Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Personal Demons up on Goodreads!

So, I was resting on my laurels there for a while and neglected my blog. Actually, I was busy with speed revisions for my seriously cool editor, so I kept you busy with my contest. If you haven't entered to win a free January YA debut, there's still time!

My fun and way exciting news is that Personal Demons is up on Goodreads. Stop by and put it on your "to-read" shelves. Well...that is if you want to read it. If you don't, then, well...don't. And while you're there, if you're planning to, you know, read Personal Demons, then I'll love you forever if you visit this list: 2010 Debut Author Challenge (way down page 2) and vote for it. I'll buy you expensive stuff, 'kay?

(Noon update: now on the top of page 2! Can we make page 1?)
(5PM update: now on bottom of page 1! Broke the top 100!!)

Or, maybe I'll just have contests where you can win free books every month! Yay! My February contest starts Monday, so don't forget to stop back and enter!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Free books! Are there two happier words in the English language? I don’t think so!

I was inspired by The Story Siren’s 2010 Debut Author Challenge—a very cool idea to challenge people to read at least 12 YA and MG debuts this year. My personal goal is 20. The more I thought about this, the more excited I got, so in honor of my fellow 2010 debut authors, I’ve decided to have a monthly contest in which you—my lucky readers—can enter to win a YA or MG debut of your choice. Sound like fun? I thought so…

So, here’s the deal. Each month I’ll post my top four debuts of that month. (on or around the first) All you have to do to enter is comment on that post before noon pacific time on the last Friday of the month. One winner will be chosen each month using the randomizer and I’ll post the winner on the last Friday of the month. The winner will then be allowed to choose one title off my picks list OR a signed ARC or copy of PERSONAL DEMONS (when I get them)! Yay!

In addition to commenting (for which you get one point) you can earn extra points each month as follows:

Old follower: +3 points
New follower: +2 points
Link to my contest post on your blog or twitter: +1 points
Dedicated post with link to my contest on your webpage/blog: +3 points
Add me to your blogroll: +2 points

Also on your entry, please remember to tell me how to find you (email address).

This is not Verizon, so there will be no rollover points. Points start new every month.

Also, a side note…
If you know of any 2010 YA or MG debut authors who are not members of The Tenners or Class of 2K10, I’d love to know who they are and what their book is about so I can include them on my lists. I know first hand that getting the word out can be a challenge if you’re not part of a group. I, myself, was shunned by The Tenners (my deal came in December, after their arbitrary new member cut-off) and, like Cinderella, I feel a little left out of the ball. :*(
Also, please feel free to suggest titles for upcoming months.

So, what do you think? You up for some free books?

I’m getting a late start for January, so I’ll extend the entry deadline to noon on 2/15 for this month. This post will serve as my January contest post, so to enter, just comment below.

And here are my January picks:

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
The Dark Devine by Bree Despain
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

Look for a new post on the first of each month with my new picks and enter each month!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 Debut Author Challenge

This is a way cool idea from The Story Siren! There are so many awesome YA and MG titles from brand new authors (including yours truly =]) coming out in the next twelve months. I put a button in my sidebar and will be listing titles there as I read them. I'm shooting for 20 YA debuts.

I totally love the Tenners (even though they descriminated against me because my deal didn't happen until December) and most of the titles below are from their ranks.

Here's my list so far: (in order of release date)

The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Sea by Heidi Kling
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (read it already, but can't wait to see it in print!)

I'm missing a ton, but that's a start! To sign up for the challenge click the link above! What's on your list?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What's in a title?

Titles can be really easy or insanely hard, I’ve discovered. Sometimes there’s a word or phrase that perfectly captures the essence of your literary masterpiece. And, if you’re really lucky, it just pops into your head one day. That was the case for me with Personal Demons (which, at the moment, looks like it's going to stick) and book 2 in the series, Original Sin. I had to work a little harder for book 3, which at the moment carries a working title of Hell-bent. (still not sure about that one)

But what do you do when the perfect title doesn’t come? What if your perfect title is already taken? And does it even matter?

My personal take, having been through the whole agent/editor thing, it that a catchy title can go a long way to capturing the “right” peoples’ attention. You want something intriguing and in tune with the spirit of your book. If you’ve written a cute and innocent coming of age story, you don’t want some racy title. If your book is humorous, try to reflect that. For darker works of fantasy, find a darkish title.

I find phrases and concepts in music and on street signs…sometimes where I least expect them. If you’re really struggling, listen to your favorite songs, paying attention to the lyrics, or go on B& and browse titles that are already out there. You may find a keyword or idea that sparks your perfect title.

And along those lines, if your perfect title has already been used, I say use it anyway. (Unless it’s already been OVER used.) If the other book is older, or in a completely different genre, you can sometimes get away with duplicate titles. That’s really up to your publisher to decide. So don’t shortchange your book in the query and submission process by settling for a less than perfect title just because someone beat you to it.

That said, don’t get too attached to your title, because it frequently changes once you have an editor and is on its way to publication.

Some titles I think do a great job of catching interest and conveying the flavor of the book:
I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

What titles are you thinking about for your WIP? What are some of your favorites?

Monday, January 11, 2010

When are you an author?

A while back I asked the question “When are you a writer?” The upshot of the post was basically that, since there are no credentials required to call yourself a writer, anyone can. Even if the only thing you’ve ever written is a drunken manifesto in blood on a series of bar napkins, you can call yourself a writer. Even if you’ve written nothing, you can call yourself a writer. I hadn’t been able to bring myself to use that term in relation to myself, however, until I signed with my agent. Somehow, a publishing professional giving me their stamp of approval felt like a benchmark. So I decided I was a writer in September.

So, the next logical question is: When are you an author?

Honestly, I’m still struggling with that a little. I’d always expected that when my book sold—when it was truly on its way to being out there in the world—I’d consider myself an author. But I don’t feel like an author yet.

I know it’s all semantics, and hardly matters in the real world, but I find it funny that, in my gut, I still feel awkward about calling myself an author—like I’m overstepping somehow. Maybe I’ll feel differently when my book hits the shelves this coming September.

So, I’m curious how everyone else feels about it. When do you consider yourself to be a writer? An author?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!

So WOW! The whirlwind continues. Book deal, Christmas, New Year, my birthday--but now it’s become a cyclone. I got an email from my seriously cool editor, Melissa, today. She’s planning a September release for Personal Demons. Which, in her words, “means great things about the excitement in-house, but it also means that you and I have some hectic times ahead of us.”

This is very exciting and a little scary. They said “Fall 2010” when they bid at auction and I was thinking December—maybe… I never dreamed SEPTEMBER. I’m now very thankful that I have the first draft of Original Sin (book 2) done, because I’m kind of off to the races, it seems. Release of book 2 is scheduled for July 2011 and book three May 2012.

I’ve actually not come back to the real world yet. I’m being a total slouch and am still on a celebratory vacation (since 12/21, the day of the auction). I have a feeling I might come crashing back to reality when I get home.

But it’s been a wild ride. I’m holding on with both hands and laughing my a$$ off. (Part of my vacation has been riding real roller coasters. o_O)

How’s your 2010 so far? Any good holiday stories? New Years Eve parties? Lampshades?