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June, 2011

A Shiny New Title!

As of today, MOBIUS has a new title!

As excited as I am to share the new one, I want to start by paying homage to the old one. Because for a long time, I was pretty attached to the title, MOBIUS. I didn’t know anything about a Möbius Strip until I started writing this novel, and I’m certainly not physicist nor a mathematician with the capacity to truly understand how its mathematical properties really work. Thinking about it makes my brain hurt, but still… I’m completely fascinated by it.

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I think the symbol is beautiful and the concept behind it intriguing. It’s a geometric shape with only one side and one edge. How cool is that? The Möbius Strip is an integral part of mathematics, magic, engineering and science, but also found in art, literature and music. It’s often used as a metaphor for change, like in the recycling symbol, where it stands for rejuvenation and transformation.

 A Shiny New Title!

I’m especially fascinated by the idea that some physicists who study time travel have used the Möbius Strip to consider how time could be twisted, each side representing a parallel universe.

But guess what? None of this makes it a great title for a book.

I’ve been lucky enough to find myself surrounded by people who are a lot wiser about publishing and marketing and selling books than I am. So when every publisher who read this book and considered working with me said something like, “I think this could use a new title. Are you okay with that?”, I knew it was bound to happen. Later, when several of the international publishers said, “This is going to need a new title”, I started to really understand. But when your book is named after a German mathematician, and your German publisher says, “This is getting a new title, right?”, it all becomes pretty darn clear.

Even though I went in, all fired up and ready to find a killer title, it was hard. Really hard. I hadn’t even thought about alternatives. My editor and I started from scratch, brainstorming until we had a long list of possibilities. We eliminated those that were already taken or too close to something else. Then we eliminated a bunch that just weren’t… it. We spent hours on the phone, more hours going back and forth over email, and even more time on our own, looking for inspiration in everything from a hard-bound Thesaurus to iTunes. We got a lot of ideas from my family, my agent (and the entire agency), friends, other writers, and most importantly, a handful of teenagers (thank you so much, everyone!). And from there, we built another list and narrowed it down again. Until we had six. And then, until we had one:


It’s such a fitting title for this book. We wanted something that worked on multiple levels, and all along, we both just loved the beautiful word “between”. The novel is about two people who meet in a year that happens to be the exact middle of their combined lifetimes, and the story takes place in this “between”. They spend time together. And the reality that “time” is the one thing they don’t share threatens to pull them apart.


I love it. And I can’t wait to see what the talented Hyperion team creates for a cover.

And now that all the research and testing and fretting is over, I’m off to do the most important thing: finish writing it (while wearing my good luck charm: a Möbius Strip pendant, of course).

What do you think?

Speak up:


Becoming A Traveler

I love writing about the world, but I didn’t start out as a very good traveler.

Until I was 28, I’d barely left California let alone the country. And I was okay with that. My world was small and safe. I knew how much each coin in my wallet was worth. I spoke the language. But then a cute guy told me about trains and hostels and unexpected adventures, and that’s when I started to feel like I might just be missing out on something. Eventually, we took sabbaticals from our jobs, scraped our pennies together, and took off for our first big adventure: Five weeks in Southeast Asia to celebrate our engagement.

mt borneo1 249x300 Becoming A TravelerWe started in Borneo. You know, the place from Survivor Season 1. The one with the bugs as big as house cats and monkeys that steal your lunch. We saw a monitor lizard that could have swallowed me in one bite if I hadn’t run screaming. When we snorkeled, I swam away from the fish (in my defense, they had teeth). Even though Borneo was my idea (I wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t “touristy”), I spent most of that week wondering why I wasn’t sprawled out on a sandy beach, drinking a sweet beverage out of a hollowed-out pineapple.

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Then we arrived in Thailand. We fed elephants in Chaing Rai. We visited Buddhist Temples built into jungle valleys of Krabi. On Ko Pha Ngan, we read books from hammocks overlooking the sea by day and danced barefoot on the beach during the island’s now-famous Full Moon parties by night. We ate delicious food, drove a rickety jeep in an insane rainstorm, and we remarked to each other how everyone—and I mean everyone—seemed to be smiling. All the time. It was magical. I was bitten by a lot of mosquitoes but I was also bitten by the travel bug.

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We saw a lot more of Southeast Asia during that five-week trip, and I only have one regret. I wish I could go back to that first week in Borneo and woman-up. They’re monkeys, for goodness sake.

Since then, my travel adventures have been much less daring, but equally memorable. I fell in love with Italy one summer, and specifically with Sienna and the Cinque Terre region.  Over two weeks, we visited castles, saw Il Palio, and met locals whose smiles rivaled those that greeted us in Thailand. Every day, I want to go back.

vernazza cinque terre liguria italy 300x225 Becoming A TravelerI haven’t seen nearly enough of the world, and now my wish list is long. But as I’ve happily discovered, writing about the places I’ve been and the cities I want to visit is almost as fulfilling as going there. Unlike my characters, I don’t possess any supernatural talents, but writing has given me a power I never expected: I’ve enjoyed more espressos in little European towns than I ever did in real life.

Where does your writing take you?

Speak up:


Cover Debuts

The Apocalypsies1000 Cover Debuts

Okay, things with the Apolcalypsies are really getting fun now. We’re all at various stages of revising and finalizing our 2012 debuts, and while some of us (ahem, me) are agonizing over words and stressing about titles and being on deadline for the very first time, others are further ahead. Because all of that is done. And they now have COVERS. Real, tangible, beautiful covers.

Take a look at what’s coming up in the world of YA fiction early next year!


Robin Bridges

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Cole Gibsen

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Leanna Renee Hieber

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Miranda Kenneally
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Mary Lindsey

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Jenny Lundquist

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Gretchen McNeil

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Jodi Meadows

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Robin Mellom

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Caroline Starr Rose

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Kristen Simmons

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Jessica Spotswood

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K.M. Walton

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Click through to read more about each one. It’s going to be an exciting Apocalyptic year.

I can’t wait to hold these books in my hands.

What about you? Which one do you want to read first?!?

Speak up:


Slow. Down.

Ask anyone who knows me… I move too fast. I always have. I’ve usually got four things going on simultaneously, and I seem to like it that way because every time I force myself to take less on, I find myself picking up new things. An example: When my kids got older and had longer days in school, that would have been a great opportunity to find some extra “me” time, right? To get my nails done every once in awhile. Or clean out the closets I keep saying I never have time to clean. Or really stick to a maintenance schedule for my car. To slow down a bit. Instead I wrote a book.

See what I mean.

So that’s why I move too fast. I like having stuff to do. And I’ve always got a ton of stuff to do.

Take today. So far this morning, I made 40 Rice Krispie Treats for my son’s birthday at school, baked mini muffins for my daughter’s end of school year party tomorrow, ran to Safeway twice, answered fifteen emails, read four blog posts, caught up on Facebook, and cleaned a litter box. It’s only 9:30. In addition to the activity, there’s a lot on my mind. I’m still in the process of retitling the book. We’re just about to hit summer and any semblance of routine is about to go out the window. My kids have their first swim meet tonight and I’m not quite sure my daughter will even dive into the water. And oh, wait… did I even mention that I have 50 pages of revisions due to my editor today?

This is my life.

And I LOVE it.

I know I could do less at school, but my kids like having me around and I like seeing them in action. I could have fewer pets to care for (does any family really need a dog, a cat, a tortoise, a hamster and four fish?). Even though I sometimes feel like I’ve been dropped into an episode of Parenthood, I think the craziness is a little fun.

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But now I’m wearing the slippers. Because now I’m about to write.

When I’m writing, I move at a completely different pace. I type with care. I stop and look out the window while I think about the next word I want to choose. I listen to ambient music and notice that I breathe differently. It’s like my life just slows down to this comfortable pace, and for the hours I sit here making up worlds and people and conversations, it’s quiet. There’s a cat on my lap and a dog at my feet and it’s just… peaceful.

Five hours from now, I’ll be trading my slippers for a pair of flip-flops and I’ll be back to my usual fast-paced life. But for now, I’m breathing. And writing. And moving really, really slowly.

Maybe someday I’ll learn how to apply this feeling, this pace, to the rest of my day. But for now, these five hours will suffice. Or maybe I just need to keep these slippers on until I crawl into bed tonight.

Speak up:

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