Information Please


Photo courtesy of Flickr Commons, (c) pjern (The Indianapolis Public Library atrium)

I enter the building and nearly wilt in relief. It must be nearly a 100 degrees outside. At least it’s cool in here. I soak in the blessedly cool AC as I get my bearings and approach the front desk.

It’s pretty much every big-city library.  This one’s clean and modern, but otherwise it’s all just stacks of books and scattered tables with people reading.

The Information desk is well-marked with a large metallic sign that scrolls around the ceiling above it and says: I N F O R M A T I O N all around it. The lady at the desk is turned away, facing her computer.

“Excuse me?” I ask. Really, I just need one thing: answers — in a book maybe. Surely they can help me here. I feel like I’m going crazy.

She spins to face me, a pretty woman with a blond side braid and a smile of greeting. “May I help you?”

“Listen, weird things have been happen–”

She flickers out of view,. Time stutters, skipping forward a sec, then back. She’s there again still smiling, her eyebrows lifted in a pleasant expression. I glance around and it’s the same thing, a faint little flicker of time. Is anyone really here?

It’s happening again. I’m not sure what’s real any more.

There’s nothing wrong with my eyes. I’ve always had perfect vision. And there’s nothing wrong with my mind. There can’t be.

I swallow my feelings of unease and ask, “I need a book.”

“Right this way,” she says, and I follow her into the stacks. She seems to know without asking what I’m looking and despite the little time-flicker-thingy, I’m relieved. Finally, someone’s going to help me.

* * *


The book I’ve been reading is WIRED FOR STORY by Lisa Cron. Good stuff! 🙂

The first line of the first page is:

“In the second it takes you to read this sentence, your senses are showering you with over 11,000,000 pieces of information.”


Interview with Ellen Booraem about her latest release Texting the Underworld

Hi, all,

I’m here today with our own Ellen Booraem to chat with her about her new book Texting the Underworld.

But first, here’s a bit about Ellen and her book:

Texting the Underworld by Ellen Booraem

Texting the Underworld
A fantasy for ages 10 and older
Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers

Texting the Underworld

Conor O’Neill always thought spiders—and his little sister, Glennie—were the worst kind of monsters life had in store. That was before an inexperienced young banshee named Ashling showed up in his bedroom.

The arrival of a banshee, as Conor soon learns, means only one thing: Someone in his family is going to die. Not only will Ashling not tell him who it is, it turns out that she’s so fascinated by the world above that she insists on going to middle school with him.

The more Ashling gets involved in his life, the harder it becomes to keep her identity a secret from his friends and teachers—and the more Conor worries about his family. If he wants to keep them safe, he’s going to have to do the scariest thing he’s ever done: Pay a visit to the underworld.

If only there were an app for that.

booraem--author pic Ellen Booraem’s Texting the Underworld, a middle-grade fantasy about a scaredy-cat South Boston boy and a determined young banshee, hit bookstores in August (Penguin/Dial Books for Young Readers). Her earlier middle-grade fantasies are SMALL PERSONS WITH WINGS (Penguin/DBYR, 2011) and THE UNNAMEABLES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2008). A Massachusetts native and former weekly newspaper editor and reporter, she lives in coastal Maine with an artist, a dog, and a cat, one of whom is a practicing curmudgeon. She’s online at, and also blogs at The Enchanted Inkpot ( and Scene13 (

If you were headed into the Underworld for, say, a week, what three things would you want to have along?

  • The head of a jackal (so everyone would think I was the Egyptian death god Anubis and let me in without a hassle). (Anubis might catch on, though.)
  • A sweater (it gets cold underground).
  • My cell phone (in case they get a signal).

What’s your favorite scene?

The one that was the most fun to write was when Conor, his sister Glennie, and the young banshee Ashling sneak Grump (Conor’s grandfather) out of the hospital. Ashling and all the humans are invisible, but Grump’s wheelchair is not. Confusion ensues.

What was the hardest scene for you to write?

The one with the biggest oog factor for me involves a bunch of spiders, including a tarantula that climbs onto Conor’s hand and moves up his arm. I hate spiders. My skin was crawling the whole time I was writing, and I kept checking to make sure nothing was creeping up my back.

LENA (shivering): My skin would be crawling too! 🙂 Thanks for chatting with me today, Ellen! Texting the Underworld sounds amazing and fun. (Thanks in advance for the spidery nightmares. ;))

What’s your favorite cupcake?

My favorite cupcake is devil’s food with fudge frosting and sprinkles.

LENA: Mmmmmmm…. Sounds Yummy. Sending one your way! Also, I found this one, which looks perfect for texting:

iPhone cupcake

iPhone cupcake (photo courtesy of clevercupcakes @ Flickr Commons)

A question to part with: Besides spiders, what creepy and/or underworldly things (or books) keep you guys up at night? 🙂

Summer Reads: Lisa Amowitz’s BREAKING GLASS — a gritty-ghostly-gothic contemporary YA

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz

Breaking Glass by Lisa Amowitz
Now Available!


On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, he’s not sure whether they’re real or if he’s losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.


BREAKING GLASS is a gripping, emotionally-raw story, which unfolds with the force of Lisa Amowitz’s unflinching storytelling. The themes here are darker than what I normally read, to be honest, but I really enjoyed it. At times reality-bending, BREAKING GLASS is also heartbreakingly real.

This gritty YA mystery has some really creepy supernatural elements and explores some disturbing & mature issues. This is not a “comfortable” book or a “sweet” book, but it’s amazing. I found the pov character, Jeremy Glass, to be deeply flawed, but also sympathetic. I was routing for him–even yelling at him at times!–but always on his side. I kept flipping through the pages greedily, wanting to know what was going to happen next.


BREAKING GLASS would be a great (creepy) book for one of those summer thunderstorm days when you’re curled up in a cozy armchair (praying your house doesn’t get hit by lightning lol).

“Three Things & a Cupcake” Interview with our own Leigh Hershkovich

Lena Goldfinch here:

Over on my personal blog, I sporadically post author interviews under the theme “Three Things & a Cupcake.” I post everything sort of sporadically over there, actually. (Sorry, World! ;))

Three Things about Leigh and her debut novel, Shattered Illusions

Shattered Illusions by Leigh Hershkovich

Leigh’s cover reveal happens to be today, so look what I get to share!!!

  1. I came up for the idea behind Shattered Illusions while I was in a car traveling with my family from the North of Israel to the South. I had a stomach flu, and between that and in the immense heat, I was a bit delusional. I was reading a fantastic book called The Angel’s Game when the idea suddenly struck me like a bolt of lightening. It took me four months to convince myself that the idea was valid and not based on the other realm I found myself in due to the pain and the heat.
  2. I started writing Shattered Illusions when I was seventeen and completed it three weeks after my twentieth birthday.
  3. The characters of Shattered Illusions are loosely based on people that I had met throughout my childhood.

My favorite fantasy cupcake would be a Fountainhead themed cupcake complete with mini-figures of the characters and blue prints of some of their creations.

Lena again:

Wow, the story of your inspiration for Shattered Illusions is amazing. Also, that you started it at as a teen is impressive (but then teens are amazing–a well-known fact). Finishing it proves you’re a professional writer. And finding a great publisher is icing on the…cupcake. (Sorry, it happens. ;))

Okay, I rather foolishly bragged to Leigh that I had once found an Edgar-Allan-Poe-themed cupcake for an interview, so I suspect she tried to stump me. Actually, I admit, the vast photo database of the interwebs failed me, just this once. I found a tribute cake to Ayn Rand, but nary a cupcake. (I know, right??) But, not to be deterred, I bring you my own version of Fountainhead Cupcake…

Lena's Fountainhead Cupcake

Lena’s Fountainhead Cupcake–get it??
(Photo credits: Book image (Signet), Cupcake (Kristin_A, Meringue Bake Shop, Flickr Creative Commons))

Thanks for playing along, Leigh! I wish you all the best with your new release (squee!!).
Learn more about Leigh & her books at or visit her Goodreads page.

How Do You Keep Going Until You Find Your Luck?

“Some writers hate the idea that luck plays a big part in success, but it does. But I’ve found that the harder you work, the luckier you get.”
–Joe Konrath


My path to publication began with a New Year’s Resolution. It went something like this: I think I’ll write a book this year (to the tune of: la la la, won’t that be fun?? ;)) At the time I had no idea how much work it was going to be. I just knew I’d always wanted to write a book & I finally had an idea for a story tickling at the back of my brain.

It was a challenging year, but I wrote the book. I finished! In fact, since I was very much learning to write on the fly, I rewrote it several times. It won some awards…but never sold. Flash forward a dozen years and I’ve written ten books (depending on how you count all those rewrites and partial books ;)).

In that time, I’ve published one haiku, one YA short story, and a novella. 🙂 On the surface that could be very discouraging. All those books. All that effort. Was it time wasted?

No. I learned a lot.

  •  Learning is never a waste of time.

So I want to talk a little about how do you keep going until you find your luck?

I can’t tell you how many roadblocks and detours I’ve come across on my writing journey. I can tell you there have been a lot. I’ve reinvented myself several times and changed genres. (Or perhaps not so much reinventing as evolving as my interests changed.) All the while, I’ve tried to keep learning and am always trying to stretch myself. I think that’s what Mr. Konrath was referring to in his quote on luck: You can’t control luck, but you can increase your odds of success by working hard.

  • You certainly can’t succeed if you give up.

Here are a few other things that have helped me keep going, even through times of discouragement:

  • Take yourself seriously.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously.

What do I mean by that? I don’t think of writing as a hobby. This is my job. I work hard at it. I finish my projects. I take myself seriously.

But I also try not to take myself too seriously. Every disappointment can feel like the end of the world, and I have to remind myself that it’s not. The most important things in life are the people in our lives: our family and friends. The kind of people we are. A rejection from an agent or editor (or a bad review!) is just a blip.

  • So that person didn’t connect with my story-I don’t like everything I read either.
  • I have readers out there somewhere, and, with time, I’ll connect with them. 

So I brush myself off and keep going. 🙂

  • Be willing to reinvent yourself.

My goal all along was to publish novels with a traditional publisher. And not just any traditional publisher. I was kind of snobby(?) and wanted to publish with a Big Publisher. Part of not taking myself too seriously was being willing to try a small press. That’s how I got my first novella published. And, you know what? It was a great experience. I learned a lot. I’ve tried the traditional route for my novels and have had many “close calls,” but in the end those deal didn’t come together. I could have continued on with querying and waiting. I could have given up. 

(I did consider it–there were some tough moments–but, honestly, how could I give up something I love so much??)


April 2013

Instead, I decided to consider my options. I wanted my books published, I wanted to connect with readers, and I wasn’t getting any younger. LOL So when the rights to my novella came back to me, I took a chance and self-published it . And I LOVED IT! So, yet again, I’ve reinvented myself. Next month, as an indie author, I’m releasing my first novel, AIRE. (See my new cover?! Squee!! Thank you, Lisa A!)

I couldn’t be happier about  taking this new path. Will luck find me? Oh, who knows! 😉 I do know I’ve worked hard and will continue to work hard. I’ll take myself seriously (but not too seriously), and I’ll enjoy the journey. 

Do you have a mantra or quote that helps you get through the tough times? Please share in the comments!


Updating to add: Enter to win a free paperback copy at Goodreads!

A Little Wordilicious <3 for You Romantic Souls Out There (aka a February is for Valentine’s Day)

Aire by Lena Goldfinch

AIRE (a sweeping romantic YA fantasy) by Lena Goldfinch

Ah, love.

Ah, Valentine’s Day.

Perfect timing for a little ❤ from Annalisia to Jovanni.



Q: So, if you were creating a word cloud for your special Valentine–fantasy or otherwise–what gushy (YA-friendly ;)) words would have to be on your list?? For the sake of this post, let’s say exactly FOUR words (one for each chamber of the human heart?? :)).

Bold Resolutions, Involving Danger, a Secret Gift of Visions, and a Legend Come to Life


I don’t know of these resolutions of which you speak, but I do know something about resolve. I have resolved to don the plain cloak of a washerwoman & leave these palace walls. From the moment I enter the city, I’ll no longer be Annalisia, but simply Anna, a girl.

I’ll search for my missing cloth maiden, who has been taken. It should have been me after all, a mistake on the part of that man, il mostro, who boarded our royal vessel, and nearly killed two of my guards. (For who else but a monster would do such a thing?)

And I will use my gift of visions, no matter the danger to myself, and even though my grandmother, the queen, has forbidden it–even though I love her dearly and long for nothing more than to please her.

But I will never, under no circumstances, allow myself to lose my heart to Jovanni Septimus, even if he is a Legend come to life.

AIRE, by Lena Goldfinch

Coming Spring 2013
(Click image to add on Goodreads)