Wednesday, November 6, 2013

THE CHAPEL WARS. The cover. The creation. The everything

*blows dust off of ye ol' blog*

This last weekend at the Vegas Valley Book Festival, I had a conversation with some authors about blogs as a platform, on their relevancy, on how often we blog (cough, cough), etc. etc. And valid points were made all around, but I still like having my blog HERE, even if I only post a couple times a year, even if google reader no longer exists and I know this isn't read very often. As a writer, sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name... CUE THEME SONG FROM CHEERS

and they're always glad you came. 

You wanna be where you can see, 
our troubles are all the same 
You wanna be where everybody knows 
Your name.

Yes, I know that has no relevancy to my topic, but that song's been stuck in my head and I wanted to share. You're welcome, those alive in the eighties.
Anyway, quick catch up... 
Vegas Valley book festival was awesome! We had 60+ YA authors, dozens of panels, and an adorably awkward YA Prom through the ages. Here are a couple of pics...

PROM THROUGH THE AGES!!!! Yes. It was as amazing as it looks. No, I can't name everyone. Well, I can, but it takes SOO long to type.

I'm in there somewhere. Doing something.

And I've done other things lately, like began writing a book for National Novel Writing Month, which might be the worse thing I've ever done. Or the best. We'll see.
But that's not why you're here, right? You're really here because you want to see my new book cover. Maybe even hear about this mysterious book. Chapel? Is this book religious? Wars? Is it violent?
No and no. You're getting another Lindsey Leavitt book with my trademark Lindsey Leavittness-which according to my publisher is humor and heart. Although I must say, this one starts with someone dead, so The Funny is a little more respectful of such circumstances. And The Angst is perhaps more amped up. But The Awesome? It's all in there. Or as in there as I am able. 
This was a brutal writing and personal year for me, which is why I haven't been online as much as usual. I'm glad to come out of it with a book of which I am very proud. I imagine this book is the closest I will ever come to understanding natural childbirth. But, you know, in a good way.

This is what the book is about....
Sixteen-year-old Holly wants to remember her Grandpa forever, but she’d rather forget what he left her in his will: his wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. Whatever happened to gold watches, savings bonds, or some normal inheritance?  
And then there's Grandpa's letter. Not only is Holly running the business with her recently divorced parents, but she needs to make some serious money—fast. Grandpa also insists Holly reach out to Dax, the grandson of her family's mortal enemy and owner of the cheesy chapel next door. No matter how cute Dax is, Holly needs to stay focused: on her group of guy friends, her disjointed family, work, school and... Dax. No wait, not Dax.  
Holly’s chapel represents everything she’s ever loved in her past. Dax might be everything she could ever love in the future. But as for right now, there's a wedding chapel to save.

And this is one of my favorite publishing peeps said about it....
"You'll want to place your bets on Lindsey Leavitt's hilarious and heartfelt novel filled with family rivalry, forbidden love, life-changing secrets, and a hot boy dressed up like Cupid. Just like Vegas, The Chapel Wars kept me up all night." —Elizabeth Eulberg, author of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality
(isn't she the very best? Thank you Elizabeth Eulberg! *throws confetti*)

*unless they change the cover. This is the cover for the ARC. Things could change. Things always change. But I hope not because OHMIGOSH I am hearting this cover so hard. Get it? HEART 

Monday, June 24, 2013

From the writing cave. Summer edition

Summer! Summer! Summer! How I adore you in all your 111 degree Vegas glory. Here's a little update on what I've been up to...
1. I'm coming at you from my new office, which is 78% done. I will post pictures as soon as I'm 100% and ready to show off all the loveliness (also, once my office is, erm, clean. So it might be awhile). But in the meantime, here is a messy sneak peak, taken from my comfy leopard-print writing recliner. You read all those words right.

That white board is my next novel, which I'm hard at work on right now. It's also my 9-year-olds favorite place to leave me notes, which is cute until she erases a major plot point. I'm living off a diet of pepsi and granola bars, which is far healthier than my diet for my last book--cheetos and, well, pepsi.
Yes, my keyboard still has orange stains from those days.
And those bookcases. I can't wait to show you the full glory of those bookcases.
2. Speaking of glory, I went to Hawaii last week to relax with the hubsters and do a little research for a possible book idea. I wanted to get the full view of the island Kauai, which to me means driving around, maybe with the windows down. But to my darling husband, "view" meant a helicopter ride with no doors and only a flimsy seatbelt saving me from certain death. I almost have to write a book about it now, just so that experience wasn't for naught
(it really wasn't for naught. Despite my feelings on heights, it was serene and beautiful and I'm (usually) grateful my husband pushes me in directions I wouldn't usually go. Like: UP)

3. GOING VINTAGE ebook is on sale for $2.99. Barrrrrrgain, yo. It's been up a few days, so not sure how long the sale runs. I love summer ebook sales!

4. Oh, and speaking of helicopters, I am woefully behind on my reading, but Hawaii did give me time to catch up, and I'm so glad I finally got to devour (literally, in 2 1/2 hours), Blythe Woolston's gripping BLACK HELICOPTERS. (I read it after the helicopter ride. Inspired, I guess). It's one of the books I don't want to summarize, just.. read it. At only 100 something pages, it's good at showing a lot without having too say much, and the suspense was something else.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Blog Post I Wrote On the Morning My Book Officially Released

So today my book, GOING VINTAGE, releases. RELEASES is a glamorous word for Books Get Stocked On Shelves, which for booksellers is often called TUESDAY, but for the author, it's kinda a big deal. Writing a book takes roughly as long as a pregnancy, an elephant pregnancy, so kissing our babies on the top of the head and nudging them out into the world is always a little scary and sweet.
Mommy loves you GOING VINTAGE! Now go make me some money proud.
 And maybe you want to buy my book, maybe you want to check it out from your library (after making sure your library orders it), maybe it's not your thing but you want to do something just for support. Maybe you are sick of hearing about it, in which case, last post, promise! (Note: I break a lot of promises).
Anyway, my friend Lisa Schroeder wrote a post a few years ago explaining how best to support an author, and I hope you will check it out. 
Whether it's a shout out on facebook, a review, or just a good word, it all adds up. 
Also, if you are reading this, you know likely are aware I/my books exist, and for that I am grateful, more the book than me, because I don't need to get existential about my existence too often. Anyway, thank you for reading. Always always. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

8 things I love about the internet

I've started in on my interviews for the Going Vintage release (2 weeks!), and I'm finding a common question is: What piece of technology can you not give up? And every time I answer something new, because it's what is on the top of my head right then. There are just so many things at the top of my head (the bottom, woefully, is empty).
I mean, the other day I got lost, and my phone was dead, and my kids were like, mom, how do people know where they are going without phones? And I explained maps, which they'd learned about, of course, but they didn't know people USED them to get places driving. Like, 5 years ago. 
So what I love about technology changes based on what technology I am using. Right now, I'm pretty stoked on this laptop, because I am lying down and typing. And of course, the internet is on said laptop, so I thought today I would like to share a list. I had to write something like 25 lists for Going Vintage, since my main character is a lister, so fun getting back in the spirit.
8 things (today) that I love about the internet

1. Youtube 
According to my children, the thing that makes me "famous" is not being an author. No, my fame comes from my YouTube exposure. I have like 4 videos on there and they watch them again and again. I have not told them that anyone can be on youtube, because, well, the reasons for that would be another list.
Last week was the world premiere (see, if you use words like WORLD, sounds famousy) of GOING VINTAGE trailer. Here it is:

2. Blogs
A few years ago, I read blogs daily, but got overwhelmed while drafting a book and sort of unplugged, the exception being when someone linked on twitter (I realize the irony of saying this AS I BLOG). But At NCTE, I met with some teachers and librarians at NerdyBookClub, and just love the community they've created. I started linking around and reading again. I'll probably stop here soon since my book is coming out and I would just go crazy reading everything, but my favorite posts are more what is happening in the classroom or a bloggers top five characters, etc. Two that I particularly like (besides nerdy, read it!) are Teen Librarian Toolbox and Stacked. 
TLT: Karen and I got into a discussion on siblings and families in YA books on Twitter. This is one of my favorite themes to explore in writing, as I sometimes find families are pushed to the side, or entirely dysfunctional. And these are certainly true to life for some teens, but different than my own experince, coming from a home with 5 kids. After our dicussion, Karen wrote this amazing post that really gave me perspective as I worked on my WIP. The whole blog is packed with insight.
Also, librarians, if you want to use GOING VINTAGE in your programming (or, of course, teachers in classroom), TLT has some fabulous ideas 
Stacked Books: I've never met librarian Kelly Jensen. I have no idea if she's ever read or liked my books. But I am a fangirl of her blog. It's crammed with thoughtful reviews, explores literary trends and genres and gives an honest and intriguing peek into librarianship as a whole. And her recent posts on sexism are so spot on, it's made me examine how best to raise my 3 girls.

3. Tabeso 
Some friends of ours recently launched their app on the I-phone, and it's just the greatest idea since bacon on donuts. It's still growing, but basically you can look up events in your area and see what events your friends are attending. Sadly, my girls learned through this app that One Direction is coming here. I need to stop letting them use my phone.
Here's another fun video for Tabeso. Click around, they have a bunch.

4. Kiva
Oh John Green. Your last name says it all. Who wouldn't envy this man's energy, kindness, talent, and ingenuity? He finds ways to do good, and teens listen. Kiva is a classic example. In very short, Kiva lends money to fight poverty. You pick your borrower, they share how they will use the money, and the world sucks less. Powerful stuff. I'm a lender, you should be too. Sign up!

5. Tumblr
I'm late to the party for tumblr, but the more I'm on, the more I like. It has a much more positive atmosphere than other social networks. 
Some of my favorites:
Librarian Hey Girl (haven't posted forever, but still lots of love)
Also, the going vintage tumblr will go live on Wednesday. Authors and publishing folks have been sending me pictures for weeks, and I can't wait to share their vintage pictures and stories. (or yours! Scroll down blog for info on how to submit)
This is a bit of an experiment for me, we'll see how it works!

6. Boden

I'm 5'10", and I always wear dresses with sleeves that cover my butt. It can be a tricky game, finding the right length, and thus I am so in love with Boden--cute and classic clothing from UK. Without the glory of the interwebz, I would never have clicked on a dress on pinterest and found this site. Their spring season is probably the most adorable I've seen yet. 

7. Society 6
Capillya at That Cover Girl (another fabulous blog) turned me onto this site. I could lose hours looking at the art. We're moving to a new house in less than 2 weeks, and I'm trying to find that perfect print for my new office. (yeah, MY NEW OFFICE). 

8. Facebook 
I'm not on here that much anymore, but I still appreciate the connectivity thereof. My fifth grade teacher, Miss Dean, sent met his beaut yesterday, composed by my little brother who was also a student. I think we'll end with this...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bookmarks! Get yer bookmarks here!

Howdy! Only 1 month until Going Vintage releases, which means it's time for my favorite pre-release game ever. This party involves me paying way too much on postage and zipping through sparkly pens at a delirious pace. Yep, I'm sending out signed bookmarks for GOING VINTAGE. 

It's bookmark bonanza again, folks!

But what do I have to do to get said bookmark? you might ask.

Expose a vulnerable piece of myself? (no. Keep those over-shares to yourself and your status updates)
Write an amazon or goodreads review for your book (no, but please, please do this anyway)
Splash the news on twitter/blogs/facebook/instagram/tumblr/every corner of the world wide web? (no, but any way you can spread the word about my books is always greatly appreciated. You're so awesome like that. I <3 i="" u="">
Jumping jacks? Do you want me to do jumping jacks, Lindsey Leavitt? (Well, yes I do, but that is only because jumping jacks are excellent cardiovascular activity)

As far as bookmarks go, you need only do TWO THINGS.

1. Email me your shipping address at contact @ lindsey leavitt dot com.
2. I will then send you 5 signed bookmarks. Mention that you are a teacher or librarian and I will up that number to 10. You may keep one or two of these bookmarks to use in your own copy of Going Vintage. But the other ones I humbly ask you spread around. Give to another reader. Donate to your library. Visit the White House and slyly deposit in the Obama girls' bedrooms. Help me make the world a more vintage place.

3. (bet you didn't see that coming!!) If you pre-order Going Vintage, I will also include a signed bookplate. Just comment below, letting me know the retailer, and I will take your word, because I am a big time word taker. And thank you for planning ahead. Pre-orders make a huge difference for authors. 

This offer goes until release day, or while supplies last, or until I get sick of the post office, so tell your friends. Let's get the word out while preserving our reading spot in countless works of literature. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vintage Spotlight: YOU

I've been working on a photo collection project this month, and it's probably the coolest book related thing I've done yet. The pictures we've received from authors so far are amazing, and the stories that go along so cool. I've decided to open up the feed to include bloggers/teachers/librarians as well, so if you have a fabulous picture scanned, or just a fabulous dress you want to show off, then send, send, send. More info below. I will let you know when the tumblr goes live!

To celebrate the release of the upcoming book, GOING VINTAGE, about a girl who gives up modern technology and lives like it’s 1962, we're sharing pictures of you! Or your grandma or Great Uncle Mortimer of basically whomever you want. For a few weeks before and after the March 26 release, we’ll be posting vintage pictures on our going vintage tumblr. “Vintage” can be a picture of you sporting your clam diggers, a shot of your mom at her senior prom, or even one of each. Pick a favorite time period and style, then write a quick paragraph about the picture, the person, the clothing, the memory… whatever you like. 

Send your awesome photos to Also include any websites/blogs/twitter pages you would like linked. We hope you’ll go vintage with us this spring!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Things you should do in Vegas. Episode: Gay Paree

Every once and awhile I write a blog post about things people should do in Vegas, like see Red Rock mountains or wake board Lake Mead or basically anything not involving The Strip. I am a true local and I want to prove to you there is SO MUCH MORE to my fair city.
The truth is, there is this road where I live with a whole bunch of hotels and casinos and odd attractions, and every once and awhile I drive down there, mostly to eat (my greatest overall motivation in life), sometimes to shop or meet friends. I rarely take my kids there because, I mean, self explanatory, right?
But my oldest daughter has always had this fascination with Paris. I don't know if it's all Eiffel tower lamps in the tween aisles at Target or fluffy poodles or the french bakery nearby that I occasionally (always) frequent. Whatever the reason, the ultimate reward for her as always been to go to the Paris Hotel and have dinner.
So a few weeks ago, the girls and I were at a birthday part on the other side of town. I missed my freeway entrance, and figured I'd drive them down the Strip for a bit, just to point out a couple hotels and share memories, like the time in high school when we snuck into the Tropicana Pool and had an impromptu party (midway through this story, I realized I should not be sharing this, and changed the ending to... "and then we found elderly people who needed help crossing the street and did that all night. Yay!) The girls saw the fake Eiffel tower and started begging to go there and I thought, you know, why not? There are so many tourist places here that locals never go to, because IT'S FOR TOURISTS, but I'd never been to the top either, so off we went.

Again, my oldest daughter, Rylee (8 and 3/4), had been talking about this for at least two years. I bought the surprisingly pricey tickets to ride the elevator upstairs, feeling like a hip, spontaneous mom as I curtailed my children across the fake bridge that led us to the fake monument. But just as we were about to get on the elevator, Rylee had a melt down. WE ARE GOING UP? THAT IS SO HIGH. WHAT IF WE FALL? WHAT IF A BIRD SMACKS US IN THE FACE AND WE DIE? Now, I'm an understanding Mom, but I'd already bought the tickets, so after much (little) sympathy, up we went. 
It was not a magical experience. I'd forgotten their coats, which on some winter Vegas days is allowed, but the chill up there was enough that I was getting judgemental looks. My 3-year-old screamed the whole way up. We got off the elevator, looped around, and were back on when the next one left. Ten minutes, tops. We promptly headed to a cafe to drink hot chocolate, and a traumatized Rylee said, "Well, that's not what I wanted it to be."
I guess it was a life lesson, because how many times do we romanticize something, only to be disappointed with the actual experience? Does it make the experience not worth experiencing? I don't think so. We talked about the real Paris versus fake Paris, real anywhere versus Vegas's version. And there is still some part that is similar. I mean, the tower was still half the size of the original. It took some courage to go up there. And just because our dreams might turn out the way we dreamed them, doesn't mean we shouldn't dream anyway.
Tomorrow, we're going to Red Rock instead. This is more my speed.

Bonus: Here's the video I did a couple of years ago when ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by the charming Stephanie Perkins first came out. When Rylee is older, I want to read this book with her and travel to The Real Paris. I want her to experience as much REAL as she can in life. But, for now, the Eiffel Tower chocolates were pretty decent :)