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Monday, January 31, 2011

The Last Sacrifice Winner

And the winner of The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead is...

Julie (my5monkey)

Congratulations! I will get your book in the mail to you shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mockingjay & Hunger Games swag winners

Random.org has been consulted. Winners have been chosen. Now, it's time to make it official!

The winner of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins and one HG bagclip is...

The winner of a HG bagclip is...

Congratulations! I will be sending your prizes out shortly. Thanks to everyone who entered.

Uncovered: Hourglass by Myra McEntire

The cover of Myra McEntire's debut novel, Hourglass, was revealed today! It's eyecatching, isn't it?  I like it a lot for reasons I can't quite explain and maybe it's because I have yet to read the book. I know that's lame to say but it just has a certain je ne sais quoi. It would definitely make me take a second look it it was face out on the shelves.

What do you think? Leave it in the comments!
Also visit Myra's blog and leave her some cover love. There's a link below.

Read Myra's post and the back cover copy on her newly redesigned blog  HERE.

Coming May 24, 2011 from EgmontUSA.

More Author Insight: Superstitions of a Scribe

  Do you have any superstitions that correspond to different phases of the writing or submissions process?

"Strangely, no. I'm not a very superstitious person, even though I was born on the 13th and have a black cat." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "I rarely speak about a book until a first draft is done. I find that even the best ideas fall apart if you dissect them too soon. When I'm writing a draft, I don't read anything similar to what I'm writing.  So if I'm writing a comedy, I only read dreary, depressing novels.  And when I'm on submission, I find that it's best to start work on something else.  Anything else.  Otherwise, the waiting can drive you mad." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"No - I'm not superstitious." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"Surprisingly, no. I'm the kind of girl who won't walk under ladders or step on cracks, so if i DID have any superstitions about writing, I'd probably never write more than a page, much less submit anything!" - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

"No superstitions. But neuroses abound. :)" - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Secret Year Giveaway

The paperback edition of The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard just hit shelves in late December and now, courtesy of Jennifer, one of my readers will win a beautiful paperback of her book along with a little something extra.
What is the bonus prize you ask? It's a miniature version of Julia's notebook, the purple and black striped one from the book! It was handmade by a local artist where Jennifer lives and she'll be sending it to the winner along with their paperback of The Secret Year. (There's a picture of it above the giveaway form. Scroll down!)
Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.
Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia's boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can't mourn Julia openly, and he's tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia's journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he's desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?

Julia's notebook.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Author Insight: Superstitions of a Scribe

Do you have any superstitions that correspond to different phases of the writing or submissions process?

"Not really superstitions, but routines.  When I'm brainstorming, it's often in my office recliner or on our screened porch (weather permitting).  When I'm writing first draft pages, I'm always at my computer with a big mug of mandarin orange green tea with honey.  When I'm editing, it's either in my recliner or on our screened porch with lots of red pens handy and a notebook for jotting down ideas.  When I'm proofing, I actually read it aloud and touch every word with my finger because I'm famous for forgetting words like "the" or "when" that make readers go "Huh?"" - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.

"None at all. Writing and submitting isn't a matter of luck; it's a business." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"Not really. I’m not a very superstitious person. When I write, I have clothes I like to wear, foods I like to eat, and routines that help focus my attention and spark my creativity, but I wouldn’t consider any of these things superstitions that magically make words flow that wouldn’t if I didn’t adhere to them." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"After thinking about it, I don’t really have any superstitions. That’s sort of boring isn’t it? I feel like I should make some up." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Last Sacrifice Giveaway

I have a shiny hardcover of The Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead to giveaway to one lucky reader. Throw your name in the hat below!

She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir’s Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir Princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardian to come.

Now the law has finally caught up with Rose- for a crime she didn’t even commit. She’s in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She’ll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir.
But the clock on Rose’s life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back… and this time she is truly out of second chances. The big question is, when your life is about saving others, who will save you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Author Insight: People Preference (Real or Imaginary?)

 Have you ever blown off a social event with real people to stay home with ones you made up?

"I have, absolutely. My friends and family are understanding, but my past employers not so much." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

 "I'm not ashamed to say that I have.  I love my characters.  I spend so much time with them, conversing with them in my head, that they do become real to me.  Writers often talk about that moment in a manuscript when the characters come alive and surprise them.  And, you know, it does happen.  If you've created well-rounded, complex characters, eventually they're going to act in a manner contrary to your wishes, and that's a GOOD thing." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter. 

"More than once." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"Absolutely. Sometimes I prefer my made up characters to real people! I cancelled a Stars concert with a friend while I was working on my first book, Audrey, Wait! The characters were just talking so much and I couldn't stop writing them down. I've learned that when that happens, you need to ride the wave, so to speak, even if it means missing the Stars concert. (It also helps that I have lovely & understanding friends.)" - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

"Hah! No. I’ve forgotten about events because they weren’t in my planner, and I’ve wanted to blow off social events. But I’ve never purposely made excuses to avoid an event just so I could stay home to write or read. (That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it!)" - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mockingjay & Hunger Games swag giveaway

I had this extra copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins sitting on the shelf, and Fountain Bookstore gave me two of these nifty Hunger Games bag clips, so I thought I'd give them away. One reader will win the book and a bag clip. The runner-up will receive a bag clip.

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

Author Insight: People Preference (Real or Imaginary?)

Have you ever blown off a social event with real people to stay home with ones you made up?

"I'm not even going to lie.  YES.  But in my defense, I was on deadline." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.

"Yup! But only if I didn't really want to go to the social event in the first place, or if I was working for a deadline." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"I’m not sure 'blown off' is the right phrase, but since I signed my book deal, I have felt a greater sense of obligation to my writing than I did when it was merely an avocation. I have at times chosen to stay home and work rather than attend social events. Never, however, was it really a matter of preference but of necessity. I have found that deadlines with paychecks are powerful motivators." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"Of course." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

Monday, January 17, 2011

BEA on a Budget

Book Expo America is coming up, so I thought I'd share what I learned last year with my readers since I know so many people who are planning to go. It's only four months away and there is lots of planning yet to be done. These are just some tips to help you attend BEA without breaking the bank...

Book early. - It sounds simple and silly, but it matters. BEA is held in New York City, and it's inherently expensive to stay there. Hotels also tend to fill up fast because the expo takes play in May  when lots of other things are going. Booking early guarantees you a room and can save you as much as a few hundred dollars.

Roommates are awesome. - Sharing a room with friends cuts costs significantly. If you don't know people in real life who are going then check with fellow bloggers. Ask around on Twitter or post on your blog. Other people are probably looking for roommates too.

Coordinate flights. - Just like hotels, booking early is important; however, you still have to get from the airport to the hotel. Talk to friends or roommates in advance and coordinate flights so that you arrive at the same time as someone else. You can share a cab and cut costs.

Don't fear the diner. - Diners are a blessing in disguise. It's all fine and well to want to eat at a fancy restaurant while you're in NYC, but you can't sustain that three meals a day for nearly a week. Consider your options. Diners, pizzerias, and other holes in the wall can have amzing food for great prices. They may not have the nicest facade, their neon sign might be broken, and even the interior may not be anything super special, but if they aren't putting money into the look of the place then it must be in the food right? Looking for local diners will also stave of the instinct to cling to the familiar albeit mediocre and go to Applebees on Times Square. You're in the Big Apple people!

Don't eat at the Javits Center. - Remember all the times you’ve eaten at a sporting event, the ice capades or anything other event of the like. For the price of one meal at a convention center (anywhere and especially in NYC) you could eat 2-3 meals out in the city. Your wallet appreciates you eating elsewhere.

Carry a water bottle. - Running a convention center that is a NYC block wide will leave you parched. If you carry a water bottle you'll save yourself from paying $3 a bottle for water.

You can't put your car just anywhere in NYC. - Driving to NYC can save money, but what you save in transit can easily be eaten up in parking costs. (I drive and love it because I have control over my own travel.) There are a couple of parking options though...
  • New Jersey - If you can find a way to stow your car in Jersey then you can take the bus over courtesy of NJ Transit. Check out the site to see what cities you can get a lift from.
  • Central Parking - Counsult their website to look at long-term parking options near where you're staying. It will tell you which garages have week-long rates and which one will be cheapest. You can also print coupons.
  • Hotel Partnerships - Many hotels in the city partner with parking decks nearby then offer a rate cheaper than what the deck/lot would normally offer. Call around if you've got a few hotel options and see what they offer in terms of parking.
Think about transit. - In NYC there is no shortage of transit options. The two you'll likely use the most are taxis and the subway. Cabs usually aren't prohibitively expensive, but some trips are more expensive than others and fares can rack up fast. The beauty of the subway is that you can buy a week pass for $28. You just swipe and go.

The contingency fund. - Have one. Save a little spending money, but put away more than you expect to actually spend. Unforseen expenses can come up at any time and you don't want to be caught without the cash.

Last year I probably spent about $600-$700 at BEA between the hotel, travel and food. This year, thanks to a lot of planning, I think I'll wind up spending $300-$400. I think that's pretty good, don't you?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Uncovered: Trial by Fire by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Have you seen the cover for Trial by Fire (Raised by Wolves #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes? I like how it mirrors the first book, but I'm not entirely sold on the red.

What do you think? Leave it in the comments!

Coming from Egmont USA on June 14, 2011!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More Author Insight: Advice for Writers

 What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a young writer?

"To be honest, I've always been one to disregard writing advice. There are so many great writers out there, and they all have a different process that works for them. What reaps results for a bestselling author can be the downfall of another. It's important that every writer finds the process that works for him or her." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 


"Be honest.  Be honest with yourself, with your work, and with your readers." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter. 

"Write what you love." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"It is vastly unrepeatable, so I'll do my best to edit it: 'Get the frick on the frick.' It's a constant reminder to myself to just sit down and write. Don't second guess yourself, don't worry about what your character will or won't do, don't stand around and think about writing, just put your hands on the keyboard and write. I have a tendency to worry and procrastinate, so sometimes I need a jump start." - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June

"'Write like there’s no one watching,' Martha O’Connor, author of The Bitch Posse. In other words, don’t self-censor. Stay true to the story, and get it all down." - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Author Insight: Advice for Writers

What is the best piece of advice you ever received as a young writer?

"WRITE.  It's still the best advice, imo.  You can read all you want, and study the craft all you want, but if you don't get your bum in the chair to get words on the page, you'll never truly grow as a writer.  It takes time to find your voice and hone your craft.  The only way to do it is through writing." - Kay Cassidy, author of The Cinderella Society.

"The most important thing isn't to hole yourself up in your office and write--the most important thing is to live your life and gather stories through your experience." - Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe.

"Slow down in all phases of the writing process." - Ty Roth, author of So Shelly.

"I didn’t start writing until a few years ago, so I was never a ‘young’ writer. The best advice I’ve gotten so far was not to give up until someone said yes." - Cynthia Omololu, author of Dirty Little Secrets.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Loser/Queen & Once in a Full Moon Winners

The contests for Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber and Loser/Queen by Jodi Lynn Anderson both ended over the weekend, so, in an attempt at efficiency, I decided to announce the winners together. Who are they you ask? Well, keep scrolling...

The winner of the Once in a Full Moon ARC is...

The winner of Loser/Queen and a cute plushie is... 

Congratulations to the winners! You books will get in the mail soon. (Payday's Friday!) Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a copy of Loser/Queen and the little plushie from the front cover. Also, thanks to everyone who entered. Be on the lookout for more giveaways soon!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Entice Winner

And the winner of a shiny new hardcover of Entice by Carrie Jones is...


Congratulations! I've sent your information along and Bloomsbury will be sending you the book directly. Thanks again to Bloomsbury for providing the prize and to everyone who entered.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

More Author Insight: Sold or Sell Out?

 How much of a manuscript are you willing to change at the request of an agent or editor? Would you change it if it meant a certain distributor or book club wouldn't offer your book otherwise?

"Wow, great question! I've been working with my agent for years, and I feel very fortunate that we're so simpatico about my writing that this has never happened. When my agent told me we had an offer for Wither, before accepting I asked to speak with my potential editor and get a sense of her vision for this story. It was clear from the start that we'd be a perfect match. All of the revisions have enhanced the story without changing Rhine's voice or the world I'd set up; none of the changes were made at my reluctance. It's been my experience so far that when an agent chooses to represent a story, and a publisher chooses to buy a story, it's because they love it for what it is and only want to make it better rather than change it." - Lauren Destefano, author of Wither. 

"It would really depend on the changes.  I changed quite a big chunk of The Deathday Letter for my editors at Simon Pulse but only because I believed they made the book better.  I'm always open to change but it's got to be in the best interest of the book.  If my editors had asked me to add vampires to Deathday because a big bookstore wanted it, I would have said no." - Shaun David Hutchinson, author of The Deathday Letter.

"I don't think there's a limit to what I would change - it's more a matter of what the changes meant to the story - I wouldn't be keen to make changes that took away things that went against who the characters are. The same goes for the second part of the question.." - Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade

"It would probably depend on who was asking me to make the change. If it was my agent or editor, I'd take a second look at what they were suggesting since I trust both of their judgments. If it was some whackadoodle person, I wouldn't do it. As far as distribution or book clubs go, I'd be curious to see what they wanted to change. If they wanted an f-word taken out on page 34, then I'd probably change it. If they wanted to change a huge section of the story or modify a character to make him or her more palatable, then absolutely not. I have my limits." - Robin Benway, author of The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, and June
"If it makes the story stronger, I’m willing to change a lot. But I need to see how it would make it stronger. I’d be very willing to discuss with my editor or agent and go over the feedback carefully, and then see what works. As for distributors and book clubs, I believe editors would keep those factors in mind when they gave their feedback to me in the first place." - Jackie Kessler, author of Rage