FADE OUT On Sale Today! Giveaway Winners Announced!

I’m revising, and under deadline, and not done yet, so I will keep this short and to the point and tell you… Fade Out (the newly updated paperback edition of Dani Noir) is on sale TODAY, June 5! I’m so excited! I hope you’ll consider grabbing a copy:

(For more about the book, visit the Simon & Schuster website. It’s on sale there today for $7.99!)

And now it’s time to announce the winners of the Fade Out giveaway. In honor of the narrator, Dani, whose all-time favorite movie star in the universe is Rita Hayworth, I asked people to tell me their favorite movie star for a chance to win a *signed and personalized* copy of the book.

Winner #1—Courtney Leigh—said:

My favorite is Vivien Leigh. That woman went for things. She always knew what she wanted and never let anything stop her from trying. She had so much passion, so much energy and drive. She also had illness and rage and deep, deep doubt. But she was beautiful and stunning and I love her. (Also, my mom decided to spell my middle name “Leigh” because of her.) Cool giveaway!

And Winner #2—Nickey @ The Book Shop Assistant—said:

My favourite movie star is Helena Bonham Carter and I love her because of her incredible style! She is drop-dead gorgeous, funny and super eccentric – and that is mirrored in her choice of movie roles and private style – it catches eyes! Most memorable the moment when she was  appointed CBE by the British Queen and came in something close to a steampunk outfit!

Congrats to you both! I will email for your mailing addresses. Thank you so much to everyone who entered.

And I hope you’ll consider buying a copy of Fade Out—even if you’ve read Dani Noir, because the story has been updated, and the new cover is gorgeous…

…and Rita Hayworth is in it (well, in Dani’s imagination, at least!).

Happy Second Life, Dani Noir!

International Giveaway: Win a *Signed* Copy of FADE OUT (aka DANI NOIR)

DANI NOIR was published by S&S/Aladdin in 2009.

In just two weeks, something I didn’t expect to happen—the paperback release of my first published* novel, Dani Noiris actually going happen, for real. On June 5 Dani Noir will be released in paperback as… Fade Out!

Yes, Dani Noir has gone through a reinvention… a new title, a new cover, new updates to the story, and now a new audience… because the new edition of the book is being released for the YA shelves!

I’m so very grateful** the book has this second chance at life!

And I’m about to give away two signed copies of the beautiful paperback… so keep reading!

Here’s what the publisher Simon Pulse says about the story:

Life echoes art in this sassy, heartwrenching coming-of-age story from the author of Imaginary Girls.

It’s summer and Dani Callanzano has been abandoned by everyone she knows. Her dad moved out, her mom is all preoccupied being broken-hearted, and her closest friend just moved away. Basically it’s the end of the world.

At least she has the Little Art, her favorite local arthouse movie theater. Dani loves all the old black-and-white noir thrillers with their damsels in distress and their low camera angles. It also doesn’t hurt that Jackson, the guy who works the projection reel, is super cute and nice and funny. And completely off-limits, of course—he’s Dani’s friend’s boyfriend, and they are totally, utterly perfect together.

But one day, Dani stumbles across a shocking secret about Jackson—a secret too terrible for her to keep. She finds herself caught in the middle of a love triangle with enough drama to rival the noir-est film noir she’s ever seen.

Fade Out will be in stores on June 5! And in the meantime, to celebrate, I’m giving away two signed & personalized copies to two winners—and this giveaway is international! (This giveaway closes Tuesday, May 29, at 8pm EST.)

How can you enter, you ask? Well, there’s something you should know about this book: The narrator Dani is harboring a bit of an obsession with a famous actress, a true femme fatale in her eyes and the kind of woman she aspires to be: Rita Hayworth, star of noir classics like Gilda and The Lady from Shanghai.

So to enter the giveaway, tell me your favorite movie star—and tell me why!

You can enter by commenting on this post—or if you’re ashamed to reveal your movie-star obsession so publicly, you can still enter by filling out this more private entry form. (Makes you wonder who’s going to use the entry form, right?)

* Dani Noir isn’t the first novel I wrote—and it’s not the first novel I published—but it is the first novel I published under my own name!

** Fade Out is all thanks to my Simon Pulse editor, Anica Mrose Rissi, who is truly awesome for believing in Dani Noir enough to give it this chance to find new readers (not to mention the stunning, cinematic new cover). Thank you, Anica!

Leave a comment for a chance to win… Who’s your favorite movie star and why?

Time Travel, a New Year, and No Apologies

Happy New Year! I spent the first part of 2012 going back in time, rereading and making edits to a book I first conceived in 2007, and wrote in 2008, and saw published in 2009. Fade Out (aka Dani Noir with a new face and new changes to the insides) will be coming out this year, in June, and I have the opportunity to make minor updates to it before it does. Now, I should say that I am restraining myself, I am. But there are some line edits I’m making and a new layer to the character that I’m lifting up into the light (it was there from the start, but buried for a middle-grade audience; it wasn’t difficult at all to bring it out now that the book is being reissued on the YA shelves, since, for me, this piece to my character was always there), and as I’m working this morning in my café it occurs to me just how strange this is:

I never reread my work once it’s published—except when I read pieces aloud to you, at readings.

I let go and I don’t look back.

So it’s a peculiar thing to be looking back. I remember writing Dani Noir, watching all those noir movies to get in the mood, and how much fun it was. I just finished rereading and editing the whole book, and I think it’s really cute. I like this book. It’s what I meant it to be. I’m happy that Simon Pulse is giving it a second chance as Fade Out.

Now, to return to 2012—our new year!—and into the deep, dark trenches of 17 & Gone. I’m already working through my New Year’s Resolutions, and part of that is living the life I’m living, being the writer I am instead of what I think anyone else wants me to be. I can’t be.

17 & Gone is exactly what I mean by this, so you’ll see soon enough once revisions are done.

This is the year I write solely for myself and no apologies. How freeing.

What’s different for you this year? Let’s make it happen.

COVER REVEAL: The Cover of FADE OUT (a book you may remember as DANI NOIR)

I have a new cover to show you… and it is gorgeous.

First, in case you missed this recent news, my first novel Dani Noir is getting a second chance at life… and you happened to my blog on the perfect day, because you’re about to see its new cover! Today is the day I’m revealing it!

Wait, why the second life, you might ask? Dani Noir—my novel about big lies, big secrets, and the thirteen-year-old girl obsessed with old black-and-white noir movies and the femme fatale Rita Hayworth—came out in hardcover and ebook from Simon & Schuster / Aladdin as a tween novel in 2009… but not in paperback. Some of you may remember that this was the novel I sold on my own, without an agent. The book sort of disappeared after its hardcover release, to the point where many people seemed to think that Imaginary Girls, which came out in 2011 from Dutton Books, was my first published novel. Not so. Simon & Schuster had some wonderful other plans, and now my first book is not only coming out in paperback this summer from a different imprint at S&S… it’s about to reach a new audience. Look for Fade Out on the YA shelves in June 2012 from Simon Pulse!

And since Fade Out is now being reissued as a YA title, that means it needed an older, more sophisticated cover.

What it wanted was a cover lifted from Dani’s own imagination… Dani, the narrator, who says things like this:

“If this were a movie, I’d jump out the window. A good enough plan, I guess. But if this were an old movie, like from the 1940s before all that color, the kind of movie called a ‘film,’ one where you’d find someone like Rita Hayworth, I wouldn’t even have to jump.

It’d be nighttime, of course, not 4:42 in the afternoon. There’d be this killer bright light coming in from the window, but in it you’d only see half my face. It’s more cinematic that way. My hair’s dark—no other word to call it but brown—but in this movie it would be pitch-black. It would shine. And I wouldn’t be wearing shorts—I’d have on some long, sparkly dress. Oh—and heels like the spiky ones my mom keeps in the back of her closet even though they hurt her ankles and who knows why she still has them. Plus a hat. I’d have to wear a hat. Back then, girls always wore hats.

The room would be dark and you’d get a tight close-up of just my face. That’s when I’d do this whole series of expressions with my eyes.

You’d see fear.






Plus lots more stuff I don’t even know the words to.

Then I’d take a few steps out of frame and the shadows would swallow me. And no one would be able to find me after that.”

That’s Dani.

Yes, I can tell you that this is a cover Dani herself would love for her book. It’s a cover worthy of a femme fatale.

Wow, how long am I going to prolong this cover reveal? As Dani would say: Are you asleep yet? Will you shut up so we can see it?

Yes. I’ll shut up.


I’m thrilled to be working with Anica Mrose Rissi at Simon Pulse—the editor who made this reissue happen!!—and all the more thrilled by this cover she gave the book. Thank you, Anica! Thank you to the designers at Simon Pulse who came up with this gorgeousness.

Fade Out will be published in trade paperback on June 5, 2012, from Simon Pulse… the same month Imaginary Girls will also be published in paperback. Hopefully you’ll find them snuggling each other on the same bookstore or library shelf and want to grab them both. I think they’ll look good together.

What do you think of the Fade Out cover? If you’ve read Dani Noir or if you haven’t and will pick up the book for the first time this June, comment and let me know!

Book & Blog Updates: Secret Future Novels, First Novels with Second Lives, NEW COVERS, More Inspiration, and Next Month’s Debut Interview Series

Here are some things to tell you, and none of them have to do with my word count.

All This Inspiration… and More Coming

Thank you for reading the “What Inspires You?” blog series running all this month—and very special thanks to all the writers who generously contributed guest blogs for this series. I took a few days off from posting guest blogs when I was away for Thanksgiving, but I’ll post a new one starting Monday and more through November 30. I hope you’ll come back and read them—they’re beautiful!

Next Up: 2012 Debut Interviews

Putting together these blog series—first “What Scares You?” and now “What Inspires You?”—certainly kept me busy and happily distracted during these in-between writing weeks. And I’m not done yet.

Next month, starting on December 5, I’m featuring interviews with ten 2012 Winter/Spring YA debut authors. These are ten novels that I’m excited about and can’t wait to read… so I asked the authors for short interviews, and they all agreed! Come back in December and find out which authors I’m interviewing and read what they have to say about their novels, their distractions, their debut experience, and their dream book tours…

Plus, you’ll have chances to win some signed ARCs and pre-orders of their books!

Secret and Future Novels

I keep getting asked when my next new book will be out, and if I have one. I do. Really!

I don’t know if the title will stick, so I’ll keep that secret for now, but I can tell you that this creepy new novel of mine will be coming out from Dutton Books in 2013.

It’s not a sequel to Imaginary Girls (I keep getting asked this, too). I don’t tend to write books that have sequels, or are part of a series or a trilogy. So it is its own thing. More on just what this is soon.

In the meantime, I will have two paperback releases in June 2012. The first is Imaginary Girls, coming to paperback from Speak, an imprint of Penguin… and if you haven’t seen the new look in paperback, you should read this post.

And the second paperback release coming in June 2012? Read on…

A Second Life for My First Novel

How is it possible that I haven’t blogged about this news yet here? Well, if you’re with me on Twitter or Facebook or Verla’s, or happened upon the news post on my website, you’ll know this already. If not:

So, do you remember my first published novel, Dani Noir? It was a tween novel published in hardcover in 2009 by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and it looked like this:

Well, Dani Noir never did get published in paperback, and I was sad about that. I thought that was the end to this book.

Not so! Sometimes the universe—or in this case, the publisher Simon & Schuster—has other plans, and so something very unexpected and exciting happened: Dani Noir is being given a second chance at life… with a new cover, a new title, and published for a new age level…

Look for Fade Out on the YA shelves from Simon Pulse, a teen imprint at Simon & Schuster, this June 2012:

This is really happening! For the longest time, I thought Dani Noir would never have a life in paperback, and thanks to Simon Pulse—and to a wonderful editor there: Anica Mrose Rissi—the book has a new opportunity to find its way to readers!

If you have questions about Dani Noir vs. Fade Out, please see my website FAQ.

Wait, What’s That About a Cover Reveal on Monday?

You read that right. I’ve been given permission to reveal the cover of Fade Out. I think I’ll do that on Monday!

In the Meantime

I reached page 50 the day before Thanksgiving, just minutes before I had to leave for the train. I revise and polish as I go, so I’m getting very close to being able to show what I have to important people and see if this can be my fourth book!

Happy writing.

Peeking Out of the Writing Cave to Tell You…

…two things on this lovely rainy (that can’t be snow, can it??) day, and neither of them is an April Fool.

I was the “First First” interview for April on Desirous of Everything today. There I talk about my first book Dani Noir, how I found the voice of my snarky overimaginative 13-year-old narrator, and how it was my first book published but not the first (or even the second) book I wrote. I was also asked if blogging here interferes with writing my novels. What do you think I said to that? Read the interview here.

And a group of kidlit authors have gotten together to hold an auction to raise money to help Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The Write Hope auction is donating to Save the Children’s emergency relief fund—and today the writer Debra Driza donated a copy of an ARC of Imaginary Girls and put it up for auction. I’ll sign and personalize it, and I’ll include some Imaginary Girls bookmarks. (Which I do have! More on those bookmarks later.) Here’s where you can bid in the auction to help Japan and get an advanced copy of my book.

That’s it for today. Back into the writing cave.

While I’ve Been Writing…

I’ve just emerged from a self-imposed push to finish a new project on top of my novel revision on top of a big freelance deadline and I was here pushing myself so hard that, last night, I went to bed complaining my “bones hurt.” But I did it. I reached the freelance deadline, I finished the writing project (this stage of it anyway), and now I’m back into my revision. Oh but first I need to answer like two dozen emails.

While I was so preoccupied, stuff happened—in addition to the two dozen emails.

I stupidly lost my iPod. I thought it was gone forever, but a kind person found it in an elevator—how I lost the iPod in an elevator is beyond me; I really must be distracted—and, since I didn’t have my name on it or on the case, this person looked up a way to hack into it to get my email address off my Pandora account and emailed me asking if I’d lost it and now I have it back. Can you believe someone would go through the trouble to do that? People in New York City can be kind, I’m telling you. Speaking of, I once lost a checkbook—during a windy day it flew out our high floor window onto 100th Street and Broadway when I first lived here when I was 19. And someone found that checkbook in the street and tracked me down and returned it. Maybe I should stay away from open windows and elevators until I’m at least done revising my novel, huh?

Sixth graders made a book trailer for my book! A class of sixth graders had the assignment to make a book trailer for one of their favorite books they read this year. Well, you won’t believe it, but four of those students picked Dani Noir, and I have permission to show you the amazing book trailer they made for the book—check this out. I love the polka-dot tights! Thank you to Julia, Hannah, Angelica, and Monica from Mrs. Schmidt’s class—it’s perfect! I’m thrilled! I think I can embed it here:

I’m featured in an upcoming book of Hudson Valley writers. Now don’t be confused. Yes, I live in New York City and I have for pretty much all my adult life, but I’m not from here—and no matter how many years I walk these streets I will always be aware of that. I’m from the Hudson Valley, moving from towns including Saugerties, Kerhonkson, Woodstock, and West Hurley, and pretty much all my writing is set there, like Dani Noir and the upcoming Imaginary Girls. And now I’m one of the writers featured in a book of photographs and interviews called River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers, which will be out from SUNY Press this August. I’m in some amazing company, including Chinua Achebe, Nick Flynn, Ann M. Martin, Susan Orlean, John Sayles, and many more. It looks like it will be a beautiful book.

I went to the ocean and put my feet in. It was my mom’s birthday, so I left my island! Shocking, I know. While at the shore I also dressed up all in black with sunglasses and a hat and the Jersey Shore sunbathers looked at me funny. Hey, I’m a writer. I burn easily. I’m weird. What do you want from me? I also safely avoided jellyfish. (The photo featured with this post is not me. That’s my beautiful baby sister with a flock of birds on her shoulder.)

I read an incredible book. I’ve been very, very busy. And it was one day this weekend, at my busiest, that I picked up a novel just to read the opening chapter, with full plans to come back to it later after I’d completed my projects and put away the laundry and had more time. Well, hours later, I was deep into the book and could not for the life of me put it down. I finished it that same night and it really opened my eyes to what a “dystopian” story can be—and what could become of our world, easily, not too far ahead in the future. I don’t write book reviews. I only know what touches me personally, what resonates, and what I like. This book was the YA novel Restoring Harmony by Joëlle Anthony. (Full disclosure: We share the same agent, but I would have loved the book regardless.) Go read it for yourself.

I admit how I quit my job. I haven’t announced this openly on this blog, but if you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you may have noticed that I’ve stopped complaining and stressing about my day job. It’s not that I’ve become a more relaxed and accepting person and found a way to exist without need of sleep. It’s that I left the job and started writing full-time. Plus freelancing. I’m reluctant to step away from publishing work entirely, so I still continue to freelance for a couple different publishers as a copy editor and proofreader and it’s keeping me pretty busy. This may be temporary. I may not make it and panic and send out my résumé for a new day job in the fall. Maybe I’ll learn to be a barista. But until that day, while my time is more flexible, I’m working as hard as I humanly can to start a real career as a writer. I’ve wanted to do this for ten years and I never before had this chance. I’ve written on the side through a series of four full-time day jobs and now here I am without one. So that’s why I’m pushing myself. That’s why I have to avoid distractions if I can. That’s why I’ve taken the time to work on the new book project on top of the book I’m already revising. That’s why I will work until my bones hurt every day because no way am I looking back on this time and saying I didn’t try my hardest.

It’s all about trying for me. Only I know how hard I’m working, you know? I can fake it to other people, but not to myself.

If I slack off, someone remind me to come back and read this post for a kick in the pants.