Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My REAL Rejection Letters & Why You Should Never Give Up!

This is not some random picture I pulled off Google, these are the actual rejection letters I received from literary agencies from 2008-2009. There are about 75 letters in all, not to mention 150+ email rejections. I'm sure you can do the math. I wanted to toss these into the trash as even now they're a bit hard to look at, but my husband forced me to keep them. He said I'd be happy I did later on, and he was right. Since my first book, Nightshade City, was published, it's won the Westchester Fiction Award for 2011, it's been named a CBC Best Book of 2011, and is a Goodreads Choice Award and SCBWI Crystal Kite Finalist for 2010. I'm invited to speak to kids and other writers on a regular basis and they actually are interested in what I have to say, which is pretty darn cool for a girl who four years ago decided to write a random book about rats--of all things. Nightshade City also resulted in my job with National Geographic, as a Nat Geo editor read it and then contacted me to see if I'd be interested in writing for them. I guess what I'm trying to tell you guys is it's darn hard to get published, but my story is one of the many examples that it is entirely possible and there are many good things to come if you can weather the storm.

Around this time of year we all wonder about our goals in life and if we'll ever reach them. I cannot say I didn't get defeated back then, with my ever growing pile of rejection letters, but I can say, I didn't give don't you do it either.

I mean it. Don't give up or I will hunt you down and slap you around a bit!
Me holding my first copy of Book II
of the Nightshade Chronicles,
The White Assassin



Thursday, December 15, 2011

And the Winner is.... :)

Congrats, Sheri! So happy for you and I hope these books bring you a lot of joy this holiday season! They all look so great! Please email me your address! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Pretty, pretty books!!!


Happy holidays everyone! In honor of these merry days of giving, I'm super excited to give away ten (did she say ten?) brand spanking new books! Most of these are either newly released or soon to be released! Yes, you'll have a stack of beautiful YA & middle-grade books that few have read! Now that's a gift!

Here's what the winner will get!
1.       IRISES by Francisco X. Stork - ARC
2.       THE BOOK OF BLOOD AND SHADOW by Robin Wasserman - ARC
4.       DANGEROUS WATERS by Gregory Mone - ARC
5.       BEFORE YOU GO by James Presser - ARC
6.       THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily M. Danforth - ARC
7.       STEAMPUNK! by various bestselling authors - ARC
8.       ROCK ON by Denise Vega - ARC
9.       THE WHITE ASSASSIN by me - Signed ARC
10.   NIGHTSHADE CITY by me - Signed Paperback

To enter:
1.       Follow my blog!
2.       Share the love! Not necessary, but spreading the word about this giveaway is darn good karma!
3.       Leave a comment about your favorite holiday tradition!
4.       Contest open until Wednesday, December 14th. Winner will be announced Thursday the 15th! Open to US and international entries!

Good luck to everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

xoxo -- Hilary

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Writer A-HA Moments!

What is the finest piece of writing advice you ever received? It can be something exclusively concerning the craft of writing itself, something that motivated you to keep moving forward, or something that changed everything in relation to you as a writer. It can be from a famous author, a critique partner, your spouse, your dog (my dog gives great advice)! What was YOUR "A-HA Moment" and how did it help you improve as a writer?

My A-HA moment: Never buying into trends and sticking to my gut. Before I started writing, I didn't realize how competitive the markets were for certain types of books. I believed we should write what moves us--as that will be our best writing. I got nervous about that for a while, thinking maybe I should think more about the market, but then I realized if I'm not fully invested in what I'm writing, my readers won't be either.

What was you’re A-HA moment??

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NCTE/ALAN This Weekend in Chicago!

Just after my talk at the NCTE last year. You
can tell by my daughters face she did NOT approve of
my performance!! ;)

Last year I had the pleasure and honor of speaking at the NCTE in Disney World. Great location, huh? This year, it's in Chicago! Woohoo, no travel hassles for me, but much colder! I'm so excited because I will finally get to meet my Holiday House editor, the amazing Julie Amper! I've been working with her on the Nightshade Chronicles and Goblin Shark Rising for over two years now and I finally get to see her in the flesh!

I'll be speaking on a panel Friday morning, discussing with other authors and our editor how we read our personal pasts in order to create possible futures in writing. Should be pretty interesting, as my segment is about how my past has impacted my writing as a fantasy author. I blame Generation X! :)

I was so nervous last year. Andrea Cremer was on my panel and was so sweet. She gives class lectures all the time so she had no fear! If you told me last year how comfortable I'd be speaking in front of a crowd now I'd think someone spiked your spice chai latte. For any of you who feel public speaking is a terrifying proposition you just have to force yourself to do it. You will be amazed at how much easier it gets. I actually enjoy public speaking now and hope to do many more events. That last sentence falls under "Things I Never Thought I'd Say EVER!" 

Please let me know if any of you educators and/or writers will be in town for the event. I have some hello's to give after my panel and then I'm free to stalk the booths! Can't wait to see my bookish buddies! 

xoxo -- Hilary

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Have you ever had one of those friends who always makes you smile? Well, I do. I think most of you know him. He just had a birthday. He's got a huge heart and can write like no kid his age I've ever met! 

The Nightshade Knight, by Lenny Lee
That's right, our very own Lenny Lee! I know lots of you sent Lenny cards and gifts for his birthday and wished him well on his blog, but did you know Lenny sent a birthday present to me??? You see, it was my birthday a few days after his and Lenny remembered it. Not only did he send me the coolest writer's care package a writer could ever get, but he also sent me a book....and not just any book, a book HE wrote--for ME!! 

I was so honored, touched, and surprised by such a thoughtful and priceless gift. It's about a sweet Jamaican rat named Bart who goes in search of Nightshade City. He wants to help rid the Nightshade Rats of Billycan. After a long journey he ends up finding me! I'm in the book! Bart comes to Chicago and ends up getting trapped in my house with my dog growling at him. I rescue him and help get him back home, but also promise Bart, that he may end up in my next book! :) Well, that's not a bad idea! 

I was floored by this story. It really captured my interest from page one and not because it was about my book--but because it was just that good! Bart is a character you care about right away and Lenny's descriptions were perfect--not too much, not too little--just right. :)
Click her to read an excerpt from Lenny's book!
Thanks to the lovely Sharon Mayhew and Lenny's
brother, Sebastian, who helped him with the story and editing!


Rats and Reese's from Lenny!
So, after all that book goodness, Lenny ended up sending me a whole box of writer's treats!! He sent me a bag of Lindt chocolate truffles, my absolute favorite chocolate in the whole world, and yes, they're all gone!! He sent me a bag of yummy trail mix and a huge bag of Reese's goodies too. He also sent me an adorable rat mug and matching pin and lots of lovely notes!! :) I haven't got a gift that made me cry in a long time, but Lenny had me all weepy with thanks and surprise! 

Of note: Lenny told me his book was going to be a picture book, but ended up turning into a sixty page novel. That's how Nightshade City started too--as a picture book! Must be an October birthday thing! ;) I have NO doubt after reading this that Lenny is going to be a star writer one day. I mean that with all my heart!

Lenny, thank you so very, very are ONE GOOD RAT! 

Big Hugs -- Hilary

Friday, October 28, 2011

Zombie Lincoln Stay Away!!!

Please be aware and beware, that this is real--very real!! Please click on the map and get whatever safeguards, holy water, silver bullets, wooden stakes, poisons, elixirs, etc, for the threat in your area!


Friday, September 30, 2011

The Very First Page of a Novel

I just found this in one of my many notebooks. It is the very first "page" of Goblin Shark Rising. I wrote this just about a year ago. I thought it would fun to share, if you can read it, that is! I even doodled that little shark at the top, which looks more like an old sock.

Below is the first page of the finished product. My publisher will have the first chapter of the novel on their website soon, which is so exciting! What do your first pages look like? Hopefully, they are MUCH neater than mine!

Have a great weekend, everyone! ;)

Chapter One -- The Federation

            Susur cut through the water--seething. Shaking with rage, he tore after the fleeing shark. He was positive it was a Frill. Its snaky tail snapped around a turn as he pursued it. Maybe it was fate that he'd stormed out of the Federation Summit when he did, now he could prove to his father and the Federation once and for all that the Frills were cold blooded murderers. Plunging after it, he even smelled the rotting flesh in the Frill's teeth--shark flesh. He soared around a rock column, dead-set on catching the creature.
Growling furiously, Susur sped through the gloom. Where did it go? Eyes darting, he hurled his body to the right, just seconds before his snout would have smashed into a stone outcropping. He grunted in pain as his gills slapped the rock. A Frill had eluded him once more! It almost felt good--the pain. Lately, all he heard from everyone around him was 'no'. No, you cannot hunt alone. No, you cannot leave Federation borders. And finally, no, you're wrong about the Frills--in fact completely off the mark. At least the stinging pain was something other than a no.
The Frill was nowhere to be seen. Gills throbbing, Susur slowed his pace. He descended deeper into the canyon. Perhaps he could sniff out a trail.
The Goblin Sharks had concealed themselves deep within Tokyo Canyon for centuries. Secreted away for so long, many of his kind had grown lazy, allowing themselves to be captured--a great discovery for the human scientists--the elusive Goblin Shark. 'Living Fossils' of the sea, the humans called them. A prehistoric species touted to be over one hundred million years old. He'd heard from the Great Whites and others what the scientists did to sharks, poking and prodding them--dismembering their bodies--dissecting them. 
Then there were the fishermen, to be fair, a far simpler sort than the scientists, but just as deadly, eying the Goblins as a whole new source of revenue--greedy fishmongers. Collectors would pay hundreds of thousands of yen to possess the retractable jaw of a dead Goblin shark dragged up by a fisherman's net. And if a fisherman ever managed to a catch a live Goblin...well...what human wouldn't want to try the fresh flesh of this unknown shark--this ancient, exotic species? Humans seemed to rip hungrily into any sea creature set in front of them, the more out of the ordinary the better.
Susur's concerns with the Frill Sharks started months back. The slippery serpent like creatures, who looked more like eels than sharks, had honed in on Federation territory with grisly intent. At first, he thought they were just another nuisance, scavenger sharks looking for scraps, but soon, the body count rose. Susur knew they were a lethal threat--even if the elders refused to believe him. Several dead Federation sharks had been found around the outskirts of the canyon. He easily recognized the unmistakable bite marks from their endless rows of jagged teeth. His father told him many species could make those marks, but Susur knew better. If slain sharks weren't enough to make his father take action then what was?  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How would you stop a demon cat who wants to eat your soul?

Cute, ain't he?
So, I'm wrapping up my latest novel, GOBLIN SHARK RISING, and it got me to thinking about bad guys and creative ways/solutions authors have "done them in" in children's literature. Sometimes, it's a very complex solution and other times the solution is so simple it doesn't even occur to the reader as an answer until it happens. And then you think, why didn't I think of that?
And yet another baddie falls to his untimely demise! 
What are some of the most creative "get rid of the bad guy" solutions you've read? What have you seen far too many times? For me, I've seen the "falling off a cliff to their death scene" far too many times!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Above is a quick video of the goblin shark. In this video, he's just swimming, looking kind of cute. Just wait until you see the video below. Cute is not a word I'd use for that one! :)

So, I finally get to tell everyone the new title for my middle-grade undersea adventure, which releases Fall 2012! GOBLIN SHARK RISING is an undersea adventure that takes place in Tokyo Bay. Not only will this book take you under the sea, exploring the mysterious world of sharks, specifically the goblin shark, who is over one hundred million years old, with a fantastic jaw that lurches out of its head, but it will also take you into Tokyo, Japan, highlighing this amazing city, and exploring two of its most famous demons! I'm so excited! The book is off to my publisher in one month, so, back to writing!

In this video, the goblin shark or Tenguzame as the Japanese call it, is taking a bite! Don't worry, the diver is protected! Wait until you see this guy take a bite in slow motion! They are named after the Japanese Tengu because of their long beak-like snouts and well, goblinish appearance! 

Right up my alley! :)


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Rhythm of Words or Why I Write Better Than I Dance!

I've found something out about myself. I'm what you'd call a Rhythmic Writer, which is ironic, because I'm an utterly tragic dancer (think of the zombie dancers from Michael Jackson's Thriller video).

I'm a firm believer in the rhythm of words and how they form our thoughts, eventually becoming sentences in our books. I'll write a sentence over and over, until I finally feel that its right--that it flows effortlessly off the tongue, or through your mind as you read it. I'm not sure if that means I write more with my brain or my gut. It just has to feel right.

How about you?

Friday, August 19, 2011

What's happening, Hot Stuff??

When do you think they'll churn out a remake of this??
Hello, my pretties! How is everyone?? I've had an entirely crazy month so far, working on my new book that takes place in Tokyo and writing some stories for Nat Geo, and let me tell you, they have the coolest editors EVER! 

I'm in a great mood not only because it's Friday, but because THE WHITE ASSASSIN, Book II in the Nightshade Chronicles got a nice review from Kirkus! Until they publish it next month, you can't see it unless you're a subscriber, but I was so shocked (and relieved). Sequels are really tough to write. My editor told me a sequel has to actually be more special than the first book. Wow, was she right! I never put much thought into that until I actually had to write one. I can't wait to dive into Book III, though I fear it might kill me! :) 

So, Hot Stuff?? What's happening with you? Anything good going on? Finish or start anything new? For those who attended, how was WriteOnCon???

Sunday, August 14, 2011

POSSESS Scavenger Hunt is on!

My writer buddy, Gretchen McNeil's debut YA novel POSSESS releases August 23rd!! Join in on her scavenger hunt trickery and get POSSESS'ed!!! Find out more about Gretchen and POSSESS via the links below and  be sure to join in on the scavenger hunt! 

Congrats, Gretchen!!! ;)

POSSESS (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, August 23, 2011)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Do You Tackle Research??

Eureka! I have discovered how to turn litter into catnip!
Call me a nerd, but I love doing research. I buy used research books by the cart full, rent and record applicable documentaries, email experts, and do my best to make sure I get things right. Depending on what you're writing, research can be tricky. Even if you're writing fantasy the basics have to be right. I think it goes towards your story's credibility and can only strengthen it.

Currently, I have a new novel due to my publisher in less than two months and I've been doing not stop research on everything from ancient culinary arts to decompression sickness (don't ask)!  Luckily, I went to some tough schools, so proper note taking was a must. I never thought it would help me now. I openly apologize to all the teachers I secretly glared at during class who I thought were purposely trying to give me carpal tunnel! THANK YOU!!!! ;)

So, how do you approach research? Any nerdy research secrets you'd like to share? Do you love it or loathe it?

Friday, July 29, 2011

The White Assassin Book Trailer is HERE!!

Without further ado, here is the official THE WHITE ASSASSIN Book Trailer, courtesy of Steven Spielberg! Okay, that's last part about Steven Spielberg is NOT true, but hey, it was sure fun to say! 

xoxo -- Hilary

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Facebook Cat is a Known Liar!!

Now Facebook Cat has to fake his picture on yet
another network. He is not happy....
So, like everyone else (okay, almost everyone else) I was excited about Google+...for about five whole seconds. Is it a cool new tool? Sure. Is it a major pain in the neck to now have THREE different sites to look for your friends and reach out to your network? COMPLETELY! 

Last week, I quickly noticed a dramatic decrease of activity on my Facebook feed, though it has gone back up a lot in the last few days, which leads me to believe that others are as sick as I am of having to jump around. I'm sure they'll build a tool wherein you can be on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter all at once, and already there are a few tools that allow you to link your Facebook and Google+ accounts, but the ones I've come across (and yes, they work) have known security issues.

Hopefully, someone will buy out someone soon, and this post will become obsolete! I'm hoping for a hostile takeover! ;) So, I've just decided I'm not going to care anymore and post where I want to post, because in the grand scheme of life social networking is the last thing I want to be annoyed over. After all, isn't this stuff supposed to be fun??? 

xoxo -- Hilary

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Typo Cat found a split infinitive in his latest novel.
He is noticeably upset.
I LOVE TYPOS! Okay, no, I don't love them at all, but I'm certainly guilty of them. Now that THE WHITE ASSASSIN will soon be making its merry way to the printer, I get very nervous about typos in the printed book.

I had one really obvious typo in the NIGHTSHADE CITY hardcover, wherein "food" was printed in the book when it should have been "foot." Yes, that one made me cringe, (especially when it was not in the galley) and was of course corrected in the paperback.

In all my years of reading books, I'd say over a third of the books I've read have had some sort of typo(s) in them, and it doesn't matter how big or small the publisher is, or if the author is a bestseller or a debut--they're there. I don't mind them at all and I actually like finding them. After all, we're only human and when a book goes from writer to editor, back to writer, back to editor, off to copy editor, back to editor and writer, off to printer, back to copy editor, back to editor, then off to readers, and back to editor, and then, FINALLY, off to printer...mistakes happen! Wow, I'm exhausted!

How do you feel about typos? Do you give a little smile and move on or do they make you annoyed?

Come to think of it, there is probably a typo in this post, but just ignore it--if you can! ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Angry Writer Monkey Wants Advice!

Okay, so maybe Angry Writer Monkey was just a ploy, but now that I have your attention, I have a lot going on these days, to the point where it can get overwhelming. It got me to thinking about what my agent told me about this time last year. Nightshade City was coming out in a few months, and of course, as a debut author, I was terrified about reviews, sales, and everything in between, to the point where I was getting a little nutty. To sum it up, she told me (nicely) to shut up about it and keep writing. She said the writing is what matters. If you don't have've got nothing! She didn't actually tell me to shut up, but you get the point. Now with every step, with every new manuscript, hurtle, triumph, or even defeat, I go back to that. And as writers, this rule applies to everyone, no matter what stage of the publishing journey you are at.

So, what's the best writing advice you've gotten? It doesn't have to be something monumental, it can be a small tip that ended up changing the way you write or maybe something that was really encouraging to you. I think sharing advice (good and bad) is important. And with that in mind, feel free to share your words of wisdom! :)

xoxo -- Hilary

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Back By Popular Demand...HOPE!

Like most writers, when I was searching for an agent, I devoured every agency's website, I googled until my fingers yelled at me, and I endlessly scoured the writing boards and forums for the skinny on agents until my head throbbed. Why? Because that's what we have to do in order to land an agent.

I still have subscriptions from the forums, which alert me via email when someone posts on certain agency's threads---the ones that I was waiting for feedback from. A while back, I received an alert from one of those threads, because a new post had come through. The poster, a writer of course, was down and out because she'd received a call from this agency a couple months back. The agent she spoke with was very excited about her writing and told her she'd hear back from her right after Bologna, which sadly she never did, even after sending a few gentle email nudges she's gotten no response. Even though this post has nothing to do with me, my heart sank when I read it, because I've certainly been in her shoes. When you want something so badly, the waiting turns from nagging to all consuming. Even with family, friends, jobs, it's hard to think about little else.

Well...I have hope.

Some of you know, Craig Virden, Nancy Gallt's husband was my original agent. He was a wonderful man and a powerhouse in the publishing industry and it was a great loss to everyone when he passed away last year. Well, Craig was the agent I desperately wanted. You know what I mean...THE agent--the one. He'd had my requested full for what seemed like forever and a day (or about 6 months), I'd sent a couple email nudges hoping for an update, but with no response. Then finally a letter from the Nancy Gallt Agency arrived at my home. I nervously opened it, my heart beating like a rabbit's. What did a find? A rejection from Craig. Mind you, the nicest, most personal, genuine rejection anyone could ever get, but a rejection all the same. So there it was. What did I do? I immediately starting writing. He told me to send him whatever I had "moldering" in my desk that he might like. So I picked up the pace on a manuscript I'd been working on, finishing it about a month after his rejection--right after the 2009 Bologna, where he happened to be.

That's when I got the call. It was Tuesday. Just after returning from Bologna, Craig called me out of the blue. He'd changed his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about NIGHTSHADE CITY and wanted to represent me. He said he didn't care about the market and that my book needed to be published. The rest you know.

So, please, to this writer and to everyone else who's struggling to get published, keep having hope, even if you're down to your last agent or have subbed your third manuscript with no bites--keep having hope. Strange and wonderful things happen every day. Trust in whatever it is that forces you to be a writer. There is a reason why you're here.

xoxo -- Hilary

Friday, June 24, 2011

Debut YA Author Medeia Sharif & BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER.

Do you know one of those people who's pretty much awesome at everything and makes you feel like a total heel? Well, if you don't know her already, here's one more to add to your list! Yes, you guessed it, I'm talking about debut YA Author, Medeia Sharif!
Medeia is not only a gorgeous debut author (ummm...did you see that hair and those eyes), but she holds a master's degree in psychology, she's a teacher, and get this folks, she's a member of Mensa! And yes, I feel even dumber now just writing this post! ;)

In any case, I'm so happy that Medeia's book has finally released. When you read the above, you might think with all her brains, her writing might be kind of stuffy, right--because she's such a smarty-pants? No way! Her debut novel, BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER. is anything but stuffy! What kind of stuffy person uses the word "bestest" and in the title no less?

Here's a little blurb from BRE to show you what I mean:
During Ramadan, we're not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset, for a whole month. My family does this every year, even though I've been to a mosque exactly twice in my fifteen years. My exercise-obsessed mom—whose hotness skipped a generation, sadly—says I could stand to lose a few. But is torture really an acceptable method? I think not.

Things wouldn't be so bad if I had a boyfriend, but my oppressive parents forbid me to date. This is just cruel and wrong. Especially since Peter, a cute and crushable artist, might be my soul mate. Figures my bestest friend Lisa likes him, too.

To top it off, there's a new Muslim girl in school who struts around in super-short skirts, commanding every boy's attention—including Peter's. How can I get him to notice me? And will I ever feel like a typical American girl?

Doesn't this book sound like a blast? Kirkus and Booklist say so!
"A humorous, hip look at the ups and downs of fasting for Ramadan within the context of intergenerational and cultural challenges."—KIRKUS REVIEWS

"Upbeat and breezy, this novel will be a useful addition to many YA collections seeking diversity with a light tone and a focus on family, friends, and faith."—BOOKLIST

Long story short, I think Medeia is awesome and I'm so thrilled her book is finally out! Please follow her blog if you don't already and of course...BUY HER BOOK, all the links you need are below!! 

ISBN: 0738723231 (ISBN13: 9780738723235)
Purchase from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powells, Indiebound, Borders, Books-A-Million, The Book DepositoryFlux, Kobo


Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Look what I got! See how the blue matches my house?
Omar Rayyan, the illustrator, seriously read my mind!
Did you ever have one of those 'feelings'? That 'I need to go do something right now even though it makes no sense' feelings? Well, I did at 11pm last Saturday. I turned off our alarm (everyone was already asleep), quietly opened our front door, and crept out into the dark and got the mail--something I'd normally never do because I'm far too lazy! So glad I did, because look what was inside! I had no idea it was on its way, so along with a ridiculously high cable bill, what a nice surprise to find in my mailbox!!!

My blog tour is coming up in September/October and thanks to everyone who has offered to participate! I'm so excited for this book. I worked so very hard on it. I think after the third rewrite I finally got it right! ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Friday, June 10, 2011

MISERERE: An Autumn Tale, by Teresa Frohock out NOW!

Don't you love this cover! Amazing...
Happy Friday, everyone! 

Today, I have the great pleasure of telling you about author, Teresa Frohock's amazing debut fantasy novel, MISERERE: An Autumn Tale. A new release from Night Shade Books, a great independent publisher, who is racking up SF/F awards, and is known for their fantastic taste!

Here is the blurb:
Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina's soul, but Catarina doesn't want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen's hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of Woerld, Heaven's frontline of defense between Earth and Hell. When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from a demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina's wrath isn't so easy to escape!

And look her blurbed her book and loved it:
"Miserere is about redemption, and the triumph of our best impulses over our worst. It's also about swords, monsters, chases, ghosts, magic, [and] court intrigues. It's also really, really good." --Alex Bledsoe, author of Dark Jenny

Yeah, Alex Bledsoe! Pretty awesome!

Teresa has an author photo, but this is my favorite shot of her, so I'm using it! Ha! Teresa is just an all around awesome chick! She's a boot-wearing librarian, who likes her books, well, lets just say a little on the dark side! She's been a great friend to me, and always has a kind word for everyone! If you'd like to know more about Teresa and Miserere, you can follow her blog here! Her agent is the awesome Weronika Janczuk, who of course fell in love with the novel on first read!

My copy of Miserere is arriving on Wednesday and I can't wait to hold that puppy in my hot little hands!

Congrats, T!!!! We are all soooo happy for you!

xoxo -- Hilary

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What is a Book's Purpose?

The dog gets away with it...really?
So, I've been thinking about books lately and their overall purpose. There have been several books I've read in the past few months, where I thought, this part could have been done better or I'd have done it this way (not that I could do it better), but then, I also think, even if I didn't love the book (or even like it), but it brought up emotion in me and made me think about things in some way (even a negative way), did the book do its job? There are certain books I did not love, but I still think about them. To me, so much of our like or dislike for a book is taste, rather than good versus bad writing.

Are there books you've read that maybe you didn't love, but you still think about? Every so often they pop into your head for no reason? Do you think a book's purpose is solely to entertain or to make us think? I suppose, in a perfect world it would be both.

xoxo -- Hilary

Friday, June 3, 2011


This is Lenny's sunshine from his blog, Lenny's World!
This little sun has become quite famous!

I'm spreading Lenny Lee sunshine today! Today is Lenny Lee Fest! Myself and a gang of other writer buddies are spreading the word about this fantastic kid! If you don't know him, I can tell you Lenny is about the sweetest kid you could ever meet AND he's an aspiring young writer! Every since he's read Nightshade City, he's been sending me emails and he and I have become good friends. He always tells me, "Rats Rule!" So, in honor of Lenny and our friendship and of course, LENNY LEE FEST, I have a special post for him today! Below is a scene from THE WHITE ASSASSIN! Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles AND there is a super secret special surprise in Book II only for Lenny, but he'll have to wait to see that!

If you'd like to know more about Lenny and why he's so special, please follow his blog here! There will also be lots of other Lenny Lee posts today, and if you Google "Lenny Lee Fest", you'll find them all, although you probably already know most of these great writers already! 
So, here it is kiddo! We love you, Lenny! 

 The Parchment, scene from THE WHITE ASSASSIN
"There he is," said Suttor, "over there."
            By now, all of the young Council members had wandered into breakfast and had been told of Juniper's secret.
            They watched in silence as Oberon took his plate of food and strode through Burnstock Hall, proud as a peacock, as if inviting everyone to look upon him.
            "He's as garish as that obnoxious red cloak," whispered Clover.
            "How did he ever get elected to the Council?" asked Oleander.
            "He's exceedingly bright," said Vincent, "that much I'll give him. He's brilliant with numbers and measurements and with Nightshade growing so big, Virden needed help and said Oberon was the rat for the job. The library, the city square, they were architected by Oberon."
            "He architected his election as well," added Victor. "By the time he was done gloating to the citizens about all his good works in Nightshade, you'd have thought he single-handedly built the place. Needless to say, he won by a landslide. He's as clever as a country cat."
            "Which makes him as dangerous as one," said Carn, "especially when he has everyone's trust."
            Picking up the parchment, Clover and Oleander had shown them, Vincent nudged his brother. "C'mon then."
            Oberon had chosen the center seat at the center table in Burnstock Hall. Surrounded by family's known throughout Nightshade, families who would re-elect him. He fawned and smooth talked all the while, constantly praising Cole's wife Lali, now Nightshade's head cook, calling her food a national treasure. Given his ever-growing waistline, Vincent was sure that was the only thing Oberon was honest about.
            The Nightshade brothers stood behind him for a moment, listening to his shameless flattery. "Oh, I do say, Lali's sausages are as good or better than anything I ever had when I lived in that Topsider's restaurant. I told you about that, didn't I? Why Lali's a master chef," and, "What? You say you've gained weight, Missus Nelson, why you're as fit as a fiddle--still turning heads as great-grandmother!"
            Vincent cringed, then leaning down, tapped Oberon on the shoulder with the scroll and grinned broadly.
            Looking up from his meal, Oberon gave a greasy smile. "Well, as I live and breathe, the famous Nightshade brothers, fighters for freedom and equality among all rats--the heroes of our time!"
            The others smiled admiringly at them. Vincent nodded, but quickly returned to business. "Oberon, there is something my brother and I need to talk you about." He tapped him again on the shoulder, this time making sure he saw the scroll. "A Council matter, if you please."
            Seeing the scroll, Oberon's eyes widened. He dropped his fork to his plate, biting his lower lip--clearly panicked. "Oh--I see..." he said uneasily. He noticed all his supporters staring at him. Quickly, his bravado returned. "A Council matter? Of course, I've always got time for that, young Nightshade." Trying not to look nervous, which only succeeded in making him look more nervous, Oberon awkwardly stood up, knocking the table with his belly in the process. "I'll be back momentarily. Duty calls, dear friends."
            Glaring at him, Vincent motioned over to the table where the other young Council members were seated. "This way, Councilman." Hesitantly, Oberon obeyed.