Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thoughts on 2009 and more...

How can I begin to describe my 2009?
It started off with the awesome thrill of attending a most historic and exciting Inauguration. And then the year moved like a roller coaster.

When I started my first novel at age 12, a project I kept a closely guarded secret for many years, I could not have imagined the thrill of a debut novel hitting the stores nearly two decades later. I truly couldn't have conceived of how wishing on stars, after a lot of time, rejection, pain and hard work, could result in the reality of a dream fulfilled. It's still difficult to wrap my brain around it now as we all begin to consider our respective 2009 drawing to a close. My greatest dream is manifest in the pages of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and Miss Percy and I have been surrounded by the incredible support of my family, friends, my prince of a boyfriend, the industry itself, book bloggers, my publisher, generous readers, booksellers and a bevvy of new friends... it was like a host of heaven was at my side through a nerve-wrackingly beautiful few 'debut' months. I sometimes forget that Dark Nest won the Prism Award this year too, the ceremony at RWA National seems a lifetime ago. And every time something new happens with my work, it's a brand new thrill. I'm exhausted. But so very blessed. And blessed to continue forward into 2010 with momentum that my 'heavenly host' helped me create. So for me, 2009 has been a year of thanksgiving, lots of hard work and thrilling firsts. Thanks for being a part of my bestselling year.
The latest thrill? This is a big one. Seeing my book in HARDCOVER! *swoon*

Thanks to the Rhapsody Book Club as well as Doubleday's Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Club, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has gone into a hardcover edition for these book clubs! Isn't it beautiful? I must admit, holding this copy for the first time, it was one of the greatest thrills, an unexpected treasure in this wonderful year of multiple blessings. What I love about this edition is that the cover art is the star; there's more richly moody sky, more of Parliament, on the back, all of Embankment along the Thames glows, the tree, lamps and gorgeous sky are so fittingly luminous with Parliament fading in the London fog. Moving the cover blurb to the inside of the jacket frees the whole of this beautiful scene. I'm more taken than ever with the cover art (and grateful for it), and I'm so thrilled by the opportunity of this edition.

Please visit the Rhapsody site so you can hear an exclusive Audio Excerpt that I recorded from the book! It's the scene where Miss Percy and Professor Rychman first discover they have a mutual secret! (Look under the column "Bonus Content" - it's one of my favourite scenes!)
In distribution news, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has been spotted at KMart and WalMart! At the KMart in New York City it was under $6! Quite a deal.
Around the Blogosphere:
1. First, I want to say thanks to the beautiful group of book bloggers who posted the cover art for The Darkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker (Strangely Beautiful #2, April 27, 2010) after Katiebabs first announced it and who have since put the book on their upcoming sidebars. You give Miss Percy wings and I love you for it.
2. Thanks to A Buckeye Girl Reads for including The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in her favourite books of 2009!
3. Thanks to Heather at the Daily Dose for listing me as an author hightlight of 2009!
Contest stuffs:
We've a Contest Winner! Here's Persebunny the beloved fluffy white bunny to take a bite out of the name of her choice... BELLA! Congratulations, Bella, on winning The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in Audio format as well as a bag of coffee from my favourite Fair Trade, ethical and delicious coffee company, Mt. Meru! (For more information about the 8 CD audio book set and the MP3 format, visit the Dorchester page. For more about why everyone should drink Mt. Meru, check them out here.)

Stay tuned, in April I'll open up the DARKLY LUMINOUS contest which will be similar to my very first Strangely Beautiful contest, where you'll have the chance to win a new item critical to the story and a chance to win a Barnes & Noble gift card.
Points of pride:
One of the greatest things this year has been connecting with new readers and writers, whether at conferences, booksignings, or speaking to schools. My a particular delight has been meeting some incredible young women, all talented authors in their own right, and discussing the craft we all love so dearly. Stephanie L., Sammi W., and Hanna L. (who just won a Power of the Pen award, congratulations!) in particular are three young women who give me such joyful faith in young writers, and I cannot wait to watch their respective talents grow, soar and give beauty to the world.
2009 Highlight: I received an incredible, touching honour: an honorary Diploma from the Milwaukee High School of the Arts where I spoke to the Creative Writing department about the publishing industry and the importance of never giving up on your dreams. The department is led by top-notch teachers and filled with gifted students. I mentioned to the class that I would have loved to have had a High School of the Arts in Ohio, I would have connected with such a program, and so the beautiful gesture of making me an honorary alumni moved me to tears, as did all the wonderful cards from the students. Thank you so much Ms. Tehan and students, and thanks Stephanie, for making an already wonderful experience even more special. MHSA is certainly something to be celebrated.
In closing,
I love Christmas, it's a very sacred time of the year for me, and I wish all of you the very best and most bounteous, beautiful Holiday Season. Let's ring in 2010 with celebratory cheer, I just know it's going to be a beautiful year and I look forward to sharing the journey.

Seasons Greetings from Miss Percy Parker!

(Photo by Steven Rosen Photography, taken at the Dances of Vice Halloween Party, 2009)


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's December already? How about some contests?

I cannot believe it is December already. I was told by other writer friends that a debut year would fly by. They weren't kidding. The fact that I haven't really slept much since, oh... I dunno, 2008, that might be part of it too. :) But I love this time of year, Halloween-into-Christmas tends to be a giddy time that always flys by too quickly, but it's also when I tend to get a lot of writing done, inspired by Autumn and sustained by the deep, spiritual meaning of the Holiday Season.

In the realm of books, fluffy animals, the undead and such, here goes the latest:

As always, a wonderful time was had at Lady Jane's Salon, where my fellow co-founder Hope Tarr beautifully led us in a celebration of Harlequin Enterprises' 60th Birthday and read from her charming Twelve Nights. Stacey Agdern shared her Hannukah novel Rededication with us, and Madame X was, as always, a gracious hostess of a venue! Check out Kwana Writes for a lovely rundown, thanks Kwana!

I've contest news galore!
Congratulations to Sharla who won the Dark Nest goody box via my website's Dark Nest contest! (Pictured here: Leanna's random selection process via fluffy animal named Persebunny. After winner has been selected, Leanna rushes to read name before consumption - very scientific randomization method)

2. And now, I've got a NEW CONTEST!

In celebration of the very wonderful news that my bestselling debut, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker is now in audio format, I'm giving away a copy, it's an 8 CD set! Along with some Mt. Meru Coffee, this is a great holiday gift for yourself or others. :) It's easy to enter, just tell me your favourite holiday song via the Contact Form of my website and you're entered to win! Winner drawn December 20th. Visit the Contest page and check it out!

3. I'm thrilled to be a part of The SFR Holiday Blitz! My 2009 Prism Award winning novella Dark Nest (a futuristic fantasy novella) is only one of the many Sci-Fi-Romance books you can win by participating! You can enter to win a copy of Dark Nest, given to Take it to the Stars to run the giveaway - You have until December 11th - and visit The Galaxy Express (this is definately a blog to follow) to get the rundown on the many blogs and authors participating in this great SFR event!!

4. I'm close to 500 followers on Twitter, once I hit that magic 500, I'll be giving away 2 signed copies of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to two of my loyal tweeps. So join me there to participate. If you already have a signed Miss Percy, well, here's your chance to win one for a gift and help spread Strangely Beautiful cheer!

-- While we're in the holiday spirit, take a Facebook moment and see if your favourite Not For Profits are in the Chase Community Giving program. You can vote for 20 organizations, for several chances to win funds, might I suggest you vote for my beloved friend Danny's exciting new theatre company in Chicago, The New Colony? It's a new and up-and-coming theatre devoted to new work and new talent! (Listed as New Colony nfp when you type it into the search bar).

1. I turned in the revisions to the Strangely Beautiful sequel, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, (April 27, 2010). I'm really, really excited about it. I can't wait to share it with all of you. Now I'm hard at work on a novella which continues the Strangely Beautiful series, to be published in a Fantasy Christmas anthology headlined by one of my idols, NYT Bestseller C. L. Wilson! (October 2010) Fans of Headmistress Thompson and Vicar Carroll will be pleased.

2. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker made Waiting For Fairies' Holiday Gift Guide! Thanks Melissa, and Waiting For Fairies!

Do stay tuned, The Darkly Luminous Fight For Persephone Parker will have its book trailer going live in January, along with some first peek excerpts!

Be sure to enter the contest and have a BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, BLESSED DECEMBER with your family, friends and loved ones! I'll be back to announce the winner of the contest and to wish everyone happy holidays.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Midwestern fun, Top Ten honours, and Audio Books!

Greetings from the great Midwest! I'm enjoying my trip to Milwaukee WI to visit my dearest's family.

I had an awesome time speaking to the Wisconsin RWA (Milwaukee Branch) - where the kind and talented Edie Ramer has been such a gracious contact, peer and friend of the Strangely Beautiful series - I gave my workshop about merging theatre techniques into writing novels, a subject I'm very passionate about. I believe it resonated with this wonderful group, I had an incredible time.

Here are a few respective rundowns! Edie wrote a gorgeous post about it at one of my favourite blogs, Magical Musings. The fabulous Liz Kreger (one of my new inspirations) wrote about the meeting (I was so grateful to have found her- as you read in her post, I was wandering), as did Elle J Rossi, and Casey Clifford, ladies I was very pleased to meet. The group was full of great ideas, energy, and talent from every corner of the room, it was lovely to be counted in their number for a morning. I'm thrilled that my workshop seems to have made an impact!

And then I was off to a booksigning with Casey Clifford at the Greendale Waldenbooks. I do dearly love booksignings and the chance to connect with other authors and readers. I was so thrilled to be there with Casey and have the company during the lulls. Lots of books were sold and we both had wonderful support from family, new writer friends and shoppers who thought our books looked interesting. And, well... they are. I can't wait to dive into Casey's Black Ribbon Affair!

Today I had the honour of speaking to the Creative Writing department of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, my sweetheart's alma mater. What a wonderful group of talented teens. I think arts education is vitally important, and I love the opportunity to tell talented writers to never give up on their dreams, no matter what.

Recent news has me quite thrilled. The inimitable Barbara Vey of Publishers Weekly held a Readers Poll at her popular Beyond Her Book blog of the Best Books of 2009. And The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker made the Top Ten list! Thanks friends and fans who have truly loved this book and have gone the extra mile to spread the word and to so vocally support it! I owe you such gratitude for such an awesome honour to be listed here among some really talented authors. Very exciting!

No More Grumpy Bookseller has listed Miss Percy Parker as a favourite of 2009! Thanks Becky!

THE STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL TALE OF MISS PERCY PARKER has gone AUDIO!!! I'm so excited, I can't wait to hear it! I'm surprised at the average industry price of audio books, but it's available in two formats (Audio CD / MP3 CD) with two different price structures, so I hope you'll check it out!


I hope everyone has a beautiful Thanksgiving! I'll be rocking the Tofurkey! :) I'm feeling very thankful for all the blessings in my life, and I hope the season brings everyone a warm and thourough joy and a ceaceless multitude of blessings- the least of which being some freaking awesome pumpkin pie...

Blessings from Brew City, Milwaukee, and I hope you'll share with me some of your blessings!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker

Well friends,

Thanks to Book Blogger extraordinaire Katiebabs for breaking this lovely news first.
The Strangely Beautiful sequel has a title, and, in my humble opinion, a gorgeous cover. Are you ready for the next installment in the Strangely Beautiful series? I am! Honestly, April 27 2010 will be here before we know it! Right?
In the meantime, may I present to you THE DARKLY LUMINOUS FIGHT FOR PERSEPHONE PARKER (April 27, 2010 from Leisure / Dorchester):

The full cover layout includes my awesome Booklist and Publisher's Weekly reviews on the top:

From the Back Cover of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker:

With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—might come.

And in the very good news category, it has been confirmed that in its first two weeks, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker hit #26 in Mass Market on Barnes & Noble's Bestseller list and #32 overall! That means the Strangely Beautiful series is officially bestselling!

Thanks to all of you for your support! Stay tuned as upcoming excerpts from THE DARKLY LUMINOUS FIGHT FOR PERSEPHONE PARKER will post and a new book trailer will be up in December!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween with Miss Percy Parker

Hello friends!

Well it has certainly been a glorious time for costuming in my world. You may recall in my last post that I was going to dress up as Miss Percy Parker, the heroine of my Strangely Beautiful series for my favourite day of the year, Halloween. Friends and I went to Dances of Vice for the big Hallows day - I love these people, they really know how to throw a cross-genre, history lovers' party. Now I did have pictures done professionally at the venue, however those are going to take a while to get to me, so in the meantime, from my not professional camera, may I present to you, Miss Percy Parker! And special guest (and really good sport of a boyfriend) Professor Alexi Rychman (Imagine him with longer hair, a bit older, and it's about right...) :

What was really incredible was to see how people reacted to me- to Percy. It being Halloween aside, when people expect outlandish looks, I still really had a sense of what she goes through. Especially when I would look people in the eyes with those ice-blue contacts I'm wearing, there were gazes of fascination, curiosity, outright shudders as I met their gaze- It confirmed all the little daggers of not being able to belong, of being a curiosity, all those little hurts that en masse would indeed make a sweet girl quite shy and withdrawn. And make the man that loved her all the more special. Stay tuned for the professional shot, I saw the proof that night - it's gorgeous.
As always, The Great Pumpkin Blaze in the Historic Hudson Valley was one of my favourite events of the year. Thanks to Biz of Biz Urban Photography for this unique shot!

In film/tv news, I got to see a real live movie car crash on The Adjustment Bureau where I worked again, this time as a stand-in. Must admit, that was pretty cool. Happy to report Matt Damon continues to be a prince of a man, dedicated to his craft, and lookin' good.
In Miss Percy Parker news:
She's a Recommended Read at CK2s Kwips and Kritiques!

Thanks Debbie!

AND The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has been chosen as a Hidden Gem of 2009 by Rhapsody Book Club! This is really exciting and great national exposure for the Strangely Beautiful series. I'll be doing an audio excerpt of the book for their site to go up at the end of November so stay tuned!
Blessings to all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Work and Play... And Ween...

Upon my return to NYC I have thrown myself back into work, not only on the next developments in the Strangely Beautiful series, (I'm having a wonderful time writing and wish there were more hours in the day) but also work in the studio and on film and television sets. Where hours are wierd and reality is more than a little bit off kilter.

Which means I've been drinking way too much coffee. *twitch*

Perhaps the coolest experience recently was today on the set of The Adjustment Bureau, where Matt Damon was a consummate gentleman. He was kind, funny, clever, professional, talented, hot, etc. Seriously, what a cool guy and what a gorgeous day on the Fulton Ferry landing, below Roebling's awe-inspiring Brooklyn Bridge, the landing surrounded by the immortal words of New York's own Walt Whitman. Particular highlight of the day occurred when Obama's helicopters flew over the Bridge. Wasn't planned for the political rally scene we were dealing with in the film, but provided a fitting and exciting pause.

Strangely Beautiful is featured by award winning author of Rowan of the Wood, Christine Rose! Hosted in one of her cool "Stumble into the Otherworld" pieces, my interview is up on Book Addict at PopSyndicate!

I was also hosted in style by The Lady Novelist, Leslie Carroll, consummate hostess, in a lovely interview on her even lovelier site.

Random Review Roundup:
(I'm sure I've missed a few along the way, since the maelstrom of the release date I've only been able to gather them if they're brought to my attention.) Lovely words found here:
Romance Reviews Today
Passionate Booklover


HEY NEW JERSEY! I'll be signing The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker on Saturday at the New Jersey Romance Writers - Put Your Heart In a Book Conference! Saturday the 24th at 4pm! Stop by! (Details)


Saw the film Zombieland. T'was fun. My specific thoughts are over on Popculturedivas.

I don't know about you, but I'm gearing up for the best day ever, my favourite day of all the year: That greatest of Ween - HALLOWEEN!

It's October. You know what that means. Halloween Awareness Month. Figure out for yourself how you can keep Halloween in your heart throughout the year. I do.

I shall attend a Victorian ball dressed as Miss Percy Parker, ghost-white, eerie contacts and all, and my love has graciously agreed to dress as Alexi (I even bought him a gorgeous frock coat that's almost identical to a coat I'd written about). Thrill!

Now off to buy tickets for my Halloween staple: The Great Jack o' Lantern Blaze!!!

Back to work! Let's make sure we shake it up with a little play too, shall we?

Friday, October 9, 2009

As recommended on!

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker was discovered by the kind and wonderful folks that run, the official Fan Site for the HBO show (that I love) True Blood. They're recommending Miss Percy for all of us in withdrawal until the next season!

Check out my Q and A on the site AND follow the posted link for an exclusive Barnes & Noble coupon code to get Miss Percy Parker for only $4.89! Get all your holiday shopping done for friends and family. :)

You can also hear the raves about the book on today's Radio Show!

Thanks! And thanks, Charlaine Harris, for writing the awesome Sookie books in the first place! :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


You know there are just those times when you have to squeal in delight. Seeing this today did that for me...

Eloisa James mentioning The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker in her Barnes & Noble Review column.

When I got my cover quotes from bestselling authors I admire and adore; Kathryn Smith and C. L. Wilson, I squealed.

And when NYT Bestseller Eloisa James said she was going to mention my "exciting debut" in her column... well, there went another noise up to the heavens ... one of my ultimate heroes liked my book?! Squeal! It may sound a bit fan-girl, but hey, I'm a fan and I'm nothing if not enthusiastic and honest. It feels sort of surreal, thinking back to the New Jersey Romance Writers conference where I listened to her clever, touching and funny (like her writing) keynote speech, was inspired, and wondered when my 'book of my heart' would make its way into the world. That's now, and it's such an honour.

In other squeal-worthy news, will be recommending The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker to fans of Charlaine Harris (Leanna raises hand to be counted) and True Blood while that awesome show is on hiatus. The link will go live on 10/9 with a coupon code and a giveaway - stay tuned, check out the site!

It was just the first Monday of the month, so that meant Lady Jane's Salon! Had a lovely time, as always- and we took a moment to remember the dearly beloved Kate Duffy of Kensington Publishing. While our similarly beloved Kathryn Smith was unable to join us, I had the great pleasure of putting on my actress hat (which I do so enjoy doing) and reading from her fabulous book, When Seducing a Duke, and it was awesome. The crowd loved this book, and so do I. Though we'll have the talented author back with us in person soon, and that will be even more awesome. Mari Mancusi read from the first of her re-released Blood Coven series, one of my favourite scenes of mistaken vampiric identity, which was a delight to all. I'm so glad she's continuing this series. She'll be giving a wrap-up at the Lady Jane's Salon site so stay tuned. Our November lineup will be hosted by Scandalous Woman Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, and includes Caridad Pineiro and Joanne Rendell!

Blessings and may many squeal-worthy moments strike your days!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And the winner is...

Thanks to everyone who entered my Strangely Beautiful pop-quiz contest!

Here are the random results, as picked by Persebunny the bunny. Yes. A rabbit pulling a winner out of a hat. Seemed like a good trick to me. I just had to grab them from her before she entirely destroyed them and I couldn't read the names...

The winner is Rachel, who will pick from one of two prizes. Congratulations Rachel!
The runner-up is Gail O., who will receive the second prize! Congratulations, Gail O.!

I'll be sending signed bookmarks and pins to all the entrants, thanks for entering!

Stay tuned, there will be more giveaway and contest opportunities as the year goes on, so check in here, on Twitter and on my website where I'll have another contest corresponding to the STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL sequel, releasing at the end of April, 2010!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Ohio Whirlwind

It’s appropriate that I’m again listening to "Ohio" by that beloved band of mine, hometown Cincinnati-grown Over the Rhine as I attemp to offer a meager recap on a whirlwind two weeks back home.

Firstly, let me share the good news. Because of your support, some great press, and the blessing of genuine interest in my debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has gone into a second printing. It’s a dream come true to publish a book. To have it already going into a second printing is beyond thrilling. Wow. Wow. Thanks.

Oh, Ohio. What an action-packed trip. I always look forward to going home, because of the wonderful family and friends that never feel too far away, even though in so many ways New York City is a world away. But the welcome mat is always unfurled, and would be whether I did or did not publish a book. However, getting to go home with a sense of real accomplishment, to thank those who made it possible, and to share the excitement of a dream coming true with other dreamers, as I said in my earlier post, is a real blessing. And that’s what I was able to do, to say thanks, to value where I’ve come from, and to share the idea of never giving up on something you love.

I got to share this message at my grade school, (and the Oxford Press wrote about it). I got to share it at my High School (the Middletown Journal followed up with its earlier article and wrote a new print one focusing on Edgewood) and at my alma mater Miami University; for my dear Dr. Powell’s Victorian Literature class – what a thrill to be back in one of my favourite classes, this time reading from my own love-letter to the 19th Century Gothic! I did an alumni video interview for the Miami theatre department, spoke to classes in the department (where I was a major) and at the Howe Writing Center (where I was not a major but since I’m published they kindly had me over for a chat) and was taken to dinner by the most charming Fine Arts administrators ever.

I got to teach a theatre-meets-writing workshop at the Central Ohio Fiction Writers conference that went blessedly well and made some light-bulbs go off in amazing writers’ heads - what an honour! I love discussing the connective tissue between art forms; where theatrical concepts are a great way to think about forming the structure and characters of your novel. The way I write is entirely inspired by my actress half and I do have a lot to say about it. On that note...

I was interviewed by Rick Pender for Cincinnati Public Radio (listen to WVXU on October 18th for the “Around Cincinnati” feature!). He had interviewed me for CityBeat years before when I returned to play Lucy in Dracula for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Rich opened our interview this time with: "The last time I saw Leanna Renee Hieber she was a bloody mess." :) So I of course stopped by my dear Cincy Shakes to see friends and the new changes to the building and noted with great delight that indeed, this oh-so-bloody picture of me as Lucy in Dracula is up in the lobby in all its glory... – (photo by Rich Sofranko). I confess. I've missed the theatre, but doing readings and signing books quite puts the theatricality back into my art and I certainly feel in my element when reading from my novels. It's one of my favourite parts of this process.

I was able to connect with several aspiring writers, like Sammi and Hanna, who were two particular highlights of my trip. Thank you Hanna, for your kind and generous post about my signing at the West Chester Barnes & Noble – this signing in particular was such a joy as a hoard of friends, classmates, teachers, co-workers and family came out to support me in force! (Thanks, Marijo, for this photo).

I did five event signings, countless more stock signings (so if you didn't make it to a signing and you'd like an autographed copy of Miss Percy Parker, check your local Columbus and south to Cincinnati Barnes & Nobles!), all around Ohio, swinging down to Kentucky, reminded myself of all the southern Ohio back roads, spent as much quality time with my best friend Marijo as my madcap schedule permitted, wrote a bit on the Strangely Beautiful sequel (out May 2010) and on Rebecca and Michael’s novella (out Oct 2010), was well-fed and entertained by friends and family and was reminded of every blessing along my meandering artistic path. And I gratefully stand by the fact that no time was wasted along that complex path. I hope I can continue to feel that same, sure sense as I jump back into NYC with new deadlines, challenges, stresses, and excitements.

More pictures / and possibly video - to come! As soon as I get them, I must share some photos of The Stately Raven Bookstore in Findlay where I had some quality time with my darling Mr. Poe. -- I love you, Ohio! It's good to see you again, New York!

In case you were wondering, Persebunny aka "Percy" is enjoying a copy of her namesake and is quite truly tearing through the book. She impressively digests literature.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Reflections as the Ohio Book Tour begins...

I'm writing this from the childhood dinner table.

It's a grounding, humbling, overwhelming moment. I'm thinking about when I began my first novel in this house, at age 12 and how I kept it a secret from everyone save my best friend. That dear childhood best friend just got back in touch with me, with all this time having passed, because my novel writing is no longer secret. Now that once secret habit is out there in the world, on shelves... after such a long time of trying and dreaming and crying...

Funny, while that old childhood novel will never see the light of day (it no longer exists) - it was also set in 1888, and while it was nothing like Strangely Beautiful, it was a Gothic novel. So looking at it, it appears that the majority of my life has been spent in preparation for the release of my debut novel. That's an interesting thing to think about while sitting at the childhood dinner table, that all roads led to a particular artistic historic home and hearth...

Riding the old country roads again- like Over the Rhine says "... The back roads... I know Ohio like the back of my hand..."- doesn't feel foreign though so much has changed, or that it's another world. I have three worlds that I shift between. Home in Ohio, Home in New York City and Home in Strangely Beautiful (a world I live in just as much as the former two). And I flit between these worlds now with excitement, glad to be in this formative home for the time being, glad I can allow myself this moment of reflecting upon all my worlds, a perspective that sometimes only can come with returning to one's first world and looking outwards.

I've been running hard. Really hard for the past many months. I've been dropping what amounts to post-it notes with pictures on this blog and hardly pausing to breathe or sleep - or to share what it looks like from a reeling stratosphere when I do breathe. I'd kind of like to remember this - and while I've written what amounts to another full-length novel in blog posts, interviews, ghost stories, haunted tour stops, it takes a silent house in a silent countryside for me to just stop a moment. This is a moment where no one but me is asking the questions.

Perhaps this reflection on the nearly 20 year span between the stirrings of a first novel and a published one is also prompted by tomorrow's visit. Tomorrow I go to speak to my former K-8th grade school, in Oxford, Ohio, a spirited school rich in love and ferocity of education, unique in its approach to letting kids be who they are, learn at their own pace, and discover their own talents. It set a formative track for my life. The next day I go and speak to a Miami University English class - to visit my Victorian Literature professor to whom I owe so much. And the day after that to my former Theatre department where I was a BFA major, and the writing department where I wasn't a major, to talk about wearing my various artistic hats - about how being a 'renaissance' type of gal can be a real identity crisis but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I wonder how much I should talk about the hard stuff. About that spastic and scared teenager I once was - terrified that if I told anyone that I was writing my book with characters in my head and heart that felt so stunningly real that they'd send me to an asylum on the spot. Funny. I didn't put it together until just now that Miss Percy's fear of admitting to visions comes precisely from that childhood fear that I'd be thought crazy for dreaming up such vivid realities in my head. Artists are visionaries. And sometimes visionaries are afraid we're going to be labeled as crazy. Great thing is, we are kind of crazy. The journey towards not really caring about that fact has been one of my favourite parts of this process.

I think yes. I think I do say those things if they organically come about. I've no problems admitting that the hyper teenageer has grown into a woman who's still a spaz and still sometimes scared. Sure, I'll talk about the heaps of rejection. About the 'industry'. About the self-doubt. The hitting the wall and almost quitting but for the grace of God and best friends. The worries that when you do sell how well you'll sell, then what about the next book, next contract... Sure, all of that important and heartbreaking stuff. And then I'll talk about how incredible it feels to sit at your childhood dinner table after nearly two decades and ruminate on a wild, crazy dream coming true. And that no one should ever abadon theirs.

For my fellow Ohioans:
I'd love to see you at any of the following events!

Tuesday September 15th
Reading / Speaking / Signing
Folletts Co-Op Bookstore Miami University
110 E High St., Oxford, OH 45056

Friday, September 18th
Central Ohio Fiction Writers multi-author booksigning
Worthington Holiday Inn - 7007 N. High Street, Worthington, OH 43085

Monday, September 21
Lexington, KY Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Reading / Discussion / Signing
161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, KY, 40503
7:00 PM

Friday, September 25
Westchester Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Reading / Discussion / Signing
The Streets of Westchester, 9455 Civic Center Blvd. Cincinnati, OH
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 26
The Stately Raven Bookstore
Reading / Discussion / Signing
1315 North Main Street , Findlay, OH 45840
2:00 PM

For maps / to link to this list, visit my Book Tour page.

For you Ohioans who have been with me along this mad journey, many of you I hope to see and hug and appreciate in person, and all those former Ohioans who are now scattered across this great country and have sent me messages and phone pictures of my books in stores, I just want to say that I love you and tell you thanks for shaping me and affecting me and being a part of an often over-dramatic, sometimes difficult, adventurous life that I'm very, very grateful for. For those of you I met after my life in Ohio, you too. I've an incredible family spread across this fine globe, and family yet to meet, and no matter What Dreams May Come - this one's feeling more than blessed.


The latest Miss Percy Parker reviews:

1. Top Pick at Night Owl Romance!

Do you have a 'homecoming' story of any kind to share? Whether it's an artistic homecoming or a physical homecoming, I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Strangely Beautiful Release Party!

Right on the heels of DragonCon...

A Strangely Beautiful Release Party at Lady Jane's Salon!

The night was, frankly, pure joy. I had some of my very, very best friends in all the world in one room. That's something that doesn't happen every day. I had friends come in from out of state, fellow writers, bloggers, friends, industry professionals (C.H. Admirand -who took this photo - and Tara Nina brought me flowers, champagne and a Tiara!!!!!! - I DID feel like a princess!! I was excited to see Tara win the Phoenix pendant we raffled off for Share The Love!) - it was such an honour and delight to share 9 years of labour with a crowd full of friends, friends who knew the hard work and tears shed along the way. Plus, getting the chance to thank the people on my acknowledgement page in person, in public, let me again express how none of us gets anywhere on our own, and how grateful I am for the village that made the "book of my heart" possible.

Dressed in my Victorian Regalia, I listened to my dearest Isabo Kelly read from one of my favourite of her many wonderful books, Thief's Desire. We indulged in Strangely Beautiful cocktails (blue-coloured, of course) and signed a lot of books!

And then I took the stage to read two of my own very favourite scenes from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Thanks to Morgan of Miss Media Productions for these great photos!

I confess, I've missed being on stage, so the chance to read from my work (accents included and in appropriate attire) was SUCH a treat.

Thanks so much to everyone who was able to come out on a holiday weekend and support me, and all those who were there in spirit - it was one of the best nights of my life. 9 years. 9 years after my dear Miss Parker introduced herself to me, sweetly and kindly, it's now her month. I hope she's as excited as I am. (She's a little more scared and overwhelmed than me, surely.)

And a special thank you to my sweetheart for sharing his Birthday with this very special Salon night and being a Prince about it.
Oh, and the latest in REVIEWS!
1. I discovered my lovely August Fresh Fiction review!
2. The latest commendation from Bitten by Books!
3. And top ratings at A Romance Review!

DragonCon 2009

DragonCon in Atlanta, GA is hard to sum up. And I was only there for half of it. I'm going to give you the top five things I learned at DragonCon
5. There are A LOT of people in one set of spaces. Hold your wings or the train of your dress tight in the elevator you've waited a while to squeeze into. Many of the assembled thousands of people are pretty cool people.
4. There is no geekery too geeky.
3. There is NO limit to the human imagination for costuming.

2. Saying "why, thank you Gandalf," for holding the door, or "Pardon me, Doctors (as all the various Dr. Who(s) are assembled in your path)," or "they're just past the Storm Trooper battalion but before you get to those zombie Smurfs" - becomes entirely mundane and commonplace language. (Here's me going "Ooh! K-9! K-9!!")

1. Thing I learned at DragonCon: It felt like coming home!
I had an incredible time with my roomie/soul-sister/New York Times Bestselling Alethea Kontis and her dear friend soon my dear friend Chris - aka Token Poet on Twitter. I got in on Thursday, got the lay of the land, and Friday was my big day. 3 panels (with really, really cool writers and new friends - such as Heather Brewer- pictured here - as well as Caitlin Kittredge!)

Capping off my panels on friday was the resounding success I hope is the first of a grand tradition to come... Princess Alethea's Travelling Sideshow! (See the lovely Princess Ringmistress Herself here, reading some of her magical work - please note prominent presence of Skull Bucket.)

I got the chance to read from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and the numerous attendees got bags full of neat swag - that included my book, thanks to the fine folks at Dorchester Publishing. Psst, by the way, Dorchester is giving away a Kindle - check it out.


On Saturday Alethea invited me into the parade to walk with the Sherrilyn Kenyon minions - I'm certainly a proud minion and devotee of the Queen of the Con herself!

Saturaday afternoon I participated on another panel about characters in fiction, which I loved - I love the chance to share and swap stories about process and writing tidbits with readers and other writers. Plus, at DragonCon - you get to do it all in costume. Or, for me, what I'd like to be wearing daily. Elaborate outfits make everything more fun, plus it meant I could speak about Victorian London with that extra air of authenticity. Gosh I love this outfit...

(Thanks Liz Maverick for this shot!)

(My fellow panelists and dear writing buddies Liz Maverick, Marianne Mancusi and me- yes, I am wearing eerie contacts.)

Did I mention we laughed a whole lot and had a great time being goofy? Really goofy? That, also, was perhaps my favourite part of DragonCon.

Team Joke, subtly different from Team Loser, thanks for breaking me with laughter.

Can't wait till next year!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DragonCon - the adventure begins!

And now on to the BOOK TOUR part of my whirlwind.
The Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour is on hiatus due to my travels and Release Party in NYC on the 7th. It will resume again on the 11th at fellow Dorchester author Elisabeth Naughton's Blog. (see Haunted Tour Schedule).
Tomorrow I leave for the experience that is DragonCon! (And I get some quality time with my separated-at-birth Lee - and hang with my awesome NYC writer buds as well as meet new ones!)

I'm speaking on the following panel schedule on the DARK FANTASY TRACK - if you're at the Con - come say hi!


11:30-am in Mont/Van Room - NEW BLOOD - Debut Authors or New to the Track

1:00-pm in Mont / Van Room - A WRITER'S GUIDE TO GOTH AND PUNK

4:00-pm in Mont / Van Room MEMENTO MORI: GHOST STORIES

5:30- pm in Roswell (Hyatt) - PRINCESS ALETHEA'S TRAVELING SIDESHOW - in which there will be books, entertainment, free stuff, readings, all manner of vaudevillian or perhaps just villian behaviour... And in which I shall be dressed as Miss Percy Parker Herself. All white, all Victorian, eerie contacts and all...

Speaking of Alethea - check out our GENRE CHICKS interview for Ingram! Oh, you should see it in print in the Advance Magazine... it's all teacups and swirlies and script font and gorgeousness... *swoon*
And of course... On September 7th I return to NYC to host
And then comes the Ohio part of my Book Tour I'll talk about when I get closer to that part...

Whee!!!!! Atlanta, here I come!

Hey - don't forget about my CONTEST...