Monthly Archives: August 2010

Misguided Angel Synopsis

Hey all,

Just wanted to let everyone know the jacket copy for Misguided Angel (the updated synopsis!) is now available on the site.

Read and enjoy!


I really missed those Japanese cartoons, Or a blog on Censorship

So, my friend Ellen Hopkins was disinvited to speak at the Houston Teen Lit Festival next year. One of the librarians got a few parents riled up, and they told the superintendent, and then Ellen got a “thanks but no thanks” email.

I was scheduled to be one of the other YA authors at the festival, and I was very honored to be invited. I was very much looking forward to attending the festival and meeting my readers and partaking in all the fun. So I’m really bummed that this happened. It only takes a couple of angry people to ruin it for everyone. I’m very sorry to everyone in Humble Texas and to the very nice librarian who invited me, but I can’t go now.

Ellen asked me to boycott and there was never any question in my mind that it was the right thing to do.


I grew up in a country with a dictator. When I was in the third grade, our president/dictator decided that all Japanese anime was corrupting the Filipino youth. Until this happened, around 1980 or so, I very much enjoyed a steady stream of anime and robot cartoons from Japan. There was Mazinger-Z, Voltes-5, StarBlazers, and many more. I remember one with a crazy monkey (that was on Mondays) and then there was this weird cartoon where the main character, a ten year old pirate, could be a girl or a boy. (It wasn’t clear, but he/she was more than bisexual he/she was bi-gendered. It was part of the character’s magic. It was a very odd show and one of my favorites since I could not quite understand it.) The president made one decision, NO MORE JAPANESE CARTOONS and suddenly, I and millions of other kids could no longer watch our favorite shows. They were censored.

In Manila when I was growing up, LOTS of books and movies were ROUTINELY censored. It was part of life. Could we get X book? Nope. Censored! Were we going to get X Hollywood movie? Not a chance. Censored! We had to sneak in racy soap operas, vampire flicks, horror through an underground video network—we watched them on Betamax (or my parents did). The movies we were allowed to see were mostly pablum. (Did anyone see Electric Dreams? When I was in seventh grade we loved this movie. The one with Giorgio Moroder’s theme song? Together in Electric Dreams? No? Just us? Okay. Those were the kinds of movies we were allowed to watch: The love story between a man, a woman and a computer.) When I moved to America, I was happy to discover that you could watch ANYTHING here. Censorship was NOT a way of life. The freedom was dizzying.

Ellen’s books are provocative and challenging. They talk about subjects that some find uncomfortable: drug addiction, incest, teen prostitution. They also talk about love and friendship and family and they are filled with poetry (they are made of poetry). I am constantly surprised and upset and moved by these books.

These are not the kinds of books that I write, although some may find my books upsetting because of the sexual situations since my books are a little naughty. (I like to be a little naughty. I’ve always been the girl at the party who sits on the couch and gossips about everyone with a bunch of too-cool gay boys.)

But I want every kid to be able to decide whether they want to read Ellen’s books or my books, or anyone’s books. Kids should be able to choose. (Parents can choose not to let their kids read something, and that’s fine. They can also choose not to let their kids go hear someone speak, but you can’t ruin it for other people’s kids whose parents decided THEY can hear a speaker or read a book.)

I didn’t get to choose when I was nine years old, and I remember being INCREDIBLY UPSET. In fact, the absence of those Japanese cartoons is something I have been MOURNING for twenty-years now. I really missed it when they took it away, and I was HORRIFIED to find out that SOMEONE ELSE decided WHAT I could watch. (Someone who was not my parents.) It really disturbed me. It CONTINUES to disturb me.

I’m really sorry this happened, and the dark cloud it’s put on the festival, and I’m very sorry I won’t be attending.

But like Pete Hautman, who is also not attending, I believe that as a writer, we have to stick up for each other, and against censorship, and against people who want to tell everyone else what to think, what to read, what to watch.

Kids are smarter than you think. They’re savvier, they’re more critical, they’re wise. I wish Ellen, Pete and I had a chance to go to Teen Lit Festival in Houston. I REALLY wish it hadn’t happened. But I also wish I had been able to watch those Japanese cartoons when I was little.


Witches and Vampires and Make me Cackle

Hey kids!

I blogged about my love for paranormal romance over on the Smart Chicks blog, so check it out!

Right now I am in the middle of writing WITCHES OF EAST END, my new adult series. I’ve met a bunch of you on tour and you guys are GROWING UP! Craziness! How is it that you are all so old when I am still the same age? Heh! Anyway, a warning to my younger fans, WITCHES is racy and naughty, so um, you have been warned. Of course this now means you will all go out and read it right? Because that was the kind of kid *I* used to be. Sigh. I’m hoping that if you read my books you already like naughty books like I do, so it’s not such a big deal. But I want to say this in case there are parents out there who might wonder if it’s appropriate. And my answer is that well, it’s not a YA book that’s fer sure.

Funny that the whole world is now catching up to how great YA books are and off I go writing for boring grown-ups. The majority of my writing is still for teens, and I’ll always feel like a teen at heart, but I was really excited to write a different kind of book. Shake things up a little. And Witches is very much like my Blue Bloods books, just more mature, the tone is maybe a little more knowing shall we say.

Also, some of my Blue Bloods characters pop up in the book! It’s really quite fun and after reading Misguided Angel and Bloody Valentine, I thought it would be cool for you guys to get a sneak at what the Blue Bloods are up to in WITCHES, which comes out in Summer 2011 so you’ll have something to satiate the vampire/angel appetite with until the next BB novel comes out in the fall. The Witches universe is related to the Blue Bloods universe, and there’s a little explanation of it in Bloody Valentine. Pretty cool fun stuff! But for those who can’t read WITCHES don’t worry, it’s a tangential thing, and you don’t have to read Witches to understand the next BB novel. It’s just a little extra for those who do.

I’ve always said the best thing about being a writer is getting to write the books, having a lot of fun in the world, and pretty much CACKLING. When I’m cackling I know the book is good because I am being incredibly entertained. So all is good. Except I still have a ton of the book to write so I’ve got to hop to it or I’ll never be able to go on vacation and recharge the batteries.


French Misguided, Polish Revelations, Smart Chix T-Shirts

Ooh la la, le French cover for Misguided Angel! Called “Le Secret de l’Ange” – The Angel’s Secret. Love it!!!

And this is the Polish cover for Revelations! Also my publisher over there tells me this book is a bestseller in their country. Awesome!

In Smart Chicks Tour News, we now have t-shirts!

Happy Monday!


More Summer Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of bestsellers lately. It’s summer, it’s hot, and in between finishing up my own books I’ve been enjoying reading a bunch.

THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett: I had this book on my shelf for a long long time and the size of it looked intimidating. Also for some reason I thought it was a very “serious” book ie, not entertaining. I was very very wrong. You cannot put this book down, you just inhale it. I loved it mostly because of the depiction of this completely different lifestyle- not just the help, but the bridge clubs, the pool clubs, the junior league. I liked all the ‘society’ parts, I found it so fascinating, it’s a window into a world that we haven’t really seen. Can completely understand why it got so huge, it covers so many tricky subjects: race, domestic life, women, their friendships, their roles in the 60s and in the South. Some of my writer friends think the plot structure is amateurish, ie, in the end one of the characters writes a book called “The Help”, but it didn’t bother me too much. I have a fondness for the book-within-a-book thing, I think I even did it in Au Pairs: Crazy Hot. It’s kind of an “easy out” to end the story, but a forgivable one I think.

CUM LAUDE by Cecily Von Ziegesar: My editor sent me this to read and it was fun to be back in Gossip Girl land, sort of. It’s quite different and the author tries for something that we haven’t seen before either: the iconic college novel. What IS it about college: first-year (NOT freshman!) orientation, the strange intense people who are your roommates who become your best friends, the ear-flap-cap wearing boarding-school crunchies. (One of my roommate’s boyfriends was classic boho pseudo-intellectual prepster: he refused to change in their room because he was protesting the difference between public and private space. Yeeeeah. Put your clothes back on, hippie, we don’t need to see the meat and two veg, as my Aussie friends used to say.) Entertaining and fun and makes you nostalgic for Top Ramen and long-winded philosophical discussions about the meaning of life. (What, you didn’t do that in college? It was all “Beirut” and funnels? Hmmm.)

CHEAP CABERNET by Cathie Beck. Another Hyperion book (my adult publisher sent me a buttload of books, huzzah!). Crazy intense story of a friendship that changed her life, it’s extremely sad, very funny and really captures what it’s like to have that one wonderful crazy friend who makes everything better but with whom it’s also hard to sustain a friendship in the end. I so related to this roller-coaster friendship of all or nothing, a friend who will lend you money, ie steal it from her husband’s account so you can get a mortgage on your first house kind of friend, who is also the friend who will drop you and not talk to you for three months. Oy. It made me miss my crazy friend, and be glad that I had that friend for a time, but these friendships are almost more than friendships – they are like relationships without the sex. The love is so strong but…misdirected maybe? (My mom told me once that it was unhealthy to have this kind of relationship outside of marriage.) Real friends keep *some* distance. But what can you do? Sometimes you are damaged and you turn to these magnetic people who love you so intensely they also have to cut you off from their life.

Right now I am reading SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY by Gary Shteyngart. I cannot pronounce his last name, but he is a genius. This is an amazing book. Believe the hype. It is so funny and true and crazy and intense. And he gets so many things right, although I have a quarrel over the obvious Asian-fetish streak the guy has. I had never read anything by the guy except all the hype surrounding him and I only bought the book because the trailer was so funny and I realized, oh literary writers have a sense of humor too! (I am genre writer biased of course!) Also it’s slightly sci-fi, Orwellian, dystopian which appealed to me. Also very funny. It made me laugh/snort out loud. Dirty and raunchy and smart and insane. A mean and sharp satire of the “Decline of the West” (in college my friends and I used to point out the vacuous and the super-indulged among us and knowingly whisper to each other “Decline of the West!”) A great book that is a great work of art. Fabulous and inspiring.

That’s it for me. I’ve got two books due before the end of the month so I’ll be working a lot. I’m reading as I work this time, I find it makes the work go faster!