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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Featuring: Kai Strand and SAVE THE LEMMINGS!

I'm so happy to feature Kai Strand and her brand new book today on the blog! I've been waiting for this book for MONTHS, and I'm happy to report it is finally here!

Today, Kai joins us with a top ten list about the main character in SAVE THE LEMMINGS, Natalie!





***

10 Things You Should Know About Natalie

Hi! I’m Natalie. My entire name is Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards. N.I.C.E. Isn’t that funny? I think my parents knew right off the bat that I was going to be a super happy and positive person.

I’ve been asked to share 10 things you should know about me.

  1. I have an inspirational phrase for every situation. For instance to inspire myself to think of ten things about me to share I told myself, “You must first open your book if you want people to read along.”
  2. I think I’m more approachable if I dress in monochromatic clothing. I’m especially drawn to pastels, though I have a bold persimmon colored outfit. I had to dye a pair of tennies to match.
  3. I’m an inventor. I like to take existing ideas and improve on them. My newest invention, the Texty-Talky, was produced by Father’s company! Can you believe that?
  4. I have three lifelong friends. They are all as smart as me. Sandra is a mathlete, Tamilla is a technology wizard and Jayne is a fashion designer.
  5. I was tricked by the class bully, Trudy, to participate in a graffiti incident. I was rather discouraged by the lack of faith the adults in my life showed during that time, but an inspirational phrase helped me to move on.
  6. I’m not a fan of photo shoots or hairspray.
  7. People like you more when you are famous.
  8. People don’t like you when they think you do drugs and steal.
  9. The media can be absolutely ruthless in pursuit of the next big headline.
  10. Poor defenseless lemmings need our support, so I joined the SAVE THE LEMMINGS! Foundation to help build tiny picket fences along the cliffs of the arctic.

There, now you might know as much about me as my three bestest friends! But there’s only one way to find out. Order your copy of SAVE THE LEMMINGS here.

About the book: 

8th grade inventor, Natalie Isabelle Cailean Edwards is the N.I.C.E. girl who finishes last with the kids in school. Sappy inspirational phrases and monochromatic outfits have all but her best friends wrinkling their nose at her. When Natalie’s invention, the Texty-Talky, goes nationwide, she becomes an overnight sensation. Suddenly her days consist of photo shoots and interviews with little time left for her friends. A local reporter shatters her good-girl image by reporting a graffiti incident and the media launches into a smear campaign. It is so bad, even her friends start to believe the stories. Will Natalie be able to overcome the lies being printed about her? And will she SAVE THE LEMMINGS?



About the author:

Kai Strand writes fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Her debut novel, The Weaver, was a finalist in the 2012 EPIC eBook Awards. The Wishing Well: Another Weaver Tale is set in the same storytelling village as The Weaver. She is a (very lucky) wife and the mother of four amazing kids. The most common sound in her household is laughter. The second most common is, "Do your dishes!" She and her family hike, geocache, and canoe in beautiful Central Oregon, where they call home.

To find out more about Kai’s books, download companion documents, find links to her published short stories and discover all the places to find Kai both virtually and in person, visit her website: www.kaistrand.com. She loves to hear from readers, so feel free to send her an email or visit her facebook page, Kai Strand, Author.

***

Thanks for visiting today, you all!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Former Debut: Gae Polisner, Class of 2k11

Before I introduce today's former debut, I really want to thank you all for all your support in this series of posts. It is so much fun to do, and so great to see what former debut authors are up to. So, thank you!

And on with it, today, please help me welcome Gae Polisner as our former debut!

*****

Name: Gae Polisner
Debut Group: Class of 2K11
Debut novel: THE PULL OF GRAVITY (fsg/Macmillan)


Hi, Gae! Thank you for visiting!


PJH: Okay, so it’s been more than a year 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 year? 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?

GP: Writing-wise, I finally sold my next YA to Algonquin Books. I’m really excited to be working with Elise Howard who is starting the YA division there. Because it’s a new division, it will take a bit longer for the book to come out, so I’m practicing patience and focusing on writing next books. I’ve been bouncing between two upper YA’s that are written but need to be (hugely) revised, and a new YA that I started. And of course, my women’s fiction that I’d like to get back to, calls to me constantly in the background.

Life-wise, I continue to spend my days parenting and swimming and, working my part-time day job as a divorce mediator, not to mention maintaining my blogs, and hanging on facebook and twitter. My days are pretty full, and go way, way, way too fast.

 THE PULL OF GRAVITY by Gae Polisner (FSG, May 10, 2011)



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?

GP: In the beginning you join for the sake of your book and marketing support; in the end you stay for the sake of your well-being and the camaraderie and emotional support. ;) Here’s the thing: No one knows better what you are going through – both highs and lows – than another debut author.


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?

GP: The advice I would give is the advice I got: write a good book. Write the best book you can. That is really the only thing that you can control.


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.

GP: Well, I’m about to attempt one of my biggest goals next weekend: A five-mile open water swim. After that (er, I plan to succeed, can you tell?), I’ll probably want to try six, then 8, then 10… I’m not much of an athlete on land, but in the water, I’m pretty capable. I also really want to get back to my women’s fiction and get it published. I first got agented with that – not my YA -- but never sold either of my two manuscripts. I have a publisher or two interested, if I could just find time for revisions. There’s actually lots of writing I still want to do. Oh yeah, and The Pull of Gravity has been optioned for film, so it would be pretty cool if the next five years held a movie premiere.


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!

GP: Hmmm. Five reasons to read The Pull of Gravity:

1. The characters are quirky and real;
2. It’s poignant, but also funny;
3. It’s a classic story of friendship – of how friends can save us when everything else is falling apart;
4. There’s a road trip with adjoining hotel rooms, and some, um, unique (?) kissing on a bus;
5. Yoda and Steinbeck in the same book? Come on. Resist that, you know you cannot. ;)




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

GP: Thanks, PJ, Back atcha!



*****

Bio:
Gae writes young adult and women’s fiction. When Gae’s not writing, she swims. When she’s not swimming, she’s often thinking about cake. She likes cake and wishes she had some now. She lives on Long Island with her great family, who, despite their greatness, doesn’t often make her cake. She’s clearly hungry while writing this bio.

*****

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, August 28, 2012

What I'm Reading: ROOTLESS by Chris Howard

Even if Chris Howard weren't my agent-brother, I would have been psyched to read this book!

ROOTLESS by Chris Howard (Scholastic, November 1, 2012)



Five things about ROOTLESS:

  1. The whole concept of building trees is AWESOME! Yes, even if there were still trees in the world, I would still want one built for me. With glowing lights. I kind of want one now in my hot, Texas backyard to provide some shade-I-desperately-need. When my Bradford Pear out front finally dies, I am searching out Banyan. 
  2. This story is seriously crazy and cool and out there! It took me in directions I never expected when I started reading the book. I expected a dystopian similar to those I've been reading. What I got? Something totally cool and different!
  3. I adore that the cover matches the story! Different. Eye-catching. Way cool. Sure to appeal to boys and girls, just like the story.
  4. Touch of romance? Yes! Somehow it sneaked in there when I wasn't even expecting it and from a completely different direction than I expected. And I kind of adored that!
  5. This book takes so many different turns and leaves so much open, I can seriously hardly wait until next year when I get my hands on book 2! Well done, Chris, on making the story complete while still leaving so much open!

In short, ROOTLESS is highly recommended for boys (finally!) and girls, fans of dystopian, those who haven't yet been introduced to dystopian, fans of sci-fi, seventh grade and up. It's fast and scary and has such a freaky and vivid vision of the world of the future. Bring on book two! 




From Amazon:

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using salvaged scrap metal, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan's never seen a real tree--they were destroyed more than a century ago-his missing father used to tell him stories about the Old World. Everything changes when Banyan meets a mysterious woman with a strange tattoo-a map to the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can't escape the locusts . . . the locusts that now feed on human flesh. But Banyan isn't the only one looking for the trees, and he's running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he's forced to make an alliance with Alpha, a beautiful, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.


Source of book: Netgalley



Monday, August 27, 2012

ADR3NALIN3!

I think I mentioned that I spoke at the San Antonio SCBWI meeting a couple weeks ago on world building (and if I didn't, it was a blast! Great group, questions, energy! They had it all. I'll post on world building soon.) Anyway...

...beforehand, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jordan Dane for coffee. We joked because we met at Starbucks, but Starbucks was actually inside Target. Perfect time for socks shopping. So Jordan mentioned she was part of this amazing blog filled with amazing people and extended an invitation to me to join. Seriously, how was I going to refuse that?

So here I am, a brand new member of the ADR3NALIN3 blog.



What is ADR3NALIN3?

ADR3NALIN3 is the brainchild of a group of authors who write the dark side of teen fiction. We are far from cozy and we don't do warm and fuzzy. When you send us emails during the early morning hours to tell us you've lost another night of sleep reading our books, we secretly do a strange “happy” dance that is borderline Voo Doo Hoo Doo.

We want to make your skin crawl and your heart beat faster as you venture deeper into the dark recesses of our imaginations. Reality can be overrated or just plain scary. We offer you a savory feast of chilling contemporary thrillers, eerie mysteries, fantasies from your worst nightmares, dark futuristic post-apocalyptic visions, techno-thrillers, and our bent and twisted take on mythologies and the paranormal.

Come hungry and enjoy!

Who is part of ADR3NALIN3?

Well, you can surf over and check everyone and their books out, but here is the quick list...

Dan Haring

Ilsa J Bick

Jamie Manning

Carol Tanzman

Jennifer Archer


A. G. Howard

Maureen McQuerry

Amanda Stevens

Michelle Gagnon

Jordan Dane

P. J. Hoover
P J Hoover



I'll be posting about every other week on the weekend. And instead of just posting features and book reviews, I'll be posting about real stuff. Or at least as real as writing fantasy and sci-fi gets. So please add ADR3NALIN3 to your blog roll! We will be forever grateful! Thanks, and I hope your Monday is awesome!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

PERSONALIZED SKETCH WINNER!

Thanks to all who entered to win the personalized sketch! The winner is:

(a sample sketch)




Meradeth Houston Snow!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Former Debut: Sheila O’Connor, Class of 2k11

Today I'm excited to feature Sheila O’Connor who just had her debut last year in 2011. It's hard to believe how quickly time is passing by!

***

Name: Sheila O’Connor
Debut Group: Class of 2k11
Debut novel: SPARROW ROAD

 Hi, Sheila! Thanks for being here!

PJH: Okay, so it’s been a little more than a year 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?

SO'C: Well it’s been a whirlwind since the debut of Sparrow Road—and more so since our class time officially ended—although many of us are still together so it doesn’t feel over for me. Sparrow Road came out in paperback in May; I went to IRA in Chicago to accept an award for Sparrow Road; ALA in Anaheim to present on The Magic of Middle-grade Fiction with my editor, Stacey Barney; and I spent a month as a writing fellow at the Anderson Center in Red Wing. Beyond writing, I have my work as a professor, teaching fiction in the MFA program at Hamline University, where I was recently tenured. And then there’s Keeping Safe the Stars, my new middle-grade novel due out in October 2012—naturally the Stars have kept me busy with all kinds of things—edits and revisions and arcs—but I’m especially excited to have that book coming out into the world.

If I sound too busy, I am too busy.


 KEEPING SAFE THE STARS by Sheila O'Connor (Putnam, October 11, 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?

SO'C: Company. Book writing and releases can be solitary experiences, and while I have many friend and colleagues who are writers, the constant companionship of the 2k11 group gave me invaluable perspective. I learned so much from my fellow writers—practical things like Facebook and bookmarks and postcards, and more important things like generosity and perseverance and friendship. It’s such an innovate model—collaborative not competitive, which is the best kind of professional friendship.



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?

SO'C: I give myself the same advice I give newly published writers—be brave. Write the best book that you can, and then let it go out in the world. Write the next book, and the next book. The book you are dreaming now is the book that matters most.


 
 SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O'Connor (Putnam, May 12, 2011)


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.

SO'C: I write for adults as well as young people, and I’m eager to get back to my short story collection; it’s been sidelined since I signed the contract for Sparrow Road. So there’s a dream. And I am welcoming Keeping Safe the Stars into the world, and hoping it arrives in the hands of children. I’d also like to do more school visits—to find a way to connect with kids in person. Professionally, I’m committed to two more MG novels, so I imagine they will be the work of the next many years. Perhaps my true great dream is to publish one of my picture books. If that happens in the next five years I will be delighted. And poetry—I want to write more poems.


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!

SO'C: I will close here with a picture of my writing space, which is deeply sacred and waiting for me right this minute! I have a deadline and the writing space doesn’t want me to go far. It’s a little writer’s shed I built in my backyard, a fulfillment of a lifetime dream, a small house of my own, and here it is.

Nice!


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

***

Bio:
Sheila O’Connor is the award-winning author of Sparrow Road, Where No Gods Came and Tokens of Grace. Her new novel, Keeping Safe the Stars, is forthcoming from Putnam in October 2012. A fiction professor at Hamline University, Sheila also serves as the fiction editor for Water~Stone Review. A passionate educator and lover of stories, Sheila has also taught writing to thousands of young people in K-12 schools.

***

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On The Enchanted Inkpot...

Thanks for all who stopped by to read about Nikki Loftin's debut novel THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY (Razorbill , August 21, 2012) yesterday!

For those who want to know more about Nikki, I'm interviewing her today over on The Enchanted Inkpot! Candy, fairy tales, and creepy reading!






Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I'm Reading: THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Nikki Loftin

I'll admit I've been in a bit of a slump when it comes to middle grade reading. Maybe I've gotten pickier? Maybe I just haven't found the right books? But when I managed to snag an ARC of fellow-Austinite Nikki Loftin's debut novel, I started it and fell absolutely in love! And as it turns out, today is Nikki's release day, so please help me offer up congratulations for her and her amazing novel!

THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY by Nikki Loftin (Razorbill , August 21, 2012)




Five quick things about THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY:

1) It's middle grade. And even though I've mentioned I've had a hard time recently finding books I love in this category, this one completely proved me wrong. The funniest thing is that about a year ago Nikki and I were having just this conversation...about how finding middle grade that really hooks the reader is hard. And Nikki said, "wait for my book."
I love that she was right!

2) It's a Hansel & Gretel retelling set in today's world. And with this retelling and the many references to food in the novel, I will be thinking about eating sticks of butter and crab shells forever. But in a good way :)

3) It's creepy and cool and clever and unique. Truly, this novel takes a story from ages ago, sets it in our world, not at a boarding school, with parents around and everything, and makes it such a treat to read.

4) Don't let the title scare you. It took me many a try to remember even what it was.

5) It's amazing! A fun read that will keep you turning pages until the very last minute! And late into the night. And while you are eeking out your last few days of summer at the pool. Grab this book. Read it. And then pass it on to kids you know!

I gobbled this one up just like the kids gobbled food in the story. And I loved every minute of it. Highly recommended for boys and girls (seriously, both will love it), third grade and up.

Source of book: From publisher by request

***

And for those in the Austin area, Nikki will be holding her release part this weekend!

WHAT: Release party for THE SINISTER SWEETNESS OF SPLENDID ACADEMY
WHERE: BookPeople, Austin, TX
WHEN: Saturday, August 25th, 2012, 4:00 pm

***

From Amazon:

“A mesmerizing read…a fantasy that feels simultaneously classic and new.”—Publishers Weekly 

“A pinch of Grimm, a dash of Greek mythology and a heaping helping of fresh chills make for an irresistible contemporary fairy tale…Deliciously scary and satisfying.”--Kirkus 

Lorelei is bowled over by Splendid Academy--Principal Trapp encourages the students to run in the hallways, the classrooms are stocked with candy dishes, and the cafeteria serves lavish meals featuring all Lorelei's favorite foods. But the more time she spends at school, the more suspicious she becomes. Why are her classmates growing so chubby? And why do the teachers seem so sinister? 

It's up to Lorelei and her new friend Andrew to figure out what secret this supposedly splendid school is hiding. What they discover chills their bones--and might even pick them clean! 

Mix one part magic, one part mystery, and just a dash of Grimm, and you've got the recipe for a cozy-creepy read that kids will gobble up like candy. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop Winner!

Happy Monday! Thank you to everyone who visited the blog and entered to win these three awesome books!

The winner of

An ARC of
DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum (Harper Teen, May 10, 2011)




A paperback copy of
REALITY ALI by Christine Marciniak (Zumaya, August 2011)




A hardcover copy of
COURTSHIP & CURSES by Marissa Doyle (Henry Holt, August 7, 2012)


is


Erma Hurtt!

 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Chainmail Making for Dummies, Part 1

In what may be a series of posts over some great amount of time, I give you Chainmail Making for Dummies. And for the record, until two weeks ago, I never had any intention of making chainmail in my life.

*** And I don't claim to be an expert at all, so if you are looking for expert chainmail instructions, you are totally in the wrong place! This is just a new hobby for me, nothing else. ***

So yes, I've started making my own chainmail. It's the perfect poolside activity while whiling away your last few days of summer, your Friday evenings, or your time on boring conference calls.

Anyway, here are just a few pics for how to get started. As my piece comes together, I'll post more on technique and the finished product, but this is just to show how much fun I've already been having!

***

Tools you will need:

(You probably have most of the required tools sitting in your garage.)

 Drill (that will fit the dowel), needle-nose pliers, nippers, gloves,
a wooden dowel (mine is just under 1/2")
 

 
 Wire - Available at Home Depot

***

How I'm going about doing this :)

Step (1) - Wind the wire around the dowel using your drill. These are not my best coils. I've already snipped most and these are what's left.
 



Step (2) - Snip each ring off the wound coil using the nippers. I recommend a second set of nippers and gloves, and an assistant with strong hands.

 


Step (3) - Close half the rings and open half the rings.

Step (4) - Attach 4 closed rings to 1 open ring and then close that ring. Do lots of these sets of 5.



Step (5) - Link the sets of 5 rings together using open rings (which you then close). You should now have long strands that look really cool!



Step (6) - Link the long strands together using open rings. Now you are really getting somewhere! (these are just short strands linked together, fyi.)


***

Okay, I'll post more pics and details as I get them, but this is about where I am so far. My goal is to make an awesome outfit for the Renaissance Festival in October, so I still have about 2 months to go.

Are you confused? Excited? Ready to make your own? I hope so!




Thursday, August 16, 2012

WIN A PERSONALIZED SKETCH!

It's always all about the books! But what about the art, right? So today I'm giving away something a bit different on the blog.

A sketch!

Of anything you want!


No, not a sketch by me (for which you should be very thankful. My sketching abilities leave a bit to be desired). But my friend Ben Bender of Bender Comics does happen to know how to draw which is a good thing.

This is not just any sketch.
It will be a 9x12 sketch of your choosing.
Any character you want.
Black & white or colored.

Pretty awesome, right?

And I've included the below as a sample. Ben says the below was just one of his daily sketches and that your sketch will have more detail with most of the detail in the character.



You can check more of Ben's work out here and here.

Right, so how to enter?

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

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on August 25, 2012
2) Contest is US only!

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


**

Thanks and good luck!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

FORMER DEBUT: Bonnie Doerr, Class of 2k10

Hey Everyone! Thank you all for helping me celebrate former debut authors here on the blog. It's been such fun! And today I am happy to feature Bonnie Doerr. Bonnie and I met a few years back while doing panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. We had an amusing time sharing a dinner of Tapas (which apparently means "very small portions")!

Anyway, Bonnie joins us here today to catch us up on what she's been doing!

*****


Name: Bonnie J. Doerr
Debut Group: Class of 2k10
Debut novel: ISLAND STING (Leap Books)


Hi, Bonnie! It's so great to have you here!


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?

BD: PJ, it’s a pleasure to talk with you about the debut experience. One of the joys of being part of a class is meeting members of other classes, like you! But it’s sad when you spend a year in close communication with a group, travel to conferences and signings together, and then you gradually lose touch with so many. Thanks for helping keep us in touch.


These days I often feel adrift in a sea without a life jacket. For a year you had a tight support group and then, you find yourself alone again. Still, classmates are available when you need to reach out, and that’s a gift that keeps on giving. It’s fun and inspiring to follow your fellow authors’ public and/or personal successes. Writers for young readers are fascinating folks whose gifts help create a better world whether they go about it quietly or with a big bang.

So, what’s been going on with me? The year after Island Sting was traditionally pubbed, the book was released as an eBook. I was thrilled when it received the 2011 EPIC Children’s eBook Award. By then I’d returned to a quiet life of gardening, reading, and travel. Much of my travel was devoted to working on my eco-adventure/mystery series. The second book, StakeOut, a sea turtle mystery, was published in 2011. StakeOut was one of six finalists for the 2012 Green Earth YA Book Award. Seeing StakeOut on the shortlist for the Green Earth Award was a wonderful honor for my ecologically themed novel.

So far, 2012 has been a quiet year for me. I wore myself out traveling and speaking in far away places during 2010-2011. Lately, I’ve managed to visit schools, writer camps, conferences, and libraries close to home.

I’m working on my third and final book in the series, tentatively titled Tangled. In it, teens Kenzie and Angelo deal with a mysterious series of animal tortures and battle the development of an ecologically fragile island. They also finally resolve their complicated relationship. Exactly how they work things out remains to be seen. But at that point, it will be time to allow them peace and privacy. I’m confident they can continue their green agendas without my help.



STAKE OUT (Leap Books, April 8, 2011)

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?

BD: It’s group therapy. You are suddenly not alone, and it’s so much fun when you attend events together! You always have a group people who really get what you’re going through. Your class is a big caring family sharing expertise. Each member understands your periods of daydreaming, quirky habits, frustrations, fears, and hopes. It’s like belonging to a sorority or fraternity without the horrid hazing. You make lifelong connections. It’s difficult to suss out any one best part.




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?

BD: I’ll pass on the best advice that was given to me. Don’t weigh your success or what you may consider “lack thereof” against that of any other author. Your path will be unique. While on that path revel in the journey. Don’t dwell on the destination. It rarely turns out to be where or what you expect it to be.


ISLAND STING (Leap Book, December 15, 2009)

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.

BD: After my third book in the eco-mystery/adventure series is released, I plan to work with an inspiring Kenyan woman to write and publish the story of her personal journey. She has lived in the USA for over twenty years. Recently, she established a 501c international organization to support forgotten and neglected women. She returns often to her native land to aid suffering women and their children. Her goal is to “bring wholeness into the lives of broken women from all walks of life.” Hers is a true story of faith and how she found her own strength and uses it to empower women wherever she sees a need.


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!

BD: Five reasons to read Island Sting, StakeOut, and the forthcoming Tangled:
1. You’ll feel like you’re on a vacation in the Florida Keys and—
2. You won’t have to pay for the vacation or deal with heat and mosquitoes.
3. You’ll learn cool stuff about endangered species without feeling like you’re learning.
4. You’ll meet some quirky, colorful characters.
5. You’ll have fun!

A really great writing space!


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

BD: Thanks so much for sharing class member updates. If only we could share these stories in person. What a party that would be!



Bio:
A retired educator, Bonnie J. Doerr has taught students from kindergarten to college. An M.Ed. in reading education, combined with a brief post as a science teacher, inspired her to write ecological mystery/adventures for ages ten and up. Ms. Doerr’s work has been recommended by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for use in environmental education and has been included in Milkweed Editions literary field guides. Titles include, Island Sting, Danger in the National Key Deer Refuge (Leap Books, 2010), winner of the EPIC 2011 Outstanding Children’s eBook Award, StakeOut, A sea turtle mystery, (Leap Books 2011), Green Earth YA Book Award finalist, and the forthcoming Tangled. When not researching and writing in the Florida Keys, she lives in a log cabin in North Carolina. Get to know her better here!


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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, August 14, 2012

ANASTASIA FOREVER Winner!

I hope you all had a great weekend! This week's book and winner is:


ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 7, 2012)





Dana Cuadrado!

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Don't forget I'm also giving away...

(CLICK HERE TO ENTER!)

An ARC of
DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum (Harper Teen, May 10, 2011)




A paperback copy of
REALITY ALI by Christine Marciniak (Zumaya, August 2011)




A hardcover copy of
COURTSHIP & CURSES by Marissa Doyle (Henry Holt, August 7, 2012)

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's a great big Beautiful new Website

Hey! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are looking forward to a great week ahead!

Somehow, I got it into my head on Friday that I wanted to finally redesign the look of my website, so that's what the bulk of my weekend was spent doing (with the exception of the candid photo below*). I learned lots about fancy css stuff, and now, here is what I've come up with.**



Okay, here's the thing. I've spent way too much time on it already. So if you happen to buzz around and find a broken link or something yucky with it, please let me know. I'll mail you an ARC from my shelf. I'll even give you your choice of five to pick from because I am that grateful!


* Making chain-mail.This is what else I spent time on this weekend.
I look so serious.



** My blog is slowly catching up, so I know it doesn't match exactly. But it will get there soon.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

YOUNG ADULT GIVEAWAY HOP!

It's that time of year again for the YOUNG ADULT 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!

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Today, up for giveaway, are two BRAND NEW, JUST RELEASED young adult books
and one ALREADY RELEASED and AWESOME young adult ARC, all to one lucky winner! 
Three books. 
One winner!


An ARC of
DIE FOR ME by Amy Plum (Harper Teen, May 10, 2011)



A paperback copy of
REALITY ALI by Christine Marciniak (Zumaya, August 2011)




A hardcover copy of
COURTSHIP & CURSES by Marissa Doyle (Henry Holt, August 7, 2012)



*****

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

1) This giveaway is open until 12:01 am on August 15, 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 an ARC of...
(CLICK HERE TO ENTER!)

ANASTASIA FOREVER by Joy Preble (Sourcebooks, August 7, 2012)


FORMER DEBUT: Marissa Doyle, Class of 2k8

I adore Marissa Doyle! And that's why I'm so happy to feature her today as my former debut. Marissa was not only a co-president of the Class of 2k8, it was also my class. Thanks for being here, Marissa! And if having Marissa here isn't good enough, today she launches a brand new book, COURTSHIPS & CURSES! Woot!

Okay, here we go...


*****

Name: Marissa Doyle
Debut Group: Class of 2k8
Debut novel: BEWITCHING SEASON


Hi, Marissa! It's great to see you again!


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?

MD: I totally know what you mean--I went into withdrawal after the Class of 2k8 wrapped up. I tried to get over it by being one of the founders of the Enchanted Inkpot, and now I'm an Admin at the Blueboards (Verla Kay's Children's Writers and Illustrators Message Board) which I love, because it keeps me plugged into the kidlit world, and I've also been busy with the YA chapter of RWA. Oh yeah...and writing. :) Betraying Season came out in 2009 and actually got a lot of recognition in the YA romance world, winning several awards, and now Courtship and Curses, which is a prequel to my first two books, launched August 7. I don't want to say too much about what might be coming down the road from me because I'm superstitious that way, but let's just say that there will be more. Oh..and since you asked, new pets! We adopted another rescued bunny to keep our bun Saffron company, and it's been a hoot watching them--they're totally in love and adorable as anything. I talked a little bit about it on my history blog, just for fun, here and here.


COURTSHIP & CURSES (Henry Holt, August 7, 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?

MD: Having a group of people who understand all your anxieties and share your questions was wonderful. You can ask questions that you might be afraid to ask elsewhere, and share information about process, and never be alone. You'll also have a group of writers with whom you share a bond that never really goes away, and when you happen on each other at conferences or whatever, you'll smile and hug and remember what you went through together.





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?

MD: Oh, I agree--though it was fun being the "bride", I'm definitely enjoying the benefits of experience and gained knowledge. I would say not to let the excitement of your debut year derail your writing. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of this new experience (and I'm not saying you shouldn't enjoy it--you only have a first book once!) But it's important to remember that your next book, and the book after that, have to get written, and they have to be good. Do your best to maintain discipline, and keep writing.

BETRAYING SEASON (September 29, 2009)


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.

MD: Oh, more books, definitely...and I'd like to slip in some adult and tween fiction as well as YA. I'm also looking forward to doing some travel, as my younger kids will be in college and I'll have more time free...there are a bunch of places I'd love to use as settings for future stories. I'd also like to spend more time in volunteer work for my local rabbit rescue, because rabbits are wonderful creatures but don't get as much attention as cats and dogs do.





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!

MD: Only that I'll be continuing on my sooper sekrit stealth mission to get more readers interested in the rich stories of the past by writing more historical fiction and fantasy...but you didn't hear me say that, did you?

BEWITCHING SEASON (Henry Holt, April 28, 2008))


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

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BIO: Marissa Doyle graduated from Bryn Mawr College and went on to graduate school intending to be an archaeologist but somehow got distracted. After working in a nursing home, in fundraising, and as a stay-at-home mom, she finally figured out what it was she really should be doing (apart from the mom part), and started writing a romance novel. Three books later a perceptive contest judge told her that her story would make a great young adult book, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Her young adult books Bewitching Season, Betraying Season, and Courtship and Curses, all from Henry Holt Books for Young Readers/Macmillan, blend history (remember that archaeology background?) with a dash of magic and a heaping tablespoon of romance, and have won multiple awards and recognition in both the romance and children’s literature worlds. She lives in her native Massachusetts with her family, including a pair of litterbox-trained pet rabbits, and loves making quilts, sailing, and antiques. With fellow author and history geek Regina Scott she hosts the long-running (in its sixth year!) teen history blog NineteenTeen, is an Administrator on the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Message Board, and sits on the board of the New England Chapter/RWA.

Please visit her at her website, and at NineteenTeen.

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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!