Thursday, July 29, 2010

THE LOCKET-final cover!!

Without further ado, I give you final cover art for THE LOCKET!!!

February 2011, Razorbill Books

(Not official cover copy)

What if you got a second chance to fix your worst mistake?

What if you found out miracles could happen?

What if you found out that sometimes, miracles are curses in disguise...

One girl, two boys, and one very scary piece of jewelry.

Look for THE LOCKET from Razorbill books in February 2011.

Pre-order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. (The other stores don't have the buy links up just yet or I would post them. There is no hatin' on you, other stores.)

Yeay! New cover. I'm so psyched to be able to share this with you. A new cover is the perfect thing to post before departing on my brief blog hiatus. I'll be moving cross country in a few days and in the madness of moving and unpacking I doubt I'll have much time to blog. But expect me back mid-August with some excerpts, more nonsense, and a sneak peak at where I'll be this fall.

Hope you all have a wonderful few weeks, catch you soon,

Stacey Jay

p.s. If you are awaiting email response from me, I promise I will get to you as soon as possible, before the end of August for absolutely certain.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cheesy Confessions

*Disclaimer: This is one of my preachy posts where I say lots of stuff and get my hippie, liberal cheese on. It has nothing to do with writing or my books. So if you don't like these sorts of posts, then carry on about your interweb business and I'll see you back here in a few days. Hugs and light<--HA! got you with the hippie cheesy before you could escape. I am the winner of all winners. You will never escape my win.*

So "The Greatest Love Of All" by Whitney Houston just gave me the chills, and a slight tearing of the eyes.

GAH! I know, right? How amazingly lame am I? But I hadn't heard the song in so long and the lyrics are really...touching. Really, they are. I want to stab myself in the fingers for typing this, but okay:

"I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadow. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I've lived as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can't take away my dignity."

Wow. That's heavy stuff. And amazing. And no one talks about dignity anymore. And they should. Dignity, pride, integrity, honor--these are things that are NOT cheesy. They are precious, rare commodities in our world.

In the past few days, I've experienced a severely life-changing series of events. (News of which I will share soon--at least the appropriate-for-sharing parts.) Some of the cruelty I've observed recently has sickened me. But at the same time, I've also observed amazing kindness, generosity, resilience, and strength of the human spirit. I've been the recipient of such amazing support and positive energy from people who owe me nothing, and I...I am so grateful for my life. And my husband and my children and the chance to live life with dignity and integrity--even if that life doesn't always turn out the way I thought that it would.

I am a lucky woman, and happier than I've been in months, even in the midst of adversity. Even if--looking down the road--my current hardship doesn't end the way I'd prefer, I still feel so very blessed, in the non-denominational, "Imagine" version of the word. (You guys know John Lennon's "Imagine" right? Just in case, here's a youtube offering. This is one of my favorite songs of all time, btw. Amazing message here. Makes me cry almost every time<--cheesy confession number two.)

Now back to Whitney and THE GREATEST LOVE. OF ALL!! really quickly. Here's another cheesy line:

"Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all."

Okay...fight the gag reflex...I know you're probably puking in your mouth a little right now, but hear me out. Loving really is the greatest love of all. People who don't love themselves are incapable of truly loving anyone else. Not with a pure heart or with a generous kind of love. If you don't love yourself, then you will always be looking for "what's missing" in something else. And often these self-hating people will not only be abusive to themselves, but selfish and unkind and even cruel to people in their lives, even the people they profess to "love." Because they can't truly love, they can only cling, because they never learned to love, respect, and value themselves.

I think this self-love is REALLY important in a romantic relationship--to ensure the health and vitality and longevity of that relationship. But it is VITAL in a parent-child relationship. Why you may ask? Because loving yourself frees you to love someone else more than yourself. And isn't that what we strive to do as parents? To love our children more than ourselves?

I think so. Therefore, I leave you with one last quote from "Greatest Love Of All":

"Find your strength in love."

Find your strength in love, ya'll. You can, no matter what you're facing.

Stacey Jay

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Help, I'm Alive

Hello dear blog readers,

Just a quick drive by to let you know that I am alive, but it's a "help, I'm alive" sort of time around here.

I'm finishing up a second round of edits on a grown up book, working on a proposal for a project I am REALLY hoping will find a home this summer, working on some interviews, answering your email, and drafting on my 2012 release for Flux. And, of course, packing and packing and packing and organizing and collecting papers and canceling accounts and opening new ones and booking hotels and plotting a cross country drive and attending retirement ceremonies and blah!

It's a time of big change around these parts, but good change. I will be settled in my new home and routine by the end of August, however, so look for life to return to normal around here by then. In the meantime, I'll do my best to post some tidbits for your amusement.

Best, and happy Tuesday!


Monday, July 12, 2010

In my stomach I've gone to California

I'm moving to California. In less than three weeks. Two weeks from Thursday, actually.

*insert silent scream and mini panic attack here*
(The scream must be silent because the baby is still sleeping.)

So I've been doing my best to get stuff packed and clean out the cupboards and use up canned goods and perishable items in the fridge and blah blah, and I discovered an interesting trend:

Garlic-sea salt from Cailfornia
California green olives
Mango-peach salsa from Santa Barbara, California
California strawberries
Sharp cheddar cheese from California
California cranberries
California almonds
Organic frozen baby dinner packaged guessed it, California
And this list doesn't even include the wine from Napa, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties that is consumed on a regular basis around these parts.

I had no idea I was supporting the economy of my new home state (also my old home state, I lived there from 2002-2006), but the pantry tells no lies. In my stomach I've gone to California....sigh....can't wait to feel those cool, Sonoma mornings. You have to wear a jacket there in the morning! In the summer! A jacket! After the hottest summer on record for Arkansas with 95 degree temps and 100 percent humidity, it sounds heavenly.

Soon, California, soon I will not only eat your yummies, I will walk in your Californian awesomeness.

Off to pack, oh, but I meant to ask: Do any of the moms out there have good "driving cross country with a toddler" tricks? I've already stocked up on toothbrushes (chewing on those usually offers a good 15-20 minutes of silence). I've also got mixed CDs with all the baby's favorite songs on it and some Sesame Street and Toy Story lined up on the car DVD player. And lots of car friendly snacks, of course. The baby is also an eater. Last time we were in California he developed a real crush on the Trader Joe's gingerbread cat crackers. I'm sure he'd be excited if he realized they would be reunited soon.

Have a Monday!

Stacey Jay


Friday, July 9, 2010

A Ramble on Age, Writers, etc.

As you may know if you read this blog with any regularity, I write young adult books (and adult books under a different pen name, but even the characters in those books are fairly young). I'm 32, so writing about people in their teens and twenties is a pretty good fit for me. (Writing older always feels more like pretend, since I've never been older than 32 before right?) But I am far enough away from my teens to see them more clearly than I did when I was a teen and I'm close enough to my twenties to remember all the devastating emotions quite clearly.

Honestly, I think the early twenties are much more intense upheaval-wise than the mid to late teens. Early teens are a rough time because all of the bodily changes that are just so damn crazing making, but the mid to late teens...meh. For me, they weren't so bad. I had a good family. I had stability. I made some dumb choices and learned some overwhelming things, but I always had people who loved me to go home to, a safe place to hole up and figure things out.

In my twenties, that wasn't the case, especially after my father passed away and I was living thousands of miles from home and mostly on my own with a roommate I rarely saw. I kind of went a little crazy from the loneliness and the lack of security and routine. Thinking on those times always makes me very grateful for my amazing family, and most especially for my husband, who is my loving rock and without whom I don't know what I'd do. (That's part of the reason I love writing and reading romance, because I know romance is a big part of what made my home what it is today, a place where I feel safe and loved and I know the kids do too.)

Um, but I digress. (As usual. I know you aren't surprised!)

What I was meaning to say is that I write about younger people right now because that feels authentic. But it may still feel authentic when I'm fifty or sixty or older (knock on wood, getting older is far better than the alternative). I don't think there is any "expiration date" on writing about young adults. In fact, the older and more experienced the writer, the better the chances they're going to write something really staggering and wise and well crafted. Well crafted, staggering and wise things can come from young people too, of course, but no amount of smarts or empathy can teach the lessons that a long, consciously-lived life can teach.

It's like having a child. You can not know what it feels like to love a child as a parent until you do it. You can imagine it, you can get a close idea, but you can not KNOW. That is something only the experience itself can teach. I believe that. And I am mostly always right (or so my husband tells me and I don't think he's being completely sarcastic).

So what do you all think? Would you shy away from a book for teens that was written by a grandmother? Or a book about a girl that was written by a boy? (Memoirs of a Geisha was written by a man from the point of view of a young, Japanese girl and I totally bought it.) Or do you not even stop to think about the age/sex of the writer? Do you just read and let the story do the talking? (I have to admit that's my mentality on it. I didn't even really stop to consider the topic of writer age until something brought it to my attention this week.)

Let me know your thoughts. And I will see you soon.

All best and happy summer!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sophomore Blog Tour: Rhonda Stapleton Book 3

Book 3: Now Available!
from Simon Pulse

Felicity can't believe her luck. Her longtime crush is now officially her boyfriend, and just in time for prom. Felicity isn't just smitten with Derek, she's head-over-heels in love. So when she learns that her boss at Cupid's Hollow used cupid magic to make Derek fall for her, Felicity is devastated. What will happen when the magic wears off?

Felicity has only two weeks to win Derek's heart for real—no matter what it takes!

About Rhonda (The Love/Hate Bio!)

Rhonda Loves:
—chocolate (OMG I love chocolate so much)
—Chinese and Japanese food (especially General Tso's chicken and sushi)
—tattoos (okay, not ones that look like they were done in prison by a mustached woman)
—reading (my bookshelves are overflowing, and I like it that way!)

Rhonda Hates:
—blue food (there's no blue food in nature, and blueberries don't count—they're purple)
—when the TV and radio is on at the same time (it drives me mad. Mad, I say!)
—watching people eat (especially when their mouths are open—SO GROSS)
—when toilet paper is flipped so it unrolls against the wall (I like "over", not "under")

Learn more over at Rhonda's site:

Or head straight to Amazon to pick up your copy:

Congrats on the release Rhonda!!

Stacey Jay

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Questions, questions, questions

Once upon a time, there was a girl named Casey who wrote me (*cue booming voice*) THE LONGEST, MOST QUESTION-FILLED READER EMAIL IN THE WORLD!!!!

And it was chocked full of so much question-y awesome, I decided to post my answers here on the blog.

So here they are. Casey's questions, my answers. (Thanks, Casey!)

1. How long does it take you to write, edit, and the books to get on the shelves?

For YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME, the entire process--from writing, to revising for my agent, to placing the book with Razorbill and then revising again--took about two years. For my subsequent books--because most were contracted before I wrote them--it's been a little less. Closer to 18 months. That's waaaaayyyy longer than I expected when I started writing! Still, I feel very lucky to have three books on the shelf and two more on the way in 2011!

2.What are some authors, books, songs, experiences, events, etc. that motivates you to write?

Wow....big question. My biggest author inspirations of late have been Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games series) because I want to write gripping, suspense-filled, amazingly crafted books like that. Also Laini Taylor for her beautiful, fairytale style. (I especially loved "Lips Touch, Three Times." If you haven't read it yet, check it out.)

As for experiences, everything I've lived through is inspiration to write--good and bad. I've kept a journal since I was six. Writing things down was always...good. It feels good to write. Right?

3. What made you want to become a writer? Was it long term or was it a wake up one morning and want to write?

I've always written, but as for the decision to pursue a career in fiction writing, it came after my first son was born. I was disillusioned with the acting business, but still really, really wanted to both stay at home to care for my son and play pretend for a living. I'd been writing plays throughout college and had always been a voracious reader so I decided fiction writing for a living was the way to go. And so I wrote books during my baby's nap. A lot of books. And most of them sold.

I was a combination of lucky, market savvy, and a psychotically hard worker. Really. Psychotic is an apt description. I've written 2000 words per day almost every single day since March 2005. That's over 7 million words. 7 million. I kid you not.

4. Can you make a living off writing or would it require a job on the side?

Hmm....well, at present I make a living off writing, but if I weren't married to a man with a decent job and insurance, I would probably need a second job in order to support my family. I could support myself with my writing at this point (four years after selling my first book), but the four kids depending on me would be very hungry. And annoyed with me for making them wear the same shoes several years in a row.

But yes, it is possible, though difficult. The only way I manage to make a somewhat-livable wage is by writing as two (and sometimes three ) different people. I have a career as Stacey Jay and I also have a career as Mrs. X, my adult pen name. (No, it's not really Mrs. X. That is just my mysterious euphemism. I am soooo mysterious. Sparkle fingers of mysteriousness.)

5. How has your life changed since the first publication of your debut novel?

I spend my days eating bon bons, basking in the shimmer of my accomplishments, and shooting rainbows out of my butt. (Totally kidding, of course.)

I work more. I work harder, and I stress a little less about my ability to continue to be a published writer with each book I sell and complete. That's it. So far no shimmering or basking or rainbows. (But I make sure to check the toilet before I flush, just in case.)

6. How many books will be in the zombie settler series?

There are two now: YOU ARE SO UNDEAD TO ME and the sequel, UNDEAD MUCH? There is a chance there will be at least one or two (or more) in the series. There is also a chance the series won't be continued. At this point, I can't say for sure, either way. As soon as I know the final verdict, however--hopefully by the end of this summer--I will announce the news here on the blog and on my website. So stay tuned and THANK YOU to the 227 people who have emailed me to ask whether or not I will be continuing the series. You are 227% awesome.

7. What is the motivation/driving force behind your writing of zombies?

They are scary and funny and I like to be scared and amused. I am simple. And driven primarily by amusement and fear.

8. Are there any book (preferrably series) you can recommend? I prefer young adult/adult paranormal/paranormal romance.

I don't know about the next two books, but I LOVED the first in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (as mentioned above). I also really enjoyed Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies" series, and "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick. There are probably a dozen others I could list if my brain were working, but alas, I've been in a hotel room with all four of my kids/stepkids for four days and haven't been sleeping well.

9. What font is the interior of your zombie settler books set in?

Um...sparkle new roman? Undead courier braintastic? I don't know. I am uneducated in fonts. Sorry!

10. Are you planning on any other books (series)?

Yes! JULIET IMMORTAL and ROMEO REDEEMED, companion books set in the same world featuring a Romeo and Juliet who didn't die in the tomb but lived on to become immortal enemies fighting for (and against) true love, will be published with Random House's Delacorte imprint. JULIET IMMORTAL, the first book, will most likely be a Fall-ish 2011 release.

I've also got a possible series starter placed with Flux for 2012 about killer imaginary friends, and may have some interesting news about the Megan Berry series soon. (Or not. As I said, I don't know for sure just yet!)

11. What is the main advice you'd give to an aspiring teenage author?

Read every day. Read everything you can get your hands on--both in the genre you want to write and outside that genre. Also, write every day and don't let yourself make excuses for being lazy. Lazy people rarely get published and when they do, they don't stay published. Don't be lazy! Read! Write! The end.

12. Will the zombie settler books become films/TV series? [Have they been optioned yet?]

I don't know! And no, they haven't been optioned. (So tell your fancy television producer friends to give my agent a call!)

Thanks again, Casey!

Okay, so how about you guys? Any questions? Anything you think I should add to my website FAQ page (when I eventually get around to creating all my spare time)?

Happy Fourth all you citizens of the United States of America! Catch you next week!

Stacey Jay