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

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble

I was so excited to get an early copy of this third book in the ANASTASIA series by Joy Preble.

ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 1, 2012)


In short...

I LOVE THESE BOOKS!

In a little bit longer form, I'm going to give you five great reasons to fall utterly in love with these books!

1) Okay, just to get it out in the open, Joy is a dear friend of mine! So I admit I am totally biased when it come to her story. But I fell in love with DREAMING ANASTASIA long before Joy and I were friends. I admit I was somewhat of a fangirl when I first met her. I bought the book at our Austin SCBWI conference where she was signing, and nervously introduced myself :)


Joy (in the purple) dressed up like an evil Russian mermaid for Austin Comic Con.


2) Yes, I just have to mention ANASTASIA. Has there been any mystery since the unexpected death of King Tut that has stirred up so many conspiracy stories? Right, so Joy took it upon herself to write what she think happened. I love the opportunity to look into someone else's mind and see what they came up with. And it is awesome :)

3) I have a complete soft spot in my heart for immortal characters. But just to be fair, not all immortal characters quite do it for me. Not the case with Ethan. He's lived a long time and yet he has such a great edge of innocence. He does not know everything. He is learning anew. He can be fooled. Tricked. Fall in love. And yet he is beyond cool. If I were the swooning type, Ethan would be totally swoon-worthy, and of the three ANASTASIA books, I'm pretty sure ANASTASIA FOREVER shows this the best.

4) This is book 3, and sure, you could pick it up and totally enjoy the series. But you have two months until it comes out. Take this opportunity and read DREAMING ANASTASIA and HAUNTED now, such that in August, when ANASTASIA FOREVER comes out, you will be first in line at the book store.

5) There are just certain books I view as guilty pleasures. I read them for pure enjoyment. I don't read to critique or compare or anything having to do with my own writing. I read them because I love the characters, the stories, and the worlds, and the ANASTASIA books are one hundred percent in this category for me.

In short, the ANASTASIA books are the perfect summer reading! They are light yet serious, funny yet suspenseful, romantic yet intense. Highly recommended for fans of paranormal fiction, sixth grade and up.




Source of book: From publisher

From Amazon:

Stories within stories. Secrets within secrets. In accepting powers from the legendary witch Baba Yaga, Anne must tackle a complex set of missions: Discover the secret of their enemy's newfound immortality; decide whether she can kill him to free her family from a vicious curse; come to terms with the magic that now resides inside her; and finally find true love with Ethan. The riveting conclusion to the trilogy that began with Dreaming Anastasia. 
 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Former Debut: A.C.E. Bauer, Class of 2k7

Today I'm excited to feature someone from the original debut "Class of" group. Yes, today we are going back to 2k7! With us is A.C.E. (Alice) Bauer to catch us up on everything that's been going on for the last five years! (Wait! Five years! Wow, does time fly.) Anyway, here we go!


Name: A.C.E. Bauer
Debut Group: Class of 2k7
Debut novel: NO CASTLES HERE


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 5 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?


ACE: After NO CASTLES HERE (which became an audiobook and came out in paperback), I’ve continued to write in the magical realism genre. COME FALL, for middle grade readers, was published in 2010. It’s the story of three friends in middle school whose lives are disrupted when one of them, without his knowledge, becomes a pawn in a fight between the king and queen of Faerie. My first YA novel, GIL MARSH, was published this February 28th. It’s a story inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh: a boy becomes close friends with a stranger who dies. Inconsolable, he flees to Quebec to seek an immortal man and perhaps find the secret to immortality.

(PJH: Yay for a story inspired by Gilgamesh!)



 GIL MARSH (Random House, February 28, 2012)


PJH: Besides marketing the novels, I have been revising a new novel for my agent, and working on still another that is in that horrible middle stage when I’m convinced there’s no way I’m going to be able to finish it.


ACE: I missed having a group of authors like the Class of 2k7 to bounce ideas off and work with on promotion, so several local authors and I decided to create Write Up Our Alley in 2008. Besides our website (http://writeupouralley.com/) and promotional materials, we’ve been meeting regularly as a sort of career critique group. It’s been wonderful!


NO CASTLES HERE (Random House, October 2007)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?


ACE: The best part of being in a group like Class of 2k7 is that it gave me a group of people who could help me figure out how to be a published author. It’s more than just publicity and promotion: being a professional writer is a career, and it’s great to have other people starting off with you that you can bounce ideas off.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?


ACE: Once the class disbands, find other authors who are also published to work with. I don’t mean a critique group, although that can be useful. I mean other folks who have to deal with professional writing issues who you can talk to on a regular basis and who you can share experiences with. Published authors have different career problems than those who are still looking for their first contract—problems that are equally frustrating and sometimes quite demoralizing. Having a group like WUOA if only to talk shop (although we do more than that) has helped me in my professional life. Besides, each accomplishment is a little sweeter when people who understand exactly what you are doing celebrate it with you.


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.


ACE: How about the Newbery? Nope? Well, I’d like to publish at least two more books, and with luck, three. I’m not the fastest writer on the planet, so that seems like a manageable goal. As a lifelong comics fan, I would love if one of them at least was a graphic novel. I’ve never been able to write for NaNoWriMo (mostly because of other writing commitments), so I’d like to try that once.



COME FALL (Random House, July 27, 2010)


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!


ACE: It’s funny. The actual signing of my contracts have always been the most anticlimactic moments of the publishing process. It’s getting that “Yes, we would like your book,” months (or years) before the contract is written is what puts me on Cloud Nine. And every rejected manuscript (yes, that happens, even after you’ve been published) still hurts. What keeps me going, though, more than anything else, is enjoying the writing itself. There is no better day in the world for me than a day when I’ve written productively.


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!


Bio: A.C.E. Bauer is the author of three novels for young readers. Her most recent book, Gil Marsh, is her first for young adults. She has also published two middle grade novels, No Castles Here (ALA Rainbow List; starred review by Kirkus Reviews) and Come Fall (CCBC Choices book; starred review by Publishers Weekly). Born and raised in Montreal, she spends most of the year in New England, and much of the summer on a lake in Quebec. You can read more about her and her work at  acebauer.com.


***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here

Sunday, May 27, 2012

NOGICAL Love!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday weekend! I wanted to share a couple of awesome Nogicals I received from my most recent school visits along with my daughter's recent Nogical creation!

Photoshop Nogical by Lola




A Very logical Nogical by Michelle



Megan's Nogical says Hello!

Thanks, so much, for sending them in! I love getting them!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

SPLASH INTO SUMMER Giveaway Hop!

It's that time of year again for the SPLASH INTO SUMMER GIVEAWAY HOP hosted by Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader, Not a Writer. It's simple. Lots of blogs. Lots of giveaways. Visit them all, and you're bound to win something. May the odds be ever in your favor.



To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!

***

Today, up for giveaway are four young adult ARCs. 

Four books. 
Four winners!

Look how much better your odds already are!

An ARC of RIFT: A NIGHTSHADE NOVEL by Andrea Cremer (Philomel, August 7, 2012)



An ARC of FOREVER by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, July 12, 2011)



An ARC of THE SPACE BETWEEN by Brenna Yovanoff (Razorbill, November 14, 2011)



An ARC of INSIGNIA by S. J. Kincaid (Katherine Tegan Books, July 10, 2012)




*****

It's easy to win! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on June 1, 2012
2) Contest is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

To enter other awesome contests, visit all the blogs listed on I am a Reader, Not a Writer!


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Good luck!

*****

And don't forget I'm also giving away a signed copy of...

THE COMET'S CURSE by Dom Testa (Tor Teen, 2009)
CLICK HERE TO ENTER!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

School visits!

It's been a crazy past two weeks, with the end of school, baseball, soccer, kung fu, swimming, and everything else kid-centered to keep me busy. And of course, there is the writing. I've been working on revisions for a new YA story, and soon I'll be getting line edits for SOLSTICE.

On top of the "normal" stuff, for the last two weeks, I've also been on a crazy-mad publisher-sponsored tour to area schools, talking about the paperback release of THE EMERALD TABLET. Danny Woodfill, from The Book Spot in Round Rock, Texas, set up all the visits with local librarians, and they've been a blast! The kids have been high energy and had some terrific questions.

Last count is that by the end of the day Friday, I will have done 19 presentations in two weeks. Yikes!

Anyway, here's a fun picture of my most recent visit to Teravista Elementary here in Round Rock.

I look like I am doing a cheer.


What you can't see from this distance is the Star Wars t-shirt I'm rocking and the picture of General Grievous on the screen. Because everything in life can be related back to either Star Wars or Star Trek (or at least that's my theory) :)

Happy Thursday!


Former Debut! Terri Clark, Class of 2k8!

I am thrilled to feature Terri Clark today as my Former Debut author! Terri and I were in the same class, and I always adored her book, SLEEPLESS! I've missed Terri, and now I'm so excited to see what she's been up to! So let's get to it :)

Name: Terri Clark
Debut Group: Class of 2k8
Debut novel: SLEEPLESS



PJH: Okay, so it’s been 4 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

TC: Since the Class of 2k8 I’ve continued to work part-time as a teen librarian while raising two teens of my own. My son will be a senior next year, my daughter a freshman. It’s hard to believe how much they’ve grown and changed since I first sold. The Call came while I was in my daughter’s orthodontist and now she’s brace free. Since SLEEPLESS I’ve sold two non-fiction titles to Smart Pop books. FLIRTIN’ WITH THE MONSTER is an anthology that examines the work of Ellen Hopkins and THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE discusses the HUNGER GAMES trilogy. And, finally, my second full length fiction novel, HOLLYWEIRD, came out May 8.

HOLLYWEIRD is a paranormal romcom about two teens who win a trip to L.A. to meet their favorite TV star only to learn he’s the son of Satan and the only one who can save them is a fallen angel who is working undercover as the actor’s personal assistant.

Now I’m working on another romcom and a ghost thriller.


 HOLLYWEIRD by Terri Clark (Flux, May 8, 2012)

PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

TC: Straight out it’s the camaraderie. It’s like being part of the Mickey Mouse club that Justin Timberlake, Christine Aguilera and Britney Spears belonged to. We got to share a thrilling time in our life, when our dreams are just being realized, with a group of people going through the same thing at the same time. The publishing world is an unpredictable roller coaster. We saw each other through uplifting moments and unexpected disappointments.

In addition to being supportive of each other, we had the benefit of tapping into the collective talent of the group. Each person brought a different set of experiences and skills to the table which strengthened the class as a whole and each individual.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

TC: I wish I had known that selling that first book wasn’t going to magically make my whole career suddenly take off. Even after that first sale it’s still a lot of hard work and things may not be exactly as you’ve long imagined them to be. But that’s okay because you have what it takes to keep realizing your dream. Just be flexible and keep that same determination and drive.


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

TC: I want to successfully get my kids through school and off to college. And I want to get to a place where I can leave the library (much as I love working with my teens) and write full-time. Ideally I’d love to be contracted to write 2-3 books a year and I really, really want to do a series. I’ve loved series my whole life and I want to write one that will make teens feel like they might die if the next book doesn’t hurry up and come out already. Oh, and I want to land my favored agent, she knows who she is, and stick with her the rest of my career!


 SLEEPLESS by Terri Clark (Harper, September 2008) 


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

TC: Five reasons to read HOLLYWEIRD:

1. Too much of teen fiction has been dark. I’ll make you laugh!
2. I put a twist on the 7 Deadly Sins you’ve never seen before.
3. My hero is hot. He’d have to be, he’s modeled after Jensen Ackles from SUPERNATURAL. In fact, the whole book is a love letter to SUPERNATURAL.(PJH: I love SUPERNATURAL!)
4. I “out” certain Hollywood celebrities as the real supernatural creatures they are. Don’t you want to know what Lindsay Lohan really is?
5. You’ll wish you could get your hands on the special cell phone I created for the book.
And a bonus
6. The book has an awesome playlist which you can find on my website – www.terriclarkbooks.com


PJH: Thank you so much for being here, Terri! It is so great to catch up with you!


Bio: Terri Clark feels blessed to demonstrate her passion for young adult fiction as both a teen librarian and author in Colorado. Since she was a little girl she’s been fascinated with the paranormal, so it’s little wonder she's a real life ghost huntress and her stories dabble in the dark and different. Her newest book, HOLLYWEIRD, was released May 8, 2012 with Flux Books and you can currently read her in the HUNGER GAMES related anthology THE GIRL WHO WAS ON FIRE from Pop Smart books. You can visit Terri online at www.TerriClarkBooks.com and at www.facebook.com/terriclarkbooks.


***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Monday, May 21, 2012

NURTURING YOUR INNER NERD by Dom Testa and A Giveaway!

Probably the coolest thing about being an author is all the other authors I get to meet. (Okay, sure, there is the getting books published and talking to kids and signing books. But still, meeting other authors is way cool.) So I have to admit I was very excited at this past TLA when I got to meet Dom Testa. Dom was a super nice guy and was going to be in Austin at my local Barnes & Noble, so I headed over to watch him speak the following Friday night. Dom is funny and engaging, and I have to tell you, he had the audience hooked!

THE COMET'S CURSE by Dom Testa (Tor Teen, 2009)



I read THE COMET'S CURSE, the first book in his GALAHAD Series, about two years ago. It's a fabulous book aimed at the MAZE RUNNER, BLACK HOLE SUN, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, EARTHSEED, and HUNGER GAMES crowd. It's full of high action, deception, and mystery! I loved the book from start to finish, and now I am happy to offer up a SIGNED copy for you guys! But first, Dom has agreed to stop by for a fabulous guest post (and I do mean fabulous!).


So with no more hesitation, here is Dom!


*****

Nurturing Your Inner Nerd


It’s a treat for me to contribute to PJ’s blog because she has one particular trait that resonates with me. For years I’ve declared that I’m not only a nerd, but proud of it. Well, PJ and I share that gene, and it’s likely why we do what we do.

Allow me to explain how nurturing your inner nerd could be just what you need to jump-start your writing. What is it about nerds that foreshadows literary success? A google search of the term revealed a list of characteristics, and I’d like to focus on three of them.



(1) Nerds show a pronounced interest in things that others might find dull or boring.

Do you get excited about the sales data of Hush Puppy shoes and how it compares to a syphilis outbreak in Baltimore? Well, maybe you should. Malcolm Gladwell thought about this stuff, and while his friends were probably at the bar partying, he curled up with his word processor and promptly put that kinda stuff into his book called The Tipping Point and sold two and half million copies.

Sure, nerds show a pronounced interest in topics that others might not find interesting. But isn’t that what makes a truly terrific writer? Someone who can take what we might consider boring, and spin it into gold?

I would never have dreamed that I’d like a dark, violent book about life under the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then I read The Kite Runner and I was left gaping.


(2) Nerds sometimes display symptoms of obsessive-compulsive-disorder by showing extreme interest in rules.

Oh yeah? You mean the writing rules that have been pounded into our heads, like keep your butt in the seat, or never edit while writing?

Forget those. I prefer these writing rules:

Elmore Leonard: Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.

Kurt Vonnegut: Start as close to the end as possible.

Or Hemingway’s rule: I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of s@#t. I try to put the s@#t in the wastebasket.

Personally, as a writer I try to follow a rule that I stole from an old Turkish proverb: No matter how far you’ve traveled down the wrong path, turn back. For me it means that no matter how many pages I’ve written in what’s obviously a lackluster scene, I go back and take another route. Agreed, fellow nerds?


(3) Someone who is unable or unwilling to follow trends.

I say hooray for not following trends! This is where some writers have lost their nerd compass. They get distracted by things like, oh, paying the rent and putting food on the table, so they cave in to the temptation to follow the crowd. It’s why there are now five million vampire novels, and soon we’ll see ten million “mommy porn” novels in the mold of Shades Of Grey.

The most inspiring nerds are the ones who START a trend. Hello? Steve Jobs, anyone? George Lucas?

If the worst thing I can be accused of as a nerd is that I don’t follow the crowd, I say hallelujah.


Those are just three traits that, as writers, we should celebrate. The reason I was instantly drawn to PJ when I met her is that she radiates exactly the kind of energy and nerdiness that I admire. It’s why she’s usually the most interesting person in the room, and why she’s a successful writer.

(insert comment from PJ: Seriously, how nice and awesome is that to say!! I am all happy inside!)

So tell me: are you nurturing your inner nerd? Are you able to recognize the traits that inevitably will lead to a published book in your future?


Or are you caught up in trying to avoid society’s negative association with the word nerd? Please don’t. Own it; embrace it; nurture it.


But still keep your butt in the seat.


Dom Testa is the author of the award-winning Galahad series of young adult books from Tor/Macmillan, including The Comet’s Curse, a Top Pick from the American Library Association.


He’s also the founder and president of The Big Brain Club, a non-profit foundation that helps young people recognize that Smart is Cool. More information about Dom, his writing, and his foundation can be found at www.DomTesta.com.

*****

Now for your chance to win a signed copy of THE COMET'S CURSE! It's easy! Two things to note...

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on June 2, 2012
2) Contest is US and Canada only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!

How it all went down

Happy Monday!

1) First, thank you all so much for all the support! I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful group of supporters both through the Internet and in real life. I want to give away gobs of books off my bookshelves in thanks. Any suggestions?

2) Second, I've had lots of questions about the books, the deals, and how it all went down.

3) Third, I've had people ask if SOLSTICE will be the exact same as the previously indie-published version.

4) Fourth, people have asked if the cover will change for SOLSTICE.

The short answer to (3) above is "NO", but that's a post for a different day! The short answer to (4) is "PROBABLY", but only the oracle at Delphi could answer at this time.

For this post, I offer up my answer to (2) with a timeline of how I managed to sell two books to Tor Children's.

***

May 4th, 2011 - I indie-publish SOLSTICE with the help of my amazing agent, Laura Rennert at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. All is good. I am selling books. People are reading SOLSTICE. People are liking SOLSTICE. It has a pretty cover and it makes me happy. And I think this is it for SOLSTICE. Yes, maybe I will write a sequel for SOLSTICE someday soon, but until then, I move on...

Sometime after May 4th, 2011 - I again begin revisions for my all-time-favorite-novel-I've-ever-written, my MG fantasy story, TUT, about King Tut who's really just this sarcastic, immortal, 14-year-old kid who's living in DC with his one-eyed cat, trying to find the afterworld while avoiding getting his heart ripped out. I love this story. I want it to sell! Go, TUT, go!

Sometime just after Labor Day, 2011 - TUT goes on submission! Whoo hoo! Let's repeat it. Go, TUT, go!

October 1st, 2011 - Oooh, Susan Chang at Tor is interested in TUT! She thinks it has potential. She thinks I am talented. And she wonders what else I've written. Laura tells her about SOLSTICE. Susan is interested. Susan likes mythology. Laura sends it her way! Wait!!!! Suddenly SOLSTICE is on submission. How exactly did that happen? But all of a sudden I am dying for it to sell. Yes, I know it is already published, but...Tor! SOLSTICE! Go, SOLSTICE, go! GO, TUT, go!

November 8th, 2011, 11:00 am - Laura calls. I sell foreign rights for SOLSTICE to Brazil. I get a happy smile on my face.
November 8th, 2011, 3:30 pm - Laura calls again. But this time she's in the middle of her agency meeting, checking her email, and she's received an email from Susan Chang at Tor. She calls me on speakerphone so all agents at the meeting can hear. I get an offer from Tor!!!!! Yes, Tor, the very best SFF publisher ever, wants to publish words I have written. My happy smile turns ridiculously big.

Okay, insert author's note here: Let November 8th forever be remembered as "the day it all turned around." I admit it. I was losing the faith. I had waited like forever. And then forever after that. But then November 8th came, and it all turned around. 
I think November 8th would make a very nice holiday.

...insert a month of negotiations...

December 8th, 2011 - This is it. It's final. Susan Chang at Tor has made offers for both TUT and SOLSTICE, and I have accepted! Yay, book sales! Yay, SOLSTICE! Yay, TUT!


If you wait long enough, it really will ring. 
Some days even twice!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

RUNNING WIDE OPEN Winner!

Thank you to those who entered to win this book! The winner of...

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



is...

LIZZE!

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Official Thank you!

I'll be the first to point out that I am horrible about sending thank you notes. And when it comes to buying presents...I couldn't even figure out what to get for my son's 11th birthday. I'm not one for buying knick-knacks and trinkets, and you can only buy Rubik's Cubes for people so many times before even that gets old (I know, hard to believe, right?). But...

...I am so very thankful for so many things, and this is my official post of thanks to the top four people who made me selling two books to Tor Children's possible!*

Okay, silly, I know, but first, I'll start with myself (because I always wanted a trading card). Seriously, I am so thankful I stuck with these projects even when the writing and the editing and the submissions got hard. I'll be honest. It was frustrating beyond anything I've ever done before. But yay, success! If I can do this, anyone can do this! So here is my official AUTHOR TRADING CARD!

 


Next, there is my agent, Laura Rennert! Laura stuck with me and had so much incredible patience, I can't even begin to describe it. She puts up with my all-over-the-place writing and my kind of pathetic title suggestions and always has a kind word. Laura, here is your official AGENT TRADING CARD!




Next is Lara Perkins. Lara is an assistant agent with Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown. Without Lara's amazing suggestions, my stories never would have been what they are today! The thought of ever revising anything without her scares me. Lara, you, too, get an official AGENT TRADING CARD!



And finally, there is Susan Chang! Susan is the amazing editor at Tor Children's who saw the beauty in my stories. After meeting Susan a couple of times now, I find we have so much in common. I am thrilled to be working with her. Susan, here is your official EDITOR TRADING CARD!


* And yeah, I am totally thankful to like a million more people, too, and your post will be coming soon! I promise!


Thursday, May 17, 2012

THE EMERALD TABLET is now in Paperback!

THE EMERALD TABLET is officially in paperback! Whoo hoo!

I've spent the better part of this week and have plans to spend most of next doing school visits (17 presentations in total!), talking about THE EMERALD TABLET, and doing so has reminded me how much I absolutely love this book. It has everything in it that I wanted to read as a kid...Hidden worlds, Powers of the mind, Atlantis, Mythology, Xanadu, Chess. There are nods to Star Trek, the Rubik's Cube, Samuel Coleridge, and Pluto just to name a few.


As my first book, I'm so excited to have this awesome chance for it to reach so many more readers, especially with its beautiful new cover! For those who don't know about THE EMERALD TABLET, it's the first in my middle grade Forgotten Worlds Trilogy aimed at Harry Potter and Percy Jackson fans. You can read tons more about it on my books for kids page!

If you're interested in a signed copy, you can buy signed copies of any of my books from either The Book Spot or BookPeople in Austin, TX.  It's also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.


Benjamin and his best friend Andy are different from normal. They love being able to read each other's minds and use telekinesis to play tricks on other kids. In fact, they are getting all set to spend their entire summer doing just that when Benjamin's mirror starts talking. Suddenly, Benjamin's looking at eight weeks of summer school someplace which can only be reached by a teleporter inside the ugly picture in his hallway.

And that's the most normal thing he does all summer.



Thank you for your support and for reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Former Debut: Jenn Hubbard, Class of 2k10

I am thrilled to feature Jenn Hubbard today as my Former Debut author! Jenn is two years younger than me when it comes to debut, so I never got the chance to know her as well and I wanted. But now's my chance to see what she's been up to! So let's get to it :)

***

Name: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Debut Group: Class of 2k10
Debut novel: The Secret Year


THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Speak, December 23, 2010)


PJH: Okay, so it’s been 2 years since you graduated from your debut class. Personally, I miss the heck out of knowing what my classmates are up to. So give us the low-down. What have you been up to in the last few years? New books? New degrees? New pets? What has been going on, and what do we have to look forward to from you in the future?

Jenn H: In the past two years, I've had short stories published in Hunger Mountain, Cricket magazine, and an anthology called Truth & Dare (Running Press, 2011). My second novel, Try Not to Breathe, just came out in January. It's the story of a sixteen-year old boy who's recovering from a suicide attempt. He befriends a girl who’s visiting psychics to try to reach her dead father.

TRY NOT TO BREATHE by Jennifer R. Hubbard (Viking, January 19, 2012)


PJH: If you could summarize to a debut novelist the best part of being a member of an author group like the “Class of” groups, what would you say?

Jenn H: Debut-author groups have been enormously helpful to me. There's the practical information we share: where to order bookmarks, how to get an author photo taken, when to expect ARCs, etc. There's the networking: the conferences I heard about because of 2k10, the group signings I became part of. But most of all, there's the emotional support, the sense of community from knowing people who are going through the same things you are, at the same time. There's so much uncertainty in publishing. There are so many ups and downs. It's important for new authors to know how common these feelings are, to know they're not alone.


PJH: Though I absolutely loved being a debut author, I’m really thrilled with all the experience I’ve gained since. What advice would you give to those who are debuting now? What do you wish you had known when you started out?

Jenn H: So much of navigating the post-publication world is trial and error. What works for one person may not work for another author (or even for that same author with a different book). I guess I would just say: Find your way, trust your gut, try new things (understanding that not everything will work), and don't forget to relax and have fun.


PJH: In addition to writing the next mega-million bestselling novel, what do you want to accomplish in the next five years? Do you want to write five more books? Get your black belt in Kung Fu? Walk the Great Wall of China? Let’s hear it.

Jenn H: Publishing is changing so fast that I honestly don't even know how to set goals that far in advance. I want to finish the book I'm now revising and then go back to another project I've started, where I'm playing with format and POV. I'd like to do more of that, experimenting with the way I tell stories. In the personal arena, I'd like to have more free time and more writing time. I've been looking at how I might manage that in a year or two.


PJH: Anything else you want to add? Five reasons to read your book? A picture of your writing space? How you celebrated when you signed your contract? Your choice!

Jenn H: Strangely enough, these open-ended questions are always the hardest. So here's a random picture of my cat, Scout (attached).


PJH: Thank you so much for being here! And good luck with everything in the future!

Jenn H: Thank you for hosting me!



About Jenn: Jennifer R. Hubbard lives and writes near Philadelphia. She is a night person who believes that mornings were meant to be slept through, a chocolate lover, and a hiker. She has written short fiction as well as the contemporary young-adult novels The Secret Year and Try Not to Breathe.

***

Thanks for helping me celebrate former debuts! And if you are a former debut and are interested in being featured, check out this post here!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ARTICLE 5 by Kristen Simmons

Even before I became a Tor author (squee!), I always loved Tor books. I'm so happy to blast good words about them every chance I get, but now that I'm part of the family, it makes it that much more special :)

With that in mind, I'm excited to talk about this great new book from Tor Teen...

ARTICLE 5 by Kristen Simmons (Tor Teen, January 31, 2012)


As seems to be my style, here are five reason you might like or should read ARTICLE 5!

1) I love the fact that in this book, the main character, Ember, was alive when things were not so bad. In so many dystopian stories of today, things have always been bad. It has been how the main character grew up and they really don't know what they are missing. Not so in ARTICLE 5. Ember wishes things were how they used to be. She wants a normal life for her mom and her (a life they used to have). And yet, she knows that she never will (because isn't entering any dystopian world sort of a doorway of no return?).

2) Like secrets? ARTICLE 5 has them. I mean, I thought I knew who I could trust, and Ember thought so too. And then the author does such an amazing job of twisting everything I thought I could believe. Bring on the secrets!

3) I'm not one for wasting time, and I am so pleased with the way we jump right into the story in ARTICLE 5. The world is introduced, and then things start to happen. It's nice that the author trusts the reader enough to make the jump, and you know what? I've read enough dystopian fiction that I really appreciated not being spoon-fed the world and how horrible things were one piece at a time.

4) It's like the perfect example of torturing your characters. Everything that can possibly go wrong for the characters does. So when you're reading (and you should), and you are sitting there thinking "please don't let that happen," it does and it's worse than you can even imagine. And really, isn't this what makes flipping the pages forward so much fun?

5) Looking for book comparisons? This book is perfect for those who loved ENCLAVE by Ann Aguirre and ASHES by Mike Mullin, It has that whole end-of-the-world road trip feel.

In short, this book is great for those looking for dystopian fiction (and I know there are a bunch out there). It's tight, engaging writing and story you won't put down once you pick up.


(okay, and because I am shameless, you can add
&
to your Goodreads TBR list, too!)

From Amazon:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned. The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes. There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back. Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different. Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Random Act of Kindness BLITZ

A smile. An encouraging word. A thoughtful gesture. Each day people interact with us, help, and make our day a bit brighter and full. This is especially true in the Writing Community

Take a second to think about writers you know, like the critique partner who works with you to improve your manuscript. The writing friend who listens, supports and keeps you strong when times are tough. The author who generously offers council, advice and inspiration when asked.

So many people take the time to make us feel special, don't they? They comment on our blogs, re-tweet our posts, chat with us on forums and wish us Happy Birthday on Facebook.


Kindness ROCKS!

To commemorate the release of their book The Emotion Thesaurus, Becca and Angela at The Bookshelf Muse are hosting a TITANIC Random Act Of Kindness BLITZ. And because I think KINDNESS is contagious, I'm participating too!

***There are so many people who make my writing world a whole lot brighter! I want to choose you all! But in the spirit of keeping it simple, I am going to go back to some of my very first online roots! And I can't pick just one, so I'm going with two.

Christine Marciniak, one of my very first online critique partners. Christine is always willing to drop anything and read chapters anytime I send them. 

Kim Baccellia, another of my online critique partners. Kim has been so completely supportive in my writing career, and has always been first in line to review my books!

It's hard to decide what to give, so in the spirit of giving something I'd like to receive, I'm sending both Christine and Kim Starbucks gift cards.***


Do you know someone special that you'd like to randomly acknowledge? Don't be shy--come join us and celebrate! Send them an email, give them a shout out, or show your appreciation in another way. Kindness makes the world go round. :)

Becca and Angela have a special RAOK gift waiting for you as well, so hop on over to The Bookshelf Muse to pick it up.

Have you ever participated in or been the recipient of a Random Act Of Kindness?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Middle Grade vs. YA Fiction

I recorded this a year ago, and I noticed it finally got uploaded! This has to be the worst thumbnail possible, but here I am talking about writing middle grade, young adult, and mythology.




Hope your weekend is going great!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Writing from THE PLACE: Top Ten Ways to Celebrate a Book Deal!

Happy Book Deals!

Yes, this is a huge! The way I view books is that each book that gets published is like a small miracle. There is so much involved in actually selling a book, and any and every sale should be celebrated. But wait...once it finally happens, what is the best way to celebrate a book deal?

We here at THE PLACE (at least the ones who contributed!), being Cory Putman Oakes Jessica Lee Anderson, Bethany Hegedus, Madeline Smoot, Stephanie Pellegrin, Kari Anne Holt, and ME, have chimed in with ideas on the best ways to celebrate when you finally make that sale!

We give you...

THE TOP TEN WAYS TO CELEBRATE A BOOK DEAL!
 (which, we realize, is a bit more than 10)


From Tricia (me):

1. Buy Official Book-Deal Boots


2. Receive presents from your friends inspired by your books

 
Thank you, Jessica, for the Scarab Heart necklace! *love*

3. Pop a bottle of bubbly aptly named after your main character!


4. Get a new author photo
5. Mob your new editor at ALA Midwinter and TLA and take smiley, happy pictures with her

Me with Susan Chang. Don't we look so happy together! :)

6. Get a massage.
7. Cascarones! No book deal is complete without them!






From Bethany:

For real:
1. Cartwheels and confetti
2. Buy something to commemorate the book’s theme
3. Cook your family (or rather have them cook you) your main character’s favorite meal
4. Begin working on the next book—it’s all about the process
5. Pop open the champagne and toast your hard work

For giggles:
1. Speak as your main character for the entire day, including your daily run to the grocery store. When you get strange looks—ignore them.
2. Have your kids throw you a parade. Authors never get parades—or tickertape.
3. Rest on your laurels—now that this book has sold the movie deal is just around the corner.
4. Pick out your dress for the Newbery or Printz Awards. Scratch that—make it the Pulitzer.
5. Practice being interviewed for the Today Show for after the Newbery/Printz/Pulitzer is awarded to you. With your talent, they will totally bring back non-celebrity children’s author’s being given a three minute segment on the couch with Curry.




From Cory:

1. MARGARITAS, Baby!!
2. Pull out all of your old rejection letters and snicker at the short-sightedness of those who missed out on this awesome book!





From Kari:

1. Buy cowboy boots (Kari knew about the boots!)
2. Go to the candy store!
3. Show it to the waitress at the coffee shop so she will finally know you're important enough to deserve food service
4. Not just wine - but wine that's not from a box
5. Run up and down the street shouting "I GOT A BOOK DEAL! I GOT A BOOK DEAL!"
6. Make a t-shirt: "Ask me about my book deal"
7. Send a present to your agent. Maybe some of the candy you bought at the candy store.




From Madeline (who went for the practical):

1. Splurge your advance on bookmarks. 
2. Buy you future book a domain.



From Jessica:

1. Take your family out to a nice dinner to thank them for their support.  An-all-you-can-eat pizza buffet totally counts as a nice dinner unless you get a bazillion dollar advance.  In that case, you should take your family to Disneyworld. (Yes!!!!! Disney!!!!!)
2. Dress in attire inspired by your protagonist when you sign the contract.(Not sure if my Skeletor t-shirt counts)


From Stephanie:
1. Buy pants. (because, she thinks, from the above list I will have eaten too much candy :))


Thank you, guys!