Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dear Teen Me Blog Tour

I'm so excited to be part of the Dear Teen Me Blog Tour! Why you ask? Well Miranda Kenneally author of Catching Jordan and Stealing Parker is co-editor with E. K. Anderson who I know from Austin. Also my friend Stephanie Pellegrin, who is working hard on her novels, is published in Dear Teen Me along with 70 amazing YA and Middle Grade authors. To learn more about Dear Teen Me check out my review.

When I thought about what I wanted to do for my stop in the blog tour I had a few thoughts. I decided I would write a letter to Teen Me and I have a match the fact to the authors. I reached out to a few authors and asked them for a fun fact about themselves. Look for this at 10:00 AM Central Time.

Letter to my teen self

Dear Teen Me,

People lie. Your parents have been fighting like crazy lately and now you know it was over a lie. Your mom will decide to lie to you about who your biological father is until you turn fourteen. You'll feel betrayed by the lie. No one in your life will understand what it what it means to you when you realize that every adult in your life is a part of this lie. You ask yourself "Who would I have been if I didn't know?". You lay awake at night and say to yourself "I'm alone and know one gets it". I'm writing you to say you will get through it, you will persevere! This will make you stronger! Going through the pain sucks, but this is also the thing that will make you fearless. I know it seems hard to believe, but you will have an incredible bond with the father who raised you and your best friend will be your sister. No not some other sister from a father you've never known, but the one you fight with every second of the day and in the future she will have sons who will light up your day with just a smile. Trusting people is still an issue and when someone lets you down it brings you back to this betrayal, but you'll work on leaving this moment in the past and not dwell on it. For now, know that you aren't alone and know that someday this lie will not consume every moment of your life.

--Your Future Me

Review: Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Me edited by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

One of my must visit sites when I get online is http://dearteenme.com/ I can seriously spend hours reading author's letters. When I first started reading YA I figured that the author's main character was about themselves and it took reading a lot and going to author events to find out that's not the case, but with Dear Teen Me you get a peek into what your favorite authors were like as teens. Reading letters by Miranda Kenneally, Geoff Herbach, Ilsa Bick, Ellen Hopkins, PJ Hoover, E. Kristin Anderson really made me smile. I couldn't be prouder of my friend Stephanie Pellegrin, to see her first story published. I love that Tom Angleberger did his letter in drawings! I also thought that the short Q&A sections were great and something I haven't seen in an anthology before.

Dear Teen Me is not only a great book for fans of YA, but I also think it could be a great teaching tool. I say put a copy of Dear Teen Me in classrooms and maybe it will inspire teens to write letters to themselves. I would love to see Dear Teen Me group signings and I know after reading some of the letters I said to myself, I need to get their book! Dear Teen Me will be out October 31, 2012 and I say pick up multiple copies and give these to the teen(s) in your life, writers, schools and friends! I also hope that we will see a Dear Teen Me Volume 2 with additional writers!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winner: Ashes and Shadows by Ilsa J Bick

I want to thank everyone who entered and especially thanks to Ilsa and Egmont for providing the giveaway!

Entry #26Melissa

The winner has been notified and has 48 Hours to reply by email with a mailing address or a new winner will be picked. Thanks for entering and check back soon for the next giveaway!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spooktacular Giveaway Hop

It's time for the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop! Being that this is one of the biggest hops I wanted to giveaway two prizes! To enter simply fill out the raffle-copter form.

Prize 1:

Prize 2:

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Be sure to visit the other participating blogs!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blog Tour: SHADOWS by Ilsa J. Bick

ASHES by Ilsa J. Bick is easily one of my favorite novels of 2011. When people ask for a great book or audio recommendation, ASHES is always at the top of my list. As part of the SHADOWS Blog Tour EgmontUSA is providing an amazing prize package to one lucky reader!

The Apocalypse does not end.

The Changed will grow in numbers.

The Spared may not survive.

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Visit Ilsa online at www.ilsajbick.com and follow Ilsa J. Bick @ilsajbick on Twitter.

Thank you Ilsa and EgmontUSA! I can't wait to read SHADOWS!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cover News: I'm with Stupid by Geoff Herbach

I'm thrilled to share the cover for I'm with Stupid by Geoff Herbach! Felton has to be my favorite male narrator and Geoff is a great storyteller! This is the first time we see Felton's face on a book cover. In Stupid Fast we see the back of his head and in Nothing Special we see Andrew. So what do you think? Can't you just see boys gravitating to this on bookshelves?

About I'm with Stupid:
Felton Reinstein, dork-turned-athlete, must make peace with his father's death and accept his own ability to be brutal like his dad once was. Final chapter in the Stupid Fast series.

I want thank Geoff for letting me share the cover with you! I absolutely love it and can't wait to read I'm with Stupid!

Find out more about Geoff Herbach online:
Web: geoffherbach.com
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1234979.Geoff_Herbach
Twitter: http://twitter.com/geoffherbach

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Pushing the Limits took me on an emotional rollercoaster!

Echo was once the popular girl, but after her family fell apart, her brother dying and a night that left her completely scared and with no memory, Echo has become understandably distant. Her father knows what happened that night and he can barely look at her. He would rather have Echo put the past behind her and not try and remember what happened that night.

Noah does drugs, has a temper, has given up on school and has bounced from one foster home to the next after his parents died. Noah's only concern is trying to find a way to get custody of his younger brothers. He fears that his brothers are suffering in foster care as much as he is.

The only thing that Noah and Echo have in common is Mrs. Collins, the new high school clinical social worker. Neither of them wants to work with her, but since it's court ordered, they really don’t have a choice. Mrs. Collins helps Echo find a job by tutoring Noah. The two decide that a better plan would be to steal their files from Mrs. Collins office.

Pushing the Limits is both sweet and emotional. I did feel, at certain points I couldn’t handle what was happening to the characters and I had to walk away from the book. Even so, I found Pushing the Limits to be captivating and on more than one occasion I stayed up past 1:00 AM on a work night reading it. Pushing the Limits is Katie McGarry’s first novel and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Post: Andrea Lynn Colt

I would like to introduce Andrea Lynn Colt. Andrea recently self published her first novel TORCHED. I first heard of TORCHED from Jessica Spotwood and if you take a close look at the cover you will notice that Miranda Kenneally blurbed the cover! I asked Andrea to share five things that we need to know about Torched. She was also kind enough to provide us with an excerpt of TORCHED.

5 Tidbits About TORCHED:

1. Our heroine Rose isn't one to take things lying down. She makes mistakes, and often isn't aware of how her actions affect other people, but in TORCHED she learns a lot about who she is and who she wants to be.

2. Because Rose is a cheerleader, I decided I should watch Friday Night Lights as "research." I didn't learn a ton about football or cheerleading that I hadn't already known, but I'm glad I watched FNL, because it's SO GOOD!

3. Rose is my favorite protagonist yet in my novels, and the first one I decided was awesome enough to publish :)

4. My favorite part about writing the book was figuring out what pranks Rose and Paxton pulled on each other.

5. Rose named her beloved car Cloudmonster. I only wish my car had that awesome of a name :)

TORCHED Excerpt: (never published online before!)

[At this point in the novel, Rose has broken into Paxton's bedroom and is searching his desk for clues :) ]

My attention caught on a spreadsheet, printed out and stapled. One page held all the pranks Paxton had pulled, or tried to pull, since getting home from summer camp this year, along with info on whether it had worked and the date he’d launched each attack. Holy crap, the guy was organized. I looked eagerly for information on the arson, but came up empty.

That didn’t prove anything, though. The rest of this stuff was small potatoes. I’d be surprised if Paxton was dumb enough to put an actual crime on his spreadsheet.

The next list was titled, “Possibilities.”

I scanned it and shuddered. “Mental note: check shoes before putting them on,” I muttered, then shoved the folder into my satchel.

Reaching back into the desk drawer, I pulled out a photograph: a snapshot of Paxton and me. Must have been seventh grade, since I had squirrel hair and wore an awful striped shirt, stained with ketchup or something. And those shorts ... I winced. Paxton wore his pocket protector. In the picture, we each had an arm around the other’s shoulders and were grinning our dorky little faces off.

Suddenly I felt, for some reason, about to cry. How had Paxton gone from my best friend to trying to send me to jail? I’d thought ... well, I’d thought at least part of our feud was just for fun. Sitting in his room, where he’d made me watch the entire original series of Star Trek, plus the movies, I allowed myself for a tiny moment to feel hurt.

Then I snapped out of it. Paxton had started this, and I wasn’t about to let him win. I put the picture back, then levered open the middle drawer. It held box sets of Star Trek DVDs. All the seasons, all the series. Some things hadn’t changed. I snorted and moved on to the lowest drawer.

When I finally levered off the front, I found ... more folders. These bulged, and when I opened the first one I realized each was a year, a whole August-to-August of my whereabouts and timelines and school pictures.

“So, so creepy,” I muttered, poring over junior year. He’d apparently sneaked salt onto my ice cream at the football team’s dinner, but I’d gotten distracted and let the sundae melt before I could taste it.

And—hey, I knew he’d been behind all the bird poop blanketing Cloudmonster the last Saturday of the school year. I’d never been quite sure, because Paxton had supposedly been taking the SATs that day. But he’d apparently skipped them, having done well on a previous attempt, and rented several cockatiels from a pet store. I hadn’t even known you could do that.

Footsteps pounded on the stairs.


I want to thank Andrea for stopping by and to learn more about her visit: www.lynncolt.com

Monday, October 8, 2012

Banned Book Giveaway: Winner

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The winner has been notified and has 72 Hours to reply by email with a mailing address or a new winner will be picked. Thanks for entering and check back soon for the next giveaway!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October What I'm Reading

Here is my schedule. Feel free to join me and then we can discuss. Also I am always up for taking recommendations. If you check my blog often you will find I add and remove books just depending on my moods. What are you reading or looking forward to reading this month?

Currently Reading:

Listening to:

Reading Soon:

Just Finished:

Interview: Kristin Rae

During three years of blogging I have interviewed a number of authors and today I get to interview my real life friend Kristin Rae! We met on twitter and found out we both lived in Houston so we became close after going to book events together.

First congratulations! You just announced the news that you signed with Marietta Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency.

Thank you!! This is my first interview!!

What are you feeling right now?
Eeeeep! Excited and very blessed.

How hard was the querying process?
I went through spurts where I'd watch my email like a hawk. This is not good. This produces stress and doubt. There are a lot of rejections, which are sometimes hard to swallow, but there are also bright spots that make up for it. Querying is a beast, and if you let it, it will chew you up and spit you out. Making it through really has a lot to do with your mindset. Once you get past that point of being so emotionally attached to the idea that the story you're querying is THE ONE, because it really might not be, you find a bit of peace and motivation to move on to your next story. Once I really came to terms with that idea, everything exciting really started happening.

When you look at other authors who are your role models or who do you look up to?
Publishing story wise, I think Beth Revis' experience is both heartbreaking and inspiring. She wrote something like 10 books in 10 years before Across the Universe came out of her obviously brilliant mind, and it's incredible (and a bestseller!). Maggie Stiefvater has a gorgeous way about her writing that leaves me in awe. I was just telling someone recently how I remember exactly where I was, my surroundings and everything, when I read the first few pages of Shiver. It was that beautiful and powerful to me. I'm also a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins' books and I'm extremely impatient to meet the next swoon-worthy boy she's created.

How long did you work on your project and when did you say I think it's ready?
I started IF ONLY YOU WERE ITALIAN in April of 2011 and wrote THE END on the first draft in February of 2012. After several rounds of revisions and read-throughs by betas, I had a novel that was pretty well polished and a story I was proud to share. I was fortunate to get two revise and resubmit requests with amazing notes from agents relatively early on in my querying process, which helped further strengthen the story, making it that much better for the fresher agent eyes that would look at it later.

What is the best advise you can give someone who is working on a manuscript and thinks ok now what?
Polish that sucker! Have people you trust read it for you, both readers and writers (but sparingly because too many conflicting opinions will make you lose your mind). It takes some practice, but learn which criticisms to take, and which ones to let roll off your shoulders. Some things are just nit-picky opinions, but I've found that most of the time if someone bumps on something, there's a reason, and you owe it to your story to take it seriously and consider ways to express it differently.

We are really lucky to live in community with book events every week. Do you feel this helped or made the process intimidating?
Both. It's intimidating in the sense that I see how many books are out there already, so it's hard to imagine room for my own book on a shelf one day (a silly way to think, I know. Doubt is a tricksy little twerp). But it's also inspiring because when I meet another author and hear first-hand how they broke into the business, I really come to understand that they were once where I am now. They just never gave up on their dream.

How do you deal with the stress, rejection, nerves, waiting?
Chocolate. Just kidding! Sort of.... Depends on the level of stress involved. If it's mild, I try to distract myself from it with a funny television show or movie and a constant supply of sugared cereal. If it's severe (like having to pick between multiple agent offers), I don't eat or sleep very well. The very first rejection was exciting. You shout "I'm OFFICIAL!" and hang it on the wall. As they roll in a little more frequently, it gets sort of sad. That tricksy little twerp Doubt comes knocking, and it's all too easy to slip into a funk and feel worthless. That's when you have to get your mindset right, remember that you're doing this first and foremost because you love creating stories, and keep on keepin' on. One of my new favorite bands, Imagine Dragons, has a great part in one of their songs that says, "Your time will come if you wait for it, if you wait for it. It's hard, believe me, I've tried." Yes, it's hard, and it hurts sometimes, and there really is a lot of waiting involved. But if you put the work into it, your time just might come sooner than you expected.

I want to thank Kristin for taking time to talk to us about her journey so far! To learn more about her visit: http://www.kristinraewrites.com

Cover News: The Pull of Gravity Paperback Edition

I'm so happy to share the paperback cover for The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner! The Pull of Gravity is a five star book! I think the new cover really represents the story from the water tower to the doodles. If you read YA or have a teen pick this one up!

The Pull of Gravity follows teens, Nick and Jaycee, who, guided by the wisdom of Yoda and Steinbeck, go on a secret whirlwind journey to keep a promise to their dying friend.

Gae Polisner on the cover:
I absolutely love and adore the new paperback cover. I love the graphic details and whimsy, the sense of a road trip adventure, and the fun nod to Star Wars that pop here and there. Actually, if you know the original Of Mice and Men cover (that Nick and Jaycee have in the book), there's also a sort of nod to that, too. I'm really grateful for all the hard work Square Fish put into it and hope it flies off the shelves. ;)

I want to thank Gae for sharing the cover and taking a moment to talk about The Pull of Gravity! So what are your thoughts? Have you read The Pull of Gravity or is it on your list? 

To learn more about Gae Polisner visit: http://www.gaepolisner.com/

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Top Ten Halloween Reads

I'm thrilled to welcome Ty Drago, author of The Undertakers series. Ty is currently promoting The Undertakers: Queen of The Dead, the second of the undertakers series. Since it's October I asked Ty to recommend his top Halloween reads! Please help me welcome Ty Drago!

Well, when we’re talking about my take on the best ten scary books to curl up with in between Trick-or-Treaters, the first five roll right off my tongue. The second five might be a little tougher, so work with me here.

Let’s start by assuming – modestly, if inaccurately – that my books don’t belong on the list!

1) THE SHINGING by Stephen King: This is, hands-down, the scariest book I’ve ever read. It tells the tale of ill-fated Jack Torrence who, along with his wife and psychically-gifted six-year-old son Danny, accepts a job as winter caretaker for The Overlook Hotel, high in the Colorado mountains. To call this huge hotel haunted is like calling Mt. Everest “a bit of a climb.” It’s been made into a movie with Jack Nicholson and a mini-series with Stephen Weber. But, in my humble opinion, neither treatment can touch King’s subtle, terrifying prose. It’s a masterpiece.
2) ROT AND RUIN by Jonathan Maberry: A classic zombie tale, but one that’s character driven instead of plot driven. Fifteen-year-old Benny Imura lives with his older brother Tom in a fenced town somewhere in post-zombie apocalyptic California. Outside the fence is the Rot and Ruin, a fast nothingness prowled by the living dead. Not a good place to be. But when some very human nasties kidnap Benny’s friend, he and Tom set out to rescue her, heading straight into that zombie wasteland. Maberry is a living encyclopedia of zombie lore, and his world in thsis book is the best conceived Z-Land I’ve ever read.
3) SWAN SONG by Robert McCammon: Not, strictly speaking, a horror story, this is the chronicle of post-nuclear war America. In the radiated aftermath, an ancient and terrible stranger walks amongst the survivors, whispering despair and hopelessness in their ears. But one little girl, graced with an inner light as bright as the sun, might just be able to stand against him. A long, epic read, McCammon somehow manages to be uplifting in some places, and downright terrifying in others!
4) PHANTOMS by Dean R. Koontz: An early work, this is a creepy tale about a small town rendered empty by something unseen and utterly alien. To reveal anymore would be a crime. But suffice it to say that Koontz plays up the tension to a fever pitch. I’ve read the book twice and it never fails to give me … uncomfortable … dreams.
5) RELIC by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child: Set in New York’s famed Museum of Natural History, this is a modern take on a good old monster story. Beautifully told and, sadly, made into a lousy movie, the story remains a rollercoaster of scares. The book’s success launched more than one series, but this original piece remains my favorite.
6) IT by Stephen King: My second favorite King book, this tale of childhood courage against unspeakable evil has passages that made me have to stop reading for a few minutes. For a horror novel, there is no higher praise! Thirty years ago, seven friends battled an entity that feeds on innocence, defeating but not destroying it. Now, as adults, they return to finish the job, but at what cost?
7) OFF SEASON by Jack Ketchum: Not for the timid, this tale of modern cannibals living in a remote American backwater is violent, visceral and extremely unsettling. Hardcore horror. You have been warned.
8) CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT by Dan Simmons: Count Dracula is back, but in a way quite different than you might imagine. This modern day vampire tale puts a wonderfully original spin on the legend, and even lets us see into the mind of the ancient bloodsucker himself. Inventive and wholly unique, it’s my favorite vampire novel – aside from Stoker’s masterwork, of course.
9) THE WOMAN by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee: A “grandchild” of OFF SEASON, this terrifying - and surprisingly socially-powerful - tale of a rural lawyer who “rescues” a feral woman and tries to tame her, will make you wonder just who the real “monster” is. It was recently made into an amazing movie by Moderncine.
10) DEAN R. KOONTZ’S FRANKENSTEIN: This is actually a series, not a single book, and a series I’ve only recently gotten into. Victor Frankenstein is back, this time as a sociopathic genius bent on populating the world with his manufactured “new race”. And against him stand two New Orleans cops - and Deucalion, once known as the “Monster”, a man born of lightning and now devoted to undoing his creator’s evil plans.

There you have it! Oh, and by the way, if you find yourself looking for yet another scary, might have suggest … oh, I dunno … THE UNDERTAKERS series?

That’s right. I have no shame.

The dead have risen again and are set on taking over the world. But how do you make sure the dead stay dead? Join Will and his friends as they try to put the dead to rest once and for all in The Undertakers: Queen of The Dead. (October 2012; Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; $7.99; Ages 10+)

In the second of the undertakers series, Will Ritter and his rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters may have triumphed over the Zombies (alien-possessed corpses) last time...but that’s the thing about the dead- they keep coming back. A new Corpse leader has crossed the rift and taken command of the invasion: The Queen of the Dead is even more brilliant and ruthless than her predecessor, and her ambitions are even deadlier. Will and his friends are the only ones that can stop the corpses. They’re the Undertakers- the earth’s first, last, and only defense against the undead.

Will and the crew must somehow rescue his mother, prevent an assassination, and show FBI Agent Ramirez the truth about the Corpses—and the danger the world faces. But how do a bunch of kids prove to a grown-up that monsters are real?

I want to thank Ty for sharing his top Halloween Reads! I know I plan on reading Rot and Ruin this month. To learn more about the Ty Drago visit: http://www.tydrago.com