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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Author Insight: Changing Lives

Would you rather write a book that changes your life or the lives of your readers?

"Well, writing is incredibly cathartic in some ways. While much of Future Imperfect is autobiographical, it's still fantasy. I'd much rather write something that affects other people's lives. At the very least, I want to open their eyes to a new idea or a different way of looking at the world." - K. Ryer Breese, author of Future Imperfect

"I don’t write to change lives, I write books to enhance lives, to make them that little bit more enjoyable, to trigger a smile, a laugh, or a tear, and that includes me, writing enhances my life and makes me happy." - Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark. 

"One that changes my life. I can’t control what other people take away from my book." - Elana Johnson, author of Possession. 

"The lives of my readers. It means more than anything to get letters from them and hear how my books helped them or changed their perspective." - Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Author Insight Hiatus

Hey guys and gals. Sorry I didn't post this sooner, but I'm at Book Expo America this week and decided to hold off on Author Insight until I get home. It's been a world wind week of literary madness, so regularly scheduled programming will resume next week. See you then! (If I make it off the BEA floor alive....Eek!)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs

Release Date: May 10, 2011
Publisher: Walker Children's
Age Group: Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Pages: 352
Buy: Fountain Bookstore / Amazon
Description: Amazon
Tempest Maguire wants nothing more than to surf the killer waves near her California home; continue her steady relationship with her boyfriend, Mark; and take care of her brothers and surfer dad. But Tempest is half mermaid, and as her seventeenth birthday approaches, she will have to decide whether to remain on land or give herself to the ocean like her mother. The pull of the water becomes as insistent as her attraction to Kai, a gorgeous surfer whose uncanny abilities hint at an otherworldly identity as well. And when Tempest does finally give in to the water's temptation and enters a fantastical underwater world, she finds that a larger destiny awaits her-and that the entire ocean's future hangs in the balance

I've been wondering for a while when mermaids would start to gain some clout in the world of paranormal YA, and the time has finally come! Honestly, what little girl hasn't wished she was a mermaid? I know I have, so when I heard about Tempest Rising reading it became a must.

Admittedly, I had concerns that it would be a mermaid book about a mermaid's inability to resist the call of the sea. Tracy Deebs takes the story in a completely different direction where Tempest's choice ultimately remains important, but it's relationships that drive her. Despite all the changes she is undergoing, her primary concern is her father and brothers. I was blown away by that because so often teen characters let their own wants drive them and only think of the consequences as applied to them, no one else matters. That is simply not the case in this book.

The only stumbling block I ran across while reading Tempest Rising was a somewhat convoluted timeline making it hard to seam up the two sides of the story - land and sea. Underwater scenes, while striking in their rich description, seemed to lack an element of time. Perhaps this was purposeful because mermaids are unconcerned with human conventions, time possibly being one of them, but I feel like a firmer timeline would have brought clarity to the story.

A unique voice and the direct storytelling, this book keeps a quick pace that is often absent from fantasy or even paranormal novels. I was was hooked on the start. The letter from Tempest's mother intrigued me, begging me to read more, and a brief flashback to childhood and a chilling encounter with a sea witch pulled me even deeper into the story.

Action was an unexpected treat that this book brought to the table. It has the girl, the makings of a love triangle, and a family with one paranormally estranged parent, so at a glance you'd think that its par for the course with paranormal. (Vampires and werewolves aside, of course.) Sea witches, fight scenes, and bloodshed bridge the action of a fantasy with the mood of a great paranormal, setting it apart from others.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Onyx Talisman Cover Reveal

I'm thrilled to be one of several blogs unveiling the cover of Brenda Pandos latest book, The Onyx Talisman, coming November 16 from Obsidian Mountain Publishing.  It's possibly my favorite cover in this series.

If you haven't read the first two books in this series, The Emerald Talisman and The Sapphire Talisman, definitely pick them up! You can snag the Kindle version of the first book for 99 cents here for a limited time.

But I digress. You want to see the cover don't you? Well, all right... II'll even share a little bit of info about the book.   


All was perfect in Julia’s life until Nicholas had his vampire blood-lust activated by his mother Alora, her immortal enemy, turning him evil and bent on revenge. Heartbroken and out of choices, Phil and Julia ran away in the middle of the night, with Scarlett on foot, to Orange County to warn and plead Nicholas’ Godfather for help. Once arriving at Harry’s though, the local coven accosted them and they narrowly escaped.

After they returned home, there was a huge showdown between Phil, Nicholas, Scarlett, Alora, Katie and Julia. Alora almost got what she wanted—Julia’s vampire warding talisman—but Preston, Nicholas’ father, and Harry came to the rescue. They escorted Nicholas and Alora back to Beverly Hills, pledging to return Nicholas free from his blood-lust. But all Julia’s received in the past four months is a letter stating Nicholas missed her along with some song lyrics and promise of a quick return. That was a month ago.

Now Julia awaits Nicholas’ return with the Fab Five Coven: Phil and Katie—the sober vampires, Scarlett—the half-vamp/shape-shifter, and Tyler and Julia—the inducted humans. She’s stuck in Scotts Valley with Phil as her self-appointed chaperon and no way to return to Los Angeles to check on Nicholas. Only Scarlett and Julia know her fate ultimately involves the demise of all vampires, possibly including the ones she loves. When the time comes, will she even have a choice?

Want to know more? Check out Brenda’s blog at: http://brendapandos.blogspot.com/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More Author Insight: The 30-second sell

What is the first book you remember reading? Why was it memorable?

"The Goddess Test is a sort of sequel to the myth of Hades and Persephone. A murder mystery, romance, and fantasy all in one, it's what happens when Hades needs to find a replacement for Persephone, but someone keeps killing the candidates." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test

"The Strangely Beautiful series: Gothic novels about Victorian Ghostbusters powered by Greek Gods. The Magic Most Foul series: Gothic novels about curses, black magic, and young love in danger set in Victorian New York." - Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Darker Still and  The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess.

"True confession: I FAIL at elevator pitches! I'm sure it would be even worse with a stranger on the street. But I'd take a deep breath and tell this person that The Revenant is the story of a girl who lies and steals in order to teach in Indian Territory, thinking it an easy path to independence, but ends up out of her depth at a sophisticated boarding school that just happens to be haunted." - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant

"I wouldn’t.  I’m sorry to answer this way.  I just wouldn’t. I can’t imagine it.  The idea of 'selling' my book to a total stranger makes me vomit.  I might share a conversation with a stranger about someone else’s book, however.  Something I think is incredibly fun, like Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies. Or talk about whatever they’re reading." - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tweet News (17)

What did you miss on Twitter this week?

Author Melissa Marr gave you a sneak peek at her Graveminder swag...TWEET.

Publisher's Weekly tells all about bookstore/blogger partnerships...TWEET.

Author Julie Kagawa shared a Summer's Crossing teaser... TWEET.

Harlequin Teen told you where you can submit your questions for Gena Showalter... TWEET. (Submit by 5/22.)

Harper Teen showed you where to enter for a chance to win Variant by Robison Wells... TWEET. (Ends 5/18.)

Penguin Teen showed off the cover for Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer... TWEET.

Author Julie Kagawa finally reveals what she's been working on... TWEET.

Penguin Teen showed you where you can learn more about the 13 Reasons Why Project and Jay Asher's new book... TWEET.

Simon Teen told you when and where you can see the cover for Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Prince at BEA and what to do if you won't be there ... TWEET.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Author Insight: The 30-second sell

If you had 30 seconds to sell your book to a stranger passing on the street, what would you tell them?

"Luckily I have that experience all the time. I usually start off by describing it as a novel about "a teen oracle who can see the future when he gives himself concussions" and that already grabs them. Or puts them off." - K. Ryer Breese, author of Future Imperfect

"If you like hot guys, beautiful settings, mystery and intrigue, all wrapped up in a sizzling romantic package, well then this book demands you read it. And while you’re pondering that, look at the pretty cover." - Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark. 

"Possession is about a girl who lives in a brainwashing society who decides she doesn’t want to follow the rules anymore. She breaks the law, chaos ensues." - Elana Johnson, author of Possession. 

"That I wrote Ballads of Suburbia because it was the book I needed to read as a teenager. I was inspired by songs by the likes of Johnny Cash and Social Distortion where the singer tells the story of their life, the mistakes they made and pulls no punches and that's what I let my teenage characters do, tell about the struggles with love, family, addiction, and depression--the secrets that people don't want to tell--like they were writing a ballad about their lives." - Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More Author Insight: Memorable Reads

What is the first book you remember reading? Why was it memorable?

"A version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I was about three years old, and I remember reading it because my father promised me a toy if I finished it. That's how my parents got me to read at first - through bribery. It worked." - Aimee Carter, author of The Goddess Test

"What I remember as early and most formative was a paperback book of ghost stories. I still have that tattered book to this day, and now I have a career in telling ghost stories." - Leanna Renee Hieber, author of Darker Still and  The Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess.

"One of the earliest books I remember reading on my own was The Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. I enjoyed stories about families who lived in cozy litttle homes, and I was quite enchanted by Garth Williams' illustrations, particularly the one in which the fur child finds a tiny fur person. In fact, quite a few of the books I loved as a child were illustrated by Garth Williams -- when I think about my love for Russell Hoban's Frances the Badger and all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder's books, it feels like I grew up surrounded by Williams' sketches! " - Sonia Gensler, author of The Revenant

"I grew up in a home without books, except for two reference works. The Bible and TV Guide.  I used to get confused and thought for quite some time that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were the first names of My Three Sons. Charlotte’s Web is the first non-reference book I recall and that was read to me.  By a teacher, of course.  I still love her for that." - Randy Russell, author of Dead Rules. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Author Insight: Memorable Reads

What is the first book you remember reading? Why was it memorable?

"Great question. Hard one. I think the very first book that really struck me as a reader was Lord of the Flies. I read it when I was ten and it's haunted me every since. Not only does it combine my fascination with the sea and deserted isles but even as a kid I got the blunt message of the book. Hits like a hammer and makes a mental wound that never heals." - K. Ryer Breese, author of Future Imperfect

The Worst Witch. I loved that book, I still do. My children love it too. There’s something timeless about it. Mildred Hubble is so relatable, laces undone, hair always askew, getting in trouble; there’s a little bit of Mildred in all of us." - Leigh Fallon, author of The Carrier of the Mark.

"The Babysitters Club. I was so going to organize my own babysitting business. Turns out I don’t really like taking care of other people’s kids. Ha!" - Elana Johnson, author of Possession. 

Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The Little House books were my favorite as a young girl because I related to Laura even though she lived 100 years before me. Her story took me to a different world and showed me what life was like in our country when there was still so much to explore." - Stephanie Kuehnert, author of Ballads of Suburbia. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Angel Star & Lemniscate Winner

There were a ton of entries in this contest! I was so happy to see so much interest in these books. I'm only sorry that I don't have more copies to give away. But only one person can win signed copies of Jennifer Murgia's books...


Congratulations! I will mail your winnings out as soon as possible. Thanks to everyone ho entered, and stay tuned for more giveaways. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

BEA: The Low-Down

Book Expo America is only 21 days away!

You've planned. You've booked the hotel, mapped out subway routes to the Javits Center, and talked to more people then you can count about what to expect. But more tips can't hurt right?

The Metro - Use it. A 7-day pass is only $28 and it's worth every penny. It gains you access to all the subway lines and the buses. It's the most efficient way to travel around the city. And if you aren't sure what line your stop is on or whether you need to go uptown or downtown, don't be afraid to ask. Ask a booth worker or one of the many cops you can find in the stations.

Pack comfortable shoes - This will differ for everyone, but pack the best all-day walking shoes you've got. If they don't match your outfit, who cares! You will be walking a convention center that is a NYC block wide non-stop for three full days. By 5p.m. on Day 3 your feet will be bigger than an overdue pregnant ladies if you don't heed this advice.

Checking In - Take the time to get to the Javits Center early on the first day of exhibits or even the afternoon before. Getting your BEA badge early will save you time. That means you can hit the floor faster.

Business Cards - If you're attending BEA, presumably you are there to make or solidify contacts with people in the industry and to learn a little bit about the inner workings of the publishing industry. Business cards with basic info on them are perfect for quickly handing off info to someone while waiting in a signing line or chatting with someone at a booth. Some of the publishers last year had "fishbowl" giveaways and cards were handy for that as well.

Networking - Don't be afraid to talk to people. Yes, BEA is fast paced but you can get off a few sentences and a business card exchange without taking up too much time. Don't just go up to a booth and ask for a book. Introduce yourself, mention you're a blogger (if you are) and drop a card with them. The same goes for autographing lines. Speak to the author and give them a card. It can't hurt.

Food & Drink - When it comes to eating, the Javits is an expensive place. A bottle of water you'd normally pay $1.69 for is $3.50 there and food is no better. Carry a water bottle you can refill with you on the floor. It will save you tons of cash. Also pack a few snacks in your bag. They may save you life when you forget to eat lunch amidst the BEA chaos.

Schedules & Time Management - Build off of the schedule BEA has made available and set priorities. Use an excel spreadsheet, color coding, or whatever you need to, but map out the signings and panels you want to attend and rank them. If you have three things to do in one hour, designate one that you can skip if you are short on time. It will help you make quick decisions on the spot.

Easy carrying - Not carrying your books at all is the easiest way to take the strain off your back. There is a baggage area where you can check a rolling suitcase, and stop by occasionally throughout the day to drop of your books. If security is your concern, someone stays at the baggage area at all times. I've heard there were instances of books going missing from that area two years ago, but I don't know if someone watched over the bags then. I didn't hear any horror stories from last year. While you'll get plenty of tote bags at BEA, the best advice I can give you is to bring a bookbag or messenger bag to hold your personal belongings, books and all the totes you accumulate. It'll take the stress off individual arms.

Shipping - There is a shipping area at BEA run by FedEx (I believe), but depending on how much you are shipping it can get pricey. Your other option is to hang on to your books and walk the few blocks from the Javits Center to the post office so you can ship your BEA bounty via priority or media mail and save yourself some cash.

Armchair BEA - For those of you who can't attend BEA this year, you can live vicariously through those who are going. Sign up as a participant for Armchair BEA and get updates on all things BEA.
I think that's it for now...

 I'm not affiliated with BEA in anyway. I did attend last year and am happy to answer questions if anyone has any. Just leave it in the comments. Otherwise, I'll see you all at BEA!