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I am so happy to be part of the cover reveal for a brand new novel by Terry Lynn Johnson. Here it is.About the book:Sometimes I wish I could trade places with the dogs. They only have to worry about running and eating. They love fiercely and don’t worry about things they can’t control. And when someone dies, they can sit on top of their house, throw their head back and howl.
Please help me congratulate Terry on such a wonderful cover!
ICE DOGS by Terry Lynn Johnson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 14, 2014)
That’s how 14-year-old dogsledder Victoria Secord as felt ever since her father dies. A champion musher, Victoria is independent, self-reliant, and thanks to her father, an expert in surviving the unforgiving Alaskan bush. When an injured “city boy” and a freak snow storm both catch Victoria and her dog team by surprise, however, a routine trip becomes a life or death trek through the frozen wilderness. As temperatures drop and food stores run out, Victoria must find a way to save them all in this high stakes, high adventure middle grade novel of endurance, hope and finding your way back home.
Hi! Today I am thrilled to feature debut author Kay Honeyman!About the book:A fiery and romantic adventure, perfect for fans of Grace Lin, Kristen Cashore, or Lisa See!
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse -- the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls, said to make them stubborn, willful, and far too imaginative. But while her family despairs of marrying her off, she has a passionate heart and powerful dreams, and wants only to find a way to make them come true.
Then a young man named Sterling Promise comes to their village to offer Jade Moon and her father a chance to go to America. While Sterling Promise's smooth manners couldn't be more different from her own impulsive nature, Jade Moon falls in love with him on the long voyage. But America in 1923 doesn't want to admit many Chinese, and when they are detained at Angel Island, the "Ellis Island of the West," she discovers a betrayal that destroys all her dreams. To get into America, much less survive there, Jade Moon will have to use all her stubbornness and will to break a new path . . . one as brave and dangerous as only a Fire Horse girl can imagine.
Thank you so much for being here today, Kay!
*****PJHoover: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do, and who or what inspires you?KayH:
I am an eighth-grade English teacher at Highland Park Middle School and an author. My debut novel The Fire Horse Girl
came out this January. I have two children, a five-year-old boy and a twenty-two month old girl. Both of them are adopted from China and their culture and immigration experience inspired me to write The Fire Horse Girl
I am also inspired by the readers and writers in my room. They energize me and make me want to read more so that I can share great books with them and write characters and stories that hopefully resonate with them. PJHoover: What were your goals when you first started working with kids and books, and how has that vision changed now that some time has gone by?KayH:
I have always loved reading, and but I wasn’t always smart about how I shared that that love of reading with kids. Early in my career I thought that I was the expert on quality books. As the expert, I expected kids to follow my lead. At some point it dawned on me that I love reading because I found stories that I loved, not stories my teachers loved or my parents loved or even my friends loved. Now I know my job is not to make them read the books I love but to help them find their own stories to fall in love with.PJHoover: You’ve run into an old classmate from high school and you tell them THE FIRE HORSE GIRL just came out. They ask what it’s about. What do you say?KayH:
It is about Jade Moon, a girl born under the sign of the Fire Horse — the worst sign in the Chinese zodiac for girls. She leaves China and travels through Angel Island (the so-called Ellis Island of the West) and onto the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1923. Jade Moon is trying to find freedom, but instead she finds disappointment, danger and deception. Eventually that helps her find her own strength and herself.
I also might make-up some cool-sounding award (“And it just won a Stackholm”) in case they weren’t impressed enough yet.PJHoover: I love hearing happy publication stories. Can you tell us the path to publication for THE FIRE HORSE GIRL?KayH:
I wrote a draft of The Fire Horse Girl
while I was waiting to adopt our first child from China. I wanted to understand the emotions of leaving a home and coming to America. By the time we were matched with a beautiful three-year-old boy, I was beginning to submit to agents. Rosemary Stimola (a far better agent than I deserve, but I try not to mention that to her too often for fear she’ll find out it’s true) wrote back and said that the book had promise but it was unfinished. I realized she was right, so I got back to work. The first draft ended as Jade Moon left Angel Island, but her story and struggled would not end there. I finished the story, continuing it into her time in San Francisco.
When it came time to finding a publisher, all I ever wanted was someone who would bring this book to its full potential. I don’t always get what I wish for, but I’m glad I did this time. Cheryl Klein (again, way out of my league), executive editor at Arthur A. Levine, picked it up. Cheryl is a meticulous editor with a strong sense of story and character. Readers can thank her for helping me take everything bad out and made everything good shine. Seriously…they should send flowers.
Kay and her son Jack at a signingPJHoover: What has been the biggest surprise since you've entered the world of books for kids and teens?KayH:
I was surprised by how much kids dive into the world of stories for escape. It is such a healthy way to take a break from their hectic lives. I often focus on the aesthetics of reading – a beautiful line or phrase. But I don’t think I can overestimate how much my kids value slipping out of their life and into a fictional one for an hour or two. PJHoover: How do you see reading changing for teens in the next couple years? What challenges do you see? And what can we do to help?KayH:
I am optimistic about reading for teens. As long as great authors keep producing great books, teens will read them.
I am very concerned about an increasing willingness to cut school library budgets or even (and this one keeps me up at night) close them completely to save money. Libraries are the very heart and soul of a school. It would be like removing a building’s foundation because there is sometimes an upkeep cost and ignoring that fact that you will lose the structural integrity of the rest of the building. Schools need libraries and those libraries need books and staff.
I’m not sure what to do about it. I should probably go ask my school librarians. They have a gift for finding solutions.PJHoover: Finish this sentence, and tell us why. Writing is a lot like…KayH:
…a rugby game. You feel bruised and battered and like you might have a minor concussion, but you also feel like you are on top of the world, and you’ll be back for more at the next game.PJHoover: What is next? WIPs? Future publications? Please tell all!KayH:
I am working on my second book. It is set in West Texas so it’s full of politics, power plays, and Friday Night Football. PJHoover: What has been your favorite experience as an author thus far?KayH:
One of my students was reading my book in class one Friday. She chose it on her own, and I know how carefully my students choose their books, so that was an honor already. I was nervously watching her face like I have watched students reading their book in my class for years. You can always tell who has a book they love and who is slogging through a story. Her face would ripple with emotion as she held the book close. That was the best feeling. PJHoover: Please share your favorite inspirational thought!KayH:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” (Marianne Williamson). So true!PJHoover: Would you consider yourself a Sweetheart or a Scoundrel?KayH:
Like most Texas women I am a sweetheart who will charm a scoundrel when she needs to.
Kay Honeyman grew up in Fort Worth, Texas and attended Baylor University, graduating with a Bachelors and Masters in English Language and Literature. Her first novel, The Fire Horse Girl, comes out in January 2013. It is being published by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic. She currently teaches middle school and lives in Dallas, Texas.
Guys, I have been wanted to read this book ever since I first met Miriam! And it's so funny because a while back I had a chance to read the first ten or twenty pages, and it stuck with me until now. I was elated when Miriam announced her book deal news!Here are Five Things I have to Say About CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS:
CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS by Miriam Forster (February 5, 2013, HarperTeen)
1) I have to start off by saying that Miriam is a friend. That totally has nothing to do with my opinion of the book! I would have wanted to read this regardless. It is lovely, just lovely!
2) Can we just talk about the cover for a second? This is epic! And so unique! It draws the reader completely in, and I think teens, both fans of epic fantasy and not will agree.
3) Talking cats! Well, kind of. I mean, they talk in Nisha's mind telepathically. And the thing about these cats is that they're real characters in the story. We care about them and we love how protective they are of Nisha!
4) The world created by Forster is deep and rich and real. It's not all happy sunshine and roses. There are true hardships and realities in this world. Realities we don't want to see happen to our main character. And knowing these are dangers and possibilities makes it all the more fully developed.5) CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS is right up the alley of those interested in rich fantasy worlds. It should completely appeal to readers who loved GRAVE MERCY, SHADOW AND BONE, and GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. Highly recommended for (mostly) girls, 6th grade and up!
Source of book: From publisher by request
*****About the book:The girl with no past, and no future, may be the only one who can save their lives.
Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a little girl. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. She makes her way as Matron's errand girl, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city's handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.
Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls' deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but also her life.
So I finally got around to updating the book trailer for SOLSTICE! Woot!
Enjoy! And thanks for watching :)
It was back to the Lodge o' Death for a writing retreat earlier this month. Sure, we all turn up with thoughts on what we're going to work on, but part of being an author is being flexible. Like getting last minute revision notes and working on that instead of the planned activity. Still, when it comes to writing, there is no where else I'd rather be than off in the woods with some my favorite writing gals, pouring out the words.
(For my last retreat post, check here.)
Retreaters without antlers
Bottom (L to R): Jenny Moss, Christine (her daughter), Nikki Loftin, and Bethany Hegedus
Center (L to R): P. J. Hoover (me), Cory Putman Oakes, Kari Anne Holt, Jessica Lee Anderson, and Stephanie Pellegrin
Top (L to R): Sam Clark, Jo Whittemore, Salima Alikhan, Vanessa Lee, and Madeline Smoot
Retreaters with antlersHighlights from the retreat include...
A gorgeous sunrise on the drive there!
A great location and perfect weather!The right people make the retreat what it is!
Fun writer peeps to hang with!
L to R: Madeline Smoot, Jessica Lee Anderson, Stephanie Pellegrin, and Kari Anne Holt
And more fun peeps!
L to R: Christine (Jenny's daughter), Nikki Loftin, Jenny Moss Food is a completely important part of any retreat!
Fruit! The Lodge o' Death isn't called The Lodge o' Death for nothing. Sorry, baby deer.
sniff, sniffOther fun activities include chatting, reading, walking, yoga, and Zumba!
Evening chatting and readings! with Cory Putman Oakes and Kari
After lunch with Jessica, Kari, and Stephanie
The whole crew (minus me) at the giant table
These were the creepiest cows in the world!
And this sink gives me nightmares. I worry it will come alive.
A diorama of a deer with sea shells (with Stephanie)Thanks, Lodge o' Death, for another great retreat!
IT'S THE NEXT BIG THING!
Well, it's an awesome meme that encourages authors to talk about their next big thing and then pass on the love.I've been tagged by two awesome authors, both Texas gals:Joy Preble
, author of the DREAMING ANASTASIA books and the upcoming THE SWEET DEAD LIFE
(Soho Press, May 14, 2013), andJordan Dane
, author of a bunch of books (so many I can't even name them) and the brand new, now available, INDIGO AWAKENING
(Harlequin Teen, December 18, 2012)
Thank you, guys, for the tags!
*****Rules for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop if you’re tagged:
1. Use this format for your post
2. Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)
3. Tag some other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them. What is your working title of your book?
*****Where did the idea come from for your book?
, the idea came from mythology. SOLSTICE
isn't a myth retelling. It's more a "what happens next." I've always loved the ideas of the gods and goddesses and would love to know more about what they are doing now. So I wrote a book and told my own story!What genre does your book fall under?
Paranormal/Dystopian/Mythology/Romance Teen Young Adult
(which I realize is not one genre) Which actors would you choose to portray your characters in the movie version of your book?
Seriously, I have no idea. This is why I'm not a casting person. People get paid lots of money to decide this very question. And anyway, all the actors I like are like a billion years old by now. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I kind of like how my agent summarized it in the PM deal announcement:SOLSTICE is a near-future global heating crisis and a Texas teen who uncovers the strange untold ending of the Persephone myth, only to find that she is part of the story -- and that her choices in love, in family, and in friendship will determine the destiny of her world.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?SOLSTICE
is being published by Tor Teen (editor Susan Chang) and was represented by my agent, Laura Rennert.How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
18 days! This is crazy short, but the story really flowed well. It was kind of magical.What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?SOLSTICE
is like what happens when MATCHED
meets THE LIGHTNING THIEF
.Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I'm going to go back to sixth grade and say that the book MYTHOLOGY
by Edith Hamilton inspired me to write SOLSTICE
!What else about your book might pique reader’s interest?
Well, the official jacket copy is pretty enticing, so I'll go with that:Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom.
Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.Tag, you’re it, MADELINE SMOOT! Enjoy!
This photo pretty much sums all the happy things! Woot! Woot!
SOLSTICE at ALA Midwinter!
Happy Friday! Hope you're all having a lovely week!
Here are my five:
1) Why do I love Texas? Because it's like 70 degrees out right now. I'm wearing a tank top. I think I got a suntan while driving today. I know, you all want to move here, right?
2) I had a blast this week visiting Taylor Middle School! They gave me an incredible welcome and were awesome listeners. You know what makes an author visit a success? Awesome librarians and awesome teachers talking about the books and the author to the kids ahead of time and getting them excited about it! Thank you, Taylor!
Love the transformation of the white board!
Me with librarian Renee DeHoyos!3) As it turns out, I am our Girl Scout Troop's cookie coordinator this year.
Sounds, scary, I know. And it's my first time selling girl scout cookies in some horrible amount of years. After a week and a half in, here's what I've discovered:
4) This week, I also had the great opportunity to interview A. G. Howard, author of SPLINTERED over on The Enchanted Inkpot
- Girl Scout cookies sell themselves. No hand-selling required.
- Thin mints are delicious! How could I have gone so many years without eating them?
- It's not a difficult job as long as I stay organized and on top of things.
- You know girl scout cookies are called different things in different parts of the country?
- Nobody wants the new, "healthy" cookie. Bring on the thin mints.
! If you get a minute, pop over and check out all the awesome things she had to say. And buy her book because it is awesome! 5) Have I given a Wizard101 update in a while?
What, I haven't? Okay, here it is. I am now level 55
! Seriously, so cool, right? And look how very awesome I look, too.
That's it for me! Happy weekend!
I consider myself a super lucky gal that I got a chance to read the latest book by Austinite Cynthia Leitich Smith early! There is nothing like a book delivery from the UPS guy to make my day!
FERAL NIGHTS by Cynthia Leitich Smith (Candlewick, February 12, 2013)
Here are Five Things I have to Say About FERAL NIGHTS:
1) The wit and humor that Cynthia manages to pull off each and every time she writes a book amazes me. I find myself laughing out loud in the most unexpected places as a perfectly placed bit of humor slips into her story. What makes it so perfect is the fact that it is never overdone. Just the right amount at just the right time!
2) Character banter.* I've mentioned it before, but this is something I absolutely adore. The right character banter from the right characters to create the perfect tension, be it among friends or potential romantic interests, is something I would love to be able to pull off this well. Cynthia does it will a skill that is enviable.
3) FERAL NIGHTS
starts off on one course, and as I was reading, I was sure that was exactly where we were going to stay. But then, right in the middle of everything, right when I think I know what is going to happen, everything changes. We're whisked away to a whole new place to confront entirely new problems. I think the way this switch shows how different the problems are (and which are of the higher concern) is brilliant. It's like revenge switched to basic survival. What's a character to do?
4) So Cynthia manages to pull together all the mythical creatures of her past novels and then some. You're wondering what, aren't you? Like what is there besides were-creatures and vampires and the like?
Seeing as how that would be a complete spoiler, I'm not going to tell you. Suffice it to say, that my initial impression was, "OMG no way," and as I read on and on, I found it completely works. Well done!
5) Overall, FERAL NIGHTS
was a highly enjoyable read! Have no worries if you've never read any of Cynthia's books before. This book can be picked up and read at any time, no reading order required. It will appeal to fans of Cynthia's other books, and I also think those paranormal fans looking for a bit of a lighter read will enjoy it, too (due to the fun humor). It's engaging, well-crafted, and a pleasure! Highly recommended!
*Some of my all-time favorite character banter being from THE SCORPION KING 2. Yes, groan all you want to, the the banter in this movie made it great entertainment.
Source of book: From publisher by request
About FERAL NIGHTS
:Fans of the Tantalize quartet will thrill to see werepossum Clyde and other favorite secondary characters — plus all-new ones — take to the fore in book one of an all-new series.
When sexy, free-spirited werecat Yoshi tracks his sister, Ruby, to Austin, he discovers that she is not only MIA, but also the key suspect in a murder investigation. Meanwhile, werepossum Clyde and human Aimee have set out to do a little detective work of their own, sworn to avenge the brutal killing of werearmadillo pal Travis. When all three seekers are snared in an underground kidnapping ring, they end up on a remote island inhabited by an unusual (even by shifter standards) species and its cult of worshippers. Their hosts harbor a grim secret: staging high-profile safaris for wealthy patrons with evil pedigrees, which means that at least one newcomer to the island is about to be hunted. As both wereprey and werepredator fight to stay alive, it’s up to mild-mannered Clyde — a perennial sidekick — to summon the hero within. Can he surprise even himself?
I had every intention to blog about the fantastic writing retreat I just went on last weekend until I saw Jordan Dane's awesome post from Friday. And it made me realize that even though I have a bunch of resolutions sitting around in my head, it's been a while since I've truly considered what my writing resolutions are. And it's important to distinguish writing versus publishing resolutions here. These are two very different things.
If you're planning on coming up with a list for yourself, consider the answers to these questions:
What kind of writer do I want to be?
How would I want people to describe me as a writer?
If I could revise my writing life, what would I do?
So, thanks to Jordan, here are my top three WRITING resolutions for 2013!
1) Remember when it was all about the writing? There was no marketing and no publicity and no submissions or queries. It was just me and the pages. I loved seeing them fill up with pretty words. And sure, there is more on my plate now, but that's no excuse to let go of the joy of actually putting the fingers to the keyboard and letting the words flow. So I vow to celebrate the writing, even...
2) ...when it gets hard. The better I get, the worse I get. I find myself criticizing every scowl and nod. I'm sure every piece of dialogue I type out is flat. I hit the middle of the story and get tempted by a new, shiny idea. All these signs point to the same thing. I'm getting better, and therefore I'm getting worse. If writing were easy, everyone would do it. Everyone would have a book. But they don't, and only those that stick to it, day after day, will succeed. Which leads me to...
3) ...the day after day thing. Nothing used to get in the way of my writing. An hour. Maybe two. If I had to miss a night, I got cranky. I saw my schedule slipping. I got even more cranky. That is what I intend to get back to (well, not so much the cranky part, but the writing part). Every day, I vow to make progress in my story, be it first drafting, revisions, or final edits. We've heard it a million times, but perhaps that isn't enough. Write every day.
So in summary (and in haiku)...
I'll write every day,
Even when it gets sucky,
and I'll enjoy it.
(I googled every
to check on the syllable count. It is 2.)
You know those books you buy with every intention of reading, and then, for whatever reason, you just never pick them up to read, and then, when you finally do, years later, you're like why the heck did I wait so long to read this book? Yeah, that.
LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen, April 29, 2008)
Here are Five Things I have to Say About LITTLE BROTHER:
1) I am kind of awed at how intense the main character, Marcus', emotions are. No matter what his situation, he acts exactly like how I would expect a teen boy to act, from the moments when he is taken by Homeland Security to his interactions with the two girls in his life, it's all real, all teen, all the time.
2) The book is the perfect mix of scary and humorous and intriguing. It's scary, because seriously frightening things happen to Marcus. It's humorous because the main characters and their interactions were so real, they truly made me laugh. And it's intriguing because there are so many interesting things to be learned.
3) Which kind of brings up my next point. Or the same point. I learned so many different things. It was kind of like a layer of CRYPTONOMICON learning. Like after reading that book, I felt like I could get at least ten different degrees. With LITTLE BROTHER it was the same sort of thing but much more focused. Lots of smarts hidden inside.
4) So silly, but yes, this cover completely works for me. And even more importantly, this cover completely works for the book. It's just that cool and unique and awesome. Like the cover? You'll like the book.
5) The book edge a bit upward on my scale of what age it's right for, so I'll go with 7th grade and up (as opposed to my normal 6th grade for lots of YA). Boys and girls will both enjoy it, with those interested in geeky things like computers (like me) and hacking and conspiracy theory at the front of the list. Highly recommended and totally worthwhile!
Source of book: purchased
About LITTLE BROTHER
:Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.
But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.
When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.
And just for the record, I am totally excited for the sequel, HOMELAND
(Tor Teen, February 5, 2013).
If you haven’t heard of YAK Fest, then listen up. It’s the newest (and hippest) YA book festival in Texas. And we want YOU to come. Here’s the deal, it’s free fun entertainment and you just might make a new friend or two. Maybe even get your picture taken with your favorite author. So, check out the 411 below and COME.
Panels of AWESOME Breakdown:
Keeping It Real – Jessica Lee Anderson, Charles Benoit, Chris Crutcher (afternoon only), Simone Elkeles, Guadalupe Garica McCall, Jessica Warman, Lori Aurelia Williams and Shannon Greenland
This is Not Normal– Rosemary Clement Moore, Cory Oakes, Victoria Scott, Mary Lindsey and Jeff Hirsch
This is Not Normal Either – Krissi Dallas, Tracy Deebs, Greg Leitich Smith and Andrea White
Vampire Smack Down - Cynthia Leitich Smith, Rachel Caine and Jason Henderson
Poetry Workshop – Colin Gilbert
A Walk on the Weird Side – Kelley Milner Halls
Choctaw Tales – Tim Tingle
Here’s the schedule of AWESOME
Because we know you’ll have questions, here are some things that CAN and WILL HAPPEN:
There will be books available for purchase from The Book Carriage, and they will be selling books all day.
The Book Carriage will accept cash and credit cards.
You may bring some books from home for authors to sign.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase at lunch.
Why, yes there is a twitter hashtag. It’s #YAKFest13 – thanks for asking. We WANT you to tweet.
Of course you can talk and have your picture taken with your favorite author(s) during the signing. We insist upon it.
Other stuff that is just as important:
MEDIA INQUIRIES? Please contact Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was so happy to get my hands on an early copy of this book. I adore the cover, the author is awesome, and the story intrigued me. Sold, sold, sold!Here are five things I have to say about THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR:
THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR by Mindee Arnett (March 5, 2013)
1) This book is what happens when HARRY POTTER and PARANORMALCY get together and have a love child. No really. You never saw that happening, did you? But it's so true.
2) If you like twists and turns, then this is the story for you! I had no idea what was going to happen, who I could trust, and how anything was going to be resolved until the very last page. Great suspense and great clues!
3) Okay, I have to mention Dusty, the main character, being a Nightmare. I mean, how cool is that? I never tried to imagine what a nightmare looked like, and I never thought of one as a real person. And yet, in THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR
it totally works. And it's totally cool!
4) Arnett manages to find that perfect balance between humor and serious consequences. Dusty kept me in stitches because I never knew what she was going to do next, and yet, all the while, I was led on the perfect path of a serious and scary story.5) There are a million reasons to pick up this book. So go ahead and do it! You won't be sorry. Highly recommended for (mostly) girls, 6th grade and up, fans of fantasy, science fiction, or good, solid mysteries!
Source of book: From publisher by request
About THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR
:Sixteen-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare.
Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy, is hard enough. But when Dusty sneaks into Eli Booker’s house, things get a whole lot more complicated. He’s hot, which means sitting on his chest and invading his dreams couldn’t get much more embarrassing. But it does. Eli is dreaming of a murder.
Then Eli's dream comes true.
Now Dusty has to follow the clues—both within Eli’s dreams and out of them—to stop the killer before more people turn up dead. And before the killer learns what she’s up to and marks her as the next target.
I am so happy to share the brand new cover for book 3 in THE FAERIE RING series by Kiki Hamilton today! In case you haven't read this series, it's full of everything made of awesome. You can read my review for book 1, THE FAERIE RING, here!
THE SEVEN YEAR KING by Kiki Hamilton (May 14th, 2013)
Here's the short teaser:A deadly sacrifice, a heartbreaking choice, an uncertain future...
I can't wait!THE SEVEN YEAR KING is the third book in the FAERIE RING series, which started with:
THE FAERIE RING
by Kiki Hamilton (Tor Teen, September 27, 2011) THE TORN WING
by Kiki Hamilton (August 9, 2012)
I hope you all had a great holiday and are ready for the best year yet :) I'm so happy we all survived the end of the world!
So have you guys stopped to think about all the awesome things coming up this year? Wait, you haven't? Why not take the time and make a list of ten things right now.
As for what's coming up in my world, it seems like there is a ton to look forward to.
1) Yes, I actually do have a book coming out this year, just in case you missed it :) That I am looking forward to.
2) I'll be heading to a fantastic writing retreat at the Lodge of Death soon (you have to see it to understand) and can't wait! Nothing like hanging out for 3 solid days with my favorite writing buddies to help inspire and to be productive.
3) Well, seeing as how I saw the first part of THE HOBBIT movie three times, I am definitely looking forward to part two, coming in just 11 short months.
4) And on the topic of movies, I am also looking forward to STAR TREK: INTO DARKNESS. Have you seen that trailer? Seriously made of awesome. It may be another midnight premier for me.
5) Conferences, travel, it's all good! This year, so far, I'm looking forward to our local Austin SCBWI conference next month
, TLA in Fort Worth in April, ALA in Chicago in June/July, along with school and library visits and other fun authorish things.
6) We have a new writing place! So I've mentioned "THE PLACE" in the past as where I go to write, but now we've found a new one. And it rocks. I always look forward to going there to write. Though I do miss the old place a bit, this one fixes a few major problems we had.
7) New story ideas! Yes, I have a great one and can't wait to get a chance to actually think more about it. But it's good to give it time to stew, right? Right. Plus those revisions have to get done.
8) Blogging! Yes, I took the holidays off, but I'll be doing all sorts of blogging this year, in a variety of places, one of which is the brand new SCENE 13 blog
! Check it out. I'll be posting on the 13th of each month. It's the luckiest day.
9) Austin Comic Con 2013! Is it bad I'm already looking forward to this? And trying to figure out my costumes? Actually Fall is filled with fun activities here in Austin. Comic Con. Texas Book Festival. Austin Teen Book Festival. It's a great place to live (in case you are looking to relocate).
10) Good books, good friends, and so much more! Speaking of which, I really must do my post about my favorite reads of the year!Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!
Today over on THE ENCHANTED INKPOT, I'm featuring fellow Austinite Kat Catmull and her brand new book!Please head over and see how awesome she and her book really are
SUMMER AND BIRD by Kat Catmull (Dutton, October 2, 2012)
! And Happy Wednesday!
From my daughter...
I pledge allegiance to write all day,
to never give up,
from night to day.
How I love finding a series I truly love! I've been dying to read this book since finished CINDER!
SCARLET (Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel & Friends, February 5, 2013)
Here are Five Things I have to say about SCARLET:
1) It's so great to just be able to settle into a book and enjoy it, especially when it's a sequel. I have this very bizarre feeling while reading these books that I know I can just trust the author to write me an enjoyable story, and Marissa Meyer does not disappoint.
2) Marissa does a fantastic job sealing a wonderful story inside a single book while still keeping the overall series story arc going. I am going to read book three as soon as I possible can, and I know I won't be disappointed. Bring it on!
3) I just have to say again what a fun twist it is on these fairy tales to see them brought to the sci-fi setting. It's great to see what connections I can make from the original stories to the recreation. Brilliant!
4) How I love the settings of these stories. We are on Earth, but it's Earth in the way future. Another brilliant stroke because it helps the reader connect with the story on one more level.
5) Sure, there is romance. But it is not all about the romance at all. And yet, what romance there is works so well. It's the perfect touch of romance mixed in with a kick-butt plot and characters to die for!In short, totally, highly recommended, boys and girls, 6th grade and up! Start with CINDER and move on from there.
:Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.
Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.
Source of book: From publisher by request
Hi! P. J. Hoover here, author of the upcoming dystopian/mythology YA novel, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013)
, and I'm thrilled to host this stop for the YA Scavenger Hunt! I'm crazy excited that this is the very first giveaway for an ARC of SOLSTICE
(and p.s. I'm so excited that I'm giving away a second ARC of SOLSTICE below, so make sure to check it out!)
Hi! Thanks for visiting!
(And just FYI, I survived a horde of slugs to get the above picture taken.
It was scary!)
This tri-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck
as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one signed book from each author on the hunt in my team
But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt.
There are TWO contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the BLUE TEAM
--but there is also a red team for a chance to win a whole different set of twenty-five signed books!
If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt homepage
*** SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE ***
Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the blue team, and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!).
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by August 5, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
*** SCAVENGER HUNT POST ***
Today, I am hosting RACHEL CARTER
on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Rachel Carter is the author of So Close to You, the start of a time travel trilogy with HarperTeen. She grew up in the woods of Vermont, and recently graduated from Columbia University with an MFA in nonfiction writing. These days you can find her in Brooklyn, New York, where she is hard at work on her next novel.You can find out a ton more about Rachel on her website!
And if her book sounds like something right up your alley (which of course it does), you can buy it here!
SO CLOSE TO YOU
by Rachel Carter (Harper Teen, July 10, 2012)
About SO CLOSE TO YOU
:Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather. When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.
Rachel has an awesome treat for you guys today for exclusive content! She has a hidden page
with a secret password
that contains an exclusive scene
from THIS STRANGE AND FAMILIAR PLACE, the second book in the SO CLOSE TO YOU
trilogy!The page is here!And the password is . . . closeandstrange
I hope you guys enjoy reading it as much as I did!
And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of signed books by me, RACHEL CARTER, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 13.
Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the blue team
and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
DOUBLE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING AN ARC OF
MY UPCOMING YA NOVEL
“Solstice is one red-hot read—it intrigues, sizzles, and satisfies.” —Cynthia Leitich Smith, New York Times bestselling author In celebration of the Winter Scavenger Hunt and the upcoming release of my debut young adult novel, SOLSTICE (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013), I'm offering up a second copy here (US only).It's easy to win! Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below.a Rafflecopter giveawayGood luck, and may all your reading be enjoyable!
:Piper's world is dying. Each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles that threaten to destroy the earth. Amid this global heating crisis, Piper lives under the oppressive rule of her mother, who suffocates her even more than the weather does. Everything changes on her eighteenth birthday, when her mother is called away on a mysterious errand and Piper seizes her first opportunity for freedom. Piper discovers a universe she never knew existed—a sphere of gods and monsters—and realizes that her world is not the only one in crisis. While gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals out of control as she struggles to find the answer to the secret that has been kept from her since birth.
And one more time...
CONTINUE THE HUNT
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
It's been a long time coming, but the final book in the ACROSS THE UNIVERSE trilogy is almost here! And because life is good, I've had an early look at the book!Here are Five Things I Have to Say About SHADES OF EARTH:
SHADES OF EARTH by Beth Revis (Razorbill, January 15, 2013)
1) It's rare that I actually read the third book in a series these days. With so many new books being published all the time, for a series to draw me back again and then again definitely makes a statement.
2) Of the three books in the trilogy, SHADES OF EARTH
is by far the best as far as the science and the story go. They are on the planet. Lots of things happen. And...
3) ...there is some cool science fiction going on in this story. Whereas the first two books in the series could be generalized under teen romance, SHADES OF EARTH
definitely delves more deeply into the science of things. It gives us the answers to questions we've had since we picked up ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
4) Does everything end happy? Well, technically if I gave you the answer to that question, it would be considered a huge spoiler. So suffice it to say that if you've read books 1 and 2, you should definitely not stop there. Pick up SHADES OF EARTH
and see how everything comes out.5) Highly recommended for boys and girls, fans of romance and science-fiction, seventh grade and up.
About SHADES OF EARTH
:Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.
FUELED BY LIES.RULED BY CHAOS.ALMOST HOME.
Source of book: From publisher by request
You guys are all awesome! That's all there is to it! Thank you so much to everyone who entered to win an ARC of
SOLSTICE by P. J. Hoover (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013)
And with no more waiting, the winner is...
Amber Johnston Mitchell!Please stop by again after the new year! Look for more giveaway and all sorts of awesome buildup toward the release!
So I've been kind of busy with revisions the last couple weeks which is why I haven't posted as often here.RENEGADE by J. A. Souders (Tor Teen, November 13, 2012)
(repeat after me: REVISIONS ARE GOOD!)
Anyway, in the meantime, here are a few quick links to share!
Today on THE ENCHANTED INKPOT, I've interviewed J. A. Souders about her brand new book!
*****Over on THE TEXAS SWEETHEARTS & SCOUNDRELS, our Featured Sweetheart is LUCY KUBO!
*****And finally, SOLSTICE is featured today for DYSTOPIAN DECEMBER over on CLAIRE READS! SOLSTICE by P. J. Hoover (Tor Teen, June 18, 2013)
Remember when we were kids and we played those songs we loved over and over and over again, and it drove our parents nuts? (my song was The Copacabana by Barry Manilow. Love that song even now).
Anyway, I have kids now, and it is apparently payback time. That said, now there is YouTube and videos to go along with the songs that actually crack me up.
So, as I continue on with revisions, here are two of my favorite YouTube songs the kids have introduced me to :)
(p.s. Toby Turner is a genius)
(the refrigerated pie line is my favorite line)Enjoy!
If you're in town this weekend, please come by The Book Spot for our annual Texas Sweethearts holiday party!
Annual Texas Sweethearts & Scoundrels Holiday Party
Saturday, December 8, 2013, 12:00-2:00 pm
The Book Spot, Round Rock, TX (across from Round Rock High School)
Books, food, activities, and friendship
See you then!
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I was introduced to the poem Ithaca at the Red Dirt Book Festival in Oklahoma a few years ago. I was sitting at a signing table, and the man next to me (a fellow author) struck up conversation. When I mentioned I wrote books with mythology in them, he told me about a poem. I didn't think much about it at the time. In fact, I wasn't really sure what he was talking about.
A poem about Ithaca? Just another story of Odysseus?
I wasn't really sure what was to be gained. But when I got back home, I received a nice email along with a link to said poem. And I've loved the poem so much that I now have it printed and hanging above my desk in my office.
It's by poet Constantine P. Cavafy, and seeing as how he is long since dead, I am safe in placing it below.
- When you set sail for Ithaca,
- wish for the road to be long,
- full of adventures, full of knowledge.
- The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
- an angry Poseidon — do not fear.
- You will never find such on your path,
- if your thoughts remain lofty, and your spirit
- and body are touched by a fine emotion.
- The Lestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
- a savage Poseidon you will not encounter,
- if you do not carry them within your spirit,
- if your spirit does not place them before you.
- Wish for the road to be long.
- Many the summer mornings to be when
- with what pleasure, what joy
- you will enter ports seen for the first time.
- Stop at Phoenician markets,
- and purchase the fine goods,
- nacre and coral, amber and ebony,
- and exquisite perfumes of all sorts,
- the most delicate fragrances you can find.
- To many Egyptian cities you must go,
- to learn and learn from the cultivated.
- Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
- To arrive there is your final destination.
- But do not hurry the voyage at all.
- It is better for it to last many years,
- and when old to rest in the island,
- rich with all you have gained on the way,
- not expecting Ithaca to offer you wealth.
- Ithaca has given you the beautiful journey.
- Without her you would not have set out on the road.
- Nothing more does she have to give you.
- And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
- Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
- you must already have understood what Ithaca means.
There are tons of translations of this poem (seeing as how it was originally written in Greek). Translations aside, here is what the poem means to me. Here's what I need to remind myself of constantly.Goals are great and all, but it's not about the destination. It's all about the journey.
Things like getting a book published take a long time. The journey to get a book published can take forever. It's filled with things like first drafts, revisions, edit letters, and queries. There are submissions and marketing plans and interview and copyedits. There are agents and editors and librarians and booksellers. And finally, just maybe if you've worked and worked and worked, the publication goal that you've been seeking for so long will finally come to pass. Your destination will be reached. But with all the time it took to get there, it's important above all else to enjoy the journey.
Buddha* says it well. "It is better to travel well than to arrive."
How is your journey to Ithaca going?
*Or maybe this is a fake Buddha quote
. One cannot be sure.