Friday, November 1, 2013

My Talking Head

I was recently invited to participate in the Career Girls website, talking about writing and the business of being an author. If you want to know more about me than you ever thought possible, hop on over to the Career Girls website for the video clips. This site talks to girls about different careers and how to get where you want to be and I'm honored to be part of it.

Here I am talking about how I ended up as a writer and why it's OK if you don't know what you want to do with your life:

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inheritance Giveaway!


  The triangular spaceship hovered motionless in the sky above Reese Holloway's house, as inscrutable as a black hole. It had seemed like a good idea when they were inside: to tell the truth about what happened to them at Area 51. It didn't seem like such a good idea now.
Reese and David are not normal teens—not since they were adapted with alien DNA by the Imria, an extraterrestrial race that has been secretly visiting Earth for decades. Now everyone is trying to get to them: the government, the Imria, and a mysterious corporation that would do anything for the upper hand against the aliens.
Beyond the web of conspiracies, Reese can't reconcile her love for David with her feelings for her ex-girlfriend Amber, an Imrian. But her choice between two worlds will play a critical role in determining the future of humanity, the Imria's place in it, and the inheritance she and David will bring to the universe.
In this gripping sequel to Adaptation, Malinda Lo brings a thoughtful exploration of adolescence, sexuality, and "the other" to a science fiction thriller that is impossible to put down.

INHERITANCE is finally here! I couldn't wait to get my hands on this sequel to ADAPTATION, so I jumped at the chance to read an advance copy. It takes the story in the first book so much further and answers so many questions, both about Reese, Amber and David as well as the world as a whole. Will Reese and David find out what happened to them in Area 51? Will Reese and Amber rekindle their relationship, or will she stay with David? And why do the Imria look so much like us? The answers will make you think long after the last page has turned.

I love this series and I know you will too. To celebrate the release of this awesome story, I'm giving away a hardcover copy right here on the blog.  If you can't wait (and I don't blame you) you can find both books at major bookstores and online at Barnes and Noble, Indiebound and Amazon.  Good luck!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Advice for Young Writers

My own young writer, a few years ago...

 During the school year, I help out at a book club for 9th graders at my high school. Many of them are aspiring writers and I get a lot of questions about publishing a book as soon as possible. I love their enthusiasm and my first reaction is: great! And then my second reaction is: wait.

I got another email today from someone who knows a 14 year-old who is a great writer and wants to know if any publishers would be interested in publishing her stories, so I figured I'd write down my thoughts about young writers and publication.

I always want to encourage young writers to keep going - keep writing anything that pops into their heads. Write stories, write poems, write screenplays. One of my biggest regrets is that while I liked to read and my teachers always said I was a good writer, I didn't start writing stories until I was in my late thirties. If I'd listened and started when I was younger, I would have that much more time to write that many more books. I love it when teenagers are passionate about what they're doing and I never want to do anything to discourage that. But I don't think that most young teenagers are ready for publication.

One problem is their lack of experience. I had a 9th grader ask me recently how to write a love scene when she's never even kissed a boy. My answer was to wait until she'd had some of these experiences. While you can leave a lot of things in a manuscript to the imagination, in a many of cases, there's no substitution for experience - and that's something that you just can't rush.

No matter how amazing your first novel is, given a few years and some more experience writing and you'll probably see all of the flaws. If you ask most any writer, the first novel they published wasn't the first novel they wrote (and if it was, we don't hang out with them). We all have what we call 'drawer novels' - books that were written to be put in a drawer. Just because a story isn't meant to be published doesn't mean they don't have a purpose. Each and every story you write teaches you so much about story and characterization - things that have to be practiced to be improved, and you never know where a story will lead. We just sold a thriller called THE THIRD TWIN to Delacorte that was a total rewrite of a story that I'd first written years ago. One of the biggest problems with self-publishing is that any writer can finish their first novel and post it online in a matter of hours - and once it's there, it never truly disappears. A cringe-worthy thought for most of us.

I often hear about a teenager who is an exceptional writer - full of passion and maturity beyond his or her years. I remember helping out at a writing workshop and reading some paragraphs from a young writer that were just amazing and I knew that she had a long career ahead of her. No matter how mature the writing, most teenagers (heck, most adults) can't handle the emotional roller coaster that is the world of publishing. Even the best book out there is subject to criticism and rejection - from agents, from editors and from the reading public. Every time you turn around, there is someone out there saying you suck. It can be difficult for even the most seasoned veteran to keep going in the face of all the negativity that gets flung at them and I can't imagine a young person coming out of the experience unscathed.

If you are (or know) a young writer, my best advice is to stop thinking about publication and start thinking about perfecting your craft. Read everything you can get your hands on. Don't like sci-fi? Go ask your librarian for her favorite sci-fi novels and spend a few days reading them. Write as much and as often as possible. Seek out creative writing classes - many libraries offer workshops for young writers. Join a writing group, either online or in person. There are different groups for different kinds of writing - if you're interested in writing for children or YA, SCBWI and VerlaKay's message boards are two of the best. Find other writers who know what they're doing to critique your work and give you pointers. Go to conferences and book signings to meet people who are doing what you want to do.

Most of all don't be in such a hurry and don't give up. When you're ready to be published, the world will be waiting.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Third Twin!

After lots of secret-keeping time, I'm so happy that I can finally talk about my new book The Third Twin! This is the announcement that appeared in Publisher's Weekly Bookshelf this afternoon:

Wendy Loggia at Delacorte has bought a YA novel called The Third Twin by Dirty Little Secrets author C.J. Omololu. In the story, identical twins invent a third sister as a cover to date and dump hot but temporary boys, only to find themselves stalked and impersonated by the sister who doesn't exist, while their ex-dates turn up dead. Publication is scheduled for 2015; Sarah Davies at the Greenhouse Literary Agency did the deal for North American rights. 

 To elaborate just a little, here is the pitch that my agent sent out (because it's better than anything I can come up with):
 We have three basic rules for being Alicia-always wear the diamond pendant, never sleep with any of the guys, and after five dates, they're history, no matter how hot they are. At this moment, I'm especially glad for rule number three because this particular guy seems determined to break rule number two.

Identical twins Lexi and Ava have always been close, despite being very different. Lexi relentlessly pursues academic perfection and an Ivy League future. Ava is a party girl, with an extraordinary ability to reel in the guys.  But there's a third member of the tripod - Alicia, the triplet sister they invented as kids and never quite abandoned. Alicia is Ava's cover for dating hot but temporary boys. Boys whom Lexi - in the guise of Alicia - gets the unenviable task of dumping once Ava's finished with them.
 Lexi can't stand being Alicia. She knows it's time to pension her off; they're grown up now and Alicia should be consigned to history. And yet Ava persuades Lexi to give Alicia one final outing . . .
 When Casey, Alicia's last date, turns up brutally murdered, all evidence starts pointing to her - a girl who doesn't even exist. A persona whom Lexi simply took on for one traumatic evening. But now Lexi realizes she's being shadowed by someone who seems to know her every move. A car in the wrong place. A red jacket she never bought. An appointment she never made . . . . The ultimate case of identity theft? A nightmare stalker? Whatever, Lexi is going to take the fall for murder.
 Only one person can help Lexi clear her name and discover the truth - Zane, her oldest and dearest guy friend. But so often, people are not quite what they seem. Even, perhaps, her twin sister Ava . . .

I'm so excited to work with Wendy and be part of the amazing authors at Delacorte. I really love this story and I'm thrilled it found such a wonderful home. More to come as things develop!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"The best part about being Akhet is that you remember everything. The worst part is that you forget nothing." 

With every new vision from her past lives, Cole understands more about who she is in this life…and her love for Griffon grows as quickly as her unique Akhet abilities. Able to sense people’s innermost emotions, Cole is a much needed asset to the Akhet’s worldwide plan. Then she meets a young millionaire named Drew who reveals a startling connection to Cole’s life in Elizabethan England. His intense desire to restore their past confuses and excites Cole but his affections complicate her plans with both Griffon and the Akhet. When her best friend Rayne is endangered by Cole’s carelessness, Cole must find a way to save Rayne and prevent the Akhet’s plans from falling into the hands of people out to destroy the world. Only by trusting in herself and her newfound abilities can Cole fight for her friend, her love, and her rightful destiny.

 I'm so thrilled that INTUITION is out in the world today! It's been getting some great reviews - you can read what I Heart Y.A. Fiction had to say and the review from  Into the Hall of Books to see what some other people have had to say. One of my favorite things is how great the two books look together on the shelf - you can almost see Cole's story developing on the spines:

As always, I love supporting my local indies, but if you don't have a bookstore close by, you can always get it at Barnes and Noble, Indiebound or Amazon. Thanks so much for reading and I hope you enjoy reading Cole's story as much as I enjoyed writing it! 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Today I'm celebrating the release of Daisy Whitney's new contemporary YA novel WHEN YOU WERE HERE. I was lucky enough to get to read this in its very early incarnation and loved it then - it's absolutely amazing now!

Filled with humor, raw emotion, a strong voice, and a brilliant dog named Sandy Koufax, When You Were Here explores the two most powerful forces known to man-death and love. Daisy Whitney brings her characters to life with a deft touch and resonating authenticity.
Danny's mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn't know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom's property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother's memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.

While I think you should all run out run now and grab a copy, I'm going to give away one shiny hardcover copy to a lucky person. Just enter the rafflecopter contest by this Friday, June 7th at midnight EST- good luck! 

(Because several of the lucky winners of my last contest were international, I'm now broke. Unfortunately, this contest is open to domestic entries only.)

Friday, May 31, 2013

Second Chances - A Giveaway of INTUITION

In case you didn't win a copy of TRANSCENDENCE, my friend and awesome blurber Malinda Lo is giving away an ARC of INTUITION over on her blog. Click through and enter - as far as I know, this is one of the first giveaways before the book comes out on June 18th. Good luck!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

And The Winners Are....

The five winners of the signed TRANSCENDENCE paperbacks are:

Rachel Grinti
Kristin Bombard
Amanda Pedrys

All of the winners have been sent an email from me - congratulations!!!! Thanks so much to everyone who entered and said such nice things about the book, I really appreciate the support.

I'll be holding another giveaway soon - this time I'll giveaway hot-off-the-presses hardback copies of INTUITION, so stay tuned. Keep checking back and fingers crossed!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

TRANSCENDENCE Paperback Giveaway

TRANSCENDENCE is now out in paperback! I loved Griffon and Cole on the original cover and I'm happy to say that they're back in the paperback version - looks the same, just a bit smaller and lighter (and less expensive).  But wait...there's more. In the back of the paperback copy you'll see:

...the first chapter of INTUITION which is releasing on June 18th. Voya recently said , "this series is a must for any library with a popular paranormal collection."

To celebrate, I'm giving away 5 signed copies with bookmarks (international). All you have to do is enter using this easy Rafflecopter link before midnight EST on May 30th  a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don't want to wait, you can always buy the book at your local bookseller, Indiebound, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon

Thanks for entering and good luck!

Our Family Doesn't 'Fit'

I've been thinking about doing a blog post on this topic for awhile, and tonight my son found this article on the Huffington Post about a father who was followed home from Walmart by the police because someone at the store thought he might have kidnapped his biracial daughters. According to the article:
   ...the customer was concerned because they saw the children with your husband and he didn't think that they fit," Keana told the news station. "And I said, ‘What do you mean by they don't fit?’ And I was trying to get her to say it. And she says, ‘Well, they just don't match up.’”

People have pointed out that the customers and cops were just acting out of concern for the kids - that in the light of recent kidnappings, they wanted to make sure that nothing fishy was going on. All well and good, except this still comes from a place of thinking that all families should 'match' - Mom, Dad and the kids should all be one race and look the same.

This makes me crazy on so many levels. As a family, we don't fit either. The most disingenuous thing that anyone can say to me is "Oh yeah, I see the resemblance". You do? I've known my kids for 16 and 13 years and I never have. Neither of my kids looks like either one of us - I could have phoned them in for all the family resemblance we have, and that's fine with us. 

When my oldest was born, he had brown curly hair, tan skin and big brown eyes. He never looked anything like me, and most of the time I didn't think much about it. 

When my youngest was born three years later, the only thing we were sure of was that he'd have brown eyes and brown hair - we'd both taken basic genetics and knew that those were dominant features. "Ha!" says the Universe.

 The funny thing is, he's the spitting image of my husband if you look closely - except almost nobody ever does. My son was a few weeks old and very cranky so my husband decided to take him for a walk in his stroller. He was walking near our local supermarket and the baby was screaming, so my husband picked him up and noticed everyone getting really quiet. He got very uncomfortable and raced back home, sure he was going to get picked up for kidnapping someone's little white child (foreshadowing the HuffPo article above).
The family a few years back...

Nothing that drastic has ever happened, but I was always surprised who 'got' it and who didn't. I was with my youngest son at the grocery store when he was in his infant seat. A nice little old Caucasian lady came up to us and complimented his white blonde hair and green eyes. As I said thanks, she leaned over and said "You know, the way things are going, we won't have any natural blonde babies soon." I was so stunned I couldn't find the words for any of the great comebacks that hit me half an hour later.

Another outing at about the same time, an African American woman was standing in line behind the two of us when she leaned over and asked "Is his father Yoruba?" I was shocked and said that yes, he was (Yoruba is his Nigerian ancestry) and asked how she could tell. She replied that he looked just like a Yoruba prince. I've found this over and over again - Caucasians often miss that my kids are biracial, while African American people never do. Is this because African American people tend to see beyond skin color to the underlying features? That the term African American applies to a variety of skin tones and hair textures (going back to the 'one drop' rule)? I don't know, but it's pretty universally true.

We live in Northern California, where different family structures are more the norm but we still get it from time to time. We have friends who have adopted and friends who have biracial kids and everyone has a story about people thinking their kids don't fit. I've had a friend asked repeatedly where she 'got' her adopted Asian daughter. An African American friend is constantly mistaken for the nanny of her biracial kids. My kids have heard "Is that your Mom (or Dad)?" so many times, they don't even react anymore.

In 2013 and beyond, I can only imagine (hope?) that these questions will get asked less and less. Modern Family is one of my very favorite shows, and they recently had a plotline about this subject that was really great. Cam and Mitchell were worried that their adopted daughter Lily wasn't like either of them until they saw her dressed up in crazy clothes (Cam) and organizing her Play-Doh by color (Mitch) and realized that even if you don't give your kids your genetics (or they get scrambled along the way), they're still part of you.

I didn't give my sons my hair or eyes, but I gave them both my hayfever and a love of music. My oldest is a high-strung perfectionist just like I am and my youngest has his dad's great singing voice. We're raising them to be good, tolerant, respectful people who will hopefully leave this world a better place for their presence in it.

And to me, that's more important than handing down the family nose any day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm Tumbling (Badly)

So...just in time for Yahoo to corrupt (ahem, improve) Tumblr, I've decided to give it a try. You all are warned, I'm not very good at it yet. I'm still not sure what to post, what to reblog or who to follow, but you're welcome to join me over there. I'm at . If you REALLY want to interact with me, I'm on Twitter way too much, so feel free to follow me over there too:

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Sweet Sight for Valentines Day!

Know what that is? That is the sweetest sight this writer can see - a completely filled story board for my next book. I'm working on a major rewrite (which for me, usually involves chopping off the entire second half and starting over) and have finally gotten all of the plot points down. Now that I know what happens and where, it's just a matter of handing the script to the actors in my head and letting them go for it - which for me is the easy part.

I can't tell you much about it yet, except that it's a thriller, a standalone and I really love it. Hopefully, more details including the title and a quick synopsis can be revealed soon!