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Hi gang! *waves*

In three short weeks, I’ll be part of a local author event at Colonie Center’s Barnes & Noble, signing copies of The Zodiac Collector along with about ten other authors from the area. Their books range from children’s picture books, to young adult (like mine), and historical fiction. 

I know I can’t wait to meet more writers AND hang out with YOU.

So if you’re near the Albany area and would like to chat, get a signed copy of my book, or pick up some swag (can you say bookmarks, chocolate, and magic fairy dust?), please stop by Saturday, September 19, from 1-4 pm

   
   
   
 

Curiosity Quills author Vicki Leigh has a new book coming out this December and I’m thrilled to share the cover with you! It’s deliciously creepy. Congrats, Vicki!!

  

Blurb:

They may have won the first battle, but the Apocalypse has just begun.

Five weeks have passed since the battle that left Rome and Columbus in ruins. Sheltered in the hidden city of Caelum, Daniel and Kayla train alongside over one hundred Magus and Protectors, hoping that their unified ranks will be enough to take down their greatest threat yet: Richard, his followers, and his horde of Nightmares. Then a fallen comrade is returned to Caelum with a message carved into his chest and a note referencing the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Daniel knows their time for training is over.

Finally understanding Richard’s plans for Kayla and the three other Magus born on Halloween, Daniel and the rest of Caelum’s volunteers scout the U.S. in a desperate attempt to stop their enemy before he can unleash his first Horseman. But when massive attacks claim thousands of lives, people all over the world begin to fall ill—including those Daniel and Kayla care about the most.

With the Horseman of Pestilence released, Daniel knows it’s time to step aside and let Kayla take the lead. Only she has the power to rival her father’s. But when Richard’s plot turns out to be darker than they imagined, their fight is met with more death and destruction—and an enemy who might be unbeatable, after all. 

 ***Be sure to stop by Vicki’s Tumblr page for her giveaway. 
The list of items that people can win: 

  • 20 copies of CATCH ME WHEN I FALL (Book One of the Dreamcatcher Series)
  • a signed copy of CITY LOVE by Susane Colasanti
  • a The Vampire Diaries wall poster of Damon Salvatore
  • a copy of SHADOW STUDY by Maria V. Snyder
  • 5 handmade dream catchers
  • a poster of the SORCERER HEIR series, signed by Cinda Chima
  • 2 posters of the cover of DOON, signed by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. 
  • a poster of the cover of DAMSEL DISTRESSED, signed by Kelsey Macke
  • a poster of Melissa Lander’s ALIENATED cover

I regularly get an email from the APA (American Psychatric Association) highlighting various topics from the current academic literature. Last month, the top headline announced that exposure to cats in childhood might be a potential cause of schizophrenia. 

(Watch out kitties and cat lovers!)

Before we vilify our feline friends, let’s discuss the article a little further. Cats are carriers for a parasite, toxoplasma gondii, which is implicated in many illnesses. Toxoplasmosis is asymptomatic in most (our immune systems successfully fight off the bug), but it tends to attack those with weakened immune systems (people with HIV, those undergoing chemotherapy, pregnant women…) and can cause encephalitis, damage the heart, liver, inner ear, eyes, and, contribute to OCD, ADHD, and schizophrenia. 

Yikes! 

But hold up. The bug is transmitted in feces, so petting Fluffy won’t hurt you. (It IS important, however, for immunocompromised people to avoid cleaning litter boxes.) 

Furthermore–getting back to cats and schizophrenia–developing a mental illness is multifactorial. Genetics, environment, and exposure to drugs can play a role. Even the weather has been implicated. (Those born during winter months have a higher incidence of schizophrenia.) 

Every bit of research is therefore significant in identifying and clarifying anything and everything that leads to mental illness.

So, while it’s important to know that T. gondii might be linked to schizophrenia, I feel kind of bad for cats. It reminds me of the anecdote about the mass killing of cats allowing rodents to multiply and propagate the spread of the Black Death in Europe. I can’t help but wonder if history will repeat itself. 

Poor kitties. 

Book Signing Fun

  

Last Saturday, I drove down to Kingston, NY for an author event at Barnes & Noble. It was my FIRST bookstore signing, and I had a blast! 

Thanks to Amie Borst and co-author Bethanie Borst (who penned the Scarily Ever Laughter series, Cinderskella, Litke Dead Riding Hood, and upcoming Snow Fright), myself and MG contemporary author Andrea Pyros got to host a successful event!

Lots of people showed up, kids and grown ups alike. It ended up being standing room only!

I did my FIRST READING EVER and it went really well. (Boy, was I nervous!) 

It was a total blast answering the kids’ questions and seeing how excited they were about reading. 

YAY! 

 Here’s our table, pre-swag:

  
Our books!:

  

The authors! (Left to right) Me, Amie Borst, Bethanie Borst, and Andrea Pyros: PS: I feel like a giant, lol! ;p

  

Holding our books:

The signing:   

I got signed copies too! 

   
 
Lots of organizations helped spread the word for the signing too, from WAMC (a local radio station), to Woodstock Radio, to AMC (where I used to work & still have privileges at), and to local papers from Poughkeepsie. Thank you!

   
 
My next signing will be Saturday, September 19 at Colonie Center Barnes & Noble for a local author event. There probably won’t be time for a reading, but it would be great to chat with you if you’re near by! ;)
Here’s a couple extra photos…

The Zodiac Collector with swag, including a knight to represent the Renaissance Faire, which is a prominent setting in the book: 
Zodiac charms and stardust from Zeena, The Zodiac Collector (the kids really liked this):  

 

If you’re anywhere near Kingston, NY on Saturday, June 27, please stop by the Barnes & Noble (1177 Ulster Ave, Kingston, NY 12401) to see me and two other semi-local, middle grade authors. 

I’ll be signing copies of my YA, The Zodiac Collector (it can cross over to middle grade), Amie & Bethanie Borst will be signing copies of Little Dead Riding Hood (Book Two in their Scarily Ever Laughter series), & Andrea Pyros will be signing copies of My Year of Epic Rock.

The signing goes from 1-3pm. There will be time for Q&A, signings, and chats. And there will definitely be some swag (including bookmarks, stickers, and magic star dust!!!!) and yummy goodies (can you say chocolate?)! 

We would love to see you! 

Here’s some more info about our books:

*** The event on Facebook ***

The Zodiac Collector

  

Little Dead Riding Hood

  

My Year of Epic Rock 

  

Hope to see you there! :)

There’s been a lot of news lately about gender issues (brava to Caitlyn Jenner, right?), and I’ve also seen (thanks to an FB friend posting an article) some discussion on genre bending. 

Specifically, the article was an interview between Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro where they discuss genres, what it means to have a book categorized in a particular genre, and what it’s like to have your book’s genre “class” debated.

What struck me as interesting was that Ishiguro did not see his latest book, The Buried Giant, as fantasy. In his mind, the book was literary fiction, despite having magic, fable, and ogres. He was (it seems) genuinely surprised at his book being labeled fantasy.

Writers are always asked what genre their book is. It’s important to know, not only for following “the rules,” for marketing, and for sales. Anyone who follows Amazon categories knows the genre classification is a big deal when it comes to rankings. 

But it can be confusing!

Sometimes books fit in multiple genres.

For example, the book I just finished reading yesterday, The Book of Laney by Myfanwy Collins, is, accurately, labeled as young adult. The protagonist is (almost) sixteen. The book is contemporary, meaning it deals with real life issues. No magic, fantastical creatures, or paranormalness allowed. And then the protagonist starts having visions. It sort of made me do a double take. Was this paranormal after all? Was this foreshadowing of a mental breakdown? Was this an example of magic realism? 

Even after finishing the book I am not sure.

Perhaps, genres, like genders, should be seen as more fluid creatures. They both can certainly be complicated, and what one person sees as a certain genre or gender, can be seen differently by another. Maybe genres and genders can’t always be classified by such concrete, rigid terms.

Hmmm, perhaps I’m blending too much together here, but I dunno, it’s just how my mind works.

How about you? How do you see genres?

Make Mistakes

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I tend to be an anxious person and as a result, trying new things can be terrifying. Why? I can’t predict the outcome and it makes me feel out of control. (Lack of control is like jet fuel for anxiety.)

At the same time, both my professions (psychiatry and writing) DEMAND I try new things. 

All. The. Time.

What’s a girl to do?

At some point along the way (I don’t remember when, but it must’ve been in med school), I realized I had to learn how to go with the flow. Perhaps being constantly thrown into new situations had something to do with it…the whole sink or swim thing is pretty dang powerful.  Plus, worrying about something doesn’t change the outcome, but it sure makes the journey a lot more stressful. With that in mind, I try to embrace new things and roll with change. 

I’m not always successful. Hence the making mistakes. And sometimes anxiety gets the better of me (usually in the form of avoidance). So when I come across quotes like the one above, I pay special attention to it. It’s a reminder. A form of cheerleading, if you will. An excuse to put myself out there.

Because really, mistakes aren’t necessarily bad. I’ve survived all my mistakes. And while it’s not fun to make them, I’ve learned something from them. 

How about you? Do you make mistakes? Do you embrace them? Are they valuable to you?

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