What if we gender-swap all the books, ala Twilight?

For the 10th anniversary of her 'Twilight' series, Stephenie Meyer is offering a gender swap for those millions caught up in the saga of Bella and Edward.

For the 10th anniversary of her ‘Twilight’ series, Stephenie Meyer is offering a gender swap for those millions caught up in the saga of Bella and Edward.

This week, Stephenie Meyer, the author of best-selling vampire series, ‘Twilight,’ both delighted and disappointed fans when she announced the release of her new book, “Life and Death.” Fans, who had been expecting Meyer to release her once-promised novel, “Midnight Sun,” a story from the point of view of vampire Edward Cullen, were instead offered a story that re-tells the original “Twilight” tale, but with every character as the opposite gender.

Belle became Beau. Edward became Edythe. And every other character (save for the Beau/Bella’s parents) have swapped genders in “Life and Death.”

Fans are mixed on this re-imagining of Twilight, according to the comments by fans.

“My head started to hurt trying to match everyone up with who they should be, and I put it down,” one commenter said.

“I couldn’t finish the first couple of pages. She should have just finished Midnight Sun,” said another.

“I’m only half way through, but I’m loving this. The high school me would have died of excitement for this,” another commenter said.

And finally, “…because I have read Twilight so many times and every sentence feels familiar, I’m getting a kick out of noticing all the little details that Stephenie Meyer changed for this version.”

See for yourself here.

Because I was so intrigued with what Meyer did with her popular book, I couldn’t help but wonder what other popular books might look like if the genders were swapped. Here are a few book you may have read, but with a gender-bending twist. Can you think of any others? Share them in the comments!

Hunger Games

Kevin Everdeen of District 12 volunteers as tribute for the 74th annual Hunger games, taking the places of his little brother, Preston, to fight alongside Paige Mellark. They are mentored by Hailey Abernath, a past winner from District 12 who now lives a solitary life consoled by her 13 cats and her never-ending supply of alcohol.

During a television interview before the games, Paige reveals her schoolgirl crush on Kevin to an audience of millions. This is a surprise revelation for Kevin, especially since he harbors feelings for his lifelong friend and confidante, Gail Hawthorne, the girl next door who enjoys hunting with him on the outskirts of the district.

However, mentor Hailey sees the opportunity in Paige’s public confession and advises Kevin to string her along. If she succeeds in this ruse, she may inspire wealthy sponsors to help the two competitors during the games. But as Kevin fights for his and Paige’s life against their bloodthirsty opponents, he realizes his feelings for Paige may actually be sincere.

What if Harry were really Henrietta? Would it have worked as well?

What if Harry were really Henrietta? Would it have worked as well?

Henrietta Potter and the Sorceress’ Stone

For ten years, Henrietta Potter has lived with the Dursleys, not knowing that she is a witch, or even that she is famous in the wizarding world for surviving the attacks of Voldemina, a terrifying sorceress whose name no one dares to speak. When Henrietta receives a letter inviting her to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, her family tries to hide it from her. That is, until Rubina Hagrid, a big-boned half giant, rescues Henrietta on her massive pink Harley.

Henrietta is introduced to a world of magic, sorted into the Hogwarts house of Gryffindor. There, she makes lifelong friends with Ramona Weasley, a red-haired girl from a large, pure-blood, wizarding family, and Horace Granger, an intelligent wizard born to non-magical parents.

While training to become witches and wizards, Henrietta, Ramona and Horace find themselves facing down a three-headed dog guarding the Sorceress’ stone, a magical object that grant immortality to its user. After several other bouts of danger, it becomes apparent that the discovery of the stone holds significance. The trio face numerous challenges to recover the stone, only to come face to face with an enemy they never knew they had.

Brotherhood of the Traveling Jordans

Len Kaligaris, Tim Rollins, Brock Vreeland and Carson Lowell have been best friends since birth, since their fathers were fishing buddies that met in college. The summer before the foursome began their junior year of high school, Carson finds an old pair of Air Jordans that fits each of the friends perfectly, despite their differing shoe sizes, and allows each boy to jump higher, run faster, and perform well at every sport. They come to the conclusion that the Jordans are magical. The boys end up sharing the “traveling Jordans” amongst themselves over the summer as they all go in different directions.

However, the summer doesn’t go exactly as planned. Each teen must overcome challenging circumstances they weren’t prepared for. Just as things seem to be at their worst, they are given the Air Jordans, and discover a new way to overcome adversity. The Jordans serve as a substitute pal in this coming of age novel of boys growing into men.

Note: This post originally appeared here.

New book release! Come Here, Cupcake is now available!

Who’s ready for some cupcakes? :-)

I am so excited to announce the release of my latest novel, Come Here, Cupcake. This book has been years in the making, and has been a true labor of love in its creation. I am so proud of this story and hope to share it with as many readers as possible.

This is why I am offering the eBook version of Come Here, Cupcake at 99 cents – TODAY ONLY.

Cupcake Release Tease

There are a couple of advantages to buying the eBook version of Come Here, Cupcake. First, it’s less expensive than the print version. Second, only the eBook version has a recipe to Limoncello Cupcakes inside (one of the desserts made by main character, Morgan Truly). And third, you can start reading the story immediately!

Here is where you can purchase this book:

CHC ebook teaseeBook – ONLY 99 CENTS ON OCT. 5!


Oct. 5 only: Win a dozen cupcakes delivered right to your door. See my Facebook page for more details.

Add Come Here, Cupcake to your To-Read list on Goodreads

Find out more details about Come Here, Cupcake at bit.ly/ComeHereCupcake.

Behind the cover of Come Here, Cupcake

My cover designer shared the inside scoop on how her art for Come Here, Cupcake came to be. This is a total must-read for a behind-the-scenes look at the book’s gorgeous cover!

Here’s an excerpt:

My very first glimpse of what CHC's cover was going to look like. I may have squealed when I saw it for the first time...

My very first glimpse of what CHC’s cover was going to look like. I may have squealed when I saw it for the first time…

My marvelous and amazing friend Crissi Langwell is an author, with a few books under her belt already, and for her latest, she decided that what she really wanted was for me to do the cover art. She hooked me up with the manuscript so I could get the feel for the story and i was immersed in a lovely tale of a young woman living in the fog-shrouded town of Bodega Bay, and her adventures with baking, and love, and magic and…well, I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but the story is as sweet as the title would lead you to expect, spiced with mystery and garnished with passion. I loved it and *I* got to do the cover illustration for it! 

So, after chatting with Crissi about what she had in mind,  I went out to Bodega Bay to take some location shots for reference. Even though I’ve been there 100 times or more, and I could find photos online, this way I could find the view I was imagining and get the feel down, and it’s only a short drive away so it seemed silly not to. Plus, an excuse to go out to the ocean, am I right?

Read the rest at persephoneraven.com.

P.S. Come Here, Cupcake is publishing on Monday, Oct. 5. That’s this upcoming Monday! And ebook readers won’t want to wait. Monday will feature special one-day pricing to celebrate release day! Want a reminder? Sign up for my newsletter.

11 tips to “winning” NaNoWriMo

1-NaNoWriMoNaNoWriMo is coming up! All right, it’s technically coming up in November. However, it’s never too early to start thinking about NaNoWriMo, it’s only too early to start writing for NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?

From the website: National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.

Here’s a little history on how National Novel Writing Month began.

NaNoWriMo was founded by Chris Baty in July 1999 in the San Francisco Bay Area, with only 21 participants. The goal of 50,000 words was set after Baty grabbed the shortest novel on his bookshelf (Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley) and did a rough word count. Only 6 of those 21 participants completed the challenge. But doing NaNo in July proved too difficult due to the gorgeous weather outside. So after 1999, NaNo was changed to November to take advantage of the miserable weather.

More stats:
The first official year of NaNoWriMo was in 2000, when the event had an actual website.
By 2001, 5000 people signed up.
In 2014, 175,002 people signed up, and 40,325 crossed the finish line with 50K.

So why was 50,000 words the magic number? This seemed like a difficult, yet not impossible amount of words, and the length makes it a short novel, about 175 pages.

Other novels that are 50K:
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

Several bestselling novels that were first written during NaNoWriMo:
Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Wool, by Hugh Howey
Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

11 Tips to WIN NaNoWriMo

(Disclaimer: Winning NaNoWriMo basically means you have written 50,000 words or more before the deadline on November 30. Biggest prize is being able to call yourself a novelist. And the sponsors will kick in a few discounts and freebies to those who cross the finish line. But there is no competition here. The novel doesn’t even need to be good. Anyone can “win” just by writing 50,000 words.)

1. Plotting is better than pantsing.

This is controversial, as there are many pantsers out there who are probably reading this and ready to click away. But hear me out. First of all, let me explain what plotters and pantsers are. Plotters are the people who come up with a plan, any plan, before sitting down to type. Pantsers are the people who sit down on Nov. 1 with no plan at all, or maybe just an idea of what to write, but nothing else. They plot as they type.

Here’s my argument for plotting. Sitting down with your computer or notebook on Nov. 1, things are going to go much smoother if you have a plan. You can start with anything from a rough idea to a detailed play-by-play outline. Things may change along the way, and you can adjust your outline to reflect that. But things will go much smoother if you start out with a plan than it will if you start out staring at a blank page.

2. Kiss your family goodbye.

Not really. But do let those close to you know what’s going to be happening over the next month. Not only will it help you to be held accountable to your lofty goal, but it will also warn them that you are going to be less available this month than you are in other months. Skip all the socializing you can get out of, plan for easy dinners (or take out!) for the month, understand that the housework might go to the wayside (or get your family to help out), give the kids away (kidding!), don’t sign on for anything extra, fill up your DVR with all the shows you won’t be watching…. Make writing a priority. It’s just for a month. On Dec. 1, your family can have you back.

3. Set a daily writing goal.

NaNo’s goal is 1,667 words a day. I always set mine to an even 2,000. This way, I’m always ahead, even on days when the words aren’t coming. And on days when I have a lot more time to write, I will strive to double that amount—because, let’s face it, life happens, and there might be some days when writing isn’t so easy.

4. Set your writing time at the same time every day.

This time should be when you’re at you’re most creative. For me, that’s 5-7 a.m. before I need to start getting ready for my paying job. It also allows me to get my writing done first thing so I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the day, or I know how much I need to make up if I don’t finish my goal. I will also use my lunch breaks and the evenings if I need to. However, the early mornings are when my writing muscle knows it’s time to get down to business. If you sit down at the same time each day, your body will soon realize this is when it’s time to be creative.

5. Avoid all distractions!

Another benefit of having a set time when you are writing is that you can make this time sacred. No one should be allowed to bother you (unless there’s an emergency – and not the “we’re out of milk” emergency, but “the house is on fire” kind). Anything that might tempt your attention, like your phone, TV, or internet, should be turned off and out of your reach. Best place for you is behind a closed, locked door. Even better, go write somewhere away from home, where no one even knows you.

6. Connect on the NaNoWriMo forums.

This tip is being given with caution. The NaNo forums can be a major distraction, especially at times when you should be writing and Writer’s Block is looming. During your writing times, stay FAR AWAY from the NaNo forums. But in off times, peruse the forums for a subject that calls for you. A good place to start is the one for your home county. For most of us, that’s Sonoma County. Here you will find a bunch of people who understand the craziness of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, because they’re doing it, too. You’ll make new friends and connections here, and even learn about some of the write-ins going on around the county.

7. Attend a write-in.

Write-ins are NaNo meetups, usually at coffee shops or bookstores, where everyone hangs out, glued to their computer screen. It’s awesome! For one, it’s nice to put faces to the people you’ve been chatting with on the NaNo boards. And two, it’s powerfully motivating to be surrounded by the clacking of keys. For the most part, people at write-ins are writing under the same rules you are—no talking to the other writers, and utilize the time for actual writing. My one piece of advice is to try and buy something when you’re using a food or drink place as your write-in location. This will ease the stare downs from the wait staff when you tie up their tables for hours on end.

8. Don’t look back. EVER.

Once you’ve written something, leave it. Don’t re-read it. Don’t edit. Just let it be. If you think of something you want to change, make a note so you won’t forget when you edit in December (or whatever month you edit after November). But just keep moving forward.

9. End in the middle of a senten…

Never end your writing session at the end of a scene or chapter. Instead, leave a little bit left of the scene (even a sentence!) and write a note about where you’re heading. That way when you sit back down to start writing again, you can warm up that writing muscle with a part of the story you’re familiar with. By the time you’re ready to move on to the next scene, you’ll be moving full speed ahead.

10. Don’t give up.

The first week of writing is always the best. You’re going, you love the story. Things just keep happening. Then the second week comes, and the story you’re writing just sucks. Nothing’s going right. You hate your characters. You’re pretty sure they hate you.
Don’t give up.
You’re going to have slushy days, when the words are just not coming easily. I’ve found that if I just get my characters to talk with each other, they usually come up with the next scene on their own. If that doesn’t work, throw a scene-changing wrench in the story. Have ninjas swoop in and steal the main character’s love interest. Create a pink elephant that charges through the storyline. Drop a steep cliff on the path they’re headed on. Give them something to struggle about. Do whatever it takes to get you through your daily word count to ensure you don’t fall behind.

My crazy dog, Jasper. Isn't he adorable????

My crazy dog, Jasper. Isn’t he adorable????

11. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

What you’re writing could be totally awesome. It can also be total crap. Who cares? You’re developing your writing muscle. Don’t worry about the quality of your writing until you get to the editing stage. For now, just have fun with it, and know that in 30 days, you’ll be able to say you’ve written a novel.

Wrap up:

1. Plot your story.
2. Kiss your family goodbye.
3. Set a daily writing goal (1667 minimum!)
4. Write every day at the same time.
5. Avoid all distractions.
6. Connect on the NaNo forums.
7. Attend a write-in.
8. Don’t look back. EVER.
9. End in the middle of a senten….
10. Don’t give up.
11. Remember, this is supposed to be fun.

Sign up for NaNoWriMo at nanowrimo.org.

It’s free! And it’s fun! And you come away with your very own novel!

Find me and be my buddy at nanowrimo.org/participants/crissi.


1. When can you sign up?
You can sign up anytime, but you won’t be able to update your novel until sometime in October. They should send out an email.

2. Can I work on a longer novel?
It’s encouraged that you focus on once novel during this month with a set beginning on Nov. 1, and a set end by Nov. 30. But this is only to give you the satisfaction of writing an entire novel in 30 days. Other than that, there are no hard and fast rules.

3. What if I start late?
You still need to come up with 50,000 words by the end of November, so just set your word count a little higher each day to make it to that number.

4. Can I finish early?

5. What if it takes me 31 days?
You’re still awesome in my book, but you won’t win NaNoWriMo. Still, good for you for writing a novel!

6. What if I write 50,000 words, but I still haven’t reached the end of the story by Nov. 30?
You’ve still technically won! However, we should all strive to reach the end of the story by Nov. 30. The point of NaNoWriMo is to get you a complete first draft of a novel by Nov. 30. It will make Dec. 1 that much more satisfying. However, if the story still isn’t done by Nov. 30, just keep going at the same pace until it is finished. You don’t want to lose momentum before the story is done being told!

Have your own tips? Have questions? Leave them in the comments!

Event: How to write a novel in 30 days

I almost forgot to mention that this Sunday (Sept. 13) I will be the featured speaker at the Redwood Writers meeting to discuss NaNoWriMo, and my tips on reaching the finish line of 50,000 words. For those of you who know me, you know that I HATE public speaking of any kind. However, this topic is such a huge deal for me because it’s how I got my start as a novelist, and it’s helped me to improve the speed of my writing process and crank out books at a faster speed than I ever thought possible. Because I’m so passionate about NaNoWriMo, and because I have real tips to offer other people who want to learn to write fast, I’m actually really excited to give this talk on Sunday! Yes, I’m also a little nervous. But I’m more excited than nervous.

If you’re in the Santa Rosa area on Sept. 13 at 2:30 (note, the meeting will be in the COURTYARD rooms, not the Empire room as the flyer suggests) and would like to learn how to write a novel in 30 days, head on over to the Flamingo Resort and join me! More information at redwoodwriters.org, and on the flyer below.

Cover reveal! And publish date for Come Here, Cupcake!

After months and months of blood, sweat and tears, working with an awesome story team, lots and lots of revisions, being talked off the ledge, more tears and a few cupcakes, I can finally announce the date you can expect to have Come Here, Cupcake in your hot little hands!

Drum roll please…..


You guys, that’s less than a month away! But wait! There’s more!

Are you ready for the cover?




Is that not the most gorgeous thing you’ve ever seen? The cover art of Come Here, Cupcake was created by talented artist and my dear friend, Rachel Corn-Hicks.

Here’s the story about Rachel. For years, Rachel has delighted all of her friends, myself included, with gifts of calendars featuring all of her art. Every month, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see what the next month would bring. So when the story of Come Here, Cupcake came about, I couldn’t stop thinking about how perfect it would be for Rachel’s art to be on the cover.

What I love about this book the most is that it’s been a labor of love. I worked very closely with my good friends, Alberto Melendez and Katie Talbot (aka Studio Rawr – check out their podcast, Random Survivors Club, a gab fest that starts out on Walking Dead, but always evolves into fun  tangents), who both helped to guide the story as my developmental editors (zombie lovers? On a book about cupcakes and magic??? You guys, it totally works. And no, there are no zombies in this book. Sorry.)…

And now the cover holds the gorgeous art of my friend, Rachel.

Next up, the back cover:

Here’s what it says:

There are four things to know about Morgan Truly.

  1. She is not thrilled to have moved back to her seaside town of Bodega Bay.
  2. She’s falling for a handsome rugged seafarer.
  3. She’s discovering that she loves baking.
  4. But with that discovery of baking comes a dark secret.

Set in the sleepy coastal town of Bodega Bay in California, Crissi Langwell blends the ingredients of family bonds, good friends, first kisses and accidental enchantments to create a delicious story that is meant to be devoured.

So now the question is…. Who’s ready for Cupcakes? :-)

The bells, and the Nicholas Effect

 A monument of bells exists on the side of Highway 1 in Bodega Bay, having been erected there 19 years ago. If life were fair, this tower wouldn’t exist. If it weren’t for two robbers who took the life of a 7-year-old Bodega Bay boy, we’d never know the Children’s Bell Tower.

On Oct. 1, 1994, the Green family were vacationing in Italy. They were all in the family’s rented car when two robbers mistook them for jewelers. The robbers chased them down, shooting into the backseat. 7-year-old Nicholas Green was shot in the head as he slept in the backseat with his 4-year-old sister, Eleanor. The bullet destroyed Nicholas’ brain, and he was declared clinically dead.

“His life was wasted,” his father, Reginald Green, told reporters in Italy. But he also said that Nicholas had a very strong heart. So the family offered their son’s heart, along with other organs, to people who needed them.

His heart went to a 14-year-old Roman boy.

His liver went to a 19-year-old Sicilian woman.

His kidneys were given to a 14-year-old Puglia girl and an 11-year-old Sicilian boy.

And three others received his pancreas and corneas, as well.

Out of death and despair, life was created. A community was formed. One little boy and a grieving family changed the course of 7 human beings, their families and friends, and two nations, along with the world who watched this family’s selfless act of love with awe.

The Green family had a choice. They could have dwelled in their despair, angry that their precious son was taken from them so violently, angry at the nation in which their son was taken. I’m sure they felt these emotions. The story could have stopped there. But it didn’t. The family decided their son’s untimely death wouldn’t be in vain. His life was treated as a holy sacrifice, an offering to 7 other families who were in need. If it weren’t for the death of Nicholas Green, at least 5 of those recipients may not be alive today. And because of the generosity of the Green family, Nicholas Green lives on in these 7 individuals.

This was only the beginning of the story. At the time of Nicholas’ death, organ donation in Italy was the lowest among European countries. After his death, organ donation significantly increased in Italy, as well as around the world. Today, organ donation has tripled in Italy, and Nicholas Green’s name is associated with this change. The movement is known as “The Nicholas Effect,” referring not only to organ donation, but to anything good that emerges from tragedy.

It was in 1996 when the Children’s Bell Tower was unveiled in Bodega Bay, located behind the Bodega Bay Community Center and garden. The tower holds more than 140 bells, all donated by individuals, families, schools, and churches to honor Nicholas Green and his family. In the center is a large bell that holds the name of Nicholas Green, along with the names of the 7 people who received his organs. This bell was created and donated by Fonderia Pontifica, the oldest bell manufacturer in the world, and blessed by Pope John Paul II. And the bells were assembled by sculptor Bruce Hassan of San Francisco, who said he placed each bell on the sculpture as if they were his children.

This last week, I took a soul retreat to clear my head and find answers to some very real issues that have been plaguing me for months (see the story at Soul Retreat part 1, and Soul Retreat part 2). I had created a plan that included visiting the ocean as part of my soul retreat. On the way out to the coast, I turned my head at exactly the right time as I passed by the bell tower, seeing it set back from the highway. I knew the story behind the tower, but had never stopped. I’d always wanted to, but you know how it is when you live in the same area as something wonderful – you take it for granted.

Following the ocean portion of my soul retreat, I headed back down the coast to find something to eat. But as I came upon the bell tower once again, I made a split second decision to stop. I parked my car and walked the pathway toward the tower. I stopped to read the plaque set near the monument, then continued to the tower.

Once there, this is what I experienced.

There was no heavy breeze when I got there, but the bells still offered delicate rings with each light gust of wind. I stood in awe, drinking in the soft clanging of bells, and the heavy horns that sounded in the distance. I breathed in and out, standing on Holy Ground as I meditated on the beauty that came out of tragedy…the Nicholas Effect.

The other day, my husband left a statement on the chalkboard in our kitchen: “Life is what you make of it.” At this moment, I cannot think of any statement that is more true.

*Information about Nicholas Green and The Nicholas Effect found at The Press Democrat, The NY Times, Wikipedia and nicholasgreen.org. Find out more with the book, The Nicholas Effect: A Boy’s Gift to the World, written by Reg Green, Nicholas Green’s father.

Here are a few photos of the Children’s Bell Tower in Bodega Bay, and surrounding monuments.