Wednesday, November 30, 2011
PS: the paperback is on sale at Amazon in a 4-for-3 promotion--buy any three qualifying books and get the fourth one free!
This is a very self-serving linkspam, and for that, I apologize. I just have things I want to tell you about, but since I'm not at home, no time to really do this well!
- For links to my blog posts about writing and reading on the Penguin blog, click here
- December 1st! The YA Scavenger Hunt! It is coming! With a crap-ton of prizes + a never-before-revealed secret about A MILLION SUNS!
- ATUFacts is updating daily...and I'm trying to reblog the details with extra insider information. So if you're the type who's curious about the hows and whys of a story (such as where a name come froms, or why a character does something) check it out!
- Two contests are going on right now!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
- Brand new cover!
- Map of Godspeed
- Sneak peek at A MILLION SUNS
- A special-thank you and acknowledgements for early fans
- and more!
I was going to save this for a Bookanista day, but then I realized that (a) the Scavenger Hunt is happening on a Bookanista day and (b) today's Shelli's book birthday, so (c) let's share it today!
Today I've got with us Shelli Johannes-Wells, author of UNTRACEABLE. This book has had a somewhat unique path to publication, which you can read all about at Shelli's blog. I picked her brain a bit about the book, the publication, and more--hope you enjoy!
Friday, November 25, 2011
Right, so if you're in America right now, you're probably already a little sick of Turkey. This is a variation of my Granny's chicken and dumplings recipe, is EXTRAORDINARILY tasty, and only requires a few ingredients. If it looks long and complicated, don't worry--it isn't. You'll leave most of this to cook on its own, without your fussing over it.
Here's what to do:
- Leftover turkey meat, ripped or cut into chunks
- Leftover vegetables, whatever you have
- Salt and pepper
- Bay leaves, if you like that kind of thing
- 1 egg
- 1 cup of self-rising flour
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season (for my international readers, it's American Thanksgiving tomorrow, the day we set aside to count our blessings).
I was just thinking about that this morning. It has been less than one year since my debut novel has been out...that's...that's just mind-boggling! It's so strange for me to be working on Book 3, when the first book's only been out a little more than 10 months. My life is completely different now from a year ago--my world's been turned upside down.
And that's something I'm grateful for--this mad, chaotic career, and the fact that I can make it a career.
And of course, I'm also grateful for my agent, who found for me the very best people I could work with--the entire team at Penguin/Razorbill. I want to send them heart-shaped cookies every day.
And none of it would mean anything without the people who picked up the book, who read it, who told their friend about it, who requested it at their library...there aren't enough heart-shaped cookies in the world to express that kind of gratitude.
But as I was thinking about this post, I realized something that came before all this, something I have always taken for granted.
I am thankful for the dream.
I have wanted to be a writer since elementary school. I remember when Mrs. Oliver taught me about dialog tags, and Mrs. Pearson read my unicorn story aloud to the class, and Mrs. Thompson gave me a purple pen to write my stories with. I read my first book aloud to Tina on the schoolbus. The dream grew in high school--I think I snagged my boyfriend-who-became-my-husband in part by writing a story where he was the knight in shining armor.
The dream of being a writer drove me like no other. I studied literature and scribbled stories and stayed up late at night and tried and tried and tried.
Stories became novels. Novels became submissions to agents. And submissions became rejections.
And that was a point where I started to hate the dream.
It sucks when what you want most in the world requires someone else to say yes. Because when the someone you need--an agent, a publisher, readers--say no a part of your soul, the part where you keep your dream, bleeds.
It took a long frexing time for my dream to come true. And somewhere between year five and ten, I seriously started to hate my dream. I had given up so much: time, money, thought, opportunities, peace of mind. And I had nothing to show for it but a broken dream. I almost gave up on it then.
But the dream was stronger than me. And I wrote what I thought might be my last book. And that was the book that made the dream come true.
There's a chance that, right now, you hate the dream, too. A few years ago, I would have erased that part of me from myself if I could have--I wanted to not care so much that it hurt. But I'm telling you now: be thankful for the dream.
Because some people don't have one.
When I was teaching, I saw many sad things. This is not a post about that. But I will say this: one of the very saddest things I saw when teaching was how many kids had no dream. My dream was such a huge part of my life from such an early age that it was nearly incomprehensible for me to understand what it was like for someone to not have one.
You could see the difference between a kid with a dream and one without one. The kid with a dream was focused. Maybe not focused on my class or the book I put in front of her face, but focused on something. It might be distant, it might be unreachable, but there was desire and drive behind those eyes.
And then there were some kids who had no dream. Ask them what they wanted, and they would say "to graduate." Or--and this happened, too--"to turn 16 so I can drop out." And sometimes: "nothing."
I--and all the other teachers--would try to entice them with new studies or interests. Try to suss out a dream. But a dream is not something one can just give to someone else. It has to fill you up and come from within. If your body is a ship, then the dream is the wind in the sails. No one can hold the wind, let alone make it. It's something that just is. Or...isn't.
Looking back, now, it's easy for me to say I'm thankful for my dream. But a few years ago, after ten years of trying and ten years of failing, after hundreds of rejections, I would have given anything to erase the dream. To just be normal and not care.
And how empty my life would be without it.
So let me tell you: if you have a dream--even one that might hurt now--be thankful for it. Steer your ship into that gale.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
I love local stores. One of my favorite things about the town where I live is the Main Street. The Main Street at the town where I used to live...didn't exist. But my town has a really cute main street! (Funny side note, you can see part of it in the background of my interview online here.)
Also: I really think that a lot of America's problems might be solved if there was more shopping on Main Street. It doesn't take much to make a difference.
Which is why, this year, I'm supporting my local economy with Small Business Saturday.
Now...IF you happen to be lacking an idea of something you'd like to order from a Small Business....might I recommend my favorite small business, Fireside Books and Gifts? Fireside is a great local store--right on Main Street, even!--and they ship books and fun local crafts worldwide.
And if you're wondering what you should get...why yes, this is a shameless plug...then might I suggest the paperback copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE?
Monday, November 21, 2011
In addition to the Thanksgiving contest, I also have a contest for a signed copy of CROSSED by Ally Condie. And the winner of that one is... JEN @ MIDNIGHT BOOK REVIEWS!
But I know most of you are probably the most curious to see who won the big prizes for the Thanksgiving contest.
And I am cruel and like to extend your anxiety...
For the curious: the most popular book selected for this was HARRY POTTER. The second most popular book was one or more of the TWILIGHT books. Several of you picked classics, such as CATCHER IN THE RYE, but at least half of you picked books published in the last ten or so years (NIGHTSHADE was a popular title for that, as was the HUNGER GAMES books).
Of the winners: 1 person who won entered on the first day the contest was open, 1 person who won entered on the last day it was open. (Just thought that was a neat tid-bit.) I did moderate the winners and only selected winners who properly entered and followed the instructions.
OK, so there are five prizes total--3 signed copies of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE with swag, 1 signed copy of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE with swag and a box of Turkish Delight, and one Grand Prize winner of all 19 signed books.
We'll start small...
But since you had to tell me what book you're most grateful for in order to win, I thought it might be fun to make you click to see who won based on the book they're most grateful for.
The winners of the signed ACROSS THE UNIVERSE with swag are...
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I've been under the weather lately (thanks husband!) and so rather than do productive things, like, you know, write a book, I've been sitting on the couch, going through two boxes of Kleenex, and browsing the interwebs.
Which means: lots of links of fun for you!
Contest updates: You still have until Monday to win the signed copy of CROSSED by Ally Condie or the 19 signed books for Thanksgiving (PS: whoa that's a lot of entries! I'm glad Rafflecopter's going to pick the winner, not me!)
ZOMG I can't wait for this news! The nerd inside my can barely contain my excitement for these two things: leaked pages of the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic book, and the first official trailer for the new Pixar movie, BRAVE, which looks epic and amazing, including the hair.
This is my new favorite picture of Stephanie Myers. Seriously. Speaking of, I'm really intrigued by Kaleb's Nation TV show.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? This is my pep talk. It's all official and shizz.
Here's the Earth. Coming right at you.
ATU Facts is live! I'm really excited about this--to encourage people to read (or re-read) ATU Facts is a series of details about ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. The cool thing is that I was able to sneak in some details on hidden Easter eggs for AtU...and some (tiny, and marked) spoilers for A MILLION SUNS.
Lists! AtU has made the YALSA Reader's Choice list (yay!) and the TAYSHAS list (Texas yay!)
You guys know I love the full-monty when it comes to online stuff, so be sure to check out the CROSSED trailer here--it's one of the best book trailers I've ever seen. You can Get Matched at the Facebook app here, and find out cool MATCHED facts here. Finally, be sure to check out the (beautiful!) dedicated website for MATCHED here.
Now, on to the interview! And don't forget to enter for a signed copy of CROSSED at the end!
As a kid, what was your favorite book? Have your tastes changed since growing up?
In the MATCHED books, Cassia starts her journey towards freedom from the Society in part because of a poem (“Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas). Is there a poem or book that helped define you the way this poem defines Cassia?
If your reader could only take away one emotion, theme, or idea from CROSSED, what would you want it to be?
Beyond the typical--never give up, believe in yourself--what would be the single best advice you'd like to give another writer?
Don’t forget to live your life. Don’t let writing become your life.
What do you think are your strongest and weakest points in writing?
Thank you, Ally, for sharing your thoughts and ideas here!
And thank you, Penguin, for providing readers today with a SIGNED copy of CROSSED for one lucky winner!
In order to thank Penguin for providing the prize, I included ways to get extra entries for the giveaway by following or tweeting Penguin Teen. It's totally optional, but I wanted to give everyone a chance to thank Penguin for giving the prize.
And meanwhile, here's something for everyone: you can read the first two chapters of CROSSED here!
Check out what the other Bookanistas are reading here:
- Elana Johnson gives a standing ovation for VIRTUOSITY
- LiLa Roecker pines for THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS
- Shannon Messenger talks up THE PLEDGE - with a giveaway
- Corrine Jackson falls for UNDER THE NEVER SKY
- Carolina Valdez-Miller gives some love to HERE
- Veronica Roth screams for THE NEAR WITCH
- Nikki Katz praises LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR
- Katy Upperman reccommends THE PLEDGE
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Recently, someone asked me if I was scared to have a release date near another author's release date.
The short answer: nope.
One of my friends was surprised when I mentioned other authors I knew as if they were my friends (they are) rather than my competition.
But...they aren't competition.
I mean, yes, sort of. Everything we do in life is something of a competition, arguably. We all want to be the best, or at least do our best.
But one of the great, great things about writing, especially writing in the YA community, is that there is no winner or loser. Because it's not like people can only buy one book. You can buy as many as you want! You can read as many stories as you want, you can live in Narnia and Middle Earth and Little Whinging.
When I first got my book deal, I expected other authors to look down on me a little. Tiny fish in a huge pond, new kid on the block, whatever analogy you'd like to use here. Also, I sort of expected all these awesome, amazing authors to be a little on a pedestal, or unreachable in their ivory tower. Instead, I've found that 99% of the writers in the YA community are kind, gracious, and friendly.
Because writing? It's not a competition. It's not a race. There is no winner or loser. The only person I compete with every time I open my computer and start writing is myself. When I look at my words, I don't compare them to someone else's. I compare them to mine. When I say I want to be better, I don't mean that I want to be better than Author X. I mean I want to be better than what I used to be.
Monday, November 7, 2011
This weekend, I'll be in Charleston, SC, for the first annual Y'All Fest! I have been promised pie, so I will definitely be there.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
I also mentioned my love of YA and how reading so much adult lit drove me even further into YA. So let me switch it up today: today I'm talking about my favorite play, King Lear.
My first experience with this play was actually as a child--one of my favorite books growing up was Grandfather Tales a collection of folk Appalachian stories collected by Robert Hillerich. I read and absorbed every single one of those stories, and eventually, as I grew up, I started making connections between the stories and their sources. "Whitebear Whittington" had roots in the classic "Beauty and the Beast" stories, for example, and I realized that many of the stories can be traced back to classic fairy tales. The settlers in Appalachia took the stories of their European ancestors and made them their own.
One story, though, was always a mystery to me: "Like Salt Loves Meat." In it, a girl tells her father she loves him "like salt loves meat," a similarity that he doesn't appreciate, and he sends her away. It's not until a clever cook (his daughter in disguise) makes him a meal without salt that he realizes the depth of her love.
When I was in high school, I was assigned to read King Lear. Within the first scene, I realized I had found the source of my favorite folk tale, and by the end I was as in love with the original as with the bedtime story.
One of my favorite things about King Lear is that it touches on all forms of love--and it most definitely IS a love story, even if the main love story is between a father and a daughter. It's about familial love between parents and children, brothers and sisters. It's about the love between friends and strangers. It's about love turned sour by greed and kept pure by sincerity.
There are little moments in the play that I relish. When Goneril smashes out Gloucester's eyes and describes them as jelly, I can't help but laugh. Kent's loyalty and Lear's madness are some of my favorite scenes, as is Gloucester's "aided suicide." But one of my favorite aspects of the play is the fact that it's possible for the same actor to play both Cordelia and the Fool--which adds a whole new layer of meaning to the Fool's words.
Shakespeare's probably most well known for Romeo and Juliet...and that's my least favorite of his plays. I don't think that Romeo and Juliet had love at all. At best they had a manic sort of obsessive attraction, but love? No.
If you want love, look at how Cordelia loves Lear.
She loves him like salt loves meat.
Find out what the other Bookanistas are reading here: