Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ten Things You (probably) Don't Know About Untethered

Untethered is now available everywhere e-book and in paperback on amazon! So, in order to celebrate, I am going to share ten things about the book.

1.       Like Sylvie and Cassie, a friend and I nearly drown at North Beach.  I didn’t astral project like Sylvie, but I did black out and only wake up when the lifeguard was setting me on the sand.
2.       The original book that sparked my interest in astral projection over 20 years ago was Stranger with my Face by Lois Duncan. 
3.       Though Untethered is not meant in any way to represent the reality of astral projection, I read books, visited websites and followed discussions on the subject. There is some wild stuff out there. Freaked me out but in a good way.
4.       Nelson was not in the early drafts of the novel.  But it was kind of hard to show how likable Sylvie could be if no one liked her!  So Nelson went from not being in, to just making appearances, to being one of the main characters.  He is now my favorite character.
5.       The novel was not always called Untethered.  It started off as a short story called My Confession and then during early drafts I called the novel Precious Possession.  I am embarrassed about that and extremely glad my friend’s husband came up with a better title. 
6.       Untethered was tied for second place out of nearly 1,000 novels in the Mslexia children’s/YA Novel Competition for unpublished or self-published work. The other runner up was Wendy Storer, with Bring Me Sunshine.
7.       In the novel, Sylvie’s mother’s cooking skills are scary.  This comes from my own experience. No matter how much I love to eat, I struggle to cook.  I can find a way to ruin any main meal, no matter how simple.  I’m better at making dessert, but I’ve had my experiences with that as well.  Like the pineapple upside down cake that never solidified no matter how long it baked, or the brownies that were compared to concrete.  You know no one will like it when you need to get a saw to cut it.
8.       Sylvie is an artist and often uses paint names to describe colors.  My dad paints watercolor. I’ve always loved the sight of those tubes arrayed in a rainbow of shades on his painting table.  Today, my living room is an “art gallery” for his work.
9.       Like Kevin’s step-mom in Untethered, my mom had an out-of-body experience when giving birth to my oldest brother.  She didn’t explore astral projection or OBE’s further like Kevin’s step-mom did, but she says the experience cured her of her fear of death.
10.   I had a spontaneous projection when I was little and fell down the basement stairs.  It was just for a moment, but long enough to make me believe it was real. Long enough for me to remember the feeling of flying over my own body.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Books are Better

There is nothing like a good book hangover where you've spent the night indulging and the characters still linger in your system the next day. 

What was your last book hangover?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Review Roller Coaster

When I was a teenager I loved roller coaster rides.  The big drop kind, the loopy kind, the twirly kind that whipped you back and forth.  The sensations of  fear and euphoria were a sort of high.

Now I can no longer tolerate roller coasters.  Pregnancy and giving birth did something to my body to make the slightest spin nauseating.   But it doesn't matter.  I can still get that high.  I can still experience complete terror and utter bliss and get the kind of rush that makes the hairs on my arms stand straight as soldiers. How?  It's called being a writer.

I've survived a total of 35 publisher rejections.  And now I've put my book out despite that big drop to the bottom.  I'm climbing back up, listening to the click, click, click of the rails.  And today, the ride is sweet.  At this moment I am in the five-star-euphoria stage.  That part of the coaster when you are twisting in loops that do nothing but bring a crazy grin to your face.

It's early. Untethered has only been out for 11 days.  I don't have people clamoring to buy the book and it's way down on the Amazon sales charts below the 100,000 rating mark.  But I've gotten some feedback from readers.  Five-star feedback that makes me weak with joy and relief and disbelief.  I read and reread my reviews on Goodreads  and on Amazon several times a day.  It's little more than a handful of reviews, but it's a handful of  happiness.  I wish I could kiss every one of those readers and tell them how they've made my day.  My week.  My life.

Yet I know I'll be seeing another swift drop in my writing roller coaster.  Not everyone will give Untethered five stars.  Soon enough, I'll get one or two-star reviews from readers who saw the weakest parts of the novel in technicolor.  To them, it will be obvious where the writing felt forced or where I struggled to make it work.  And since I know the novel isn't perfect, they will most likely be right in some ways.

But FYI?  You won't be hearing about those reviews here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Quote of the Week

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy.
- Edward P. Morgan (journalist 1910-1993)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Old Before My Time

Our apartment is the place where the kids from the neighborhood congregate.  On any given day, you can stop by and we will have at least one extra child hanging around, if not several.  Part of the reason they like it here is that I'm not a huge disciplinarian.  I mean, yes, I have rules and I expect everyone to obey them.  But I'm far from scary and, to be honest, most of the time these kids run all over me.  It's gotten so bad that to get them OUT of the apartment, I promise them a coveted thin mint from my stash of Girl Scout cookies in the freezer.  No one can get a cookie until they are standing on the other side of our door!  This technique works wonders, but I'm a bit worried; I'm getting low on Girl Scout cookies and I don't plan on being in the States until July.

So why do I do it?  Why do I say "okay" when countless kids ask if they can come over?  Mostly, because I'm too tired to argue and tell them, "No."  But there is another reason: the things they say.

You want comic relief?  Listen to kids' conversations.  I've got a 6 year-old and a 10 year-old and they have friends anywhere from ages 5-13.  From misinterpretation of popular sayings to putting on foreign accents to secret crushes, these kids will keep you entertained.  And sometimes, they say the best stuff right to you.  Like tonight.

They were whining about not knowing what to do -- there were five of them, and only four could play the Wii, there's only one iPad, and I was on the computer.  I thought I'd found a solution. "Why don't you girls play a board game?" I said.  "You know Monopoly or something like that?"

One of the older friends lifted her eyebrows, "Sorry to break it to you, but there's new thing called electricity."

"I played board games all the time as a kid."

"That's different.  You were born before electricity was born.  We're from the modern age."

I laughed at her sense of humor.  What a funny kid. Born before electricity was born...

Thing is, the more I think about it, the more I'm sure she wasn't joking.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Playing 20 Questions

So this isn't really a blog post but a link to a blog post.  My wonderful Mslexia fellow runner up has this great blog and she interviewed me on it!  Check it out HERE!

And if you missed it when I interviewed Wendy on this blog click HERE to learn more about her book Bring Me Sunshine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Untethered online! Why the H should you buy it?

Electronic release: For those of you with a Kindle or Nook or iPad or whatever, Untethered is now online!!!

Get it at:

Barnes and Noble:HERE

Amazon USA: HERE

Amazon UK: HERE

Smashwords: HERE

(For those of you who prefer paper books THE PAPERBACK RELEASE IS MAY 1st!)

Why should you buy it?  Well, hopefully because it's a damn good book.   And really it:

*is cheaper than a cup of Starbucks coffee, but will keep you awake for longer
*is cheaper than going to the movies, but it will keep you entertained for longer
*explores the paranormal but doesn't involve vampires or werewolves
*explores the dark side of jealousy, but also makes light of it
*will make you look smart:  reading makes you look smart but this book...
*will also make you look cool.  Reading political history is intellectual.  Reading YA?  Cool.  Really cool.
*is a story I hope you will thoroughly enjoy.

Check it out.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Untethered Cover Reveal! (I think I'm going to faint)

I have been on pins and needles these past few weeks waiting for the moment when I'd know for sure Untethered would be ready for publication.  *Drum roll*  The electronic release is April 6, for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords!  The paperback release is May 1st!

Am I excited???  You freakin' bet I am.  And I'm so excited I will share with you now the totally swag, totally awesome, totally unique cover of Untethered designed by super Sue Niewiarowski:

Either on the Untethered FB page or on the Untethered web page  .  Also, check out the Untethered web page to see the back cover
So what exactly is Untethered about?  Here's the description for you:

Sylvie isn't comfortable in her own skin.  In fact, there are times she can't even manage to stay inside it.  But if there's one thing she's sure of, it's her love for Kevin Phillips.  She's willing to stake everything on it -- her family, her friends, and possibly her soul.

 Sixteen-year-old Sylvie has been friends with Cassie forever.  But everything is turned around when the boy Sylvie's loved since fifth grade falls for Cassie.  Devastated, Sylvie intends to get Kevin by any means possible, even if it involves treachery, deceit and the dark side of astral projection.

Untethered by Katie Hayoz explores the intoxicating world of jealousy and obsession when coupled with paranormal ability.  Finalist in the Mslexia children's novel competition.  TAKE IT HOME APRIL 6TH!!!