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Thursday, July 29, 2010

More Author Insight: Good Advice & Contest Winners

Aspiring writers often hear: "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?

"Quit listening to advice. Except for a handful of structure and format things, everything else is writers talking about what works for them. What works for me might not work for you. My ideas about writing might infuriate you, or frustrate you, or send you down the wrong path. So my advice is to only listen to mechanical advice, and disregard everything else unless it helps you. Because everything else is personal trivia." - Saundra Mitchell, author of Shadowed Summer.

"Read a lot, write a lot. Another one I’m partial to: 'Slow down when it hurts.'" - Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

"FIND ADVENTURE. In everyday life, and across the world." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"Treat it like a job, which means putting in the hours and the research as well as behaving professionally at all times." - Lisa Mantchev, author of the Theater Illuminata series.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tweet News (6)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

Harper Teen released the trailer for a new classic mash-up novel... TWEET.

 Novel Novice passed along an interesting look at YA cover trends... TWEET.

Harlequin Teen revealed the cover of Maria V. Snyder's Outside In... TWEET.

Author Diana Peterfreund invited you to listen to a sample from the Kiss Me Deadly audiobook... TWEET.

Maggie Stiefvater's Linger debuts at the top of the NYT Bestseller list... TWEET.

Penguin Teen kicks off a blog tour for some of its biggest fall titles... TWEET.

Simon & Schuster asked you to RVSP to hear a major announcement from author Cassandra Clare... TWEET.

Harper Teen offered a behind-the-scenes look at the filming of I Am Number Four... TWEET.

Author Julie Kagawa revealed the cover of The Iron Queen, the third book of the Iron Fey trilogy... TWEET.

Author Melissa Marr posted a new excerpt from Darkest Mercy, the final chapter of the Wicked Lovely series... TWEET.

Penguin Teen shared news about the Vampire Academy series... TWEET.

Harper Teen showed you where to read Vampire Diaries: The Struggle for free... TWEET.

Simon & Schuster shared a video interview with author Lisa McMann about her latest book Cryer's Cross... TWEET.

Author Jennifer Murgia revealed the cover of Lemniscate... TWEET.

Remember, if you see a newsworthy tweet during the week, please @reply or e-mail me with a link. I'd love to include it because I certainly can't catch everything!

Maggie Stiefvater's Linger Launch & Contest

When NYT bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater arrives to an event almost two hours early, how does she waste time? She goes in search of kilts, candy, and kitchen contraptions. (Yes, this is how we came upon the suggestively shaped mango pitter last year before the Shiver launch.) Once again, I was privy to this pre-launch ritual.

By the time I met up with Maggie, she had already obtained caffeine and a cookie and found her way into Williams-Sonoma. Of course she had to show me what she found there this time because it was too strange not to share. I mean, can you tell what this is?

We played with hand puppets at the toy shop, found Beck and a baby Sam stowed away on a shelf, and mourned the loss of one wall of Breyer horses. To Maggie's dismay it had been replaced with John Deeretractors.

Wythe Candy beckoned, full of fragrant and beautiful confections. It is every bit as enticing as it sounds in candy shop scene in Shiver, which the store inspired.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Author Insight: Good Advice

Aspiring writers often hear, "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?

"Two things: have nerves of steel and ditch jealousy. You need nerves of steel b/c you may (or may not, if you’re lucky) go through quite a bit to get where you want to be. You need, trust, belief, resolve, and possibly even detachment to get the job done. You also need to ditch jealousy right away. Other people are always going to get more, do more, be more. Worry about you and what you can and can’t control. Be happy for other people’s successes. The more success, the better!" - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Read broadly and write daily. If you read only what you want to write all you'll do is regurgitate what's already been done." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.

"Don't forget to love what you're doing. The rules and techniques of writing, the business of publication, none of it will be worth anything if you don't truly love your characters and stories, because a reader will be able to tell." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"Write through the suck. A very wise person (Courtney Summers) told me, 'The only way out is through.' You can't go around the work, you can't skip over it. You need to write through it." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Collected Works of Maggie Stiefvater Winners!

Is it a book cover? Is it a cake? No! It's both.

But this post has nothing to do with cake. That, there to your right, is just a taste of the fun photos I'll be posting soon when I dish about the Linger launch party. It's just so much cooler than posting the book cover, which I've posted a million times over.

I shouldn't have been surprised by the number of people who entered this contest, but nearly 250 entrants will take anyone off guard when they have to tally all the entries. The truth is, I'm just sorry I don't have more books to give away. Here goes...


Sandra M, winner of the signed Books of Faerie prize pack.
Laura B, winner of the signed Wolves of Mercy Falls prize pack.
Katelyn (The Bookshelf Sophisticate), winner of a signed, doodled copy of Shiver.

I've emailed all of you and will get your books in the mail as soon as possible. And to everyone else who entered, don't be sad because, well, I kind of lied earlier in the post. I do have more books to give away!

Stay tuned for a post about Maggie's launch party and another giveaway featuring a signed, doodled copy of Linger and a super special prize.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Author Insight: Believability

What is the most important thing for you to “get right” in order to make your story believable?

"I think you have to get everything right. But for me, the most important things to get right are voice and creating a well-developed universe. I can forgive almost anything if the character's voice speaks to me, and I find myself completely immersed in a compelling universe. That said, obviously, character development and plot are also incredibly important. A story isn't a story if nothing happens. The story should have an arc, and the individual characters should each have personal arcs, as well." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Atmosphere. Atmosphere is HUGELY important to me. And it goes hand in hand with voice when writing 1st person. I need the flow of the words, the mood they evoke, the main character's voice, all to FEEL right." - Victoria Schwab, author of The Near Witch.

"I think it’s important to develop strong characters so the readers can truly appreciate why they do the things they do. Without that, it’s hard for a reader to connect with the story." - Kimberly Derting, author of The Body Finder. 

"The voice." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tweet News (5)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

James Dashner shared a progress update on Book 3 of The Maze Runner tilogy…TWEET.

Mundie Moms shared shipping infor about Julie Kagawa's The Iron Daughter... TWEET.

The latest excerpt of Darkest Mercy is up on author Melissa Marr's blog... TWEET.

Harper Teen is now on Good Reads... TWEET.

Author Melissa Marr shared news about her latest book deal... TWEET.

Pub day news from Author Mary Rose Wood... TWEET.

Author Carrie Ryan shared news about the new anthology she is part of... TWEET.

Harper Teen passed along news about a new trilogy... TWEET.

Author Julie Kagawa announces a foreign rights deal... TWEET.

Harper Teen told all about the Season 2 premiere of The Vampire Diaries... TWEET.

Author Richelle Mead unveils the cover of The Last Sacrifice... TWEET.

Read the first chapter of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer online... TWEET.

Author Christine Johnson shared the title of the sequel to Clare de Lune... TWEET.

Author Lauren Oliver announced news about her debut novel Before I Fall... TWEET.

Harlequin Teen announced an acquisition... TWEET.

Author Jackson Pearce announced a foreign rights deal... TWEET.

Harper Teen shared an interview with I Am Number Four author Pittacus Lore... TWEET.

Author Sophie Jordan did a podcast with Harper Teen... TWEET.

Author Jennifer Echols announced a foreign rights deal.. TWEET.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Author Insight: Believability (And the Huge Giveaway.)

What is the most important thing for you to “get right” in order to make your story believable?

"I'm constantly worrying about believability. And what I always end up telling myself is that it's my job as the writer to MAKE it believable. If I'm questioning whether a kid would *really* do that, guess what, I need to show WHY this particular kid WOULD do that. So I don't know that I can generalize, it's mostly about setting up the story and characters in a way that makes it work. YOU as the author, have to make it work (in the words of Tim Gunn)." - Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn.

"The characters. If the characters seem like cardboard cut-outs, the entire book doesn't work, regardless of how awesome my plot is." - Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy.

"The emotions. Killing off a character to make people cry is crap. Killing off a character because it was absolutely necessary to the story, and oh, my God, it's SO SAD is the way to go. " - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List.

"A character that is interesting and believable. If the character isn't right I don't think the story works." - Alexandra Diaz, author of Of All the Stupid Things.

Friday, July 16, 2010

More Author Insight: Fiction Pet Peeves

NOTE: Sorry this post is very late. Life took over today as it sometimes does and this post got away from me.

What is your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?

"When I read it, I get irritated by things that are shocking, just to be shocking. Or really anything that feels forced. It's transparent." - Suzanne Young, author of The Naughty List.

"Ham-handed symbols. As Stephen Sondheim wrote, “Give us a break, Mr. Shephard!”" - Jessica Leader, author of Nice and Mean.


"Thinking YA means 'dumbing down.'" - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"Main characters that could qualify as 'Too Stupid to Live.' I can forgive a lot of things—a plot hole, cheesy declarations of love, stock characters—but if the main character doesn’t fly with me, the rest of the book doesn’t fly. A protagonist doesn’t have to be the bravest or the smartest or even the kindest, but if they’re constantly throwing themselves in harm’s way, or the plot is only moving along because they’re doing that, then I eventually start rooting for the other team to win. The other team being Death." - Alexandra Bracken, author of Brightly Woven.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Maggie, a sharpie & a whole lot of Lingers

I spent my morning unpacking books. I know that might sound boring, but trust me when I say it wasn't. It's all in the company, right? And I had great company.

I was unpacking, turning, and stacking books Fountain Bookstore with owner Kelly Justice so that NYT bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater could sign them. (Yes, she makes me call her that. She likes to say "NYT bestseller, I win.")There were so many copies of Linger that, seriously, we could have built the most amazing fort. See off to your right there?

But we didn't build Fort Linger. We did the responsible thing and created a meticulous system of moving books so that Maggie could sign and doodle each and ever one for the adoring fans that ordered them. Of course, there were other books to be signed as well.

Shivers, Laments and Ballads, oh my!

With as many books as she signed and doodled in, I'm surprised she doesn't have an advanced case of carpal tunnel. Take a look at these mad doodling skillz...

If you haven't ordered your copy of Linger or you just want signed Maggie books, never fear! Fountain Bookstore has boxes full of them, and you can snag one HERE.

Dear Blogger, don't hate!

I'm getting really tired of all the blog hating that I'm seeing on Twitter. It's been around forever, but it seems to have ramped up quite a bit lately. Frankly, it has made me rather embarrassed for us all. If we can't function as a community, what good are we?

Vindictive comments are unnecessary. In-fighting is stupid. General hating is just bad form. I'm sure your mother or some other older, wiser family member once shook a finger and spouted the old adage about not having anything nice to say. You know the one, and the fact is that they were right. Karma comes 'round people. That's all I'm saying.

Recently, this hating phenomenon turned a perfectly innocent hash tag on Twitter (#dearblogger) into a cesspool. By late evening Wednesday, it was positively overflowing with comments, most of which were insults or cease and desist requests masquerading as "advice".

There was some great advice, like:

"Don't be afraid to review older books & not keep up w/the current ones. Old fires deserve to be stoked." - Donna at Bites.

"Promoting reading and books should always be paramount. All roads should lead to it." - Emily at Emily's Reading Room.

"Remember - just because you have a blog doesn't mean you deserve ARCs. Content & Quality are what matters most." - Gail from Ticket to Anywhere.

Then there was that other stuff. Stuff that, frankly, would be better left unsaid. And forgive me, I'm about to share my thoughts. This stuff got me a little riled.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tweet News (4)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

The official release date for Linger by Maggie Stiefvater was pushed up to this week... TWEET.

Harper Teen shared a sneak peak of the upcoming Vampire Diaries books… TWEET.

Fountain Bookstore will ship signed, doodled copies of Linger…. TWEET.

Author Andrea Cremer shared a sneak peak of Nightshade... TWEET.

Natalie at Mindful Musings showed you where to read Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars for free…TWEET.

Author Rachel Vincent shared the first chapter of Alpha... TWEET.

Illustrator Hope Larson pointed out another instance of book cover whitewashing… TWEET.

Simon & Schuster picked up author Tiffany Trents next novel… TWEET.

Author Tiffany Trent gave you a look at her new novel, The UnnaturalistsTWEET.

Author Ally Carter shared big news about the Gallagher Girls series… TWEET.

Tor Teen unveiled the cover of Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers… TWEET.

Author Chelsea Swigget received finished copies of her memoir… TWEET.

The Linger Twitter Party is next week... TWEET.

The book trailer for Angie Fraiser's Everlasting premiered... TWEET.

Author Rachel Hawkins shared a look at her Demonglass manuscripts... TWEET.

Harper Teen rounded up this month's new teen lit... TWEET.

Author Brenna Yovanoff unveiled the UK cover of her debut, The Replacement... TWEET.

Author Lisa Desrochers posted a Personal Demons teaser... TWEET.

Author Carrie Ryan shared the flap copy of The Dark and Hollow Places... TWEET.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Author Insight: Fiction Pet Peeves

What is your biggest pet peeve in fiction writing?

"I can't stand anything derivative. I don't want to read an iteration of something I've already read. And trust me, I know if I've read it before. Most readers do, too. Create something original. Imitation is not the greatest form of flattery when it comes to writing. We are all inspired by other authors, but that doesn't mean imitating another author's voice, concept, universe, etc. I love to see authors breaking new ground, stretching their genres, and taking chances. Those are the books I recommend over and over." - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Whiny self-involved characters we’re somehow supposed to care about." - Rhonda Hayter, author of The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams.

"Whatever I say, I’ll no doubt end up doing it! I think I would have to go with obvious logic holes. I don’t look for this so much in novels, but it happens in TV and movies all the time. I can suspend disbelief, and even gladly do so, if the story makes sense." - Holly Cupala, author of Tell Me a Secret.

"Cliched romantic scenes and sappiness." - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

Monday, July 12, 2010

CSN Stores Giveaway!

About a month ago, a representative from CSN e-mailed me and asked if I'd be interested in giving my readers a chance to win a gift card to their online stores. Of course I said yes!

If you aren't familiar with their products, they sell a little bit of everything, including lights, vanity tables, and, you guessed it, even bookshelves! I personally love this corner shelf pictured to the left. You'll have a lot to pick from if you are the lucky winner of this giveaway.

Good luck everyone!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Author Insight: Write what you know?

Do you agree with the old “write what you know’ adage?

"Yes, though not literally. I believe that you have to experience things in order to tap into emotion and senses. So you can write about things you've never experienced, but you should have touchstone experiences (or things that you know that relate) in order to channel what you know into what you write." - Tessa Gratton, author of Blood Magic.

"To a point. Certainly, we have to know what love, anger, hate, and fear is, to write about it. But if you just stick to what you know, you’ll never challenge yourself, never stretch beyond your safe zone. What if I wanted to write about deep-sea diving, something I’ve never done? Would I let that stop me? No. That’s what research is for. Authors research what they don’t know all the time. The rest comes out of imagination. " - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"HAHAHA! Well, I know enough to ask the question "What if...?" and those are where most of my stories come from. I've written tons of posts about authors having the right to write about anything and anyone; to do so humbly, thoroughly and as respectfully as possible is the best that anyone can hope for. No one should be limited by their imagination for fear of offending someone or "getting it wrong." No one can write the story the way only you can tell it; don't let YOU stop you. Write what you love, what you're passionate about, you can always ask and learn." - Dawn Metcalf, author of Skin & Bones.

"I think it depends on the writer. I think write what you're inspired to write is a better adage." - Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of Sisters.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tweet News (3)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

Author Lisa Desrochers shares news about the cover of Personal Demons... TWEET.

Leah Clifford shared the cover of her debut novel, A Touch MortalTWEET.

Be the one of the first to see the cover of Lisa McMann’s new book, Cryer’s CrossTWEET.

The ARC fairy visited author Courtney Allison Moulton... TWEET.
Scott Westerfeld reveals the cover of his latest novel, Behemoth…  TWEET.

Author Lisa Desrochers posted another sneak peak of Personal DemonsTWEET.

Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy, will be headed west this fall… TWEET.

HarperTeen interviewed author Phoebe Kitanidis…  TWEET.

HarperTeen showed off final copies of I Am Number Four…  TWEET.

NetGalley signs a new publisher…  TWEET.

Author Courtney Moulton shared the cover of her debut novel, Angelfire... TWEET. (Yes, this was on last week, but I'm a failure and didn't attach the link. Sorry!)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Author Insight: Write what you know?

Do you agree with the old “write what you know’ adage?

"Well, I guess that would be way better than the “write what you don’t know” adage.
I think to a point, write what you know makes sense, but it’s also about letting go of reality, otherwise we’d all be writing non-fiction. And, for me, it made sense to write for teens since I’ve had teens in the house forever, so I’ve spent a lot of time eavesdropping listening to them. (I like to call it research!)." - Kim Derting, author of The Body Finder.


"Yes because "write what you know" means you should write as deeply and with as much connection as you are personally capable of. Too many people think it's limiting (like doctors should only write about characters in a hospital or something of the sort). I view "write what you know" as a challenge. I must always know (or learn) more to write even more authentically." - Shannon Delany, author of 13 to Life: A Werewolf's Tale.


"I’m more of a fan of “write *to* know”. I write to understand more about people and my world. I write to discover." - Tiffany Trent, author of the Hallowmere series.

"Yes and no. People write incredible novels about fantasy places or times long ago. I’d switch it around and say, 'Know what you’re writing about.'" - Amy Brecount White, author of Forget-Her-Nots.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Maria V. Snyder Contest Winners!

Over 1,000 entries later, and I have winners! So, without further adieu...

The winner of a signed copy of Inside Out is Adrienne!

And the winner of a signed copy of Poison Study is Elizabeth (swordsforfighting)!

Congratulations ladies! I've e-mailed you. Please respond with your mailing address within 48 hours, and I will get your books out to you as soon as possible.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

More Author Insight: Are you ready to rock!?

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

"Silence."- Bonnie Doerr, author of Island Sting.

"It depends on my mood. I do have several playlists, but I write without music as much as I write with music, so it all depends." - Julie Kagawa, author of The Iron King.

"Music is so important to my writing. I'll find songs that fit the story I'm writing and I'll listen to them over and over again. Sometimes if I'm writing a difficult scene, I need it to be quiet, but music always gets me in the mood to write, and takes me to the emotional place I want to be to write the book. I probably should be more organized about it, and make playlists, but I usually just bring up iTunes or Youtube and search for the songs I want to hear."- Lisa Schroeder, author of Chasing Brooklyn.

"I make playlists for my books, but I write in silence a lot of the time. Music is good for when I'm just starting to get into the book and I need a certain 'feel'." - Steph Bowe, author of Girl Saves Boy.