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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tweet News (2)

I'm collecting newsy bookish tweets for this new feature I've started, so please feel free to @reply me on Twitter with links to newsworthy tweets so I can include them. So, what did you miss on Twitter this week?

Author Kimberly Derting revealed the cover of her next book... TWEET.

Author Jessica Leader announced some news about Nice and Mean... TWEET.

Hannah Moskowitz, author of Break, sold her first Middle Grade novel... TWEET.

Sisters Red by Jackon Pearce got a cameo on Good Morning America... TWEET.

Author Rachel Hawkins sold Rebel Belle and two other novels... TWEET.

Author Courtney Moulton shared the cover of her debut novel, Angelfire... TWEET.

Who's going to be reading the audio book of Knightly Academy by Violet Haberdasher? TWEET.

Journalistic advice on the Twilight Saga from the Fake AP Stylebook... TWEET.

A new ARC tour site was unveiled... TWEET TWEET.

Literary agent Michelle Wolfson sent out a reminder about Paranormalcy's new release date... TWEET.

Author Erin Bow shared a video of her BEA panel... TWEET.

Read the first two chapters of Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised By Wolves...TWEET.

 Author Lisa Desrochers shared a sneak peak of her upcoming novel Personal Demons... TWEET.

Read sample chapters of Cyn Balog's Fairy Tale and Sleepless... TWEET.

Rachel Hawkins shared the paperback release date for Hex Hall and a secret... TWEET. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Author Insight: Are you ready to rock!?

Music or silence when you write? Do you
develop playlists for your books?

"I listen to music before and after I write, but never while I'm writing. My share of Beautiful Creatures was written to my personal soundtrack of: Black Sabbath, AC/DC, The Allman Brothers, Lynard Skynard (lots of Southern rock), the Smiths & the Cure. When I'm actually writing, I need complete silence because I hear the characters' voices in my head. It's almost as if I'm watching the story play out, and I'm just writing down what I see. Margie and I listen to very different music while we write. So we don't have playlists for the books themselves, but there are character playlists on our website." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Each character has a song or short playlist, the book has a playlist. The playlist for The Near Witch is up here." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"Neither. And I don’t have a playlist for my book, unless you count my son’s music blasting from his room. Music while I’m writing is kind of distracting, especially if it’s music I like. But it doesn’t have to quiet either. I have three kids, so chaos is the name of the game. I can write with the TV in the background, the kids arguing, and a houseful of nine-year-olds." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. 

"No playlists. Gotta be quiet. My husband (that angel) built me an office out in our detached garage so I could have a room of one’s own where nobody was hollering 'Mom!'" - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Author Insight: Literary Devices

What is your favorite literary device?

"I'm not a fan of cliffhanger endings. If any are in my books, they are not on purpose. LOL. I love using humor, especially during serious moments. Because in life, I am one of those people who in crisis, can make everyone laugh. And my characters usually do the same." - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List.

"Rhymes. Can’t often put them in novels, though." - Jessica Leader, author of Nice and Mean.

"Foreshadowing. I love writing and reading stories with little hints dropped along the way that come together in the end so you want to immediately go back to the beginning of the book and see where the clues were hiding all along!" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"I LOVE FORESHADOWING. I do it WAY TOO MUCH in first drafts, and almost always have to trim it back so I don’t give the entire book away in the first fifty pages. It’s definitely something you need to sprinkle through your story with a light touch, but it’s almost always very powerful." - Alexandra Bracken, author of Brightly Woven.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Collected Works of Maggie Stiefvater Contest

How many bloggers does it take to give away books? Well normally one, but Pam from Bookalicious was in town and we are giving away Maggie Stiefvater titles, including Linger, so you guys get twice the vlogging power! Be afraid.

The whole ordeal started with a trip to Fountain Bookstore. We went to pick up some books Pam had ordered and learned that Maggie had recently been in to sign the stock of paperback Shivers they had just put out. I already had a hardback of it to giveaway in  honor of the release of Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2), which hits shelves on July 20, but when I saw the paperback copies I knew I needed to grab one and add another winner to the contest. Pam saw me pick it up and decided to have a contest of her own.

It spiraled out of control from there because, you see, Fountain Bookstore has an "Autographed Copies" shelf. You can see where this is going, but Pam and I decided to tell you anyway...


I'll be giving away series packs to two winners - A Wolves of Mercy Falls prize pack and a Books of Faerie prize pack. The signed, doodled Shiver will go solo. Just fill out the form below and you're entered for all three. I'll pick three random winners, but you can only win once. If there is a book or prize pack you don't want, note it in the "Opt Out" section on the form and I'll pass you over for that item.

Tweet News (1)

I see news on Twitter all day long, so I've decided to create a new weekly feature where I relay all the bookish news I've heard throughout the week so you can check out the tweets and get up to speed. And because I have a hard enough time keeping up myself, I'm encouraging readers to @reply me on Twitter with links to writerly tweets that are newsworthy so I can include them. Sound good? Let's do this thang!

Author Laurie Halse Anderson shared her schedule for ALA...TWEET.

YA releases flying under the radar... TWEET. 

Good Morning America will features a YA book tomorrow... TWEET.

Paranormalcy by Kiersten White has a new release date... TWEET.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Author Insight: Literary Devices

What is your favorite literary device?

"Plot twists!" - Leah Cypess, author of Mistwood.

"I like the idea of similes, but I can't honestly say I use them that much. I don't think I have one specific literary device that I once often." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All the Stupid Things.

"Voice is incredibly important to me. It's what differentiates writers, as well as characters within a novel. All my favorite authors have very distinct and original voices, and they don't try to sound like anyone else. They have worked to develop their own voices, and they sound like THEMSELVES. I also love a good plot twist. I don't like to see what's coming, unless it was the author's intent. Some books just kick you in the gut or break your heart. I'll take that over a perfect, unrealistic ending any day. Perfect is overrated." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Oh gosh! I’ve never thought about that. Probably metaphor. A good metaphor can stop your heart." - Lauren Oliver, author of Before I Fall.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Maria V. Synder signing & contest!

Lately, my poor little car has been getting a workout. Trixie, a Sunfire coupe, has been on an obscene number of roadtrips in the last four months and she's racking up some serious miles. I've been traveling so much that I am woefully behind on posting about these awesome events. Bear with me as I try to catch up.

In mid-April, I hopped in the car and headed north to meet  up with Monica from Bibliophilic Book Blog. I left at the crack of oh-my-god-why-am-I-awake because we were going to see the amazing Maria V. Snyder and needed to be in Pennsylvania by 1pm. Two hours and lots of I-95 later I made it to her house and she took over driving.

We picked up her little sister along the way and she devoured a good bit of  Poison Study on the way there. Traffic was bad, so we were late. (Imagine... Traffic on I-95? Nooooo.) Luckily, Maria was signing until 3pm.

We managed to slide in between groups of fans, which was good because between the three of us we easily had over a dozen books. Maria never flinched. She was incredibly nice, talking to us as she personalized and signed each book. She even signed two books for lucky readers!

Maria signing of multiple books is like an elaborately choreographed dance that is wonderful to watch. She signs each book with a pen that's ink matches the color of the book cover and is fastidious about it. The trend continued at Book Expo America when she signed Spy Glass in orange to match its orange cover. :)


Thursday, June 17, 2010

More Author Insight: Novel Secrets

Tell us a secret about your most recent book.

"I never reveal secrets, because then they would be secrets anymore. :)" - Riley Carney, author of The Fire Stone.

"My newest book (as yet unpublished) was written in part because I'm a movie fanatic and was incredibly inspired by the atmosphere of Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins and The Dark Knight." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

"Sorry, no secrets from me. I made a pact with my characters. What kind of a person blabs trusted details?" - Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting.

"I'm not sure how many people are familiar with Shakespearean theory, but some scholars think that Ophelia drowned herself because she was pregnant, which is one of the reasons I chose her for Bertie's mother." - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theater Illuminata series.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Author Insight: Novel Secrets

Tell us a secret about your most recent book.

"The sequel to Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, releases on October 26th. We can't say much about it, but I will tell you that it's darker and the stakes are much higher. There are lots of twists!" - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"My youngest boy was the most adorable cherubic child ever...but couldn’t process big feelings very well and would sometimes just melt down completely. During one of those meltdowns, I sweatily turned to my exhausted husband and whispered, “My God. It’s like he turns into a werewolf.” The character of Munch, just grew out of that idea. He’s a six-year old witch who has a few, shall we say, behavior issues. For instance he has a little problem handling anger so he turns into a werewolf and tries to eat his first grade teacher. By the way, my son eventually grew out of the meltdowns. Thank God. He thinks the book is funny." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"Tell Me A Secret is all about secrets! Bits and pieces of life and characters, all blended up in the psyche and poured out into a story that somehow took on a life of its own. The inspiration for the book was the loss of our daughter, Ezri. In many ways, it was written in her memory." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"Laurel’s attracted to Everett, even though she claims she’s not." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A case for indie bookstores everywhere

Do you shop indie? I hope you do.

Independent bookstores are a vanishing breed and you, my fair readers, are key to their survival. My local indie, Fountain Bookstore, has a good selection, knowledgeable staff, and awesome events. If it weren't for this little independent operation I don't know if Richmond would see many book launches or signings. But I'm an amateur when it comes to the indie bookstore biz, so I'm going to let a pro take over from here. My friend Anna from Left Bank Books is here to tell you about the challenges indies face today and  the benefits of stepping outside the big box world so many of us have gotten used to.

Take it away Anna...
So. You love books. You love reading. You can’t wait to get your hands on the next book by your favorite author. You even frequent blogs ABOUT books! Now, here are the important questions: 
  • Are you a conscientious consumer?
  • Do you care where you buy your books?
  • Ever think about the places you’re getting your books from?
If you answered “Yes!” to these questions, then I can’t tell you how much you are appreciated in the independent book world. If you answered “No” then we need to talk.

 I’m the manager at Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri, the largest full-line independent bookstore left in St. Louis, and it’s been around since 1969 – 40 years! That’s something to be proud of in this day and age, when so many independents are being forced to close their doors. The battles that indie bookstores are fighting are relentless, and in the current economic climate, more serious than ever. We struggle to survive amongst the monstrous corporate chains and the ultimate antagonist of our story – Amazon.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tension of Opposites Winners!

This took a little longer than expected because my beloved Contest Winner Picker is no more. *tears* The bookmark I have goes nowhere, and I can't find it by searching, so I'm in mourning tonight. The bright spot in the evening is that I do have The Tension of Opposites contest winners to announce!

The signed copy of The Tension of Opposites, a framed photo from the book trailer and some cool swag goes to... Liz A.  from Consumed by Books.

And the query critique from author Kristina McBride goes to... Jessica from Forever YA Lit.

Congratulations ladies! I have emailed you. Please respond withing 48 hours with your mailing address to claim your winnings. Thanks to everyone who entered and stay tuned! There are some great giveaways ahead.  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

More Author Insight: Problem Solving

When you hit a snag in your story,
how do you overcome it?

"It depends on why I'm snagged. Sometimes, I wrote myself into a dead end. That means I have to go back and fix whatever derailed the story. Sometimes I'm snagged because the particular scene is hard and I'm avoiding it. For that, I just have to get up the nerve and write it, however badly, and fix it later. Sometimes I'm snagged because I'm bored (exposition is my bane.) And for that, I just have to power through it and fix it later. Pretty much, no matter why I got stuck, the answer is brute force." - Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

"It depends on what’s causing the snag. Sometimes it means I need to go deeper; sometimes I need to cut the scene altogether because what has snagged me is boredom; sometimes I need to back up because I’ve taken a wrong turn." - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

"I move away from the computer, try scrawling ideas on blank paper with a colorful pen. I babble and rage at my critique partners. I get in bed and pull the covers over my head with my music blaring through my earbuds. I go for a walk. I keep trying things until I figure out what's wrong." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"Hot shower. I get more good ideas in the shower than anywhere else. Or baking!" - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theater Illuminata series.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Uncovered: Beautiful Darkness (The Reprise)

You heard that right! Kami Garcia & Margie Stohl announced today that there is a new cover for Beautiful Darkness (The Caster Chronicles #2). I have to be completely honest. I wasn't a huge fan of the gate on the old cover. I loved the tree on Beautiful Creatures, but the gate just didn't do it for me. Now the stairs I like! To me, the new cover has more of the same look that the first book did. I think it's a good change.

What's your opinion?

Some secrets are life-altering... Others are life-ENDING.
In stores October 26, 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Author Insight: Problem Solving

When you hit a snag in your story,
how do you overcome it?
(Sorry this post is so late today. I try to put it all together in advance and Blogger eats it. Just my luck.)

"I let it ride until it unknots itself. Sometimes I jump forward and write past it, and occasionally the answer will be there. Or I work on a different project. Anything to keep the words moving." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"I don't often hit snags because my characters drive the story (generally). When I need to puzzle my way around a problem a character's suddenly created I take a brief break--maybe a nap, maybe get some coffee, listen to a particular playlist or take a drive." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"I jump to another part of the story or I talk it through with my critique partner. I very seldom get up and leave the computer. I'm a pretty determined person and like to work through it." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"Chocolate pudding and fresh air. I've worn grooves into the sidewalk of my neighborhood from pacing." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Release Date: May 3, 2010
Publisher: Harcourt
Format: ARC
Pages: 288
Description: Amazon
Jill Jekel has always obeyed her parents' rules--especially the one about never opening the mysterious, old box in her father's office. But when her dad is murdered, and her college savings disappear, she's tempted to peek inside, as the contents might be the key to a lucrative chemistry scholarship.
To improve her odds, Jill enlists the help of gorgeous, brooding Tristen Hyde, who has his own dark secrets locked away. As the team of Jekel and Hyde, they recreate experiments based on the classic novel, hoping not only to win a prize, but to save Tristen's sanity. Maybe his life. But Jill's accidental taste of a formula unleashes her darkest nature and compels her to risk everything--even Tristen's love--just for the thrill of being...bad.

One phrase stuck with me as I read this book and now I feel like it's the only way I can accurately describe Jekel Loves Hyde to you now. It was deliciously dark.

Rich, sinful and bittersweet, like the most amazing dark chocolate, I was unable to get enough of this book. Every time I thought I had come to a safe stopping point and put the book down to return to my life I found myself haunted by what had come before and thrilled by the prospect of what might happen next.

Beth Fantaskey does a masterful job of blending the best aspects of horror and mystery with a love story that, like all good love stories, seems both fated and doomed from the start. Often overlooked as the overachiever, mousy little Jill Jekel doesn't have much in the way of a social life. Tristen Hyde is handsome, athletic, smart, sports a devil may care attitude and has a British accent to boot. (Who doesn't love a guy with an accent?)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Author Insight: Getting Emotional

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey
on the page and why?

"I don't think I can answer this. I've been thinking about it for a while, and nothing comes to mind. The hardest, most intense emotions, are also the most fun. I love challenging myself." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"Believe it or not, romance is the hardest thing for me to write. I agonize over it. I don’t want to make it sound cheesy or unbelievable, but I still want it to be tender and real and able to make readers melt. Action, on the other hand, that’s easy. Give me a good bloody sword fight any day." - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"Impatience, nervousness, exasperation...really any emotion without resorting to clichés like rolling the eyes or tapping a foot. There's so much we've been programmed, as readers, to expect as cues for emotions that it's sometimes tough to break out of that habit. Lazy writing and overused clichés are the bane of my existence! (...is "bane of my existence" an overused phrase? GAH!)" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"Good question! But I can't think of one..." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Beyond the Page with Kristina McBride

Kristina McBride, author of The Tension of Opposites, is stopping by today to talk about publishing her debut novel. One lucky reader will win a signed copy of her book and some cool swag. Another will win a query critique.

Release Date: May 25, 2010
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pages: 288

Description: Two years ago Noelle disappeared. Two long years of no leads, no word, no body. Since the abduction, Tessa, her best friend, has lived in a state of suspended animation. She has some friends, but keeps them distant. Some interests, but she won’t allow herself to become passionate about them. And guys? She can’t get close—she knows what it is like to really lose someone she cared for.

And then, one day, the telephone rings. Noelle is alive. And maybe, just maybe, Tess can start to live again, too.

A haunting psychological thriller taken straight from the headlines, The Tension of Opposites is a striking debut that explores the emotional aftermath a kidnapping can have on the victim, and on the people she left behind.

*Description provided by Kristina McBride

About the author: Kristina McBride, a former high-school English teacher and yearbook advisor, wrote The Tension of Opposites in response to the safe return of a child who was kidnapped while riding his bike to a friend’s house. She lives in Ohio with her husband and two young children. This is her first novel. Visit her online at http://www.kristinamcbride.com/.

By the numbers

Time it took to write The Tension of Opposites: Four to five months to write the first draft. (But revisions with my agent took an additional eleven months. And that doesn’t count edits with my publisher.)

Number of revisions: I lost count at, like, the fifth draft. Somewhere around there I deleted the book (except for five chapters) and started over. This, by the way, is just with my agent – before the book was pitched to editors. After Egmont USA picked up The Tension of Opposites, it went through at least four or five more rounds of revision and copy editing. I’m exhausted just thinking about all that!

Final word count: 70,000 ish (I’m “ishy” because the most final version I have on the computer is riddled with comments from several copy editors.)

Prom Nights from Hell the encore

After 48 hours no one has e-mailed me to claim this book, so a new winner has been chosen.

Congratulations, Tetewa!

You are the new winner of a copy of the Prom Nights from Hell Anthology signed by Kim Harrison. Please e-mail me within 48 hours, and I will get the book out to you as soon as possible. Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Author Insight: Getting Emotional

What is the hardest emotion for you to convey
on the page and why?

"I’m not sure I’ve had particular difficulty with anything…so far. Envy may be a little tough for me, especially if it’s the main character. It can be tricky to find that balance between a character’s yearning and resentment. You don’t want your MC to come across as bitter and unlikeable." - Kim Derting, author of The Body Finder.


"I honestly don't know. I like to think of myself as being pretty emotionally aware and I try to write my characters' emotions like I experience my own." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"It’s not really hard for me to convey romance, but I don’t like doing it very much. I’m a tomboy at heart—I like writing fight scenes and magical showdowns and all that. I don’t mind reading other people’s romantic scenes, but I don’t like having to write it." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Desire, I think. I want it to feel authentic and original, but not cliche or crass." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.