"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hope it's the best one yet!

(anyone get the picture reference?????)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE DARK TOWER 1: THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King

End of the year, and I'm catching up on some reviews...

Of course, I've heard about these books for years, but I never considered myself much of a Stephen King reader. Sure, I read some collections of short stories, and I loved THE SHINING and THE STAND (movies), but the length of the novels always kept me at arm's length. But, when I was looking for my next audio book listen, someone recommended this series, so I decided to give the first book a try.

THE DARK TOWER 1: THE GUNSLINGER by Stephen King (1982 (orig); Plume, June 24, 2003 (revised))


(This is a great summary of the book) From Amazon:

In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, "The Gunslinger" leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter.

***

As for the book itself, I loved the simplicity of the world Stephen King created in this first novel. The struggle within the main character came through perfectly, and when the young boy Jake was introduced, I was hooked. I wanted to know how Jake's world tied in with Roland's and why Roland was so intent on his pursuit of the man in black. I also truly appreciated how few words were used to create this world and the characters. As far as the audio book goes, this was a great choice. The narration was great, and the story moved along at a nice clip for audio listening.

I'd recommend this one for people curious about the series and those who, like me, are not die-hard Stephen King fans. The concept of the books is fascinating and compelling and left me wanting more of the same.

Source of book: Purchased from Audible.com

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BLOG TOUR: LISA NOWAK & GETTING SIDEWAYS

In case you guys missed it, I featured Lisa Nowak back in November, showcasing her YA race-themed book, RUNNING WIDE OPEN. Lisa has a new book out, and she agreed to stop by and answer some of our most burning questions on how to write a story with car racing as the main backdrop!

GETTING SIDEWAYS by Lisa Nowak (December 4, 2011)


***

PJH: When you started writing your story, did you find you put too much detail in? I know that when I'm passionate about something, I want to put in everything I know about it. How did you find the right balance between engaging the non-racing fan and staying true to the sport?

LN: As a matter of fact, I did put in too many details, but not just about the racing aspect. I think every writer tries to over-explain things at first. While I ultimately cut a lot, the balance came fairly easily with the racing info. I tried to give enough information that I would sound convincing to a race fan, without giving so much that it would bore people who weren’t into racing. At times, I’ve had people ask why I didn’t define a racing term. That was a judgment call. I can’t define every word in the book. I look to sports authors like Chris Crutcher for my cues. I don’t expect to have every football or swimming term explained when I read his books. If I don’t know something, I’ll look it up, and I expect my non-racing readers to be savvy enough to do the same. All of my critique group members have been women, and most of them middle-aged. They’ve often commented on how easy-to-follow the racing stuff is. Just the other day, my editor told me the racing parts of my second book weren’t a turn-off at all, and that I’d presented the subject in a way that made it interesting for her to learn about. That’s pretty much been the universal response from readers. Though I did have an agent or two say they thought no one beyond stock car racing fans would be interested in my books. But they’d probably also have been the first to tell Chris Crutcher no one but football fans would be interested in his.


PJH: I've been to a handful of races myself, and there is nothing like that first lap when the cars come around the turn. I get chills every time. How do you think, as writers, we can give our readers those same chills?

LN: OMG. I know just what you’re talking about! The sound of those engines and the way you can feel the vibrations in your chest as the cars roar by .... Where were we? Oh yeah, giving readers chills. It’s all about two things for me, immediacy and emotion. By immediacy I mean making the reader feel like he’s living the moment with the character. Part of that is voice and point-of-view. Part of it is providing sensory details that “show” rather than “tell,” to go back to the old adage. Racing really lends itself to sensory details, particularly those that go beyond the normal visual, which people rely on so heavily. You have the sound of roaring engines, squealing tires, and sometimes even tearing sheet metal. You have the adrenalin-inducing scent of racing fuel, which is sort of a sweet, zingy scent that smells like adventure. You have the feel of a pack of cars vibrating the pavement as they roar by, as well as the sensations of centrifugal force if you’re character is actually driving. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of sensations. But giving chills is about more than just those things, in my opinion. It’s also about emotion. Detailing a character’s fears, embarrassment, elation, and pain is also important. For that, I draw on my own life, finding a similar experience to connect to my character. Kids tend to think their angst is so personal that no one has ever felt the things they have. When you can show them that what they’re experiencing is not a one-of-a-kind thing—that it taps into a universal truth or the collective unconscious—it can be a very profound moment for them. I think it’s important for kids to discover this. Otherwise they go around feeling like there might be something wrong with them for having these thoughts and emotions.


PJH: Because you are so close to the sport of racing, having raced yourself, were there any scenes that were super hard to write?

LN: I can’t think of anything that was hard to write because of my experience. One of the most difficult things for me was describing a race. I’m a stickler for not repeating words, and that’s tough when you’re talking about cars going around a track. How many words are there for “lap,” after all? Now I know why sports writers say, “The Ducks creamed Stanford,” and “Boise pulverized the Bulldogs.” You’ve got to use colorful verbs to avoid repeating yourself. The funny thing about those racing scenes is I get a lot of compliments on them, but I find them boring to re-read, myself. :)


PJH: Conversely, what was your favorite race-related scene to write?

LN: There have been several. It’s always fun to fictionalize events that actually happened. Like when Race’s nemesis, Jerry Addamsen runs him off the backstretch. My friend Danny Bell was a victim of that, with the same outcome from the officials. I also like writing scenes that show the racing community in a positive light, such as when Race lends his friend Denny a carburetor, even though they’re competitors. That’s just how racers are, and it’s such a nice illustration of speedway ethics. It’s also fun to teach by incorporating facts into the story in a way that doesn’t seem heavy-handed. For example, in my second book Getting Sideways, Cody discovers that trigonometry actually has a purpose when Kasey shows him how to use it to calculate the angle of the bends for the door bars of his roll cage. I like learning from the fiction I read, and I also appreciate accurate details, so it’s fun to be able to deliver that to my audience.


PJH: Let's talk about stereotypes. Though in general we want to avoid these, at times, a stereotype can play a useful part, especially in a book that deals with a subject not often written (like racing). Do any of your characters have stereotypical traits? Do any bust the stereotypes wide open? And who was your favorite character to write?

LN: Wow, tough question. First I’d have to determine what the stereotypes are. With Cody, I suppose that would be “bad boy with a heart of gold.” Only he’s not very successful as a bad boy. Sure, he’s a pain in the ass, but he never does anything that terrible. He just pushes people’s buttons and talks back. The way he breaks the stereotype is that he’s really a very loyal person who’s never found an adult worthy of his devotion.

I suppose the stereotype for a racing hero is someone who’s fearless, unbeatable, and (except in those Harlequin racing romances) something of a redneck who loves country music. Race kicks butt on the track, however he also can’t eat before competing, grew up in a wealthy family, and listens to Jimmy Buffett (relentlessly, much to Cody’s distress). Race isn’t a typical guy, in that he’s not embarrassed about being a compassionate person.

I’m not sure where Kasey falls. As a tough woman in a racing community, you might find her somewhat stereotypical. She owns a business, isn’t afraid to stand up for herself, and loves cars. But she’s also something of a control freak and so stubborn she can’t see past her own reality sometimes. Then there’s the fact that even though she’s a strong, competent woman, she isn’t very good at running a business. She’d rather spend her time turning a wrench than managing the books.


PJH: Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt? :)

LN: I’m gonna have to go with Earnhardt, even though I was never really a fan until I read his biography. That’s probably not fair to Gordon, since I don’t know as much about him. I understand he’s not the same guy these days as he was when he was Wonder Boy. But then, who of us is? To be honest, I took something of a break from racing when I stopped doing it myself, and I just recently got back into it, only to find a whole new crop of drivers. Of the old guys, I had a lot of admiration for Tommy Houston who competed in Busch Grand National (now the Nationwide Series). He went years without ever missing a race. I respect that kind of dedication. On a humorous note, when I was living in North Carolina, Tommy once offered to check my lug nuts for me and I blew him off, not realizing who he was.

***

Buy links:

http://amzn.to/RWOAmazon

http://bit.ly/RWOBarnesandNoble

http://bit.ly/RWOSmashwords

Other links:

Blog: http://lisanowak.wordpress.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lisa_Nowak
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LisaNowakAuthor
Newsletter: http://bit.ly/LisaNowakNewsletter

***

From Amazon:

Getting shipped off to live with his uncle Race was the best thing that ever happened to fifteen-year-old Cody. Then a wreck at the speedway nearly ruined everything. Cody's making every effort to get his life back on track—writing for the school paper, searching for the perfect girlfriend, and counting the days until he gets his drivers' license—but there's no escaping the nightmares that haunt him.

A chance to build his own car seems like the perfect distraction. Until Cody realizes he'll have to live up to Race's legendary status. But that's the least of his worries, considering he doesn't have his dad's permission. All he has to do is the impossible: keep Race from discovering his lie until he can convince his dad that racing's safe.

Yeah, sure. That'll be easy.


***

And in case you missed it...

RUNNING WIDE OPEN by Lisa Nowak (Webfoot Publishing, June 2011)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BAD ACES BLOG TOUR! CALLUM & HARPER by FISHER AMELIE

I'm thrilled today to be part of "The 25 Day Tour of Bad Aces" for

CALLUM & HARPER by Fisher Amelia


...which releases on December 24th! And I love the fact that the blog tour has Bad Aces in the title. Like I am a Bad Ace. But I don't mind, because it just sounds sort of cool. Anyway...

...talk about gorgeous cover. I love this one! I asked Fisher to offer up a top ten list (because everything is better in lists of ten, right?). And here's what she came up with...a top ten list from one of her main character! :)


Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Harper Bailey
by Callum Tate

10. When I'm in a sour mood, she always blasts a ridiculous novelty song like "The Time Warp" through our apartment, lips syncs and then proceeds to dance a deliciously idiotic dance in front of me. i.e. The Lawnmower, The Shopping Cart, The Standard Sprinkler, The Windmill, or if I'm really lucky, she'll lay on her side on our wood floor and pivot her body in a circle only using her feet.

9. She always jumps to defend me. Always. Even when I'm wrong, she jumps to defend me.

8. She pretends she doesn't know that I know she drinks from the milk carton in the middle of the night.

7. She drinks milk...straight up, like that's normal.

6. She paints her toe nails outrageous patterns, like red and green plaid on Christmas. Spends hours on it. Then, puts socks on because her feet are cold.

5. She puts her hands in the pockets of my coat without thinking.

4. She'll yank a potato chip from my hand and replace it with a carrot without a word spoken. She's dangerously quiet...like a 'nutrition ninja'.

3. She literally waits until the last second to write a paper. It drives me batty. Yet somehow always makes an A. Lucky minx.

2. She leaves me notes on my door whenever she leaves. Usually saucy jokes. i.e. Last Thursday's note? 'Two olives on a table. One rolls off onto floor. The other asks, "You okay?" The fallen olive replies, "O-live"'

1. And the most important reason of all. Her face lights up like a million watt bulb when I. Me. Moi. *Points to self* This guy...walks into a room. I still can't believe it.


From Amazon:

Life sucks for orphans Callum Tate and Harper Bailey.

Kicked out of their foster homes because they suffer the 'eighteen disease' with nothing but a hundred dollar check from the government and a pat on the back, they're forced to rely on a system that failed them miserably.

So they sit. They sit inside Social Services, waiting for their social workers to call their names and offer them the miracle they know will never come but they sit anyway because they have nowhere else to go, no other options on their very literal and figurative empty plates.

But as they sit, they notice the other. Although captivated, they each come to the conclusion that life is complicated enough without throwing in a boiling tension that can't ever be acted upon because they're both too busy thinking about where their next meal will come from but when their names are called and both are placed on a year long waiting list for permanent housing, suddenly relying on each other seems like a very viable plan B.

And, oh, how lovely Plan B's can be.

Well, except for the psycho from Harper's past that haunts her and, oh, yeah, there's the little issue that neither of them knows they're in love with the other.

Needless to say, Callum & Harper's life just got a bit more complicated.

“One day, you and I are gonna’ wake up and be alright. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but one day. One day. I promise you.” - Callum Tate


***

Fisher is running a contest for the length of her book tour! To win a signed copy of Callum & Harper just click here

Visit Fisher at her website. www.fisheramelie.com

Watch her Book Trailers
here

Find Fisher on
Goodreads

Find
Fisher on Amazon

Find
Fisher on Barnes&Noble

Find
Fisher on Facebook

Find
Fisher on Twitter

Feel like talking to her in private? We don't blame you, she is easily persuaded into doing illegal things. E-mail her at fisher@fisheramelie.com. Don't worry, she's put up a firewall that no government agency could penetrate.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blog Winners!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win books! Stick around because I have some awesome books to give away in the new year :)

The winner of

An ARC of DIABOLICAL by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, January 24, 2012)
(I'm mid-reading this one, so the review will be forthcoming!)



A paperback of CALLI by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, September 2011)
(Read my write-up on CALLI here.)

is...

Christina Madison!

***


The winner of

CATSPELL (Fairy Godmother Dilemma Book 1) by Danyelle Leafty



is ...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Writing from THE PLACE: TOP TEN HOLIDAY GIFTS FOR WRITERS

Happy Holidays!

So you know a writer and you aren't sure what to get him or her for the holidays? Look no more! We here at THE PLACE, being (those that chimed in) E. Kristin Anderson, Jenny Moss, Cory Putman Oakes, Colleen Conrad, Jessica Lee Anderson, Bethany Hegedus, and ME, have chimed in to help you in your gift search!

We give you...

THE TOP TEN GIFTS FOR WRITERS (which, we realize, is a bit more than 10)


1) Offer to babysit if they have kids so that they can go to THE PLACE and write.

2) Massage/Spa day, because all that hunching over lap tops makes our backs hurt.


3) SCBWI/RWA/etc conference attendance.

4) Bookshelves. Because you don't know what books they already have, but you know they have a lot and need more space for them!

5) Fingerless gloves, especially here in Texas--it's so hot all the time, we don't know the heater's broken until that ONE DAY it dips below freezing. And then our fingers are ice, and typing is torture.

6) Coffee. French press, espresso, regular old drip. Also, wine.


7) Fancy file folders, pretty post-its, a 10-pack of Sharpie highlighters, and more colored pens than you think a human could possibly use. Then, at least we'll have nice stuff to look at when revision is (supposed to be) happening.

8) A special pen for signing books (although I always forget mine)

9) A gift certificate to bookstore to buy research/craft books

10) A copy of Scrivener

11) Nice versions of common desk reference books: dictionary, thesaurus, Chicago Manual, etc

12) Small, snazzy notebooks for jotting down story ideas


13) Rare editions of books they find inspirational and/or their favorite books


14) A comfy shawl/small blanket for chilly writing days

15) An intravenous coffee drip

16) Coupons for "Guilt Free Twitter/Social Media Time" for promotion

17) A nice, honest review of one of their books on Amazon/Goodreads/etc

18) Health insurance

19) A muse


20) CDs and/or iTunes giftcards (music fuels inspiration!)

21) Mugs and pint glasses


22) File folders, labels, accordion folders, etc. to assist with organization

23) Fancy tea samplers

24) A comfy desk chair

25) A flash drive


26) A writing retreat (doesn't have to be fancypants)

27) Bottles of Excedrin Migraine

28) A subscription to a fancy magazine--New Yorker, Hunger Mountain


29) Slipper socks

30) PJs that feel good to write in

31) A tech class

32) Book bouquets ala Stephanie Pellegrin! (or etsy)


33) Buying your book as a gift for everyone on their holiday list!


Hope your holiday is great :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi

I'll admit that a huge part of why I chose this book and listened to it on audio was the fact that Wil Wheaton was narrating. (and if you remember, it's not the fact that Wil Wheaton played Wesley Crusher that got me. It was READY PLAYER ONE by Ernest Cline.) Anyway...

FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi (Tor Books, May 10, 2011)


Never based on premise would I have thought I would enjoy this book so much. But I picked it up and started listening, and it got to the point that I couldn't wait to drive from place to place so I could have an excuse to listen to my audiobook more. I had to find out what was going to happen to the cute little fuzzy creatures. I know, sounds silly but totally is not.

John Scalzi does a great job blending humor, drama, and sci-fi. I'm not a lawyer and in general, I don't lean toward books with lots of law jargon in them (so don't let the lawyer part sway you). But the way this whole book played out was masterful. And I have to mention that the main character Jack Holloway was flawed yet so immensely likeable and seems to live the funnest life :)

If you remotely enjoy science fiction, I'd highly recommend this one. Also, if you do audio books, this one should top your list. Loved!


From Amazon:

Jack Holloway works alone, for reasons he doesn't care to talk about. Hundreds of miles from ZaraCorp's headquarters on planet, 178 light-years from the corporation's headquarters on Earth, Jack is content as an independent contractor, prospecting and surveying at his own pace. As for his past, that's not up for discussion.

Then, in the wake of an accidental cliff collapse, Jack discovers a seam of unimaginably valuable jewels, to which he manages to lay legal claim just as ZaraCorp is cancelling their contract with him for his part in causing the collapse. Briefly in the catbird seat, legally speaking, Jack pressures ZaraCorp into recognizing his claim, and cuts them in as partners to help extract the wealth.

But there's another wrinkle to ZaraCorp's relationship with the planet Zarathustra. Their entire legal right to exploit the verdant Earth-like planet, the basis of the wealth they derive from extracting its resources, is based on being able to certify to the authorities on Earth that Zarathustra is home to no sentient species.

Then a small furry biped--trusting, appealing, and ridiculously cute--shows up at Jack's outback home. Followed by its family. As it dawns on Jack that despite their stature, these are people, he begins to suspect that ZaraCorp's claim to a planet's worth of wealth is very flimsy indeed...and that ZaraCorp may stop at nothing to eliminate the "fuzzys" before their existence becomes more widely known.


Source of book: Purchased from Audible.com

Friday, December 09, 2011

HOLIDAY BOOK PICK: GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL!

I'll keep it simple. I adore this book. My kids adore this book. My daughter's first grade class adores this book. It's fun and charming and obviously adorable :)
So if you're looking for a great holiday picture book, this is one worth checking out!

THE GINGERBREAD MAN LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL by Laura Murray, illus. Mike Lowery (Putnam, July 7, 2011)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Giveaway & A Top Ten...Featuring Danyelle Leafy!

(Just for the record, I adore this guest post!!!!

...and read to the end for a giveaway!)

Today I'm featuring the husband of my friend and fellow author, Danyelle Leafty! You may recognize Danyelle from her fabulous blog, Myth-Takes. Her three books, which make up The Fairy Godmother Dilemma, are fun and perfect for fans of tilted fairy tales.

CATSPELL (Fairy Godmother Dilemma Book 1) by Danyelle Leafty
FIRESPELL (Fairy Godmother Dilemma Book 2) by Danyelle Leafty
APPLESPELL (Fairy Godmother Dilemma Book 3) by Danyelle Leafty




Danyelle's husband, Jadean, agreed to stop by and give us...

The Top 10 Reasons Being Married to an Author is Like Living in a Fairytale...


1. Research projects make happily ever-afters for whole family, because we get to visit the local bookstore.

2. Prince Charming's name shows up in all dedications.

3. Instead of killing dragons I get to take out her trash.

4. My spouse is always plotting like the wicked fairy godmothers of old.

5. Author creatures require their beauty sleep. Which if they don't get they can turn from Sleeping Beauty into Rumpelstiltskin like that, therefore we let author creatures sleep as long as needed.

6. Breakfast in bed is never a dread.

7. They might critique your movies or cartoons like a fairy godmother critiques her DiD's

8. I got to sweep my author creature off her feet and into a happily ever after.

9. Surprising the author is completely opposite of being a fairy godmother. She DID always knows how she wants story to end. So to surprise an author, you have to get her something she'd never expect, on the day of which you want to surprise her. Like a ceramic dog statue (real life experience)

10. LIFE is a Ball when being married to an author creature. In fact, I highly recommend it.



For your chance to win CATSPELL (Fairy Godmother Dilemma Book 1) by Danyelle Leafty, just

  1. Follow my blog
  2. Leave me a comment below

Contest will run through Saturday, December 17th, 2011.


Check out these other blogs featuring Danyelle and her books!

Andrea Pearson Books
Notes From the Writing Chair - Giveaway!
Anne Bradshaw's Place
Diana's Amazing Book Adventures - Giveaway!
Christine Fonseca, Author - Giveaway!
Roots in Myth - Giveaway!
Robin Weeks - Giveaway!
An Author Incognito & Janette Rallison's Blog - Giveaway!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

DIABOLICAL & CALLI GIVEAWAY

I'm thrilled to offer up for giveaway today two books by authors I adore. Both Cynthia Leitich Smith and Jessica Lee Anderson are fellow Austin authors and friends, and I love when they have new stories to share! So here's your chance to win a book from each of them!

An ARC of DIABOLICAL by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, January 24, 2012)
(I'm mid-reading this one, so the review will be forthcoming!)



A paperback of CALLI by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, September 2011)
(Read my write-up on CALLI here.)



From Amazon:

For DIABOLICAL:
Prepare for a hell of a ride as Cynthia Leitich Smith calls on characters from her previous novels - and conjures up new ones - for a climactic showdown.

When "slipped" angel Zachary and his werewolf pal, Kieren, arrive under suspicious circumstances to a mysterious New England boarding school, they quickly find themselves in a hellish lockdown with an intriguing assortment of secretive, hand-picked students. Plagued by demon dogs, hallucinatory wall d├ęcor, a sadistic instructor, and a legendary fire-breathing monster, will they somehow manage to escape? Or will the devil have his due? Best-selling author Cynthia Leitich Smith unites heroes from the previous three novels in the Tantalize Series - including Zachary's girl, Miranda, and Kieren's love, Quincie - along with a fascinating cast of all-new characters for a suspenseful, action-packed clash between the forces of heaven and hell.



For CALLI:
Fifteen-year-old Calli has just about everything she could want in life—two loving moms, a good-looking boyfriend, and a best friend who has always been there for support. An only child, Calli is excited when her parents announce that they want to be foster parents. Unfortunately, being a foster sister to Cherish is not at all what Calli expected. First Cherish steals Calli’s boyfriend, then begins to pit Calli’s moms against one another, and she even steals Calli’s iPod. Tired of being pushed around and determined to get even, Calli steals one of Cherish’s necklaces. But this plan for revenge goes horribly awry, and Cherish ends up in juvenile detention.

Isolating herself from her moms, her boyfriend, and even her best friend, Calli wrestles with her guilt and tries to figure out a way to undo the damage she’s caused. When her moms are asked to take on another foster child, Calli sees an opportunity to make amends for her past mistakes.

Funny, moving, and emotionally rich, Calli is a portrait of an endearing young woman caught between adolescence and adulthood, striving to do the right thing even when all of her options seem wrong.



This contest will run through Saturday, December 17, 2011.

For your chance to win these two books, you have to follow this blog. That gets you one entry.
  • +1 entry - Follow this blog

Extra entries are here:

Okay, that's it! Fill out the form below. And good luck!

Monday, December 05, 2011

TOP TEN c/o S. R. Johannes and UNTRACEABLE!

I'm here today with Shelli Johannes, author of the awesome UNTRACEABLE (Coleman and Stott, November 295, 2011) which I reviewed last week.


Since she is, by all accounts, a marketing expert, Shelli is sharing with us...

TOP TEN WAYS TO PREPARE FOR AN E-BOOK RELEASE

1) Create hype and word of mouth by talking about your book.
But not too much. Add it to your signature and bios so people can see your book without you having to talk about it all the time. Utilize your online network.


2) Plan your launch day and create an online event.
What can you do to attract readers to your blog? Contests, giveaways, chats etc. Set this up and promote it online through Facebook or Twitter.


3) Plan a blog tour online.
Utilize grass roots effort and reach out to bloggers and e-zines.


4) Gather reviews.
Give away eBooks in exchange for them to post an honest review somewhere, whether it is on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N or other channel.


5) Create a slogan that will stick.
Something catchy that will attract the attention of others.


6) Create a Tumblr site to reach.
This will provide access to a younger audience.


7) Investigate ways to advertise eBooks online.
Kindle Nation and Pixie Ink are good ones.


8) Set up Facebook, Twitter and utilize their options such as event pages.
Make sure you have author pages and book pages set up.


9) Join Forums and participate in the conversations.
Find groups online that share the interests in your books. Make sure you understand their rules about promotion.


10) Spend an hour a day on marketing.
Send an email, post a blog. If you do a little everyday, it will make a difference.


Thank you, Shelli! And readers don't miss out on UNTRACEABLE!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

A Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Holiday Signing!

It's a holiday signing with The Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels! We really hope to see you there! All seven of us will be in attendance, and rumor has it that, even though officially paperback copies of THE EMERALD TABLET are not yet available, they will be available at the signing!



And while you're at it, check out our very festive holiday banners for our blog and website made by the very talented Emma Virjan! :)

YA SCAVENGER HUNT EMERALD TABLET WINNER!

Thank you to all the new followers and those who dropped by to visit for the YA Scavenger Hunt! As for the winner of the e-book copy of

THE EMERALD TABLET by P. J. Hoover (CBAY Books)




it is...

NICOLE ZOLTACK!

Thank you!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

YA WINTER SCAVENGER HUNT & A GIVEAWAY!


Welcome to the YA WINTER SCAVENGER HUNT, organized by Colleen Houck, author of the fantastic and best-selling TIGER'S CURSE series! Seriously, when I think about all the work Colleen has put into organizing this event, it is mind-boggling. I'm delighted to be a part of it :)

So now, what is the hunt all about and how can you participate?

On this hunt you will be able to gain access to exclusive bonus material, sign up for giveaways, and get an all access pass to top secret insider information.

As an extra bonus we’ve put together a puzzle with one keyword found on each website. Complete it and you will be eligible for a fantastic GRAND PRIZE which will include signed editions of books, signed bookmarks, jewelry, and many more exclusive gifts with at least one gift from EVERY AUTHOR!

Scavenger Hunt Puzzle

Directions: You'll need to unscramble a bunch of words which can be found here. Go through each blog on the scavenger hunt and search for keywords, one on each blog, that will be highlighted in RED. When you are finished, fill out the Google form here.

Rules: To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit this filled in form before noon on Dec 4th Pacific Time. All the keywords must be in the correct place, and you must include your full name and address. Entries sent in without name and address will not be considered! To be eligible to win you will need to submit your completed entry to the YA Scavenger Hunt.

Note: This is open internationally.

*****

FEATURING THE AWESOME LEAH BOBET!


BIO:
Leah Bobet lives in a hundred-year-old house in Toronto, plants gardens in alleyways, and wears feathers in her hair. ABOVE is her first novel.



WHAT ABOVE IS ALL ABOUT:
Matthew has loved Ariel from the moment he found her in the tunnels, her bee's wings falling away. They live in Safe, an underground refuge for those fleeing the city Above--like Whisper, who speaks to ghosts, and Jack Flash, who can shoot lightning from his fingers.

But one terrifying night, an old enemy invades Safe with an army of shadows, and only Matthew, Ariel, and a few friends escape Above. As Matthew unravels the mystery of Safe's history and the shadows' attack, he realizes he must find a way to remake his home--not just for himself, but for Ariel, who needs him more than ever before.


WHERE YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT LEAH:
Her Website!

WHERE YOU CAN BUY THIS AWESOME BOOK:
AMAZON

INDIEBOUND

BARNES & NOBLE



AND SOMETHING EXTRA FOR THE BOOK...A SOUNDTRACK!

Above -- The Soundtrack


Matthew Good -- The Fine Art of Falling Apart

PJ Harvey -- Who Will Love me Now?

Chris Cornell -- Call Me a Dog

Gregory and the Hawk -- Boats and Birds

Finger Eleven -- Above

The Grapes of Wrath -- All The Things I Wasn't

The Von Bondies -- C'mon C'mon

Nine Inch Nails -- Ghosts I-1

Madrugada -- Majesty



*****

Thank you all so much for visiting my website and I hope you are all enjoying the tour!

While you're here, sign up to win an e-book of my middle grade science-fiction/fantasy, THE EMERALD TABLET.



It's easy to win!
1) Follow my blog

2) Leave me a comment (with a way to get in touch with you) telling me who the two main characters in ABOVE by Leah Bobet are (it's easy...just look at her book description above).



Ready to go to the next website on the Scavenger Hunt?

Click HERE!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FEATURING: RaShelle Workman and EXILED

It's time for our weekly author and book feature, and I've been excited about this one for a while? Why? Just check out this cover. Seriously, it is gorgeous! And the premise sounds amazing!

EXILED by RaShelle Workman (Polished Pen Press, November 11, 2011)


From Amazon:

Stubborn, sixteen-year-old Princess Venus of Kelari wants one thing, to become immortal, that is, until someone exiles her to Earth, kills her irrihunter and takes her family.

Now she wants revenge.

First she’s got to get home. But before she can return to Kelari, the Gods have commanded her to help an arrogant boy named Michael find his soul mate.

Only she doesn't know the first thing about love.

Rather quickly, her inexperience with human emotion is obscured by other matters—alien-controlled psychotic teens that are out to kill her, and a government group that is set on capturing and dissecting her.

Worst of all, Venus will suffer a painful death-by-poisoning, thanks to Earth’s atmosphere, if she remains on the planet longer than one week.

Still, Venus is a Princess and she's got a plan. Surely, with her help, Michael will fall in love with a human.

But time is running out and Michael is falling for the wrong girl—her.




Watch for Book 2 in The Connected Series – BEGUILED coming March 12th 2012, and Book 3 – DOVETAILED coming July 13th 2012.





BIO:

RaShelle Workman lives with her husband, three children and three dogs. When she gets a quiet moment alone, she enjoys reading about faraway places. And, in case you were wondering, yes, she does believe there is other life out in the Universe.






But the EXILED ebook from Amazon

But the EXILED print book from Amazon

Buy from Smashwords

Buy from Barnes and Noble

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UNTRACEABLE by S. R. Johannes

I was super happy when I had the chance to review an early copy of this book (which releases today, btw).

UNTRACEABLE by S. R. Johannes (Coleman and Stott, November 295, 2011)


You guys may know S. R. Johannes as the fabulous Shelli Johannes who runs the marketing blog MARKET MY WORDS. I was psyched when I found out Shelli was publishing her book and was one of the first to sign up to read it.

So what is UNTRACEABLE all about? Let's see. It's a story about family. It's a story about adventure. It's got some definite romantic elements (and a love triangle that has a nice, fresh feel to it). It's got layers of deception I never even kind of saw coming. And it's got adventure.

The main character, Grace, does a pretty good job getting herself in all kinds of trouble, but we're going to cut the girl some slack. Her dad has been missing for three months, and everyone, even her mom, presumes he is dead. But Grace never gives up, and this drives her actions forward for the bulk of the story.

UNTRACEABLE is not a fantasy. It deals with real life issues like troubled families, cruelty to animals, and friendships that may be more. What did I love about it? First, the setting above all else. Shelli does an amazing job painting the picture of the Smokey Mountains. I felt like I was running through the woods with her, climbing the hills she climbed and watching the stars at night. Second, the romance, especially with one of the guys, Mo. He was caring yet carried his own secrets. And finally, I loved that Shelli left us nice hope for the sequel. I, for one, am looking forward to this!

Highly recommended for those who enjoy YA adventure with depth and great character development!

Source of book: From author by request


From Amazon:

Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.
Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.

Monday, November 28, 2011

5 Things I'm Thankful For

In the wake of this thankful time of year, I give you five things from recent times I'm grateful for.

1) This nerdy picture of me and R2D2 from Austin Comic Con that I totally forgot to post.

Droid Love!

2) These beautiful SOLSTICE necklaces made by the wonderful Demetra Brodsky. Seriously, how awesome is this? Okay, and since there is obviously more than one, look for a giveaway in the near future!

Necklace love!

3) Playing hours upon hours of Wizard 101 with my kids (think World of Warcraft meets Harry Potter). After the fifth straight day playing this weekend, I finally admitted to my husband that it was actually pretty fun :)

My avatar, Fallon Mythwalker, rocks! Seriously, don't I look cool?

4) Watching my house transform into Christmas, and being able to decorate my tree properly (see (5) below).

Before...


After...

5) And for properly, what I mean is with my awesome collection of Star Trek and Star Wars ornaments. Some of my favorites include:


The Guardian of Forever


The Transporter


Yoda, who will now tell me, with the push of a button, "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."


The Borg Cube along with the Revenge of the Sith "You were supposed to be the chosen one" ornament. It always gives me a little tear in my eye. Why did Anakin have to turn to the dark side?



And finally, the classic Pon Farr


Hope your Thanksgiving was great!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

May you celebrate it among many friends and drink plenty of blood wine!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness

This book came out about three years ago, and I have to admit that, although it intrigued me from the very start, I was totally hesitant to read it.

THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO by Patrick Ness (Candlewick, September 2008)


See, I'd read some reviews for the book that mentioned that although it was a great book, it was very sad. And I was kind of thinking I was not all about the sad part. I like happy things, or things so buried in the fantasy world that I can one hundred percent distance myself from what happens (think MOCKINGJAY). But the e-book recently went on sale for $1.99, and I snatched it up and gave it a try.

Was the book very good? It was fantastic. It was deep and the characters were real. I cared so much for them as they traveled across their world in search of safety. Was the book sad? Sure. But a lot of books are sad, but in this case, this is not a reason to avoid the book. It's sad because we care, but I also didn't feel the author's hand. Everything that happened was because of a reason, and all actions led to the culmination of the story.

As far as dystopians go, this one rises to the top of the pack. It is unique (you know, this is a science fiction book set on an alien world?). It is amazingly written. It is something that should definitely go on the to-be-read list. It's great for boys and girls alike, so for those looking for "guy reading," make sure to check it out. Yes, the content is definitely YA, so seventh grade and up. I'm happy I finally checked it out. Highly recommended.

Source of book: Purchased e-book in $1.99 sale

Sunday, November 20, 2011

IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT by Kersten Hamilton Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win! I'm hoping for some good contests following Thanksgiving, so look out for that. I've been saving some sweet books for giveaway :)

Anyway, the winner of IN THE FORESTS OF THE NIGHT (The Goblin Wars: Book 2) by Kersten Hamilton (Clarion, November 22, 2011)

is...

AMANDA/AMELNO!