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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

TRADING CARDS HIDDEN VIDEO

Thank you all so much for all the SOLSTICE support! I mentioned I have awesome trading cards for the book, and each trading card has a QR code to a bonus extra for SOLSTICE. You can request these on the trading card page, and I'm handing them out at author events I do, also.

After each extra has been hidden for a while, I'm going to make it public, so today I give you a bonus vlog I made for SOLSTICE.

It's MYTHOLOGY 101, and I'm thrilled to have my writing group from THE PLACE star in this fun, informative, and slightly crazy video.

If you've every been curious about how exactly Pegasus and a bunny are different, then this video will answer your questions.

And definitely notice the backgrounds. THE PLACE has so many cool places to film. My favorite is E. Kristin Anderson's scenery :)

Enjoy!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater ARC Giveaway

I'm thrilled to offer up for giveaway an ARC by my awesome agent-sister, Maggie Stiefvater!

THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, October 18, 2011)

http://lifeaftertwilight.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/TheScorpioRaces.png

From Amazon:

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver and Linger comes a brand new, heartstopping novel.

With her trademark lyricism, Maggie Stiefvater turns to a new world, where a pair are swept up in a daring, dangerous race across a cliff--with more than just their lives at stake should they lose.


Source of ARC: From publisher at ALA

The contest will run through midnight on Tuesday, July 12th, 2011!


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

Extra entries are here:
  • + 1 entry - Tweet about this contest. See button at the top of post for an easy tweet!
  • + 1 entry - Blog about this contest.
  • + unlimited - Do something nice for SOLSTICE. You know, like buy it (for $2.99, email me the receipt), tweet about it, blog about it, send it chocolate and roses. I'm not particular. And let me know in the "Other" section!

Okay, that's it! So click away on the above links, and then fill out the form below. Thank you! And don't forget I'm also giving away:


SASS & SERENDIPITY
by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, July 12, 2011)
CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS


*****



Good luck!

TRADING CARDS BONUS EXTRA

Thank you all so much for all the SOLSTICE support! I mentioned I have awesome trading cards for the book, and each trading card has a QR code to a bonus extra for SOLSTICE. You can request these on the trading card page, and I'm handing them out at author events I do, also.

After each extra has been hidden for a while, I'm going to make it public, so today I give you the official playlist for SOLSTICE. Yes, I realize lots of these songs are old, but what can I say? They spoke to me :)

Enjoy!


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FEATURING THE AWESOME ADDISON MOORE!

I am thrilled to feature the very cool Addison Moore on my blog today. Addison is a personal friend and a great author you guys should totally check out. Her first book, ETHEREAL, blew to the top of the charts, and the second book in the trilogy, TREMBLE, is doing the same.


Addison agreed to stop by and answer a few questions for me today, so without further delay, here you go!


*****

PJH: Please tell us about your publishing path. How did Ethereal and Tremble come to be?

AM: A few years back I wrote a story called Ethereal about a girl who almost dies and sees her guardian angel and it went nowhere. I also wrote a story about a bunch of teenagers that lived on a fictional island and it was deemed too young for regular young adult. Since I liked elements about both stories, I thought why not combine the two? Thus the Celestra series was born.


PJH: What has been the funnest thing about having your books out?

AM: It’s been so insane I can’t even put it into words. About three weeks into the first book being out I began getting Twitter DM’s, facebook messages, emails from readers who really liked the book. Just knowing that I was able to connect with someone with my story felt awesome. I get messages from readers almost every day. I really love hearing from people so keep it coming!


PJH: How about the most challenging? Or has it all been sunshine and lollipops?

AM: The toughest part by far is wading through not so nice reviews. I have to keep reminding myself that people write reviews for other readers to evaluate and not to hurt the authors feelings.


PJH: What's the funnest part of marketing for you? Least fun?

AM: I love people, so connecting on social networks, especially my blog and facebook has been a blast! Least fun? Gosh, I really can’t pinpoint anything I don’t like about marketing.


PJH: If you had to give five reasons why someone should read your book(s), what would they be?

AM: Five whole reasons??? Ack! OK…*deep breath*
  1. It’s fun.
  2. It helps the reader escape reality.
  3. It’s light and slightly scary.
  4. Hawt angels are involved.
  5. Did I mention the hawt angels?

Look for book 3 in the Celestra series coming this summer!


AM: Thanks so much PJ for hosting me! We’ve been friends for a while now and it is an honor for me to be on your blog.

PJH: Seriously, the pleasure is all mine! I am so excited for you!

*****

Bio:
Addison Moore is a USC graduate who enjoys writing young adult paranormal romance. Ethereal, and Tremble are her first and second published novels in the Celestra series. She lives with her family and two dogs on the west coast.

Monday, June 27, 2011

SASS & SERENDIPITY by Jenny Ziegler Giveaway

In case you guys aren't familiar with Jenny Ziegler, I have to tell you she's not only one of the most talented authors I know, she's also hilarious! Her books are laugh-out-loud funny. And let's top that off with the fact that she's from Austin (which is the best writing community in the world). I am thrilled to offer up for giveaway an ARC of her latest book which comes out in two short weeks!

SASS & SERENDIPITY
by Jennifer Ziegler (Delacorte, July 12, 2011)


From Amazon:

For Daphne, the glass is always half full, a situation is better managed with a dab of lip gloss, and the boy of her dreams—the one she's read about in all of her novels—is waiting for her just around the corner.
For Gabby, nothing ever works out positively; wearing any form of makeup is a waste of study time, and boys will only leave you heartbroken. Her best friend, Mule, is the only one who has been there for her every step of the way.
But when the richest boy in school befriends Gabby, and Daphne starts to hang out more and more with her best friend, Mule, Gabby is forced to confront the emotional barriers she has put up to stop the hurting. And for once, her sassiness may fall prey to her definition of stupidity.


Source of book: From publisher at NCTE

For your chance to win this book, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Comment on this blog post

Extra entries are always available! Just let me know in the comments. Here are some thoughts:

Do something for Jenny and her book to make her happy...

Do something for SOLSTICE (my book) to make me happy....

I'm not picky. Just let me know, and you get extra entries!

And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, July 8, 2011!

JANET FOX Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered to win these two awesome books by Janet Fox! The winner of

FORGIVEN by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, June 2, 2011) (ARC)


FAITHFUL by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, May 13, 2010) (Paperback)

is...


Look for more giveaways with awesome books coming soon!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Off to ALA and the Top 20!

It's off to New Orleans tomorrow for ALA! Not only is it a great city, but I get to see so many awesome writing peeps! So no blogging until I get back :)

On a different note, why do I find it so exciting that SOLSTICE is in the top 20 for Children's Love and Romance on Amazon? Yay, SOLSTICE! Thank you all so much for the support!



Don't forget if you download a sample of SOLSTICE and email me a picture of it on the ereading device of your choice, I'll not only email you a coupon to get SOLSTICE for 99 cents, you'll also be entered to win a paper copy of SOLSTICE when it's available (which should be really soon)!


Hope you have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

IT GETS BETTER -- The Video

The Texas Sweethearts and Scoundrels are honored to be part of this amazing project put together by Phil Bildner. There are no words to describe what a great message it sends. Just watch the video. And pass it on.


Monday, June 20, 2011

SUMMER IS HERE! Get SOLSTICE for 99 cents!

Happy Summer Solstice, everyone!

I first want to take a second and thank you all for your awesome support. Every tweet, every blog post, every Goodreads or Amazon review for SOLSTICE...they all mean so much to me. I am happy beyond words to know SOLSTICE is out there with readers! Thank you!

If you missed it last week, SOLSTICE is now on tour! You can check out the full schedule here, and please drop by and ask questions anytime. I'd love to answer!

In honor of this mega blog tour of epic proportions, there's a really special offer going on.

It's easy.
It's fun.
And it will get SOLSTICE into your hands for 99 cents!


Here's all you have to do:

1) Download a free sample of SOLSTICE.
2) Email me a picture of SOLSTICE on the eReading device of your choice***.

pjhoover_books@yahoo.com


Two simple steps. You can be in the picture or not. (The last photo I received had a watermelon instead of a person.) Once I get your email, I'll email you a coupon code for Smashwords where you can then get SOLSTICE for 99 cents. If you don't know, Smashwords has formats available for all reading devices.

And wait...there's more. Because rumor has it that print copies of SOLSTICE will be available soon. I haven't seen them yet, but, just like summer, they are coming. So...

***If you email me your picture, you will be officially entered to win a print copy of SOLSTICE!

How cool is that? I want to win, because really, I can't wait to see SOLSTICE in print! :)

This special offer is good for two weeks, ending on Sunday, July 3rd, 2011 at midnight.

Hope your summer is hot!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

CRACK the CODE Winner!

A loud click sounds within the door. Heart drumming, you pull on the handle and the monstrous round door swings open.

51 - 92 - 87

Congrats goes to Joyce Shor Johnson who successfully CRACKED the CODE at The Bookshelf Muse, winning a ten page MG/YA critique, ebook copy of SOLSTICE & a set of Solstice trading cards. Please contact me as soon as possible so I can get your prize to you! Thanks everyone for playing along & helping to celebrate a great writing community. :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

WILDEFIRE Winner!

Huge thank you to everyone who entered to win! The winner of...

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight (Simon & Schuster, July 26, 2011)


is...
MARIE EVANS!

*****

And don't forget I'm also giving away:

FORGIVEN by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, June 2, 2011) (ARC)
FAITHFUL by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, May 13, 2010) (Paperback)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Friday, June 17, 2011

SOLSTICE GOES ON TOUR!




SUMMER IS COMING, AND IT'S GOING TO BE HOT!

It's a blog tour of epic proportions, and it's coming your way! Yes, in honor of the Summer Solstice, starting Monday, June 20, 2011, SOLSTICE is going on a virtual tour with lots of fun interviews, reviews, and guest posts. It's probably way more SOLSTICE than you ever thought possible, but it's sure to be sizzling and not-to-be-missed :) And check back here at my blog for prizes and giveaways because there are definitely going to be some awesome ones!



SOLSTICE tour details:

Monday, June 20: Guest Blogging at All Consuming Books

Monday, June 20: Guest Blogging at Danyelle Leafty

Tuesday, June 21: Reviewed at Touch the Night

Tuesday, June 21: Interviewed at Demetra Brodsky

Tuesday, June 21: Interviewed at YA Books Central

Wednesday, June 22: Reviewed at ML John

Thursday, June 23: Reviewed at Gardening Literature

Friday, June 24: Guest Blogging at Gardening Literature


Monday, June 27: Reviewed at Books, Thoughts and a Few Adventures

Tuesday, June 28: Reviewed at Oktopus Ink

Wednesday, June 29: Reviewed at Chick with Books

Thursday, June 30: Guest Blogging at Chick with Books

Thursday, June 30: Guest Blogging at Bookshelf Muse


Tuesday, July 5: Reviewed at Confessions of a Vi3tbabe

Tuesday, July 5: Reviewed at P.S. I Love Books

Tuesday, July 5: Guest Blogging at Book Purring

Wednesday, July 6: Interviewed at Confessions of a Vi3tbabe

Wednesday, July 6: Guest Blogging at TBF Reviews

Wednesday, July 6: Interviewed at P.S. I Love Books

Thursday, July 7: Reviewed at Epic Book Nerd

Thursday, July 7: Interview at E. J. Stevens From The Shadows

Friday, July 8: Reviewed at Five Monkies


Monday, July 11: Guest Blogging at My Love Affair with Books

Monday, July 11: Reviewed at Wakela’s World

Tuesday, July 12: Reviewed at Lost for Words

Wednesday, July 13: Guest Blogging at Five Monkies

Wednesday, July 13: Reviewed at Book Loving Mommy

Thursday, July 14: Reviewed at Book Worm Lisa

Thursday, July 14: Reviewed at Earphoria

Friday, July 15: Interviewed at Book Worm Lisa

Friday, July 15: Reviewed at Bookaholics Anonymous



Monday, July 18: Character Interview at I Read That 2

Tuesday, July 19: Author Interview w/ Book Line Answers at Lindsay Writes

Wednesday, July 20: Review at C A Marshall

Thursday, July 21: Author Book Picks: Childhood/Teen Years at Caught Between the Pages

Friday, July 22: Tens List at Just Another Book Addict

Monday, July 25: Character Interview at Reading Vacation

Tuesday, July 26: Review at The Fiction Enthusiast

Wednesday, July 27: Guest Post at A Backwards Story

Thursday, July 28: Review at Taming the Bookshelf

Friday, July 29: Author This or That List at Ivy Reads

Monday, August 1: Character Tweets at That Hapa Chick

Tuesday, August 2: Author Interview w/ Music Lyric Answers at C A Marshall

Wednesday, August 3: Review at Lindsay Writes

Thursday, August 4: Author Book Picks: Current at Lost for Words

Friday, August 5: Tens List at My Reading Room

Monday, August 8: Character Interview at Naughty Book Kitties

Tuesday, August 9: Review at Caught Between the Pages

Wednesday, August 10: Teenage Garage Sale at The Fiction Enthusiast

Thursday, August 11: Review at Lost for Words

Friday, August 12: Character This or That List at Taming the Bookshelf






Hope your summer sizzles!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

SUPER ZERO by Rhonda Stapleton




I have to admit, I'm kind of totally in love with this book. It's a treat of a book that kept me hooked from page one. It reminded me of a cross between THE INCREDIBLES and JANET EVANOVICH, and featured a main character who was fun and sympathetic and witty and just kind of all-around awesome.

SUPER ZERO by Rhonda Stapleton


Aside from the main character, let's talk about the romance. In SUPER ZERO, it sizzled. The male lead, Vigilante, is described in a way which will make every single reader want to become his sidekick (and more). Man, I want to be part of this super hero world. Rhonda Stapleton blends the world of superheros in with our society in a way that is believable yet exciting.

Also, I have to point out, this is an adult book, not a young adult. It's noteworthy because (1) I mostly read young adult, and (2) Rhonda Stapleton has published young adults novels also including STUPID CUPID (Simon Pulse, December 2009).

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for older teens and adults who love action, adventure, and romance!

And the best part is that it's a $2.99 ebook and totally worth every bit of it and more!


Source of book: Purchased

From Amazon:

Working for superheroes isn't all it's cracked up to be...

When Jenna’s superhero boss The Machine gives her the opportunity to safeguard the changing crystal (a jewel that grants, changes or removes superpowers) she jumps at the chance, eager to do this so-called "cake" job and earn street cred with the Midwest League of Superheroes. To help her mission, the League assigns her a partner, the mysterious and super-sexy Vigilante. Too bad he's also super-grouchy--what a tragic waste of hotness.

Soon, Jenna learns the threat to the changing crystal is all too real, and her list of trustworthy people grows shorter by the minute. But when she discovers something even more sinister afoot, involving Vigilante's sexy arch nemesis Dementrix, it'll take all her skills to keep the mad villainess from executing her plan to unmask and decommission the world's superheroes...especially when Jenna accidentally becomes one herself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

TRADING CARDS HIDDEN VIDEO




Thank you all so much for all the SOLSTICE support! I mentioned I have awesome trading cards for the book, and each trading card has a QR code to a bonus extra for SOLSTICE. You can request these on the trading card page, and I'm handing them out at author events I do, also.

After each extra has been hidden for a while, I'm going to make it public, so today I give you a bonus vlog I made for SOLSTICE. It's five ways to survive global warming.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

TRADING CARD TUESDAY




Hey, everyone! Happy Tuesday! Just wanted to let you know if you request a trading card for SOLSTICE today, I'll send you the whole set!



So what are you waiting for? It's easy :)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

FORGIVEN and FAITHFUL by Janet Fox Giveaway!




In case you guys don't know Janet Fox, she's smart and savvy and is also a fantastic author! Janet was kind enough to feature me and SOLSTICE on her blog this week. (You can read the whole interview here.) And so in celebration, I am giving away BOTH of Janet's fabulous books (which have some amazing covers, btw)!

FORGIVEN by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, June 2, 2011) (ARC)


FAITHFUL by Janet Fox (Speak/Penguin, May 13, 2010) (Paperback)



Check out this beautiful trailer for FAITHFUL!



From Amazon (for FORGIVEN):

Kula Baker never expected to find herself on the streets of San Francisco, alone but for a letter of introduction. Though she has come to the city to save her father from a cruel fate, Kula soon finds herself swept up in a world of art and elegance - a world she hardly dared dream of back in Montana, where she was no more than the daughter of an outlaw. And then there is the handsome David Wong, whose smiling eyes and soft-spoken manner have an uncanny way of breaking through Kula's carefully crafted reserve. Yet when disaster strikes and the wreckage threatens all she holds dear, Kula realizes that only by unlocking her heart can she begin to carve a new future for herself.

From Amazon (for FAITHFUL):

Sixteen-year-old Maggie Bennet's life is in tatters. Her mother has disappeared, and is presumed dead. The next thing she knows, her father has dragged Maggie away from their elegant Newport home, off on some mad excursion to Yellowstone in Montana. Torn from the only life she's ever known, away from her friends, from society, and verging on no prospects, Maggie is furious and devastated by her father's betrayal. But when she arrives, she finds herself drawn to the frustratingly stubborn, handsome Tom Rowland, the son of a park geologist, and to the wild romantic beauty of Yellowstone itself. And as Tom and the promise of freedom capture Maggie's heart, Maggie is forced to choose between who she is and who she wants to be.

Source of book: From publisher at conferences

For your chance to win this book, all you need to do is:

1) Follow this blog
2) Comment on this blog post

For extra entries...Do something for SOLSTICE to make me happy.
I'm not picky. Just let me know, and you get extra entries!

And make sure you leave me a way to get in contact with you when you win!

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, June 24, 2011!


****

Don't forget I'm also giving away:

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight (Simon & Schuster, July 26, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

CRACK the CODE @ The Bookshelf Muse

The Bookshelf Muse is celebrating over 2000 Followers and almost 1/2 million hits and they wants to know...CAN YOU CRACK THE CODE?

Let me break it down for you:





  • 12 generous writers.

  • A formidable steel vault packed with prizes.

  • A time locked sensor.

  • And you...with a code.



Will The Bookshelf Muse's Prize Vault open for you? Stop by and find out!

Here's a HINT to help you win it: Where would you find lockers lining a hallway?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Writing from the Place: TEN REASONS TO WRITE OUTSIDE





It seems that as writers we spend lots of time inside, hunched over in front of a computer, sucking in the air conditioning. It's lonely inside. It's dark. It's recycled air.

We here at THE PLACE (being Me, K. A. Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson, E. Kristin Anderson, Madeline Smoot, Mari Mancusi, Stephanie Pellegrin, Kayla Olson, and new members Bethany Hegedus & Jenny Moss) want to offer an alternative. See we've started something new. THE PLACE has indoor seating, and THE PLACE has outdoor seating.

We give you:

TEN REASONS TO WRITE OUTSIDE


1) Sunshine cures rejection depression.
Proven fact.
Writing with friends cures rejection depression, too.
Proven fact.




2) The smell of cigarette smokes brings out your inner Hemingway.
And if it gets to be too much, you can play musical chairs.



3) The dogs roaming around the place make you laugh.
Not to mention you can pick them up and get a quick snuggle.


4) The more overheard conversations, the better your dialogue will be.
And trust us when we tell you THE PLACE is filled with interesting conversations. It defines "Keep Austin Weird."



5) Crazy artwork provides new story ideas.
So do decapitated statues and fountains of boys peeing. This all goes into the ambiance category.


6) Two for one - getting a tan and getting word count done
But do remember your sunscreen if you plan to sit in direct sunlight.
Direct sunlight helps keep the vampires away.


7) Having table service encourages Butt-in-chair writing.
Yes, table service. Outside you get waited on!


8) Exercise provided by chasing papers blowing in wind.
Also by walking the further distance to the bathrooms. It's all good.


9) PJ Hoover will buy you a cookie if it rains
This isn't really true, but it's something I had to convince E. Kristin Anderson of before she would come outside. Maybe I'll make cookies next time and bring them.


10) Writing outside allows more people to fit in the writing group.
There are no confining walls. There is freedom to sit other places besides booths and chairs.


So what are you waiting for? Grab your computer, paper, or notebook and head outside!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

WIN A SIGNED COPY OF HAUNTED by JOY PREBLE




Joy Preble, who is an amazing, fantastic, generous author is featuring my main character PIPER on her blog today. But it's so cool because Joy's main character ANNE from DREAMING ANASTASIA is interviewing PIPER from SOLSTICE. And best of all...

Joy is offering up a signed copy of the sequel to DREAMING ANASTASIA

HAUNTED by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, Feb. 2011)



For your chance to win, head over and check it out!

Check out the fantastic book trailer for HAUNTED, too!




Hope your week is great!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

SOLSTICE and Indie Publishing: 1 Month Retrospective




So it’s been one month since the release of my YA ebook, SOLSTICE. Yay! I’ve been overwhelmed by all the positive feedback I’ve received. Thank you so much to everyone who’s read SOLSTICE, expressed interest, or in some way supported it. SOLSTICE and I really appreciate it :)

Since the release of SOLSTICE was announced, I’ve had lots of authors (traditionally pubbed, self-pubbed, pre-pubbed) contact me to ask about my decision to publish independently and to ask how my agency is involved, so I thought it would be worthwhile to take a few minutes and share how my last month has been. And let me preface by saying SOLSTICE is not my first book. I have a middle-grade fantasy trilogy out from a small publisher. So, though small, I have gone the traditional route, too.


First the pros. What good has come out of the independent release of SOLSTICE?

1) Foremost, SOLSTICE is out in the world and people are reading it. With the huge upswing in mythology books, I have to admit that a small part of me died each time I saw a new deal announced or a new book coming out on YA mythology. I came achingly close to selling an earlier version of SOLSTICE a year ago, and when it fell through, it crushed me. But I revised and made SOLSTICE so much better. But it's time was now. Comparable titles for SOLSTICE are ABANDON, STARCROSSED, and THE GODDESS TEST, all of which are releases within the last month—not a year and a half from now. As authors we all know the pain of pouring our soul into something only to see a deal in Publisher’s Weekly for something so close to our story it hurts. I no longer have to suffer that pain with SOLSTICE. If I had waited, I'd risk having that mythology craze diminish and having SOLSTICE be an afterthought. Not what I wanted for something I've worked so hard on.

2) With the market shifting digitally so quickly, I’ve had the huge advantage of learning about this new ebook market. And it’s fun. And exciting.

3) The low price of the SOLSTICE ebook makes it accessible to so many teens and readers. Teens hear about SOLSTICE and they are pumped. And when I mention the price point, they get even more excited. I’ve gone from selling middle grade hardcovers from a small press for $16.95 each to selling a YA ebook for $2.99. Price matters.

4) SOLSTICE is currently an ebook. But since I am working with my agency, I have the opportunity for foreign sales and rights. Not to mention it will be coming out in paper very soon.

5) New speaking opportunities have opened up as a result of taking the ebook route. For example, I’ll be featured at our Austin SCBWI Digital ePublishing Symposium this fall, and I’ll also be on two panels at this weekends Writer’s League of Texas conference.

6) My agent makes me feel like a rock star. Seriously, she has been beyond supportive and excited about the entire process. I love that.

7) I have been blessed with friends who have given me and SOLSTICE amazing support. Like over the top. It seriously makes me tear up when I see how supporting people can be. I love you all!

Okay, with pros, there are always cons. Have there been cons with bringing SOLSTICE out independently as an ebook? Sure.

1) Out with it first…There is a huge stigma associated with self publishing. People may claim they don’t have this bias or may come up with reasons for their bias, but many readers allow the traditional publishing industry to tell them what to read and never venture outside of that circle. In my one-month experience, I’ve seen bias in the form of email responses (and non-responses), condescension, and reluctance to blurb. Am I cool with this? Totally. The stigma exists. But it is changing, and in the future, it will go away.

2) Hitting the library and bookstore market with an ebook is not quite in place yet. Does this mean that library conferences are not useful? No way. Librarians are still amazing advocates and love to read. So I’ll continue to do what I can in this market.

3) People who don’t read ebooks are reluctant to give ebooks a chance. They claim they love the feel of books in their hands, and I respect this. I used to be this person. I’m not now, and more and more I want to shift to ebooks. Ebooks are convenient to buy. Reading on an ereader is way more comfortable. I’m saving the environment. Sure, I still love owning “real” books, but I think, for me, this is more materialism than anything else.

4) A self-published ebook is not eligible for many awards, state lists, and reviews. There are strict rules in place for this much of the time. So what’s a girl to do? Look for other marketing avenues and research what awards and reviews are a possibility. And write the next book.

Also, I want to state something I do not see as a con. In my current arrangement for SOLSTICE, Andrea Brown Literary Agency receives 15% of the royalties. Have they earned this? Heck, yes. SOLSTICE has been edited numerous times and not just by me. I’ve had the benefit of having some amazing pairs of eyes on it, and they have really helped shape it into a story I am so proud of. Not to mention they’ve taken care of all the effort of making SOLSTICE a real book. I absolutely could have learned this on my own, but I didn’t have to. And I don’t regret that one bit.

Based on emails and Twitter DMs and Facebook messages and what I’ve read on the Verla Kay Blueboards, there are many authors considering this ebook route. There are many that have already done so. Am I happy to be a pioneer in the movement? Absolutely!

Questions? Ask away!

THE FOX INHERITANCE by Mary Pearson





The best thing about getting ARCs at library conferences is picking up a gem and having no idea you were doing it at the time. You feel like you've won the book lottery. And it's even better when the book rocks. That's how I felt a few years ago when I picked up THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX by Mary Pearson (Henry Holt, 2008). The book was a perfect mix of science fiction (light sci-fi, mind you), character development and mystery.

The next best thing about getting ARCs at library conferences is going with a specific book in mind you are really looking forward to and getting it. Enter...

THE FOX INHERITANCE (The Jenna Fox Chronicles) by Mary Pearson (Henry Holt, August 30, 2011)


First, I was psyched when I saw there would be a sequel to JENNA FOX. I admit I was a bit dubious at first that the sequel would not live up to the level set by the first book. So let me get that out of the way right off the bat. THE FOX INHERITANCE I dare say is better that the first book. I personally enjoyed it more.

I think what makes this sequel work so well is how
  1. It has new characters that we love (and they are actually the main characters of the story)
  2. It is set so far in the future that what happened in the past is not hardly relevant. It is a standalone story and works perfectly as one.
  3. Well-thought-out World Building. I love this world 200+ years in the future.

THE FOX INHERITANCE is highly recommended for fans of THE INHERITANCE OF JENNA FOX and I believe would even work well for those who have not read the first book.

And for catch up, here is the book trailer for THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX.



Source of book: From publisher at TLA

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Interview with LARA PERKINS, Publishing Manager for LAURA RENNERT




Today I'm thrilled to feature someone I've worked closely with the last few months bringing my debut YA novel SOLSTICE into the world.

Lara Perkins works with my agent Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency as her publishing manager. Prior to that, Lara was Laura's assistant. (I know...the Lara/Laura thing can be confusing). Anyway...Lara's help editing SOLSTICE was priceless and really helped shape it into so much more that I could have ever imagined.

So anyway, I asked Lara Perkins some questions, and she was kind enough to take time out of her (very busy) day to answer them.

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PJH: So your title is "Publishing Manager for Laura Rennert." What does this mean and what does this involve?

LP: I'm delighted that this is your first question, Tricia, because I'm very excited about my new role with Laura. As Laura's Publishing Manager, I work closely with Laura as a part of her business, and my work combines some of the duties of an editor/agent with those of a business manager. On the editorial side, I work directly with Laura's very talented authors (like the brilliant author of SOLSTICE, for example!) to develop their manuscripts and story ideas. I also evaluate potential clients' work, make recommendations for representation, and draft pitch letters to editors. On the business side, I manage many of the financial and administrative aspects of Laura's business.

But one of the most exciting parts of this job, and something that's very relevant to SOLSTICE, is that I also help authors publish their works digitally and independently. In this capacity, I work with the author on the final line edit of the manuscript and then coordinate copyediting, cover art, and formatting. I put together the front and back matter and the jacket copy, and then I upload the book for the author, make it available for sale across all platforms, and troubleshoot any issues that arise. Once the book is on sale, I help the author track sales and marketing efforts. I've always been passionate about editorial work, but helping authors publish their works digitally has been an amazing experience--and tremendous fun!


PJH: What are the plans for more titles coming out the same way as SOLSTICE?

LP: There will be more titles forthcoming, as some other ABLA authors have also made the choice to independently publish projects with ABLA's help. ABLA's goal is to help its authors independently publish very high quality works that are indistinguishable from traditionally published books in terms of the content and the whole package (cover, formatting, copyediting, etc.). The process is both labor and cost-intensive, so ABLA is beginning with just a few authors and projects, and it will grow from there. But you are the trailblazer! The first ABLA author to independently publish a frontlist title with the agency's help.


PJH: What changes do you foresee in publishing in the next year?


LP: What's happening in publishing now is very exciting, and authors, agents, and publishers all have some fantastic new opportunities. Authors in particular have been empowered by these new changes, and all authors, published or unpublished, should pay close attention to the changes happening in the industry because these changes have a direct bearing on what will happen to to their work in both the short and the long term. That's been one of the great things about working with an ABLA agent; ABLA is doing more than almost any other agency to adapt to the new realities of publishing and to focus on the long-term upside for their authors.

As the publication of SOLSTICE indicates, there's been a shift in just the last few months towards embracing these new opportunities. We've seen bestselling authors turning down big traditional deals to explore new publishing models, traditional publishers launching promising new online platforms, and new agency models that embrace independent/digital publishing as well as traditional publishing. I think that we'll see even more of this in the next year. Given the speed at which these changes are taking place, I think that in the next year or two, the dust will settle, and everyone will have a clearer sense of the industry's new landscape.



PJH: Having edited manuscripts, what advice would you give authors looking for representation?

LP: Most writers already know how important the first few pages of a manuscript are, and I'll reiterate that. Your query letter is very important, of course; an agent needs to know that your idea is unique and commercial enough to sell, and how you communicate your book's premise tells an agent a lot about your skill with pacing and your sense of story. But, in many ways, your writing sample is the most important part of your query--the make it or break it part. A killer query letter with a weak writing sample is a much bigger problem than a weak query letter with a killer writing sample. So let's say you've already made sure that your first chapter showcases your writerly skill and your individual voice. You've made sure that your pages are clean and that they've been vetted by at least 3 trusted readers. Is there anything else to look for before sending out your writing sample?

I think there is. In my experience, great first chapters--the ones that make an agent or editor sit up and take notice--are those that strike a balance between the unfamiliar and the familiar. I know that sounds a bit vague, so I'll explain. A writer needs to hook his or her reader in the first few pages by giving the reader a compelling reason to keep turning the pages--some kind of mystery or puzzle or unresolved tension that points forward to the rest of the book. This is true across the board, regardless of genre and age group. (Even self-help books follow this pattern, destabilizing your expectations in the first chapter--"I ate cookies all day and still lost 100 pounds!"--so that you'll want to read on and solve the mystery of how that's possible.) So in your first few pages, you want to (productively) destabilize your reader and engage his or her curiosity. In short, you want to give your reader something unfamiliar.

But your reader also needs a way into the story, a foothold in your world. This means that your reader needs someone to identify with, or a familiar emotion or situation, so that he or she has a reason to invest emotionally in your story and to believe in the world you're creating. So your reader also needs to recognize something familiar in your world and/or in your characters.

If the whole first chapter is unfamiliar, your reader has no way in to the story. If it's all familiar, your reader has no reason to keep reading. So you need to strike that balance right off the bat, and it can be a real challenge. I've seen many first chapters that have one but not the other, and it's almost always a problem.

Now, getting all of that into the first chapter can be a real challenge, but it's worth it. Because the truth is that when your book hits the shelves, a potential reader may not give you much more than the first chapter before he or she decides whether or not to buy your book anyway. Even with ebooks, a potential buyer can sample the beginning of the book before purchasing it. In short, those first pages will be your first impression to your reader at every stage.

The rest of the ms has to hold up too, of course, so before you query, make sure that your whole manuscript is as strong as you can get it. If you think that there may still be problems in your manuscript, there probably are, and you don't want to miss a chance at your dream agent because of flaws you could have fixed. Even agents who enjoy working editorially have limited bandwidths, and if it seems like a work needs a great deal of editorial work, they will be more hesitant to take it on, even if it is very strong in other ways.

A final note: make sure that you query agents whose literary interests and prior sales match up with your work's category. For example, querying an agent who specializes in commercial thrillers, and who has never sold an autobiography, in the hopes that he or she will represent your quiet, literary autobiography probably won't result in a request, even if your work is strong. The agent won't hold it against you, but why query that agent when there are agents out there who have actually sold similar titles? Who would be excited to read "literary autobiography" in a query letter? Unless you have a definite reason to believe that your work will be an exception, focus on querying agents who have successfully sold similar titles or who have said that they're looking to take on works in that genre.


PJH: Thank you so much, Lara! I'm so happy I am able to work with you!

Saturday, June 04, 2011

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight Giveaway!




I think there are a million people who want to read this book, and I'm lucky enough to be able to share with at least one of you! Up for giveaway today is an ARC of

WILDEFIRE by Karsten Knight (Simon & Schuster, July 26, 2011)


From Amazon:

Every flame begins with a spark.

Ashline Wilde is having a rough sophomore year. She’s struggling to find her place as the only Polynesian girl in school, her boyfriend just cheated on her, and now her runaway sister, Eve, has decided to barge back into her life. When Eve’s violent behavior escalates and she does the unthinkable, Ash transfers to a remote private school nestled in California’s redwoods, hoping to put the tragedy behind her. But her fresh start at Blackwood Academy doesn’t go as planned. Just as Ash is beginning to enjoy the perks of her new school—being captain of the tennis team, a steamy romance with a hot, local park ranger—Ash discovers that a group of gods and goddesses have mysteriously enrolled at Blackwood…and she’s one of them. To make matters worse, Eve has resurfaced to haunt Ash, and she’s got some strange abilities of her own. With a war between the gods looming over campus, Ash must master the new fire smoldering within before she clashes with her sister one more time… And when warm and cold fronts collide, there’s guaranteed to be a storm.


Source of ARC: From publisher by request

The contest will run through midnight on Friday, June 17th, 2011!


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Extra entries are here:
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Thanks!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Friday Wrap Up!

Happy Friday!

First, I need to mention the Writer's League of Texas Annual Agents Conference which is just over a week away here in Austin, Texas. It's two days chock-full of agents and editors and author and people all working toward the same goal you are: amazing books!

My agent, Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, will be on the faculty, as will so many others. For a full list of all the details, check out the Writer's League of Texas website.

And, there is a 20% off coupon you can use here if you register before end of day Sunday!


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Next, have to share a little SOLSTICE love because I got some amazing reviews this week that really made me smile!

First, Amaterasu Reads says: "I loved every single moment I've spent as the plot unravels right before my eyes, piece by piece, one secret at a time. SOLSTICE is a page turner, a story that you just can't put down, can't stop reading until you reach the end."

Read the whole review here.


Next, Leah (aka Mary_not_Martha) says: "P.J. Hoover has written a thrilling, twisting-turning story about Greek gods living in the near future... Your summer reading list is begging you to put the cherry on top!"

But what I love the most about what Leah says is this: "I read this on my phone! This was my first experience reading an e-book through and I read it everywhere - at baseball practice, at work during lunch, and even after work at 1:30AM... I can't believe I got this much entertainment out of a $2.99 download that took me only seconds to purchase."

Read the whole review here.

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Two books I plan to review next week are:

THE FOX INHERITANCE by Mary Pearson (Henry Holt, August 30, 2011)

JULIET IMMORTAL by Stacey Jay (Delacorte, August 9, 2011)



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And finally, I love this picture of my agent, Laura Rennert (on right), and her publishing manager, Lara Perkins (on left), showing off SOLSTICE on their iPads! Now I really need an iPad. Look how pretty it looks!



Hope your weekend is great!