Saturday, November 27, 2010

FF- WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE by Caridad Ferrer

You would think I'd have learned my lesson by now. Yesterday I was wildly shopping with my daughter and trusting that the scheduled post option on blogger had worked. It had not. But the freebie's still on, as well as our GCC interview with Caridad Ferrer!

The Author:

Caridad Ferrer is a first generation, bilingual Cuban-American, whose young adult debut, Adiós to My Old Life won the Romance Writers of America’s 2007 RITA® for Best Contemporary Single Title Romance as well as being named to the 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults list, awarded by the ALA. Her second novel, It’s Not About the Accent was released in 2007 with Publisher’s Weekly stating, “…this twisting book amply rewards readers.”

She has also contributed to the anthology, Fifteen Candles: 15 Tales of Taffeta, Hairspray, Drunk Uncles, and Other Quinceañera Stories. Her newest young adult novel, When the Stars Go Blue, is a contemporary retelling of Bizet’s Carmen, and will be released by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2010. Booklist calls it, “Beautifully written, with contemporary characters and an engaging story line.”

The Book:

A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

The Interview:

Have you ever (done something your main character does in your book)?

For three years, I was a member of the Florida Wave Drum & Bugle corps, plus I spent an additional nine years in high school and college marching band, so I know the marching world VERY well.

If you could hang out with any literary character, who would you choose and why?

Sebastian St. Cyr, from C.S. Harris' Regency mystery series. He's a fascinating character in that he's well-read, interested in the arts, very independent, intellectual, and curious, yet very tough, having served as an Intelligence Officer in the British Army. He just strikes me such a multi-faceted character with so many stories to tell.

Have you ever had your numbers done? Did they reveal anything about you?

I have and found it fascinating, because it really pinpoints all of the contradictions in my personality-- the combination of cool and analytical with painfully shy and sensitive was especially interesting, since so many personality profiles or horoscopes don't tend to allow for both aspects.

Do you have any special writing rituals or totems to connect with your muse?

I have to have music-- I create soundtracks for each of my books, sometimes multiple soundtracks, and in creating them, it's as if I'm creating the world I'm going to be inhabiting for the foreseeable future.

What songs would make the playlist for WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE?

Well, the song from which I took the title, of course, WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE, the gorgeous Ryan Adams composition, but as performed by The Coors with Bono. Other songs (among many, many, MANY):

Dreaming With a Broken Heart- John Mayer

Gravity- Sara Bareilles

Since I've Been Loving You- Corinne Bailey Rae

Little Wing- The Corrs feat. Ronny Wood

My Heart Was Home Again- Josh Groban

A Beautiful Mess- Jason Mraz

If WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE were made into a movie, who would you like to see in the role of Soledad? Jonathan and Taz?

Well, for Soledad, I can easily see Naya Rivera who plays Santana on GLEE in the role of Soledad. I think she could portray the right combination of strength and vulnerability. Jonathan is really tough to cast, because it has to be someone who's physically very attractive, almost pretty-- sensitive, yet can turn on a dime, emotion-wise. I've loved Jackson Rathbone ever since I saw him in an episode of Criminal Minds, and he's certainly very pretty, but he's not quite as physically imposing as I see Jonathan in my mind's eye. Taz is maybe the easiest for me, in that I think Spanish actor Javier Beltrán would be absolutely perfect.

What kind of chocolate best describes you?

Dark, dark chocolate with an intense flavor yet is extremely rich and smooth. Boy that makes me sound egotistical, doesn't it? But it's more that really dark chocolate of that nature is not for everyone and I've come to the conclusion that's how I am. People either like me or they don't and that's okay. There are all kinds of chocolate for all kinds of palates. :)

The Freebie: To be entered to win a signed copy of WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE, leave a comment below, telling us - Have you ever seen Carmen performed? What did you think? OR Who is your favorite Drum/Bugle Corps and/or marching band?

(I'll go first - I have seen Carmen on stage and I adore the music, which is one reason why I can't wait to tear into this book - I've got the score running through my head whenever I think of it. AND favorite marching band... well, of course, Ohio State has the "best damn band in the land!" GO BUCKS! I'm also partial to Dublin Coffman HS Marching Band because they are phenomenal, and because my daughter spent three years in the flag corps with them.)

OK, your turn. Because this posted a day late, this drawing will remain open until Thursday, December 2.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winner and What's Up This Week

And the winner of the $20 Amazon gift certificate is:


Please send me a note at gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you electronically - just in time for Black Friday!

Everyone else, please take a break from shopping to come on back for a special GCC interview and a chance to win WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE by Caridad Ferrer.

What's up this week?

For my US readers, Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg Cabot talks film (figment) What's it like when YA books are made into movies

Wimpy Kid is flying high (USA Today) Beats out President's memoir and floats in the Macy's Parade

If Dante Only Knew (Nathan Bransford) A laugh for my writing friends: Nine Circles of Writing Hell

Dogs get anxiety too (Hyperbole and a Half) A laugh for my dog loving friends

Freshman girls get the guys (Slate) Really? They had to study this? What high school girl doesn't already see this pattern?

Happy Release Week to: Jenny Davidson (INVISIBLE THINGS), Orson Scott Card (PATHFINDER), Caridad Ferrer (WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE), Esther Friesner (THREADS AND FLAMES), Travis Hunter (AT THE CROSSROADS), and Allyson Condie (MATCHED)!

This week's video link for HUNGER GAMES fans (have tissue ready):

Friday, November 19, 2010

FF - Cheesecake!

In keeping with my goal-setting (thanks again, everyone, for your suggestions), this week's post will have to be brief. For my US readers and me, next week is Thanksgiving. You wouldn't know it by looking at the stores - retail seems to jump straight from Halloween to Christmas. I always feel bad that Thanksgiving gets glossed over. Especially now, when it's so important to take the time out to remember all we have (even if it doesn't seem like much) and to give thanks.

We do the traditional Thanksgiving celebrating at my house, but with a few twists. For instance, we prefer Thanksgiving dinner in leftover format. I'd much rather set out the turkey and trimmings and pick at it all afternoon than to sit down to a "feast" and stuff myself. I've also never learned to like pumpkin pie (I love the smell of it and the flavor of it, but the texture creeps me out) so at our house, we have pumpkin cheesecake for dessert instead. For fun, I'm posting the recipe below.

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 c. finely-chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: ginger, cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
Mix together and press into a 9" spring form pan. (Should cover bottom and a couple inches up the sides.) Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes. Cool.


  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Blend together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs, pumpkin, and spices and mix until creamy. Pour onto prepared crust in spring form pan and bake at 350 for one hour, or until the top of the cheesecake turns golden. Cool for about an hour and then wrap tightly and chill. Serve garnished with real whipped cream topped with a sprinkle of chopped pecans.

For this week's freebie, we have a $20 gift certificate to up for grabs. To be entered to win, leave a comment below with your favorite holiday tradition or recipe. This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, November 24.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winner and What's Up

And the winner of a signed copy of TRANCE and some yummy buckeyes to enjoy it with is...


Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you. Everyone, thanks for your goal-setting advice. You'll be happy to know I'm pushing forward, with lists in hand and deadlines set, and renewed determination to accomplish everything I've set out to do. Rah! Rah!

What's up this week?

Nathan Bransford moves on. (galleycat) One of my favorite blogging agents will no longer be agenting. He's leaving Curtis Brown to join CNET, but assures his faithful followers that the blog and forums will continue. Wishing you the best of success, Nathan!

E-books are gaining ground. (mediabistro) (mediabistro) Sales for both paperbacks and hardcovers are down from this time last year. Panic! But wait, e-book sales are up. Way up. Up so much that the New York Times is now including a category on the bestsellers listing to include e-books. Maybe it's time I broke down and got an e-reader... Recommendations?

Crescendo rules!! (PW) Yay, Becca! Check it out - Crescendo is #2 on the best-seller list.
Woot! Woot!

Happy release week to: Elizabeth Chandler - THE BACK DOOR OF MIDNIGHT: DARK SECRETS,
David-Matthew Barnes -
MESMERIZED, Alyson Noel - NIGHT STAR: THE IMMORTALS, Jessica Burkhart -

This week's video link for those of you racing through NaNoWriMo:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Winner and Freebie Friday

OK, so I lied. The extra day turned into two. I'm learning that this month is all about consolidation if I'm going to get everything I need to done.

So, finally, here is the winner of THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney:


Please send your mailing instructions to gerb (@) lindagerber (.) com and we'll get that sent out to you!

Meanwhile, with so much on my plate, I've been fairly obsessed with goals this month. I'm great at setting them. I'm not so great about meeting them. I haven't completely figured out the misfire between the two yet, but I think I'm getting close. My most obvious downfall is that the rest of my life doesn't always want to step out of the way to let me reach my goals easily and without obstacles. When I hit a roadblock, I tend to get fatalistic and I lose motivation because I'm convinced I can't reach my goals, given my setbacks.

And then I saw this video this week. It made me smile... and think:

Now here's a kid with an entire defensive line of obstacles, but he didn't let that stop him from reaching the goal line. He just had to think outside the norm and come up with an alternate way to get around them... and then didn't let anything stop him.

I think that might be the key.

Swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh says there's "nothing as powerful as the made-up mind." Maybe it's as simple as deciding that I'm going to meet my goals, visualizing me meeting them, and then doing whatever it takes to get there.

For this week's freebie, I am offering a signed copy of TRANCE and a box of peanut butter and chocolate Buckeyes (go Bucks!) to enjoy while reading. To be entered to win, leave a comment below, sharing some of your secrets for setting and meeting goals.

This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, November 17. You can count on it. This week, my mind's made up about that!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Extra Day!

I'm out to door for a school visit this morning and didn't have time to post beforehand, which means you get an extra day before the winner is drawn. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


It's Friday!

Today I'm happy to welcome GCC sister Daisy Whitney, celebrating the release of her new book, THE MOCKINGBIRDS.

The author:

By day, Daisy Whitney is a producer, on-air correspondent, podcaster and expert in the new media business. At night, she writes novels for teens. When Daisy’s not inventing fictional high school worlds, she reports for Beet.TV, produces conferences for iMedia and provides strategy consulting to businesses on online video.

The book:

Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

The interview:

What inspired you to write THE MOCKINGBIRDS?

I’ve always been intrigued by boarding school and also by the potential teens have to take a stand for what’s important. THE MOCKINGBIRDS - an underground student-run justice system - was born from those twin thoughts as a way to look at what it takes to stand up for yourself and for others.

Have you ever had to speak up for yourself, even when it wasn't easy?

Yes. When I was date raped my freshman year of college I pressed charges at my university and that’s a big reason why I believe in the power of speaking up to heal.

If you could hang out with any literary character, who would you choose and why?

My fictional idol is Frankie Landau Banks in THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANK because she is a total kick-ass smart girl who challenges the system.

What songs would make the playlist for THE MOCKINGBIRDS?

The Ninth Symphony by Beethoven, Wake Up by Arcade Fire and Stop, Hey What’s That Sound by Buffalo Springfield.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?

Despite writing about fairly serious topics, I am a very happy go lucky person!

What's your favorite quote?

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." -Aristotle

If THE MOCKINGBIRDS were made into a movie, who would you like to see in the role of ALEX?

I adore Emma Stone and think she has what it takes to play my main character!

What kind of chocolate best describes you?

Dark chocolate with orange peels and earl grey flavoring.

The freebie:

To be entered to win a copy of THE MOCKINGBIRDS, leave a comment below telling us about the last time you had to stand up for yourself (or wish that you had!) This drawing will remain open until Wednesday, November 10.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Agony and the Irony

... or how not to start National Novel Writing Month.

I've attempted to win at NaNoWriMo twice before, with the same sad results. I always start out with the best of intentions. I do all the prep work. I get excited. And then life happens and my word count suffers.

This year, I decided it was going to be different. Yes, I have book events and school visits scheduled. Yes, my dear husband has the travel schedule from Hell this month. But I figured out on paper that it was still possible to do this, so I sat my family down and explained we were headed into No Nonsense November (because, yanno, alliteration made it sound more serious.) Everyone had to pull their own weight. No messes would be tolerated. I would be unavailable for anything but the most dire emergencies.

And then.

The edit notes for the first two books in my middle grade series arrived. OK. Fine. No reason to dump the writing goals completely. I decided I could make this a sort of NaNoEdMo, and if I finished the edits quickly enough, I could dive into my new super sekrit project.

Just in time for the prep weekend, when my goal was to have all housework and laundry caught up so I could get lost in the intense writing on Monday, I strained my wrist at the gym lifting weights. I now sport a super-stylish wrist brace and I have to take frequent breaks from the computer when my wrist starts to ache. No biggie. I have pen and paper. When I can't type, I can write longhand.

Not satisfied with my continued drive, the Fates conspired, and this afternoon, whilst preparing my favorite gotta-have-it-when-I'm-writing drink (Diet Coke in a cup of crushed ice with a splash of Cherry Coke Zero and a squeeze of lime), I sliced my finger open. The irony is that I was just thinking as I pressed the blade to the skin of the lime that the knife was getting dull and I should probably sharpen in. I pressed harder. The knife slipped. It is not dull.

So I'm typing mostly one-handed now. The good thing is that the bleeding stopped before I passed out. (I hate the sight of my own blood.) Plus - bonus - my throbbing finger now distracts from my aching wrist.

It's all about the silver linings...

Happy goal-reaching this month, everyone!

P.S. If you haven't already - get out and vote!