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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Story Secrets: TELL ME A SECRET + giveaway!

Tell Me a Secret - Worldwide Blog Tour

Today's blog tour stop is at Little Willow's Bildungsroman blog, where we're chatting the intricacies of sister relationships, family secrets, and why names are important in TMAS - comment here or there to win! (full entry details here.)

Also, YA author Sydney Salter and I discuss stalker ex-boyfriends (and her TELL ME A SECRET giveaway!), and I'm chatting with FREEFALL debut author Mindi Scott over here about Magic 8-balls, music, and superstitions.


It feels a little funny to be telling my own Story Secrets today, after over twenty YA authors have been spilling theirs since the beginning of 2010. In fact, I'm pretty amazed that the secret is out, after being in my heart for six years!

So I thought I would tell you a bit of the story behind TELL ME A SECRET.

It's been five years since Miranda's sister died in a mysterious and tragic accident. For five years, Miranda has been holding her family together between her suffocating mother and her absentee father - but she longs to escape as Xanda would have. Now, just as Miranda has everything she's hoped for - a ticket to art school, a new friend to unlock her sister's secrets, and a dreamy boyfriend to fly her away - Miranda has a secret, too...one that will destroy everything, and send her on a path to discover her own future.

The idea for TELL ME A SECRET landed in my lap after a painful personal tragedy. Before that, I had been writing stories that were clever or funny but didn't delve into what was meaningful to me. Our experience changed everything, and I almost quit - until a friend, Justina Chen (author of NORTH OF BEAUTIFUL), opened a door and asked if I was thinking of writing about it. We were at a conference, and right after that, we went to hear Libba Bray talk about "Shutting off your brain and getting to the heart of your writing." And that's when the story landed.

I just found the notes I madly scribbled in those precious seconds before the idea took flight again, so I thought I would share a few:

Good-ish girl, double life, get pregnant - parents want her to give up, she wants to abort, boyfriend disappears.

Lives in a fantasy world, what is good versus what is real, forced to seek answers for herself.

Theme of different faces in different areas of her life - each mask stripped away one by one until the real self is left. Process of darkness coming to light.

It's been interesting to see how the story evolved - Kamran, for instance, became much more than the deadbeat boyfriend. Xanda's story emerged. Many characters had secrets, some of them a surprise to me! But some of the themes are still there.

In the original notes, Miranda's situation was supposed to have a very different, and perhaps much more tragic outcome - but when I got there, I couldn't write it. That's when my friend, Janet Lee Carey (the amazing DRAGONS OF NOOR comes out in October from Egmont USA), suggested that maybe the story didn't have to go that way. Maybe Miranda's story could be hers, and not mine. So she closed a door in much the same way Justina opened one.

You will have to read TELL ME A SECRET to find out how Miranda's story ends!


I found one more ARC that I saved especially for today's giveaway! Now is your chance to tell us a) why you want to read TELL ME A SECRET, b) a secret you have told, or c) a secret idea you've been longing to write about (disclosure of secret not required). The contest will be open until Monday at 5pm PST (US/Canada only at this time, but there's an international contest announced Fri!). Plus comments today go toward this week's TMAS Tour prizes - comment away!


  1. Count me in :) i'd LOVE to blog about Tell Me a Sectet-

    a secret idea i've been longing to write about....as long as none steals this because i now actually feel like writing it- an evil erkling king who kidnaps a human to take to a place called labyrinth where he is trying to cement his rule over all the mysical creatures which is btw in a mirrored world- while there this girl finds she has somewhat of an elfling godmother who she could swear is like her twin and oh they've been hearing eachothers voices in there heads for most of there lives....oh and a perverted fairy naimed Tinsel who is ticked off about the elfling king trying to take over because Tinsel was a fairy prince who could lounge around all day doing nothing but listen to females fawn over how perfect he was...and now he actually has to do something proactive like fight to save his kingdom and people.....ok i'm shutting up now- 0.0 wow the stuff that floats around in my head...now if i could turn that into something that made sense i might have myself a book- ^^ cool contest-

  2. First, I have to saw that it's amazing how a few notes turned into such a deep story. It's so great that you kept those :)

    a) why I want to read TMAS. Well since my heart sped up when you said u were giving away a copy..(haha) I REALLY want to read TMAS. I saw it months ago on random blogs. I started reading more about it and I loved the idea of the story. Then after reading the preview book and following this tour my interest has grew and grew! Now I MUST read it! I have no choice :) I have to find out what happens next!

    b) I told the secret of allowing my daughter to have candy and the dvd player so mommy could have some time to herself :) AND today in the spirit of #tellmeasecret on twitter I told someone what they were getting for their birthday.

    c) I don't have any specifics of a story but I've always wanted to write a love story where 2 unlikely people help each other through obstacles in order to find happiness. I know this has been done a million times so my thinking is still under construction :)

    I just thought I would write a little about each lol :)

    Thanks again for the giveaway!

  3. Nice contest! I really want to read this book because the cover is amazing, the storyline sounds interesting & original and since it's personal to you, I imagine it would be more sincere and realistic than many other YA books out there. Plus, I'm loving the whole Debut '10 YA Authors so far- all the books I've read so far from other 10-ers have been great!

    I'm from Australia, but I have a friend who can send it to me, if on the off-chance I should win. :)


  4. Hmm, I'm going to go with a secret I have told.

    During my junior year in college, my BFF introduced me to her friend, Travis. She thought we'd hit it off. We did in the beginning. We used to talk on the phone, hang out and laughed all the time. One night, he let it slip that he made out with my BFF before he met me. My BFF has been dating the same guy since high school and even though they went to different colleges, they agreed to do the long distance thing. She always talked about how amazing her boyfriend is and I just couldn't believe she would cheat on him. Travis told me not to tell her, but BFFs go deeper than crushes. My BFF and I were hanging out one day, and I told her what Travis said. She literally fell out of her seat because it was a complete lie, and she couldn't believe he would lie about something so idiotic. I may have lost a crush, but who wants to date a liar anyway?

    SQUEE, I love you, Holly! :D


  5. I commend you for your strength. Always.

    Thanks for letting me be a part of your blog tour!

  6. A contest? Count me in! I'd looooove to read Tell Me A Secret because, for one, the cover is absolutely fantastic. I read the preview and I desperately need to know what it going to happen!

    kayla3194 at gmail dot com

  7. I want to read this for the storytime. I'm a sucker for issues books told in an original manner. Plus, all the blogs entries on your promotional tour have been so fabulous!

    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

  8. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Hello to new people, and huge wave to the blog's old friends now! :)

    It really means a lot to me that you are interested in the story, and thank you for the kind words.

  9. I've been wanting to read TMAS for quite a while, because I follow the rgz blog, so I feel like I've been hearing about it for a long time. And after finding out more about it, and reading all these blog posts, I'm just more intrigued! It seems like it will be a very touching and interesting book.


  10. I want to read Tell Me a Secret because I had the two chapter sample from Teen Author Carnival and I am dying to read the rest of the book.

  11. I want to read Tell Me a Secret because it looks fab, and you teased me with a sneak peak booklet and I want the rest!!!!AHHHH

  12. I can't believe how busy you've been blogging. I want to read your book because I love mysteries and secrets in people's lives. I want to find out what Miranda's sister's secrets are.

  13. I would love to read this book because I am intrigued by the battlegrounds that are constructed over secrets kept - and where there's a battleground, there's usually a war.

  14. I would loooooooooooooove to read Tell Me A Secret for many different reasons.
    1. It sounds awesome!
    2. I love secrets:)
    3. The cover
    4. Sharon recommended it on her blog
    5. I adore your blog so I figure theres a good chance I'll adore your book too!


  15. I first heard about TELL ME A SECRET on Lauren's blog when she posted the cover. It was seductive yet pink, which wasn't a combo that I saw often. Then these reviews started popping up and light-bulbs started to lit up behind my head and then this blog tour happened and I'm pretty much dying to read this riveting tale that I've heard such as amazing things of.


  16. Tell Me A Secret is getting such great reviews from some of the bloggers I have the most respect for so of course I want to read it.


  17. I've wanted to read TMAS for such a long time now. I've been hearing about it on so many blogs and it seems very interesting. I can't be any more anxious to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    ekta.p7 [at] gmail [dot] com

  18. I have an idea for a book that is in the works. It will be YA with a *twin* twist. I am shy to talk about it, but I guess that is why it is a secret! :)

    sithereandread (at) gmail (dot) com

  19. A secret I kept about myself...hmmm. Well I may have told one other person but she is totally trust worthy..I hope!
    Ok here is it goes. I'm a closet writer. LOL! Let me explain what I mean.
    I got my cousin into reading books about two years ago. I had just told her about The Host by Stephenie Meyer and I told her to read it because I absolutely loved it. So she read it and loved it also! I really didn't want the story to end and I wanted to know what happened in missing scenes. So one day I told her I found three chapters of missing scenes from The Host on some random LJ site. I asked her if she would want to read them and tell me what she thought about them. Of course she said yes and I emailed her the three chapters. She emailed me back saying she loved them and emailed them to some co-workers who also read the book. I was so embarrassed and nervous when she kept asking me for the LJ address so she could read more. This went on for about a week. I would dodge her emails and phone calls then I finally told her the truth. I wrote the three chapters and for her to please not tell anyone that is was me.
    I hadn't realize how personal writing is until that point. I was terrified that other people read my thoughts and feelings. I'm not really comfortable with others knowing what actually goes on in my head.

    So any who, that's one of my many secrets. It's not a whopper of a secret but a very personal one.

    Thanks for the giveaway! They are always fun to participate in.

    Trini @ A Book-Lovers Review

    Oh and by the way I'm still writing but just for me. Well for now anyway;)

  20. So I filled out this the other day and my computer totally shut down! So, now I must tell you how much I want to get this book, and how stinkin' bad I want to read it!

    1. Why I want to read TMAS: Why wouldn't I ?! People say don't judge a book by it's cover, sorry, I totally do. Only when it comes to books of course. This cover is totally eye catching! I've have so wanted to read this book since I've seen it was going to published ! When I got my preview, I started reading as soon as possible. When I was done with first two chapters, I screamed. I was so mad that they were over! I knew I had to get this book! Even if I don't win it here, I will work my butt off to get money so that I can buy it, I've started working, ask my mother. All her laundry is done! :)

    2.A secret that I have told: This is an embarassing one, but I can over laugh about it now, and I am sure anyone who reads it, WILL LAUGH! So I'm only 14 years old. So, this past school year, I started dating my first boyfriend. We had been dating for about 4 months, and still no first kiss. So, we were at his house, his parents were out of this room, I can't even remember why, and we went to kiss, and I missed! Yeah! By missed I mean I was so nervous that I closed my eyes when I went to kiss him and kissed his nose, not his lips! I was totally embarassed! So I'm freaking out, inside so he doesn't see I'm nervous, because I think that he is going to go around the school and tell everyone how much of a bad kisser I am. So before he could tell anyone, I went and told all my of closest friends that our first kiss went AMAZING! Well, they told people, and those people told people. Eventually my boyfriend heard about it. He hadn't told anyone, and didn't plan on it, but I was too scared, and thought he would. He kinda just went along with it. So then, we ended up breaking up. I decided that I needed to tell my best friend the truth. I told her, and she laughed about it for about 5 minutes straight. It was embarassing, but I can laugh about it now, and I guess thats a good thing.

    3. A secret idea I've been wanting to write about: Well, I kind am writing about this now, but everyone laughs at me because they don't think I will make it anywhere. But! I'm writing about this girl, who lives the first five years of her life in a house full of fighting and chaos. Then she gets put into an orphanage. The basis of the story is about this girl, who grows up jumping from house to house, and she is trying to be successful as a teenager and adult. She is faced with stuggles like drugs, alcohol, and prostitution. The story that I'm dreaming to write, is finally coming together, and I pray and hope that someday, I can get this published, because writing, and reading, is the world to me, without it, I would die.


  21. I want to read TMAS because you had sent me one of the 2 chapter previews and I devoured it right away. I even had a dream about it that night. Weird I know.