wish I was a zombie
Instead I eat cake

Best NIGHTSHADE relevance: (I picked four here, since Lynsey's name will already be in for best drama)

heads thrown back, ears flat,
wolves howled the moon loose from its
mooring in the trees

There will be a war
and i will lead from the front,
yellow eyes burning

Sara M
Invading my dreams
Hiding in the shadows, my
demons never leave

"I will find you, girl"
Menacing demons whisper
Oh wait, that's my mom
*This haiku is relevant to NIGHTSHADE because it's exactly the kind of joke Calla would make about her mother

Now we have our very own Sorting Hat.

Of these 10 I have drawn 1 random name!

Congratulations, KD Bryan! Email your address to andreacremerwrites (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll send an ARC to you!

Watch the blog for many more chances to win a signed ARc - and in ways other than writing haiku - prior to the October 19 release date. Thanks so much for your entries!

Before signing off I need to give a shout out to a lifelong best friend whose haiku really put me in stitches! Honorable Mention and Happy Birthday to:

No pet unicorn,
for the millionth and last time.
He will poke someone’s eye out.

My sandwich is gone!
From the huge footprints I’d guess
the sasquatch got it.

Broken lawnmower
is making me money from
crop circle tourists.