Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Fair Fun

You know, you'd think I'd be better about updating these things, but it always slips my mind. I might have to make that a New Year's Resolution this year. Remember to update the blog about events!

I'll be at Barnes & Noble this evening at the Otwell Middle School Book Fair. It's open to everyone, and supports the school, so come on by, say hello, and get some books. They don't even have to be mine, though that would be nice.

Barnes & Noble
The Avenue Forsyth
Building 200 Suite 252
410 Peachtree Pkwy
Cumming, GA 30041
From 6-8pm

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Meet Me in Gainesville

For those of you in the Gainesville, GA area, I'll be at Hall Book Exchange this Saturday at their 24-hour Read-A-Thon. I'll be appearing from 2-3pm.

Saturday, October 23, 2010, 2-3pm
Hall Book Exchange
1854 Thompson Bridge Rd.
Gainesville,GA

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Blue Fire Travelling Launch Party: The Story


The Traveling Launch Party was a success, and fun was had by hopefully all. I know I had a great time. Night One was at Fox Tale Books, a wonderful independent bookstore in Woodstock, GA. They had the window all done up with my books and blue sparkle stuff and it looked really cool.


We walked inside and were greeted by yet another display. And yes, seeing my books in the windows and on display like this totally rocks.



After a bit of socializing with the Foxes (the lovely gals who own the shop), it was time to set up the food and get ready for the guests. I had planned quite the spread for the evening, with some yummy snacks and a cake.



The cake. Funny story here. I went to Publix with the book jacket in hand and asked if they could put it on the cake. The conversation went something like this:


ME: Can you put this on a cake?
BAKER: Yes, but we're not allowed to due to copyright.
ME: It's my book, for my book launch party.
BAKER: -stares at me dubiously-
ME: -flipping open the cover- See? There's my picture. I can show you my driver's license.
BAKER: Let me ask someone. -goes to speak to head baker, both return-
HEAD BAKER: We can do it, but you'll have to write a letter giving us permission.
ME: Okey dokey.


I wrote the letter and everything worked out. It's nice to see that they take copyright images seriously, but it cracked me up that I almost didn't get my own cover on a cake!


Guests started arriving, we joked and laughed and ate, then the Foxes tossed me up in front of everyone to talk about the book and writing in general. We had a great discussion, lots of good questions were asked, and they had to drag me off stage so I could sign books and let folks go home.


Day two sent us to Barnes & Noble, for a more traditional book signing. I recruited my neighbor and a few of her friends to do hair braiding and face painting for the kids, and set up shop in the back.


We also had some chairs set up so folks could hang out and chat after they got their books signed, and we had a nice informal mini-party going on all morning. The girls even went poaching for children when the face painting slowed down and brought back more customers. Spiders were big, and there were lots of cheeks with arachnids on them.



I got to meet some other bloggers and readers (Hi Kritsa!) face to face, and see some bloggers and readers I've met before, who even drove in from another state to see me! (Hi Sarah, and Kayelee!) It's always fun to meet folks I "see" online and put a person to the name.


We wrapped up and went home, tired from all the fun, but in good spirits. Next time, I need to remember to take more pictures.


Next signing is over at:


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

They're doing a 24-hour read-a-thon for charity, so if you're in the area, stop on by that day.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blue Fire Traveling Launch Party



For those in the Georgia area (or who will be in the area at the time, or are looking for an excuse to visit the Atlanta area--road trip anyone?), I'm having a weekend launch party for the release of Blue Fire. It starts Friday night, then continues on Saturday.

Date: Friday, October 8, 2010
Time: 6-9pm
Place: Fox Tale Books
105 E Main St
Woodstock, Georgia 30188
(770) 516-9989

Food, fun, and prizes! Part party, part book signing, hang out with me and other folks who love books.


Date: Saturday, October 9, 2010
Time: 11am
Place: Barnes & Noble
The Avenue Forsyth
Building 200 Suite 252
410 Peachtree Pkwy
Cumming, GA 30041
770-781-0867


Hair braiding and face painting, prizes, book singing and author meet and greet.

Come to one, come to both (they're different in nature), but stop by if you can!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Paperback Version of The Shifter is Out

And it dawned on me I forgot to post that here! My bad. I blame finalizing Shifter 3.

Sister. Healer. Deadly Weapon.
Nya has a secret she must never share.
A gift she must never use.
A world she must never question.
And a sister whose life depends on her doing all three.

Fifteen-year-old Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person and storing it inside her own body. But unlike her sister Tali and the other Takers who become Healer’s League apprentices, Nya’s skill is flawed: she can’t push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it from person to person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she’d be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya’s life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purpose. At first, Nya refuses, but faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price, but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?

You can get it here:
HarperCollins
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Borders
Indie Bound 


And if ya happen to need some blog filler this week, feel free to copy this post and share! (grin) 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Game Time

I have my very own game now.

Escape From Baseer!

Play if you dare...

Okies, in all seriousness, this is kinda cool. HarperCollins has an Awesome Adventures site where they've done games for a lot of their titles, and quizzes and stuff.I just might lose the rest of my afternoon here.

As a gamer girl myself, I'm jazzed to be part of the geekdom.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A New Quiz!

There's a new quiz up for Blue Fire. I got to help write the one for The Shifter, but this time the folks at Harper did it on their own.

I find it a little disturbing that I missed a question. How can I miss a question on my own book?

Those Harper folks are sneaky.

The book's not out yet, but I wonder how many people can guess things right just because they know the characters and can figure out what they'd do.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Wanna Be a Paperback Writer...

And now I am! I got my copies of The Shifter in paperback yesterday and they look so cool. They don't officially go on sale until August 31, but I imagine they'll be shipped out any time now so it's possible you'll find some in the stores earlier.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Know Nya?

I love trivia quizzes, and my publisher has a fun little one up where you can test your trivia teeth and see how well you know The Healing Wars.

Take the quiz!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So Many Covers

I'm excited because I finally have final covers of the UK and German editions of The Shifter and Blue Fire. They look fabulous, and all are so different from each other. I also thinks is hysterical that all three book ones have different titles, but all book twos are the same.



The US Hardcover of The Shifter


The UK Hardcover of The Pain Merchants


The UK Paperback of The Pain Merchants
The German Cover of The Healer


The US Hardcover of Blue Fire


The UK Hardcover of Blue Fire

The German Cover of The Blue Fire

Aren't they awesome? Granted, maybe I'm biased here but I love every one of them.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vipers Hiss!

On Wednesday, I got to spend the day over at Vickery Creek Middle School. I had a great time and even got to meet someone who has the same name as my husband. There were quite a few budding authors in the group, and those folks are always extra fun to meet. Not only are writers just plain awesome (though admittedly, I might be biased here) but they always ask the best questions.

One gal even came up with a great idea as to why Nya can't shift pain into animals! (Something I've never had her do since I can't bear the thought of hurting animals). Fur! Nya needs skin to skin contact and animals have fur to block it. Isn't that cool?

Since the school year is coming to a close, I won't be visiting any more school until the fall. I suspect it'll be pretty quiet for me until Blue Fire comes out, so you probably won't see my doing any more appearances until then. But if I do, I'll be sure to let y'all know!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Go Go Grizzlies

I spent all day yesterday over at Piney Grove Middle, and let me tell you, I had a great time. School visits are one of my favorite things to do as a writer, and I always enjoy talking with students and answering questions.

I think the most popular questions were about my eel, Eelbert, so I'm going to have to get some photos of him for the website. (My husband thinks I should do a live web cam and have EelTV, but I think that's a lot of ask of the little guy)

There's was some excitement as well. A fire drill got us all up and out the door the first session, but we hung around outside and chatted. I met a fellow World of Warcraft player (even if he was Horde) and met some gals who would make good Nyas one day. (I have your notes!)

All in all, it was a terrific day, and a big thanks to media director Kim and the Grizzly Gang at Piney Middle for inviting me over!

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Results Are In

Well, I see from A) the selections on the poll and B) the small number of responders, that keeping this blog news and events only isn't going to disappoint anyone.

For those who were looking for writing stories, I talk about writing and the publishing biz on my other blog, The Other Side of the Story. That will be my main blog for now on.

In the next few weeks, I'll be rearranging things here so news is easier to find, and update the things I've been meaning to update for so long. Adding all the reviews, interviews, guest posts and whatnot, creating an easy spot for visitors to leave messages and so forth.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Let Me Ask You...

I'm going to be overhauling the blogs and website in the next few weeks, and I'm unsure what to do with this blog. It's not a blog I post to daily, because honestly, I just don't know what to write about. My writing blog I post to almost daily, as I can talk about writing forever. But here? I'm at a loss. Do you guys really care about my day to day life? Pictures of the cats? Stuff that strikes me as funny? I've never been a journal keeper, so I'm not sure what to say even if I did post daily.

I don't want to abandon the blog completely, because I like having a venue to chat with readers and let them know what's going on with me and the books. But I also don't want to bore you guys to tears with stuff no one really cares about. Since I don't think everyone who comes here wants to hear in-depth stuff about writing, it doesn't make sense to just combine the two blogs. But if this one becomes a simpler "news and the occasional event" blog, I'm okay with that. Folks can always leave comments and I read all of those, so I can still keep in touch with everyone.

So, I've put up a poll for the next two weeks to see what visitors want to hear about. You can choose as many as you want, but if you can pick the top two, that would be great, as I'd know the most important things. Feel free to expand in the comments section, or offer suggestions if I don't have it on the poll.

And hey, if you guys have ideas about stuff you'd love to see on the website, let me know. It's been up about a year now, and I've learned a lot about what I need and what readers like.

Anything I can do to make the site or blog better?

I'm all ears.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Couple of Fun Interviews

I was interviewed over at the Debut Authors Blog recently, so pop on by and peek around.

You can also hear me share my geek side at the gaming blog Grinding to Valhalla.

And I'll have the next book challenge post up today. Just been one of those weeks where I haven't had much time to post!

Monday, March 8, 2010

2010 Book Challenge #7 & 8

This week started a long run of Kate Brian's "Private" series books. I'm a big fan of these, so seeing them all lined up on the shelf makes me very, very happy. And better still, when I went to get the cover images for the blog, I found out that book #11 Scandal, comes out tomorrow! (squee!).

Inner Circle
By Kate Brian
Ages: 14+

The Private series is a fun suspense/drama mix that centers around Reed, a blue-collar gal who gets a scholarship to Easton, one of the top boarding schools on the East Coast. She's way out of her league here since almost every student is super rich or famous, or both. The dorm to be in is Billings House, and the "Billings Girls" are the creme de la creme of the already fabulous. Reed will do anything to get into Billings, and let me tell you, these girls really make her work for it. I don't want to go too much into what this particular book is about so as not to ruin the series for anyone picking it up, but there's always a juicy mystery or two going on (frequently involving a murder), and Reed gets herself into some crazy situations. This series is definitely a PG-13 one though.

Legacy
By Kate Brian
Ages: 14+

If I
wasn't already a huge fan I might have been put off by this one. I've always liked Reed, even though she doesn't always make the choices I think she should, but in this one, she really turns into an unlikable girl. (The stuff she does to her boyfriend, Josh! Ack! How could she?) I strongly suspect that was Brian's plan, though, and now that Reed has learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely, she'll start her hard road back to being the likable her and correcting the mistakes she made this book. Although ow she's going to get out the mess she lands in at the end of Legacy is beyond me.

This week's books:
Ambition, Kate Brian
Revelation, Kate Brian

I also have a book to read for someone in my crit group, so there's a good chance I won't get either of these read this week. But I'm still reading, only something that won't be published until next year or so. (It's the second book to a series a friend of mine just published this past January, (Servant of the Underworld) Aztec noir. Very cool stuff.

And I heard about another cool book this morning that I threw on my wish list, called The Line, that sounds like it's right up my alley.

Future books:
Paradise Lost, Kate Brian
Privilege, Kate Brian
Black Angels, Linda Beatrice Brown
Jhegaala, Steven Brust
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Princess in the Spotlight, Meg Cabot
Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
Heist Society, Ally Carter
Empire, Orson Scott Card
A War of Gifts, Orson Scott Card
Deep Dark and Dangerous, Mary Downing Hahn
Deadtown, Nancy Holzner
Crank, Ellen Hopkins
Mainspring, Jay Lake
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Tomorrow, When the War Began, John Marsden
Gods of Manhattan, Scott Mebus
Hellgate London - Exodus, Mel Odom
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
Holes, Louis Sachar
Wicked, Sara Shepherd
Games of Command, Linnea Sinclair
The Harrowing, Alexandra Sokoloff
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Uglies, Scott Westerfield
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And the Name of Shifter Two is...

Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.

Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer -- if she doesn’t destroy it first.

This cover is near and dear to my heart, because I got to do something very few authors ever get to.

I designed my own cover. There's a full breakdown of the story over on the writing blog for those who want to know the nitty gritty behind it. There are also samples of the covers I mocked up to give to my editor. (I'd re-post here, but it always seem so silly to say the same thing on both blogs since a lot of folks read both).

I'm really excited about it, and can't wait to see the galley proofs. Since the cover is ready, I'm hoping they're full ARCs like The Shifter was, because those look like real live books. Somehow that makes it feel all the more real. And I get to squeeze them to my chest and jump up and down squealing in glee.

Yeah, I'm a goof.

Come Say Hello!

It just dawned on me that I forgot to tell y'all I was doing a book signing! (bad me)

So if you're in the Georgia area, come stop by tonight between 6 and 8pm at The Avenue Forsyth Barnes & Noble.

It's Exceptional Child Week this week, so there are lots going on with the local schools, and they'll be other events at B&N as well.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

2010 Book Challenge #5 & 6

It was a good reading week, as I finished two and got halfway through a third. (Traveling and staying in a hotel room gives you lots of time to read). Two excellent books, and I even got a few new ones to add to the list.

The Name of This Book is Secret
by Pseudonymous Bosch
Ages: 8+

This book surprised me, because I usually don't like books that break the fourth wall and talk directly to the reader. I often find them distracting. But Bosch really proves that if you do it well, you can do anything. His narrator tells you the secret tale of two kids (but he can't tell you their names, so he makes some up) in a town (that he can't tell you where it is, so he says to use your town) trying to find a terrible dangerous secret (which he doesn't want to tell you about, but he's so bad at keeping secret he just has to.)

Wonderful voice, great plot, delightful characters, this book was a treat to read. Clever and fun.


The Compound
by S.A. Bodeen
Ages: 14+

Had I not been presenting on a panel the next day and needed to be wide awake, I would have stayed up until the wee hours to finish this book in one sitting. It was so hard to put down. But I did wake up early to read the final chapters and was almost late for breakfast. This one's a major contender for favorite book of 2010, and I'm only a teeny way into my list.

When Eli is nine years old, his nuclear-war obsessed billionaire father rushes their entire family into the "Compound" the fallout shelter Dad built so his family could survive a nuclear attack. Six years later, things are not so great in the Compound and Eli faces some terrible choices. I'd say more, but I don't want to give anything away or it will ruin this fantastic book. This one might be a little intense for my younger readers out there.

This week's books:
Inner Circle, Kate Brian
Legacy, Kate Brian

Future books:
Ambition, Kate Brian
Revelation, Kate Brian
Paradise Lost, Kate Brian
Privilege, Kate Brian
Black Angels, Linda Beatrice Brown
Jhegaala, Steven Brust
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Princess in the Spotlight, Meg Cabot
Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
Heist Society, Ally Carter
Empire, Orson Scott Card
A War of Gifts, Orson Scott Card
Deep Dark and Dangerous, Mary Downing Hahn
Deadtown, Nancy Holzner
Crank, Ellen Hopkins
Mainspring, Jay Lake
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Tomorrow, When the War Began, John Marsden
Gods of Manhattan, Scott Mebus
Hellgate London - Exodus, Mel Odom
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff
Holes, Louis Sachar
Wicked, Sara Shepherd
Games of Command, Linnea Sinclair
The Harrowing, Alexandra Sokoloff
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Uglies, Scott Westerfield
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

Monday, March 1, 2010

Home Again

Hi all, I'm back!

I had a great time at the South Carolina Book Festival this past weekend. My husband and two friends of ours joined us, so we made a little weekend away out of it.

Saturday we wandered through the exhibitors hall and bought a few books, and got to meet author Faith Hunter. My husband's is a fan of hers, so he had a lot of fun talking with her. She was gracious and sweet and even gave out free jewelry with every book purchase. I got a pair of beautiful blue and purple stone earnings, my husband got the first book of her new series. And we hooked our friend on her current series. (and we got cool buttons that said "Have Stakes Will Travel")

Later that day I spoke at the YA panel with authors Gigi Amateau andLinda Beatrice Brown. It was a good panel since we're three very different authors in both stories and voice, so it interesting to see how we approached writing and storytelling. I'd already read Gigi's book, and I picked up Linda's book, Black Angels, a Civil War historical about three children walking from North Carolina to Virginia after their plantation is burned. Moderator Jane Zenger asked some great questions and kept the panel rolling. (And my husband was sweet enough to sit in the back so he wouldn't make me nervous)

L-R: Linda, me, Jane, and Gigi

We got to mingle with the other authors Saturday night at dinner, and then on to Sunday.

We didn't realize the Sunday panels started at 11:30 and not 10am like Saturday, so we were there way early and the convention center was closed. Our friend Rich suggested walking over to the local bookstore to kill time, so we happily agreed to follow. Little did we know it was 37 miles away, in 10 degree temperate, uphill both ways. (Okay, I'm exaggerating, it was more like six blocks and 43 degrees, but it was up hills and it was cold). When we got there, it turned out his phone had lied to us and there was no bookstore in sight, even though Google maps swore there was.

Me and my feet were not pleased.

Well, we couldn't exactly stand there shivering, so we hiked back to the convention center, ears frozen, noses dripping. By then the festival was open and they were selling coffee and tea, which we descended upon like attack piranhas. To punish Rich, we checked him into the coat check area until we forgave him. Best dollar we spent all weekend.

Rich in Time Out

Once we thawed, I had the second panel of the weekend, Science Fiction vs Fantasy: What's the Difference? with James O'Neal. This was another fun panel, even though moderator Curtis Rogers was a sci fi fan and I was outnumbered 2-1. But I held my own and represented fantasy admirably. I accidentally left my camera in the car, so I didn't get pictures of this one.

It turns out James is a regular at a mystery writers' conference called Sleuthfest, (he also writes crime novels under the name James O. Born) which happened to be the same weekend. A good friend of mine was at Sleuthfest, and she knows James, and wondered why he wasn't there this year. How funny that he was on a panel with me! Small world, huh?

Overall, the weekend was fun and I sold out of books the first day (yay!). It was a much quieter ride home since we were all exhausted (and my feet hurt), but I've recovered now.

I did read a great book while I was there, and I'll talk about that tomorrow with this week's Book Challenge Update.

Friday, February 26, 2010

South Carolina Book Festival

Just a reminder, I'm off today, hitting the road and heading for the Carolinas.

If you happen to be near Columbia, SC, I'll be speaking at the SC Book Festival February 27-28. You can find me on:

Saturday: 2:00 - 2:50
The YA panel with fellow authors Gigi Amateau andLinda Beatrice Brown

Sunday: 12:45 - 1:35
Science Fiction vs Fantasy: What's the Difference? with James O'Neal.

It looks like the festival will be a lot of fun. I always enjoy these and this will be the first time I'm on the other side of the table, whee!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Have I Mentioned How Much I Love Aylin?

I don't know what it is about her, but she gets the best lines in the book.

"But more inspirational," Aylin added. "And with feeling."

Can't wait till you guys actually see where that fits in the story. A third down, and I'm really liking how Shifter 3 is coming along so far.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Book Challenge

Well, last week was pretty busy so I didn't get much time to read. I'm only about a quarter of the way through The Name of This Book is Secret, but so far I'm enjoying it. Hopefully I'll have more time this week and can get caught up on my reading.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Mapping it Out

I got an email from my editor the other day, asking me if I wanted to do a map for Shifter 2. It's kinda funny, because I did one for book one, and while I did a rough "just so I knew where stuff was" map for S2, it never occurred to me to fancy it up and send it in.

For the record, my rough maps are taken by the publisher's nifty designers and made all pretty. I have decent skills at this, but they do maps for a living over there with all those fantasy books. It looked way cooler when they were done.

So I get to dive into map making again. It's fun, really, and it does make the world feel more real. I've been through this once now, so it'll be a lot easier and I have map one to use as a guide. There will be changes, of course, since I won't need all that water this time.



**Clever readers will spot the clue about book 2 in this post

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Book Challenge #3 & 4

I am so on a roll. Got two books read last week, too (yippie!)

First up was The Trouble With Magic
by Madelyn Alt.
Ages: Adult

Maggie is a gal who isn't happy with her life in a boring desk job, and when she gets fired, she ends up working for self-proclaimed witch, Felicity, at her antiques shop. When someone close to Felicity is murdered and she becomes the main suspect, Maggie is determined to prove her innocence. Maggie doesn't buy into the whole witch nonsense, except as things progress, she realizes she has more in common with the witches than she first thought.

This was a really cute cozy mystery that mixes witches and the occult with the real world in a more traditional way, which I thought was a nice twist. I know that sounds odd, but magic is often treated like an everyday thing in books, and there's often that "magical world" co-existing with the real world and the two don't really meet except for the protag. Alt approached it in a more realistic fashion, and that added to the mystery and helped the plot along. Maybe I'm just too used to fantasy since cozies is a genre I don't read much of, but I thought it was handled well and really added to the book.

Next up was Going Bovine
by Libba Bray
Ages: 14+

I've heard lots of good stuff about this book, so I was looking forward to this one. The voice is just fantastic and I loved her characters. This is an odd book to describe (those who read it know why) but I'll do my best.

Cameron is a high school student who discovers he has mad cow disease. He winds up in the hospital, and ends up on a road trip to find the cure with a dwarf, a punk rock angel and a garden gnome. The story branches off into a surreal trip and Bray masterfully mixes things from Cameron's life into it, so at first, you just don't know if this trip is for real or if it's just a hallucination in Cameron's Swiss-cheesed brain.

I've never read the Gemma Doyle series because I'm not a historical reader, but after seeing Bray's writing I'll have to give them a try. And it turns out there's a supernatural element to them, so they weren't what I thought anyway!

This week's books:

The Name of This Book is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch
Inner Circle, Kate Brian

Future books:
Legacy, Kate Brian
Ambition, Kate Brian
Revelation, Kate Brian
Paradise Lost, Kate Brian
Privilege, Kate Brian
Jhegaala, Steven Brust
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Princess in the Spotlight, Meg Cabot
Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
Heist Society, Ally Carter
Empire, Orson Scott Card
A War of Gifts, Orson Scott Card
Deep Dark and Dangerous, Mary Downing Hahn
Deadtown, Nancy Holzner
Crank, Ellen Hopkins
Mainspring, Jay Lake
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Gods of Manhattan, Scott Mebus
Hellgate London - Exodus, Mel Odom
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
Holes, Louis Sachar
Wicked, Sara Shepherd
Games of Command, Linnea Sinclair
The Harrowing, Alexandra Sokoloff
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Uglies, Scott Westerfield
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Festival Time

I'll be traveling a bit over the next few months, heading up (and then down) to a few book festivals. I love book festivals, so I'm going to have a blast.

If you happen to be near Columbia, SC the end of the month, I'll be speaking at the SC Book Festival February 27-28. You can find me on:

Saturday: 2:00 - 2:50
The YA panel with fellow authors Gigi Amateau andLinda Beatrice Brown

Sunday: 12:45 - 1:35
Science Fiction vs Fantasy: What's the Difference? with James O'Neal.

Then I'm zipping down to Orlando, FL for The University of Central Florida Book Festival on April 16-17. I don't know what or when yet, but I'll let ya'll know when I do.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2010 Book Challenge #1 & 2

Week One: Two books down, yippie! Okay, yes, I did cheat a little since I was halfway through the first, but I'm still taking the victory. So, what did I think about them?

The Curse of the Bane
by Joseph Delaney
Ages: 12+

This is the second book in The Last Apprentice series. I really enjoy these tales because they're dark and spooky and have a delightful creep factor. The illustrations are beautiful and really add to the mood of the books.

In this one, Spook's apprentice Tom had to deal with an evil entity called the Bane, which is trapped in the catacombs beneath the cathedral in a city called Prieststown. Priests don't take kindly to Spooks or their apprentices, so there's danger from both sides for poor Tom. He gets in over his head (with a little help from a "is she good or is she evil" witch named Alice, who we met in book one. Alice is a fun character, as you never know which side of the coin she'll fall on. She's apt to do something bad as much as good, and that keeps you guessing. Tom has to make some tough choices that make you really admire the guy. I'll be buying the next in the series for sure.

A Certain Strain of Peculiar
by Gigi Amateau
Ages: 12+

This is a book I first head about when I was at the SIBA trade show last fall. I met the author and we exchanged books right before the big book signing. This is a book I'd probably never have picked up otherwise, because I usually read genre and this is a quieter, more literary coming-of-age tale. It probably never would have crossed my radar.

I'm glad I traded with Gigi, though, because this was a lovely book. 13 year old Mary Harold Woods is the daughter of wild child Bye (short for Tabythia), who left her small home town of Wren, Alabama and never told anyone who Mary's father was. Mary has a rough time at school because she's a bit peculiar, and has regular panic attacks where she thinks she's dying. She can't take it any more and one night she steals her mom's old truck and drives over 600 miles by herself to her grandmother's in Wren. She talks Mom into leaving her there for the summer, hoping she'll be able to convince her to move back so they can both start over. She has quite a few adventures and turns herself from a too-scared-to-stand-up-for-herself girl into a strong defender of the underdog (with a quick stop at being a bit of a bully). Lessons are learned and secrets are revealed, and you really fall for the Woods gals, from Mary, to her mom, to her feisty grandmother, Ayma.

The voice in this is wonderful, and it really captures the flavor of the South. I read it with a Southern accent because it just naturally read that way. I'd pick up another one of Gigi Amateau's books.

So now we're on to this week's books. I counted my To-Read shelf and have 31 books, not counting some of the ones I just ordered (three I'm still waiting on). I usually just put the new ones on the shelf and grab randomly when I'm in the mood for a book, but I think I'll go through these more systematically for this challenge. I'll read them alphabetically by author. That lets me shuffle them and mix in the new ones and not have to wait eight months to read my new stuff -grin-. It also puts some old ones that have been there a while closer to the front.

There are some books not on the list that I've been waiting for, and those will get slipped in ahead of the weekly ones. Like Ally Carter's Heist Society comes out tomorrow, and I KNOW I'll be buying that right away and reading it. I'll be doing the same thing with Gallagher Girls Four, Only the Good Spy Young, come June. I'm sure others will pop up that I can't wait to read.

Here's the list for those curious (there's a mix of YA and adult):

This week's books:
The Trouble With Magic, Madelyn Alt
Going Bovine, Libba Bray

Future books:
The Name of This Book is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch
Inner Circle, Kate Brian
Legacy, Kate Brian
Ambition, Kate Brian
Revelation, Kate Brian (while doing the links I saw I missed one of this series! Must buy by the time I get here)
Paradise Lost, Kate Brian
Privilege, Kate Brian
Jhegaala, Steven Brust
The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
Princess in the Spotlight, Meg Cabot
Princess in Love, Meg Cabot
Empire, Orson Scott Card
A War of Gifts, Orson Scott Card
Deep Dark and Dangerous, Mary Downing Hahn
Deadtown, Nancy Holzner
Crank, Ellen Hopkins
Mainspring, Jay Lake
How to Ditch Your Fairy, Justine Larbalestier
Gods of Manhattan, Scott Mebus
Hellgate London - Exodus, Mel Odom
The Adoration of Jenna Fox, Mary E. Pearson
The Scent of Shadows, Vicki Pettersson
Holes, Louis Sachar
Wicked, Sara Shepherd
Games of Command, Linnea Sinclair
The Harrowing, Alexandra Sokoloff
It's Kind of a Funny Story, Ned Vizzini
Uglies, Scott Westerfield
Spin, Robert Charles Wilson

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Reader Questions #2

Q: Did you have all have the ending of the third book thought up when you started book one? Or did the ending come later?

When I first started The Shifter there was no third book planned, so technically no, I didn't know the ending. -grin- It was supposed to be one single book, and I did know the ending to that. It was vague, more of a "she beats the bad guys and saves the day" type ending, but I had enough of an idea of where it was going to sit down and write it. But about halfway through the first draft I could see a larger story developing and where I could take Nya in future books. I could make this a trilogy and show that larger story. By the time I was done with book one, I knew basically how book three had to end, but no details on how that would happen.

I have a better idea now since I'm a few chapters into book three at the moment, but I still don't know exactly what Nya's going to do. I have that general idea of what she needs to do, but she surprises me all the time in how she decides to do things.

And is Kione going to join the rest of the gang in book 2? and is Lanelle going to be in the other books?

Kione isn't in book two, though you will see him again in book three. Lanelle makes a brief appearance in two, and will be back in book three as well.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Mmmmm...Books

I've had two bookstore gift cards on my desk since Christmas, so I figured it was time I used them. Since I get asked a lot what books I like to read, I thought it might be fun to show ya'll what I bought.

Since I had two cards at two different stores, I used one to get books on my wish list that I haven't gotten to yet, so some of these have been out a while. The other I used the "also liked" feature to find books I didn't know about. The online version of browsing, I guess.

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
I've been hearing amazing things about this book. The first line sold me. The voice is just fantastic and makes you want to read on. I haven't read anything by Libba Bray yet, but people rave about her, so it's time I find out what she's all about.







Deep Dark and Dangerous by Mary Downing Hahn
I found this one when I was doing some research on suspense/thriller novels, looking at spooky books. I love creepy mysteries where you just don't know what the secret is, so this should be a lot of fun.








The Adoration of Jenna Fox, by Mary E. Pearson
This is another book that everyone was talking about. Creepy, a slight sci fi bent (I think) to it. Another with a cool mystery with lots of twists and turns. I really love books like this and Deep Dark, and I wish I could write one like it. I'll probably try one soon (hence part of my "research") since I have an idea brewing. Of course, that's after Shifter 3 is done.

By the way, doesn't this cover rock? I like this much better than the hardcover.



The Compound, by S Bodeen
I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic/end-of-the-world futures, so this looked really cool, and the opening pages were good. A totally random choice, found because it came up in a "might like" under the Jenna Fox book, so I started my next search with it.






How I Live Now, By Meg Rosoff
And I might as well continue the trend and find some more end-of-the-world stories. This one isn't quite that, but a future war with teens trying to survive is close enough to make me happy.








Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Another war one, teens come back from a camping trip to find the country's been invaded. There are seven of these in the series, so I really hope the first is good. I'm always looking to find a great series I can really get into.







So that's it for my shopping trip today. I'm not sure when I'll get to these since I already have about 15 books on my To-Read list. Writing Shifter 2 really took a lot of time last year, so my reading suffered and I didn't get to read nearly as many books as I wanted to.

You know what? I saw a bunch of "100 Books in a Year" posts by a lot of bloggers out there, so I think I'm going to try for something similar this year. I think 100 books is a bit ambitious, but 50 is probably doable.

So, my overly ambitious goal: Two books a week.

My more realistic goal: One book a week.

I'm currently almost done with The Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney, so I'm going to cheat all call that book one! Next up after that...








A Certain Strain of Peculiar by Gigi Amateau

Let's see if I can read both by Sunday night. I'll talk about them on Monday, and let you know what is on the list for that week.

And feel free to tell me what you're reading and recommend stuff.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things That Don't Work on Your Editor

EDITOR: Why is Nya doing blah blah blah in this scene instead of blah blah blah?

ME: Um... Because I said so?

EDITOR: Nope, try again.

ME: --bangs head on keyboard trying to think up a good reason--


"Because I said so" works for mom's, why not writers? Not fair. Totally not fair.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ask Away

It dawned on me that I've opened the blog up to questions on The Other Side of the Story, but I've never done that here. So...

What's on your mind?

Anyone got any questions for me?

Ask away!


NOTE: As questions come in, I'll answer them but keep this post on top for the week.

Reader Questions #1

Q: How have you approached outlining your series? In other words did you give it directions early on OR have you let it find its own way?

Good timing on this question since I've been blogging all about this on the other blog. But for those who don't need that much info, I'm a light outliner. I like to have a solid structure for the major events of the story to give me direction, but then I like to let the story itself happen organically. I like to say I always know where I'm going, but rarely how I'll get there.

I did not have the entire series outlined from the start. I didn't even have more than a general idea of books two and three until I needed more detail for my agent. She had to give potential editors a synopsis of those books when she was submitting the novel. I did a two-page synopsis for book two, and a half page synopsis for book three.

I knew the bare bones for books two and three, but until I wrote the books, I didn't know how those key pieces would play out. For example, I know "Nya defeats the bad guy" but no clue how. Or "Nya uncovers the truth about X" and I just point her at the guy keeping the secret until she finds it.

Connections always show up as I write and my subconscious does a pretty good job and putting things together. I also uncover things as I write, then have to go back and put in the groundwork for it. (which is actually a post planned next week on the writing blog).

I find it's a lot easier to have a firm understand of my characters and their goals (and motives) and then putting them in a situation and seeing what they do. They always come up with more interesting things that what I think up.

So yep, you were right, there is a balance of the two.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Good Stuff

Writers lead strange lives. We live in make believe worlds, and we're a bit like time travelers, existing in lives and worlds that no one else will experience for a while.

I just started working in Shifter 3. Shifter 2 is written, but won't be released for nine or ten months, and Shifter 1 is has barely toddled its way into the world. I'm learning about things that for my readers, haven't happened yet. And sometimes, that really stinks.

Because I wrote a scene this morning that I truly love. It actually made me tear up. It was perfect for Nya and exactly the kind of things she'd do in this situation, and I can't tell anybody.

Fall 2011 can't come fast enough.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hard to Wait

I'm very excited this morning. I got to see a black and white sketch for the cover of Shifter 2! I can't say anything more yet, but it looks super cool and I love the theme building for the series.

While I can't show the sketch off (yet!), I can show you some other illustrations by the artist. His name is Brandon Dorman and I love his work. His use of color is just amazing. He did The Shifter as well, so you can trust the next one will be just as beautiful.

I can't wait!

Talking About It

There's a fun interview (and review) with me over at Writing it Out. Good stuff there, so stay awhile and check it out! (and a big welcome to those coming here from that blog)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Holidays Are Officially Over. Almost.

I took the Christmas decorations down yesterday. -sigh-

I left them up a little longer this year since I'd been sick and didn't get them up as early as I usually do (Thanksgiving weekend). I still need to do the tree today, but then it's back to house as usual. It's kinda sad, because the house looks so pretty with the decorations up, and it always feels so pale after. Something about all that green and red and garland and stuffed toys make the place seem so rich and vibrant.

At least we still have snow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Cool Thing (Literally) to Wake Up To

I walk into my kitchen to make some tea, and what do I see outside my window?

Snow!

I took these through the window while the water was boiling, but then I had to bundle up and go outside. (These shots are of the back yard and the woods behind the house)

First, I crunched down the front steps...

Then past my flowerbed with the birdbath, and it always tickles me when it's frozen over. I can't help picturing little ice skating birdies. (Yes, I know I'm weird).

I wanted to get a shot of the house, so I headed down the driveway... (and by the way, this is the view from my office window. Just lower since my office is on the second floor)

Along the way, I discovered I wasn't the first to be out in the snow this morning...

A whole line of kitty prints ran from the side of the house and off the driveway. Poor kitty! Mine are sleeping on the heat vents and they aren't even outside.

At the end of the drive, I turned around and..

Saw my house all covered in snow! (that's my office window there above the garage)

I know a lot of the country is buried in this stuff right now, and it's nothing new or exciting to them, but as a Florida gal who never saw snow at all until a few years ago, THIS IS AWESOME! It's a totally new experience for me. We had snow a few years ago for three whole glorious days, but none since then. The sun is up now and I'm sure it'll all melt away by this afternoon, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Sneak Peak. In the Beginning...

As promised, here's a sneak peek at the opening of Shifter 2...


Responsibility was overrated. Sure, it sounded good--take control of your life, make your own choices--but that also meant you had to pay for your own mistakes. And if your life and choices hadn't gone the way you'd planned, well, then your mistakes might reach deeper than your pockets could afford.

I hoped mine we deep enough for the mess I'd caused.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cool Things About Georgia Winters

The soda you grab from the garage storage shelf is already cold.

Snow (when it falls) doesn't stick to the street, so it looks cool on the flowerbeds and yards but doesn't have to be shoveled.

You can wear coats, hats, and scarves.

Above coats don't have to be so huge they make you look like a stuffed toy.

Fireplaces.

Very snuggly cats trying to stay warm in your lap.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Brand New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe it's 2010 already. Where did the time go?

2010 is going to be a busy year for me. I need to dive into Shifter 3, finish copy edits and whatever else my editor wants me to do on Shifter 2 as they come in this month, and continue to promote and talk about Shifter. The first half of the year is going to be packed, but it'll also be a lot of fun.

I didn't do any New Year's Resolutions at midnight, but thinking now, there are some things I'd like to do this year.

1. Blog more regularly.

2. Remember to take out the trash on trash day every week.

3. Exercise more.

4. Get organized.

5. Carve out more time for fun when I'm on deadline. (hence the get organized part so I'll be able to do this)

Up until recently, my resolutions every year were always "get something published" and "do what makes me happy." Pretty much nailed those, so it's time for something a bit more constructive.

So how about ya'll? Setting any goals for yourselves this year?