Monday, December 16, 2013

DONE!!!!!!! (And MMGM Links for 12/16/13)

Okay, it's 2am and I have just drafted for 17 hours--straight. So I might be a little loopy (and a lot weepy) but it's all okay because I finally typed the two words I thought I was never going to type again:



Yes--K33P3R is DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Well, except for all the revision it needs--that draft is a hot mess.)
(BUT WE ARE NOT THINKING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW!!!!!)


Anyway, needless to say, my brain is SHOT right now. I'm not even sure if I'm typing real words right now. So it's highly possible these links are a mess. But... here's the MMGM fun:
- Jennifer at 5 Minutes for books shares sports themed books that aren't just for sporty kids. Click HERE to see what they are. 
- Rosi Hollinbeck is shining a light on GLORY BE and YANKEE GIRL--with a GIVEAWAY. Click HERE for details
- Birdie Reader is spotlighting for THE BULLY BOOK. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Dorine White is in stitches over SEW ZOEY. Click HERE to read her review. 
- Mark Baker is cheering for CLASH OF THE CLASS CLOWNS. Click HERE to see why.  
- Kim Aippersbach has two features for you, on THE DARK IS RISING and CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN. Click HERE to read her reviews.
- Michael Gettel-Gilmarten is singing praises for A SONG FOR BIJOU. Click HERE to see why. 
 - Media Sharif is spreading some love for ODD, WEIRD, & LITTLE. Click HERE to see what she thought. 
- Shari Larsen is highlighting HOW TO SURVIVE ANCIENT SPELLS AND CRAZY KINGS. Click HERE to read her feature. 
- Natalie Aguirre has a guest post from author Anna Stanizewski on marketing a series--with a GIVEAWAY!!!  Click HERE for details.
- Jennifer Rumberger always has an awesome MMGM feature on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week.   
- Pam Torres always has an MMGM up on her blog. Click HERE to see what she's spotlighting this week.
- Deb Marshall is a MMGM regular. Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week. 
- Joanne Fritz always has an MMGM for you. Click HERE to see what she's talking about this week. 
- The Mundie Moms are always part of the MMGM fun (YAY!). Click HERE to see their newest recommendations. And if you aren't also following their Mundie Kids site, get thee over THERE and check out all the awesome!    
- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week.
- Karen Yingling also always has some awesome MMGM recommendations for you. Click HERE to which ones she picked this time!   

If you would like to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count--but are most definitely not required) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog at SWMessenger (at) hotmail (dot) com. (Make sure you put MMGM or Marvelous Middle Grade Monday in the subject line so it gets sorted accurately) You MUST email me your link by Sunday evening in order to be included in the list of links. (usually before 11pm PST is safe--but if I'm traveling it can vary. When in doubt, send early!)

If you miss the cutoff, you are welcome to add your link in the comments on this post so people can find you, but I will not have time to update the post. Same goes for typos/errors on my part. I do my best to build the links correctly, but sometimes deadline-brain gets the best of me, and I'm sorry if it does. For those wondering why I don't use a Linky-widget instead, it's a simple matter of internet safety. The only way I can ensure that all the links lead to safe, appropriate places for someone of any age is if I build them myself. It's not a perfect system, but it allows me to keep better control.

Thank you so much for being a part of this awesome meme, and spreading the middle grade love!


*Please note: these posts are not a reflection of my own opinions on the books featured. Each blogger is responsible for their own MMGM content and I do not pre-screen reviews ahead of time, nor do I control what books they choose. I simply assemble the list based on the links that are emailed to me.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's here! It's here! And now it's PINK!!!!!!!

With all the drafting, and deadlines, and brains oozing out of my ears because of all the drafting, and deadlines, I totally forgot that the LET THE SKY FALL paperback comes out today!!!!

(How sad is that? I FORGOT MY OWN RELEASE DAY!!!!)

(ahem)

Anyway--yes, it's true! Vane and Audra are back in the world in a more affordable, more pink and purple-y package. Doesn't it look pretty???????????


*sings*

Pret-tay in piiiiiiiiiiink.
Isn't sheeeeeeee, pret-tay in pink?
Isn't she?

(If you don't know the reference, please, educate yourselves HERE)

And to celebrate--for today only--you can read THE ENTIRE BOOK for free on pulseit.com
Yes, you're reading that right!
They also have cool giveaways and things.
But hurry because it's only for today!
(not the paperback, though. The paperback is out FROM NOW ON) 
To take advantage of all the fun, go HERE.

And if you see a copy of LET THE SKY FALL out in the wild, give it a hug for me. And make sure it knows that just because I've been a bit distracted by K33P3R, it doesn't mean I love it any less. Poor baby probably feels like Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles: You forgot my paperback book day??????*

*Two John Hughes references in one post = WIN**

**sure signs that Drafting Madness has fully set in

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Black Swagday Giveaway!!!

Sorry I've been so MIA, guys. I swear, I will finish this book SOON, and then hopefully things will get a bit less hectic around here. But in the meantime, I have a super awesome giveaway for you!!!!

I know this is the time of year where everyone has gifts on their minds. And this coming weekend seems to especially be a time when people BUY ALL THE THINGS, between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (WOO WOO!), and Cyber Monday.

Personally, I feel like signed books make the best presents--and I'm guessing some of you might feel the same. So I've put together a giveaway to help make your gift that much more special--*if* you decide to buy one of my books.

Here's how this works. If you buy KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, LET THE SKY FALL, or EXILE (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2) between Wednesday, Nov 27th and Monday, December 2nd, fill out the form below and I will send you the exclusive corresponding bookplate/swag pack you see here:

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES:
(1 signed art print postcard, 1 signed bookplate, 4 Team stickers)


LET THE SKY FALL:
(2 signed bookmarks, 1 signed bookplate, 1 minicard)


EXILE (Keeper of the Lost Cities #2)
(1 signed art print postcard, 1 signed bookplate, 1 sticker, 3 minicards)


You can keep the swag for yourself, or add it to the gift to make it extra awesome--it's up to you. And all of this swag is exclusive--only available here, and hand signed by me.

There's no limit on how many I'll give away. Everyone who fills out the form during the proper time period WILL get the prize. And I'm not requiring proof of purchase. If you say you bought it, I believe you. But remember, every time you lie, an alicorn loses its wings, and will then hunt you down and poop in your bed. Meanwhile, honesty makes it rain chocolate and gummi bears.

It also doesn't matter where you buy the book (though supporting your Local Indie Bookstore guarantees you a life of sunshine and happiness) or if you buy the paperback or the hardcover (ebooks and audiobooks count too!). And you're welcome to buy as many books as you want! (Just make sure you fill out the form separately for each book, so I know to send you more prizes).

Giveaway is also open internationally!!!

I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments. )

**Update: I forgot Small Business Saturday is also part of the awesome #IndiesFirst campaign. So IF you buy my books from a local indie on Saturday (November 30th), make sure you select "My favorite Indie" as where you bought it and I will add extra surprise swaggish goodies to your pack that only Indie Shoppers will get!!!**


**Form has been removed, since the giveaway is now over. Thank you to everyone who took part*

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To my awesome, fabulous, amazing, wonderful, incredible readers!

Hey Guys,

I know--it's been forever since I've done a proper blog post. And I'm not sure if this really counts, since it's more of a rambling request than anything. But hey, it'll have an adorable kitten picture at the end, and really, what more do you need???

Anyway, I wanted to write this post today because I feel like I should warn you about how hectic things are around here right now. I've been traveling pretty much non-stop for the last month, and when you pair that with all the craziness that came with launching EXILE, it basically added up to: SHANNON IS NOW SUPER-BEHIND ON EVERYTHING.

Writing.
Email.
Facebook messages.
Writing.
Tumblr questions.
Blog Comments.
Instagram comments.
Writing.
You name it--I'm behind on it

(also: wowza--no wonder the internet is such a time suck!)

I promise, I'm not telling you this because I want you to stop trying to reach me. I absolutely LOVE hearing from you guys--it seriously makes my day, and I read each and every one of the messages you send me. So please please please don't feel like you shouldn't email/message me.

BUT, if you do, please also keep in mind that there will be a delay before I reply. Probably a long one. I promise, I *WILL* respond as soon as I can. But I have this little book called KEEPER #3 that I really really really need to finish writing (well, okay, it's not really called that--but since we don't have a title, that's what I'm calling it for now). And that's going to pretty much take up all my time for the next few weeks. Maybe longer (though hopefully not *too* much longer)

So if you're waiting to hear from me, please keep waiting. And *please* don't send additional messages just to ask if I got your first message because you haven't gotten a reply. I promise, I am getting them, and sending more just to make sure I got yours will only make it take even longer when I finally get to work on replying.

Also, just as a refresher, here's a few things to keep in mind if you're reaching out to me:
  • I can't read anything you've written. I'm sure it's awesome, but I just don't have time. Plus there are all kinds of complicated legal reasons. So please don't ask--and *please* don't attach anything to your email. If you do, I'll have to delete it.  (note: this does not apply to fan art.)
  • I'm currently not accepting any interview requests, nor can I help you with your homework. I really really wish I had time to do that, but right now, I just don't. If that changes I'll let you know. 
  • I can't tell you anything about what's going to happen in KEEPER #3--not even if you guess. I love that you guys have theories, and feel free to keep sharing them with me. But please don't get frustrated when all I can tell you is: you'll find out when you read.
ALSO, also: please know that I am so grateful to each and every one of you. I may be a bit biased, but I personally feel like I have the most awesome fans EVER--and I can't thank you enough for all you do to support my books. Sometimes I'm not able to interact with you as quickly as I'd like. But I promise that's only because I'm working hard to make KEEPER #3 as epic as I possibly can.

I know some of you were also super bummed that you didn't win the sharpie-ed up books in my last contest--and I promise I will do another giveaway soon. But again, I have to get KEEPER #3 done first. Trust me, I'm just as eager to be done as you--and I'm working as fast as I can!

And now, I disappear into the deadline cave to get some serious writing done--but not without giving you an adorable kitten picture, of course (a promise is a promise, after all). Get ready for the cuteness! This is Melody, doing her Otter-impersonation:


Say it with me: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Okay, NOW I'm getting to work!

*waves*

*opens draft*

*dives in*

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

EXILE Launch Day Celebration!!!!!!!!!!!

It's here! It's here! After a year of ever-so-patiently (and fine, sometimes quite impatiently waiting, on my part, anyway) EXILE finally launches into the world today. I can't believe it's finally here!!!!

It's one of the hardest books I've ever written--and one I'm especially proud of. So I hope you all love it as much as I do. I AM SO EXCITED TO HAVE YOU READ.

Which is why I've also put together a very special giveaway, to thank you all for the love, support, and enthusiasm you've shown for the KEEPER series this last year. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter have probably seen me post pictures of the prizes, but in case you missed it, here's what's up for grabs:


What you're looking at are hardcovers of both KEEPER and EXILE, drawn on in silver sharpie by me.   Each one is done by hand, so they're all slightly different from each other--but the essence of the drawings is what you're seeing above. And I'm giving away three sets of them (meaning three people will win both a sharpied-up KEEPER and EXILE--along with their regular shiny dust jackets).

Since this is a rather time consuming prize (I'm not nearly as fast of an artist as I'd like to be) I'm going to make you guys put in a *little* more work than my usual, "leave a comment to enter" kind of contest, because I want to make sure the prize goes to someone who really wants it. But I've still done my best to also keep it as simple as possible. So here's the details.

To enter, you MUST complete these two simple steps.

STEP NUMBER ONE:

You must either:

  • Tweet/Facebook/Tumblr/Instagram/Pinterest/Blog/ATTACK THE INTERNETS with a picture of EXILE somewhere in the wild (could be your own personal copy in your hands, or a shiny copy on display in a store or library--doesn't matter to me. And if the store you go to is sold out, you can always request they bring in another copy. In fact, I would love you FOREVER for doing that!)
  • Tweet/Facebook/Tumblr/Instagram/Pinterest/Blog/ATTACK THE INTERNETS with some sort of KEEPER/EXILE fan art you've created. (Anything goes here--feel free to be as creative as you want)

You only have to do one--though you are welcome to do both (or to post your picture in more than one place.) I'll even reward you with an extra entry for every picture you post--you'll just need to tell me what you've done so I can count your entries accordingly. Which brings me to:

STEP NUMBER TWO: 
  • Fill out the form at the bottom of this post, along with links to anywhere you posted the pictures. Form must be filled out by 11:59 pm pacific on October 15th, 2013.


Step two is an absolutely essential step, because it's the only way I will see your entry. So don't forget to fill out the form. And yes, I'm requiring a link instead of going on the honor system this time, and for those wondering why, it's because I'm a nerd. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my book babies in the world or seeing the amazing things you guys create, so I want to make sure I see every single one. Rest assured, I will geek out about each and every one of them.

International entries ARE accepted. And I'm pretty sure that's everything, but if I missed something you are welcome to ask in the comments. I'll do my best to reply as soon as possible--though I'm on tour right now, so there may be a slight delay. 

And speaking of tour, if you live in the midwest, make sure you check my EVENTS page. I have all kinds of awesome events this month and I would love to meet some of you!!!! 

**Form has been removed, since this giveaway has ended. Thank you to all who entered!**

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

On Sequels

Any of you who witnessed the pathetic amount of whining I did last year know that writing sequels is ... rather hard. (okay, fine, if you follow me on Twitter you've seen me back to whining again)

I'm sure there are a few lucky authors who breeze right through them, but most of the authors I know STRUGGLE. Especially with book 2s. But honestly, I'm working on a book 3 right now and it's fighting me every step of the way. And I think I've finally figured out WHY.

I've already done some musing on this subject in a post I wrote last year, after I'd survived my first "book 2."  And at the time I wrote that post, I thought I knew what had made that process so difficult. But while all of those things definitely ARE a big part of the challenge, as I've continued to write sequels I've realized that I'd only begun to understand what made the process so excruciating. It wasn't until my husband made me watch a sequel to a movie that I'd been specifically resisting--without really knowing why--that I FINALLY figured it out.

Here's the thing:

For the most part, at the end of a book, the characters are in a "good" place. Things aren't perfect--and obviously there's more story to tell. But unless it's by one of those evil authors who ends on a ginormous cliffhanger with no sense of closure at all, the characters and the world have all ended at a point where readers can be mostly satisfied to let it rest--for a while, at least. 

And then ...  everything falls apart again in the sequel. 

THAT'S why I'd been resisting seeing that particular movie. I didn't *want* to watch everything get ruined again. Especially since I had very specific FEARS and HOPES and EXPECTATIONS based on what I already knew of the story. And honestly, I feel the same way when I read most sequels. There's always that moment of, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! when everything falls apart, and I have to fight the urge to skip to the last pages to see if things are going to work out okay.  And sure, you can have that feeling with a "book 1" as well, but I personally think it's especially painful when it's characters you're already attached to and have already gone on a journey with. 

And yet, the bad things *have* to happen in the next books, otherwise the story is going to be really boring--plus problems always get worse before they get better. So really, what you need to do as an author when you write a sequel is work extra hard to establish TRUST between you and your readers. You have to find a way to assure them that even though you're going to break their hearts in certain ways, it's still worth going along for the ride. And that is NOT an easy thing to do. 

I know this is the point where you're probably hoping I'll give you some sort of magical formula that will make it sequel writing easy. Sadly, I'm not sure that exists. But I can tell you what *I* finally decided to do, and it has helped me a little. 

I've read a LOT of sequels lately (writing is reading, after all) and I've noticed a pattern in the ones I thought were done best. They all had these moments in the plot where I started to think, "Noooooooo, PLEASE tell me the author isn't going to do THAT!!!"And then... the author DIDN'T do it. The love triangle I was fearing. The brutal death I'd been praying wouldn't happen. Whatever my WORST fears were did get hinted at enough to make me start to worry that the story was heading that way. And then, the author went a totally different way. An equally brutal way at most times--but somehow it felt less painful because it was a surprise.

I think that technique is effective for three reasons: 
1) Playing upon reader expectations is a surefire way to build killer tension 
2) When you go a completely different way, it keeps the reader guessing and keeps the plot fresh and unpredictable 
3) When you *don't* do what the reader is fearing, it helps them to TRUST you, and stick around when you put them through all the horrible evil things they never saw coming (have I mentioned writers are evil?) 
So THAT has become my goal when I build the plots for my sequels. I try and figure out what I think readers are going to fear most as I go into the story (which isn't that hard to do. Usually it's all the same things I fear) and then I try to shape the plot in a way that makes them wonder if I'm going to go that way. And right when it's starting to look like, "oh noes--SHE IS!" I go a different route instead.

It's NOT an easy thing to do and it hurts my brain a lot (like, a LOT, lot) but I get SUPER gleeful when I get messages from my beta readers saying things like, "If thing X happens I am NEVER SPEAKING TO YOU AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!" followed a bit later by, "Oh, good, we can still be friends--BUT WAIT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY HAVE TO DEAL WITH THING Y???????" so hopefully that means I pulled it off. I guess I won't know for sure until my sequels are out there in the wild (which in EXILE's case is only one week away now--holy cow, how did that happen???).

But I thought I'd throw this info out there anyway, in case it's helpful to any of you. If nothing else, maybe it'll explain why you see me whining about sequels so very very much, and why I disappear down the drafting rabbit hole and struggle so much as I fight my way back out. And why I eat so many cupcakes. That's the best writing advice of all. EAT MORE CUPCAKES.

*places an emergency cupcake order and goes back to drafting KEEPER 3*

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

LET THE SKY FALL is only $1.99

Since this post is totally shameless and self-promoting I'll make it quick.

LET THE SKY FALL is the Kindle "Teen Daily Deal," which means that for today only you can snatch it up for only $1.99. That's cheaper than a cupcake, guys. HOW COOL IS THAT???

Even better? If you nab the eBook for that price, you can also get the audiobook for an additional $1.99, and I'm telling you, the actors who performed the roles did SUCH an amazing job. They perfectly brought Vane and Audra to life.

If you'd like to take advantage of the deal, you can do so HERE.

And now, I disappear back to the drafting cave!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Two Week EXILE Teaser!!!

Wow--I can't believe we're only TWO WEEKS away from the release of EXILE. Seriously, WHERE HAS THE LAST YEAR GONE????

ahem. 

Shannon-panicking aside, I am SO SUPER EXCITED to finally have this book make its way into the wild. I know how many of you have been ever-so-patiently waiting for it, and I really hope it meets all your awesome expectations (*bites nails*). And to reward you for your excitement, I have a special prize to share with you today:

*herald trumpets sound*

The lovely people at S&S have posted the first two chapters of EXILE online!!!!!!!!

You get to meet Silveny in them--that amazingly beautiful alicorn pictured on the cover. And Dex is there too. And Grady. AND DID I MENTION THE SPARKLY WINGED ALICORN???

If you would like to read, you can do so by clicking HERE. Hope you enjoy!

TWO MORE WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tour Dates Announced--AND A PRE-ORDER GIVEAWAY!!!

In case you haven't checked my EVENTS PAGE, I've finally updated it with my fall tour dates!!!! Here's the main stops:


September 28th, 29th 
8:00am-4:00pm
Anderson's Young Adult Literature Conference
Hotel Arista 
2139 City Gate Lane
Naperville, IL 60563
For info on pricing, and all the event details, see the event listing HERE


October 1st 
Time still TBD 
124 E. Washington St.
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104


October 4th 
7:00 pm 
4701 East Douglas
Wichita, Kansas 67218 


October 9th 
7:00 pm 
165 Western Ave N #14
St. Paul, MN 55102
*with Margaret Peterson Haddix* 


October 10th 
6:30 pm 
8620 S Howell Ave, 
Oak Creek, WI 53154
*with Margaret Peterson Haddix*


October 19th 
Less Than Three Conference 
Spencer Road Branch Library
427 Spencer Rd.
St. Peters, MO 63376
For info on tickets/travel, visit the website HERE.


October 22nd 
7:00pm 
St. Louis Public Library (Central Branch)
1301 Olive St.
Saint Louis, Missouri 63103
*With Michael Buckley*


October 24th 
7:00 pm 
Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego
7051 Clairemont Mesa Blvd 
San Diego, CA 92111


Yeah.... I can't believe how many AWESOME PLACES I get to go (and how many AMAZING authors I get to do events with), either. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!

But I've noticed that whenever I post a list of events, the first responses are always from people in places I'm not going to see, wishing their city were on the list.

Sadly, I haven't mastered that teleporting thing, so I'm not able to get everywhere I'd like to go. But I've tried to come up with a solution that will hopefully help make it up to those of you I won't be visiting. And so, I give you: THE EXILE PRE-ORDER GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

The first 100 people who pre-order EXILE and fill out the form at the end of this post will get this:


1 limited edition EXILE "Alicorn X-ing" sticker 
1 *signed* EXILE Bookplate (which can be personalized with your name)

I'm not requiring proof of purchase to enter--though I AM hoping you'll do the right thing and be honest. And I'm willing to mail the prizes anywhere--even internationally. All you have to do is pre-order the book and be one of the first 100 people to fill out the form at the end of this post (I will close entries on October 1st, regardless of whether I've reached 100). And if you already pre-ordered before you found out about this contest, that totally still counts. It doesn't matter when you ordered it, just that you did. Also: there's  no limit on how many times you can win. If you buy five books and fill out the form five times and you're in that first 100, then you get 5 prizes (also, you're awesome! I like you a LOT)

I *think* that covers everything--but if I missed something, feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments. 

And I just want to end with  my deepest and sincerest thanks for all your enthusiasm and support for EXILE (and all my books, really). I can't believe there's less than three weeks until release, and I am SO EXCITED to have you guys read. I hope you love it as much as I do. And I hope to someday meet each and every one of you so I can thank you in person for all you do. You rock! ((group hug))

**Form has been removed, since the giveaway has ended. Thank you to all who entered!**




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The STORM is coming!

You may have already noticed that there's been a *slight* change to the title of LtSB, but in case you missed it (or were wondering if you were going crazy) I thought I'd post about it over here.

Sadly, no, the title is NOT changing to LET THE HABOOBS BREAK--BIGGER, FASTER, HABOOBIER!! (though that would be awesome...) It's actually only a single letter different, just to make it match better with the title of LET THE SKY FALL.

So here's the final official title with the final official cover:


And now we'll enter the especially hilarious time period where we get to see just how long it takes my deadline-broken brain to remember to say "Storm" instead of "Storms." Plan on a LOT of Shannonfails. ;)

If you haven't already, you can add it to your goodreads shelves HERE

It's also available for pre-order! (Crazy, right?) So if you're desperate to find out what happens to Vane and Audra--and to finally understand why I keep making haboob jokes--I made you some handy links:


And now... back to the deadline cave!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

In which I go into cheerleader mode

Okay--don't go into shock, but I actually have a proper blog post for you guys today!

(well, I hope it's proper. I feel like I'm getting rusty at this whole blogging thing--but THAT is a topic for another day).

I've recently heard a number of people all say the same thing, and I'm betting it's something that some of you might be feeling as well. And it's something that makes me so sad to hear--even though I understand why they might feel it--because it's simply NOT true, and I hate to see anyone get down on themselves when what they're going through is totally normal. So I thought it was high time I clear the cobwebs and dust bunnies off this blog and step into cheerleader mode.

This is probably the point where I should tell you what it is we're even talking about (again, going back to the whole rusty-at-blogging thing...)

(ahem)

So basically, I've had a ton of friends say something along the lines of....

"I feel like a fraud."

And I realize that needs a little context, so let me explain. The people telling me this are all fellow writers. They're active in the blogosphere and writing forums and various social media outlets. They go to writer's conferences and trade shows and author signings. Most importantly, they read, read, read and write, write, write and revise, revise, revise. And they've been doing all of this for years.

Basically, they're checking off every box on the Things You Should Do If You're Trying To Get Published list. And yet, for whatever reason, they haven't sold a book yet. Maybe they're also still looking for an agent.

And because of that--and because they're so active in the writing community--they feel like a fraud. Like there's some ticking clock determining how long they're allowed to be "aspiring" before they must cross over to "published", and any second someone is going to realize they still don't have a book deal and show them to the door. 

I remember feeling the same way when I was struggling to get published. I worked with my agent for more than a year before selling a book, and I used to dread the inevitable moment when a fellow writer would ask me, "What do you write?" because then I'd have to tell them I'm not published yet and they'd of course immediately be disappointed in me and not want to talk to me anymore because I was a big old fraud.

But here's the thing: I wasn't a fraud

I was just on my journey to publication--and every single writer's journey is different. 

And I know you've probably heard that a billion times before, and that it's not all that comforting when your journey has you knee deep in the muck and mire of rejections, meanwhile tons of people you know are skipping past you to Published Authorville. I know it's frustrating and heartbreaking and how easy it is to worry that you're just not good enough and it's never going to happen and maybe you should just give up. And I remember projecting those feelings on everyone else and assuming they were all thinking: go away little wannabe, you're not one of us

But here's the other thing: No one thinks you're a fraud.

Those of us who are published remember very clearly how hard it is to get published (we all have our own war stories, trust me). And honestly, every day this business is getting tougher and tougher to break into, so those of you working at it right now have it even worse than we did. We also know how much timing and luck can play into getting an agent or a book deal, and that whether you have one is NOT a reflection of your talent. All it means is that you're still on your journey, and we are here to cheer you on as you get there.

I know that doesn't change anything, or make the discouraging part of the publishing journey any easier. But please, PLEASE don't tell yourself that you're a fraud. You are NOT a fraud. The only differences between a published author and an aspiring writer are time and perseverance. Be patient, don't give up, and you WILL get there.

And in the meantime: CUPCAKES! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Happy KEEPER-Paperback-Day--AND AN EXILE ARC (plus swag) GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!

There's a reason I've had "Paperback writer" stuck in my head all week--and not just because it's so darn catchy. (For those who don't know what I'm talking about, educate yourselves HERE)

As of today--I NOW OFFICIALLY AM ONE!!!!!!

(Well, maybe not *technically*--since I believe the actual definition of a "paperback writer" applies to authors whose books come out only in paperback. BUT IT'S CLOSE ENOUGH, OKAY???) :)

Which is my nerdy, roundabout way of saying...

*herald trumpets blast*

KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES IS NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK!!!!!!!!!!

I realize KEEPER has already been out in the world for about ten months now (wow, where does time go?) so this may feel like old news. But I gotta say, I'm almost more excited about this than I was on the hardcover release day.

Growing up, my family lived on a VERY tight budget. And since I cranked through books like nobody's business, paperbacks were pretty much my lifesaver (paperbacks and libraries. I would've been lost without both). So it makes me VERY happy to finally have a paperback version of KEEPER out there in the world, to make it a little easier on families like mine.

Even better: it only costs $6.99.

Even, EVEN better, they're just as shiny and gorgeous as the hardcovers--same gloss and everything:


Even, EVEN, EVEN better, it has this at the end:



Even, EVEN, EVEN, EVEN better, I'm having a contest to celebrate--and I'm giving away one of these:

plus TWENTY FIVE of these:


There. aren't. Enough. Exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To enter, make sure you fill out the form below by 11:59pm PDT on 8/18/13. I won't have time to post winners (or contact the losers) so you'll know you won if the prize shows up in your mailbox--like a fun little surprise!!!! (And I'll let you know once they've been sent so you know to keep an eye out). International entries welcome!

Usually I like to keep my giveaways nice and simple. But since I know there's quite a lot of you hoping to win this ARC, I thought it was only fair to give you guys a few chances to get extra entries, and then it's up to you if you want to bother taking advantage of it. 

All the instructions are in the form below (and if you can't access the form for some reason, you can find it HERE). Just fill it out to enter.
And.... go!

Contest form removed since the contest is now closed.
Thanks to all who entered!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Texas: Are you ready to S.W.E.A.T.??????

If you follow me on FB or Twitter, you've probably seen me teasing about something exciting I'll be doing in Texas this summer--and now I can FINALLY share what that is.

TEXAS, I AM COMING FOR YOU!!!

Yes, that's right. If you live in Round Rock, Dallas, Houston, or Austin, BE AFRAID! 
(or be EXCITED)
 (OR BOTH!!!)

The S.W.E.A.T. Tour is heading your way this August!!!!!
(It's August in TX, we couldn't resist a sweat joke!)

Mark your calendars for these events:

Thursday, 8/8
7:00 pm
The Book Spot
1205 Round Rock Ave #119 
Round Rock, TX 78681



Friday, 8/9
7:00 pm
Irving Public Library 
801 W. Irving Blvd.
Irving, TX 75060
(books will be available to buy from Half Price Books)



Saturday, 8/10
3:00 pm
Blue Willow Bookshop 
14532 Memorial Drive
Houston, TX 77079
(more details, plus how to pre-order books can be found HERE)


Monday, 8/12
7:00 pm
Book People 
603 N. Lamar
Austin, TX 78703





Even better, I'm touring with three of my favorite people (who wrote some SERIOUSLY awesome books):

Amy Tintera                           REBOOT


Debra Driza                          MILA 2.0


Kasie West                        PIVOT POINT


So if you're around, come brave the heat with us. We PROMISE there will be air conditioning. And candy. And likely a truckload of shenanigans. 

Hope to see some of you guys there!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Benefit of the Doubt

I remember when I was at the very beginning stages of trying to get published, I went to a conference. And at that conference I had a chance to meet an author I really admired. I was a nervous wreck to go meet them, and almost wimped out. But I worked up the courage to say hello and...

The author was rude.

Not horrible or anything. Just not very friendly--in a noticeable enough way that even the people with me agreed.

I walked away surprised and disappointed, and from then on assumed that this author just wasn't a very nice person. I still loved their books. And I certainly didn't share this story with others. But I also formed my opinion of them.

Fast forward to an event where I had to see this author again.

I'll admit, given my past experience, I had certain expectations for how the meeting would go. And this time....

The author wasn't rude at all. In fact, they were one of the nicest authors I've met. Which left me baffled.

Was it split personalities?

Some sort of strange body-snatching scenario?

Or was it option number three--the much more logical option, and the option I *should've* considered all along: maybe they WEREN'T rude.

Maybe the whole thing was a misunderstanding.

Looking back on my first meeting with the author, I can see how poor my timing was. We were at a conference and they were probably on their first break of the day, desperate to get something to eat/drink (or to find a bathroom), and I was delaying them. Or maybe they were exhausted from having been "on" all day and just didn't have the kind of energy I'd been hoping for. Or maybe they're uncomfortable in social situations.

There were a million, much-more-probable explanations for the author's behavior that would've given them the benefit of the doubt. But I assumed the worst.

So really, if anyone was the rude one, it was me.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately--mainly because I've discovered that one of the hardest parts of this job (for me, at least) is being thrown into all kinds of crazy social situations. There's really no instruction manual for how to act at any of the events authors have to do, and every time I do one I'm very aware of how easy it would be to say/do the wrong thing and leave someone with a bad impression. And the worst part is, if I do, I'll probably never know.

So I just want to put a big THANK YOU out into the universe, to anyone who's ever met me (and not just in the writing world). Thank you for your patience. For giving me the benefit of the doubt. And for sharing a small part of your time with me. I'm sorry if I've ever made you feel like I don't appreciate that. I really, really do.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pretty in pink!

A few of you have already noticed this, since I am horribly remiss on keeping you guys updated. (sorry!) But yes, if you've seen this cover on amazon and goodreads, it IS a real cover:


This is actually the shiny new color scheme for the paperbacks of LET THE SKY FALL--isn't it PRETTY??????

I thought I could never love anything more than the hardcover color scheme, but I gotta admit, I love this just as much. Maybe even more.

But if you prefer the other color scheme, have no fear. It will still be available on the hardcovers. They're only changing it up for the paperbacks to make sure they don't print too "brown."

And if you're like me and now dying to get your hands on the pretty pink/purple version, you can pre-order them HERE. They'll release into the wild on December 3, 2013.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

LET THE STORMS BREAK Cover--and top 3 questions answered!

In case you missed the post over at MTV's Hollywood Crush, the cover for LET THE STORMS BREAK (aka: LTSF #2) has now been revealed!!!

ISN'T IT PRETTY?????????


They also released a short tease about the story (which does contain a *slight* LTSF spoiler, so if you haven't read book 1, be careful!):
Vane Weston is haunted. By the searing pull of his bond to Audra. By the lies he's told to cover for her disappearance. By the treacherous winds that slip into his mind, trying to trap him in his worst nightmares. And as his enemies grow stronger, Vane doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own.
I know that's not much of a tease--but the book doesn't come out until 3/4/14 so we can't give TOO much away yet. In the meantime, if you would like to make me very happy, you can add it to your Goodreads shelf HERE.

And I have gotten quite a lot of questions about the cover, so I thought I'd go ahead and tackle the top three of them today:
1. Is this cover based on a scene in the book (like LET THE SKY FALL's cover)? 
YES! Though just like the cover of LTSF, there were a couple of creative liberties taken with the scene--but nothing important.  

2. Audra's red dress! How? Why? When?
Well, I can't really answer this without giving away spoilers, but I promise, this isn't a case of "a pretty dress for the sake of having a pretty dress on the cover." Audra really does wear that dress at some point in the book, for very specific reasons--and those of you who know her, know that she's uncomfortable for every second of it. Vane, on the other hand, is quite a fan. ;) 
3.  HOW CAN I GET AN ARC???????????
Not *really* a cover related question--but I still adore you all for your enthusiasm. :) Honestly, I am so honored that you guys are excited to read LTSB and I can't wait for you to be able to. But at the moment, *I* don't even have ARCs. I hear it's up on Edelweiss, and that a few people have been approved, but that's one of those things I have nothing to do with and no knowledge of how it works. And I have gone ahead and added an ARC request form to this blog (you can access it HERE) but again, I won't be the one deciding who gets them. That's up to S&S. I *can* promise that I'll do a giveaway at some point. Just not yet, since, yanno, I don't even have them. :)

Thank you guys again for all your excitement about LET THE STORMS BREAK!!!! 

*smooshy hug*