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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

FEATURING PATTI LARSEN!

I'm thrilled to feature today Patti Larsen who is beyond prolific, part of the Indie Carnival, and does sculpture for fun (how cool is that!!!!). Patti is the author of the brand new RUN, Book One of the Hunted Series!


PJH: I love the story idea of RUN! The whole series sounds like a must-read! What made you decide to indie-publish?

PL: Thank you! I love it, too. Nutshell: a sixteen-year-old boy is kidnapped and dumped in the forest in the middle of the night. He has no idea why he is there but soon learns to run from the hunters who are chasing him.

Why Indie? I guess I don’t fall strictly in that category. I’m with two publishers—one traditional and one epublisher. I adore them both and love working with them. The only problem for me is production. I’m extremely prolific, at least a book a month. They just can’t keep up with me! I’m on goal to write fifteen books this year and at most my epublisher can only handle four or five, while my traditional publisher has one. You can see the discrepancy?

Rather than wait and have all this material gathering virtual dust in my hard drive, I decided to self-publish. I hired an editor who I adore, a cover artist who blew me away and am on schedule to release the first book, Run, at the end of this month, only about a week after my epublished debut, Fresco, from Etopia Press.

Time from outline to publication: two months. But I already have the sequels in the same process, so the four book series will be out and for sale by the end of September. And really, having stock on my shelves for readers to purchase is the name of the game at this point.

For those of you worried I’m trading quality for quantity—I can assure you, I’m extremely picky. Which is why I hired an editor.


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

PL: I was invited to speak to a group of fifth graders after their teacher read my middle grade novel, Cat City, to them. I was a little nervous, I admit. Kids are so honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But they were fantastic! So sweet and sincere and, yes, honest—but in a good way. Of course, it helped that they loved it. They quizzed me for about an hour on the sequels, so that’s a good sign.


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

PL: The most challenging has been making decisions about my career. Self publishing in tandem, for example. It’s so hard to know what to do. The variety and scope of advice out there for writers runs the full spectrum with a lot of muddiness in the middle. I finally had to shut that out and make choices that worked for me. It’s been smooth sailing ever since.

And yes, actually. Sunshine and lollipops. Because I’m doing what I love.


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

PL: I actually don’t do a great deal of marketing. I really believe the best way to sell your work is to write your next book. The more product you have available, the more people buy. Mind you, I love (LOVE) giving interviews. LOVE. Did I mention how much I love to talk about myself and my work?



PJH: If you had to give five reasons why someone should read RUN, what would they be?

PL:
  1. There is tons of action. Reid is literally running for his life with very little down time.
  2. You’ll be freaked out, drawn inside the chase. One of my betas had a hard time going to the bathroom in the dark while reading it.
  3. The friendships. The kids Reid meets are as terrified as him but still manage to make connections to him and each other.
  4. For the paranormal aspects. The hunters seem human, but are they?
  5. To get to the end so you can read Hide, Fight and Hunt. 

PJH: Okay, for fun:

PJH: Favorite myth?
PL: It’s not a myth, but the Battle of Thermopylae. I studied it in university. Something about the 300 Spartans (700 Thespians and 400 Thebans) who stood against the Persian army long enough to save Greece… I still love that story and was thrilled when the movie came out. It was fun to tell people it was actually based on a true event.

PJH: Favorite wonder of the world (ancient wonders count, too)?
PL: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon. You can tell what I majored in, can’t you? I loved ancient history and absorbed as many classes as I could get. There is something so compelling and seductive about the gardens… like a whole different world where anything could happen.

PJH: Fantasy Island or Love Boat?
PL: Fantasy Island. I loved that show as a kid… the imagination behind it always stirred my own ideas.

PJH: Scooby Doo character you are most like?
PL: Scooby. He’s just a big, loveable fur ball.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here!


RUN is available at Smashwords and Amazon.

You can find Patti at:
www.pattilarsenbooks.blogspot.com
www.pattilarsen.com
www.pattilarsen.blogspot.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White

Okay, so I was a huge fan of PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White. I loved the voice and the fun and the plot that mattered yet wasn't so dark I wanted to shut myself in a closet and hide. And even though I RARELY read sequels any more, this was one of my exceptions.

SUPERNATURALLY by Kiersten White (HarperTeen, July 26, 2011)


If you're like me and you loved PARANORMALCY, then SUPERNATURALLY is totally worth picking up and reading. From the romance which is definitely not all sunshine and lollipops to the intense faerie world to the struggles the main character, Evie, must face, you will not be disappointed. And as with PARANORMALCY, the voice was perfect. So fresh and enjoyable, and so what a teen girl would think like.

Highly recommended! But if you haven't read PARANORMALCY, then start with that one (read my review for it here).



From Amazon:

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be... kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.


Source of book: Purchased

CONTEST Winners!

I want to offer up a huge thank you to everyone who entered my contests! Thank you, all!

The winner of the three book set by Jessica Lee Anderson

An ARC of CALLI by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, September 2011)


A hardcover of BORDER CROSSING by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, October 2009)


A hardcover of TRUDY by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, 2005)


is...

JESSICA SHEEHAN!

*****

The winner of the two book set by Maggie Stiefvater


FOREVER (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3) by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, July 12, 2011)



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

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

is.....


Friday, August 26, 2011

YA INDIE CARNIVAL: FIRST PARAGRAPH

It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! Wait, you haven't heard of the YA Indie Carnival? You're totally missing out. But no longer!

Okay, here's the deal! Each Friday, because Friday is awesome, we all blog about the same topic. This week's topic?

FIRST PARAGRAPH OF A WORK-IN-PROGRESS

I admit it. I share work with my critique group, but otherwise, I'm not much of a sharer. But what I am is a reviser. So what I'm going to share today is the FIRST DRAFT couple paragraphs of SOLSTICE and then a look at how it turned out after revisions.

For note, what was chapter one in the first draft became chapter 2 in the final version of SOLSTICE. So the text we're looking at is what is now chapter 2. What I love is how little ended up changing here (aside from adding an entire chapter).

And if you want to see more of this chapter, you can check it out on the extras on my website on this hidden page.

FIRST DRAFT SOLSTICE (CHAPTER 1)


If I knew he was the Lord of Hell, I wouldn’t have sat next to him. But when I walk into Social Sciences, his face turns to me, and echoes of secrets smolder behind his dark eyes. His lips move into a flicker of a smile, and a piece of his thick, dark mane falls across his forehead. He’s big and buff and flat out gorgeous. He seems to glow of mystery and darkness; is that even possible? In short, he sums up every single thing my mom tells me to avoid. So I sit down next to him.

“You’re late, Piper,” Mr. Kaiser says.

I shrug and drop my backpack onto the ground next to me. “My mom called the office.”

On cue follows the idiotic crack from Randy Conner I know will come. “Making sure you got out of the bathroom OK?”

The class snickers, and I turn around and shoot Randy my best glare, avoiding looking at the new guy next to me. But my peripheral vision catches him, and my heart tightens into something resembling a Gordian knot; he’s staring right at me.


FINAL VERSION SOLSTICE (CHAPTER 2)



(insert a whole new chapter, and then…)
(insert some more stuff to transition from the new chapter to this one, and then…)

When I walk into Social Sciences, there’s a new guy sitting right where I normally sit near the windows. His face turns to me, and his eyes are the first thing to catch my interest. They’re dark like chocolate and filled with shadows. His lips move into a flicker of a smile, and a piece of his dark hair falls across his forehead. He makes me think of mysteries and secrets. In short, he sums up every single thing my mom tells me to avoid. So I sit down in the empty seat next to him.

“You’re late, Piper.” Mr. Kaiser’s already started class.

I pretend not to look at the new guy and drop my backpack onto the ground. “My mom called.”

I wait for the idiotic crack from Randy Conner which I know will come. He doesn’t disappoint. “Making sure you got between classes okay?”

The class snickers, and I shoot Randy my best glare. But my peripheral vision catches the new guy, and my heart tightens into something resembling a Gordian knot; he’s staring right at me.

*****

You can check out all the amazing Indie Carnival author/bloggers below:


Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen (The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Diamond City Trilogy)
Courtney Cole (Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian)
Wren Emerson (I Wish)
Laura Elliott (Winnemucca)
Nichole A. Williams (Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden)
Fisher Amelie (The Understorey)
Amy Maurer Jones (The Soul Quest Trilogy)
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer (Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms)
T. R. Graves (Warriors of the Cross)
Cyndi Tefft (Between)
P.J. Hoover (Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis)
Alicia McCalla (Breaking Free)
Heather Cashman (Perception)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What do Harry Potter and Katy Perry have in Common?

I absolutely adore this video. All you Harry Potter fans, you have to watch! And huge thank you to Stephanie Pellegrin (who is way cool and in my writing group) for passing it on!



Enjoy!



FEATURING COURTNEY COLE!

I just adore the new authors I am meeting, and I'm thrilled to introduce you guys to Courtney Cole!
Okay, here is my favorite thing about Courtney. SHE LOVES SMURFS. And I don't think she's one of these new "movie" Smurf fans. I think she is a die-hard vintage Smurf lover like me. This puts her into the "worth checking out" category if you ask me.



****

Thank you so much for being here, Courtney!


PJH: I love the story idea of The Bloodstone Saga! The books sound like a must-read! What made you decide to indie-publish?

CC: Thanks, PJ. I wasn’t thinking of doing the indie thing in the beginning, I’ll admit. But only because I didn’t really know it existed- at least not in the way that it truly is now. In my head, I had poo-poo’ed the idea of self-publishing, because of the stigma. But my good friend, Wren Emerson, changed my mind. I was querying agents and Wren was like…"Why are you doing that? Being an indie rocks- take your own future in your hands". And of course, that last phrase pushed my buttons, because I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I loved the idea of being in control of my own destiny. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak…


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

CC: Oh, definitely having people read it and then take the time to email me and tell me how much they loved it- or that they were up reading it all night because they couldn’t put it down. Music. To. My. Ears!


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

CC: Um, I went into it with my eyes open. I had done my research (because I’m a researcher by nature) so I knew how much work it was. Because I was aware of that, I’ve never felt overwhelmed. I love a good challenge!

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

CC: My background is in business/marketing, so it’s fairly second nature to me. I love interacting with my audience—and that’s pretty much marketing in a nutshell. Finding ways to get in front of your audience. And I’m from Kansas—I ‘m a born-talker.


PJH: If you had to give five reasons why someone should read The Bloodstone Saga books, what would they be?

CC:
  1. Because it rocks. Literally, the bloodstone is a rock. A blood red bloodstone.
  2. Because it’s different. That’s something I hear a lot—“I loved your book because it is unique.”
  3. Because I like to write twists. I like to keep readers guessing and thinking that they are on one path and then shaking it up and putting them on a different path altogether.
  4. Because there are no vampires in it. (Although, to be honest, I like vampire stories just as much as the next guy…)
  5. Because my books contain fun elements of mythology and history--- I take real events or myths and twist them for my purposes. It’s pretty fun.

PJH: Okay, for fun...

PJH: Favorite myth?
CC: The story of Andromeda and Perseus… because I’m a sucker for happy endings.

PJH: Favorite wonder of the world (ancient wonders count, too)?
CC: When I was researching for Every Last Kiss, I was elbow deep in research for ancient Alexandria. The lighthouse there, the Pharos, was an ancient wonder of the world. I would say that that is my new favorite, based on the incredible descriptions of it—I am constantly astounded at how advanced the ancient Egyptians were in so many things.

PJH: Fantasy Island or Love Boat?
CC: Oh, Fantasy Island for sure. Anything could happen there.

PJH: Scooby Doo character you are most like?
CC: Well… I’d love to say Daphne because she is so glamorous and beautiful. But, I’m probably more like Velma. Except I’m 5’10. So, I’m a tall Velma- because I’m a planner. If I were in the gang, I’d be the one on the computer researching our next step. But I wouldn’t wear the orange sweater.

CC: Thanks for having me, PJ. It’s been fun!!

PJH: Thank you for being here, Courtney!

*****

BIO:

Courtney Cole is a 30-something YA novelist who loves thunderstorms, Harry Potter movies and double-chocolate ice cream. And coffee—lots of coffee. Although she has written a contemporary YA novel, Princess, she tends to hang out in paranormal worlds as evidenced by her Bloodstone Saga. To learn more about Courtney, visit her at www.courtneycolewrites.com

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FOREVER and THE SCORPIO RACES Giveaway!

I'm so excited to offer up for giveaway this two pack of ARCs from my agent-sister Maggie Stiefvater.

FOREVER (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 3) by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, July 12, 2011)



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

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


The book trailers Maggie makes are wonderful, so I'm including them both below.





Entering is super easy!

1) In the spirit of book trailers, vote for my book trailer for SOLSTICE in the book trailer contest on You Gotta Read Videos. SOLSTICE is entry #15! Click this link to go to the voting page.

2) Leave a comment on this post letting me know you voted.

The contest is international and will run for a short 4 days only through Friday, August 26th at midnight! So enter now!

Good luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A SHAMELESS REQUEST

Hey, everyone! Thank you so much for being awesome blog followers!

Okay, I have a totally shameless request. My book trailer for SOLSTICE is in a contest, but it needs your vote!

Please head over to You Gotta Read Videos and vote for the book trailer for SOLSTICE.

It's entry number 15.






And thank you!

ASHES by Ilsa Bick Winner!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered to win. If you didn't win, seriously buy this book because it is that awesome!

The winner of ASHES by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 6, 2011)


is...
AMANDA!


*****

And don't forget I'm also giving away this set of three amazing books:
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

An ARC of CALLI by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, September 2011)


A hardcover of BORDER CROSSING by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, October 2009)


A hardcover of TRUDY by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, 2005)


Friday, August 19, 2011

YA INDIE CARNIVAL: INSPIRATION FOR WRITING

It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! Wait, you haven't heard of the YA Indie Carnival? You're totally missing out. But no longer!

Okay, here's the deal! Each Friday, because Friday is awesome, we all blog about the same topic. This week's topic?

WHERE DO I FIND INSPIRATION?

This question is one I attempt to answer in school and author visits that I do, and it's always fun to talk about what things have inspired me along the way.

I'll give you five. Here we go. I find inspiration in:

1) STAR TREK
I could stop here, but I'll continue on because lists are fun.



2) MUSIC
Something about the whole combination of rhythm and words evokes such emotions.



3) MYTHOLOGY
Including The Hero's Journey (thank you, Joseph Campbell)



4) LIVING
By living and traveling and enjoying life, inspiration comes. Like crossing the Red River. Looks like a river in Hell to me (read SOLSTICE to figure out which one).


5) THE UNKNOWN
Because from the unknown comes speculative fiction. If we don't know the answer to something, we can always ask "what if," and from this question come so many possibilities.


You can check out all the amazing Indie Carnival author/bloggers below:


Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen (The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Diamond City Trilogy)
Courtney Cole (Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian)
Wren Emerson (I Wish)
Laura Elliott (Winnemucca)
Nichole A. Williams (Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden)
Fisher Amelie (The Understorey)
Amy Maurer Jones (The Soul Quest Trilogy)
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer (Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms)
T. R. Graves (Warriors of the Cross)
Cyndi Tefft (Between)
P.J. Hoover (Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis)
Alicia McCalla (Breaking Free)
Heather Cashman (Perception)
Also, a huge congratulations to Rachel Coles! Her story ORPHANS OF LETHE has just come out in in the horror anthology WHAT FEARS BECOME. You can read all about it here!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

TEMPEST by Julie Cross

It's always great to meet an author who is super sweet and gracious. Even better when the book she's written is kick-butt. Like...

TEMPEST by Julie Cross (St. Martin's Griffin, January 3, 2012)


I knew Julie from online, so I made a point of going by her signing at ALA for my own autographed copy of TEMPEST. What is TEMPEST? I had no clue, but I read it after ALA and loved it.

It's kind of like a TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE for teens except instead of the focus being on the romance, it's really on the main character (a guy), Jackson, searching for the truth about what he is, why he is able to time travel, and who he can trust (is his dad really in the CIA?). Julie kept the plot spinning until the very end. I had no clue who was trustworthy and who was out to get Jackson. Although TEMPEST is finished off nicely, Julie left it open for the planned trilogy.

If you're a fan of time travel, this book is definitely for you!

From Amazon:

The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.



Source of book: From publisher at ALA

Monday, August 15, 2011

CALLI, BORDER CROSSING, TRUDY—Three Book Giveaway from Jessica Lee Anderson

I am beyond thrilled for this week's giveaway! Today, I am fortunate to offer up three books from the amazingly talented Jessica Lee Anderson. Not only is Jessica my friend, she is a talented author who had spent time and effort developing her craft.

I was fortunate enough to blurb Jessica's most recent title CALLI, and I meant every word of what I said. CALLI is Milkweed Editions lead young adult title for fall 2011. Of CALLI, I said,

"Calli captures the moments from youth that remain in our hearts forever. Sweet hopes of family and love, betrayal by those closest to us, good intentions gone horribly wrong. Calli reaches out to readers and fills them with emotions that will leave them thinking about the characters for days to come."

So up for giveaway today are the following three books. I will get all three signed for the winner.

An ARC of CALLI by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, September 2011)


A hardcover of BORDER CROSSING by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, October 2009)


A hardcover of TRUDY by Jessica Lee Anderson (Milkweed Editions, 2005)



In addition to my blurb for CALLI, Newbery Honor author Kathi Appelt also offered up the following blurb:

"Here is a tale about telling the truth, about forgiveness, and about making things right, especially for yourself."

And from author Jenny Moss:

"Calli is a very engaging and insightful story about a teen learning to cope with friends, love, and her nontraditional family. I love this book."

From Amazon:

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.


The contest will run through midnight on Friday, August 26th, 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.
Okay, that's it! So click away on the above links, and then fill out the form below. Thank you! And good luck!

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


ASHES by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 6, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!





Good luck!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

LAREDO, TEXAS First Annual Book Festival

I had a blast this past Friday and Saturday at the Laredo, Texas first annual book festival. I traveled from Austin and hung out with 27 other authors and illustrators, presented on panels to Laredo librarians on Friday, and again to the Laredo public on Saturday.

The mayor was there for the ribbon cutting on Saturday morning. I think this is the first ribbon cutting ceremony I've been a part of.




And look! I made the Laredo news. Don't my books look so pretty :)



In addition to the above news clip, I was interviewed for this news article.


Savannah from Books with Bite traveled with her family to come see all the authors and illustrators! So great to meet you, Savannah! Jessica Lee Anderson is also in the photo.


Hanging with the gals Friday night. Around the table starting with the far left: Jo Whittemore, Me, Bethany Hegedus, Jenny Ziegler, Jeanette Larson, K. A. Holt (little head poking around), and Jessica Lee Anderson.

The view of Mexico from our hotel balcony. See the Rio Grande.


Leaving the Laredo area and heading through the Interstate checkpoint.

Laredo, it was a blast! I hope I get to see you again next year! Thank you for such wonderful hospitality!

CROSSED Winner!

Huge thank you to everyone who entered! I was overwhelmed with entries. I wish you all could win. But I promise I'll give away lots of good stuff in the future :)

Okay, the winner of CROSSED by Ally Condie (Dutton, November 1, 2011)


is...
NATALIE AGUIRRE!


*****

Look for more giveaways coming up, and don't forget I'm also giving away the awesome

ASHES by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 6, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Friday, August 12, 2011

SECOND DEGREE BLACK BELT!

YAY!

YA INDIE CARNIVAL: MY BIGGEST INDIE SURPRISE


It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! Wait, you haven't heard of the YA Indie Carnival? You're totally missing out. But no longer! You can check out all the amazing author/bloggers below:

Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen (The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Diamond City Trilogy)
Courtney Cole (Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian)
Wren Emerson (I Wish)
Laura Elliott (Winnemucca)
Nichole A. Williams (Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden)
Fisher Amelie (The Understorey)
Amy Maurer Jones (The Soul Quest Trilogy)
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer (Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms)
T. R. Graves (Warriors of the Cross)
Cyndi Tefft (Between)
P.J. Hoover (Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis)
Alicia McCalla (Breaking Free)
Heather Cashman (Perception)

Okay, here's the deal! Each Friday, because Friday is awesome, we all blog about the same topic. This week's topic?

WHAT IS MY BIGGEST INDIE SURPRISE?

The path of indie publishing has been such a fun one, filled with lots of surprises. Here are just some of these surprises:
  1. There are TONS of indie books being published. Um, wow. I am overwhelmed by the number.
  2. Lots of traditionally published authors are considering indie publishing (or are already indie publishing).
  3. Though the stigma for indie publishing exists, it is surprisingly little how much I've actually felt it.
  4. I have met some amazing people through indie publishing. Okay, this isn't as much of a surprise as a nice side benefit.
So what's the biggest surprise? I guess if I had to pick from the list above, I'd go with (1). There are a freaking ton of books being published. Every day more come out. And wow. So many of these books are great and totally worth checking out. It's kind of like my eyes have been opened. I have seen the light! And rather that standing back watching it all happen in front of me, I'm a part of it and loving it.

(thank you to Dani for the mood ring Indie Carnival icons! Today I feel purple.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

SOLSTICE: When your Agent is your Editor

Since it's hot as blazes here in Austin, I'm feeling all SOLSTICE-like. Maybe Global Warming really is killing the earth. Anyway, we're not going to debate that now. But in the spirit of SOLSTICE and hot weather, I'll be reposting some of my favorite guest blogs that I've written over the last couple months.

*****

When your Agent is your Editor

The life-cycle of revisions has an evolution just like everything in the publishing world. An author writes a perfect story, and then it gets ripped apart and reordered on its path to publication. Traditionally, the story is revised with the help of the author, a critique group, and an agent, and then the story is passed on to an editor. At that point, the author and an editor work together to get the manuscript to a state perfect for publication. So what happens to the process when the editor no longer comes into the picture? How does the manuscript reach that final level of edits that brings it to publication level? And even more importantly, does this final level matter?

I’m thrilled to be represented by Laura Rennert who happens to be a rock star agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Laura and I first met at the Big Sur workshop three years back, and we signed shortly thereafter. Aside from having her finger on the pulse of publishing, Laura is a fantastic editorial agent. With SOLSTICE we worked through a minimum of six rounds of revisions. Yikes! At times, this felt like revision hell, and okay, it was revision hell, but now, in hindsight, I see so many improvements in all aspects of the manuscript: the romance, the character development, the world building, the dialogue. But perhaps what changed the most was the dystopic element of SOLSTICE. It morphed into an entity I never imagined.

When I first wrote SOLSTICE, the global warming crisis was more of an aside. Piper, the main character, lives in a world at least eighteen years in our future where global warming is destroying Earth. This was fine through many rounds of revisions, but when I started exploring this angle more, tons of possibilities surfaced. The best thing is that I adored this angle, and I took it and ran. But without my agent’s feedback, I may never have delved into this potential.

Because she is thorough (and awesome), my agent also works with a reader (also awesome) who gives amazing and objective feedback. For SOLSTICE, between Laura and her reader, my story evolved generations beyond the first draft. But it didn’t stop there. Once revisions were completed, SOLSTICE went through line edits, copyediting, proofreading, and then one more round of copyediting. I thought at times the editing would never stop.


Does feedback hurt? Sure. Did I get some of those revision letters and cry to my writing group until I’d purged negative thoughts from my mind? Totally. (Okay, we laughed some, too; I admit it. But sometimes the revision notes were just funny.) Does this level of quality matter for an ebook? Definitely! Ebooks are so easy to buy, and lots of authors now are recognizing their popularity. As the author of a digital book, I feel like it’s my duty to make sure my work is top quality no matter what the format. And in the end, I have a story I’m super proud to share with the world.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

ASHES by Ilsa Bick Gievaway - Signed!

Up for giveaway today is another book I absolutely loved! I reviewed it back in June, and it's going to be released in less than a month. And this ARC is signed by Ilsa herself (who is so amazing and awesome)!

ASHES by Ilsa Bick (Egmont, September 6, 2011)


You can read my review here if for some reason you need to be reminded of how must-be-read and cool this book is. It's going to be epic.

Source of book: From publisher at ALA

From Amazon:

It could happen tomorrow . . .

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.
Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human.

Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling novel about a world that could be ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.


The contest will run through midnight on Friday, August 19th, 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 and you get 15 extra entries*), tweet about it, blog about it, send it chocolate and roses. I'm not particular. And let me know in the "Other" section of the form!
*And if you've alread bought SOLSTICE, just let me know in the comments section :)

Okay, that's it! So click away on the above links, and then fill out the form below. Thank you! And good luck!

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

CROSSED by Ally Condie (Dutton, November 1, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!





Monday, August 08, 2011

100K? Something special?

Hey! I'm coming up on 100,000 visits to my blog and it's making me think I should do something to celebrate. Any ideas? Massive book giveaway? Critique giveaway? Commemorative vlog? Oooh, the possibilities are endless. But now I need to brainstorm :)

Hope your week is great!


KARMA KITTY GOES TO COMIC CON by Mari Mancusi

I featured Mari Mancusi's book RAZOR GIRL last Friday in the Indie Carnival as a book I can't wait to read. For those of you who don't know Mari, she's an Austin author, a member of my writing group at THE PLACE, and an excellent writer! Her BLOOD COVEN books are published by Penguin, and the latest one BLOOD TIES (either number 7 or 8, I lost count!) just came out earlier this month!

Anyway, a book of Mari's I recently read and loved is

KARMA KITTY GOES TO COMIC CON by Mari Mancusi


I adored Karma Kitty because:

1) It's an adult book, not a kid's book, and it's nice to vary my reading a bit from time to time.
2) Comic Con. Seriously. This alone is a selling point for me.
3) The main character gets super powers from a kick-butt pair of boots.
4) It's fun. It doesn't try to take itself too seriously.
5) It's a fast read and full of action.
6) It's only 99 cents!

So if you're a fan of ereading, this one is totally worth checking out.

Source of book: Purchased myself

From Amazon:

Comic book creator Hailey Hills has no idea what she's in for when she arrives at New York City's Comic Con for the first time. But when a pair of magical boots manages to turn her into a real life Karma Kitty--the superhero of her own creation--Hailey suddenly finds herself battling ninjas, pirates and a past love she's tried desperately to leave behind.

This novella was originally published in paperback as part of the "These Boots Were Made for Stomping" anthology.



Saturday, August 06, 2011

CONTEST Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win! This is seriously one of my favorite reads, so even if you didn't win, put this book on your must-read shelf. I keep thinking about it even a month later. And for writers out there, the dual POV was great and worth reading from that craft angle, too.

Okay, the winner of LEGEND by Marie Lu (Putnam, November 29, 2011)


is...

BONNIE @ A Backwards Story!

****

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

CROSSED by Ally Condie (Dutton, November 1, 2011)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Friday, August 05, 2011

YA INDIE CARNIVAL: INDIE READING


It's time again for the YA Indie Carnival, an awesome group of weekly bloggers blogging about the same topic! Wait, you haven't heard of the YA Indie Carnival? You're totally missing out. But no longer! You can check out all the amazing author/bloggers below:

Dani Snell's Refracted Light Reviews
Patti Larsen (The Ghost Boy of MacKenzie House, The Diamond City Trilogy)
Courtney Cole (Every Last Kiss, Fated, Princess, and Guardian)
Wren Emerson (I Wish)
Laura Elliott (Winnemucca)
Nichole A. Williams (Eternal Eden, and the upcoming Fallen Eden)
Fisher Amelie (The Understorey)
Amy Maurer Jones (The Soul Quest Trilogy)
Rachel Coles. Geek Mom. Book Reviewer (Diary of a Duct Tape Zombie, Whistles, Beergarden, Plagues, Bees of St. John, and Mushrooms)
T. R. Graves (Warriors of the Cross)
Cyndi Tefft (Between)
P.J. Hoover (Solstice, The Emerald Tablet, The Navel of the World, The Necropolis)
Alicia McCalla (Breaking Free)
Heather Cashman (Perception)

Okay, here's the deal! Each Friday, because Friday is awesome, we all blog about the same topic. This week's topic?

WHAT INDIE READING AM I DOING NOW?

I read all the time. Every night. New releases, yet-to-be-released books, critique partner manuscripts, paid critiques. It's a priority, and I am a firm believer in the fact that the single best way to improve my own writing is by reading other stuff. Over the course of the last year, my reading has changed a bit.

1) I now own a Nook. I love ereading. Never, ever would I have thought this. But it is so much easier. I'll save that topic for another day.

2) I get tons of ARCs. From publishers, from trade shows, by request. I have them stacked in piles trying to pretend they are in some fashion organized. These ARCs make up the majority of my reading.

3) In addition to reading the ARCs, I've also started indie-reading. Yes, this spawned from bringing SOLSTICE out independently, and yes, I'm thrilled to have discovered this vast new source of books.

Perhaps what I love the most about the three bullet points above is a marriage between (1) and (3). Within a couple of clicks, I can sample tons of books. I adore the "read a free sample" feature so many indie authors offer. So that said, here are three indie books I'm planning on reading in the near future based on sample reading.

SLEEPERS by Megg Jensen

From Amazon:

An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?



RAZOR GIRL by Mari Mancusi

From Amazon:

THE WORLD HAS ENDED, MOLLY.
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

Molly Anderson is not your average twenty-one-year-old. It's been six years since she and her family escaped into a bunker, led by her conspiracy theorist father and his foreknowledge of a plot to bring about the apocalypse. But her father's precautions didn't stop there. Molly is now built to survive.

Yes, Ian Anderson's favorite book gave him ideas on how to "improve" his daughter. Molly is faster, stronger, and her ocular implants and razor-tipped nails set her apart. Apart, when--venturing alone out of the bunker and into a plague ravaged, monster-ridden wilderness--what Molly needs most is togetherness. Chase Griffin, a friend from her past, is her best bet. But while he and others have miraculously survived, the kind boy has become a tormented man. Together, these remnants of humanity must struggle toward trusting each other and journey to the one place Molly's father believed all civilization would be reborn: The Magic Kingdom, where everyone knows it's a small world after all.



ETERNAL EDEN by Nicole Williams

From Amazon:

College sophomore Bryn Dawson is a self-proclaimed poster child for normal. However, the day William Hayward enters her life, normalcy is the last thing Bryn will be able to count on if she wants to be with him. Too mysterious and appealing to be good for a girl, Bryn feels drawn to him in a way that seems out of her control—as if fate is orchestrating it.

Despite every red flag and warning siren going off in her head telling her not to, Bryn falls hard for William, knowing he’s categorically different from anyone she’s ever met. She never imagined how right she was. When William takes her deeper into the rabbit hole of his world, Bryn must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice to be with him, knowing no matter what, fate always finds a way to have the last laugh.

Spinning a new twist on star-crossed lovers, Eternal Eden will put Bryn through a gauntlet of turmoil, challenging her to find the power within herself to become the heroine in her own story.



What about you?