Monday, March 26, 2012

The evolution of a writer (And LAST RITE giveaway #4)

Six weeks from tomorrow, Last Rite will be on shelves. I'm so excited to have it out there in the world so you can all follow Frannie, Luc and Gabe through the end of their journey together. But it's bittersweet. At the same time as I'm excited, I'm also mourning a little.

I've discovered that my writing process with Personal Demons was a little different that most of my writer friends'. Some of them call themselves "pantsers" (meaning they don't outline their novels) but I've never talked to anyone else who literally didn't know ANYTHING that was going to happen in their novels until it did. Most "pantsers" tell me they have a general sense of where the story's going, they just don't know how it's going to get there.

Not me. When I sat down to write Personal Demons, all I had was a character. I joke that the book wrote itself, but it's really not a joke. Scenes would pop into my head and I'd write them down. That's all. Many times, they'd shock the hell out of me. I was all over the place with my writing. The first day I sat down, I did write the beginning, but after that I wrote whatever was in my head that day...chunks in the middle, the end. Whatever. Six weeks later, I pieced it all together and found out I had kind of a cool story.

So I got an agent.

She asked me what else I was working on. It turned out Frannie, Luc and Gabe weren't done with me because, as stupid as I knew it was to write a sequel to a book that hadn't sold, the scenes that were popping into my head when I sat down at the computer were more Personal Demons. She said "good," which I decided gave me the go ahead to write Original Sin. But I still had NO CLUE where it was all going.

Can I tell you the dirtiest, nastiest, most horrifying word you can say to an author?


Especially an author like me, who only knows where her story is going when it gets there.

We went on submission and my truly fabulous agent told me I needed to write a series synopsis. I almost puked. I could give her a sketchy sense of Original Sin, cuz I was already halfway into it, and even though I didn't have any idea how it was going to end, at least I knew part of what was going to happen. But how do you write a synopsis for a book three when you're clueless about where book two is headed?

Thank God my editor lost the synopsis, is all I can say.

So, Last Rite surprised me a lot. When it was finally all done, I looked back and thought, of course that's where this was going, but I didn't see it until it got there. So, what I mourn isn't my characters. They'll always be in my heart. What I mourn is the excitement of watching their story unfold and seeing where it lead. So, in that way, I'm just like you. The story unfolded for me as if I was a reader. I miss that and I kind of want to go back and do it again.

I am, sort of, with other characters in new worlds. But the process has changed for me. I'm not as pantsy as I was. I've known the end of my last few projects before I started, or very early on, and that takes a little of the excitement out for me. But it's safer. So, does this mean I'm getting more weathered? (In writer's terms.) Or less spontaneous? Or just tired? Maybe. But I really feel like it's my perspective that's changed. When I started writing PD I was a reader. Now I'm a writer, and a writer's mind works a little differently. So I really thinks it's an evolution.

I've evolved. Into what, I'm not exactly sure. We'll see.

Enough of my waxing poetic. I know y'all are just here for the contest. Let me look through my stack of signed books and see what I can come up with... Okay. Got it. How about, in addition to a signed finished copy of Last Rite, I throw in a signed copy of Across the Universe by the lovely Beth Revis.

Remember that entries do not carry over from week to week, so your name needs to appear in the comments below to enter for this giveaway. To enter, all you have to do is comment below and tell me what book has taken you most by surprise and why. You must be 13 or older to enter. Extra entries can be accumulated as follows:
Follow this blog: +1
Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1
Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1
"Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1

Add up your points in your comment, please, because my math sucks. Also, leave me a way to contact you if you WIN! Contest closes Friday March 30th at 12 noon, PST. Winners will be chosen by the randomizer and posted here that afternoon. There will be a new contest for signed copies of Last Rite and other signed books (think Holly Black, Jessica Spotswood, Marie Lu) every Monday between now and May 7th, so don't forget to check back every Monday to enter!


  1. Two points for me (following the blog and liking the fbook page--no twittering for me.)

    And I'm glad to see there's hope for us 'holy crap I have no idea where this is going' crowd. That's where I'm at now :).

    Best of luck, and I'm so looking forward to LR's release!

  2. Old follower on your blog, GFC name: Felicia. Liked your face book page, and old follower on Twitter. Total of 3 points.


    Thanks so much for this awesome giveaway :)

  3. I think Twisted by Gena Showalter took me the most by surprise since all the characters under went a transformation and the plot wasn't what I was expecting.

    Follow this blog: +1 (mromero)
    Follow on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1 (mtrw12)
    Tweet a link to this contest: +1 (!/mtrw12/status/184328926250811392)
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1 (Marie Romero)

    Total: 5

    mromero2012 AT gmail DOT com

  4. I'd say Farsighted by Emlyn Chand because I really didn't like the cover that much but the book is great!

    I Follow this blog (1), Follow on twitter (1) and Follow on facebook.

    Total entries 3

    Vikki @ V's Book Life

    email -

  5. The book that took me by surprise is the Double Clutch series by Liz Reinhardt. I am guilty of judging books by its cover and the covers of the series just wasn't cutting it. However, I was glad I read it for a blog tour and fell in love with it completely.

    GFC: Arianne Cruz
    twitter: @ariannecruz07
    Facebook Like: Arianne Cruz
    email: cruz042 at

    total points: 4

  6. It's nice to hear you share your story of how you've evolved as a writer. My experience with writing was very similar to yours:)

  7. I just finished a book (adult) that the direction totally took me by surprise,the author was heading in the way I though but bam,went the other.

    blog follower - elaing8
    twitter follower @elaing8

    total 4

  8. I dont need to enter (obviously *squee*) but I just wanted to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed the Personal Demons series and I can't wait for both Last Rite and your new projects :)

  9. I love your books ! yea! and i like the covers of your books, they caught my attention in the library one day .. and thats why i read them, that sounds bad, picking a book because the cover was nice,but in my defense i read the back and really liked it.

  10. I think BLOODROSE is the last book I read that threw me for a loop. I didn't didn't plan on what happened at the end.

    Follow this blog as Victoria Sloboda +1
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez)as Jovial_1 +1
    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest:!/Jovial_1/status/184363973095866368 +1
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page as Viki Sloboda +1

    Total 4 pts


    1. Ah! Glad you liked my lovely critique partner's Nightshade finale! =)

  11. Follow this blog: +1 BCHaysel

    Follow on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1 my @ name's: TheTatteredPage!/following

    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1!/profile.php?id=100000951219963

    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1!/profile.php?sk=info

    TOTAL: 4


  12. I'd have to say The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong. It was so wonderfully surprising! I guessed maybe half of it but did not expect many other parts.
    If I win, please DM me on Twitter.
    GFC: mishi72 +1
    Tweet a link to this contest:!/Mishi_72/status/184378650580357120
    Follow on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1
    Total: 3

  13. 3 points for me--twitter, FB, and blog following.

    The book that took me the most by surprise recently was Hallowed by Cynthia Hand. I totally didn't see some of the twists coming, and I loved it :)

  14. The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis. I read it a month ago and I still can't stop thinking about it's ending. Its one of the most beautiful and sad books I've ever read with a lot of 'Holy Shit' moments.

    I follow your blog (Gabbie) & I follow you on twitter (@Gabelle_M)

    Total: 2


  15. For me I wanna say Bleeding Violet was a big surprise. It was such a strange book (in a good way!).

    Follow this blog (miaka_yuki70) +1
    Follow you on twitter (@AlexYuki) +1
    Like the personal demons Facebook page (Alexandra Beaudoin) +1

    Total = 3 :)

    1. Oh and you can reach me a miaka_yuki70(at)hotmail(dot)com :)

  16. I just finished Entangled by Cat Clarke this weekend. So bloody refreshing. It also tore me asunder. Completely fell to pieces.
    GFC: Vivien

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  17. Hmmmm.... surprise huh??? Well I guess it would have to be Shift by M.R. Merrick. That went places I wasn't expecting at all.

    GFC StuckInBooks
    Liked FB as Valerie Fink (StuckInBooks)


  18. Follow this blog: +1 ------K8
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1 ------ @Froze8
    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1 --------!/Froze8/status/184423615138250752
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1 ----- Kate T.

    spykids_cool (at) yahoo (dot) com

    4 entries for me!

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. I just finished Everneath by Brodi Ashton and I am still stunned.

    Follow this blog: +1 - GFC: Breila McValan
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1
    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1 -!/LisaDez/status/184412846703128576
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1

    Total: 4

  21. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

    Follow blog +1: Maria
    Follow on Twitter +1: @fantasysink
    Liked Facebook +1: Maria Qa

    Total: 3


  22. Follow this blog: +1; pixieDREAMER
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1; @amagicattic
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1; Misa Gracen

    Total: 3

  23. Wither by Lauren DeStefano because I didn't think a book about polygamy could blow me away!

    Follow this blog: +1 Llehn
    Follow me on Twitter @lesleywyrites

    Total = 2


  24. Thank you for having these amazing giveaways. <3 I would love to win :D Hmm. I'm not sure what book to say.. maybe Clockwork Prince. Because I wanted it to go a certain way, but it didn't and I hate it. :D It really surprised me, too.

    +1 follow this blog as Carina Olsen.
    Love, Carina ~

  25. Clockwork Prince really took me by surprise. I just did not see it playing out the way it did. But I'm not unhappy with the turn of events, even though I'm solidly on Team Will. :)

    Your series is so much fun! I can't believe so many of my favorite series are coming to an end this year, tho. :(

    +1 Comment
    +1 GFC follower: starryeyedjen
    +1 Twitter follower: starryeyedjen
    +1 Liked on FB: Jeannette Bruce
    4 total points


  26. Follow this blog: +1
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Fb page +1
    =3 points total

  27. Forbidden by Suzuma took me by surprise.
    Follow this blog: +1 brandileigh2002
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1 brandileigh2003
    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1!/brandileigh2003/status/184756971008835585
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1 Brandi Kosiner


  28. Angel's blood by Nalini Singh I never thought angels could behave like that.
    1+ Follow the blog: Gisele Alvarado
    1+ Follow via Twitter: @Gisselle_Alv
    1+ Tweet:!/Gisselle_Alv/status/184870264243372032
    I Liked the FB page as Ileana Alvarado


    Points: 4

  29. I think the book that surprised me the most was Bloodlines by Richelle Mead - I wasn't sure if I was going to like the spin off from Vampire Academy. But I like how it's following a different character, different personality then Rose.
    Follow this blog: +1
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1
    Tweet a link to this contest (icestarlight67): +1
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1

    Total: 5 (including comment)

  30. Hmmm... that's a tough one. Books don't usually surprise me anymore (I've read too many!)
    I was surprised that I didn't really like Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments novels (does that count?)
    +1 Blog follower: Lexie@BookBug
    +1 Twitter follower: @LexieBookBug
    +1 FB follower: Lexie May Hogan
    lexie.bookbug at gmail dot com

  31. Unearthly by C.Hand took me by surprise. I thought I wouldn't love it but the end really got me twisted. :P

    +1 - Blog follower via GFC: Maidenveil
    +1 - following in Twitter (@maidenveil)
    +1 - Tweeted:!/readerhappy/status/185327516171501568
    +1 "Likes" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page: @Maiden Veil

    total: 4

    -Len of Musings of a Reader Happy

  32. Follow this blog: +1
    Follow me on Twitter (@LisaDez): +1 (@NicoleZoltack)
    Tweet or Facebook a link to this contest: +1!/NicoleZoltack/status/185352937323773954
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1

    total 4

  33. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs left me shouting 'what?!' more than a few times. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma also took me by surprise, not because of the 'omg' moments, but because I honestly didn't expect to love it as much as I did.

    Following blog (nikki_donoghue), twitter(nicco_1990), like the facebook page and have tweeted (!/Nicco_1990/status/185366741889712129)

    Total 5 entries (including the comment) :)

    email -

  34. Hi Lisa! I haven't read your books yet, I'm sorry! I still have them, I just need to get to them! I hope I'm still eligible to enter >_< But my twin read your books and she loved them and I forgot which team she's on, but I have a feeling I might have to fight her for that guy xD And you can definitely expect me to come back every Monday to try and win a Last Rite ARC! Woo!

    GFC Follower-Ella
    And I liked the Personal Demons fb page! (: (fb name-Ellen Trieu)

    Total Points:4


  35. Seriously, synopsis always scares the crap out of me too!!! lol Thanks for sharing this!

    Follow this blog: +1
    Follow me on Twitter +1
    "Like" the Personal Demons Books Facebook page +1
    +3 Total!!!


  36. +1 Blog Follower
    +1 Twitter Follower

    Thanks so much Lisa! I can't wait for The Last Rite!


  37. +1 blog follower
    +1 liked fb page
    +1 posted on FB (I Love Books page) about the contest
    total: 3 points
    TY so much for this chance to win Last Rite!!!

  38. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater took me the most by surprise. My best friend recommended to read it. The story didn't liked me at first but when I started to read it I loved it. Now it is my favorite series.
    GFC follower as Diana
    Twitter as @artdem83
    FB as Demitra Giote
    I shared it on FB:
    Total: 5

    Thank you for the giveaway!
    artgiote at gmail dot com

  39. I was most surprised by Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout. When it came out I had only read one other book of hers and I wasn't sure about aliens. But, I loved it and have read it a couple more times since then and still enjoy the wonderful story.
    +1 for following on GFC as b_ls
    +1 for following you on twitter as b_ls
    +1 for liking on facebook :)
    And I retweeted the giveaway link here is the link (!/LisaDez/status/185427981051764737)

    Thanks for the opportunity to win!!

  40. Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz took me by surprise. I really loved it, it was full of action, humor, and romance all my fav's.
    Brandi Peel

  41. Thanks for the chance to win! I hope I win!!

    +1 for following your blog
    +1 for following you on twitter
    +1 for liking on facebook

    total = 3

    krystyl.nottage (@) gmail . com