Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Author Interview: Tricia Rayburn!!

In case you missed it, I gushed all about Siren by Tricia Rayburn in my review yesterday. And guess what! She accepted an interview here on Babbling Flow! Needless to say, I was totally floored!

I was lucky enough to meet Tricia this year at ALA. I seriously stalked her booth (there's even picture proof on my sidebar.) And let me tell you, Tricia is AWESOME! So sweet and personable. Even on my third time around the booth.

That's right.

Third time. And never once did she act like I was crazy.

So I already knew Tricia rocked--and then I read her book and it was confirmed for me all over again.

For those of you who don't know her (and dude, you so should) here's a little bit about Tricia:
Tricia Rayburn used to save her weekly allowance for two things: the Scholastic Book Club and her family’s bi-annual trip to the Smithaven Mall, where she loaded up on the latest Baby-Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley Twins books. Years later, Tricia discovered her love of writing for ‘tweens and teens while taking a children’s literature course in graduate school. Her first novel, The Melting of Maggie Bean, started as an assignment in that course, turned into her thesis, and was eventually published by Simon & Schuster as one of six launch titles for M!X, a line for tweens. Maggie Bean Stays Afloat and Maggie Bean in Love followed, and were joined by Ruby’s Slippers and Siren in July 2010. Tricia lives on eastern Long Island. Visit her online at www.triciarayburn.com and www.triciarayburn.blogspot.com.

Everyone welcome Tricia to the Babbling Flow!! And make sure you don't leave without entering to win a SIGNED copy of Siren!

I have to start off by saying—I loved Siren! You wrote such succinct characters and built a really fabulous mystery! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started, because I don’t know too, too much about siren mythology… So—how much of what’s in the book is traditional, and how much is your own creation?

I’m so happy you enjoyed Siren!  Thank you for taking the time to read it—and for inviting me to visit your blog!

To be honest, all I took from classic mythology was the idea that sirens were these beautiful women/creatures who lured sailors to their deaths.  I did some research beyond that, but I really wanted to write an original, contemporary story without relying too heavily on previous works.  So to break it down, I’d say 5% of the story is traditional and 95% is my own creation!

And man, let me just say: your creation is freaking awesome! So… I’ve read on your blog that you’re on to Siren book 2!! What is that like? Did you plan out the entire series first or are you building book 2 from the ground up, working with what you created with Siren? AND along those lines—what is your standard writing process? Do share :)

Yes, Siren 2 (title TBA soon!) is now in the editing stages, woohoo!  :)  It continues Vanessa’s story as she returns to Boston for her senior year, struggles with her body’s new abilities and challenges, and tries to make sense of everything she learned in the first book, including who she really is and how that will affect her future—and her relationship with Simon.

I had a pretty good idea of what book two would entail before I started writing it; when my agent and I submitted Siren to editors, we also submitted proposals for the next two books, so I had the basic outline down.  But as we know, nothing goes quite as planned once you’re actually in front of the computer, and it took some major brainstorming (and some minor freaking out!) to finally reach the conclusion I wanted.

As for my writing process, I usually know four things before starting a new project: the first and last scenes, the climax, and the title.  After that, the rest varies.  Sometimes I consistently outline ahead a few chapters as I go, other times I take it page by page, figuring out the plot as it comes.  But it always, always helps to have an end goal, because no matter how far off track I go, I know where I have to come back to. 

Oh man, don't even get me started about the freaking out part! I've been there myself recently... But I can't wait to read the next in the series!! On that note, Siren isn’t your first book—you’ve also written a three book series based on a character named Maggie Bean… Plus another one, Ruby’s Slippers! So far, which has been your favorite book to write? OR are books like children and you love them all equally?  Also—I noticed you had TWO books come out in July 2010!! How was that (asks the drooling not-yet-published girl)? Double the parties?

It’s pretty impossible to pick a favorite, but I do have an especially soft spot for my first book, The Melting of Maggie Bean.  That was actually my MFA thesis, and I wrote it without ever considering trying to get it published.  So when it was published, I let myself think that maybe writing was something I could do professionally—instead of something I did while trying to figure out what I was really supposed to be doing.  And that changed my life!

(That said, I also really love Siren.  It’s just so different from anything else I’ve written!)

Having two books out in one month was crazy.  We sold Ruby seven months before we sold Siren, so the fact that they ended up coming out at basically the same time was an unanticipated—and very exciting!—treat.  :)

What’s been the best part of the publication process for you? And, what’s been the hardest? Any tips about making it to the realm of published author for my readers who are also aspiring writers? (Oh, yeah—and for me too!)

The best part of the publication process has been receiving letters and emails from readers.  To know that ‘tweens, teens, and even a few adults not only connect with my stories but are compelled to take the time to write with comments and questions is an amazing thing. 

The hardest part is probably dealing with the (largely self-inflicted!) pressure that comes with being published.  I always want to make everyone—my agent, editor, publisher, family, friends, and most importantly, readers—happy.  And that can sometimes feel like a very tall order! 

The best tip I can give is to try to write your story without worrying about getting it published.  That’s SO hard, I know, but the publication process can be arduous long before it’s rewarding, and I think focusing on the fun helps you through the tough times!

That's really great advice--it's so much easier to write for pleasure without publication worries weight down those typing fingers :) Now, to be honest, my blog wouldn’t be my blog without a little silliness... So quick! Answer the next five questions with the FIRST answer that comes to mind!

1. Who’s been the hottest Bachelor (from ABC’s The Bachelor)?  Travis the doctor!
2. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?  Invisibility! 
3. What’s your favorite thing about the month October?  The annual reintroduction of pumpkin.  Pumpkin bread, lattes, candles, you name it.  If there’s pumpkin in it, I’m a fan! (yum me too!!)
4. What is the best all-time 80s rock song?  It’s a tie between Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and GNR’s “Sweet Child of Mine!”
5. Quick! What’s the first thing you see in this inkblot??  Kissing fish!

oooo nice one! I saw fighting dragons... I like kissing fish way better :)

Tricia, thanks for making this such a fabulous interview! I hope you'll come back :) Now go hurry up and get Siren 2 out there. I'm dying to read it!!

And to my fabulous readers: Do you want to win a SIGNED copy of Siren? (And I can answer that for you--YES, you do!) Leave a comment and let Tricia and me know what you see in the inkblot! (Make sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.)

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, September 27, 2010


I read Siren, by Tricia Rayburn in one sitting. After a long night of writing, I thought I'd read a chapter or two, as I frequently do before bed to wind down.



Hello 5 am. Nice to see you as I'm closing the book.

Publishing Info: Edgmont, July 2010
Book Reviewed: Hardcover, purchased

Premise: Vanessa Sands and her sister Justine vacation every year in Winter Harbor, Maine. And they always hang out with the Carmichael brothers: Simon and Caleb.

Except this year, things go wrong. When Justine washes up on the shore one morning, Vanessa is devastated. She knows it's more than an accident and is determined to get some answers. Caleb was the last person to see her, but he's disappeared--and things just get weirder and weirder after that.

My absolute favorite thing: Oh, dude. Hand's down it's the mystery. It's woven expertly throughout the entire tale--why do you think I read it in one sitting???

Other thoughts: The main character, Vanessa, is scared of things... Like the dark. And sometimes she concentrates so hard on 1)her sister and 2)her own shortcomings, that she completely misses things about herself. The entire time it's obvious to a reader that there is more to this girl than meets the eye (and I'm not talking in a fantasy sense, I'm talking in a character makeup kinda way) and I loved when she finally started realizing she was more than who she thought she was.

Then there's Simon. He's searching for his brother with Vanessa, but while he wants to find Caleb and help Vanessa get the answers she's looking for--he really wants to find his brother to make sure he's safe. Simon's loyalty and personal motives shine through, and I loved that. All I'll say here, too, is that if you enjoy steamy romance--there's a real humdinger here...and it is hawt.
Yeah, I did just use the word humdinger. And no, I'm not eighty years old...
The secondary characters were really well developed and I loved the complexities woven through Vanessa's family. And the villains. Oh, the villains. So. Creepy.

Then there's the mystery. My favorite part. Weird weather, odd warnings from men who don't usually speak, intriguing phone calls... Unexpected morning visitors, hearing Justine's voice long after she's gone, all the bodies turning up...

And those are just the tip of the iceberg!

Ranking: 5/5 Sets of Silvery Eyes

Go. Get this book. Devour it the way I did.

AND come back tomorrow when I interview Tricia and we give away a SIGNED copy of Siren!

♥ me

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Funny: Boy Band Song

You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh.

 It's time for the Babbling Flow's Friday Funny!!

In case you ever wanted to join a boy band, here's the basic formula for your songs... hehe

Thanks to my friend Jeff who shared this with me!

Happy Friday! Have a fabulous weekend :)

♥ me

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Funny: Objectification of Writers

I accidentally skipped the Friday Funny last week, so I'm making today Tuesday Funny :)

Some of you might already have seen this, but I HAD to share it with those of you who haven't! Nitsuh Abebe wrote this hysterical thing and he's given me permission to repost it here.   Enjoy :)
There is this thing currently going around tumblr about why dating a writer is good. I think it’s nice that this thing is going around, because I like writers, and lots of us could use more dates. As a writer who has dated people, though — including other writers — I would like to offer some correctives to this list.
The items in bold are the alleged reasons to date a writer. I have replaced the original commentary with my bleak corrective, in lightface.
  1. Writers will romance you with words. We probably won’t. We write for ourselves or for money and by the time we’re done we’re sick of it. If we have to write you something there’s a good chance it’ll take us two days and we’ll be really snippy and grumpy about the process.
  2. Writers will write about you. You don’t want this. Trust me.
  3. Writers will take you to interesting events. No. We will not. We are busy writing. Leave us alone about these “interesting events.” I know one person who dates a terrific writer. He goes out alone. She is busy writing.
  4. Writers will remind you that money doesn’t matter so much. Yes. We will do this by borrowing money from you. Constantly.
  5. Writers will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you. A better way to ensure this would be to become an agent. That way you’d actually make money off of talking people through their neuroses.
  6. Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. Yes. Constantly. While you’re trying to watch TV or take a shower. You will have to listen to observations all day long, in addition to being asked to read the observations we wrote about when you were at work and unavailable for bothering. It will be almost as annoying as dating a stand-up comedian, except if you don’t find these observations scintillating we will think you’re dumb, instead of uptight.
  7. Writers are smart. The moment you realize this is not true, your relationship with a writer will develop a significant problem.
  8. Writers are really passionate. About writing. Not necessarily about you. Are you writing?
  9. Writers can think through their feelings. So don’t start an argument unless you’re ready for a very, very lengthy explication of our position, our feelings about your position, and what scenes from our recent fiction the whole thing is reminding us of.
  10. Writers enjoy their solitude. So get lost, will you?
  11. Writers are creative. This is why we have such good reasons why you should lend us $300 and/or leave us alone, we’re writing.
  12. Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. Serious advice: if you meet a writer who’s actually demonstrative, be careful.
  13. Writers will teach you cool new words. This is possibly true! We may also expect you to remember them, correct your grammar, and look pained after reading mundane notes you’ve left for us.
  14. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for you. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for writing. Are you writing? Get in line, then.
  15. Writers can find 1000 ways to tell you why they like you. By the 108th you’ll be pretty sure we’re just making them up for fun.
  16. Writers communicate in a bunch of different ways. But mostly writing. Hope you don’t like talking on the phone — that shit is rough.
  17. Writers can work from anywhere. So you might want to pass on that tandem bike rental when you’re on vacation.
  18. Writers are surrounded by interesting people. Every last one of whom is imaginary.
  19. Writers are easy to buy gifts for. This is true. Keep it in mind when your birthday rolls around, okay?
  20. Writers are sexy. No argument. Some people think this about heroin addicts, too.
Alternate solution: it will be pretty much like dating anyone else who likes to do a particular thing, you know?

Thanks for stopping by!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Writerly Sacrifices

I love football. Love it.

Love my Redskins. Love Sunday games. Love Monday nights.

Love my ECU Pirates. Love Saturday games. Love Thursday night games. (Well, it's a close call between college games and Grey's Anatomy, but still...)

Plus, I love all the little extras that come along with football season. Beer, wings, Sunday parties with friends, trash talking, and omg I LOVE fantasy football. Seriously, most years I'm the commissioner of my own league. My team's name is... can you guess it? (Team Saradise, duh)

But last year, I gave it all up. I wanted to write--and holy cow you can get SO much writing done on Sundays when your husband's out with friends and all the TVs are off.

And I'm giving it up again this year. I'm revising one manuscript and after that, I'm halfway finished writing a new one. And if I spend my Sundays (and Monday nights and Saturdays, etc) writing instead of drinking and watching games, I'll finish that much quicker.

In the grand scheme of things, giving up football is a small sacrifice in comparison to some of the other things that I won't forfeit. For instance, my sister's in town from Miami and we spent all day Saturday hanging out. We went with my family into Maryland to GO APE (remember this post?) It's a treetop adventure site where you complete obstacle courses 40 feet up in the trees and swing on Tarzan swings and zip-lines...and it is SO much fun!

And it was okay, because I wrote on Sunday (first at Starbucks, with my friend & beta Cristin Terrill! and then at home, on my desk), instead of watching football, and got that much closer to finishing.

Of course, I also reward myself. For instance, when I finish this huge revision? I'm totally taking a weekend off from writing and watching hours and hours of football! I even pre-ordered this fun embellished Redskins hoodie, in preparation :) (Okay, and honestly, I'll wear the sweatshirt on Sundays, even if I'm not watching... I have to show some support!)

So my questions today are these: What are the things you give up to take your writing self seriously? And what things will you never sacrifice to progress your career?

PS! It's Carol Valdez Miller's BIRTHDAY!!! Make sure you stop by her blog, or find her on twitter, to wish her a very happy one ♥♥♥♥

Thanks for stopping by!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Funny: Surprised Kitty

You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh.

 It's time for the Babbling Flow's Friday Funny!!

So. Freaking. Cute.

Thanks to Erica for sharing that with me a while ago!

Happy Friday! Have a fabulous weekend =)

♥ me

Thursday, September 9, 2010

ARC Extravaganza Winners!!

Man, you guys are AWESOME! Thank you so much for participating in the Saradise ARC Extravaganza!!

So... Randomizer.org has picked the winners! But before I share, I just have to give a little shoutout to all my blog friends! Because this contest was open internationally, I've met people from ALL over the world!!

So here's a big HELLO, OVER THERE!!! To all my blog friends from:

∂ Abu Dhabi ∂ AustraliaBarbados ∂ Brazil ∂ Canada ∂
∂ Costa Rica ∂ Czech Republic ∂ Denmark Dominican Republic ∂
∂ England ∂ France ∂ Greece ∂ Honduras ∂ Hong Kong ∂ Iceland 
∂ India ∂ Indonesia ∂ Ireland ∂ Israel ∂ Italy ∂ Lithuania ∂
∂ Macedonia ∂ Malaysia ∂ Mexico ∂ New Zealand ∂ Pakistan ∂
∂ Panama ∂ Philippines ∂ Portugal ∂ Romania ∂ Scotland ∂
∂ Singapore ∂ Slovakia ∂ Slovenia ∂ South Africa ∂ Spain 
∂ Sweden ∂ The Netherlands ∂ United Kingdom 
∂ Uruguay ∂ Venezuela ∂ 

And... I can't forget about my US folks :) So here's another big HELLO to all my blog friends from:

∂ Alabama ∂ Arizona ∂ Arkansas ∂ California ∂ Colorado 
∂ Connecticut ∂ Florida ∂ Georgia ∂ Hawaii ∂ Idaho ∂ Illinois 
∂ Indiana ∂ Iowa ∂ Kansas ∂ Kentucky ∂ Louisiana ∂ Maine 
∂ Maryland ∂ Massachusetts ∂ Michigan ∂ Minnesota 
∂ Mississippi ∂ Missouri ∂ Montana ∂ Nebraska ∂ Nevada 
∂ New Hampshire ∂ New Jersey ∂ New York ∂ North Carolina 
∂ Ohio ∂ Oklahoma ∂ Oregon ∂ Pennsylvania ∂ Rhode Island 
 ∂ South Carolina ∂ Tennessee ∂ Texas ∂ Utah ∂ Virginia 
∂ Washington ∂ Wisconsin ∂ Wyoming ∂ 

*clears throat*

*looks around for
Alaska, Delaware, New Mexico, North Dakota, 
South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia*




Okay then... On to the WINNERS!!


One last note:

Just like last time, if you didn't win, don't worry! 
There's another fabulous ARC contest in the works :) :) :)



Cherry Mischievous!

An ARC of NIGHTSHADE, by Andrea Cremer.

Ashelynn Sanford!

An ARC of ROT & RUIN, by Jonathan Maberry.

Elizabeth Sutphin!


Alex Bennett!

An ARC of HALT'S PERIL, by John Flanagan.

Shannon O'Donnell!

An ARC of THE GOBLIN GATE, by Hilari Bell.


An ARC of JANE, by April Lindner.


An ARC of THE WINDS OF HEAVEN, by Judith Clarke.

Susan Mann!

Dear winners, 
Three things:
  1. Congratulations!!!!!!
  2. I sincerely hope that you will review these books and spread the word about their awesomeness!!
  3. Please email me your mailing address asap!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Tension of Opposites WINNER!

Last week I posted my review of The Tension of Opposites by Kristina McBride. And the next day, Kristina stopped by for an interview!!

One commenter was promised an autographed copy of The Tension of Opposites and randomizer.org has selected that winner!!

Drumroll please!!

The winner is......

*tosses confetti*

Congratulations Erica!  Please send me an email with your mailing address :)

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Extra Entries to Win ARCs!!!

Hey! Happy Tuesday! 

So, just a reminder: my contest ends in two days :)

Want some extra entries? Between now and 11:30am ET on Wednesday (9/8), do any of the following and leave the links in a comment here!

+2 tweet this: Win ARCs! Beautiful Darkness! Nightshade! + 6 more!! Open International! Ends 9/8 at midnight!  http://bit.ly/csJEKI @saramcclung
+5 write a blogpost about the contest
+7 write an exclusive blogpost about it

As a reminder, these are the books/ARCs up for grabs!!

Good luck!

OH!! Also--Carol Valdez Miller's contest now ends on 9/8 as well, so hurry up and get over there!!! Lots and lots of ARCs up for grabs :)


Friday, September 3, 2010

Funny Friday: Talking Photo Booth

You've had a long week. You deserve to laugh.

 It's time for the Babbling Flow's Friday Funny!!

Talking Photo Booth

Happy Friday! Have a fabulous weekend :)

♥ me