Friday, November 7, 2014

It's a Blog Post, Charlie Brown!

Howdy friends!

Life has been pretty amazing the past two months since my daughter was born. Every day is a dream and I'm so thankful it's my reality.

Cutest baby ever, obvs. 

A friend and agent-mate, Isaiah Campbell, author of The Troubles of Johnny Cannon, tagged me in a blog hop, and I found it to be the perfect reason to hop back over to my lonely little blog.

What are you working on?

What am I not working on might be the shorter answer! Not really. That would be long too. Just last week I turned in the second round of revisions for my second book to my editor. It's called WHAT YOU ALWAYS WANTED and it's scheduled to be published in spring of 2016, also from Bloomsbury. It's about a classic movie-obsessed sixteen-year-old girl with unrealistic expectations when it comes to modern boys. As for what I'm drafting, I'm trying my hand at two different middle grades, and another young adult.

How does your work differ from others in your genre?

Well... it came from my weird brain, so there's that! I like to think of my stories as realistic with somewhat of a fairytale element. Not magic stuff (yet), but more like "This would never really happen... but it COULD!" Wish You Were Italian is a fit for readers with varied interests. Not only did I try to depict a travel destination in an immersive way, but I threw in self-discovery, growth, and family issues, while trying to keep it realistic and emotionally compelling.    

Why do you write what you do?

I tried to write paranormal early on. It's what was popular, so that's what I thought I should be writing. Then I went to a teen book con where I listened to a panel of YA contemporary authors (Stephanie Perkins, Lindsey Leavitt, and a few others), and I left there feeling completely inspired. CONTEMPORARY! That's what's inside me. The gushy sweet stuff. The almost-kisses. The fast heartbeats. The tingles. I want to grow as an author and push myself to write new things, but I think I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for realistic fiction because it changed my life.

What does your writing process look like?

I'm a bit backwards here. I have a whole list of book title ideas. A title pops in my head and then I think up a story seed to fit the title. SO WEIRD, right? When I think of a story idea first, the title seems to take FOREVER to come to me. I get stunted with drafting if I don't have some sort of title to anchor me. I might write bullet points, or beats, of what might happen in the story, but I won't necessarily stick to that. Sometimes my characters say things that surprise me, and I have to be flexible enough to let myself explore that. Speaking of flexible, I don't have to write in order either. With Italian, one of the first things I wrote was a version of the last scene. And if I have an idea of bits of convo I want to come later, I write it and just work toward it. I like super clean first drafts, so I read back through parts I've already written each time I sit down to write. Not only does it help me get back into the head of that character, but I catch more mistakes, or find better ways to word things after distancing myself from it a little. So when I finish a first draft, it's already been edited quite a few times. Makes my revisions much more manageable doing most of the work on the front end. 

That was fun, writing about writing! My lovely friend Anita Saxena has allowed me to tag her, so you're it! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Baby, and BABY Baby

My book baby has been out in the world since May 6th, which happens to be the last time I wrote on this blog. My mind has been elsewhere. Many elsewheres.

Let me tell you, it's a surreal feeling when you can walk into a bookstore and find a book that YOU wrote on the shelves. It's like one of those impossible, intangible life goals/dreams and when it really happens, your brain DOESN'T GET IT. Even when people stand in line at an event to get you to sign your name in said book, your brain DOESN'T GET IT. When someone tweets at you that they want to smoosh your book in their face; when a teenager emails you to say how much they loved your book; when you stumble on a review that says YOUR BOOK is their new FAVORITE contemporary YA... it brings tears to your eyes, but is it REALLY HAPPENING?

IT IS HAPPENING. AND IT'S WONDERFUL. I am thankful. I am grateful. I am humbled. I am inspired.

So this elsewhere my mind's been stuck in…  a person has been growing in my belly, and she's due to make her debut in less than two weeks. As I write this, she's wiggling around like an alien, and I'm struck by how odd this whole thing is. When we have a book coming out, we already know everything about it. What it looks like, feels like, smells like. We know everything. But this is just one giant mystery the whole way through. Thanks to ultrasounds, we know she will be a girl, but that's about it. What will she look like? Will her eyes be blue? Will she have my pointy nose? Will she be taller than me by the time she's in junior high?

I understand that she's coming soon, I know how this works. I've seen friends go through it. I have nephews. There really will be a baby at the end of this. But my brain DOESN'T GET IT. Despite how gigantic I am and how puffy my feet get when I stand for too long, I can't really comprehend being on the other side of this with a baby in my arms. I'm going to be a mother by the end of the month (as long as she's not late!), something I wasn't sure I'd get the chance to be.

And that's pretty incredible.

We'll see you on the other side!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


When I started writing a novel (that no one will ever see) years ago, I researched the publishing industry and totally chickened out. I thought there was no way I was going to be good enough. The prospect of one day walking into a Barnes & Noble and finding a book I'd written on the shelf seemed an impossibility.

But the thing is, if this form of creating is inside of you, it finds a way out. You have to write. You have stories to tell. You suck it up and do the work because you love it and can't imagine your life without this part of you. You long to create characters and stories that someone else can connect with. To share a little piece of what's inside your head, even if just for that one person that needed to hear what you had to say. You get better by doing. By reading. By listening. By seeing. By not quitting.

Starting today I'm going to be able to walk into a bookstore and find a book with my name on it, with words I've written inside, and this is so huge I can't even fully process it. From this day on, I'll always be a published author. Like, what?! ALL THE MUPPET FLAILS!!

And I owe a million thanks to my critique girls, Katie M. Stout, Kristi Chestnutt, and Kim Franklin, and to readers Amy Sonnichsen, Cari, and Mari. My amazing agent Marietta B. Zacker, and incredible editor Caroline Abbey. Laura Whitaker and everyone at Bloomsbury! My supportive and loving family and friends, in-person and online! My journey here wouldn't be the same without each of you.

Colosseum at night

In Wish You Were Italian, Pippa makes a list of ten goals for her summer in Italy:

  • Don’t get arrested
  • Don’t make a fool out of myself in public
  • Get my picture taken at the Colosseum
  • Find random souvenir for Morgan
  • Get a makeover
  • See Pompeii
  • Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
  • Have a conversation with someone in only Italian
  • Eat a whole pizza in one sitting
  • Fall in love with an Italian

If I were spending an entire summer in Italy (hey, it's fun to dream!), here are ten things I'd want to do!

  • Take an official tour of the Colosseum, including the scary bottom level
  • Go to the catacombs
  • See Pompeii
  • Eat gelato at least twice a day
  • Paint on location instead of later from a picture
  • Take a gondola ride in Venice
  • Stay at a bed and breakfast in Tuscany 
  • Learn to make authentic pasta from scratch
  • Rent a bicycle and ride around a quaint village
  • Learn to speak enough Italian to get by without relying on English

Hubs and me eating gelato in Corniglia, Cinque Terre

Painter in Florence | Bikes in Florence

What would you do with a whole summer in Italy?!

If you'd like a signed copy of Wish You Were Italian, my local indie bookstore ships! Click THIS LINK to order, marking any personalization details in the order comments. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

My Big News of the Year!

Many of you saw my news on Twitter or Facebook, but I of course have to share here as well. My book baby debuts in May, and my BABY baby is due in August!

I've been sitting on this news for a long time, so long that I'm nearly halfway through this pregnancy already. We've had some issues the past couple of years, and I just wanted to be sure this time was going to have a better outcome. I'm so excited that this year, hubs and I will become parents!

And LOOK AT THOSE SHOES!! I can't stop staring at them. Sure, she'll be what, three years old before she can fit in them? But they're SO ADORABLE I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Swag with Pre-order!


It's so hard to believe the wait is nearly over. Wasn't it only yesterday that we were at the year mark? Then 100 days? And now, TWO MONTHS! 

Wish You Were Italian is available for pre-order, so for some special fun, I'm offering swag with your pre-order! 
I'll send you a personalized bookplate (which is a fancy sticker I'll sign for you to put inside the book!) along with two signed bookmarks. 

At this time, I'm only able to offer this promo to readers in the United States.
I'm so sorry for that. I love all of you and I wish shipping prices weren't an issue. 

Take a screenshot or some sort of pic of your order confirmation (without sharing your personal billing info) and email it to kristinraewrites(at)gmail(dot)com along with your mailing address and personalization details (what name you want on the bookplate), and I'll send it out a soon as possible! I'll be offering this as long as my supplies last or the book becomes available, whichever happens first. 

Handy links for pre-ordering:

My local indie, Blue Willow Bookshop

You can pre-order hardbacks OR paperbacks, signed and personalized from here! 
If you do this, you won't need a bookplate, but I can send you a super limited edition Riomaggiore magnet that will make TOTAL sense once you read the book!

(I even took that picture when I was there!)

Other links:

Each pre-order = bookplate + two bookmarks
Each pre-order for personalized book from Blue Willow = magnet + two bookmarks

Promotion open until May 6, 2014 or until I run out of bookplates!

Stay tuned for a giveaway around book launch time.

*US only, sorry! *hugs*

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Kirkus Liked My Book!

It's happened. My first trade review. And with one of the toughest reviewers known to publishing. 

There are a lot of feelings that went through my head while anticipating this review. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, all of that. What happens if they hate it? Would it hurt my heart even though I'm mentally preparing for the negative? Would it keep people from buying it? But really ... you can't let that stuff freak you out because it will stunt your creativity. The only thing I have control over are the words I write. That's all I need to concern myself with.

But I won't lie. Getting a nice review is ... nice. The day before my birthday I got word that Kirkus, in fact, found my book to be "an ideal beach read." I'm really so very happy about this. I've been known to form very fond attachments to books I read on trips, so one of my hopes is that people will take it on their own vacations and perhaps read it on the beach! 

I'm also happy my love for Italy came through my words. "While Rae presents an appealing character in Pippa, her evident love of Italy dominates the narrative, making the story feel like an enthusiastic travelogue."

To see the full review of Wish You Were Italian, CLICKY HERE.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Now Designing Swag

It's true. I got angry when I ran out of swag to design for myself. So after some encouragement from friends, I've decided to offer my services to other authors looking for a designer for their own bookmarks and other swaggy goodies!

Examples of my work can be found HERE, along with contact info and such!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Clearly Great at Follow-Through

I'm one pound heavier than I was January 1 of last year (also the heaviest I've ever been), so clearly I'm great at follow-through when it comes to goals I set for myself. I keep repeating all of these excuses as to WHY I'm a failure. 2013 sucked linty toes. It put me through the emotional ringer. I made bad eating choices. I was lazy too often. My body is still adjusting to what it's been through. I am predisposed to be thicker.

Blah blah blah. Cry me a river.

2013 is over, and we're not going to whine about how terrible it was anymore. We're moving forward, with fresh motivation. New goals. And this year, things will be different. They'll be great.

What I've got my sights on this year:

-Feel better about myself, which includes dropping at least 15lbs.
-Write two books (one YA, one MG--currently drafting both simultaneously GASP)
-Soak up every moment of the debut author experience
-Have a rockin' book launch party
-Meet lots of new writerly and readerly folks
-Read at least 30 books
-Get better at follow-through
-Talk less, love more

Wishing you and yours an amazingly fluffy squishy lovey 2014!!