Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So, What's Up With You?

Whew, good to be home and back in my routine. It's been a crazy month, but I did have a lot of fun in between the craziness. (and the coughing)

I got to visit a couple of schools (go Liberty and Lakeside Middles!) and a bookfair at Barnes & Noble with the Liberty Middle folks. This was my first bookfair and I had a great time. The organizer, Sharon, (that's her in the red stripes) was awesome and took great care of me and the book. And of course, my hubby was there to fetch me hot tea and take pictures.

The school visits were as fabulous as ever. I just love coming out to talk to folks. They ask the coolest questions, and even give me ideas for the books. I've got a bunch more next year and I can't wait. (School visits, not ideas, but I have those, too I guess)

Lots of friends saw the book on the shelves while Christmas shopping, so have a new set of "Shifter on the Shelves" photos or my growing collection. I'm still not sure exactly what I'm going to do with them, but I'm determined to find something creative. I'm thinking a cool poster of some type.

Oh! Did I tell you that Shifter 2 is done? It is! (major happy dance) It's in the Land of the Copy Editors right now, and I'll see it again for edits come January, but it's finally finished. It was tough, but the end result turned out pretty cool, so I hope everyone will be happy with it. (Though my friend Dee Dee insists I'm too mean to Nya, bwahaha)

More later!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Really, I Didn't Fall of the Face of the Earth

Though you'd think I did from my terribly long absence. Sorry all!

I have a good excuse, really. I was hard at work on Shifter 2, (which is done, yay!), then there was Thanksgiving, and then I got sick for two whole weeks! Then there was Christmas, and I went away for a much needed vacation after all those deadlines and being sick and all.

But I'm back! So where was I on vacation? I'll give you a hint...

Yep, Disney World!

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge, and had a very talented towel artist taking care of our room. Not only did that Mickey Ears greet us when we got there, but the next day, we found this cutie. And even a fun fan thing that held our toothbrushes in the bathroom. (I didn't take a photo of that though)

We had a great time, and now I have the urge to watch the movies for every ride I went on. So I sense a big lazy movie day in my future. But since I'm not starting on Shifter 3 until January, I can veg out for a while longer.

I did find the most amazing store ever though. In Downtown Disney, there's a store called Little Miss Match, that sells the funkiest socks. (Did I ever tell ya'll I adore funky socks?) They come in "pairs" of three, and are different patterns that go together, even though they don't officially match. You can wear the blue and yellow and green stripes with the pink and blue and green stripes one day, then the orange and green and blue stripes another. They rock. There's even TOE SOCKS!

Did I go crazy? Oh yeah. I need at least an extra sock drawer now, if not two.

As soon as I get unpacked and squared away I'll update everyone on the fun things I've been doing and the great bookstores and schools I've visited (in between being sick and being a world traveler and all). And maybe even a sneak peek or two at some of Shifter 2. We have a title now, so hopefully soon I'll have a cover as well to show everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Offline for a Bit

Hi all! I just wanted to let you know that with the deadline for Shifter 2 fast approaching, I'll be offline until December 2. So have a great Thanksgiving next week, enjoy your holiday and I'll see ya'll in a week or so.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hitting the Bookstores Again

I'll be out and about the next two Saturdays in a row. Tomorrow I'll be in Marietta, GA at Borders, and next week, I'll be in Gainesville, GA at Hall Book Exchange. So if you live nearby, come on out and say hello!

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 2pm

4475 Roswell Rd. - Ave E Cobb
Marietta, GA

Saturday, November 14, 2009, 1-3pm
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I Think I'm Caught Up Here, Too!

Now that the traveling is over, I was able to get caught up on answering my comments. I should be up to date again. I just hate leaving them unanswered for long. Feels rude to me. Anyone else feel that way? Even in games, when someone sends me a tell a I have to answer RIGHT AWAY or I feel bad.

Yet oddly, I can ignore my phone. Hmmm...

Maybe it's a writer thing. Can't ignore the words.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Okay, So a Journalist I'm Not

My apologies all. My plan was to tell you more about World Fantasy, but there was so much going on, that by the time I got back to my room each night, I crashed and forgot to blog. Then I forgot again in the morning before I headed out again. Suffice to say that journalists of the world are safe in their jobs, since I make a really bad reporter.


The weekend was loads of fun. There's great creative energy when a bunch of writers get together, and it's wonderful knowing you could sit down at the table with anyone hanging out in the lounge area and strike up a conversation. Everyone had at least one thing in common: we love fantasy. Just about everyone also had writing in common too. Groups would form and mix and merge as people came in and out of conversations. I tell ya, writers are about the nicest bunch of folks you'll meet.

I met some wonderful folks (one of whom won the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story, grats Kij Johnson!) and learned a few things about writing to boot. (I'll talk about that on The Other Side of the Story) this week. I was also there when a good friend got some fantastic news. (Hint: it involves an agent!)

Halloween night was also a lot of fun, even if I did have to take a nap before hand. I stayed on East Coast time the whole weekend, so I was three hours ahead of everyone the entire convention. That wasn't so bad except for meals, so I was starving by the time breakfast rolled around. There were some great costumes, and doofy me forgot my camera. (Really, I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached!) I'm kicking myself now, because fellow NLA'er Gail Carriger had her book launch party that night, and since she writes steam punk, everyone was dressed in Victorian garb for a high tea party. They looked awesome!

All in all a great time, though it is good to be home.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Live From World Fantasy!

I'm here! Was a long day yesterday, and the flight over was pretty bumpy, but I'm ready to hit the convention and have some fun. I've already passed by some great authors in the hall, and everywhere you look, people are curled up with a book or gathered together talking about books. It's awesome.

They also gave us a bag o'swag upon check-in.

Free books!

About 13 books, a bunch of magazines and a calendar. You can't go wrong there. One is even the second book of a series I just bought, so that'll save me a trip t the bookstore. (Okay, who am I kidding? Me, skip a chance to go to a bookstore? Never.)

More photos and tales throughout the weekend!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Taking Over the World

Okay, not really, but I will be at World Fantasy this weekend (just attending, not presenting or anything). They have some amazing authors there this year, like Garth Nix, Carol Berg, Sharon Shin, Patricia McKillip, and lots more. I'm looking forward to sitting back and soaking up all the creative energy and advice.

They'll be a Halloween party Saturday night, and I have the coolest ghost costume all ready. Don't you just love the wispyness of the cape?

(Not me, just the model from the catalog)

I'll take pictures while I'm there and tell you all about it when I get back. Until then, have a Happy Halloween everyone!

Oh, hey, for funsies, post your favorite Halloween candy. Let's see how they stack up, shall we?

My favorite: those orange and black red hots in the tiny little packages. They taste better than any other red hot you can get at any other time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Going Back to School, Part Two

I spent a few days this week at Otwell Middle School (go Dawgs). I got to talk with several hundred students over the course of the day, toss out some very cool color shifting pencils (jealous, aren't you?) and answer some excellent questions about writing and publishing. (this was a savvy bunch, let me tell you).

So a big thanks to all the Dawgs for giving me such a warm, welcome, and an extra dose of thanks to Media Director, Lisa Perkins, for inviting me and putting the whole shebang together. It was my first school visit and I couldn't have asked for a better group to use as guinea pigs. I may have even had more fun than they did.

Me and Lisa

I did a two-day visit this time, and came back back the next day to sign books. I noticed there was a remarkably high number of J-names at Otwell, which I highly approved of. J-named folks are awesome. (okay, everyone there was awesome, but I can have some letter pride once in a while, right?)

I'll be at a bunch more schools over the next few months and can't wait! I'm definitely going to have to stick up on more pencils though.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Author Thing is Fun

It was a very busy week last week, with The Shifter release and two book signing events. A ton of fun though, and I got to meet so any great folks who love books and writing as much as I do.

Last Wednesday, I did my very first book store signing at the Alpharetta, GA Barnes & Noble, and it went great. B&N folks Suzanne and Keith were so nice and helpful, and really made me feel welcome. I'll admit, I was pretty nervous at first, but with so many friends and smiling faces looking back at me, it was hard to stay nervous for long.

Then on Saturday, I zipped down to Fox Tale Book Shoppe in Woodstock, GA for a young writer's workshop. Owners Ellen and Karen were great (Didn't get to meet Jackey) and the store is adorable (so is Woodstock). I got to do a writer's workshop this event and work with teens and tweens this time around (and a few adults who snuck in), and it was fun helping them develop their stories and answer questions about writing and publishing. I hope you'll see me back there before too long.

I've got a week or so off before I'm back at the next event, an all-day school visit at Otwell Middle School. I'm really looking forward to it!

I'll continue to keep you posted on what's going on, even if I have to stop and catch my breath first!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Let's Meet on Saturday

I'll be over at FoxTale Book Shoppe on Saturday chatting with folks, signing books and doing a little writing workshop. If you're in the area, stop and by!

Saturday, October 10, 2009, 1pm
FoxTale Book Shoppe
105 E. Main Street, #138
Woodstock, GA

PS. Last night's event was a blast, and I'll have the rundown on that later!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Release Day!!!!

The Shifter comes out today! The Shifter comes out today!

-happy dance, followed by squeals of joy, followed by more happy dancing-

I won't get all mushy on you guys, but this is a great day for me. A lifelong dream has come true, and it's cool that I get to share it with so many wonderful folks. (Okay, I got a little mushy).

Also, a reminder that I'll be at the Alpharetta, GA Barnes & Noble tomorrow at 7pm. I'll also be at Fox Tale Books in Woodtsock, GA on Saturday, the 10th, at 1pm, doing a young writers workshop. Come on by, because if no one shows up, I'll be really bored. (to say nothing of the embarrassment!)

And now for some shameless self serving requests...

If ya'll are so inclined, please tell folks about the book (and the book signings). Blogs, lunchtime chat, office gossip, twitter, anything to get the word out there. I'd really appreciate it.

Let the celebrating begin!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Is Wednesday Good for You?

Just a reminder that I'll be visiting the Alpharetta Barnes & Noble this Wednesday. I've been to several of their signings, and they put on a great event. Come on out and say hello!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 7pm
Barnes & Noble
7660 Northpoint Parkway #200
Alpharetta, GA

Friday, October 2, 2009

Look for Me in Gainesville

Just added another book signing to the lot, so if you live in the Gainesville, GA area, drop on by Hall Book Exchange and say hello!

Saturday, November 14, 2009, 1-3pm
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd.
Gainesville,GA 30501

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And We're Off! (If You Live in th UK)

Today is the official release date for the UK version, known across the pond as The Pain Merchants. As you can imagine, I'm pretty excited and will be for the next week as books start popping up in bookstores on two continents. (That's so much fun to say!)

Although the official release date for The Shifter isn't until the 6th, a friend did spot it on the shelf at her local bookstore, so you might find it if you happen to be near a bookstore.

I just want to run from bookstore to bookstore to see them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Going Back to School

Great news! I'll be visiting Otwell Middle School in GA on October 22-23. I'm really looking forward to talking with the students and meeting everyone, so it should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

SIBA Was Super

I was at the SIBA trade show this past Sunday, and boy what a great event. I had so much fun, met so many great writers and booksellers, and smiled so much my cheeks hurt all the way home. (A small price to pay if I do say so myself).

SIBA puts authors and independent booksellers together so they know what books are out there and how to tell their customers about them. A huge thanks to all the SIBA folks for inviting me to this terrific event. My day in a nutshell was like this:

6am: Get up, shower, get dressed, drive the 2.5 hours to Greenville, SC. The hubby went with me, so it was a fun trip there.

10am: Arrive early, drive around for something to do to kill time. Checked out the local Barnes & Noble to see if my fellow B&B Babe Amy Huntley's book "The Everafter" was in the stores yet (It wasn't, but it releases today, so go check it out).

10:45am: Arrive at event. Try to find registration desk and where I'm supposed to go for the meet and greet brunch. Wish I'd skipped the driving around part and arrived earlier.

11am: Found brunch and got there on time after all. Met nice authors, Beth Hoffman, Gigi Amateau, and Beverly Barton. (Also snagged their books later so I'm looking forward to reading them). Ate some yummy pot roast and cheesecake.

12pm: Went to a Moveable Feast. This was fun, and a little like speed dating (I think, as I've never actually done speed dating). 21 tables will booksellers were set up, and we (the authors) were the entertainment. We each got a table number, sat down, and talked about our books for ten minutes. Then we went to the next table in line and did it again. For two hours. (Future writers out there...this is a great way to practice boiling down your story to a few quick sentences when you get ready to query/pitch. Make your friends randomly stop you and pitch your book) Everyone was so nice and asked lots of great questions. Even better, most of them were pretty excited about the book (Yay!)

2pm: Book signing! They sat us down in a big room with a stack of our books next to us, and the booksellers came in and took home the books they were interested in. I had a huge stack of books and I wish I'd had the clarity of mind to take a photo of the Wall-O-Books, but I was too excited. I only had four books left at the end (out of 100, I think) so I feel it was a great success. Here's me and my SIBA helper Jim Veatch. He made sure the dust jackets were on the page I needed to sign, which was a HUGE help when you have a bunch of people waiting on you and have to flip through pages every book.

3pm: Drive home. We did take one detour to go see the Georgia Guiding Stones, which are pretty funky and I'll talk about them later this week. The hubby took the photos and I need to get them off his camera.

7pm: Got home. Made food, curled up and watched TV until bed.

Ah, such is the exciting life of an author.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Something Trivial

I love trivia. Games, quizzes, cards, it doesn't matter. Useless facts are terribly interesting to me. That's why I was delighted to participate in Kay Cassidy's Great Scavenger Hunt. It's a brilliant idea that lets readers hunt for trivia in their favorite books. Here's how it works:

"To participate, readers (called hunters) simply read a participating book, complete the author trivia challenge, and turn it in to you (librarians). If they get 8 out of 10 answers correct, you get to enter them in the monthly contest. Easy, right?

Every month, I’ll choose one lucky hunter as the winner. The winning hunter will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card (good in stores or online) to use for whatever their heart desires. Even better, when they win, YOU win too… a library prize tote filled with more terrific Great Scavenger Hunt ContestTM books for your library collection." --(from her website)

Sounds great doesn't it? Books for you and for your favorite library. You can even get the challenges online, for both Middle Grade and Young Adult titles. More challenges are added every month, and the one for The Shifter is due out in November. (Yay!)

I had fun picking things to hunt for, so I hope ya'll have fun hunting them down.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Attack of the Truffles

We've had rain and more rain the last few weeks, which means there are mushrooms popping up all over the neighborhood. Everyone else has the traditional round-top white ones, or the white wide and flat, but us? We have freakish rose-shaped mushrooms like this:

They're kinda neat, aren't they?

Hopefully they won't take over the yard. Or the neighborhood, venturing out into the land, claiming patches of grass for themselves...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Road Trip!

I'm hitting the road this weekend and heading to Greenville, SC for the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) trade show. I'll be there Sunday, talking to booksellers in a Moveable Feast, which sounds a little like speed dating. Twenty authors, twenty tables of booksellers, and authors go table to table and get to know folks. Should be fun!

This is my first trade show, andI'm a little nervous, but in an excited way. I think it'l be a great warmup for my first book singing a week later (ya'll are coming, right?) I can always talk about books, so at least I won't have to worry about being stuck for conversation!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Time to Hit the (YA) Highway

I got to chat with one of the gals over at YA Highway this week, and the interview is up today. She asked some really interesting questions, so it was a lot of fun to do. Even better, she gave me a few ideas for book two's revisions.

She's also giving away the ARC I gave her for review, so pop on over and stay awhile. Tons of good stuff on the blog to explore.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Had a Hard Time Writing Today...

I wonder if it had anything at all to do with this weird growth in my lap?

In other news, I'm having fun with the new camera :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

They're Here! They're Here!

Major excitement day for sure. I just got final books for The Shifter in all their dust-jacketed hardcover glory. Don't they look beautiful?

Although you can't see it in the photo, the dust jackets are a lovely matt finish, with the yellow name spot varnished so it shines. (Can you tell I have a background in printing and graphic design?) The yellow and black on the spine is really eye catching and just jumps right out at you.

Just think...in three more weeks, I'll get to see these guys on actual bookstore shelves instead of the bookshelf in my office.

Color me all kinds of happy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Lights, Camera...Ready for Action

I got a brand-new camera today and I'm all excited. My husband is a major camera buff and takes gorgeous photos, but I've haven't had my own camera since college. (and even then it was just for photography class)

I've been wanting one for a while, so I finally broke down and got one. I think it'll be great to have for events so I can share fun things with everyone (like upcoming book signings and World Fantasy next month).

I find it ironic that I can't take a picture of it to show you, but it's tiny and adorable, and brushed metallic pink. Better yet...it matches my laptop perfectly! Oh wait! (Googles the name of her camera)...Here it is!
Of course this also means you might be subjected to random photos as I figure out how to use it and how to transfer photos to my computer.

Ya'll like cats, right?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Are We Really a Month Out?

I'm going to get all mushy here for a sec, so please forgive me.

I can't remember a time when I didn't write, and when I didn't want to be a writer. Friends dreamed of singing on stage, being a movie star, flying to the moon, but I imagined seeing my name on a shelf with all my favorite authors.

In 27 days, that dream comes true.

It's still hard to believe it's real, even though I've seen the pages, read the ARC, talked to the folks at Barnes & Noble and had them tell me they have the posters for my book singing all ready. I've never been a gal for tears, but I might cry when I see my book on the shelves. I know for sure I'll squeal, grab one, hold it to my chest and jump up and down while giggling like a madwoman. My husband should probably hide in the corner and pretend not to know me, but I know he won't. He'll stand there and smile and let me be a lunatic. (There's a strong possibility he'll take pictures, so you'll see for yourselves how silly I can be)

I'm guessing a lot of you out there have this same dream. Some of you may have even had moments when you thought of giving it up. I know I did, but I always fought through it and went back to write, because I could never give that part up.

I'm living proof that dreams do come true. If I can do it, you can do it. Whatever your dream may be.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Best. Day. Evah.

The most amazing thing happened to me Saturday.

I went to Ally Carter's book signing, as I took my place in the crowd, a woman walks up to me and asks, "Are you Janice Hardy?"

That's right, I was recognized. By a FAN! (insert excited squeal and happy dancing)

That's me, Nicole, and her daughter at Barnes & Noble.

This was a first for me, and I think Nicole must have attended the Gallagher Academy herself to have recognized me at all from my photo on my website. How she picked me out of a crowd I have no idea, but it's a thrill I'll keep with me always. I'm still smiling over it.

She was really nice and I had a great time talking with her. She promised to come back for my book signing next month, which is great. It'll be my first one, so knowing I'll have at least one friendly face in the crowd will help take some of the scary out of it. I also got to talk to some of the folks at B&N, and everyone was so friendly I think the signing is going to go just fine and be as much fun as Ally and Lauren's was. (I hope!)

Of course, hearing Ally Carter and Lauren Myracle speak was awesome too. I've read all of Ally's stuff, but I just bought Lauren's book, Bliss, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Me and Ally Carter. (more excited squeals). She was as nice and funny as she sounds on her blog.

What a great day. Thanks, Nicole, for giving me a fantastic memory.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Festival of Books

I don't know about you guys, but I'm always looking for an excuse to buy books. If you happen to live near Decatur, GA, this weekend is the Decatur Book Festival. Tons of great authors will be there, like Sara Shepherd, Lee Child, Diana Gabaldon, Charlaine Harris, Kathy Reichs, and my personal favorite, Ally Carter. And of course, there will be books. Tables and tables of books. Plus street food. You can't beat that combo. (Well, if they added cotton candy maybe you could)

The festival is spread out over several blocks, so there are great events mixed with music and even shopping. There's also a fantastic children's bookstore there, too. With stages set up for adults, teens, and kids, there's something for everyone -- I have several events I'm looking forward to myself, and I'm not even embarrassed that most of them are on the teen stage!

Last year, I attended a session by author Sara Shepherd and was so hooked by her reading from her Pretty Little Liars series I just had to buy the book. (Cryptic threats from a dead girl? I'm so there) And the of course rest of them after that! There are a bunch of names I don't recognize on the schedule, so I'm looking forward to discovering a new book or series this year too. The hardest part will be lugging it all home.

Now, where did I put that backpack...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Talk Amongst Yourselves

Comments are turned back on now, so any posts will show up immediately. I still have some winners who haven't sent me their e-mails yet so I can mail their book, so just e-mail me through the website.

There's a new contest starting today over at The Other Side of the Story (my writing blog), so if you want another chance to win a signed ARC of The Shifter or The Pain Merchants, stop on by.

Chicken Jokes

If anyone is curious about the jokes I received for the contest, I've published the comments. Please note that anyone who also sent in their e-mail address (or told a funny, yet off-color joke) did NOT get posted, as I didn't think everyone wanted their e-mails out there for all to see. But there's a good sampling of all the great jokes, and it should be easy to see why it was so hard to pick!

Monday, August 24, 2009

And the Winner is...

It was a tough choice at the end, as I got some really funny (and really bad) chicken jokes. Of course, I love bad jokes, so even the really bad ones were really funny. As luck would have it, I got some ARCs for The Pain Merchants last week, so I'm picking two winners -- one for the US and the UK edition -- and two runner's up, who will get The Shifter T-shirts.

Winning Jokes:

From Krista Ashe
Why did the chicken cross the basketball court?
He heard the referee calling fowls

From CommaSplice
A kindergarten teacher was telling her class the story of Chicken Little.

"So Chicken Little went up to the farmer, shouting 'The sky is falling! The sky is falling!'" The teacher paused and then asked the class, "And what do you think the farmer said?"

One little girl raised her hand. "I bet he said 'Holy Cow! A talking chicken!'"

*Note: edited for my younger readers

Runners Up:

From Reggie Writes
Q. Why Couldn't The Chicken Find Her Eggs?
A. Because She Mislaid Them.

From Kat Bryan
A pair of chickens walk up to the circulation desk at a public library and say, 'Buk Buk BUK.' The librarian decides that the chickens desire three books, and gives it to them...and the chickens leave shortly thereafter. Around midday, the two chickens return to the circulation desk quite vexed and say,' Buk Buk BuKKOOK!' The librarian decides that the chickens desire another three books and gives it to them. The chickens leave as before. The two chickens return to the library in the early afternoon, approach the librarian, looking very annoyed and say, 'Buk Buk Buk Buk Bukkooook!' The librarian is now a little suspicious of these chickens. She gives them what they request, and decides to follow them. She followed them out of the library, out of the town, and to a park. At this point, she hid behind a tree, not wanting to be seen. She saw the two chickens throwing the books at a frog in a pond, to which the frog was saying, "Rrredit Rrredit Rrredit..."

Most Submitted Joke:

Q: Why do chicken coops have two doors?
A: Because if they had four door, they'd be a chicken sedan.

Winners, send me your e-mail addresses so I can contact you about mailing your prizes out. I'll keep the comments private if you want to post them, or you can just e-mail me through the website. If you have a preference on the US or UK version, just let me know. (I know some folks like one title over the other, but the story is the same). And since they'll be signed, if there's anything in particular you want me to write, let me know. I guess that goes for the T-shirt winners too if they want! There's got to be a permanent marker around here somewhere. (If you don't mention wanting them signed I'll just send them as is)

Congratulations to the winners!

I'll do two more contests before the book comes out on October 6, so you still have chances to win a signed ARC. Keep an eye out for the next one in about two weeks. I"ll be doing that one on The Other Side of the Story blog for my writer readers, so that contest will be related to that blog in a fun and silly way. (and regular readers there can already guess what it's going to be!)

Thanks to all who entered and made the last week filled with laughter.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Cluck

Today is the last day to enter your chicken jokes to win a signed ARC of The Shifter. Or one of The Pain Merchants if you prefer, as I just got a stack of those from my UK editor. (saying that never gets old).

Just to recap, to enter, simply post your best chicken joke in the comments section. (In any of the chicken context posts). Comments are private right now, so you won't see it appear, but I'll get them. If you have any troubles, you can always e-mail me the joke. Just go to my website and click on the e-mail link at the top of the page. Either way works.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Contest Update

I've heard from a few folks that they've been having trouble logging into the comments section to enter the contest. So if you happen to have had this problem, you can always e-mail me the joke. Just go to my website and click on the e-mail link at the top of the page.

I'm still getting jokes daily, so I know the site is working, but I'm not sure why some can't post.

Ah, technology.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August Contest: Chicken Humor

Okay, the first official The Shifter contest is here! (cue the dancing chickens)

If you've been to my website, you've noticed I love chickens. I can't say why, I just find them hysterically adorable. So for the next ten days, send me your very best chicken jokes. The joke that makes me snarf something out my nose from laughing so hard wins a signed ARC (advance reading copy) of The Shifter.

To enter, just post in the comments section. While this contest in underway, I'll have moderation turned on so I can screen what comes in. So if you post something non-joke related, it won't post immediately like usual. I'll approve all comments and let through the ones that aren't for the contest. You have until August 23rd to enter.

On August 24, 2009, I'll post the winner, and maybe a few runner's up if we get some great jokes. I'll round up something fun as prizes for those. I think I have some Shifter T-shirts that are fun around here somewhere.

One note...

While "why did the chicken cross the road?" jokes are likely going to be popular, I've heard a lot of them, so be warned that you might have to dig a little deeper to find the funny with those. I'm not saying it can't be done, just that those might be tougher to achieve full snarfability.


Who can enter: Everyone.

How do you enter: Post your best chicken hoke in the comments section of this post.

How many times can you enter: One entry per person, please.

Contest start date: Right now!

Contest end date: August 23, 2009.

Winner announced: August 24, 2009.

How do you get your prize: Winners will need to send me their address so I can ship them their book.

And that's it.

May the best joke win.

EDIT: I've just be informed that someone was having trouble logging into the comments section. So if you happen to have had this problem, you can always e-mail me the joke. Just go to my website and click on the e-mail link at the top of the page.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


It's been pretty quiet this week. Shifter 2 is off to my editor, and since I know I'll be diving in head first to some heavy revisions soon, I figured now was a good time to take a break and let the old brain juice refuel.

This has let me catch up on stuff I've been meaning to do, like finalize everything for my first official contest (check back tomorrow!) and get some business cards and bookmarks done. It's also let me dig into the stack of books that's been growing on my shelf.

I buy a lot of books. Actually, make that A LOT of books. When I hit 20 on my To Read shelf, I stop until I get back to single digits, then go shopping again. There's always something I've been dying to read (Right now it's Sacred Scar by Kathleen Duey, and all the bookstores near me are SOLD OUT!!!) so I can't go into a bookstore without walking out with an armful. Sometimes I jump ahead in the list, but I try really hard to read the next up in the stack.

Currently, it's The Book Thief, which is pretty funky so far. Very interesting writing style and narrator. It's more literary than I usually read, but I like to broaden my scope every now and then.

Chat with ya'll tomorrow about the contest! Hint: Start thinking funny.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weird Things I Never Thought I'd Have to Worry About

I gave a copy of The Shifter to a friend of mine for her birthday. She's a huge reader and was dying to have her very own ARC (advanced reader copy), so I was happy to give her one. But then she asked me to sign it.

Um...sign it?

I've never had anyone ask me to sign anything that wasn't a yearbook or a legal document. I had no clue what to write. What's worse, my family lovingly teases me that with my handwriting, I should have been a doctor, so my signature isn't even very pretty.

I stared at her like a deer in headlights, my mind blank as the page, and then we laughed about it. In the end I wrote, "To my friend, Amy, happy birthday" but it did start me thinking.

I'm going to run into this again at some point.

I have several events scheduled around when The Shifter comes out in October. As exciting as they are, the odds of someone wanting me to sign a book are high enough to worry about it. I'm going to have to practice my signature so they don't feel like a two year old scribbled in their book. I'm going to need a signing pen with a signature color or puffy troll eraser or something fun. I'm going to have to come up with a catchy line if they don't have something specific they'd like me to write. I'm going to have to be clever.

No one warns you about this part of being a writer. There should really be a memo.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My New Weakness

My husband is the cook in our house, and since we had a friend of ours staying with us the past few days (hi Ann!), he did his uber-hubby thing and pampered us like spoiled little girls. Last night, he made his extra yummy chicken parmesan and pasta, but it was his hors d'oeuvres that wowed us.

Picture this...Artichoke hearts, Gorgonzola cheese, and scallions, all whipped up into a delicious dip and plopped down on these puffy little crackers he made.

The were so good.

The crackers just melted in your mouth like crisp little wafers. The artichoke had the perfect tang, and the cheese just smoothed it all over. My mouth is watering just writing this post.

I could have eaten an entire kitchen full of them. I may have to find a way to convince him to make these every single night. If it's possible to live off these things, I might attempt it.

I'm so glad we have more friends coming over for dinner Friday night.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No Comment

I just noticed that several folks left some nice comments and I never realized it. (Sorry all!) Apparently, I didn't set something right and my e-mail wasn't letting me know I had posts. I do try to respond so you guys know I'm not ignoring you or anything :) I do love hearing from ya'll.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Window Dressing

My office is on the second floor, above the garage. It's a great office, with lots of room and big windows. My front windows look out over the street leading up to the house, which is nice since I can keep an eye out for deliveries.

Right now, there's something HUGE with lots of legs stuck to that window. I think it might be this:

I'm not the most squeamish person, but that's one creepy little bugger. I'm really glad it's too hot to have the windows open today. Cause that thing might be capable of chewing through the screens to come get me.

So if you see a giant, multi-legged winged monster in a future book of mine, you'll know where it came from.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Rude Awakening

So this morning just before 6am, I'm rudely awakened by a stuffed fox thumping me in the nose. This was quickly followed by 10 pounds of exuberant year-old cat pouncing on my chest. I responded by screaming "Ugh!" then "Puck!" in a sleepy and whiny tone. My husband grunted and rolled over, oblivious to the attack.

Now, this isn't the first time I've woken up with cat toys (or cats) in my bed, nor is it the first time I've had this particular stuffed fox flung at me at high speeds. The last time, Puck landed it in my bowl of spaghetti. I was able to grab it before he did and wash it off before he dragged sauce all over the house.

Puck really loves his fox. And his favorite way of playing with it, is to grab it by its tail and fling it as high as he can, then leap for it with every ounce of his furry little body. Usually, this evokes responses like:

"Aw, he's so cute when he does that!"

"Man, he got some good height on that one."

"At least he missed the lamp."

At 5:46am, all he gets are screams. Not that he cares. He just grabs the fox by the tail and flings it out the bedroom door. I've gotten really good at ignoring the sounds of things falling over.

It's a good thing he's so cute.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Coming to a Bookstore Near You (If You Live in Georgia)

I got my first ever book signings this week! (yay!) So if you happen to be in the North Georgia area in October, come by for a visit.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 7pm
Barnes & Noble
7660 Northpoint Parkway #200
Alpharetta, GA

Saturday, October 10, 2009, 1pm
Fox Tale Book Shoppe
105 E. Main Street, #138
Woodstock, GA

Saturday, November 7, 2009, 2pm
4475 Roswell Rd. - Ave E Cobb
Marietta, GA

Saturday, November 14, 2009, 1-3pm
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Gathering of Librarians

Librarians all over are gearing up for this weekend's ALA Conference. (The American Library Association). While I won't be there myself, The Shifter will be, and my wonderful publisher Balzer & Bray is featuring the book at the HarperCollins Childrens booth, and at the fiction breakfast. So if you happen to be in Chicago and attending, stop by and say hello. Tell them Janice sent you. (And it'll be so cool if my editor actually tells me someone said that)

And if you happen to see cool Shifter stuff while there, take a photo and send it my way. I get so excited when I see those things.

Wish I could be there, but alas, maybe next year.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cover Me, Part Two

As promised, the The Pain Merchants cover.

And here's the full jacket all spread out. (They took that back cover copy from my website! For some weird reason I find that really cool.)

As I mentioned last week, the cover process for the UK version went a little differently than the US one. I wasn't included, except for one tiny little detail. My lovely UK editor said the design team wanted to do something iconic, and asked if the Healer's League had a logo. I said no, but told her I could whip something up if she'd like.

I gave her five simple black and white logo designs. Nothing fancy, as I knew her art department would work their magic and make it look all nifty cool. For funsies, here they are:

It's easy to see which one they went with, and how the others influenced their final design. They took this basic line art and turned it into a gold and enameled-looking image. To make the cover fit the story, I added a line that described the Healer's League pin into the story.

The two covers have a lot of similarities, such as the idea of the hands, the swirly stars and the blue (which is the color of the magic metal, pynvium, in the book). But they're also quite different. The Pain Merchants has an edgier look, and I love how the font style captures the Byzantine feel I based the architecture of the world on. You see some of that in The Shifter cover with the city along the bottom. I think they're both great, though my husband likes the UK version better--I wonder if he's secretly British?

Here they are side by side for easy comparison:

I find it fascinating how the same story is represented in two different cultures.

For another look at covers across the pond, my agent did a post a while back.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cover Me

Have you ever wondered how a book cover gets designed?

Every author will have their own experience, as this varies, not only between houses but between authors. Since I'm a graphic designer by trade, the cover was very important to me and I wanted to be involved in the process. I made sure to tell my agent and my editor, and my editor was gracious enough to include me from the get go.

An illustrator was chosen and sketches were made. We made comments, suggested changes, and more sketches were made. When we got one we liked, the artist created on the final art, complete with title text.

Alas, sales nixed it.

We went back and tried a new approach. This time, the artist just did pencil sketches. I wish I could show you the sketches, but alas, that whole legality thing.

Sales nixed it again.

Then someone on the Balzer & Bray staff (I don't know who, but I'm still grateful for them) did a clip art mock up and sent it to my editor. My editor sent it to me and my agent and asked, "What do you think?"

Well, I went nuts. I just LOVED the idea and the look. The original title is used at this point, as we hadn't changed it yet. We made sure sales loved it to before we went any further. Luckily, they did. My editor changed illustrators and we started over, giving them this new concept to play with. He sent us this sketch:

We loved it, we're totally thrilled, made a few suggestions again (some involving the hands, and I wanted a more Byzantine look to the buildings), and sent it off. During this time, the title change was finally approved, so the color version reflected that.

You could have heard my excited squeal a mile away. I could NOT stop giggling over this cover. I think it totally rocks. You'll notice the "the" is missing from this version, which was added to the title after. We made a few minor tweaks (like adding some purple to the swirly stuff) and the final cover is...

And that's how I got a cover.

I'm incredibly lucky to have been included in the process, as a lot of authors have no say and don't even see their cover until it's done. That's actually how it went with the UK cover (which I'll post about soon). Nothing wrong with that, especially since those Brits like their covers differently than us Yankees do, so my design experience wouldn't have been much help. (And I did get to do one small thing, which I spill in that post). This just goes to show that even the same author and the same book can have different experiences depending on the house.

And both of mine were fabulous experiences.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Only Four More Months

I can't believe it's getting so close! A lot of exciting things are happening now, especially with galleys going out and BEA (with the electronic galleys) this past week. People are starting to talk (yay!) and I'm seeing The Shifter pop up on blogs and other sites. It's a little scary, but in a good "roller coaster" way. I just need to resist the urge to spend all day Googling myself.

In other news...

I got my very first blog review, which is such a thrill. The folks over at A Million Words said nice things, so, thanks guys!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hands Across the Expo

My wonderful agent sent me this great photo of "The Shifter" displayed in bright and shiny color at Book Expo America. (Doesn't it look like a movie poster all done up like that?)

Do you think they'd let me keep that when they'd re done? Nah, me neither.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Shifter Spotted at IRA

Super Spy Writer Ally Carter spotted a display copy of "The Shifter" on the shelves at the International Reading Association Conference today. The fact that she's my favorite YA author makes this about the coolest thing to happen to me all month. I know you can't actually see her, just her hand, but trust me. That's Ally Carter's hand. Holding my book.

I'm all aflutter.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Only Five More Months

Hard to believe "The Shifter" will be out in just five short months. It's been an exciting ride so far, and I expect the next few months will only get wilder. I'll be updating everyone on what's going on with the book, letting you know where I might be popping in for a visit, and anything cool that happens along the way.

Right now, I'm busy at work doing the final draft of Shifter 2. Feels weird to be almost done with the second before the first is even out!

I'm also working on the U.K. version of the book, which comes out on October 6th as well. I'll share cover art when I can. (They do a totally different cover over there. Even a different name! "The Pain Merchants.")

I'll also be announcing some fun contests and things as we get closer to release, so peek back from time to time and see what's going on.

Let the countdown begin!

All the News That's Fit to Post

We've got the good news going on!


Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2pm
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd.


September 6, 2009
Awesome review by Attackfish. Thanks so much!

July 14, 2009

The gang over at Teens Read and Write have nice things to say about The Shifter. Thanks guys!

July 11, 2009
Check out Real Toads to hear what they said about The Shifter. Thanks!

June 11, 2009
Oleander said nice things on Shelfari. Thanks!

June 1, 2009
The folks over at A Million Words said nice things, so, thanks guys!


September 19, 2009
Great questions over at YA Highway.

April 12, 2009
They're talking about me over at Tall Tales & Short Stories!


February 13, 2009
Foreign Rights: UK Children's

Janice Hardy's fantasy debut THE PAIN MERCHANTS, about a teenage war orphan who discovers an uncanny ability to heal by drawing pain from others, and becomes a pawn in a political game when her skill attracts the attention of the two most powerful groups in the city to Stella Paskins at Harper Children's UK, by Balzer & Bray, on behalf of Kristin Nelson at the Nelson Literary Agency.

June 26, 2008
Book sold!!

Janice Hardy's debut fantasy trilogy beginning with THE PAIN MERCHANTS, about a teen war orphan who becomes a pawn in a bigger political game when her uncanny ability to heal by drawing pain turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her sister, to Donna Bray at Balzer & Bray/Harper Children's for their launch list, in a very good deal, in a pre-empt, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (world English). query@nelsonagency.com