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Some nice reviews of Falling For You

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Waiting for professional reviews to come in is a bit nerve-wracking, to say the least.

Today I thought I'd share some of the nice things reviewers have said about my latest YA novel, Falling For You.

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates, a publication for librarians) says, "Schroeder has done a wonderful job creating teenage characters from a variety of backgrounds and using those backgrounds to influence their actions. This novel is ripe for use in a classroom or book club; discussion points include: healthy relationships, poetry as expression, relationship boundaries, and more. Readers looking for a realistic teen read saturated in emotion will love Falling For You."

Ripe for use in a classroom? That makes me as happy as this cute little guy!

School Library Journal says, "Rae is a well-drawn, strong-willed heroine, and her blossoming relationship with a homeschooled neighbor adds a sweetness and depth to the story."

Awesome! Sweetness, like a cupcake, right?

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books says, "As things get worse and worse for her, she [Rae] seeks ways to help herself and others that are faithful to her character; she's no Pollyanna, but she is determined that the messes that surround her on all sides won't define her, and she manages to convince herself and others that being honest about one's pain can bring compassion. It's a heartening message for readers in difficult situations, and the poems scattered throughout the text enhance the cathartic note of hope in hard times."

I love that she mentioned the hope that I believe is prevalent throughout in what is sometimes a pretty sad story. Hope like the rainbow represents, yes?

Thanks for letting me share. While it's a bit disappointing I didn't get reviewed by a couple of the big ones, at least I did get a few nice ones. I think I can breathe easy now.

Cover, cover, cover!!!

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Coming September 24, 2013!!!

What do you think?

I LOVE it! I love the purple and red and how the fun streamers make it feel like a celebration. And check out the charm bracelet that once again gives little hints about what's in the story.
So excited to share this with the readers who have gobbled up IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and SPRINKLES AND SECRETS. A huge thank you to Aladdin who said, yes, let's do a third book!

In January, I'll share more about what the book is about. But for now, we can gaze at the delicious little cakes and drool, haha.

One of my books coming to Brazil

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Look, look! Isn't it pretty?

This is THE DAY BEFORE, brazilian style. When I plug the title into google translator, it comes up as HAPPENED YESTERDAY.

If you speak portuguese, you can read all about it here. I believe it says it will be released October 11th, so not long at all!

I'm so excited - I've had people from Brazil e-mailing me over the years, asking when my books might be published there. These things aren't up to the author, so I'm thrilled it's finally happening!

Filling the well

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After working hard revising a manuscript in July, I'm taking this month off, mostly, from writing. I still have business stuff every couple of days I have to attend to, and I'm doing some research for a middle grade idea I have. But not a lot of writing happening these last days of summer, and it's been really nice.

I think it's so important for authors to take time to fill the well. To get out and do things and become inspired in whatever ways work for them. I do spend a lot of my free time reading and watching movies, because as I told my husband the other day, even when I'm taking a break, I love stories. Well-crafted stories inspire me. Always have, always will.

But I also love to get out and see the beauty that's in the world. Last weekend, my family did a fairly easy 3.5 mile hike that's about an hour from our house, in the beautiful Columbia Gorge. I'd heard about the hike from Eagle Crest to Punchbowl Falls, but we'd never made the trip, and I decided it was time. Wow, so glad we did! We'll definitely be back, and maybe go even further next time. Here are some pictures, for your viewing pleasure.

Hope you are having a great summer!

Hey, batter batter

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On the fourth of July, I played cornhole and got talked into subbing on a co-ed softball team. It was only the next day that I tried to remember the last time I played softball and realized it was probably about... 25 years ago (fastpitch, in high school).

So, the boys (my husband included) and I went to the school down the street to play catch and hit some balls around. I did all right. I was still nervous, but not as nervous as I was at first.

And then yesterday, game day, came around and all day, nervous was my middle name.

They ended up having enough women after all, so I only had to play in the field (right field, thank goodness) a couple of times. I fielded one ball, and while it could have been better, it wasn't too bad.

But the hitting. Oy. They played the wheel, which means everyone hit, whether you were playing in the field or not. I'm sure they are regretting this decision now. The first time, I hit a pop fly somewhere in the infield. I don't know exactly, because I did what you're supposed to do. I didn't watch the ball, I ran as hard as I could to first base. Everyone was impressed with how fast I ran, which is good. No one was impressed with that hit.

The second time, it was the last inning. Our team was behind. We had two outs. And it was my turn to bat. I told myself I would not swing. Chances were good I would walk, because it was the end of the game and he was probably getting tired, plus I'm short, which means my strike zone is small.

Well, when it got to be two balls and two strikes, I had to swing. I didn't want to strike out, and I was really afraid that's what would happen. The result?

Another pop fly in the infield. ARGH. First thing I thought of when I woke up? That stupid pop fly that ended the game.

I've been trying to figure out how to spin the game so I'm not looking at myself so negatively. And really, what I need to focus on, is that I went out there and played even though I was terrified. Yes, I played badly. But I played. And next time (if there is a next time - co-ed softball is WAY more intense than I thought it would be), hopefully I will play a little better and a little better after that.

I also think it was fun to be part of a team, all working toward something. It was fun to get out and do something really different, something I don't do every day. I've been working hard on revisions, spending hours every day at the computer, and for a good two hours, I did not think about writing ONCE!! When I'm walking, when I'm jogging, when I'm doing dishes or laundry, I almost always think about writing, even if I'm trying to take a break from the writing.

So, maybe I was a lousy softball player. I played! I survived!! Sometimes, when we stretch out of our comfort zone, that might be all we can say when it's over. But it's actually no small thing!


Answering the question: Why not in verse?

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As some of you have probably figured out, FALLING FOR YOU (coming from Simon Pulse January 2013) is my first published YA novel not written in verse.

Some readers haven't wanted to know - why? Why isn't this one written in a similar style to my other young adult novels?

Before I answer that question, a little backstory.

I've written four novels in verse:

(these are all stand-alone novels, by the way)

If you've read one or two of my books and were hoping for more, I hope you'll check out the other ones already published. If you can't find them on the bookstore shelves, you can always ask them to order for you.

With each of those books, the verse helped to create an atmosphere that I couldn't get with regular prose.

When I wrote my first YA novel, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, I feel like the verse chose me rather than me choosing the verse. That's the way the story wanted to be told. I tried to fight it, honestly, because I was so scared of doing something different. But it was useless - the story poured out of me in verse and I finally decided to go with it and see what happened. And now, I'm so glad I did!

FALLING FOR YOU has a lot going on, and is told in kind of an unconventional way. That is, most of the story is told in flashbacks, alternating with brief segments of present day every once in a while. I think it can be really tricky, and maybe even off-putting to a reader, to do more than one unconventional thing in a novel. Even doing one unconventional thing is risky! Now that I've done this for a while, I am all about taking risks and trying new things. That's how we grow and improve as authors, I think. And if the risk works and works well, the payoff can be huge. But we also have to keep our readers in mind and understand that if we go too far with the risk-taking, they may not want to follow along.

Because I am playing with the timeline a bit, and doing something different there, I'm afraid trying to also write the story in verse would have just been too much. That is, too much for me as a writer, but even more importantly, too much for you as a reader.

I still worked hard to make the story accessible and appealing to reluctant readers. The chapters are fairly short and my editor had the brilliant idea to incorporate some poetry into the story as well.  So, my readers who have read every single book and are dying for more verse will get a little bit in this book as well.

The thing is, not every idea is going to work in verse. I happen to have had four ideas in a row that worked in verse. This time, the story of a girl who works in a flower shop and has something terrible happen to her wanted, needed I would probably argue, to be told in a different way. As an author, it's my job to put my needs/wants aside and do what is best for the story.

I hope when you read the book, you find it a suspenseful, surprising, and emotional read - like I've tried to do with all of my YA novels.

That's my ultimate goal, and what I want to give readers, every time, regardless of how the story is told.

ALA Recap - Better late than never

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I know. ALA was a long time ago. By now, in a world where everything is posted on-line as it happens, if you wait a week to post about it, most people have forgotten about it. But I did this crazy thing after ALA. I took a vacation! A real, honest-to-goodness vacation. I did have my computer, but blogging during vacation time did not seem right. After all, when you are in Maui, you should be on beaches like this, not on the computer!

This is part of Black Sand Beach - the morning we were there we had the
place to ourselves. It was awesome!

So, back to ALA! I only did one day, but what a day it was...

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early to get ready for the YALSA coffee klatch. I love this event! Every four minutes, authors go to a different table and talk with a different group of librarians. It's like speed-dating, but with librarians. Cool, right? I did it for the first time at ALA in 2009, in Chicago. I loved hanging out in the green room before hand, where all the authors gathered. I got to meet Sarah Dessen and E. Lockhart that year. And Richard Peck! The green room is a fun place to be, trust me!

I was very disappointed I didn't get to do the green room this year. See, I didn't get to do it because I was late. I was late because I got lost. It sort of traumatized me, honestly. I found myself in a not-so-nice part of Anaheim, because I'd gone in the wrong direction, and when I went into a convenience store and called for a cab, I was told it'd be a 30 minute wait. Knowing that probably meant it'd actually be an hour wait, there was no way I could go that route. There was nothing else to do but hoof it back the way I'd come and then on to the hotel from there.

Hoof it I did. I ran through the streets of Anaheim. Literally. In tears, and in my pink dress. And flip flops I'd put on at the last second, thank goodness, stuffing my wedges in my bag to put on when I arrived. I wouldn't have been able to run if I'd worn my wedges. My prayers were answered when I came upon one of the ALA shuttles running around town. I got on and the driver took us to the convention center. Though the event wasn't at the convention center, but he was so nice and let me off so I could directly get on the bus taking people to the Hyatt. There were only 8-12 librarians on that shuttle, but they were ALL going to the coffee klatch, like me, and they were ALL late, like me! They were the nicest librarians EVER and told me it would be fine. And it was. I got there at 9:10, just as the authors were walking in to be seated.


I don't know why I'm blogging about this, I told everyone I saw about my traumatic morning, and I'm sure I will not forget it as long as I live.

Okay, on to much more important things than my terrible sense of direction!

Angela Frederick, a librarian from Nashville, TN, snapped this picture of me when I was at her table and shared it on twitter. I happened to notice a couple of Morris award stickers on badges and couldn't help but mention my friend, L.K. Madigan, who won the Morris award a couple of years ago. Turns out Angela was on that particular committee, and got to spend some time with Lisa. So, for a minute, we talked about sweet Lisa. That was just one table of many - the 50 minutes went by in a blink of an eye!

Not sure what I'm saying, but I'm pretty sure I'm thinking
I'm so happy to not be lost anymore.

After the coffee klatch, I met up with the fabulous Jessi Kirby, whose YA novels I LOVE, like whoa! And now I can say I love Jessi as much as her books - so sweet! We walked the exhibit hall for a bit until my dear friend Lindsey Leavitt, arrived. Here we are at Lindsey's signing later that day, at the Disney booth (Lindsey was signing her third PRINCESS FOR HIRE book, A FAREWELL TO CHARMS, which I just finished reading. SO GOOD!).

Does it get more fabulous than this? I think not.
Wait. Unless we could find that adorable Corey Whaley...

Yes, here we are with the Printz award winner, Corey Whaley, who wrote the amazing WHEN THINGS COME BACK. Fortunately we didn't get stuck in those doors when they all slammed shut because of a fire alarm. It was like a scene out of a horror movie, I'm telling you. Quite fortunate someone didn't get hurt.

I was sad I didn't get to hear Corey's Printz speech, which was Monday night, but I believe it will be on-line at some point. He was excited about his speech, not nervous at all. I want to be Corey when I grow up.

I signed books at the S&S booth and people waited in line and bought books in order to get an ARC of my upcoming YA novel, FALLING FOR YOU. THANK YOU to everyone who came to see me!!

Here is a picture of me and Lena (her blog is here) - a sweet blogger from Texas who said she'd waited 3 years to meet me. Yay, we met! And she's awesome.

Wow, Lena, I seem to be squeezing your arm extremely hard.
Hope I didn't leave bruises! I was just so happy to see you

And next is a picture of me and Kelsey (her blog is here), another awesome YA blogger.

There were many others, but these were the pictures I saw on twitter, and I know Kelsey and Lena well enough to ask if I could borrow their pictures for my post. I'm so appreciative of everyone who came by to buy books, get ARCs and say hi. Again, thank you!!!!!

She loves cupcakes like me. We look like cupcake lovers, don't we?

I ran into MG authors Sheela Chari and Mike Jung at one point, but alas, I have no pictures of them. I had met Mike before, and I'm super excited about his upcoming MG novel, GEEKS, GIRLS AND SECRET IDENTITIES. It was great to meet Sheela after all these years! VANISHED is the name of her wonderful MG mystery.

Later that day, I met up with a bunch of people for cocktails and got to chat with one of my favorite librarians, Sara Bean Thompson (her blog is here).

CHASING BROOKLYN is a Missouri Gateway award nominee
thanks, in part, to Sara's support! But I liked her even before that. :)

After that, I had dinner with the always sweet and awesome Shannon Messenger, whose books KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES (MG) and LET THE SKY FALL (YA) are not out yet but are already creating LOTS of buzz. Pretty sure it won't be long and I will have to make an appointment with Shannon's publicist in order to spend time with her. I predict big things for her. Big. Things! Neither of us took a picture, dang it. I'm pretty sure it was because I was starving after running a marathon earlier that morning trying to get to the coffee klatch I was late for.

I only picked up a few ARCs, but I got the one I wanted the most. I teared up as I held it in my hands. Yes, this is the book by Bridget Zinn, a Portland YA-writer friend who lost her battle with cancer last year. I can't wait to read it.

I'll just end this post by saying - thank you YA librarians, for all you do! I'm honored to have spent a day at your conference and to have met so many of you!!

ALA, here I come!

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It is no secret that I LOVE librarians and everything they do to promote literature and put books in the hands of readers.

And I have to admit, anytime I get to attend the big librarian conference known as ALA, I am SO HAPPY!

This year, I'll be at ALA in Anaheim on Sunday only. I'm doing the YA coffee klatch in the morning, going from table to table talking to a bunch of librarians in the course of an hour. The first year I did this, I was in the green room before hand with some of my YA heroes like Sarah Dessen, E. Lockhart, Libba Bray, and many others and it was so weird to be there alongside them. I introduced myself to Sarah and said, I'm the one who comments on your blog all the time and loves Friday Night Lights as much as you do. Yeah, when all else fails, talk about a TV show, that's my philosophy.
Even more exciting than the coffee klatch, however, is that I'll be signing Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) of FALLING FOR YOU at 1:00 in the Simon and Schuster booth.

FALLING FOR YOU doesn't come out until January, 2013, so this is a chance for librarians and bloggers to read the book early. Eep! Exciting and kind of anxiety-producing!!

I know at the IRA conference, S&S was doing this thing where you had to buy a previous title for $5.00 and then you'd get the ARC for free. I don't know what they have planned, if they'll do that with THE DAY BEFORE and FALLING FOR YOU, because these things aren't up to me, but I do know that usually there are very few ARCs of my books to be had, so I'm super excited they are offering these up at this conference.

So if you will be at ALA, I hope you'll come and see me! Even if you don't want an ARC, stop by and say hi. I'll have shiny new bookmarks you can have, if you want one or two or ten.

Sunday, June 24th, 1:00, S&S booth - Hope to see you then!


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Lisa Schroeder, Author for Kids and Teens

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February 2013



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