Friday, October 25, 2013


Hello, lovelies!

I've permanently moved to my new author site and am blogging exclusively over there now.

Please come see me at!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Fast and Furious and Kinda ... Blah

Here's a post on trying to write too fast.

SPOILER ALERT: It doesn't work so well.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two Wrongs Do Make a Write

Yes, I know.

It's been a while since I blogged. So long I almost forgot the password on my blog account, but I can explain.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Talking 'bout Inspiration

Hello, friends!

I'm over at the YA Valentines blog today, vlogging about the inspiration behind my novel, Tabula Rasa.

I make a lot of weird faces in my videos. I should probably hire teams of media consultants to help me stop doing that. Maybe they could put a shock collar on me and whenever I grimace in some weird way, they could give me a little zap.

The post is titled, Passion! Inspiration! Implosions!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Call Me Crazy

Hmmm. That's an interesting post title. Wonder what that's all about?

(Spoiler: there's a lemur in this post!)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Girl, Where You Been At?

Off you go then, like a good little shuttlecock bouncing over the net to my other blog:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to Deal with Your Edit Letter in a Proper & Mature Way

Let's test this new blog referral system out, shall we? Here's link for my latest post over at the new site: 

Oh, and I did add a "Subscribe by Email" widget at the new blog, so that might make it easier to keep up with my literary shenanigans.

Gotta get back to revising now, peeps!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I mentioned in my last blog post -- vlog, what have you -- that I plan to transition all my online yakkity-yakking over to the blog at my new author site

Welllll, sure. Good idea in theory, but I find that it's not so easy letting go of this one. One, because, though we have grown apart, I still care for this goofy blog, but also because I know people find following blogs on Blogger much easier than having to track people down hither and yon on the Internet. 

I, for example, will search out information on someone or her blog for only so long, and if I hit the least bit of resistance or the search lasts more than twelve seconds, I'm done. I could never cut it as a stalker.

So for the next couple months (aka "The Kristen's Blog Transition Period"), I'm going to do this: Every time I do a blog post at the new site, I'm also going to put the title and link to it here. That way it'll still show up on people's Blogger feeds. And then eventually, everyone -- myself included -- will reprogram their brains, and we'll just go straight to the new site. 

Sound good?

I haven't blogged much in the last few months because I've been in this weird limbo of post-book deal but pre-edit letter. But now that edit letter is here, and my book is moving slowly through the digestive tract of the great publishing python. I'll have much more to report in the months to come.

Why, as a matter of fact, I'll be dealing with the subject of The Edit Letter in my next super silly post, which I've planned for next week. 

But please do check out my new site, and while you're at it, feel free to go and subscribe to my YouTube Channel or chuck a few thumbs at me over at Facebook. Because you're super nice and supportive like that. Which is why I have a tattoo of your face on my neck. 

Thank you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blog Graduation Day!

(P.S. If you read my last post, you should also refer to this vlog as proof that 
my hair de-frizzifying treatment worked. Hurrah!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Hello, Gorgeous!

I’ve talked openly -- and I dare say, bravely -- about my personal struggle with frizzy hair. 

Mostly this soul-baring has occurred on Twitter, where I regularly converse with several other women who share my Tragically Frizzy Hair Syndrome. We discuss the near constant bad days and exult in those rare, good days when frizz does not dominate our lives.

The degree and severity of my frizz is dictated by weather conditions, which, of course I have no control over. Really, the perfect place for me to live, seeing as I have this problem, would be the polar ice caps. Either of them would do. 

Hot, humid Washington, D.C., however, is no place for people like me, and yet here I am. I’m serious when I say that if I’d lived in the 19th century, without aid of a hair dryer and heaps of hair care products, I’d have been sent off to a work house or a nunnery or an asylum for people who share my incurable hair condition. And if I had somehow managed to marry, I’d eventually have been shut away like that crazy wife in the attic in Rebecca. 

So, yes, my hair is a source of continuing hilarity to my husband, who finds my desperate attempts to de-frizz myself laughable and endearing, like when a dog has peanut butter in its mouth. 

But today! Today, good people! My fortunes will turn and become smoother, sleeker, and more manageable. I'm sure of it! 

I’m going to get that miracle keratin treatment thing. It costs waaaaay more than I’ve EVER spent on my hair, but I decided that if it works, it will be worth the money and time and might just change the course of my life in much the same way that Tony Stark’s atomic heart has allowed him to rake in a billion dollars at the box office.

Sorry, folks, you’ll see no freak show exhibits here, but I can show you an approximation of me in my natural frizzy state. Here you go.

I’m way too chicken to take a before picture, but I’ll certainly post an after one. And I’ll let you know if I’ve keratinized in vain. Stay tuned!

OK, now all that being said, the post title does NOT in fact refer to my hair. I want to direct you to a contest over at artist/author Kate Jarvik Birch’s blog. Last year, I won this very contest, and Kate made me a new banner for my blog, which has now been incorporated into my brand-spanking new author website!

I’ll have more to say about my transition to the new site very soon. In the mean time, go enter Kate’s contest because she’s so super talented, and you will be a lucky person if she creates some original art work to embellish your online presence.

And, listen, if you don’t win, perhaps you can console yourself that at least you don’t have Tragically Frizzy Hair Syndrome. Unless you do. In which case, I feel your pain, sister. I really do.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Emotional Investment: CANNOT DO


This writing thing, it’s my whole life and all, but, man, it does get in the way of watching some awesome television.

I’ve now had a bunch of friends tells me, “OMYGODINHEAVENABOVE you must watch Sherlock! You bloody well must!

These are folks who I know share my taste in movies and TV, so I do not doubt the awesomeness at all, but I just … not right now. I find that when I’m deep in the middle of a first draft, I’m so emotionally spent by day’s end, I cannot invest any time or energy in getting up to speed on a new show and can hardly keep up with the ones I do follow.

PLUS. There’s the betrayal thing. You know what I’m talking about. 

Let’s take for example, that freaking Downtown Abbey Season 3 finale. At the end of the episode, I stared at the screen for a moment, with this expression of ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME?!  Then I slapped my thighs and said to no one in particular, “Alrighty then, that’s the end of me watching that show.”

Writing first drafts drains me utterly. I feel like I'm doing push-ups all day while listening to audio transcripts from war crime tribunals. With opera as a soundtrack. The ups! The downs! The torment! The heavy lifting!  I just cannot invest in any new fandom right now. Maybe I’ll play catch up over the summer, go on a TV bender, and finally be able to stop avoiding all spoilers, but for the moment, it’s all cooking shows and re-reading familiar books. I need some comfort after thrashing the keys all day.

Is there anything you avoid while you’re drafting?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Use Your Words, Please

I don’t get Tumblr. I really don’t.

Not to get all Grumpy Old Man about it, but I don’t see the appeal.

Maybe it’s that I’m not all that into GIFs. I don't know. But the fact is, for writers, I kinda feel like GIFs are cheating.

Yes, yes, I know there’s that whole “a picture’s worth a thousand words” thing, but we're wordsmiths. Using GIFs as short-cut explanations for your mood/thoughts/yearnings is espousing a medium of communication that eliminates the very thing you produce. It’s like, I don’t know, a whaler not using whale oil for his own lamps or something. Crazy!

Aye, you go ahead and use that kerosene, young man!
Who needs this smelly oil that I’ve wrung 
from the blubber of the sea beast with my own gnarled and briny hands?

Am I right?

Please feel free to persuade me to fall in love with Tumblr.


Monday, April 8, 2013

My Talk Show Interview with YA Author Extraordinaire, Blythe Woolston

Welcome to the studio, Blythe! So glad you could be here. 

Me: far left. Blythe, far right. Not sure who that guy in the middle is.

And the reason we're here today is that your third YA novel, Black Helicopters, just came out from Candlewick. Congratulations! Let's hold this book up so our studio audience can get a better look at it.

A teenage girl. A survivalist childhood. And now a bomb strapped to her chest. See the world through her eyes in this harrowing and deeply affecting literary thriller.


Viewers at home, you'll have a shot at winning a signed copy of this fabulous book, don't you worry.

Shall we start with a few quick questions to get you limbered up, Blythe? That’s a rhetorical question, you don’t have to start answering questions just yet….


All right, NOW you have to start answering questions. Here we go:

KLM: I’m sure you get this question all the time: Is that your heart on the cover of your Morris Award-winning debut, The Freak Observer?

BW: No. I am heartless. And not photogenic.

KLM: Yes. Well, not everyone has attractive ventricles. That’s understandable. live in a place called “Montana.” As I understand it, “Montana” is somewhere way, way over there. *gestures in a westerly direction* I’m curious to know how many bison you personally own. Not including the one you ride to do errands to the grocery store, etc. I’m gonna guess four. Is that correct?

 BW: In your innocence you have blundered into the middle of one of the most vitriolic feuds in Montana. I am pro-bison. The anti-bisoners have the politicians by the dangly bits, and it is, therefore, extremely difficult to keep backyard bison. That is why I can’t have this, which is one of my heart’s desires.

KLM: Right then. *puts bison on shopping list for Blythe’s birthday, politics be damned* Onward to our next question…. In a post-apocalyptic world, let’s say I had my own Thunderdome, and you’ve just stumbled across it while fleeing killer, sentient robots.  What non-writing life skills do you possess that would make me want to keep you around instead of chucking you into my gladiator-style entertainment arena?

BW: I will be your Salacious Crumb.

And I know how to operate the methane generators. Plus, the best defense against sentient robots is chaotic random cluckery. I got that. I got all of that.

KLM: Oh, yes! I would very much like a cackling lackey at my side at all times. OK, you’re in. I also think you’re sufficiently warmed up now so let’s get to talking about your latest book, Black Helicopters. This is a dark, intense, can’t-stop-reading book.  Tell us about Valkyrie White. What about her and her situation captured your imagination so much that you wanted to write this novel?

BW: You are familiar with the “chestburster” in ALIEN? I wanted to write this book as much as I wanted an alien to blow my ribs apart and escape into the world. The writing process had a deceptively innocent beginning. I needed a chapter to bring to the BigSky SCBWI workshop. I sat down and wrote the first chapter, which is pretty much word-for-word as it appears. I could pretty much plug into Valley’s voice whenever I sat down to write, but it was painful. I still don’t like to think about it.

KLM: Was she notable in that way? The way you could plug right into her voice. Have you felt that way with previous MCs?

BW: Come to think of it, the others—Loa, Polly, Odd, and even my WiPs storytellers Velma and Bunny Bun—have been just as easy to find. Although Velma is a little extra weird since she has writerly aspirations and indulges in mimicry. So what made me say that in particular about Valley? I was more creeped out by the experience. It’s a little pathological, the voices in the head thing, at best.

KLM: What makes a character a villain for you? What trait do they possess or not possess that puts them in that category?

BW: I always turn to the etymological dictionary when I face these questions, and, you know what? It says that villains are low-born. Low born. Working class. Not two coins to rub together, not-a-pot-to-piss-in poor. So that’s the definition of a villain. It’s an antiquated fossil of class prejudice. So I am not going to use that word. For me, the Big-Bad is about abuse of power and ruthless self-interest. There are Big-Bads in Black Helicopters.

KLM:  Do you think of Valkyrie as a villain?

BW: What what? NO! Is she not a kick-ass her-against-them heroine? Does she not take on the monumental powerful government in the name of justice? Okay, I am sorry, really, really sorry. The deal is this: Until we get over some of our hero(ine) worship, until we get over giving formulaic answers to complex questions, we are all going to have the blood of children on our hands.

KLM:  Your MCs are kids with few options for pulling themselves out of their life situation. How does the rural setting and socio-economic class affect your MCs in Black Helicopters?

BW: In every way.  They are all Cinderella—without a fairy godmother. So they don’t have fancy clothes, and their little mouse friends aren’t much help, and meeting the Prince at the ball isn’t going to happen. And they know that. We all know that.

KLM: Did you ever consider alternate endings for the novel or were you always pretty sure how Valkyrie’s story was going to end?

BW: The end of Valkyrie’s story was always inevitable. I knew what happened, but I still resisted writing it. When the book went to my agent and to the editors, it just sort of stopped without ending. This is one of the reasons I need editing so desperately—I’m a coward and I step back, I blink, I pretend I don’t know. I must be a freaking nightmare to work with. I’m a feral cat hiding under the couch and my poor, patient editor needs to resort to tuna cans and broomsticks to get me to act right.

KLM: You have mad writing skillz. I’m sure you could probably write an award-winning Denny’s menu, but you choose to write YA. What is it about the genre that attracts you?

BW: You flatter. How could I ever top BACONALIA’s “Belly flop in an empty pool? EAT BACON. Boom. Recovered.”?

KLM: That is pretty hard to top. Except maybe with whipped cream.

BW: But why YA? As in everything else, I came to it accidentally. That said, I could not have washed up on a more hospitable shore. Here’s the deal about YA: It’s a real frontier. The rules are muddy and streets are fluid. (I should qualify that by saying I lurk in a side alley of the bunny-eat-bunny world—some neighborhoods are petunia-scented and well-lit.) As a writer, I have all the room for experimentation and exercise of craft I could possibly desire. I know my readers are smart and motivated. I know if they don’t like the book, they are going to drop it and go find something they do like. That’s pretty much perfect.

KLM: Lastly, what are the odds that you’re ever going to write a light-hearted rom-com, Blythe?

BW: I was about to say never; then it occurred to me that the gauntlet has been thrown.

“Tony has snagged his dream summer job at a five-star resort. It sucks. In a world where everyone else is on vacation, he’s expected to dress like an old-timey barbershop tenor and wear a name badge that announce she is “Tony Montana”--because he’s Tony. From Montana. The only bright spot, and it is super-nova-rainbow-at-midnight bright, is Blue Hawaii, the drop-dead-gorgeous girl who scoops ice cream in the main lodge. Sadly, Tony can’t get up the courage to ask for a Hokey-pokey cone. So he’s stuck sweating and trundling linen carts packed with dirty sheets and towels to the laundry room. It’s a good thing he has the other “Toni Montana” to keep him sane. She gives him romantic advice while they play “guess that stain” and commiserate about the number of times they have heard the words “Say hello to my little friend.” BLUE HAWAII is a light-hearted rom-com for YA audiences that is now complete as a 172 word synopsis.”

KLM: Hey, I see anybody out there using the name “Blue Hawaii” for one of their MCs, and I will have the intellectual property lawyers on your @ss in a hot second. You got that, Internet?

Thank you, Blythe! And now for the best part. I’m going to give away a signed copy of Black Helicopters. Yes, signed! And if you ask nice Blythe might even write, “I will be your Salacious Crumb.”

To enter to win, just leave a comment (click on the post title to get the comment box to come up). I’ll make a random selection using some sort of randomizing thing. You’ve got until noon on MONDAY, April 15. Go! Hurry! Comment!