Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Easter was a long ass time ago. I have been so hella busy I haven't had time to even download the pictures. But now, thanks to a brief break brought to you by Summer in Publishing, I finally processed the Easter pictures of Loin Fruit the Younger (older bro was with his grandparents at the time), and they are adorable.
So I share with you. Photos by me, thoughts by B. Lo. (because this is totally what he was thinking.)
Ah, the train. Always a good place to reflect on the brevity of life, man's inhumanity to man, Mom's inhumanity to me when she chose this lime green puppy sweater vest...
Come on, Mom! Get your act together! Things are happening up there!
Holy Smashed Easter Eggs, this bunny is hysterical!
You. You know who you are. You rock, and you know that.
Don't let the angel face fool you. I will destroy that egg hunt. Destroy it.
And that's my kid. And he just woke up from nap 30 minutes early. Mama out.
Monday, August 29, 2011
I've been getting a lot email about JULIET IMMORTAL. Which is awesome! I love your emails. I love hearing your thoughts on the story, so keep those coming. But!--
A lot of you are asking the same questions, so I thought it would be good to take one of the emails and answer the queries within on the blog. That way, the next time a lovely reader writes with one of these same questions, I can direct them here. (I love to answer your email, but sometimes I just don't have time to go super in depth in my response. I have to leave myself time to revise and edit and write the next book and pick up my kids from school and play with them and use the bathroom. Stuff like that.)
Anyway! The lovely Reader Ashley gave her permission for me to answer her queries here. So I have done so.
Reader Ashley: I love the story of Romeo & Juliet and I just wanted to ask you some questions about it and your book. In your book, you split Romeo and Juliet up...Did you believe that Romeo and Juliet were too good to be true and really weren't meant to be together?
Stacey: The major problem I've always had with Romeo and Juliet is the fact that Romeo is desperately in love with another girl (Rosaline) mere minutes before he meets and "falls in love" with Juliet. I believe that people can fall in love quickly, but not minutes after they've been moping over someone else. This made Romeo an untrustworthy character for me. I hated to see innocent Juliet falling for him so quickly. I could see how horribly awry that story could have gone even if they weren't from warring families.
And I think that is exactly what Shakespeare intended--he was a genius after all. I think that aspect of Romeo's character was Shakespeare adding another tragic detail into the larger tragedy of the story. These poor kids killed themselves for what--on Romeo's part at least--was probably just another crush, a momentary infatuation that would have faded away the next time he met a pretty girl at a party. Sad. *sniff* But then I'm not a fan of stories where people die at the end. I've had too many people I love die, I suppose.
Reader Ashley: Where did you get the idea to write this story?
Stacey: As I said, I've never been a Romeo fan. I am, however, a Juliet fan. I wanted to see this character who was manipulated by almost everyone in her life have the chance to make her own decisions, to be a brave, strong character who takes back her own story.
Reader Ashley: I love to write, and I was wondering if you had any advice for young writers like me?
Stacey: Read as much as you can. Read a wide variety of books. Write every day. Repeat.
Reader Ashely: Also although your book was a fictional story, did any of the ideas or characteristics or thoughts of Juliet come from any of your own life?
Stacey: The idea that we need to learn to forgive ourselves for past mistakes is definitely something I pulled from my own life. I'm a type A personality, but I'm also very impulsive. (I've tried to remedy that. It is impossible. Sometimes we just are the way we are.) The combination can make for some harsh self judgment at times. It took me a long time to learn that what I was doing was harmful--not only to myself, but to the people I love, who I was unable to love in the way they deserved because I was too busy beating myself up. I think this is a problem for a lot of people, especially young women, who look for someone else to love them in order to prove they are lovable, rather than realizing they are lovable already to begin with.
If there's one thing I hope readers take away from this book is that they should give themselves a break. You're going to screw up and make mistakes. And then--even though you'll try to learn from them--you might even make the same mistake again. That's why I chose to mirror Shakespeare's play and have Juliet fall in love very quickly the second time.
Everyone makes mistakes and a LOT of us need to make those mistakes several times before we learn from them. It's okay. As long as you try your best to be a good person and do no harm to yourself or others, you're doing the best you can do. The mistakes are okay.
And sometimes, they might not turn out to be mistakes. One day, many years ago I impulsively quit my waitress job in New York and moved to Los Angeles. In L.A. I couldn't find a job. Anywhere. I almost starved. I lived in a constant state of terror and ended up making several poor life decisions because of that. Several years later I impulsively quit my tutoring job and decided to write books. I'd never written a book. I had no idea what I was doing. By all rights, it should have been another dumb mistake. But six years later, I'm multi-published and earning a living. (Not a great living, but a living. Certainly MUCH better than I did as an actor and eating oatmeal three meals a day.)
So yeah...life happens. As long as you're not a douche, give yourself a break. *hugs* *passes around some cookies* *looks like some of you could use a cookie*
Reader Ashley: Also Gemma was a whole other story yet to be discovered and told. What, in your mind, happened to her to make her...? She seemed so troubled, so lost.
Stacey: You'll find out in Romeo Redeemed. Gemma's back story was firm in my mind when I wrote JULIET IMMORTAL, but there wasn't a chance to deal with her issues in that story. We learn more about her in ROMEO REDEEMED.
Reader Ashley: Your book was extremely inspirational for me as a writer and thank you for writing something so powerful and wonderful!
Stacey: Thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed the read.
*end Q and A*
Hope that was helpful, and thank you again to everyone who has written to chat about Juliet. Your emails make me smile and think and feel very grateful for the opportunity to tell you stories.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
But I am deep in edit mode for BLOOD ON THE BAYOU and things are happening people! Unexpected things, but pleasing. I'm going to finish that up this weekend and hopefully have more time to play soon. (Round two of ROMEO REDEEMED edits are on their way, but I thhiiiinnnk I have a little more wiggle room on the turn around for those. *knocks on wood*)
In addition to edits, I've also been living a little. *gasp* I know. Not my usual, but nice. I've been picking blackberries with the family, going on mini afternoon adventures to the park and the biker bar down the street (they have a kids' menu, so it's cool) and the river beach and the redwoods and just driving around exploring and stopping at the pie stands. Sonoma County has a lot of places to buy really good pie. If you're in the area go out right now and buy some pie. It will be awesome. The strawberry rhubarb I have in my fridge right now is to die for.
Also, JULIET IMMORTAL made the 2011 American Bookseller's Association's list for best books for children. For real: http://news.bookweb.org/news/2011-abc-best-books-children-catalog-title-list-preview
I am thrilled. Completely. *has no words*
And also I'm signing in Healdsburg, California at the Copperfield's Bookstore on the Square this Saturday from 1-3 p.m. Please come see me, or tell your friends to come see me. Or your mom. Or your grandma. Or grandpa. Or your grandpa's cousin's dog. I can talk to anyone and I would love not to be alone all afternoon smiling my creepy smile at whoever walks in the door<--can't help it, the smile gets creepy when I'm alone in a book signing situation. Be warned. But I don't bite. Often...
Happy late Thursday/early Friday,
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
I'm going to be some places to promote JULIET IMMORTAL. And I'd LOVE for you to be in some places with me. I'd also love to be more places--if you have a place that's close to a place where I'm already going to be and would like to write and ask me to be in your place, too. Maybe we can work something out, if you know what I'm sayin'...
This is where I'm going to be:
Saturday, August 27th from 1-3 pm at Copperfield's in Healdsburg, Ca for an informal meet and greet and signing. Come. Hang out with me. They have an adorable town square. Afterward, we can all go out there and have some frozen yogurt and throw sticks in the fountain and talk about whatever you want to talk about. Books. Authoring. Life. Love. Cookies. Why life doesn't involve more cookies. It'll be good.
Thursday September 22nd at 7 p.m. at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego, Ca for a signing with Nancy Holder and Kiersten White. I haven't chatted with the ladies yet, but I imagine we will all be doing some chatting (as well as signing). I will bring some goodies to give away. I will also maybe bring my son's Buzz Lightyear gun and start an informal game of laser tag. (This bookstore sounds so cool. And galactic. And mysterious. I think they'll be fine with a little laser tag, right?)
Saturday September 24th at 1:45 at Mary's Pizza on 4th Street downtown Santa Rosa, Ca as part of the Sonoma County Literary Festival. I'm on a paranormal YA panel with some amazing people. And you can eat pizza while we gab! And then we can walk out to Railroad Square (another fun one) and there will be books to buy and lots of fun people to chat with and the day will sparkle with magic. I promise.
So that's where I'm going to be. As far as where I could be, I wanted to extend an invitation to any middle school or high school in the San Diego area that might want me to come chat about books on Friday the 23rd of September. I've got a private book club engagement that evening (they're going to give me wine and ask me shameless questions, I'm a little nervous), but I'm free during the day and I'd love to spend my time wisely. I won't have a car, so I would have to be picked up and ferried around, but other than the investment of your time and gas money, I won't be charging for visits in California this year.
I'm so so sooooo sickened by the cuts to our California schools. We need librarians and libraries and extracurricular activities and school days (just saw my son's calendar and he'll be having half days nearly 1/4 of the school year because of the budget cuts). While the very rich fight to keep their tax break, our children suffer. Well, I'm CERTAINLY not one of the very rich, but I believe our kids are the future (sing it, Whitney!) and I'm going to be putting my money and time where my mouth is.
For the rest of 2011, I will come to any Sonoma, Napa, or Mendocino county school for the price of gas (10-15 bucks?). I will bring free books, I will share my love of books for free, and I will hug you tight and tell you everything's going to be okay (and maybe if we all demand reform in our state, someday it will be).
So contact me via the contact page: http://www.staceyjay.com/contact/ with the subject line "Come visit my school!" and we will find a date that works. (FYI, I'll be scheduling these free visits on Fridays only because that's the only day that I have childcare for my youngest after 11 a.m.)
So there you go. Let's do this, people!!
And also, to everyone who picked up a copy of JULIET IMMORTAL at a store this week. Thank you. You are made of sparkle magic. Our bookstores need you so much and...I appreciate your support for the story so much and yeah...you rock. Also, I'm trying to think up a good contest for the copy of the audio book. I've got nothing yet, but stay tuned. Also, if you go to pick up Juliet Immortal at the store this week, maybe you should take a picture of the shelf with your phone. Maybe...just thinking...contests with pictures are fun.
Have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday,
Friday, August 12, 2011
Juliet Immortal is a notable book over at the Book Smuggler's blog.
They said this: "Although the book isn’t quite what one would expect given the premise of the novel, it’s a beautiful story of self-discovery and the ability to love, even in the face of impossible adversity. Easily the best paranormal YA romance that I have read in a very long time, I wholeheartedly recommend Juliet Immortal to lovers of romance, and to those who long for a more empowered heroine in this very popular genre." (Read the full review at: http://thebooksmugglers.com/2011/08/book-review-juliet-immortal-by-stacey-jay.html )
They wrote a very honest, heart-felt, thoughtful review and I appreciate it so very much. A writer can't ask for more. I've got some more reviews to share next week, but I won't overwhelm you right now.
In other news, I have received audio book copies of JULIET IMMORTAL. Stay tuned for a way to win a copy of your own. In other winning news, the winner of the signed hardcover is....Kreag! I've sent you an email, Kreag. As soon as I get a snail mail, I'll get that book out to-- (Skip that. Just got an email from Kreag. That little scamp was waiting by the inbox. *pinches Kreag's cheeks*)
Thank you to everyone who entered and who helped get the word out about JULIET IMMORTAL. If you could keep spreading that word, I'd appreciate it. I learned a lot at the SCBWI conference last weekend, but one especially pertinent fact is that I SUCK at promoting myself/my books (no one had ever heard of me. I'm on my fifth YA book. So...yeah). I'm trying to improve. In the meantime, your help is very appreciated. (Very. Very very.)
Also, Brianna had a question in the comments section of the last blog post. She asked some good things that I get asked a lot so I thought I'd reply here. (Thanks Brianna! Her portion is in italics.)
"Hello, I wasn't sure where to write this..."
Stacey: Questions in the comment area are fine, but the best way to reach me with questions is via the contact page on my website. This is the link: http://www.staceyjay.com/contact/ I sometimes get busy and don't check the blog as much as I should, but I always check my email.
"But I just finished Dead on the Delta. I love Annabelle she's perfectly messed up and real. In some UF a female lead has little to no flaws because they HAVE to be the Alpha female which can be tiring. It's nice to see all the trials and problems that make a person stronger and what makes them who they are."
Stacey: Thank you so much. I took a risk writing Annabelle. I knew she would be too flawed for some people. I'm glad, however, that she was pleasingly flawed for you.
"SO I was wondering if there will be another book and if so, when will it come out?"
Stacey: Yes. Book 2, BLOOD ON THE BAYOU, will be out spring 2012. March or April. I've seen conflicting reports. After that, whether or not there will be more books in the series will depend on the sales of books 1 and 2. So please, if you've enjoyed DEAD ON THE DELTA, post a review on Barnes and Noble's website, Amazon, goodreads, your blog, etc, and tell a friend that they could find worse ways to spend 7 bucks. (Skip the combo meal, get a juicy urban fantasy!) This series means a lot to me and I know many of you have enjoyed it. I hope together we can keep Annabelle in business for at least one more book.
I'll be back next week with that contest and some thoughts about the SCBWI conference. It was my first and it really um...changed my life. It did. Kind of cheesy. Unexpected, certainly--I thought I knew what writer's conferences had to offer. I did not. I do not know everything. I know this, but it is also good to be reminded of how little I know every now and then and it is wondrous to be so pleasantly, perfectly surprised. SCBWI gave me what I've been needing so badly this past year. I'm excited to share what that is next week.
Best, and thank you for your support during JULIET IMMORTAL'S release week. Seeing so many of you excited about this read has meant a lot.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
I can't believe it. *deep breath*
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But Romeo didn't anticipate that Juliet would be granted eternital life, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light.
For 700 years, Juliet has struggled to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent, while Romeo has fought for the dark side, seeking to destroy the human heart. Until now.
Now Juliet has found her own forbidden love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy their happiness.
"Haunting and devastatingly romantic, Juliet Immortal gives new meaning to the words 'till death do us part.'" -Michelle Zink, author of the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy
Or order your signed copy from Copperfield's Books in California (U.S. only).
Thank you to everyone who's already pre-ordered Juliet, and thank you to all of you who plan to buy the book when it hits stores. I so hope you enjoy it. I gave it everything I had during a brutal time in my personal life last summer. It means a lot to me. I hope it will entertain you and maybe encourage you to be a bit kinder to yourself. Because kindness is good.
I'm going to be at SCBWI in L.A. for the next several days. I hope if you're going you'll look me up. Tweet at me or something. (And if you're looking to spot me, remember I've got the blonder short hair now. Maybe too blond...hmm...is there such a thing? ;).)
Best and good wishes and thank you again for your support,
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
There's nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or otherwordly portals in the attic. Now, for any homeowner who's ever wondered, "What's that creaking sound?" or fans of "how to" television who'd like a little unreality mixed in with their reality shows, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner return with an all-new collection of the paranormal perils of Do-It-Yourself.
Sookie Stackhouse resides in these pages, in a never-before-published story by #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. And New York Times bestselling authors Patricia Briggs, James Grady, Heather Graham, Melissa Marr, and nine other outstanding writers have constructed more frightening and funny fixer-upper tales guaranteed to shake foundations and rattle readers' pipes.
What's Missing from that description:
This anthology also contains a short story from author Stacia Kane, my dear friend and a damned good author. For this reason alone, this antho should be a must buy.
Go forth and check it out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Indiebound. (Or wherever you like to be buying the books.)
Back tomorrow with some pre-conference, pre-Juliet Immortal release (7 DAYS!!! ONLY SEVEN DAYS!) blogging action.